What is lithium?
Lithium affects the flow of sodium through nerve and muscle cells in the body. Sodium affects excitation or mania.
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.
Lithium may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about lithium?
Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are pregnant. It could cause harm to the unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
Call your doctor at once if you have any early signs of lithium toxicity, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, muscle weakness, tremor, lack of coordination, blurred vision, or ringing in your ears.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow the pill whole.
Drink extra fluids to keep from getting dehydrated while you are taking lithium. Tell your doctor if you have been sweating excessively, or if you are sick with fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.
Lithium can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking lithium?
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to lithium.
Before taking lithium, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take lithium.
FDA pregnancy category D. 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.
Lithium can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this medication.
Do not give lithium to a child younger than 12 years old.