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Lithium for Bipolar Disorder

Lithium (Eskalith®, Eskalith CR®, Lithobid®) is a "mood-stabilizing" medication that is available by prescription. Healthcare providers often prescribe lithium for bipolar disorder, to treat manic episodes (but not depressive episodes). The medicine is also approved as a "maintenance treatment," which is a long-term treatment to help prevent episodes of mania or depression.
It is not known exactly how this medication works for bipolar disorder, but it is thought that the drug may affect various chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters (which could explain the effectiveness of lithium in controlling symptoms of bipolar disorder).
Lithium has not been approved for treating bipolar disorder in children under 12 years old. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using the drug in children.
(Click Lithium Uses for more information about using lithium for bipolar disorder, to learn about the specific effects of the medication, and for a list of possible off-label uses for this drug.)
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