Overview of Lithium
What is Lithium?
Preparation for Lithium
- No special preparation required
Why Get Tested for Lithium?
The Lithium Test is performed:
· To establish a therapeutic dosage for lithium
· To monitor blood concentration at regular intervals to help maintain the therapeutic concentration
· To check for lithium toxicity upon the appearance of symptoms
Understand more about Lithium
Lithium is an alkali metal which occurs in trace amounts in the human body mainly obtained from dietary sources. Lithium compounds are used as antipsychotic drugs for the treatment of the Bipolar disorder. Bipolar disease is a psychological condition where the patient goes through alternating periods of severe depression and mania. It is thus associated with sudden and unpredictable mood swings. Lithium is prescribed as a mood stabilizer to treat these sudden mood swings. It is also used as an augmenting agent for patients being treated for depression but not responding to standard medications. Lithium may also be prescribed for other psychological diseases as an augmenting agent.
Lithium is a drug which acts relatively slowly and may take several weeks to be effective in treatment. Hence, its concentration in blood needs to be maintained within a steady therapeutic range for it to be effective as a drug. Lower concentrations than the therapeutic range make it ineffective as medicine, while higher concentration than the therapeutic range causes lithium toxicity. The blood level of lithium is thus monitored at regular intervals to help maintain it within the effective therapeutic range.
What Results of Lithium mean?
Therapeutic range: 0.6 to 1.2 mmol/L
The standard therapeutic range of lithium concentration may vary from person to person and is usually established at the beginning of the treatment.
Lower lithium concentration than the therapeutic range makes the drug ineffective in treatment.
Higher lithium concentration than the therapeutic range induces symptoms associated with lithium toxicity.
Patient Concerns about Lithium
Frequently Asked Questions about Lithium