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Lithium Carbonate (Lithium Carbonate) - Summary



Lithium toxicity is closely related to serum lithium levels, and can occur at doses close to therapeutic levels. Facilities for prompt and accurate serum lithium determinations should be available before initiating therapy. (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).



Lithium carbonate is a mood stabilizer.

Lithium is indicated in the treatment of manic episodes of Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder, Manic (DSM-III) is equivalent to Manic Depressive illness, Manic, in the older DSM-II terminology.

Lithium is also indicated as a maintenance treatment for individuals with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.

Maintenance therapy reduces the frequency of manic episodes and diminishes the intensity of those episodes which may occur.

Typical symptoms of mania include pressure of speech, motor hyperactivity, reduced need for sleep, flight of ideas, grandiosity, elation, poor judgment, aggressiveness, and possibly hostility. When given to a patient experiencing a manic episode, lithium may produce a normalization of symptomatology within 1 to 3 weeks.

See all Lithium Carbonate indications & dosage >>


Media Articles Related to Lithium Carbonate (Lithium)

Bipolar Disorder (Mania) Quiz: Test Your Emotional Wellness IQ
Source: MedicineNet Bipolar Disorder Specialty [2017.09.20]
Title: Bipolar Disorder (Mania) Quiz: Test Your Emotional Wellness IQ
Category: MedicineNet Quiz
Created: 9/18/2012 1:28:00 PM
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2017 12:33:06 PM

Mania vs. Hypomania
Source: MedicineNet Bipolar Disorder Specialty [2017.06.13]
Title: Mania vs. Hypomania
Category: Diseases and Conditions
Created: 6/13/2017 12:00:00 AM
Last Editorial Review: 6/13/2017 12:00:00 AM

more news >>

Published Studies Related to Lithium Carbonate (Lithium)

Lithium lacks effect on survival in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a phase IIb randomised sequential trial. [2012]
blind, sequential trial... CONCLUSIONS: This trial, designed to detect a modest effect of lithium, did not

Efficacy and safety of lithium carbonate treatment of chronic spinal cord injuries: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. [2011.11.22]
Study design:Lithium has attracted much attention as a neuroregenerative agent for spinal cord injury in animal models. We hypothesized that the lithium can be beneficial to patients with spinal cord injury... No severe adverse event was documented in the study.Conclusion:The lithium treatment did not change the neurological outcomes of patients with chronic spinal cord injury.

Dosing strategies for lithium monotherapy in children and adolescents with bipolar I disorder. [2011.06]
OBJECTIVE: The primary goal of this exploratory study was to obtain data that could lead to evidence-based dosing strategies for lithium in children and adolescents suffering from bipolar I disorder... CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of these results, a dosing strategy in which pediatric patients begin lithium at a dose of 300 mg thrice daily (with an additional 300 mg increase during the first week), followed by 300 mg weekly increases until a priori stopping criteria are met, will be used in an upcoming randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

Lithium carbonate pre-treatment in 131-I therapy of hyperthyroidism. [2011]
CONCLUSIONS: Lithium pre-treatment in hyperthyroid patients with low baseline uptake of radioiodine can increase iodine retention in the thyroid gland independently of the primary disease and permits the use of lower doses of radiation in the therapy.

Treatment of suicide attempters with bipolar disorder: a randomized clinical trial comparing lithium and valproate in the prevention of suicidal behavior. [2011]
CONCLUSIONS: Despite the high frequency of suicide events during the study, this

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Clinical Trials Related to Lithium Carbonate (Lithium)

