McIntyre RS, Patel MD, Masand PS, Harrington A, Gillard P, McElroy SL, Sullivan K, Montano CB, Brown TM, Nelson L, Jain R. The Rapid Mood Screener (RMS): a novel and pragmatic screener for bipolar I disorder. Curr Med Res Opin. 2021 Jan;37(1):135-44. doi: 10.1080/03007995.2020.1860358.

OBJECTIVE: Depressive episodes and symptoms of bipolar I disorder are commonly misdiagnosed as major depressive disorder (MDD) in primary care. The novel and pragmatic Rapid Mood Screener (RMS) was developed to screen for manic symptoms and bipolar I disorder features (e.g. age of depression onset) to address this unmet clinical need.

METHODS: A targeted literature search was conducted to select concepts thought to differentiate bipolar I from MDD and screener tool items were drafted. Items were tested and refined in cognitive debriefing interviews with individuals with self-reported bipolar I or MDD (n = 12). An observational study was conducted to evaluate predictive validity. Participants with clinical interview-confirmed bipolar I or MDD diagnoses (n = 139) completed a draft 10-item screening tool and other questionnaires. Data were analyzed to identify the smallest possible subset of items with optimized sensitivity and specificity.

Adults with confirmed bipolar I (n = 67) or MDD (n = 72) participated in the observational study. Ten draft screening tool items were reduced to 6 final RMS items based on the item-level analysis. When 4 or more items of the RMS were endorsed ("yes"), sensitivity was 0.88 and specificity was 0.80; positive and negative predictive values were 0.80 and 0.88, respectively. These properties were an improvement over the Mood Disorder Questionnaire in the same analysis sample while using 60% fewer items.

The pragmatic 6-item RMS differentiates bipolar I disorder from MDD in patients with depressive symptoms, providing real-world guidance to primary care practitioners on whether a more comprehensive assessment for bipolar I disorder is warranted.

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