First used to treat manic depression in 1871, and approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of this ailment in 1970, naturally occurring Lithium has been the primarily prescribed Bipolar medication for years because the clinically studied results of this product have repeatedly shown no other medication is as effective in controlling depression and long term mood stability or in decreasing anger.
Easily managed, and producing few side effects in most patients, although the exact way Lithium works remains unknown, most people require 900mg dosages to stay within the therapeutic range, and simple blood tests may help them avoid receiving too much of the drug, which can be potentially dangerous to the patient.
Because Lithium was proven to dissolve uric acid, linked to depression, it was first used in the nineteenth century to treat gout, and as a substitute for table salt, before being banned in 1949. Lithium then began being used in medicine as a tranquilizer and with antipsychotic drugs to treat bipolar disorders, cluster and hypnic headaches, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Patients who suffer from kidney problems or psoriasis should not take Lithium as it may worsen these conditions. Other potential side effects of the drug, whether prescribed for depression or not, may include such things as dry mouth, nausea, hand tremors, weight gain, edema, slurred speech, confusion, kidney damage, interactions with other medications, notably ibuprofen, decreased thyroid failure, birth defects in unborn babies, increased fluid intakes, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus of the small kidney tubes, hypothyroidism, downbeat nystagmus, involuntary eye movements, Ebstein’s Anomoly, a congenital heart defect, and the rapid return of the symptoms Lithium was prescribed for may occur with sudden stopping from taking this drug.
Similar to sodium and potassium Lithium interfers with the production and uptake of chemical neurotransmitters, and the tryptophan amino acids and serotonin in the brain, and increases the white blood cell production in bone marrow. Diuretics mixed with Lithium may lower or increase blood concentrations of the drug, or have no affects on them at all, so they should be used cautiously with Lithium patients.
This Article was compiled from several websites that provide much more information about Lithium including: