New research suggests that those with bipolar I and a history of migraines should avoid taking lithium

by Laura Staloch
 October 29, 2022
(Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay)

(Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay)

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A new study in Brain and Behavior has unraveled the relationship between migraines, bipolar disorder, and patient outcomes. Nicole Sekula and colleagues conducted an 11-year longitudinal study demonstrating that those with bipolar disorder and migraines experienced worse symptoms of depression, mania, and a diminished quality of life on average. In addition, if those individuals were also prescribed lithium, their symptoms of mania were worse than those with migraines not taking lithium.

Approximately 30% of people with bipolar disorder also suffer from migraines, compared to around 17% of the general population. Prior research has found that those with migraines and bipolar disorder are more vulnerable to severe depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety disorders. In addition, researchers have found that those with bipolar disorder and migraines relapse more frequently if they take lithium for their bipolar diagnosis.