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What are the serious risks of taking lithium for bipolar disorder?

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There are a few serious risks to consider if you're thinking of taking lithium. The drug has been linked to certain birth defects and should be used with caution in pregnant women, especially during the first three months of pregnancy. The safety of breastfeeding while taking lithium is controversial and should be discussed in advance with your doctor. Also, in some people, long-term lithium treatment can interfere with kidney function or lead to permanent kidney damage -- which is why periodic monitoring of blood tests to measure kidney functioning is important.

People who take lithium also should consult with their doctor before taking nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, because those medications can increase lithium levels

From: Lithium for Bipolar Disorder WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: WebMD Medical Reference: "Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)." WebMD Assess Plus: Bipolar Disorder Assessment. National Institute for Mental Health: "Step-BD Womens Studies."Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program. MedicineNet.com: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)." WebMD Medical Reference: "Effects of Untreated Depression." American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."




Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on September 23, 2018

SOURCES: WebMD Medical Reference: "Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)." WebMD Assess Plus: Bipolar Disorder Assessment. National Institute for Mental Health: "Step-BD Womens Studies."Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program. MedicineNet.com: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)." WebMD Medical Reference: "Effects of Untreated Depression." American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."




Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on September 23, 2018

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