We studied the possible association between the prophylactic efficacy of lithium in mood disorders and the following gene variants: catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) G158A, monoamine oxydase A (MAO-A) 30-bp repeat, G-protein β 3-subunit (Gβ3) C825T. A total of 201 subjects affected by bipolar (n = 160) and major depressive (n = 41) disorder were followed prospectively for an average of 59.8 months and were typed for their gene variants using PCR techniques. COMT, MAO-A, and Gβ3 variants were not associated with lithium outcome, even when possible stratification effects such as sex, polarity, age at onset, duration of lithium treatment, and previous episodes were included in the model. The pathways influenced by those variants are not therefore involved with long-term lithium outcome in our sample. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.