Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lithium reduces risk of suicide in people with mood disorders, review finds

Date:
June 27, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
The drug lithium is an effective treatment for reducing the risk of suicide and possibly deliberate self harm in people with mood disorders, an evidence review finds.

The drug lithium is an effective treatment for reducing the risk of suicide and possibly deliberate self harm in people with mood disorders, finds an evidence review published today on bmj.com.

Related Articles


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 mood disorders."

Mood disorders are a leading cause of global disability. The two main types are unipolar disorder (often called clinical depression) and bipolar disorder (often called manic depression). Both are serious, long term conditions involving extreme mood swings, but people with bipolar depression also experience episodes of mania or hypomania.

People with a mood disorder have a 30 times greater risk of suicide than the general population. Treatment with mood stabilising drugs like lithium, anticonvulsants or antipsychotics can help keep mood within normal limits, but their role in suicide prevention is still uncertain.

So a team of researchers from the universities of Oxford, UK and Verona, Italy set out to assess whether lithium has a specific preventive effect for suicide and self harm in people with unipolar and bipolar mood disorders.

They reviewed and analysed the results of 48 randomised controlled trials involving 6,674 participants. The trials compared lithium with either placebo or active drugs in long term treatment for mood disorders.

Lithium was more effective than placebo in reducing the number of suicides and deaths from any cause, but no clear benefits were seen for lithium compared with placebo in preventing deliberate self harm.

When lithium was compared with each active individual treatment, a statistically significant difference was found only with carbamazepine for deliberate self harm. Overall, lithium tended to be generally better than the other active treatments, with small statistical variation between the results.

"This updated systematic review reinforces lithium as an effective agent to reduce the risk of suicide in people with mood disorders," say the authors.

They suggest that lithium may exert its anti-suicidal effects "by reducing relapse of mood disorder," but add "there is some evidence that lithium decreases aggression and possibly impulsivity, which might be another mechanism mediating the anti-suicidal effect."

They acknowledge that lithium has several side effects, but say clinicians "need to take a balanced view of the likely benefits and harm of lithium in the individual patient." And they conclude: "Understanding the mechanism by which lithium acts to decrease suicidal behaviour could lead to a better understanding of the neurobiology of suicide."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Cipriani, K. Hawton, S. Stockton, J. R. Geddes. Lithium in the prevention of suicide in mood disorders: updated systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ, 2013; 346 (jun27 4): f3646 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.f3646

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Lithium reduces risk of suicide in people with mood disorders, review finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130627190655.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, June 27). Lithium reduces risk of suicide in people with mood disorders, review finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130627190655.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Lithium reduces risk of suicide in people with mood disorders, review finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130627190655.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Scientists in Austria have been able to fit patients who&apos;ve lost the use of a hand with bionic prostheses the patients control with their minds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins