Lithium (Eskalith®, Eskalith CR®, Lithobid®) is a medicine often used for controlling the symptoms of bipolar disorder. It comes in several different forms and is available by prescription only.
The drug is available in the following strengths and forms:
- Lithium carbonate 150 mg capsules
- Lithium carbonate 300 mg capsules (Eskalith)
- Lithium carbonate 600 mg capsules
- Lithium carbonate 300 mg tablets
- Lithium carbonate 300 mg extended-release tablets (Lithobid)
- Lithium carbonate 450 mg extended-release tablets (Eskalith CR)
- Liquid lithium (lithium citrate syrup), containing 8 mEq lithium per 5 mL, which is equivalent to 300 mg lithium carbonate per 5 mL or per teaspoonful.
The recommended starting dosage for acute mania is 600 mg three times daily (for liquid lithium, immediate-release lithium tablets, and lithium capsules). For extended-release lithium tablets, the recommended starting dose is 900 mg twice daily. Starting at such high doses helps to produce an effective lithium blood level quickly (which is needed to control the severe symptoms of mania).
(Click Lithium Dosage for more lithium dosing information, including dosing guidelines for the long-term control of bipolar disorder symptoms.)