Lithium extends psychiatric patient's lifespan
Yesterday we bothered both our readers with a post about the potential life-prolonging effect of lithium, a mineral found in foods and drinking water. In addition, lithium is an active ingredient in psychopharmaceuticals that are intended to dampen extreme mood swings. Do patients who use lithium as medication live longer?
Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology attempted to answer this question by analyzing data collected by the British UK Biobank project, which had been following half a million participants for several years.
In the Biobank database, the researchers found roughly 2,000 participants with mood disorders who were taking medication in the database. This group included 276 patients who exclusively used lithium and 552 patients who were prescribed other medications.
The researchers were able to track the patients for a period of approximately 12 years.
Compared to the patients who were prescribed other medications, the mortality rate of those who used lithium was statistically significantly lower. However, it should be noted that the mortality rate of the patients was above the average mortality rate.
When the researchers attempted to identify all possible factors that could affect the risk of death among the patients, they found that lithium use was the strongest factor of all. The chance of survival for those who used lithium was a factor of 3.6 lower than for those who used other medications.
You may wonder what this difference means exactly. Does thist only say something about the positive health effects of lithium? Or does it perhaps also say something about the negative health effects of other psychotropic drugs?
Aging (Albany NY). 2023 Jan 11;15. doi: 10.18632/aging.204476. Online ahead of print.
Lithium in drinking water helps you live longer 17.04.2011