Used for: Manic Depression, Recurrent Depression, Bipolar Depression
Also called: Licab; Lithosun; Eskalith; Intalith, Lithium carbonate.
Lithium alters the way that nerve cells respond to chemicals that are present in the brain. It is known that it is a very effective medicine and has been used for more than 50 years. Lithium causes little interference with normal emotional reactions.
Lithium is used to treat mania (overactive and excitable behavior), certain types of depression, and a condition known as Bipolar Disorder (where extreme changes in mood are experienced). Lithium decreases the intensity and frequency of mood swings.
➙ If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
➙ If you suffer from heart problems.
➙ If you suffer from kidney problems.
➙ If you suffer from psoriasis.
➙ If you suffer from Addison's Disease.
➙ If you suffer from Myasthenia Gravis (a muscle weakening disease).
➙ If you suffer from thyroid problems.
A specialist will start your Lithium treatment and take blood samples to make sure they have prescribed the correct dose. Once you have begun treatment, you need to have regular blood tests (sometimes called 'a Lithium level', a 'serum Lithium level' or a 'plasma Lithium level'). When your Lithium level has stabilized this type of test will be needed less often. This test is important because it tells the doctor how much Lithium is in the bloodstream, checking that your dosage is at the correct level. Blood tests are needed more often in the early stages of treatment or if your dosage has changed.
Do not crush or chew Lithium tablets because this could cause you to absorb too much from them.
Important: your pharmacist should supply you with the same brand of Lithium each time you receive a new prescription. If the medicine you have been given looks different to usual, speak to your pharmacist before taking any of them. This is because different brands give different blood levels of Lithium.
Try to get into the habit of taking Lithium at the same times each day to avoid missing any doses.
Do not stop taking Lithium without speaking with your doctor first. Stopping suddenly can cause problems and your doctor will want to reduce the dose you are taking gradually.
Lots of medicines can cause your level of Lithium to rise too high so always check with your pharmacist or doctor before taking any medicines; including pain killers such as Ibuprofen available to buy in shops and pharmacies.
It may take several weeks before you feel the full benefits of this treatment, although lots of people do notice a difference earlier.
You should drink plenty of fluids while you are being treated with Lithium. Keep to your usual salt intake and avoid any changes from your regular diet e.g. crash dieting programs. This is because it can change your Lithium level. Speak with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
If you have an infection or illness that causes heavy sweating, being sick or diarrhea, consult your doctor, as this can affect the levels of lithium in your blood.
Along with their useful effects all medicines can cause unwanted side effects, which usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side effects continue or become troublesome.
A. Nausea - After a few days your body will adjust to your new medicine and this side effect should improve. Needing to pass water more often than normal - If you are affected you may just need to plan ahead a little, for example, is there a toilet that you can easily use when you are at work or going about your daily business? You should still continue to drink plenty of water.
B. Shakiness - Your hands may be a little shaky. If affected avoid tasks that need very fine movements where possible.
C. Reduced co-ordination - If affected avoid tasks that require co-ordination such as driving or operating machinery.
If you experience blurred vision, loss of appetite, being sick, diarrhea, muscle weakness, drowsiness, feeling of being slow, excessive shakiness, a total lack of co-ordination, fainting, inability to urinate (pass water), slurred speech or convulsions (fits) seek urgent medical attention, you may have too much Lithium in your blood
➙ Keep all medicines out of the reach of children.
➙ Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
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Headache is a very common disease. Common headache are due to migraine, tension headache, chronic daily headache, cluster headache. This is also due to increased blood pressure. Other causes of continuous headache are depression and persistent stress.
Treatment of headache depends on diagnosis. To diagnose it proper history taking and enquiry about work and associated stress is very important. Before starting treatment we must rule out medical cause of headache by investigations. For example dull, severe and continuous headache must be ruled out by brain radio investigation.
Headache is usually of two types primary and secondary. Primary headache is independent in nature and it could be episodic and continuous. Most common cause of episodic headache is migraine, cluster headache and tension headache. Continuous headache could be due to chronic daily headache and depression and stress.
Secondary headache is due to blood pressure, Tumour, post head injury and subarachnoid haemorrhage etc.
Depression is a state of mind in which person biological function like sleep, appetite and bowel habit are disturbed along with low energy lack of interest in work, surrounding and socialisation. It also leads to helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness. In severe case person start thinking about suicide. Long standing depression may lead to social cut-off and loss of jobs as well.
In less educated people multiple somatic symptoms such as headache, body ache , gas formation , unexplained other symptoms , sleep disturbance , heaviness or lightheadedness are common symptoms . Educated or intelligent people will complain of lack energy, lack of charm or meaning in life, fatigued feeling, hopelessness and worthless feeling along with sleep disturbance and lack or increased appetite are usual symptoms.
Symptoms of depression can be classified into following groups.
(A) DEPRESSED MOOD- this is hallmark of all depression regardless of other associated symptoms. It is sustained emotional state that is characterised by sadness, low morale, misery, discouragement, hopelessness, emptiness, distress, pessimism etc. it is different in quantitative term as it is more intense than normal emotional response in bad situation.
(B) ANHEDONIA- is loss of interest. Patient is unable to draw pleasure from previously enjoyable activities. In severe cases they abandon most of the things they valued in life.
(c)COGNITIVE SYMPTOMS- difficulty in concentrating, negative thoughts, low self-esteem and self-confidence, suicidal idea are some most common cognitive symptoms. In severe case delusions of nihilism are also present.
(D) PSYCHOMOTOR DISTURBANCE - It can be aggression, agitation or retardation. Aggression is usually associated with irritability and restlessness. Retardation is associated with lack of initiative, mask like facial expression, emotional sluggishness and increased time to answer in response to question.
(E)VEGETATIVE SYMPTOMS - this is characterised by increased sleep or decreased sleep, increased appetite or decreased appetite, decreased libido and motivation.
(F) ANXIETY SYMPTOMS- are usually part of depression.