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LITHIUM
Has anyone tried lithium? What are the main side effects and does it work? I heard its an old drug made of salt that treats mania in old days? .....my doc said maybe I should start it with my AD. Any thoughts anyone? Thanks a lot! Xx
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I have tried it but for me it did not work.  My outpatient dr took me off of my lamictal and put me on it for about a year and when I went into treatment this year I had the same dr that prescribed me the Lamictal in the beginning.  He was totally against me being on Lithium and he doesn't prescribe it to but a few of his patients.  I am just giving you my experience.  I have seen people that have been on Lithium for years and have no breakthroughs of mania or major depression.

Here is some information that I found:

Lithium was first discovered as a chemical element in 1817.  By the mid-1800s, there was great interest in "urate imbalances", which were thought to explain a variety of diseases, including mania and depression.  Around this time, it was discovered that a solution of lithium carbonate could dissolve stones made of urate.

The first recorded use of lithium for the treatment of mania, based in part on the urate/lithium connection, was 1871.  Use of lithium carbonate (the current pill form of lithium) to prevent depression came in 1886.

As the public learned about lithium, great interest in this mineral led to the use of mineral-rich spring waters in spas, baths, and beverages. Because most of these mineral waters actually contained only traces of lithium, the dangers of lithium and higher concentrations were not recognized.  When a tablet form was used as a salt substitute in low-sodium diets, there were many reports of severe lithium side effects, and some deaths.

Just as the dangers of lithium were becoming apparent, an Australian psychiatrist named John Cade began treating patients with mania using lithium (1948).  He too was led to this approach from a focus on lithium and urate.  He had injected guinea pigs with lithium urate and found that they became placid, and somewhat tranquilized.  Only later did he determined that the calming effect was from lithium, not urate.

Many years passed before lithium was in widespread use for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Speculating about why lithium was not immediately adopted by the psychiatric profession, Cade stated that a discovery "made by an unknown psychiatrist with no research training, working in a small chronic hospital with primitive techniques and negligible equipment, was not likely to command attention".

However, with careful attention to dosage and blood concentration, the effectiveness of lithium for patients with bipolar disorder was slowly established. it was approved by the FDA for the treatment of mania in 1970.
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I take Lithium, 600mg am and 450mg pm. The first 2 weeks of taking it I felt sick but then my body got use to it and I was fine. I have no side effects from Lithium. You do need to get your blood levels checked frequently until your established and then not as often. As for it working, for me it has helped a lot but is not full proof, but then again I don't think any med is, at least in my experience.
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It's definitely not a bad idea to try lithium with an AD as it's not recommended to take an AD without a mood stabilizer if you have bipolar disorder.  Lithium worked for me for a while until I was on it and it alone.  Just drink a healthy amount of water so you don't end up with kidney damage and report for the blood tests your psychiatrist should order every few months and you will be fine.  Caffeine should also be avoided as much as possible, which includes caffeinated tea, caffeinated coffee (keep in mind even decaf has some caffeine, so limit that), and caffeinated sodas.  You can have them on occasion but very limited.
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