Sometimes lithium carbonate (Lithobid, Eskalith) is added
to other medicines to treat
schizophrenia. It is not clear exactly how lithium
works, but it may help regulate certain brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that cause mood changes. Lithium
carbonate may be most helpful for treating the mood problems associated with
schizophrenia, such as
Have your blood tested
regularly (from every week to every 6 or 12 months) to check lithium blood
levels. Some of the signs of high levels are also found at normal levels.
You also need to be aware of the following:
Because lithium carbonate may make you tired and
less alert, avoid driving a car or using other dangerous machinery until you
know how lithium affects you.
Always seek care from a health
professional if you are a woman and become pregnant while taking lithium
carbonate. Women who take lithium carbonate and breast-feed their babies also
need medical care from a health professional.
Do not drink alcohol
if you are taking lithium carbonate. Lithium can hide the signs of alcohol
intoxication; your blood alcohol levels could become dangerously high if you
drink while taking this medicine.
Lithium carbonate can affect
thyroid and kidney function. Your doctor may have your blood tested to monitor
thyroid and kidney function while you are taking lithium.
seek medical treatment if you notice signs of excess lithium in the blood.
Always tell each health professional who treats you that you are taking lithium
carbonate. Taking certain medicines can interfere with the amount of lithium in
your blood. Some medicines can cause your lithium blood level to get too high,
and other medicines can cause it to get too low.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Miklos Ferenc Losonczy, MD, PhD - Psychiatry
August 19, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 19, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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