Long-term lithium therapy (LTLT) has been associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD). We investigated changes in clinical characteristics, pharmacotherapeutic treatments for medical/psychiatric disorders, and outcomes among patients with bipolar disorder (BD) and CKD on LTLT in a 2-year mirror-image study design.
Adult BD patients on LTLT for ≥1 year who enrolled in the Mayo Clinic Bipolar Disorder Biobank and developed CKD (stage 3) were included, and our study was approved by the Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board. The primary outcome was the time to the first mood episode after CKD diagnosis among the lithium (Li) continuers and discontinuers. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the time to the first mood episode. We tested for differences in other medication changes between the Li continuers and discontinuers group using Mantel-Haenszel χ2 tests (linear associations).
Of 38 BD patients who developed CKD, 18 (47%) discontinued Li, and the remainder continued (n = 20). The median age of the cohort was 56 years (interquartile range [IQR], 48–67 years), 63.2% were female, and 97.4% were White. As compared with continuers, discontinuers had more psychotropic medication trials (6 [IQR, 4–6] vs 3 [IQR, 2–5], P = 0.02), a higher rate of 1 or more mood episodes (61% vs 10%, P = 0.002), and a higher risk of a mood episode after CKD diagnoses (Hazard Ratio, 8.38; 95% confidence interval, 1.85–38.0 [log-rank P = 0.001]].
Bipolar disorder patients on LTLT who discontinued Li had a higher risk for relapse and a shorter time to the first mood episode, suggesting a need for more thorough discussion before Li discontinuation after the CKD diagnosis.