Background: Both ethnicity and lifestyle may contribute to these abnormalities. High prevalences of obesity and metabolic disturbances in patients with bipolar disorder (BD) have been reported in western countries. However, reports about the prevalences in Asian countries remain scant. Method: The cross-sectional study included 117 patients diagnosed as BD and treated with lithium (Li), valproate (VPA), or both at a university psychiatric outpatient clinic. Their body mass index and plasma levels of glucose and lipid were measured. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was determined based on the IDF 2005 criteria. Results: 13.7%, 36.8%, 53.0%, 18.6%, and 61.0% of the patients met the criteria for hyperglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), hypertension and large waist circumference, respectively. 33.9% of the patients met the IDF 2005 criterion for metabolic syndrome. The prevalence of metabolic abnormalities was significantly higher in patients who have been cotreated with second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs). Conclusion: This study provides evidence of high prevalence of metabolic syndrome in BD patients in Taiwan. Such metabolic disturbances can increase morbidity and mortality. Further studies that focus on the underlying mechanisms and effective intervention strategies are warranted.
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