BACKGROUND: The exact recurrence rate of bipolar disorder in patients receiving lithium maintenance phase treatment and the modifiers associated with recurrence are still unknown. METHODS: We searched Embase, PubMed, and CENTRAL from inception until April 28, 2020. Outcomes included recurrence rate of any mood episode, depressive episodes, and manic/hypomanic/mixed episodes; all-cause discontinuation rate; and discontinuation rate due to adverse events. A random-effects model, single-group summary meta-analysis was conducted. A meta-regression analysis to examine whether the modifiers (total number of patients, %female, mean age, duration of study, duration of preliminary phase, publication year, bipolar disorder type, mood status at recruitment, presence of a placebo arm, sponsorship, enrichment design, number of treatment arms, and risk of bias for blinding or randomization) were associated with the event rate of the outcomes was also performed. RESULTS: We identified 21 randomized trials (n = 1,415; mean study duration, 78.40 ± 32.10 weeks; %female, 54.85%; mean age, 43.47 ± 4.88 years). The event rates (95% confidence interval [CI]) were as follows: recurrence of any mood episode, 39.8% (32.8%, 47.1%); depressive episodes, 25.6% (18.8%, 34.0%); manic/hypomanic/mixed episodes, 18.5% (13.7%, 24.7%); all-cause discontinuation rate, 67.0% (57.2%, 75.5%); and discontinuation rate due to adverse events, 8.7% (5.1%, 14.7%). After adjusting for multiple testing, our meta-regression analysis showed association only between the all-cause discontinuation rate and presence of a placebo arm. CONCLUSIONS: The recurrence rate of depressive episodes seemed to be higher than the recurrence rate of manic/hypomanic/mixed episodes. The all-cause discontinuation rate was high. However, the studies included in our meta-analysis were of short duration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pharmacology (medical)