Mortality and Lithium-Protective Effects after First-Episode Mania Diagnosis in Bipolar Disorder: A Nationwide Retrospective Cohort Study in Taiwan

Andre F. Carvalho, Chih Wei Hsu, Eduard Vieta, Marco Solmi, Wolfgang Marx, Michael Berk, Chih Sung Liang, Ping Tao Tseng, Liang Jen Wang

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Abstract

Introduction:
This study aimed to estimate all-cause mortality in patients after a first-episode mania (FEM) and examine whether six guideline-recommended medications can reduce mortality.

Methods:
The cohort included population-based FEM samples and matched controls from Taiwan, spanning 2007 to 2018. The primary outcomes assessed were all-cause/suicide-related mortality, while the secondary outcome focused on mortality associated with pharmacological treatments. We compared mortality in post-FEM patients and age-/sex-matched controls without any diagnosed bipolar disorders and patients with and without psychopharmacological treatment using Cox regression analysis, respectively. Statistics were presented with time-to-event adjusted hazard ratios (AHRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results:
The study included 54,092 post-FEM patients and 270,460 controls, totaling 2,467,417 person-years of follow-up. Post-FEM patients had higher risks of all-cause mortality (AHR 2.38, 95% CI: 2.31-2.45) and suicide death (10.80, 5.88-19.84) than controls. Lithium (0.62, 0.55-0.70), divalproex (0.89, 0.83-0.95), and aripiprazole (0.81, 0.66-1.00) were associated with reduced all-cause mortality compared to non-users. There were no significant all-cause mortality differences for quetiapine (0.95, 0.89-1.01), risperidone (0.92, 0.82-1.02), and paliperidone (1.24, 0.88-1.76) users. When accounting for drug action onset times in sensitivity analyses, only lithium significantly reduced all-cause mortality (AHR range 0.65-0.72). There were 35 and 16 suicide deaths in post-FEM patients and controls, respectively. No drug had a significant effect on suicide deaths (lithium: 6; divalproex: 7; aripiprazole: 0; quetiapine: 10; risperidone: 4; paliperidone: 1).

Conclusion:
Post-FEM patients had a higher risk of all-cause/suicide-related mortality, and lithium treatment might reduce all-cause mortality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-45
Number of pages10
JournalPsychotherapy and Psychosomatics
Volume93
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes

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