High BMI linked to worse bipolar outcomes

May 7, 2008

Patients with bipolar disorder and high BMI may respond more poorly to medication and have a more severe course of illness than those with lower BMI.

Patients with bipolar disorder and high BMI may respond more poorly to medication and have a more severe course of illness than those with lower BMI.

According to findings presented at the 161st Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, investigators found an association between lithium responsiveness and elevated BMI in a study of 276 patients enrolled in the Maritime Bipolar Registry.

Other significant associations linked to higher BMI included a chronic course and longer duration of illness, lower score on the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale, increased disability, presence of generalized anxiety disorder, and increased risk of diabetes and hypertension.

However, the researchers were not able to determine whether the effects of obesity affect lithium response or if the effects of lithium impact weight gain.