Medical Definition of Lithium

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Lithium: A naturally occurring salt that, in purified form, is used to treat certain psychiatric disorders, especially bipolar disease The therapeutic level of lithium'the amount needed to treat bipolar disorders'is perilously close to the level that can cause toxicity, so monitoring of blood levels is required. Symptoms of lithium toxicity include diarrhea, vomiting, blurred vision, loss of coordination, and loss of motor control. Treatment of lithium toxicity involves immediately reducing or discontinuing lithium use under medical supervision.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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