Rapid cycling bipolar affective disorder: Lack of relation to hypothyroidism

Robert M. Post, Keith G. Kramlinger, Russell T. Joffe, Peter P. Roy-Byrne, Ann Rosoff, Mark A. Frye, Teresa Huggins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Thyroid indices were measured after an extended period of medication- free evaluation averaging 6 weeks in 67 consecutively admitted patients with bipolar illness. Thyroid hormone levels - thyroxine (T4), free T4 and triiodothyronine (T3) - were not significantly different in the 31 rapid cyclers (≤ 4 affective episodes/year) than in 36 non-rapid cyclers. Analysis of covariance indicated a non-significant trend relation between higher T4 and a greater number of effective episodes in the year prior to admission and male gender when ago was covaried. Several previous reports, primarily in medicated subjects, have suggested a link between rapid cycling patients and decreased peripheral thyroid indices (low hormone levels and elevated TSH), but now the majority of studies do not support such a relation. Among those in the literature, this study includes patients studied for the longest time off medications and farther suggests that the commonly-cited relation between subclinical hypothyroidism and rapid cycling bipolar illness be reevaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 29 1997


  • Affective disorder
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lithium
  • Rapid cycling
  • Thyroxine
  • Triiodothyronine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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