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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2004 Feb;109(2):91-5.

Relapse into mania or depression following lithium discontinuation: a 7-year follow-up.

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  • 1University of Glasgow Department of Psychological Medicine, Academic Centre, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, Glasgow, UK. jc199d@clinmed.gla.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We aimed to assess whether outcome followed a worse course after acute lithium withdrawal.

METHOD:

Data were acquired by review of the clinical records on 14 cases and 28 controls matched for age, gender and time on lithium for about 7 years following discontinuation.

RESULTS:

Significant differences were found between cases and controls. Cases experienced more episodes of depression and total affective relapse. The log-rank test revealed a significantly lower survival probability in cases than controls (P < 0.0009). However, the increased risk of recurrence was largely confined to the interval immediately after lithium discontinuation.

CONCLUSION:

These results confirm that acute discontinuation of lithium leads to a high immediate relapse rate. Most of the excess morbidity over 7 years appears to be attributable to the first episode following discontinuation. Outcome was not worsened by discontinuation.

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PMID:
14725588
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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