The duration of lithium use and biological ageing: telomere length, frailty, metabolomic age and all-cause mortality

Julian Mutz*, Win Lee Edwin Wong, Timothy Powell, Allan Young, Gavin S. Dawe, Cathryn Lewis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Lithium is an established first-line treatment for bipolar disorder. Beyond its therapeutic effect as a mood stabiliser, lithium exhibits potential anti-ageing effects. This study aimed to examine the relationship between the duration of lithium use, biological ageing and mortality. The UK Biobank is an observational study of middle-aged and older adults. We tested associations between the duration of lithium use (number of prescriptions, total duration of use and duration of the first prescription period) and telomere length, frailty, metabolomic age (MileAge) delta, pulse rate and all-cause mortality. Five hundred ninety-one individuals (mean age = 57.49 years; 55% females) had been prescribed lithium. There was no evidence that the number of prescriptions (β = − 0.022, 95% CI − 0.081 to 0.037, p = 0.47), the total duration of use (β = − 0.005, 95% CI − 0.023 to 0.013, p = 0.57) or the duration of the first prescription period (β = − 0.018, 95% CI − 0.051 to 0.015, p = 0.29) correlated with telomere length. There was also no evidence that the duration of lithium use correlated with frailty or MileAge delta. However, a higher prescription count and a longer duration of use was associated with a lower pulse rate. The duration of lithium use did not predict all-cause mortality. We observed no evidence of associations between the duration of lithium use and biological ageing markers, including telomere length. Our findings suggest that the potential anti-ageing effects of lithium do not differ by the duration of use.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeroScience
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2024

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