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Keywords:

  • bipolar disorder;
  • comorbidity;
  • eating disorders

Objectives:  To review the scientific evidence examining the comorbidity among eating disorders and bipolar disorder (BD).

Methods:  We reviewed all published English-language studies addressing the comorbidity of anorexia nervosa, bulimia, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder in patients with BD and studies of comorbidity of BD in patients with eating disorders. In addition, we discuss the pharmacologic treatment implications from reviewed studies of agents used in BD and eating disorders.

Results:  Community and clinical population studies of the lifetime prevalence rates of eating disorders in patients with BD, and of BD in patients with eating disorders, particularly when subthreshold and spectrum manifestations of these disorders are included, indicate high rates of comorbidity among these illnesses.

Conclusions:  Pharmacologic treatment approaches to patients with BD and a co-occurring eating disorder require examination of the possible adverse effects of the treatment of each syndrome on the other and attempts to manage both syndromes with agents that might be beneficial to both.