Self-harm, unintentional injury in bipolar disorder for patients on lithium, other drugs

May 11, 2016

Taking lithium was associated with reduced rates of self-harm and unintentional injury in patients with bipolar disorder compared with other commonly prescribed maintenance treatments, according to an article published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Self-harm is a major cause of illness and injury in (BPD). Risk of unintentional injury has been understudied in BPD. There is evolving evidence that lithium may reduce suicidal behavior and there have been concerns that the use of anticonvulsants may increase self-harm. There is limited information about the effects of antipsychotics when used as mood stabilizer treatment.

Joseph F. Hayes, M.Sc., M.B.Ch.B., of University College London, England, and coauthors compared rates of self-harm, unintentional injury and suicide deaths in patients prescribed lithium, valproate sodium, olanzapine or quetiapine using a large database of in the United Kingdom.

The study of 6,671 individuals found lower rates of self-harm and unintentional injuries among those patients taking lithium compared with those prescribed valproate, olanzapine or quetiapine. The number of suicides was too low to show differences by individual drugs.

"Patients taking lithium had reduced and unintentional injury rates. This finding augments limited trial and smaller observational study results. It supports the hypothesis that use reduces impulsive aggression in addition to stabilizing mood," the study concludes.

Explore further: Lithium reduces risk of suicide in people with mood disorders

More information: JAMA Psychiatry. Published online May 11, 2016. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0432

Related Stories

Lithium reduces risk of suicide in people with mood disorders

June 28, 2013
The authors say the drug "seems to reduce the risk of death and suicide by more than 60% compared with placebo" and suggest this review "reinforces lithium as an effective agent to reduce the risk of suicide in people with ...

Brain structural effects of psychopharmacological treatment in bipolar disorder

February 16, 2016
Advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) acquisition and analyses over the last two decades have enabled the identification of neuroanatomical abnormalities in a range of mental disorders, however one question which has ...

Personalizing bipolar disorder treatment

April 22, 2015
Rapidly swinging from extremes of joy and energy to sadness, fatigue, and confusion, bipolar disorder (BD) patients feel desperate and largely alone in the world. And according to the National Institutes of Health, between ...

Bipolar patients' brain cells predict response to lithium

October 28, 2015
The brain cells of patients with bipolar disorder, characterized by severe swings between depression and elation, are more sensitive to stimuli than other people's brain cells, researchers have discovered.

Hospital self-harm cases have steadily risen among men in England since 2008

April 28, 2016
The number of hospital cases of self-inflicted harm, such as cutting and overdosing on prescription meds, has risen steadily since 2008 in England among men, reveals research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

The hunt for a successor to lithium for bipolar disorder

March 27, 2013
Toxicity problems and adverse side effects when taking lithium, the mainstay medication for treating bipolar disorder, are fostering a scientific hunt for insights into exactly how lithium works in the body—with an eye ...

Recommended for you

A walk at the mall or the park? New study shows, for moms and daughters, a walk in the park is best

November 17, 2017
Spending time together with family may help strengthen the family bond, but new research from the University of Illinois shows that specifically spending time outside in nature—even just a 20-minute walk—together can ...

When male voles drink alcohol, but their partner doesn't, their relationship suffers

November 17, 2017
A study of the effect of alcohol on long-term relationships finds that when a male prairie vole has access to alcohol, but his female partner doesn't, the relationship suffers - similar to what has been observed in human ...

Risk of distracted driving predicted by age, gender, personality and driving frequency

November 17, 2017
New research identifies age, gender, personality and how often people drive as potential risk factors for becoming distracted while driving. Young men, extroverted or neurotic people, and people who drive more often were ...

Spanking linked to increase in children's behavior problems

November 16, 2017
Children who have been spanked by their parents by age 5 show an increase in behavior problems at age 6 and age 8 relative to children who have never been spanked, according to new findings in Psychological Science, a journal ...

Generous people give in a heartbeat—new study

November 15, 2017
Altruistic people are said to be "kind hearted" - and new research published in the journal Scientific Reports shows that generous people really are more in touch with their own hearts.

Teenage depression linked to father's depression

November 15, 2017
Adolescents whose fathers have depressive symptoms are more likely to experience symptoms of depression themselves, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.