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Lithium Dosage

Lithium Dosage for Maintenance Treatment

Maintenance treatment for bipolar disorder is used when no acute mania or depression is present. This helps to stabilize the mood, preventing episodes of mania or depression. Maintenance can be thought of as long-term control of bipolar disorder symptoms. If you do not have severe symptoms of bipolar disorder when starting lithium, your healthcare provider may recommend starting with a low lithium dose and slowly increasing it while frequently checking the level of lithium in the blood. This helps prevent lithium toxicity.
 
Ultimately, your maintenance dose will depend greatly on your lithium blood levels, which is why regular testing is important. Some people may experience relief from their symptoms of bipolar disorder with low lithium blood levels (and are less likely to experience side effects), while others require higher lithium blood levels (and are more likely to experience side effects).
 

General Information on Dosing With Lithium

Some considerations for people taking lithium include the following:
 
  • Lithium comes in several different forms, including regular tablets, extended-release tablets, capsules, and syrup. It is taken by mouth, usually two to four times daily (depending on the lithium dosage and the particular product).
     
  • You can take lithium with or without food. If the medication bothers your stomach, try taking it with food.
     
  • Extended-release lithium tablets (Lithobid) should not be chewed, crushed, or broken. They should be swallowed whole.
     
  • Lithium should be taken at the same times each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
     
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Lithium will not work if you stop taking it.
 
  • If you have any questions on your lithium dosage, talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. Do not stop taking the drug without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.
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