The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) largely recommends treatment with antipsychotic drugs for patients with bipolar disorder. Additional treatment options are required as antipsychotics are frequently poorly tolerated, causing e.g. sedation, weight gain, sleep disturbance, and diabetes. Aripiprazole is an antipsychotic with fewer side effects at the right dose, and may be as effective as current treatment approaches in combination with an antidepressant (sertraline), however with reduced burden of side effects.
ASCEnD is a prospective, open label, 10 site, randomised, controlled clinical trial in adults with bipolar disorder experiencing a depressive episode. The aim of the ASCEnD study is to examine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the aripiprazole/sertraline combination compared to the currently recommended treatment with quetiapine for the treatment of bipolar depression.