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What are the side effects of lithium for bipolar disorder mania?

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Most people who take lithium -- about 75% -- have some side effects, although they may be minor. They may become less troublesome after a few weeks as your body adjusts to the drug.

Common side effects include:

  • Weight gain
  • Trouble remembering
  • Poor concentration
  • Mental slowness
  • Hand tremor
  • Drowsiness or tiredness
  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Being very thirsty
  • Peeing more than usual
  • Your thyroid doesn’t work as well
  • Problems with how your kidney s work

SOURCES: American Psychiatric Association: Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder, 2002.  Cleveland Clinic Foundation: "Your Guide to Electroconvulsive Therapy."  , 2000. Ghaziuddin, N.  , December 2004. Kahn, D. , April 2000. Kowatch, R.  , March 2005. Medscape: "Long-term Management of Bipolar Disorder: Psychopharmacologic Management." National Institute for Mental Health: "Bipolar Disorder booklet, 2001." , 326: 1363-1367.  The Expert Consensus Guideline Series: Medication Treatment of Bipolar Disorder 2000, A Postgraduate Medicine Special Report, April 2007.









Clinician ReviewsJournal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent PsychiatryPostgraduate Medical Special ReportJournal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent PsychiatryBritish Medical Journal

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on September 09, 2016

SOURCES: American Psychiatric Association: Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder, 2002.  Cleveland Clinic Foundation: "Your Guide to Electroconvulsive Therapy."  , 2000. Ghaziuddin, N.  , December 2004. Kahn, D. , April 2000. Kowatch, R.  , March 2005. Medscape: "Long-term Management of Bipolar Disorder: Psychopharmacologic Management." National Institute for Mental Health: "Bipolar Disorder booklet, 2001." , 326: 1363-1367.  The Expert Consensus Guideline Series: Medication Treatment of Bipolar Disorder 2000, A Postgraduate Medicine Special Report, April 2007.









Clinician ReviewsJournal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent PsychiatryPostgraduate Medical Special ReportJournal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent PsychiatryBritish Medical Journal

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on September 09, 2016

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What do I do if I miss a dose of lithium?

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