Several drugs previously tested in clinical trials and approved for different indications have been repurposed for bipolar disorder. We carried out a systematic meta-review of meta-analyses of randomized placebo-controlled trials investigating repurposed drugs as adjunctive treatments for mania and bipolar depression. We performed a critical appraisal using ‘A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews’ Version 2 (AMSTAR 2). We synthesized results on efficacy, tolerability, and safety, assessing evidence quality according to the ‘Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations’ (GRADE) approach. Our systematic search identified nine eligible studies investigating 12 drugs, four for mania and eight for bipolar depression. The quality of reporting was heterogeneous according to AMSTAR 2. In mania, allopurinol (for symptoms reduction and remission at 4-8 weeks) and tamoxifen (for response and symptoms reduction at 4-6 weeks) showed higher efficacy than placebo, with low and very low quality of evidence, respectively. Concerning bipolar depression, modafinil/armodafinil (for response, remission, and symptoms reduction at 6-8 weeks) and pramipexole (for response and symptoms reduction at 6 weeks) were superior to placebo, despite the low quality of evidence. Results on the efficacy of celecoxib and N-acetylcysteine were of low quality and limited to certain outcomes. Overall, the lack of evidence of high and moderate quality does not allow us to draw firm conclusions on the clinical utility of repurposed drugs as adjunctive treatments for mania and bipolar depression, highlighting the need for additional research.
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