Generic Name : LITHIUM
Pronunciation : (lith' ee um)
Trade Name(s) : Intalith, Lalithium, Lalithium-XR, Licab, Litbon, Lithium, Lithosun
Why it is prescribed: Lithium works on the nervous system to stablize the mood of people with manic-depressive illness (extreme mood changes from depression or anger to elation). It also is used to treat other mental conditions and illnesses.
When it is to be taken: Lithium usually is taken two to four times a day, preferably with meals. To be effective, the medication must be taken regularly on the schedule prescribed by your doctor.
How it should be taken: Lithium comes in the form of regular tablets, extended-release or long-acting tablets, capsules, and oral liquid. Your prescription label tells you how much to take at each dose. Do not chew, crush, or cut extended-release tablets; swallow them whole. You may obtain a specially marked measuring spoon to be sure of an accurate dose of the liquid.
Special Instruction :
1. Lithium can decrease alertness and coordination. Do not drive a car or operate dangerous machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
2. Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. You probably will have blood tests periodically to monitor the amount of lithium in your blood and also urine tests, especially if you experience side effects. Your dose may need to be adjusted occasionally.
3. Drink 12 full glasses of water or other beverages each day and use a moderate amount of salt in your food. However, if your doctor puts you on a low-salt or low-sodium diet, follow it.
4. Avoid beverages with sugar and caffeine because sugar causes cavities in your teeth and caffeine increases urination, which may alter the effect of lithium.
5. Do not take a missed dose when you remember it. Omit it; then take your next dose at the regularly scheduled time. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.
Side Effects :
1. Nausea, loss of appetite, stomach bloating, abdominal pain. Take lithium with meals. If these effects persist, contact your doctor.
2. Fine tremor of the hands. Avoid beverages that contain caffeine (coffee, tea, and cola). If the tremor worsens, spreads to other parts of the body, or is bothersome, call your doctor.
3. Headache, mild loss of memory, confusion, acne. If these problems are bothersome, contact your doctor.
4. Dry, coarse skin; hairloss; mental dullness; sensitivity to cold; fatigue; sleepiness; slow reflexes; weight gain. Contact your doctor.
5. Dry mouth, thrist, increased urination. Drink plenty of water, especially if you have vomiting, diarrhoea, or a fever.
6. Contact your doctor if you have increased urination or prolonged vomiting, diarrhoea, or a fever.
7. Lithium intoxication; shaking of the hands; muscle twitching, weakness, or incoordination; vomiting; diarrhoea; drowsiness. Stop taking the medication and contact your doctor immediately.
Other Precautions :
1. If you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast-feeding, tell your doctor before taking lithium.
2. If you become pregnant, notify your doctor promptly. Many drugs can alter the effect of lithium.
3. Before you take lithium, tell your doctor what prescription and nonprescription drugs you are taking.
4. All of your doctors and dentists should know that you take lithium so that they can avoid prescribing drugs that interfere with it.
5. Do not take any nonprescription drugs, especially ibuprofen, sodium bicarbonate, and other antacids containing sodium without consulting your doctor.
6. If you are allergic to aspirin or tartrazine or have thyroid, kidney, heart, or blood vessel disease, tell your doctor before taking lithium.
7. Do not allow anyone else to take this medication.
Storage Conditions : Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children.