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Old drug, new data: Revisiting lithium therapy

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Nicol Ferrier, Dr Karine Macritchie, Dr Lindsey Ferrie


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New data have emerged over the past 10 years regarding the efficacy and mechanisms of action of lithium. This article briefly summarises the evidence for the use of lithium to treat affective disorders and psychosis, reviews its putative anti-suicidal effect, highlights new research on its mechanism of action and provides an update on some important side-effects and consequences of its use. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lithium remains a mainstay in the acute and prophylactic treatment of bipolar affective disorder. It is used in the augmentation of antidepressant treatment and, less frequently, in the augmentation of antipsychotic treatment of schizophrenia. It is reported to have specific anti-suicidal effects. Systematic reviews by the Cochrane Collaboration and others have examined the evidence base for its use in these contexts. A brief summary of their findings is given here.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ferrier N, Macritchie K, Ferrie LJ

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Advances in Psychiatric Treatment

Year: 2006

Volume: 12

Issue: 4

Pages: 256-264

ISSN (print): 1355-5146

ISSN (electronic): 1472-1481


DOI: 10.1192/apt.12.4.256