Lithium carbonate is indicated for both acute mania and maintenance therapy in bipolar disorder. It also has utility in some cases of major depression (both unipolar and bipolar) and in some disorders characterized by episodic explosive outbursts or self-mutilation. Its mechanism of action is not exactly known, although it may relate to reducing dopaminergic function, enhancing serotonergic function, or reducing "excessive signaling" by the phosphytidylinositol system. The extensive pretreatment evaluation and long latency of action preclude the use of lithium as an emergency psychotropic medication. The emergency physician should be aware, however, of its side effects and signs of toxicity.
Was this article helpful?
Are You Depressed? Heard the horror stories about anti-depressants and how they can just make things worse? Are you sick of being over medicated, glazed over and too fat from taking too many happy pills? Do you hate the dry mouth, the mania and mood swings and sleep disturbances that can come with taking a prescribed mood elevator?