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09-12-2010 | Mental health | Article

Bipolar patients at increased risk for gout


Free abstract

MedWire News: Individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) are at greater risk for developing gout than those without the mood disorder, research shows.

"Metabolic abnormalities are more prevalent in patients with BD than the general populations of both Western and Eastern countries," write Herng-Ching Lin (Taipei Medical University, Taiwan) and colleagues in the journal Psychiatry Research.

They add that uric acid is the final product of purine nucleotides metabolism, and previous studies have suggested that BD and gout may share similar pathophysiological mechanisms, but "no study, according to our knowledge, has attempted to explore the association between bipolar disorder and the risk of gout."

The researchers therefore studied data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database on 24,262 patients with BD who received treatment at outpatient departments in Taiwan in 2000, and 121,310 age- and gender-matched individuals without the mood disorder (controls).

Only BD patients with a first episode, or those who had been in full remission for at least 4 years in 2000 were included in the analysis to avoid the potential confounding factors of institutionalization and chronicity.

During a follow-up period of 6 years, 16.4% of BD patients developed gout compared with 13.6% of controls.

After accounting for factors such as age, gender, monthly income, and geographical region, and the presence of the metabolic syndrome, ischemic heart disease, renal disease, and alcohol or substance dependence, the researchers found that patients with BD were 1.19 times more likely to develop gout during follow up than controls.

Lin and team conclude: "This study finds increased risk of developing gout among patients with BD, even controlling for demographic characteristics, comorbid medical disorders, and substance or alcohol dependence."

They add: "The results of this study should alert clinicians to assess and monitor the presence of metabolic abnormalities including hyperuricemia and gout in bipolar patients."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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