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Lithium Carbonate Oral tablet, extended release

It is used to prevent and treat the manic episodes caused by manic-depressive illness.

Generic Name: lithium  |  Brand Name: Lithotabs

Brand Names: Eskalith, Lithotabs, Lithonate, Lithobid, Eskalith-CR

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

  • Lithium toxicity is closely related to serum lithium concentrations and can occur at dosages close to therapeutic levels.
  • Facilities for prompt and accurate serum lithium determinations should be available before initiating therapy. (See Renal Effects under Cautions.)

What is this medicine?

LITHIUM (LITH ee um) is used to prevent and treat the manic episodes caused by manic-depressive illness.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • Brugada Syndrome
  • dehydration (diarrhea or sweating)
  • heart or blood vessel disease
  • kidney disease
  • low level of salt in the blood, or low salt diet
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to lithium, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets whole. Do not break, crush or chew. Take after a meal or snack to avoid stomach upset. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. The amount of this medicine you take is very important. Taking more than the prescribed dose can cause serious side effects. Do not stop taking except on your the advice of your doctor or health care professional.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 12 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • stimulant medicines used to treat ADHD or narcolepsy

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • caffeine
  • calcium iodide
  • carbamazepine
  • diuretics
  • medicines for high blood pressure
  • medicines for mental problems and psychotic disturbances
  • metronidazole
  • NSAIDs, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
  • phenytoin
  • potassium iodide, KI
  • sodium bicarbonate
  • sodium chloride
  • urea

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. It can take several weeks of treatment before you start to get better.

The amount of salt (sodium) in your body influences the effects of this medicine, and this medicine can increase salt loss from the body. Eat a normal diet that includes salt. Do not change to salt substitutes. Avoid changes involving diet, or medications that include large amounts of sodium like sodium bicarbonate. Ask your doctor or health care professional for advice if you are not sure.

Drink plenty of fluids while you are taking this medicine. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea and colas. You will need extra fluids if you have diarrhea or sweat a lot. This will help prevent toxic effects from this medicine. Be careful not to get overheated during exercise, saunas, hot baths, and hot weather. Consult your doctor or health care professional if you have a high fever or persistent diarrhea.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells.


Last Updated: January 20, 2012
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