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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2001 Nov;104(5):387-90.

A lithium clinic for bipolar patients: 2-year outcome of the first 148 patients.

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Mood Disorders Research Unit, Aarhus University Psychiatric Hospital, Skovagervej 2, DK-8240 Risskov, Denmark.



This paper describes the outcome for the first 148 patients referred to a lithium clinic.


Two-year follow-up data from treatment charts are reported for all patients entering a lithium clinic in the study period.


Lithium was given as the only mood stabilizer in 132 (89.2%) of the cases. Thirty-two (21.6%) patients were readmitted with a new affective disorder episode. Twenty-nine (19.6%) patients discontinued treatment prematurely. Variables predicting the recurrence of new affective disorder episodes as well as premature discontinuation of treatment were identified.


The majority of bipolar patients received lithium for prophylaxis against recurrent affective disorder episodes. The outcome was moderate but comparable to the 30-40% improvement usually reported in follow-up studies of bipolar patients given long-term prophylactic treatment with lithium. Better long-term treatment results for bipolar patients depend on both the development of more effective mood stabilizing drugs or drug combinations and the improvement of patients' adherence to treatment.

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