• acute-phase treatment;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • correlate;
  • follow up;
  • metabolic syndrome

Aims:  To evaluate the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and its correlates in patients with bipolar disorder (BD) during acute-phase treatment in southern China.

Methods:  This study included 148 BD patients presenting with acute mood symptoms and 65 healthy controls at entry. Sociodemographic characteristics were noted for all participants. For patients, lifestyle information (alcohol, smoking, and exercise habits) and clinical characteristics were also collected. Patients were followed up for 6 months after the commencement of pharmacological treatment. Using the Chinese Medical Association Diabetes Branch criteria, MetS prevalence rates were calculated at entry and recalculated for patients at months 1, 3, and 6.

Results:  At baseline, MetS was presented in 11.5% of the patients; overweight, 34.5%; low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 15.5%; hypertriglyceridemia, 29.1%; hypertension, 14.9%; and hyperglycemia, 5.4%. Compared with controls, the patients had a significantly higher prevalence of MetS and all its components except for hyperglycemia (P < 0.05). In the regression analysis, history of hypertension, presence of diabetes, and alcohol drinking were associated with MetS. During the follow-up period, rates of MetS and overweight increased gradually and stably, hypertriglyceridemia and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol increased significantly in the first month and then remained stable, and hypertension and hyperglycemia remained stable all the time.

Conclusions:  These data show that MetS is highly prevalent in Chinese BD patients. Weight gain and dyslipidemia result from a short period of treatment. Early interventions for weight gain and dyslipidemia are warranted.