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Lithium (Lithobid) is effective in
balancing mood in people with
bipolar disorder. How it works is not completely
understood. It may affect certain brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that cause mood changes.
Common side effects of lithium include:
Lithium is a salt and acts like other salts (such
as sodium) in the body. Any change in the balance between body salts and
liquids (mostly water) in the body can change the amount of lithium in the blood. Lithium blood levels need to be kept within a safe
range. High levels can cause serious side effects, even death. Low levels can
cause symptoms of mania or depression. You will need to learn how to keep your
lithium blood levels at a safe and effective level and to recognize
the signs of
high lithium, which include drowsiness,
muscle twitching, and diarrhea.
It is very important to have your
blood tested regularly (from every week to every 6 or 12 months) to check
lithium blood levels.
You also need to be aware of the
March 1, 2012
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
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