Lithium is used to treat the manic episodes of manic depression. Manic symptoms include hyperactivity, rushed speech, poor judgment, reduced need for sleep, aggression, and anger. Lithium also helps to prevent or lessen the intensity of manic episodes.
Dosage and direction
Take this medication by mouth, usually 3-4 daily or as directed by your doctor. Take lithium with or immediately after meals to lessen stomach upset. Drink 8 to 12 glasses (8 ounces or 240 milliliters each) of water or other fluid each day, and maintain a healthy diet with normal amounts of salt (sodium) as directed by your doctor or dietitian while taking this medication.
Before taking lithium, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. Before having surgery, tell your doctor or surgeon that you are using this medication.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or cause blurred vision. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness or clear vision until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
This drug is not recommended for use during pregnancy because of possible harm to an unborn baby (e.g., heart problems, other birth defects). Consult your doctor for more details.
Before taking lithium, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
a severe or debilitating medical condition; or
if you are dehydrated or have low levels of sodium in your blood (hyponatremia).
This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not use lithium without your doctor’s consent if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication.
Possible side effects
Drowsiness, tiredness, increased thirst, increased frequency of urination, weight gain, and mildly shaking hands (fine tremor) may occur. These should go away as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: fainting, vision changes (e.g., growing blind spot, vision loss), seizures, slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, joint swelling/pain, pain/discoloration of finger/toes, cold hands/feet.
Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.
This drug should not be used with the following medication because a very serious interaction may occur: sibutramine.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: acetazolamide, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, bulk-producing laxatives, calcitonin, calcium channel blockers, desmopressin, other drugs for mental/mood conditions, methyldopa, metronidazole, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-seizure drugs, SSRI antidepressants, theophylline, tricyclic antidepressants, “water pills” (diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide).
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless your next scheduled dose is within 4 hours. In that case, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, muscle weakness, tremor, lack of coordination, blurred vision, or ringing in your ears.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
We provide only general information about medications which does not cover all directions, possible drug integrations, or precautions. Information at the site cannot be used for self-treatment and self-diagnosis. The specific instructions for a particular patient should be agreed with your health care adviser or doctor in charge of the case. We disclaim reliability of this information and mistakes it could contain. We are not responsible for any direct, indirect, special or other indirect damage as a result of any use of the information on this site and also for consequences of self-treatment.