Lithium Therapy: Understanding Mothers, Metabolism and Mood [Recruiting]
Lithium, the gold standard for treatment of Bipolar Disorder (BD) and a common augmentation to medication therapy for Major Depression, is commonly continued in pregnancy due to its therapeutic benefit and more recent data that suggests the teratogenic effects of lithium are less than historically believed. Due to the increased elimination of lithium during pregnancy, lithium concentration decreases in the blood and women with BD are vulnerable to BD episode recurrence in pregnancy. Uncontrolled symptoms of BD in pregnancy increase the risk for postpartum exacerbation of BD and psychosis. Our study will investigate the pharmacokinetics (PK) of lithium prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy, and postpartum. Twenty women taking lithium in pregnancy or planning to become pregnant and continue lithium will be invited to participate in a study to measure repeated blood levels of lithium at six time points between preconception and 3 months postpartum. The data collected will inform the dose, timing of dose, and frequency of dosing of lithium that will lead to fewer untoward effects for the mother and baby. Change in elimination clearance of lithium will be correlated with symptom worsening to develop a dosing algorithm that will help maintain wellness for pregnant women with mood disorders.

Safety and Efficacy Study of Lithium for the Treatment of Pediatric Mania. [Completed]
Study Design This is the second study of a multiphase, multicenter trial that will comprehensively examine lithium in the treatment of pediatric participants with bipolar I disorder. In order to examine the treatment of bipolar disorder with lithium, this study will include four phases of treatment. The first phase, the Efficacy Phase, will include participants being randomized to either lithium or placebo for 8 weeks to determine the efficacy of lithium in the treatment of children and adolescents with bipolar I disorder. Once participants complete the Efficacy Phase, participants may be eligible to continue in the Long- Term Effectiveness Phase for a maximum of 24 weeks of lithium treatment. Subsequently, participants meeting response criteria during the Long-Term Effectiveness Phase will be eligible to continue in the Discontinuation Phase. During the Discontinuation Phase, participants will be randomized to either placebo or lithium treatment for up to 28 weeks. Finally, those participants who experience a mood relapse during the Discontinuation Phase will be enrolled in an Open Label Restabilization Phase and treated with lithium for up to 8 weeks.

Disease-modifying Properties of Lithium in the Neurobiology of Alzheimer's Disease [Active, not recruiting]
Lithium salts have been used for the treatment of psychiatric disorders for over five decades, mostly as a mood-stabilizing drug. Recent evidence points to the inhibition of the enzyme glycogen synthase kinase-3beta (GSK3) as one of its mechanisms of action. The overactivity of this enzyme has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), given its involvement in mechanisms related to the hyperphosphorylation of Tau protein and the production of beta-amyloid peptide. These are key events leading respectively to the formation of neurofibrillary tangles and senile plaques, which are the neuropathological hallmarks of the disease. Several in vitro and animal studies have shown that the inhibition of GSK3 by lithium and other agents attenuates these pathological processes, reinforcing the notion that GSK3 is a likely target for future disease-modifying therapies for AD. Indeed, a recent study published by our group showed that chronic lithium use is associated with a decrement in the expected prevalence of dementia, in a sample of elderly individuals with bipolar disorder. To investigate this putative neuroprotective effect in a prospective way, the investigators started 24-month randomized, double-blinded controlled trial of lithium for the prevention of dementia in a sample of elderly individuals with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition associated with increased risk for the development of AD. The clinical and biological outcomes of this trial include the attenuation of cognitive deficits, and the modification of certain biological markers of the disease (as measured in the cerebrospinal fluid, leukocytes and platelets). The objective of the present application is to enable the extension of this ongoing trial to an additional 2-year follow-up. A longer follow-up (48 months) will increase the statistical power to ascertain the primary outcome variables of this study, particularly the con-version from MCI to Alzheimer's disease. This will warrant a more consistent conclusion about the potential of lithium treatment in the prevention of dementia, in addition to a better evaluation of safety and tolerability profiles of the long-term use of lithium in older individuals.

A Multi-Center Controlled Screening Trial of Safety and Efficacy of Lithium Carbonate in Subjects With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) [Active, not recruiting]
This is a Phase II screening study of lithium carbonate in ALS. The purpose of this study is to find out if lithium carbonate is safe to be used in people with ALS and if it can slow the progression of the disease. Since there is no placebo in this study, all patients will be taking lithium carbonate.

