lithium, Lithobid

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GENERIC NAME: lithium

BRAND NAME: Lithobid

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Lithium is used for the treatment of manic/depressive (bipolar) and depressive disorders. Lithium is a positively charged element or particle that is similar to sodium and potassium. It interferes at several places inside cells and on the cell surface with other positively charged atoms such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium which are important in many cellular functions.

Lithium interferes with the production and uptake of chemical messengers by which nerves communicate with each other (neurotransmitters). Lithium also affects the concentrations of tryptophan and serotonin in the brain. In addition, lithium increases the production of white blood cells in the bone marrow. Lithium's effects usually begin within 1 week of starting treatment, and the full effect is seen by 2 to 3 weeks.

Lithium has been used since the 1950's. The FDA approved lithium carbonate, the most common lithium preparation in 1970.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS:

  • Tablets: 300 mg.
  • Tablets (extended release): 300 and 450 mg.
  • Capsules: 150, 300 and 600 mg.
  • Syrup: 300 mg/5 ml

STORAGE: All formulations should be kept at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Lithium is used for treating manic episodes due to bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness). It also is combined with antidepressants to treat depression.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/28/2013



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