LONDON, January 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

First sublingual treatment for moderate to severe manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder, one of the leading causes of disability[1] affecting an estimated

623,000 patients in the UK,[2,3] becomes available today[4]

Lundbeck Ltd today announced that Sycrest(R) (asenapine) is being launched in the UK for the treatment of moderate to severe manic episodes associated with bipolar I disorder in adults.[4] This offers a new treatment choice for people with this serious and disabling disorder.[1]

Bipolar I disorder (also known as manic depressive disorder) is a long-term condition, characterised by alternations between two poles of extreme moods - mania (including symptoms such as episodes of elevated moods, extreme irritability, decreased sleep and increased energy) and depression (which may include overwhelming feelings of sadness and suicidal thoughts), or a combination of both.[2]

"Coping with bipolar I disorder presents a very different challenge for each individual," said Alison Cairns from Bipolar Scotland, Suzanne Hudson from Bipolar UK and Margaret Edwards from SANE. "an increased number of treatment options give patients and their health professionals the best chance of finding the right treatment for them, and Bipolar Scotland, Bipolar UK and SANE today welcome the addition of another treatment for bipolar I patients in UK."

Bipolar disorder affects close to 30 million people worldwide,[5] and an estimated 623,000 people in the UK.[2,3] The launch comes as a new piece of patient insight research, including 988 respondents from UK, has shown that many bipolar patients have concerns about their current treatment, with 44% of patients not satisfied with its efficacy.[6] Over a third (40%) of patients stated that they were prompted to switch medication as a result of side effects associated with existing antipsychotics.[6]Unwanted weight gain, a well-established side-effect of antipsychotic treatments,[1] was the most experienced side-effect, reported by 79% of the respondents.[6]

"Recovering from Bipolar Disorder is extremely challenging "said Nicola Oliver, a UK patient with Bipolar I Disorder. "Not only do you have to overcome your symptoms, but you have to contend with the side effects of treatment. On my current medication I have put on over 2 stones! It is thoroughly demoralising and I often reconsider the benefits of taking it."

"We are pleased that people with bipolar disorder experiencing manic episodes will have the option of this new treatment, which offers hope for effective management of distressing symptoms." said Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of SANE.

"Many bipolar patients are concerned about the side effects of taking antipsychotics," adds Professor Allan Young of Imperial College and West London Mental Health Trust. "The availability of a new treatment option is likely to be valuable in my daily practice."