What is Lithium Carbonate?

Category: Prescription Drugs

Most popular types: Lithium Carbonate ER Lithobid XR Priadel Show all

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Lithium carbonate is used to treat and prevent episodes of mania in people with bipolar disorder (manic depressive disorder). Lithium is in a class of medications called antimanic agents, which work by decreasing abnormal activity in the brain.

Reported purpose & perceived effectiveness
Purpose Patients Evaluations Perceived Effectiveness
Bipolar Disorder 677 364
ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) 302 126
Bipolar I Disorder 299 169
Bipolar II Disorder 299 167
Major Depressive Disorder 60 47
Cluster Headaches 26 26

Show all 76 reasons taken


  • Major
  • Moderate
  • Slight
  • None
  • Can't tell

Side effects

Side effects as an overall problem

Side effects as an overall problem
Severity Evaluations
Severe 191
Moderate 224
Mild 206
None 164

Commonly reported side effects and conditions associated with Lithium Carbonate

Side effect Patients
Tremor in hands 101
Weight gain 75
Nausea 46
Thirst 42
Diarrhea 38
Excessive thirst (polydipsia) 33

Show all 275 reported side effects

Dosages

Based on patients currently taking Lithium Carbonate

Dosage Patients
900 mg daily 19
300 mg daily 18
600 mg daily 17
300 mg twice daily 16
600 mg twice daily 11
300 mg three times daily 6
1,200 mg daily 6
1,500 mg daily 5
450 mg twice daily 3
150 mg daily 2

See all 39 dosages

Why patients stopped taking Lithium Carbonate

Multiple reasons could be selected

Reason Patients
Side effects too severe 392
Did not seem to work 309
Doctor's advice 216
Other 130
Personal research 65
Course of treatment ended 24
Expense 17
Change in health plan coverage 6
See all 811 patients who’ve stopped taking Lithium Carbonate

Duration

Currently taking Lithium Carbonate

Duration Patients
Less than 1 month 1
1 - 6 months 10
6 months - 1 year 18
1 - 2 years 11
2 - 5 years 32
5 - 10 years 42
10 years or more 31

Stopped taking Lithium Carbonate

Duration Patients
Less than 1 month 142
1 - 6 months 226
6 months - 1 year 158
1 - 2 years 114
2 - 5 years 106
5 - 10 years 33
10 years or more 37
Adherence
Adherence Evaluations
Always 599
Usually 122
Sometimes 23
Never taken as prescribed 41
Burden
Burden Evaluations
Very hard to take 65
Somewhat hard to take 120
A little hard to take 124
Not at all hard to take 476
Cost per month
Cost per month Evaluations
$200+ 5
$100-199 0
$50-99 12
$25-49 36
< $25 413
Not specified 319

What people switch to and from

Patients started taking Lithium Carbonate after stopping:

Treatment Patients
Quetiapine (Seroquel) 23
Lamotrigine (Lamictal) 20
Divalproex sodium (Depakote) 11
Aripiprazole (Abilify) 10
Fluoxetine (Prozac) 5

Show all 28 treatments patients report switching from

Patients stopped taking Lithium Carbonate and switched to:

Treatment Patients
Lamotrigine (Lamictal) 31
Divalproex sodium (Depakote) 14
Quetiapine (Seroquel) 8
Aripiprazole (Abilify) 6
Bupropion (Wellbutrin XL) 5

Show all 33 treatments patients report switching to

Last updated:

90 patient evaluations for Lithium Carbonate

595 members have decided to share their profiles only with other members of PatientsLikeMe.

Jerry123
6616 thumb
Jerry123
Gender: M
Data Quality: 3 stars
Depression: 2
Mania: 1
Emotional: 1
Anxiety: 2
Compulsion: 2
External Stress: Moderate
53 M
Function: Moderate
Distress: Moderate
I am: n
I have:
Bipolar I

See Jerry123's full Lithium Carbonate history

Dec 30, 2016 (Started Oct 31, 2007)

  • Effectiveness
    Slight (for Treat my mood condition(s))
  • Effectiveness
    Slight (for Bipolar I Disorder)
  • Effectiveness
    Slight (for Bipolar Disorder)
  • Side effects
    Moderate (Drug ineffective, Shaky hands)
  • Adherence
    Usually
  • Burden
    A little hard to take
Dosage: 300 mg Daily
Cost: < $25 monthly
Side effects: Shaky hands, Drug ineffective

Aug 16, 2012 (Started Oct 31, 2007)

  • Effectiveness
    Major (for Treat my mood condition(s))
  • Effectiveness
    Moderate (for Bipolar Disorder)
  • Effectiveness
    Moderate (for Bipolar I Disorder)
  • Side effects
    Moderate (Drug ineffective, Shaky hands)
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Very hard to take
Dosage: 300 mg Daily
Advice & Tips: Weight gain, thyroid problems, low energy, liver test, great for me when needed maybe not needed
Cost: < $25 monthly
Side effects: Shaky hands, Drug ineffective

May 27, 2010 (Started Oct 31, 2007)

  • Effectiveness
    Major (for Treat my mood condition(s))
  • Side effects
    Moderate (Drug ineffective, Shaky hands)
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Somewhat hard to take
Dosage: 900 mg Daily
Cost: < $25 monthly
Side effects: Shaky hands, Drug ineffective

