Lithium

Lithium:
• simple inorganic ion (same group as potassium and sodium)
• indications – mood stabilisers in bipolar affective disorders and for long term prophylaxis
• low therapeutic index  high risk of toxicity (monitoring of levels is important)
• mechanisms unclear – probably involves modulation of secondary messenger pathways of cAMP and IP3
• adverse effects – tremor, headache, impaired memory, lethargy, fatigue, nausea, anorexia
• serum levels should be monitored to evaluate effectiveness and prevent toxicity

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