Lithium Drug Counselling

benryan95's version from 2016-10-11 14:35


Question Answer
When is Lithium used?Most effective long term medication for bipolar disorder. Also used to prevent and treat mania, hypomania and bipolar depression.
What is the action of Lithium?Mood stabiliser. Exact mechanism unknown. Thought to enter the cells and interfere with neurotransmitter release and second messenger systems.
How it's takenTablet, capsule or syrup, often once/twice a day. Commonly once at night.
How long is it taken for?Lifelong if it works, with regular reviews by a psychiatrist
How long before effects?1-2 weeks for effects, but 6-12 months for full preventative effect
Important side effectsUpset GI, mild fine tremor, dry mouth/metallic taste in mouth, tiredness, drinking and urinating more, weight gain + oedema
Lithium toxicity symptomsGI (anorexia, diarrhoea, vomiting), Neuromuscular (dysarthria - speech, dizziness, ataxia, muscle twitching), drowsiness, apathy, restlessness
ComplicationsIt not working, Renal toxicity, risk of relapse if stopped, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, hypothyroidism
Contraindications1st trimester pregnancy (risk of cardiac malformation), breast feeding, cardiac disease, renal impairment, Addison's disease, low sodium diets, untreated hypothyroidism
MonitoringLithium conc taken 12 hours after any dose change. Before starting therapy FBC, U&Es, TFTs, beta-HCG, ECG
Other informationManage fluid and salt intake. Always carry lithium card with you.

Recent badges