Lithium Carbonate is used to treat the manic episodes of manic-depressive illness, a condition in which a person's mood swings from depression to excessive excitement. A manic episode may involve some or all of the following symptoms:
Fast, urgent talking;
Frenetic physical activity;
Grandiose, unrealistic ideas;
Little need for sleep;
Some doctors also prescribe lithium for premenstrual tension, eating disorders such as bulimia, certain movement disorders, and sexual addictions.
How to use
Use Lithium Carbonate as directed by your doctor.
To avoid stomach upset, take Lithium Carbonate immediately after meals or with food or milk.
While taking Lithium Carbonate, you should drink 10 to 12 glasses of water or fluid a day. To minimize the risk of harmful side effects, eat a balanced diet that includes some salt and lots of liquids. If you have been sweating a great deal or have had diarrhea, make sure you get extra liquids and salt.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Lithium Carbonate.
Drug Class and Mechanism
Lithium Carbonate is an antimanic agent. Exactly how Lithium Carbonate works is unknown, but it may work by altering the balance of certain chemicals in the brain.
If you miss a dose of Lithium Carbonate and are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Store Lithium Carbonate at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep in a tight, light-resistant container. Keep Lithium Carbonate out of the reach of children and away from pets.
Do not use Lithium Carbonate if:
you are allergic to any ingredient in Lithium Carbonate;
you have moderate to severe kidney, heart, or blood vessel problems;
you have low blood sodium levels;
you are severely dehydrated, ill, or weakened;
you are taking an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor (e.g., enalapril) or a diuretic (e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide).
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Lithium Carbonate may cause drowsiness or dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Lithium Carbonate with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
Do not take more than the recommended dose without checking with your doctor.
It may take 1 to 3 weeks for Lithium Carbonate to work. Do not stop using Lithium Carbonate without checking with your doctor.
Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Lithium Carbonate before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
Fever, infection, vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive sweating may affect the levels of Lithium Carbonate in your blood. If you experience any of these conditions, contact your doctor. Talk to your doctor about how to replace the salt lost through sweating during exercise.
Do not change the amount of salt in your diet unless instructed by your doctor. Check with your doctor before restricting your salt intake. Tell your doctor if you are on a low-salt diet.
Lab tests, including blood lithium levels and kidney function tests, may be performed while you use Lithium Carbonate. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
Use Lithium Carbonate with caution in the elderly; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
Lithium Carbonate should not be used in children younger than 12 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Lithium Carbonate may cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Lithium Carbonate while you are pregnant. Lithium Carbonate is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Lithium Carbonate may cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Lithium Carbonate while you are pregnant. Lithium Carbonate is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Lithium Carbonate.
Possible Side Effects
Check with your doctor if any of these most common side effects persist or become bothersome:
mild hand tremor; mild thirst; temporary, mild nausea and general discomfort at the beginning of treatment.
Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:
severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blurred vision; confusion; diarrhea; drowsiness; excessive weight gain; fainting; giddiness; inability to control the bladder or bowels; increased thirst; increased or decreased urination; involuntary twitching or muscle movements; loss of consciousness; loss of coordination; muscle weakness; persistent headache; persistent or severe nausea; ringing in the ears; seizures; slow or irregular heartbeat; slurred speech; swelling of the ankles or wrists; unsteadiness; vision changes; vomiting.
Lithium Carbonate is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.