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Negative Effects of Lithium

Lithium (Eskalith®, Eskalith CR®, Lithobid®) is a prescription medicine commonly used for treating the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Before you begin treatment, you should talk to your healthcare provider about the potentially negative effects of Lithium. It is important for everyone taking the drug to be aware of the signs of lithium toxicity. People with kidney disease, heart disease, dehydration, or low sodium levels in their blood may be at a higher risk for lithium toxicity.
In general, lithium side effects are signs of lithium toxicity, and you should tell your healthcare provider about any side effects you encounter. Your healthcare provider will do a blood test to check the level of lithium in your blood. If your lithium level is appropriate and your side effects are not too bothersome, no action may be necessary. If your lithium level is too high, or if your side effects are dangerous or intolerable, your lithium dosage may need to be reduced.
Side effects that may be signs of mild to moderate lithium toxicity include:
  • Mild shakiness, especially in the hands
  • Thirst
  • Increased or frequent urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Coordination problems.
(Click Lithium Side Effects and Lithium Warnings and Precautions to learn more about the negative effects of lithium and to find out which side effects may not be associated with lithium toxicity.)
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