Patients with bipolar disorder treated with lithium did not present significantly different neurocognitive performances compared with controls, according to recent data. However, lithium-treated patients did present with impaired early visual information processing compared with healthy controls.
Researchers examined the patients’ overall function and verbal learning, recall and recognition in the multicenter, cross-sectional study from the International Group for the Study of Lithium-treated Patients.
They included patients with bipolar I or II, with a duration of illness ≥10 years, ≥5 episodes in the patient’s history and a euthymic mood state. The researchers compared those without long-term lithium treatment (n=31; <3 months cumulative treatment, ≥24 months ago); patients with long-term lithium treatment (n=58; ongoing treatment ≥ 24 months); and 53 healthy controls.
“Our data suggest that bipolar patients with a long illness history and effective prophylactic treatment do not show significantly impaired general cognitive functioning or verbal learning and memory, but that they do display worse early information processing. In the latter, the lithium-treated patients performed worst,” the researchers wrote.
Additional assessments are currently being conducted to follow-up with the long-term lithium treatment effects in this cohort of patients.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.