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Lithium and the maincharacteristics

Lithium is a medication that is most frequently prescribedin the treatment of bipolar disorder. It cannot cure this condition, but it cansuccessfully keep the symptoms under control, and even though its mechanism ofaction is not really clear and understood, it is known that lithium affects certainchemicals in the brain. Still, in order to give the best possible results, itis necessary to take it exactly as the doctor has prescribed it, which meansthat the person needs to take it at regular intervals, without missing thedosage, in order to keep its level in the blood even. It is also recommended totake in a lot of water and fluids, because dehydration may increase the risksof lithium toxicity.

Symptoms of lithiumtoxicity

Lithium toxicity is a possible contraindication of thismedication, but it refers to the people who use it for the treatment of bipolardisorder, since in their cases, the necessary dosage is very close to thedosage that is considered to be toxic. For other medication, the effectivedosage is usually much lower than the dosage that is considered toxic, which iswhy very frequently blood tests are done so that the level of lithium in theblood would be monitored regularly and the dosage would be adjustedtimely. However, it should be mentioned that some people might experience thesymptoms of toxicity even if the levels do not exceed the recommended. Still,if the person begins to feel trembling of hands or legs, twitching of muscles, blurredvision, dizziness, and irregular heart beat, it is necessary to see the doctor, oreven go the hospital emergency.

Other signs that may also indicate lithiumtoxicity include difficulty speaking or slurred speech, severe diarrhea orvomiting, difficulty walking, swelling in legs and feet, and problems withcoordination. None of these symptoms should be ignored because theconsequences of something like that may be fatal. Until the doctor is seen, itis highly recommended to drink lots of water, and no more lithium should betaken.

The treatment that the patient experiencing this problem will have toundergo consists of managing the blood pressure and making sure that the kidneysfunction properly, because the levels of salt are affected. Some cases willrequire dialysis, while it is not rare that pumping the stomach is necessary. Afterthe patient’s condition has been stabilized, the dosage will have to beadjusted.

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