Lithium In Psychiatry- the Benefits and Risks Associated with the Lithium Salts Treatment in Affective Disorders

ISSN: 2211-5579 (Online)
ISSN: 2211-5560 (Print)

Volume 3, 3 Issues, 2014

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Current Psychopharmacology

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Silvio Bellino
Centre for Personality Disorders, Unit of Psychitry 1, Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin

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Lithium In Psychiatry- the Benefits and Risks Associated with the Lithium Salts Treatment in Affective Disorders

Author(s): Joanna Iskra-Trifunović, Andrzej Jasiewicz, Anna Grzywacz, Mateusz Szymczak and Jerzy Samochowiec

Affiliation: Department of Psychiatry, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland.


Lithium treatment history reaches far back before it was thoroughly described in the literature that is now available to us. However, disorders that were initially treated with lithium salts were completely unrelated to psychiatry. Article "Lithium salts in the treatment of psychotic excitement" from 1949 written by John Cade is considered to be the introduction of lithium to modern psychiatric therapy and the beginning of modern clinical psychopharmacology.

Nowadays, in the treatment guidelines of bipolar disorders, lithium is recommended as first-line maintenance therapy. What is worth mentioning is that the number of indications is growing e.g. major depressive disorder. There were also performed a lot of meta-analyses focused on antisuicidal effect of lithium therapy.

In this paper, based on available and most recent literature, we presented the indications for the use of lithium such as mania, prevention of bipolar disorder, preventing the occurrence of depression episodes in major depressive disorder. It is worth noting that some studies indicate lithium as the only medicine with proven effect on mood stabilization. Interactions between lithium and other medicines were in details described. In this paper we also described and discuss possible side effects of the therapy with lithium e.g. renal failure, hypothyroidism and hyperparathyroidism, weight gain, teratogenicity.

Keywords: Bipolar disorder, depression, lithium, mania, meta-analysis, suicide

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Article Details

Volume: 3
First Page: 1
Last Page: 6
Page Count: 6
DOI: 10.2174/2211556003666140319231533

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