|Drug Name:||Lithium Carbonate|
|Manufacturer:||West-ward Pharmaceutical Corp.|
No specific antidote for lithium poisoning is known.
Early symptoms of lithium toxicity can usually be treated by reduction or cessation of dosage of the drug and resumption of the treatment at a lower dose after 24 to 48 hours.
In severe cases of lithium poisoning, the first and foremost goal of treatment consists of elimination of this ion from the patient.Treatment is essentially the same as that used in barbiturate poisoning: 1) gastric lavage, 2) correction of fluid and electrolyte imbalance and 3) regulation of kidney functioning.
Urea, mannitol and aminophylline all produce significant increases in lithium excretion.
Hemodialysis is an effective and rapid means of removing the ion from the severely toxic patient.Infection prophylaxis, regular chest X-rays, and preservation of adequate respiration are essential.
Lithium is indicated in the treatment of manic episodes of Bipolar Disorder.
Bipolar Disorder, Manic (DSM-III) is equivalent to Manic Depressive illness, Manic, in the older DSM-II terminology.Lithium is also indicated as a maintenance treatment for individuals with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder.Maintenance therapy reduces the frequency of manic episodes and diminishes the intensity of those episodes which may occur.Typical symptoms of mania include pressure of speech, motor hyperactivity, reduced need for sleep, flight of ideas, grandiosity, elation, poor judgment, aggressiveness, and possibly hostility.When given to a patient experiencing a manic episode, lithium may produce a normalization of symptomatology within 1 to 3 weeks.
Lithium should generally not be given to patients with significant renal or cardiovascular disease, severe debilitation or dehydration, or sodium depletion, and to patients receiving diuretics, since the risk of lithium toxicity is very high in such patients.
If the psychiatric indication is life-threatening, and if such a patient fails to respond to other measures, lithium treatment may be undertaken with extreme caution, including daily serum lithium determinations and adjustment to the usually low doses ordinarily tolerated by these individuals.In such instances, hospitalization is a necessity.
Lithium may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman.
There have been reports of lithium having adverse effects on nidations in rats, embryo viability in mice, and metabolism in-vitro of rat testis and human spermatozoa have been attributed to lithium, as have teratogenicity in submammalian species and cleft palates in mice.
Studies in rats, rabbits and monkeys have shown no evidence of lithium-induced teratology.
Data from lithium birth registries suggest an increase in cardiac and other anomalies, especially Ebstein's anomaly.
If the patient becomes pregnant while taking lithium, she should be apprised of the potential risk to the fetus.
If possible, lithium should be withdrawn for at least the first trimester unless it is determined that this would seriously endanger the mother.Chronic lithium therapy may be associated with diminution of renal concentrating ability, occasionally presenting as nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, with polyuria and polydipsia.
Such patients should be carefully managed to avoid dehydration with resulting lithium retention and toxicity.
This condition is usually reversible when lithium is discontinued.Morphologic changes with glomerular and interstitial fibrosis and nephron-atrophy have been reported in patients on chronic lithium therapy.
Morphologic changes have also been seen in bipolar patients never exposed to lithium.
The relationship between renal functional and morphologic changes and their association with lithium therapy has not been established.When kidney function is assessed, for baseline data prior to starting lithium therapy or thereafter, routine urinalysis and other tests may be used to evaluate tubular function (e.g., urine specific gravity or osmolality following a period of water deprivation, or 24-hour urine volume) and glomerular function (e.g., serum creatinine or creatinine clearance).During lithium therapy, progressive or sudden changes in renal function, even within the normal range, indicate the need for reevaluation of treatment.Lithium toxicity is closely related to serum lithium levels, and can occur at doses close to therapeutic levels (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).