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Product Overview

Lithium (generic Lithobid)

  • What is lithium?
    Lithium (generic Lithobid) is a prescription drug used to treat mania and bipolar I disorder.

    Looking for a safe, effective way to keep your mental health under control? Talk to your provider about whether lithium may be right for you.

  • What are the most common side effects of lithium?
    While adverse reactions to lithium are uncommon, some patients who take the drug may experience mild side effects, including skin problems; brittle hair or fingernails; loss of appetite; thirst; indigestion; constipation; loss of ability to taste; stomach pain; heightened discomfort to the cold; pains in the joints or muscles; swollen lips; dry mouth; weight loss or gain; and/or tremor. The risk of these side effects is greatly reduced by careful laboratory monitoring with your clinician.

    This is not a complete list of side effects. Rare, more serious adverse events have also been known to occur. If you are concerned that lithium may be causing you to experience any number of side effects, please contact your doctor.

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Medically Reviewed By Dr. Allison Edwards, MD

Frequently asked questions about Lithium Carbonate

What is lithium carbonate?

Lithium carbonate is a prescription drug used to treat mania and mixed episodes related to bipolar I disorder.

Bipolar disorder affects over 2 million people in the United States annually. Mania is one of two episodes or swings you experience when you have bipolar disorder. This might be expressed in feelings of euphoria, energy, and sometimes irritability. On the other side of the spectrum, depression swings your mood the opposite direction, resulting in feeling sad, hopeless, or unmotivated even in normal daily activities. It is called a “mixed episode,” when symptoms of both sides of the spectrum occur at the same time or in quick succession without any time in between to recover.

Lithium carbonate has shown to be effective in controlling symptoms of mania and bipolar I disorder. While it can manage your side effects, it is important to note that it is not a cure for either condition.

What is lithium carbonate used to treat?

Lithium carbonate is used to treat manic and mixed episodes caused by bipolar I disorder. There’s no direct cause linked to bipolar disorder, but there are a few factors connected to the disorder, including genes and physical changes in their brains. It is not yet clear how significant these changes are to the causation of bipolar disorder.

How does lithium carbonate work?

While there is no scientific consensus as to how lithium carbonate works, research suggests that the medication helps to stabilize your mood by aiding the restoration of mood and impulse controlling neurotransmitters.

You should not use lithium carbonate if you have severe renal impairment. Do not stop taking lithium or change the amount of salt in your diet unless otherwise instructed to by your doctor.

What are the most common side effects of lithium carbonate?

While adverse reactions to lithium carbonate ate uncommon, some patients who take the drug may experience mild side effects, including:

Skin problems such as rash, itching, acne, paleness Brittle hair or fingernails, or hair loss Mild thirst, loss of appetite, gas, indigestion, constipation, loss of ability to taste food, stomach pain Heightened discomfort in the cold Pain the joints or muscles Swollen lips, excessive saliva in the mouth, dry mouth Weight loss or weight gain Uncontrollable small hand movements

If these symptoms persist or become severe, tell your doctor. In some cases, symptoms can be a sign of something serious. Seek immediate medical attention or call your doctor right away if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

Blackouts Seizures Confusion Headache See or hear things that do not exist (hallucinations) Urinating frequently Feeling overly tired or weak Having jerky movements, or have movements that you can’t control Chest tightness, shortness of breath, or fast/slow/irregular/pounding heartbeats Crossed eyes Cold, discolored or painful toes and fingers Feeling lightheaded or dizzy Fainting Excessively thirsty Hear pounding noises inside your head.

Stop using lithium carbonate and call your doctor if you experience any of the following:

Diarrhea and/or vomiting Your speech becomes slurred Feel overly giddy Hear ringing in your ears Blurred vision If your muscles twitch, weaken, become tight or feel weak Lose coordination or have a body part that shakes or you cannot control.

This is not a complete list of side effects. For more information on adverse effects you may experience while taking lithium carbonate, please visit the National Institutes of Health’s DailyMed webpage.

How long does it take for lithium carbonate to work?

It may take up to 1 to 3 weeks before you feel the full benefits of taking lithium carbonate. Even if you begin to feel fine, you should continue using lithium carbonate unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

What is the typical starting dose of lithium carbonate?

If you’re being treated for bipolar I disorder, the typical starting dose for lithium carbonate can range from 600 mg to 900 mg split between 2 and 3 doses a day respectively. Your doctor will likely monitor you to ensure you are receiving the proper dosage.

Can I get lithium carbonate over-the-counter?

Lithium carbonate is currently only available via prescription. This means the use of this drug must be authorized by a licensed health care provider.

Looking for a prescription? Good news! Providers on Sesame can write a prescription – or refill an existing one – during a virtual or in-person visit. Depending on the medication, you can arrange for same-day pickup at a pharmacy near you or order the medication to be delivered to your door for just $5. Book an online consultation with a real, licensed provider on Sesame today to determine whether or not lithium carbonate is right for you.

Note that all prescriptions are at the discretion of your health care provider. Providers on Sesame cannot prescribe controlled substances.

Can I get lithium carbonate online?

Yes! Sesame offers a fully integrated prescription service, which means you can get the medication you need delivered right to your door, starting at just $5 a month.

Talk to a provider on Sesame and get your online doctor prescription or refill ordered right away for fast and convenient pickup from a pharmacy of your choice.

Note that all prescriptions are at the discretion of your clinician.