Lithobid

(Lithium)

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Stabilizes mood.

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Our bottom line

Lithobid (Lithium) is the most effective long-term treatment for bipolar disorder, but it comes with a lot of side effects, so it can be difficult to take.

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    $9.00
Quick facts about Lithium
  • Drug class: Mental health
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (lithium)

Upsides

  • A first-line, long-term treatment for bipolar disorder. Effective at stabilizing mood and preventing relapse.
  • For manic episodes (acute mania), more effective when taken together with an antipsychotic medicine.
  • The only drug proven (so far) to lower the risk of suicide, possibly because it lowers aggressiveness and impulsivity.
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What to expect from Lithium, on one page

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Downsides

  • Has many short- and long-term side effects.
  • The dose for it to work well is very close to the amount that causes overdose, so you have to be careful, watch out for symptoms, and get help immediately if you accidentally take too much.
  • Probably not safe if you have kidney problems.
  • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
  • Requires routine blood tests to see how the medicine is affecting your body.
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How it works

Researchers don't know exactly how Lithobid (Lithium) works, but it seems to affect chemicals in the brain that regulate mood.

Quick facts about Lithium
  • Drug class: Mental health
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (lithium)

Dosage forms

  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Oral solution
Tried Lithium? Write a review!

Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Lithobid (Lithium) for Bipolar disorder

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  • First few hoursHours
    First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
  • Effectiveness
  • Starts to kick in
    Full effects
  • First few hoursHours
    First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
  • Possible side effects
  • Stomach problems
  • Increased thirst
  • Weight gain
  • Skin problems
  • Tremor
  • Worse coordination
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Side effect rates for Lithobid (Lithium)

Risks and Warnings for Lithobid (Lithium)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Low sodium
    • Dehydration
    • Drug interactions (diuretics, ACE inhibitors, NSAIDs like ibuprofen)

    The amount of Lithobid (Lithium) that's too much for your body to handle is only a little higher than the amount in an effective dose. This means it can be easy to accidentally overdose. Symptoms of Lithobid (Lithium) toxicity include diarrhea, vomiting, drowsiness, abnormal eye movements, muscle weakness, and lack of coordination. In severe cases, overdose can cause coma or seizures. If you think you've taken too much Lithobid (Lithium), stop taking it and seek medical attention immediately.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Common concerns from people taking Lithobid (Lithium)

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Pregnancy

Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Tip: Always talk with your doctor before you take any medication while pregnant.
FDA pregnancy category for Lithium
DWeigh risks vs. benefits
Food
  • Take with food or use extended release form to avoid stomach upset.
Kidneys and liver
  • Lithobid (Lithium) can reduce the kidney's ability to balance salt and water in your body. This is reversible if you stop taking Lithobid (Lithium). If you're urinating much more than usual, your doctor can do a blood test to check your kidney function.
  • Probably not safe if you have kidney problems.
Sleep
  • The amount of Lithobid (Lithium) that's too much for your body to handle is only a little higher than the amount in an effective dose. This means it can be easy to accidentally overdose. Symptoms of Lithobid (Lithium) toxicity include diarrhea, vomiting, drowsiness, abnormal eye movements, muscle weakness, and lack of coordination. In severe cases, overdose can cause coma or seizures. If you think you've taken too much Lithobid (Lithium), stop taking it and seek medical attention immediately.
  • Persistent stomach upset, slurred speech, or extreme drowsiness may be a sign that your dose is too high.
Weight
  • Worth it
    Some hassle
    Reviewed lithiumon 2/18/2018Do not take if you want to maintain your weight or lose weight unless others things are not working. It does work well on mood swings in some people
    44
    Man
    Two years or more
    Would rather not say
  • Not worth it
    Big hassle
    Reviewed Lithiumon 7/1/2017Try others before trying lithium if you are considering your weight.
    23
    Woman
    A few months
    Bipolar disorder