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Medical burden, body mass index and the outcome of psychosocial interventions for bipolar depression

journal contribution
posted on 2016-07-01, 00:00 authored by A T Peters, L W Shesler, L Sylvia, P V Da Silva Magalhaes, D J Miklowitz, M W Otto, E Frank, Michael BerkMichael Berk, D D Dougherty, A A Nierenberg, T Deckersbach
Objective: Individuals with bipolar disorder experience a disproportionately high incidence of medical co-morbidity and obesity. These health-related problems are a barrier to recovery from mood episodes and have been linked with unfavorable responses to pharmacological treatment. However, little is known about whether and how these characteristics affect responses to adjunctive psychotherapy. Method: Embedded in the Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder was a randomized controlled trial of psychotherapy for bipolar depression comparing the efficacy of intensive psychotherapy plus pharmacotherapy with collaborative care (a three-session psycho-educational intervention) plus pharmacotherapy. We conducted a post-hoc analysis to evaluate whether medical burden and body mass index predicted and/or moderated the likelihood of recovery and time until recovery from a depressive episode among patients in the two treatments. Results: Participants who had medical co-morbidity and body mass index data constituted 199 of the 293 patients in the original Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder trial. Higher medical burden predicted a lower likelihood of recovery from depression in both treatment conditions (odds ratio = 0.89), but did not moderate responses to intensive psychotherapy vs collaborative care. Intensive psychotherapy yielded superior recovery rates for individuals of normal body mass index (odds ratio= 2.39) compared with collaborative care, but not among individuals who were overweight or obese. Conclusion: Medical co-morbidity and body weight impacts symptom improvement and attention to this co-morbidity may inform the development of more personalized treatments for bipolar disorder.



Australian and New Zealand journal of psychiatry






667 - 677




London, Eng.







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists