Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Lithium in maintenance therapy for bipolar disorder

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Allan Young, Dr James Newham


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Lithium has been used for the medical treatment of bipolar disorder for over 50 years. The purpose of this paper is to review the evidence base supporting the use of lithium in the maintenance phase of treatment of bipolar disorder and the limitations which reduce the clinical effectiveness of this medication. A selective review of the relevant literature was carried out. It is concluded that lithium is efficacious in the maintenance phase treatment of bipolar disorder, with the available evidence supporting a beneficial effect which prevents recurrence of mania; it is less clear if lithium prevents depressive episodes in bipolar disorder. A number of Lines of evidence support the notion that Lithium reduces suicidal acts and completed suicide. Lithium has a significant side effect burden and a narrow therapeutic index. It is also associated with an increased liability for new episodes, both manic and depressive, consequent upon stoppage of treatment. These factors limit the clinical effectiveness of lithium. © 2006 British Association for Psychopharmacology.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Young AH, Newham JI

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Psychopharmacology

Year: 2006

Volume: 20

Issue: 2

Pages: 17-22

ISSN (print): 0269-8811

ISSN (electronic): 1461-7285

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/1359786806063072

PubMed id: 16551668


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric