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    Lithium carbonate

    Information about Lithium carbonate

    Lithium carbonate uses

    Lithium carbonate is used for mania and bipolar disoder.

    How lithium carbonate works

    Lithium carbonate works by suppressing the abnormal and excessive activity of the nerve cells in the brain.

    Common side effects of lithium carbonate

    Tremor, Slurred speech, Uncoordinated body movements, Nausea, Acne, Increased white blood cell count, Memory impairment, Hair loss, Goiter, Skin rash, Increased thirst, Weight gain, Polyuria, Diarrhea
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Swati Mishra
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Varun Gupta
    MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
    Last updated on:
    27 Dec 2019 | 01:08 PM (IST)
    Want to know more?
    Read Our Editorial Policy

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    Expert advice for Lithium carbonate

    • Lithium carbonate is one of the most effective long-term treatment for bipolar disorder.
    • It may also be used for the treatment of mania.
    • Your lithium blood levels, thyroid function, and kidney function may be monitored as long as you take this medicine.
    • It may cause diarrhea and dehydration. Drink plenty of water and and use normal amounts of salt. Inform your doctor if you start or stop a low-salt diet.
    • Monitor your weight during treatment as Lithium carbonate can cause weight gain.
    • Do not drive or do anything that requires mental focus until you know how it affects you.
    • Inform your doctor if you have persistent stomach upset, problems with your speech, or extreme drowsiness. Your dose may need to be adjusted.
    • Do not take Lithium carbonate if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
    • Do not stop taking the medication suddenly without talking to your doctor.

    Frequently asked questions for Lithium carbonate

    Lithium carbonate

    Q. How quickly does Lithium carbonate work?

    It takes some time before you see improvement in your symptoms after taking Lithium carbonate. Though it varies from person to person, it may take 1-3 weeks or longer for you to see the full benefits of Lithium carbonate. Do not stop taking Lithium carbonate if you feel you are not improving. Instead, discuss it with your doctor.

    Q. Does Lithium carbonate make you sleepy?

    Yes, Lithium carbonate can cause nervous system disorders like sleepiness and dizziness and feeling confused. It can also cause rapid eye movements, blurred vision, or blind spots in your eyesight. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor. In addition, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery as it can be hazardous for you.

    Q. Is Lithium carbonate bad for kidneys?

    Yes, Lithium carbonate may cause kidney problems. Lithium carbonate is not prescribed in patients who already have severe kidney impairment. The kidney problems may not be reversible and the symptoms include swollen ankles, passing a lot of urine and feeling thirsty. Before starting treatment with Lithium carbonate, your doctor will get blood tests done to see if your kidney function is normal. During Lithium carbonate therapy, any gradual or sudden changes in renal function, even within the normal range, may indicate the need for re-evaluation of treatment.

    Q. Can Lithium carbonate cause gain in weight?

    Lithium carbonate can cause both weight gain or weight loss. You should keep a check on your weight during Lithium carbonate therapy. If you feel you are gaining or losing too much weight, consult your doctor who will assess whether the change in weight is due to Lithium carbonate or some other reason.

    Q. What is the most important information I should know about Lithium carbonate?

    Lithium carbonate therapy should only be started if adequate facilities for assessing Lithium carbonate levels are available. This is because Lithium carbonate toxicity is related to increased levels of Lithium carbonate in blood. Lithium carbonate toxicity can even occur at dose which is effective for treatment. Therefore, your doctor may closely monitor your Lithium carbonate levels weekly until stabilization is achieved, then weekly for one month and then at monthly intervals thereafter.

    Q. How should Lithium carbonate be taken?

    Take Lithium carbonate exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Check with your doctor if you are not sure. It is meant for oral administration and can be taken with or without food. However, if you start following a certain type of diet, talk to your doctor first. Any drastic changes in the amount of water you drink or amount of sodium (salt) in your diet may require more frequent monitoring of Lithium carbonate levels.

    Q. Which medicines decrease Lithium carbonate levels?

    You should inform your doctor about the medicines you are taking before starting Lithium carbonate since many medicines interfere with the working of Lithium carbonate. Some medicines decrease the levels of Lithium carbonate in blood which means that it will not work well. These include theophylline (for asthma), caffeine, anything containing sodium bicarbonate, or a special group of diuretics (water tablets) called carbonic anhydrase inhibitors and urea used to treat skin conditions.

    Content on this page was last updated on 27 December, 2019, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)