Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Lithium
Last updated on July 3, 2019.
GENERIC NAME: Lithium
CHINESE NAME: 鋰
COMMON BRANDS IN HONG KONG: Apo-Lithium Carbonate, Licrab, Lithiofor, PMS-Lithium Carbonate
What is Lithium for?
Lithium is a mood stabilizer. It can be used to treat and prevent mania, bipolar disorder, recurrent depression, and self-harming or aggressive behaviour. The exact mechanism of action of Lithium is still unknown, but it is thought to be related to the enhancement of nerve cells connecting certain brain regions that regulate mood, mind and behaviour. Lithium is effective in reducing the frequency and severity of manic episodes.
How to use it?
The doses of Lithium vary between different products and are adjusted according to the concentration of Lithium in your blood. Regular blood tests are therefore required if you are taking Lithium. Lithium can be taken once, twice or three times daily. Your doctor will adjust your Lithium dose based on your response. Lithium has a very narrow therapeutic window and hence the dose of Lithium must be controlled precisely. Symptoms of Lithium toxicity like extreme thirst, frequent urination and abnormal movement start to appear when the blood Lithium level reaches above 1.5 mmol/L (1.2 mmol/L for elderly). Remember to stay hydrated to avoid toxicity.
What are the side effects of Lithium?
Common side effects of Lithium include metallic taste, thirst, nausea, diarrhoea, tremors, blurred vision, delirium, loss of kidney functions, hypothyroidism and ECG changes.
Where to buy Lithium in Hong Kong?
In Hong Kong, Lithium is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.
For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at http://www.drugoffice.gov.hk
For detailed information about the use of Lithium in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.
Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.