Eskalith is commonly prescribed to treat bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). Although it is not exactly clear how the drug works, it is thought to control symptoms by affecting certain chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Eskalith is available in both capsule and extended-release tablet forms, and is typically taken twice a day. Side effects can include drowsiness, nausea, and diarrhea.
What Is Eskalith?
Eskalith® (lithium carbonate) is a prescription medication approved to treat bipolar disorder, a mental illness also known as manic depression. Eskalith CR® is an extended-release version of Eskalith and is also approved to treat bipolar disorder.
Eskalith and Eskalith CR were originally made by GlaxoSmithKline. However, GlaxoSmithKline has stopped making these products. Fortunately, generic versions of Eskalith and Eskalith CR are available.
How Does It Work?
Lithium (the active ingredient of Eskalith and Eskalith CR) is a naturally occurring element, like iron, sodium, or calcium. In the 1800s, scientists thought that lithium might work for treating gout, although it was found to be ineffective for this use. Later, in the 1940s, lithium was used as a salt substitute, until it was withdrawn from the market due to several deaths caused by lithium toxicity. Later, it was discovered that the drug works for mania. In 1970, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved lithium for treating bipolar disorder.
The exact way in which Eskalith works to treat bipolar disorder is not known. It is thought that the drug may affect various chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, which could explain the effectiveness of Eskalith for treating bipolar disorder. Eskalith is not a cure for bipolar disorder, however. It only helps to control symptoms (see Bipolar Disorder Symptoms).
Eskalith CR was designed to help keep a steady level of lithium in the blood. It releases a portion of the dose initially, and then gradually releases the rest of the dose slowly over time.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed June 26, 2007.
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