Melancholic features and response to lithium prophylaxis in mood disorders

Alessandro Serretti, Enrico Lattuada, Linda Franchini, Enrico Smeraldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clinical predictors of the efficacy of lithium prophylaxis in mood disorders have great potential value. Melancholic features during depressive phases have been both proposed and rejected as valid predictors of favorable outcome. The aim of the present study is to describe the validity of melancholic features during depressive phases as predictors of the prophylactic efficacy of lithium. Sixty-one subjects affected by bipolar (n = 51) and major depressive (n = 10) disorder were followed prospectively for an average of 53 months. All subjects were evaluated as a lifetime perspective at intake, by the Operational Criteria checklist for psychotic illness (OPCRIT). Melancholic features were correlated with outcome only when controlling for time of first lithium administration. These two variables accounted for more than 30% of the total variance in lithium response. Others clinical factors such as polarity, delusions, gender, onset, personality disorders, and family history of mood disorders did not influence the observed association. Our preliminary findings suggest that melancholic features may be associated with favorable lithium prophylactic outcome in mood disorders. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-79
Number of pages7
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Follow-up studies
  • Lithium
  • Risk factors
  • Treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology


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