Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Menu

Lithium

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Lithium Carbonate Camcolit, priadel Adult

Lithium - What is it for

​Lithium is a mood stabilizer.

It is used to treat conditions such as:

  • Bipolar disorder (alternating mood)

It can also be used to help with symptoms of low mood (depression).

It may be given to you for other reasons. Do check with your doctor what you are taking this for.

Lithium - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Lithium cause?

Potential side effects

All medicines may cause side effects. However, many people do not experience them.

Most of the side effects listed here will improve with time. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if they persist, become bothersome or worsen.

Side effectsWhat to do about it
NauseaTake the medicine after meals. Eat small but frequent meals to minimize bloating after a meal. Avoid food that is too rich, spicy or has strong smells.
DiarrhoeaMake sure you remain well hydrated by drinking plenty of water
Increased thirstSip water regularly. Suck on sugar-free sweets. Avoid caffeine as it may worsen dry mouth.
Shakiness of hands, increased urination, metallic taste in your mouthConsult your doctor if it becomes bothersome

Serious side effects

If you experience signs of allergy such as rashes, swelling of lips/face/throat and difficulty breathing, stop the medicine immediately and seek medical attention.

You will need to have regular blood tests while you are on Lithium to monitor the level of this medicine in your body. If you experience symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, muscle weakness, muscle twitching, visual disturbances, confusion, increased drowsiness, a lack of coordination and tremors, seek medical attention immediately and inform them that you are taking Lithium.

Take note that the side effects listed here are not exhaustive. Do seek medical attention if you have other symptoms that you think may be related to this medicine.

Before taking Lithium, what precautions must I follow?

​What do I need to tell my doctor before I take this medicine?

  • Drug allergies.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions such as psoriasis, kidney disease, heart disease, myasthenia gravis and thyroid problems.
  • Whether you are taking any other medicines, supplements or traditional medicines. Some of them may affect how this medicine works.
  • For women: If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning for a family please inform your doctor prior to starting this medicine. If you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding, your doctor would have discussed the potential benefits and side-effects of continuing this medicine but should you have further questions or concerns, do consult your doctor.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Lithium?

​This medicine may interact with a number of medicines. Inform your doctor if you are taking or intend to start taking other medicines or supplements.

 

Lithium - Dosage and How to Use

How should Lithium be used?

​Take this medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the instructions on the medicine label or as advised by the pharmacist.

Take Lithium after food to minimize stomach upset. The controlled release tablet can be broken into half, but not crushed or chewed.

This medicine may not have an effect immediately. It may take a few weeks before this medicine can exert its full effect. Continue taking it regularly to benefit from it.

Do not stop taking this medicine even after you feel better. Your symptoms may return if this medicine is stopped too early. Check with your doctor on the duration of treatment that is suitable for you.

Do not stop taking this medicine abruptly or change the dose without consulting your doctor.

Avoid taking alcohol while you are on this medicine.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

​Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next one at your usual timing.

Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

What should I do if I overdose?

​If you take more than the dose prescribed to you by your doctor, consult your doctor or health care professional immediately.

Lithium - Handling

How should I handle Lithium safely?

Lithium - Storage

How should I store Lithium?

Keep away from children;#Keep in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight;#Store at room temperature;#

How should I dispose of Lithium safely?

​Throw away any unused or expired medicines. Consult your medical professional if you are unsure with respect to how to safely dispose of any excess medicines/expired medicines.

Lithium - Additional Information

​What are the things I need to know or look out for while on this medicine?

  • Avoid driving or any other activities that requires concentration until you see how this drug affects you.
  • Ensure that you remain well hydrated especially while active or during hot weather.
  • If you acquire any infections or illness that causes sweating, diarrhea or vomiting, consult your doctor and ensure that you drink plenty of water.
  • Inform your doctor if you intend to start on a low salt diet as it may affect the way this medicine works.
  • Inform your other healthcare professionals that you are on this medicine as well.
  • Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist before you take any other medicines or natural/herbal products.
  • Do not share your medicines with others.
  • Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about your medicines
  • Tags: Lithium Carbonate
  • Updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
  • Article contributed by Pharmacy Changi General Hospital

    Find Your Medicines