  • 0 helpful marks
sparkifox
50091 thumb
sparkifox
Gender: F
Data Quality: 2 stars
Depression: 3
Mania: 0
Emotional: 2
Anxiety: 3
Compulsion: 0
External Stress: Severe
31 F
Function: Low
Distress: Moderate
I am: vb
I have:
PTSD

See sparkifox's full Lithium Carbonate history

Dec 11, 2015 (Started Oct 28, 2014)

  • Effectiveness
    None (for Major Depressive Disorder)
  • Effectiveness
    None (for Agitation)
  • Side effects
    Mild (Mood swings)
  • Adherence
    Usually
  • Burden
    A little hard to take
Dosage: 600 mg Daily

  • 0 helpful marks
marathoner452
49528 thumb
marathoner452
Gender: F
Data Quality: 1 star
Depression: 1
Mania: 0
Emotional: 1
Anxiety: 1
Compulsion: 1
External Stress: Moderate
33 F
Function: High
Distress: Low
I am: g
I have:
Bipolar I

See marathoner452's full Lithium Carbonate history

May 27, 2015 (Started Nov 04, 2009)

  • Effectiveness
    Major (for Bipolar I Disorder)
  • Side effects
    Mild (Excessive thirst (polydipsia), Tiredness, Problems concentrating, Word fishing, Muscle twitching, Tremor in hands)
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Not at all hard to take
Dosage: 900 mg Daily
Advice & Tips: I should add that shortly after that last evaluation I ended up in the hospital so perhaps I wasn't doing so well as I thought. That was almost 4 years ago, however, and I am doing much better. Sometimes I'm even able to forget about my illness, except for the meds and therapy and pdoc visits. I've been at my job for 5 years, full time for 3. I've been in a steady relationship for 2 1/2 years. I'm even working on going back to teaching, possibly in an urban setting. I'm where I never thought I would be 6 years ago, healthier than I've probably been my entire life.
Cost: < $25 monthly
Side effects: Muscle twitching, Tremor in hands, Tiredness, Problems concentrating, Excessive thirst (polydipsia), Word fishing

Jul 9, 2011 (Started Nov 04, 2009)

  • Effectiveness
    Major (for Bipolar I Disorder)
  • Effectiveness
    Moderate (for Bipolar II Disorder)
  • Side effects
    Mild (Excessive thirst (polydipsia), Tiredness, Problems concentrating, Word fishing, Muscle twitching, Tremor in hands)
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Not at all hard to take
Dosage: 1050 mg Daily
Advice & Tips: Lithium's been the one constant in all my med changes over the past couple years. The dose goes up and down but it's always there and for that I'm grateful. My mood swings are for the most part manageable and much less frightening. If I get stare at the ceiling depressed it lasts the weekend not for months. Manias are mild and involve lots of projects and irritability but for the most part they're still fun. Anxiety is still an issue but it always will be. Hand tremors are easily controlled with Inderal. Sometimes it's unnerving though to think that a lot of what stands between the life I've created and falling apart is a few peach capsules. I'm careful to keep my meds close.
Cost: < $25 monthly
Side effects: Muscle twitching, Tremor in hands, Tiredness, Problems concentrating, Excessive thirst (polydipsia), Word fishing

May 7, 2010 (Started Nov 04, 2009)

  • Effectiveness
    Moderate (for Bipolar Disorder)
  • Side effects
    Moderate (Excessive thirst (polydipsia), Tiredness, Problems concentrating, Word fishing, Muscle twitching, Tremor in hands)
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Somewhat hard to take
Dosage: 1200 mg Daily
Advice & Tips: After each increase in dose I am very tired at first. I could sleep well at night and take several naps a day and still be tired. Fortunately this goes away after about two weeks. I am one of the lucky ones to not gain any weight. If anything I've lost a few pounds from the nausea and loss of appetite. I read somewhere that lithium changes the chemical composition of your saliva and this might be why I just don't have a taste for much of anything. I do, however, have the classic hand tremors and memory problems. These are more of a problem. I have to say right now that even on a relatively high dose of 1200 mg I don't seem to be getting much if any better. I've been on this dose for 2 1/2 weeks and I still am depressed enough that I don't want to get out of bed, I snap at little stuff like not being able to find my car keys, and I don't like to be around people. So right now it's hard for me to take it because I'm seeing side effects but very little change in my mood. I'm very discouraged.
Cost: < $25 monthly
Side effects: Muscle twitching, Tremor in hands, Tiredness, Problems concentrating, Excessive thirst (polydipsia), Word fishing

Apr 8, 2010 (Started Nov 04, 2009)

  • Effectiveness
    Major (for Bipolar Disorder)
  • Side effects
    Mild (Tiredness, Problems concentrating, Word fishing, Muscle twitching, Tremor in hands)
  • Adherence
    Always
  • Burden
    Not at all hard to take
Dosage: 900 mg Daily
Cost: < $25 monthly
Side effects: Muscle twitching, Tremor in hands, Tiredness, Problems concentrating, Excessive thirst (polydipsia), Word fishing

  • 0 helpful marks
Last updated:
Showing 3 of 90 patient evaluations for Lithium Carbonate