Lithobid, an extended-release form of lithium, is a prescription drug licensed for the treatment of bipolar disorder. It is thought to work by affecting certain chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Lithobid comes in the form of an extended-release tablet and is usually taken twice a day. Possible side effects include drowsiness, loss of appetite, and diarrhea.
Lithium (the active ingredient of Lithobid) is a naturally occurring element, like 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 Later, in the 1940s, lithium was used as a salt substitute, until it was withdrawn from the market due to several deaths caused by lithium toxicity.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 Lithobid works to treat bipolar disorder is not known. It is thought that it may affect various chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, which could explain the effectiveness of the medication for treating bipolar disorder. Lithobid is not a cure for bipolar disorder, however. It only helps to control symptoms (see Bipolar Disorder Symptoms).
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 July 12, 2012.
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