When and How to Take LithiumThe following are some general considerations for when and how to take lithium:
- The medication comes in several different forms, including regular tablets, extended-release tablets, capsules, and a syrup. It is taken by mouth, usually two to four times a day, 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 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.
Dosing InformationThe dose of lithium your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
- How you respond to the medication
- The particular product being used
- Other medical conditions you may have
- Other medications you may be taking.
As always, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
(Click Lithium Dosage for more information.)
Side Effects of LithiumAs with any medicine, side effects are possible with lithium. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can be easily treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects include but are not limited to:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting.
(Click Lithium Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
You can also read more about specific side effects in the following eMedTV articles: