Lithium treatment moderate-dose use study (LiTMUS) for bipolar disorder: A randomized comparative effectiveness trial of optimized personalized treatment with and without lithium


Journal Article

Objective: Lithium salts, once the mainstay of therapy for bipolar disorder, have tolerability issues at a higher dosage that often limit adherence. The authors investigated the comparative effectiveness of more tolerable dosages of lithium as part of optimized personalized treatment (OPT). Method: The authors randomly assigned 283 bipolar disorder outpatients to 6 months of open, flexible, moderate dosages of lithium plus OPT or to 6 months of OPT alone. The primary outcome measures were the Clinical Global Impression Scale for Bipolar Disorder - Severity (CGI-BP-S) and "necessary clinical adjustments" (medication adjustments per month). Secondary outcome measures included mood symptoms and functioning. The authors also assessed sustained remission (defined as a CGI-BPS score ≤2 for 2 months) and treatment with second-generation antipsychotics. The authors hypothesized that lithium plus OPT would result in greater clinical improvement and fewer necessary clinical adjustments. Results: The authors observed no statistically significant advantage of lithium plus OPT on CGI-BP-S scores, necessary clinical adjustments, or proportion with sustained remission. Both groups had similar outcomes across secondary clinical and functional measures. Fewer patients in the lithium-plus-OPT group received secondgeneration antipsychotics compared with the OPT-only group (48.3% and 62.5%, respectively). Conclusions: In this pragmatic comparative effectiveness study, a moderate but tolerated dosage of lithiumplus OPT conferred no symptomatic advantagewhen compared with OPT alone, but the lithium-plus-OPT group had less exposure to second-generation antipsychotics. Only about onequarter of patients in both groups achieved sustained remission of symptoms. These findings highlight the persistent and chronic nature of bipolar disorder as well as the magnitude of unmet needs in its treatment.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Nierenberg, AA; Friedman, ES; Bowden, CL; Sylvia, LG; Thase, ME; Ketter, T; Ostacher, MJ; Leon, AC; Reilly-Harrington, N; Iosifescu, DV; Pencina, M; Severe, JB; Calabrese, JR

Published Date

  • January 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 170 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 102 - 110

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1535-7228

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-953X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12060751

Citation Source

  • Scopus