Adult Medication

Brand Names: US


Brand Names: Canada

Apo-Lithium Carbonate; Carbolith; Lithane; Lithmax; PMS-Lithium Carbonate; PMS-Lithium Citrate


  • This drug may cause bad side effects at doses that are close to the normal dose. Do not take more of this drug than you are told. You will have blood tests to check the level of this drug in your blood. Tell your doctor right away if you feel very sleepy, pass more urine than normal, or have upset stomach, loose stools (diarrhea), throwing up, blurred eyesight, ringing in the ears, giddiness, weak muscles, shakiness, twitching, seizures, eye movements that are not normal, or a big change in balance.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat bipolar problems.
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

  • If you have an allergy to lithium or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have any of these health problems: Fluid loss (dehydrated), heart disease, kidney disease, low levels of salt in your blood, or if you are very sick or weak.
  • If you have a certain heart problem called Brugada syndrome or you have ever passed out for an unknown reason.
  • If a family member has Brugada Syndrome or has suddenly died before 45 years of age.
  • If you are taking drugs for blood pressure or heart problems. You may need to have your blood work checked more closely.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how this drug affects you.
  • If you start on a low-salt diet, tell your doctor. It will change the way your body handles the lithium.
  • Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol.
  • Fever, infection, throwing up, loose stools (diarrhea), or sweating a lot may change how much of this drug is in your blood. If any of these happen, talk with the doctor.
  • Be careful in hot weather or while being active. Drink lots of fluids to stop fluid loss.
  • A certain heart problem (Brugada Syndrome) has shown up in some people taking this drug. These people had this problem but did not know it at the time. People with Brugada Syndrome have a heartbeat that is not normal and are at risk for sudden death. Talk with the doctor.
  • Brain problems have rarely happened in people taking this drug with certain other drugs like haloperidol. Sometimes, these brain problems have led to long-lasting brain damage. Talk with the doctor.
  • If you are 65 or older, use this drug with care. You could have more side effects.
  • This drug is not approved for use in children younger than 12 years old. Talk with the doctor.
  • This drug may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Slow heartbeat.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there).
  • Memory problems or loss.
  • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Too much sweat or fluid loss.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Restlessness.
  • Trouble walking.
  • Extra muscle action.
  • Swelling in the feet or hands.
  • A change in weight without trying.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Change in eyesight.
  • Ringing in ears.
  • Not able to control bladder.
  • Not able to control bowels.
  • Feeling sleepy.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
  • Shakiness of the hand.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Upset stomach.
  • More thirst.
  • Headache.
  • Passing urine more often.
  • Dry or thin hair.
  • Hair loss.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

All products:

  • Take with or without food. Take with food if it causes an upset stomach.
  • Drink lots of noncaffeine liquids unless told to drink less liquid by your doctor.
  • Keep your salt use the same from day to day.

Liquid (solution):

  • Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with this drug. If there is none, ask the pharmacist for a device to measure this drug.

Long-acting products:

  • Swallow whole. Do not chew or crush.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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