South African Journal of Psychiatry
On-line version ISSN 2078-6786
Print version ISSN 1608-9685
We report a case of refractory mania treated successfully with reserpine. The patient was a 26-year-old man with bipolar I disorder, who had recurrent hospital admissions for manic episodes that failed to respond to multiple mood stabilisers and antipsychotics. The patient also suffered from hypertension. His manic symptoms improved markedly with the addition of reserpine to the treatment regimen. Reserpine is a centrally acting antihypertensive with anti-adrenergic properties. It has been found to reduce the duration of a manic episode rapidly in a small group of studies. This proved to be the case with this patient. Reserpine used in conjunction with other psychotropic medication may be considered in the treatment of refractory mania, but controlled trials are necessary to support our finding more generally.