High medical illness rates in bipolar disorder

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

By Mark Cowen

Results from a US study show that more than half of patients with bipolar disorder have a significant burden of comorbid medical illnesses.

Furthermore, an increased burden of medical illnesses was associated with a greater number of mood episodes in patients with bipolar disorder.

The findings come from a study of patients with bipolar I or II disorder who participated in the Lithium Treatment Moderate Dose Use Study.

General medical comorbidity was assessed using the Cumulative Illness Rating Scale, with a score of 4 or higher indicating a clinically significant medical comorbidity burden.

David Kemp (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio) and team found that among the 264 patients with sufficient data for analysis, the prevalence of significant medical comorbidity was 53% (n=139).

Medical comorbidity most commonly affected the musculoskeletal/integumentary (33%), the respiratory (27%), and the endocrinologic/metabolic (25%) systems, and the most common individual conditions were migraine (25%), history of head trauma with loss of consciousness (19%), and hypertension (16%).

The researchers also found that 31% (n=87) of patients were overweight, with a body mass index (BMI) of 25.0-29.9 kg/m2, and 38% (n=105) were obese, with a BMI of more than 30.0 kg/m2.

Patients with a higher burden of comorbid medical illnesses were more likely to be in a depressive episode at the time of assessment and meet criteria for obsessive-compulsive disorder than those with a lower medical illness burden.

In addition, patients with a higher burden of medical illnesses had typically experienced a greater number of depressive and manic/hypomanic episodes during their lives than those with a lower burden, and were receiving a greater number of psychotropic medications at the time of assessment.

"In this generalizable sample of patients with bipolar I and II disorder, the burden of comorbid medical illnesses is high and appears to influence course of illness and psychotropic medication patterns," conclude Kemp et al.

They add: "These findings highlight the multisystem involvement in bipolar disorder and need for improved understanding of the relationships between psychiatric pathology and medical illnesses."

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the New Clinical Drug Evaluation Unit in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

Licensed from medwireNews with permission from Springer Healthcare Ltd. ©Springer Healthcare Ltd. All rights reserved. Neither of these parties endorse or recommend any commercial products, services, or equipment.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Study: Omega-6 fatty acids could reduce the risk of bipolar disorder