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Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2008 Jul-Sep;20(3):131-7. doi: 10.1080/10401230802177722.

Elevated prevalence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular risk factors in bipolar disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Roy J and Lucille A Carver College of Medicine, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA. jess-fiedorowicz@uiowa.edu



Bipolar disorder is associated with excess cardiovascular mortality. We hypothesized outpatients with bipolar disorder would exhibit excess cardiovascular risk factors, particularly among prevalent users of the second-generation antipsychotics associated with weight gain and valproic acid derivatives.


This chart review of 217 patients with bipolar disorder examined cardiovascular risk factors of the metabolic syndrome. We also evaluated if certain medications were cross-sectionally associated with metabolic syndrome.


Fifty-six patients were not weighed and many did not have available lipid profiles. Over three-quarters of those with available data (n = 161) were overweight or obese (body mass index >or= 25) and nearly half were obese (body mass index >or= 30). A prevalence exceeding general population estimates was also observed for hypertriglyceridemia, elevated blood pressure/hypertension, and elevated fasting glucose/diabetes. Among those with all requisite data (n = 60), over 50% met criteria for National Cholesterol Education Program-defined metabolic syndrome, nearly double the expected prevalence. A trend toward greater prevalence of metabolic syndrome among prevalent users of the second-generation antipsychotics associated with weight gain was observed.


Obesity and the metabolic syndrome were common in patients with bipolar disorder. These patients may be under-evaluated for cardiovascular risk and warrant screening and early intervention.

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