Lithium is used in the management of mood changes between feeling very high (mania) and very low (depression) which is called bipolar disorder and repeated periods of depression.
It is also used to control aggressive and self-harming behaviour.
Take Lithium exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
This medicine should be taken with food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Lithium may be available as a conventional tablet or capsule, extended-release or slow-release tablet or oral liquid.
If you are using the conventional tablet or capsule, swallow it with a glass of water.
If you are using the extended-release tablet (usually marked as "CR", "XR" or "XL") or the slow-release tablet (usually marked as "SR") swallow it without chewing or crushing the tablet. Do not cut the tablet unless your doctor specifically told you to do so.
If you are using the oral liquid, use the dropper or measuring spoon given to accurately measure out your dose. It is important that you measure out the dose accurately.
Lithium must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue to take this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed otherwise, as stopping it suddenly could worsen your condition.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, inform your doctor or pharmacist.
Alert your doctor if you have the following:
- heart disease
- severe kidney disease
- severe dehydration
as Lithium may not be suitable for you.
Inform your doctor if you have thyroid problems or epilepsy (seizures or fits).
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Lithium to children below 12 years old.
Before you start treatment with Lithium, your doctor will conduct some simple blood or urine tests to ensure that your kidneys, heart and thyroid gland are working well.
For as long as you are taking Lithium, you may need to have regular blood tests to check your body's response to the medicine.Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these blood tests. Keep all appointments with your doctor. If you are going for an operation, including minor operations and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking Lithium.
What lifestyle changes should I make to cope with depression?
Regular exercise and eating a healthy diet will help increase energy and hormones in the body such as happy hormones that minimize mood swings. Get enough sleep, as lack of sleep may cause irritability, moodiness, sadness, and tiredness.
Lithium may cause dizziness or blurred vision. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activities in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects may include any of the following: headache, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, increased production of saliva, shaky or trembling hands, tiredness, poor concentration, poor memory, thirst, weight gain, rash, unpleasant taste, muscle weakness and passing urine frequently.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- NSAIDs (medicine for pain and inflammation) e.g. diclofenac, naproxen, indometacin, piroxicam, celecoxib
- medicines for high blood pressure or heart disease e.g. enalapril, captopril, losartan, candesartan,quinidine, amiodarone
- medicines for epilepsy (seizures or fits) e.g. carbamazepine, phenytoin
- other medicines for mood disorder e.g. thioridazine, fluphenazine
- antidepressants e.g.fluoxetine, flupenthixol
- diuretics (water pills) e.g. hydrochlorothiazide
- antibiotics e.g. doxycycline, erythromycin
- medicines for asthma e.g. theophylline
- medicine for migraine e.g. sumatriptan, eletriptan
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Lithium.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.