Lithium versus anticonvulsants and the risk of physical disorders - Results from a comprehensive long-term nation-wide population-based study emulating a target trial

Lars Vedel Kessing, Mark Bech Knudsen, Helene Charlotte Wiese Rytgaard, Christian Torp-Pedersen, Michael Berk

Abstract

Bipolar disorder is associated with increased rates of many physical disorders, but the effects of medication are unclear. We systematically investigated the associations between sustained use of first line maintenance agents, lithium versus lamotrigine and valproate, and the risk of physical disorders using a nation-wide population-based target trial emulation covering the entire 5.9 million inhabitants in Denmark. We identified two cohorts. Cohort 1: patients with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder prior to first purchase (N = 12.607). Cohort 2: all 156.678 adult patients who had their first ever purchase (since 1995) of either lithium, lamotrigine or valproate between 1997 and 2021 regardless of diagnosis. Main analyses investigated the effect of sustained exposure defined as exposure for all consecutive 6-months periods during a 10-year follow-up. Outcomes included a diagnosis of incident stroke, arteriosclerosis, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, diabetes mellitus, myxedema, osteoporosis, dementia, Parkinson's disease, chronic kidney disease and cancer (including subtypes). In both Cohorts 1 and 2, there were no systematic statistically significant differences in associations between sustained use of lithium versus lamotrigine and valproate, respectively, and any physical disorder, including subtypes of disorders, except myxedema, for which exposure to lithium increased the absolute risk of myxedema with 7-10 % compared with lamotrigine or valproate. In conclusion, these analyses emulating a target trial of "real world" observational register-based data show that lithium does not increase the risk of developing any kind of physical disorders, except myxedema, which may be a result of detection bias.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEuropean neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Vol/bind84
Sider (fra-til)48-56
Antal sider9
ISSN0924-977X
DOI
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 24 apr. 2024

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