Lithium therapy and weight change in people with bipolar disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Susana Gomes-da-Costa, Wolfgang Marx, Filippo Corponi, Gerard Anmella, Andrea Murru, Maria Teresa Pons-Cabrera, Anna Giménez-Palomo, Felipe Gutiérrez-Arango, Cristian Daniel Llach, Giovanna Fico, Georgios D. Kotzalidis, Norma Verdolini, Marc Valentí, Michael Berk, Eduard Vieta*, Isabella Pacchiarotti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Lithium remains the gold standard maintenance treatment for Bipolar Disorder (BD). However, weight gain is a side effect of increasing relevance due to its metabolic implications. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis aimed at summarizing evidence on the use of lithium and weight change in BD. We followed the PRISMA methodology, searching Pubmed, Scopus and Web of Science. From 1003 screened references, 20 studies were included in the systematic review and 9 included in the meta-analysis. In line with the studies included in the systematic review, the meta-analysis revealed that weight gain with lithium was not significant, noting a weight increase of 0.462 Kg (p = 0158). A shorter duration of treatment was significantly associated with more weight gain. Compared to placebo, there were no significant differences in weight gain. Weight gain was significantly lower with lithium than with active comparators. This work reveals a low impact of lithium on weight change, especially compared to some of the most widely used active comparators. Our results could impact clinical decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104266
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


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