Can a GP prescribe lithium UK?
A hospital and GP may share responsibility for prescribing lithium. So when you complete a medicines reconciliation, make sure you have a complete medicines history. Hospital prescribed medicines may not appear on the GP summary.
What follow up is required when a patient is prescribed lithium?
Serum lithium levels should be checked between 4 to 7 days following initiation and the dose adjusted accordingly. Serum levels should be repeated after every dose change and then every week until dosage has remained constant for 4 weeks. Blood samples should be taken 12 hours after the previous dose of lithium.
How long do patients stay on lithium?
The NICE guidelines for bipolar disorder recommend that you gradually reduce your dose of lithium over at least four weeks. Ideally, you would reduce it over a period of up to three months. This is to lower your risk of relapse.
Why is lithium no longer prescribed?
Adverse effects were the most common cause for lithium discontinuation. Among the adverse effects, diarrhoea, tremor, creatinine increase, polyuria/polydipsia/diabetes insipidus and weight gain were the top five reasons for discontinuing lithium.
Does lithium help with anxiety?
In fact, some patients start feeling less anxious, irritable, and depressed just days after taking low-dose lithium. Despite the evidence supporting the benefits of low-dose lithium, it is still underused as a supplement in psychiatry.
Is lithium a serious medication?
Lithium is generally safe to take for a long time. Most people take it for years with no problems. If you’ve been taking lithium for some time, it can cause weight gain. It can also cause problems with your kidneys or thyroid gland.
Does lithium need to be monitored?
Lithium levels should be monitored after treatment has begun, and then after every dosage change if there are signs of toxicity or mood changes.
How often do you need blood work with lithium?
Regular blood tests are necessary to check lithium levels and to make sure you are taking the right dose. They will be checked weekly or fortnightly at first. Once levels of lithium in the blood are steady, they will be checked regularly (typically 3 monthly), usually 12 hours after the last dose.
Can I take lithium for the rest of my life?
Does taking lithium shorten your life?
It is possible that the mortality rate of patients treated with lithium is not constant over time. Specifically, lithium-induced deaths due to harms such as kidney failure may result after year-long exposures, thereby possibly reducing the overall benefit on mortality.
Why is bipolar shorter lifespan?
Possible reasons for the decrease in longevity are many. The most obvious are the rate of high-risk behaviors, unhealthy lifestyle, and suicide experienced by many with bipolar disorder. Oxidative stress, which inhibits cell growth and replenishment, can also be a culprit.
Can you drink alcohol while on lithium?
People taking lithium should avoid drinking alcohol. Not only can alcohol worsen bipolar disorder symptoms, but it can also intensify side effects caused by lithium, including dizziness and drowsiness. Additionally, taking lithium while drinking may make the medication less effective, leading to more mood swings.
What information will be provided to new patients considering lithium treatment?
All new patients for whom lithium treatment is being considered will be given appropriate information to allow them to make an informed choice. Where patients lack capacity or are to receive compulsory treatment via a T2 or T3, information will be provided commensurate to their needs and capability.
Where can I find information about lithium in the UK?
The leaflets are available from Leverndale Pharmacy. The UK manufacturers provide a variety of patient information resources on lithium tailored to their product. These can be used to compliment the resources above if necessary. Contact Leverndale Pharmacy for advice.
What is the use of lithium in medicine?
Lithium is useful in a condition known as bipolar disorder, where there are extreme high and low moods. It is also used to treat some behavioural disorders, such as aggressive or self-harming behaviours. Lithium reduces the intensity and frequency of mood swings.
What should I do if I want to stop taking lithium?
If you have to stop taking lithium for any reason, talk to your GP about taking an antipsychotic or valproate instead. In the UK, lithium is the main medicine used to treat bipolar disorder.