Treatments > Biological > Medication > Lithium

Lithium

  • Treats acute mania, prophylaxis in bipolar affective disorder

  • Narrow therapeutic range with need for plasma level monitoring

  • Excreted unchanged by kidney (follows sodium in reabsorption at proximal tubules)

  • Levels peak after 1-2 hours (take lithium level after 12)

  • Abrupt withdrawal may cause mood elevation

  • Teratogen

 

Side-effects of lithium:

- diuresis

- tremor

- weight gain

- metallic taste

- weakness/fatigue

- thyroid enlargement

- hypothyroidism

- nephrogenic diabetes insipidus

- ECG changes (elongated QRS, T wave flattening)

- chronic renal toxicity (rare)

 

Signs of toxicity: nausea, vomiting, coarse tremor, ataxia, muscle twitching, confusion, convulsions, coma

Copyright 2012 RevisePsych

Last updated March 2020

www.elu.sgul.ac.uk

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