The effect of long-term lithium treatment on the mortality of patients with manic-depressive and schizoaffective illness

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1992 Sep;86(3):218-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.1992.tb03255.x.


Clinical research centers in Aarhus, Berlin, Hamilton and Vienna collected mortality data for 827 manic-depressive and schizoaffective patients given lithium treatment for more than 6 months. The average duration of the treatment was 81 months and the total time on lithium 5600 patient-years. For each patient, the mortality risk was calculated by entering the appropriate national life tables for the general population. The number of observed deaths was 44; the number of expected deaths was 49.7. The standardized mortality ratio, 0.89, did not differ significantly from 1.0. The mortality of manic-depressive patients is 2-3 times that of the general population. Our data show that the mortality of manic-depressive and schizoaffective patients given long-term lithium treatment does not differ significantly from that of the general population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy
  • Bipolar Disorder / mortality*
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Cause of Death
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Tables
  • Lithium / adverse effects
  • Lithium / therapeutic use*
  • Long-Term Care
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy
  • Psychotic Disorders / mortality*
  • Psychotic Disorders / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data


  • Lithium