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Lithium Safe, Effective for Bipolar I Disorder in Children

The drug is well-tolerated in pediatric patients, reduces manic symptoms

pill with cup of water

TUESDAY, Oct. 13, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Lithium safely and effectively reduces manic symptoms in pediatric patients treated for bipolar I disorder (BP-I), according to a study published online Oct. 12 in Pediatrics.

Robert L. Findling, M.D., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues randomized pediatric patients (aged 7 to 17 years) with BP-I/manic or mixed episodes to lithium (53 patients) or placebo (28 patients) for up to eight weeks.

The researchers found that the change in the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) score was significantly larger in lithium-treated participants even after adjustment for baseline YMRS score, age group, weight group, gender, and study site. For the very much/much improved, the overall Clinical Global Impression-Improvement scores favored lithium (47 percent) compared with placebo (21 percent) at week eight. Those taking lithium showed a statistically significant increase in thyrotropin concentration compared with those taking placebo. The groups did not significantly differ in weight gain.

"Lithium was superior to placebo in reducing manic symptoms in pediatric patients treated for BP-I in this clinical trial," conclude the authors.

Several authors report financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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