mental illness

Slight shaking of the hands – talk to your doctor if this is bothering you or does not go away after a few days. These symptoms can be a sign that the dose is too high for you. Your doctor may change your dose or recommend taking your medicine at a different time of day. If you have kidney problems your doctor will monitor the level of lithium in your blood even more closely and change your dose if necessary. The most common side effects of lithium are feeling or being sick, diarrhoea, a dry mouth and a metallic taste in the mouth. Some medications—including many popular painkillers and cough, cold, and allergy remedies—contain more than one ingredient that can react with alcohol.

lithium therapy
diabetes insipidus

About half of individuals who struggle with mental health issues also struggle with a co-occurring substance use disorder. These individuals are at an increased risk of overdose due to the potential effects of mixing their prescription medication with other substances, such as mixing lithium and alcohol. Additionally, dual diagnosis patients need assistance managing both of their conditions in a safe and effective manner.

Lithium Carbonate ER drug interactions

Because alcohol mixes with body water, a given amount of alcohol is more concentrated in a woman’s body than in a man’s. As a result, women are more susceptible to alcohol-related damage to organs such as the liver. Some medicines that you might never have suspected can react with alcohol, including many medications which can be purchased “over-the-counter”—that is, without a prescription. Even some herbal remedies can have harmful effects when combined with alcohol.


Consequently, drinking alcohol and taking lithium may adversely affect sleep and circadian rhythms, which may worsen symptoms of bipolar disorder. If you turn to herbal remedies, like a soothing cup of chamomile or lavender tea, and accompany it with alcohol, you may feel extra drowsy. Combine alcohol with prescription treatments like Lunesta or Ambien, and you may feel unusually drowsy, sleepy, and dizzy. Those side effects may not seem so serious when you’re aiming to head to dreamland anyway.

Alcohol and lithium have opposing effects on the period and phase of the behavioral free-running activity rhythm

Lithium therapy didn’t reduce the frequency of drinking for relapse drinkers. People with bipolar disorder can have safe pregnancies, but you may need to take extra precautions. Alcoholic beverages can have a negative effect on many medications.

The therapeutic actions of lithium to begin working on the drug addict can take as long as thirty days. When this becomes commonly found among people, it becomes difficult to identify between people who actually like to drink a little and who have indulged in real trouble. It depends on how severe the disease is, how frequently an individual consumes it, and the type of alcohol a person consumes varies from individual to individual. Alcohol addiction is also referred to as alcoholism, which is an ailment which adversely impacts the individuals from every field of life. All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert.

risk for overdose

Your medical professional or pharmacist can provide more details as well as information about other possible interactions. Bipolar disorder causes extreme mood shifts that may last for several days. Generally, these moods alternate between manic episodes and depressive episodes.

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction may include swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which may cause trouble breathing. You may also experience swelling under your skin, often in your lips, eyelids, hands, or feet. Many drugs, including lithium, can cause an allergic reaction. Even though allergic reaction wasn’t reported in studies of lithium, it can still happen.

This can increase the chance of high levels of lithium in your blood. It’s important to remember this, especially in hot weather when you will sweat more and your body loses water. Before starting lithium, it’s important to tell your medical professional about any other drugs you take. This is because certain drugs, including antipsychotics in some cases, may increase your risk for side effects from lithium. To lessen your risk for side effects from lithium, your medical professional may regularly check your lithium levels with blood tests.

They’ll also check your lithium levels frequently with a blood test. 96 patients out of 1340 experienced at least one episode of lithium levels greater than 1.5 mmol/L. A cohort of seventy-seven participants had experienced 91 episodes, of whom 34% needed intensive care and 13% required hemodialysis with no deaths. Acute kidney injury occurred, but renal function at baseline was not different from renal function after the episode . Avoid excessive intake of caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, cola or energy drinks, since these may decrease levels of lithium and decrease effectiveness of the medication.

Medically Assisted Treatment

Alcohol can increase the nervous system side effects of lithium such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking and judgment. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with lithium. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns. And, of course, prescription painkillers—such as Vicodin, Percocet, or Demerol—are serious business.

  • It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.
  • Lithium is not an antipsychotic medicine, it’s known as a mood stabiliser.
  • If you’re wondering how to pay for lithium, we suggest that you talk with your medical professional or pharmacist.
  • In case of moderate or severe symptoms, the patient has to be admitted to an intensive care unit.

Thiscan causethe amount of lithium in your blood to rise, which can become toxic. In general, combining lithium and alcohol may not be advised, and you should always speak to your doctor about potential risks and side effects. There are other considerations with mixing lithium and alcohol. Because alcohol dehydrates the body, it can lead the amount of lithium in the blood to rise and become toxic.

For these reasons, most doctors advise not taking these medications together. While it is generally not advisable to consume alcohol while taking lithium, it is important to know and understand the risks. An older 2015 study notes that people with bipolar disorder have a high prevalence of alcohol use.

More serious symptoms of lithium toxicity include coma, seizures, and death. This happens when you take a little too much lithium daily over a long period of time. Dehydration, other medications, and other conditions including kidney problems, can affect how your body handles lithium. Over time, these factors can cause lithium to slowly build up in your body. Some medicines can interact with lithium and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Ask your doctor before making any changes in how or when you take your medications.

What are the symptoms of lithium toxicity?

Moreover, both therapeutic lithium usage and intoxication can be accompanied by leukocytosis. Furthermore, interference by the carbonate anion after lithium carbonate acute ingestion in the calculation of anion gap might lead to a low anion gap. Lithium administration leads to the inhibition of thyroid hormone synthesis and subsequent release, resulting in hypothyroidism. Chronic therapy with lithium can precipitate nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, which might elicit a cascade of symptoms and signs of lithium toxicity. This can be attributed to the diminished urinary concentrating capacity of the kidneys.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Lithium is a medicine with a narrow range of safety and toxicity can occur if you take only slightly more than a recommended dose. 1.Vieta E, Sanchez-Moreno J. Acute and long-term treatment of mania. Intoxication degree is of utmost importance for understanding lithium toxicity diagnosis and management. Acute overdose in a patient on chronic therapy (acute-on-chronic).

However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice. Trained Emergency Physician who has practiced for 15 years and also had guided alcohol and drug addiction programs for the past 20 years. Lithium is an antimanic agent, and it works to treat affective disorders by decreasing abnormal activity in the brain. Lithium is available as a tablet, capsule, extended-release (long-acting) tablet, and solution to take by mouth. Lithium toxicity is easily manageable if an individual gets medical attention.

Several factors might lead to impairment in taking a responsible vacation while in recovery secretion. Furthermore, drugs reducing the glomerular filtration rate might inflict chronic toxicity. Lithium, a monovalent cation similar to sodium with an unknown mechanism, was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a mood-stabilizing medication for the treatment of mania in the 1970s.

So, lithium might actually be essential for people with a double diagnosis which are alcohol addiction and bipolar disorder. Taking lithium and alcohol may produce changes in the levels of sodium in the body due to dehydration which is considered an added risk factor. Even in the case of excessively drinking coffee, tea, or caffeinated drinks may also lessen the levels of lithium in the body and can lessen the effects of the drug. Becoming dehydrated from vomiting or urinating after drinking can cause the lithium levels in your blood toincrease to toxic levels. Your doctor likely keeps a close eye on your lithium levels for this reason.