Going up in smoke: tobacco smoking is associated with worse treatment outcomes in mania. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study aimed to compare the treatment responses between smokers and non-smokers in bipolar mania clinical trials.Post-hoc analysis was conducted on data collected from three double-blind, randomised controlled trials in bipolar mania that had similar inclusion criteria. Patients were randomised to olanzapine (N=70) or placebo (N=69) for 3 weeks in Trial 1, olanzapine (N=234) or haloperidol (N=216) for 12 weeks in Trial 2, and olanzapine (N=125) or divalproex (N=126) for 47 weeks in Trial 3. This study analysed the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) total scores and Clinical Global Impressions scale for bipolar disorder (CGI-BP) mania severity scores between smokers and non-smokers for each trial and for the pooled data from all three trials, using a mixed-effects model repeated measures approach.For the pooled data, non-smokers showed superior treatment outcomes on both the YMRS (P=0.002) and CGI-BP (P<0.001), as well as longer time to discontinuation for any cause utilising Kaplan-Meier survival curves. For the individual trials, non-smokers showed greater improvement than smokers on both CGI-BP and YMRS in both treatment arms of Trial 2 (CGI-BP: haloperidol P=0.011, olanzapine P=0.042; YMRS: haloperidol P=0.010, olanzapine P=0.019), and in the olanzapine arm of Trial 3 (CGI-BP: P=0.002; YMRS: P=0.006). No significant difference in outcomes was found between smokers and non-smokers in Trial 1.Post-hoc design, categorical definition of smoking status, unavailable antipsychotic drug levels, confounding effects of trial medications and substance abuse.Smoking appears to be associated with worse treatment outcomes in mania.

publication date

  • September 2008