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Lithium Carbonate Review – 8 Things You Need to Know

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

Reviewed by Rebecca Williams, MD, MA, MB, BChir

Last Updated:

Evidence Based | Synopsis | Ingredients | Benefits | Warnings | Cost | Dosing | Does it Work

Lithium Carbonate is the first-line treatment for the manic phases of bipolar disorder. It is considered a mood stabilizer and can only be acquired if prescribed by your doctor.

Because of the increased demand for this type of products, there are many companies that are producing Lithium Carbonate, and there are many brand names associated with the product, such as Carbolith, Eskalith, Lithane, Lithobid, Lithotabs and Lithionane.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, mania, extreme mood swings, or other symptoms of bipolar disorder, then you should contact your doctor immediately, and he or she will decide if Lithium Carbonate is the right form of medication for you. Even if you are thoroughly convinced that you require this substance for medication, it is still highly recommended you consult a doctor, to determine the appropriate dosage and consumption method.


1) Lithium Carbonate at a Glance

Lithium Carbonate is a chemical compound of lithium, known for its use in treating mania and bipolar disorder.

People started using Lithium for these conditions in 1949, and it is still considered the main form of treatment for the manic phases of bipolar disorder. The substance takes a few months to begin having the desired effect, so it is commonly prescribed with antipsychotic medication for this time frame.

Lithium is also sometimes used in other psychiatric conditions such as cycloid psychosis and major depressive disorder. This substance is preferred to other mood stabilizers and anti-convulsants because of it’s important antisuicidal effect. Other uses for the substance include treatment of cluster headaches and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.


2) Lithium Carbonate Ingredients

Lithium Carbonate contains: Lithium Carbonate.

3) What Does Lithium Carbonate Do?

Lithium Carbonate is well known as a mood stabilizer and is routinely prescribed to individuals that have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Research studies performed on Lithium Carbonate and the effects it has on those taking it, have been numerous. As such, there is an awful lot of information available to you. It has been proven to stabilize patients’ mood swings to ensure that manic states are limited and individuals have a greater degree of control over their choices, actions, and reactions in everyday life.

Doctors may prescribe different doses from person to person. Hence it depends on how the problem needs to be treated. Usually, there is no exception from that rule, although all patients should expect side effects. For example, those with milder forms of bipolar disorder may feel more out of control as a result of tiredness. Be advised that no matter the amount you take, you should never expect immediate results. In fact, it can take months of doctor supervision to get the dose of Lithium Carbonate correct.

Furthermore, it is entirely possible for individuals to suffer from a range of adverse side effects despite the FDA approval that most brands of Lithium Carbonate have received. Nausea, hair loss, acne, blurred vision, lethargy, and dehydration are some of the more mild side effects whereas tremors, muscular hyperirritability, confusion, cardiac arrhythmia and hypertension are amongst the more serious.


4) Lithium Carbonate Benefits & Results

  • medically proven effect in stabilizing the mood of individuals
  • reduces suicidal behavior to a larger extent than other forms of prescription medication
  • price is usually covered by health insurance.


5) Lithium Carbonate Product Warnings

  • medication only available if prescribed by a doctor
  • doesn’t have an immediate effect
  • may have paradoxical side effects, increasing likelihood of suicide
  • overdosage may prove lethal.


6) How Much Does Lithium Carbonate Cost?

The price asked for Lithium Carbonate can be incredibly expensive on prescription, although it is not available to buy without one. The total price largely depends on the brand name that it is sold under, with some brand prices varying widely.

This discrepancy is most evident if you compare two competitive products online. One will offer you 100 400mg pills for $99, whereas you may find 120 450mg pills for $45. Before purchasing, you should consult a local licensed pharmacy.


7) Lithium Carbonate Serving Size

The dosage for this medication has to be set by the doctor that prescribes it to you. It is very important you do not go over the recommended dose, as the effects of overdosing on lithium include diarrhea, asthenia, ataxia, seizures and can even lead to death. Reported side effects for lithium are significant weight-gain, hypothyroidism and affections of the kidneys. It has also been reported to sometimes have paradoxical effects, increasing the occurrence of suicidal thoughts and actions.

Does it Work

8) Bottom Line – Does It Really Work?

Bipolar disorder is a very serious medical condition that has to be carefully diagnosed and treated. If you have been diagnosed with this condition and your doctor prescribed Lithium Carbonate to you, it is very important that you respect the indications given, as it is the fastest way to remove the negative effects of your conditions.

It is strongly recommended that you research producers for this medication, as the quality may differ between different manufacturers. There is a wide selection of generic Lithium Carbonate, but it is up to you if the trade-off between quality and price is worth the potential health risk.

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