Lithium treatment for bipolar disorder lowers the risk of rehospitalisation

Individuals with bipolar disorder have the lowest risk of rehospitalization if treated with lithium.


Bipolar disorder is known by alternating periods of depression and elevated mood (mania), and is usually treated either with mood stabilizing or antipsychotic drugs. Lithium is considered to be the most effective mood stabilizer, but only a few studies have been conducted comparing the long-term effects of different drugs in bipolar disorder.

Now, University of Eastern Finland scientists provided evidence on this. Their new study suggests that bipolar disorder has the lowest risk of rehospitalization if treated with lithium. Long-acting infusions of antipsychotics were likewise successful, decreasing the danger of rehospitalization by 30 for every penny contrasted and their oral partners.

Scientists compared the risk of re-admission to a hospital in more than 18,000 patients in Finland who had previously been hospitalized for bipolar disorder in order to decide which treatment is most effective. Each patient was asked to use their own control and compared during periods with and without treatment.

They observed, since last 7 years, lithium treatment was related with the most reduced danger of rehospitalization in mental or physical illness, with a hazard decrease of around 30 for each penny contrasted and no treatment by any means. Long-acting infusions of antipsychotic drugs were likewise powerful.

The danger of re-affirmation was around 30 for each penny lower if patients were treated with long-acting infusions contrasted with their accepting a similar antipsychotic drug yet orally. The most regularly endorsed antipsychotic tranquilize for bipolar confusion, quetiapine (Seroquel), which is given in tablet shape, decreased the hazard by just 7 for every penny.

Jari Tiihonen, specialist doctor and professor at the University of Eastern Finland said, “The prescription of lithium has decreased steadily in recent years, but our results show that lithium should remain the first line of treatment for patients with bipolar disorder. Long-acting injections might offer a safe, effective option for patients for whom lithium is not suitable”.”

The study is published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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