Lithium (By mouth)

Introduction

Lithium (LITH-ee-um)

Treats the manic period of manic-depressive (bipolar) illness.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Lithobid, Lith-Oro

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to lithium.

How to Use This Medicine

Capsule, Liquid, Tablet, Long Acting Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about any special diet. Be sure you have enough salt in your diet. It is also very important that you drink 11 to 13 eight-ounce cups of water every day.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • Swallow the tablet or capsule whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using acetazolamide (Diamox®), carbamazepine (Tegretol®), methyldopa (Aldomet®), metronidazole (Flagyl®), or urea (Ureaphil®). Tell your doctor if you use Dilantin®, potassium iodide, an antacid, diuretics or "water pills" such as furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, Hyzaar®, or Lasix®.
  • Also tell your doctor if you are using other medicine to treat mental illness such as haloperidol (Haldol®), or pain or arthritis medicine such as ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen, piroxicam, Celebrex®, Daypro®, Feldene®, Indocin®, Motrin®, Relafen®, or Voltaren®.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using heart or blood pressure medicine such as captopril, enalapril, losartan, verapamil, Accupril®, Adalat®, Lotrel®, Procardia®, Vasotec®, or Zestril®. Your doctor will need to know if you are using medicine for depression such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, Celexa®, Effexor®, Lexapro?, Paxil®, or Zoloft®. Also tell your doctor if you are using asthma medicine such as theophylline, Slo-Bid®, or Theo-Dur®.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant or are considering having children while taking this medicine.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding. Also tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, heart disease, problems with your brain or nervous system, or thyroid problems. Tell your doctor if you have a history of electrolyte problems. These may include high or low amounts of potassium, calcium, or sodium in your blood.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood or urine at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • Call your doctor if you get sick and have a fever or diarrhea, or if you are in a place where you sweat heavily. This could affect how your medicine works.
  • Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Cold feeling or paleness in hands or feet.
  • Extreme thirst.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Severe headache, trouble seeing.
  • Unsteadiness, diarrhea, vomiting, clumsiness, unusual tiredness or weakness.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • General feeling of discomfort.
  • Mild nausea, drowsiness.
  • Mild thirst.
  • Shaky hands.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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