Slower treatment response in bipolar depression predicted by lower pretreatment thyroid function.
ABSTRACT Because treatment of the depressed phase of bipolar disorder is a clinical challenge and hypothyroidism is known to be associated with depression, the authors examined the relationship between pretreatment thyroid values and response to antidepressant treatment. It was hypothesized that subjects with lower thyroid function, even within the normal range, would have a poorer response to initial treatment.
The subjects were 65 patients in the depressed phase of bipolar I disorder who were enrolled in a larger ongoing study. A panel of thyroid measures, including thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroxine, triiodothyronine resin uptake, and free thyroxine index (FTI), were determined before initiation of algorithm-guided treatment. The effect of each thyroid measurement on time to remission was estimated by using the Cox proportional hazards model.
Both lower values of FTI and higher values of TSH were significantly associated with longer times to remission, i.e., slower response to treatment. Outcomes were relatively poor unless patients had FTI values above the median and TSH values below the median. Patients with this optimal profile experienced remission 4 months faster than the remainder of the study group.
This study provides further evidence that patients with bipolar disorder are particularly sensitive to variations in thyroid function within the normal range. Our results suggest that nearly three-quarters of patients with bipolar disorder have a thyroid profile that may be suboptimal for antidepressant response. It remains to be seen whether pharmacological enhancement of thyroid function will facilitate recovery from bipolar depression.
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ABSTRACT: From a neurobiological perspective there is no such thing as bipolar disorder. Rather, it is almost certainly the case that many somewhat similar, but subtly different, pathological conditions produce a disease state that we currently diagnose as bipolarity. This heterogeneity - reflected in the lack of synergy between our current diagnostic schema and our rapidly advancing scientific understanding of the condition - limits attempts to articulate an integrated perspective on bipolar disorder. However, despite these challenges, scientific findings in recent years are beginning to offer a provisional "unified field theory" of the disease. This theory sees bipolar disorder as a suite of related neurodevelopmental conditions with interconnected functional abnormalities that often appear early in life and worsen over time. In addition to accelerated loss of volume in brain areas known to be essential for mood regulation and cognitive function, consistent findings have emerged at a cellular level, providing evidence that bipolar disorder is reliably associated with dysregulation of glial-neuronal interactions. Among these glial elements are microglia - the brain's primary immune elements, which appear to be overactive in the context of bipolarity. Multiple studies now indicate that inflammation is also increased in the periphery of the body in both the depressive and manic phases of the illness, with at least some return to normality in the euthymic state. These findings are consistent with changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which are known to drive inflammatory activation. In summary, the very fact that no single gene, pathway, or brain abnormality is likely to ever account for the condition is itself an extremely important first step in better articulating an integrated perspective on both its ontological status and pathogenesis. Whether this perspective will translate into the discovery of innumerable more homogeneous forms of bipolarity is one of the great questions facing the field and one that is likely to have profound treatment implications, given that fact that such a discovery would greatly increase our ability to individualize - and by extension, enhance - treatment.Frontiers in Psychiatry 08/2014; 5:98. DOI:10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00098
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ABSTRACT: High dose thyroid hormone has been in use since the 1930s for the treatment of affective disorders. Despite numerous papers showing benefit, the lack of negative trials and its inclusion in multiple treatment guidelines, high dose thyroid has yet to find wide spread use. The major objection to the use of high dose thyroid is the myth that it causes osteoporosis. This paper reviews the literature surrounding the use of high dose thyroid, both in endocrinology and in psychiatry. High dose thyroid does not appear to be a significant risk factor for osteoporosis while other widely employed psychiatric medications do pose a risk. Psychiatrists are uniquely qualified to do the risk-benefit analyses of high dose thyroid for the treatment of the bipolar I, bipolar II and bipolar NOS. Other specialties do not have the requisite knowledge of the risks of alterative medications or of the mortality and morbidity of the bipolar disorders to do a full risk benefit analysis.Journal of Affective Disorders 05/2014; 166C:353-358. DOI:10.1016/j.jad.2014.04.022 · 3.71 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to investigate differences in thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level in patients with acute schizophrenia, unipolar depression, bipolar depression and bipolar mania. Serum level of TSH was measured in 1,685 Caucasian patients (1,064 women, 63.1 %; mean age 46.4). Mean serum TSH concentration was: schizophrenia (n = 769) 1.71 μIU/mL, unipolar depression (n = 651) 1.63 μIU/mL, bipolar disorder (n = 264) 1.86 μIU/mL, bipolar depression (n = 203) 2.00 μIU/mL, bipolar mania (n = 61) 1.38 μIU/mL (H = 11.58, p = 0.009). Depending on the normal range used, the overall rate of being above or below the normal range was 7.9-22.3 % for schizophrenia, 13.9-26.0 % for unipolar depression, 10.8-27.6 % for bipolar disorder, 12.2-28.5 % for bipolar depression, and 11.4-24.5 % for bipolar mania. We have also found differences in TSH levels between the age groups (≤20, >20 years and ≤40, >40 years and ≤60 years and >60 years). TSH level was negatively correlated with age (r = - 0.23, p < 0.001). Weak correlations with age have been found in the schizophrenia (r = - 0.21, p < 0.001), unipolar depression (r = - 0.23, p < 0.001), bipolar depression (r = - 0.25, p = 0.002) and bipolar disorder (r = - 0.21, p = 0.005) groups. Our results confirm that there may be a higher prevalence of thyroid dysfunctions in patients with mood disorders (both unipolar and bipolar) and that these two diagnostic groups differ in terms of direction and frequency of thyroid dysfunctions.Neurochemical Research 04/2014; 39(7). DOI:10.1007/s11064-014-1305-3 · 2.55 Impact Factor