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 792 440
Bipolar I Disorder 336 192
Bipolar II Disorder 331 192
ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) 302 126
Major Depressive Disorder 63 50
Cluster Headaches 27 26

Show all 82 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 226
Moderate 248
Mild 231
None 191

Commonly reported side effects and conditions associated with Lithium Carbonate

Side effect Patients
Tremor in hands 113
Weight gain 83
Nausea 52
Thirst 44
Diarrhea 43
Excessive thirst (polydipsia) 37

Show all 316 reported side effects

Dosages

Based on patients currently taking Lithium Carbonate

Dosage Patients
300 mg twice daily 30
900 mg daily 30
300 mg daily 28
600 mg twice daily 21
600 mg daily 19
300 mg three times daily 16
1,200 mg daily 12
450 mg twice daily 7
150 mg daily 6
400 mg twice daily 5

See all 51 dosages

Why patients stopped taking Lithium Carbonate

Multiple reasons could be selected

Reason Patients
Side effects too severe 433
Did not seem to work 335
Doctor's advice 233
Other 143
Personal research 69
Course of treatment ended 27
Expense 17
Change in health plan coverage 7
See all 880 patients who’ve stopped taking Lithium Carbonate

Duration

Currently taking Lithium Carbonate

Duration Patients
Less than 1 month 3
1 - 6 months 18
6 months - 1 year 30
1 - 2 years 23
2 - 5 years 50
5 - 10 years 66
10 years or more 52

Stopped taking Lithium Carbonate

Duration Patients
Less than 1 month 158
1 - 6 months 239
6 months - 1 year 164
1 - 2 years 120
2 - 5 years 121
5 - 10 years 39
10 years or more 45
Adherence
Adherence Evaluations
Always 671
Usually 144
Sometimes 28
Never taken as prescribed 53
Burden
Burden Evaluations
Very hard to take 75
Somewhat hard to take 136
A little hard to take 145
Not at all hard to take 540
Cost per month
Cost per month Evaluations
$200+ 5
$100-199 1
$50-99 12
$25-49 37
< $25 462
Not specified 379

What people switch to and from

Patients started taking Lithium Carbonate after stopping:

Treatment Patients
Lamotrigine (Lamictal) 35
Quetiapine (Seroquel) 32
Aripiprazole (Abilify) 15
Divalproex sodium (Depakote) 14
Fluoxetine (Prozac) 6

Show all 33 treatments patients report switching from

Patients stopped taking Lithium Carbonate and switched to:

Treatment Patients
Lamotrigine (Lamictal) 39
Divalproex sodium (Depakote) 20
Aripiprazole (Abilify) 13
Quetiapine (Seroquel) 11
Carbamazepine (Tegretol) 6

Show all 36 treatments patients report switching to

Last updated:

90 patient evaluations for Lithium Carbonate

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

Jerry123
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Jerry123
Gender: M
Data Quality: 3 stars
Depression: 2
Mania: 1
Emotional: 2
Anxiety: 2
Compulsion: 3
External Stress: Severe
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: 3 stars
Depression: 4
Mania: 0
Emotional: 3
Anxiety: 3
Compulsion: 1
External Stress: Severe
31 F
Function: Low
Distress: Moderate
I am: vb
I have:
C-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
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marathoner452
Gender: F
Data Quality: 2 stars
Depression: 1
Mania: 0
Emotional: 0
Anxiety: 1
Compulsion: 0
External Stress: Moderate
33 F
Function: High
Distress: Low
I am: vg
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