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Letters to the Editor
January 1998

Forty Years of Lithium Treatment—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Mailman Research Center, McLean Hospital, 115 Mill St, Belmont, MA 02178-9106
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1998;55(1):93. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.55.1.93

In reply

Pharmacodynamic stressors are probably associated with discontinuation of maintenance treatments with medicinal agents, especially with abrupt discontinuation. In agreement with Dr Moncrieff, such an iatrogenic factor may contribute to drug vs placebo differences in recurrence risks in experimental therapeutic trials involving lithium therapy for bipolar disorders. The concept of relapse risk after drug discontinuation has growing support, and considers the proposition that stopping treatment is not the same as not treating.1,2 This factor may confound interpretation of at least some of the difference in many controlled therapeutic trials that typically involve drug discontinuation.2

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