Lithium and Divalproex for the Treatment of Comorbid Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse Disorder [Completed]
This study will determine the efficacy and safety of combination therapy with divalproex and lithium for treating mania in people with rapid cycling bipolar disorder and a substance abuse disorder.

more trials >>

Reports of Suspected Lithium Carbonate (Lithium) Side Effects

Toxicity TO Various Agents (144)Tremor (76)Completed Suicide (75)Renal Failure Acute (49)Somnolence (40)Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (40)Insomnia (40)Vomiting (39)Nausea (38)Dizziness (34)more >>


Based on a total of 5 ratings/reviews, Lithium Carbonate has an overall score of 7.20. The effectiveness score is 7.20 and the side effect score is 6.40. The scores are on ten point scale: 10 - best, 1 - worst. Below are selected reviews: the highest, the median and the lowest rated.

Lithium Carbonate review by 32 year old female patient

Overall rating:  
Effectiveness:   Considerably Effective
Side effects:   Moderate Side Effects
Treatment Info
Condition / reason:   Mania
Dosage & duration:   900 mg per day taken once at night for the period of 10 years
Other conditions:   none
Other drugs taken:   Ortho tricyclen
Reported Results
Benefits:   prevented mania and panic experienced with mania
Side effects:   severe acne for first three years.
Comments:   After the initial three years, this drug has worked well for me ever since.


Lithium Carbonate review by 27 year old female patient

Overall rating:  
Effectiveness:   Moderately Effective
Side effects:   Severe Side Effects
Treatment Info
Condition / reason:   Bipolar
Dosage & duration:   1500mg taken once daily for the period of months
Other conditions:   Bulimia
Other drugs taken:   Toprimate 400mg, prevacid 60mg
Reported Results
Benefits:   I have found that I have been able to sleep better and my thoughts do not race like they did when I was not taking the lithium. It has not made me as tired or hungry as other meds have which was a welcome surprise. Still not able to focus as well as I had hoped. I work full-time and hold an aditional part-time job and was worried that I was not going to be able to continue with these prior to beginning with this treatment. I have been managing better since taking the lithium.
Side effects:   Blurry vision to the point where I now have to wear glasses. My skin has acne and I didn't have it before. I have to use a prescription to controle it. My acid reflux is terrible and i have to use a prevacid to control that. My skin is very dry and it has become so bad that if i don't moisturize it will bleed. Mild tremmor. Slight confusion and inability to concentrate sometimes. My hair falls out more than it used to. As my doctor says: it's a dirty drug. However, I'm not a zombie and I can sleep so I can learn to live with the above.
Comments:   I started at 150mg and slowly went up by 150mg every time the side effects calmed down. Usually when I stopped tasting the metallic taste in my mouth I would increase the dose. I've been on toprimate 400mg for one year. Therapy with my psychiatrist twice per week (sometimes once per week due to scheduling conflicts).


Lithium Carbonate review by 23 year old male patient

Overall rating:  
Effectiveness:   Marginally Effective
Side effects:   Moderate Side Effects
Treatment Info
Condition / reason:   bipolar disorder
Dosage & duration:   1200 MG taken 600 mg twice a day for the period of 1 year
Other conditions:   N/A
Other drugs taken:   N/A
Reported Results
Benefits:   I felt a bit calmer and had a little less mania, but it did not help much.
Side effects:   upset stomach, low appetite, metallic taste, tremor
Comments:   I was given lithium in order to calm my manic thoughts and depressive symptoms along with psychotherapy. I did not notice much improvement from lithium. It did come with unwanted side effects such as persistent tremor and upset stomach. I would like to try another medication.

See all Lithium Carbonate reviews / ratings >>

Page last updated: 2017-09-20

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