Predicting serum levels of lithium-treated patients: A supervised machine learning approach

Chih Wei Hsu, Shang Ying Tsai, Liang Jen Wang, Chih Sung Liang, Andre F. Carvalho, Marco Solmi, Eduard Vieta, Pao Yen Lin, Chien An Hu, Hung Yu Kao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Routine monitoring of lithium levels is common clinical practice. This is because the lithium prediction strategies available developed by previous studies are still limited due to insufficient prediction performance. Thus, we used machine learning approaches to predict lithium concentration in a large real-world dataset. Real-world data from multicenter electronic medical ecords were used in different machine learning algorithms to predict: (1) whether the serum level was 0.6–1.2 mmol/L or 0.0–0.6 mmol/L (binary prediction), and (2) its concentration value (continuous prediction). We developed models from 1505 samples through 5-fold cross-validation and used 204 independent samples to test their performance by evaluating their accuracy. Moreover, we ranked the most important clinical features in different models and reconstructed three reduced models with fewer clinical features. For binary and continuous predictions, the average accuracy of these models was 0.70–0.73 and 0.68–0.75, respectively. Seven features were listed as important features related to serum lithium levels of 0.6–1.2 mmol/L or higher lithium concentration, namely older age, lower systolic blood pressure, higher daily and last doses of lithium prescription, concomitant psychotropic drugs with valproic acid and -pine drugs, and comorbid substance-related disorders. After reducing the features in the three new predictive models, the binary or continuous models still had an average accuracy of 0.67–0.74. Machine learning processes complex clinical data and provides a potential tool for predicting lithium concentration. This may help in clinical decision-making and reduce the frequency of serum level monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1558
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Lithium
  • Machine learning
  • Random forest
  • Support vector machine
  • Therapeutic drug monitoring
  • XGBoost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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