Medical burden in bipolar disorder: findings from the Clinical and Health Outcomes Initiative in Comparative Effectiveness for Bipolar Disorder study (Bipolar CHOICE). Academic Article uri icon


  • Individuals with bipolar disorder have high rates of other medical comorbidity, which is associated with higher mortality rates and worse course of illness. The present study examined common predictors of medical comorbidity.The Clinical and Health Outcomes Initiative in Comparative Effectiveness for Bipolar Disorder study (Bipolar CHOICE) enrolled 482 participants with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder in a six-month, randomized comparative effectiveness trial. Baseline assessments included current and lifetime DSM-IV-TR diagnoses, demographic information, psychiatric and medical history, severity of psychiatric symptoms, level of functioning, and a fasting blood draw. Medical comorbidities were categorized into two groups: cardiometabolic (e.g., diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and metabolic syndrome) and non-cardiovascular (e.g., seizures, asthma, and cancer). Additionally, we looked at comorbid substance use (e.g., smoking and drug dependence).We found that 96.3% of participants had at least one other medical comorbidity. Older age predicted a greater likelihood of having a cardiometabolic condition. Early age of onset of bipolar symptoms was associated with a lower chance of having a cardiometabolic condition, but a greater chance of having other types of medical comorbidity. Additional predictors of other medical comorbidities in bipolar disorder included more time spent depressed, less time spent manic/hypomanic, and longer duration of illness. Medications associated with weight gain were associated with low high-density lipoprotein and abnormal triglycerides.There appears to be a substantial medical burden associated with bipolar disorder, highlighting the need for collaborative care among psychiatric and general medical providers to address both psychiatric and other medical needs concomitantly in this group of patients.© 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

publication date

  • March 2015