Long term side effects of lithium carbonate

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I have been taking lithium carbonate for nearly eight years. I have recently had my meds upped to 1000mg at night. I am not bi-polar but suffer from severe recurrent depression. I would like to know the effects both reversal and irreversible of long term lithium use? I have regular blood tests where thyroid and liver function are checked. Thankyou.

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  • Posted

    i have been on lithium for 8 years too. at lowest dose 800mg and highest 1000mg.

    long term affects that have been devloping over th last year include

    memory problems

    conecntration problems

    losing cognitive skills ie easy maths problems, knowing what day it is, knowing how to spell a word,

    incontinence

    tremor

    i dont have the option to move to another mood stabeliser because of complications so i just put up with them. yes they affect me greatly but end of day im still here. without the lithium i know i would have given up years ago.

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  • Posted

    i've been taking this for..................................35 years. Dosage 800mg Huh! believe me I'm fed up with it.  Always had weight problems and miss my old free happy kindred spirit, but I'm still here too and that's probably the payoff.  My thyroid recently packed in.  But I have additional meds for that and I'm learning to be continually monitored.  Sometimes I feel incredibly low but not low enough to not be able to differentiate from the reality of my imagination.  My kidneys upto date are perfect but they are monitored by blood tests. Healthy living plays an integral part in my well being.  That doesn't mean I don't like all the things your not supposed to eat or drink.  Alcohol intake is almost negligible these days.  Maybe I should cut out the caffeine but exercise is excellent, except.............I just got old!!!!  
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  • Posted

    I am not bipolar, nor do I take Lithium but I live with someone that does.  He has many side effects that are really starting to effect his quality of life.  His memory is deteriorating and his right had tremors uncontrollably all the time now.  Sometimes his mouth moves also but not all the time.  He seems to have lost strength in his legs and falls quite often.  I'm afraid he's going to eventually break and arm or a leg.  I really want him to get on the medicine to help with the tremors but he has mostly resisted so far.  We have only be together for 4 years so I don't know how long he has been taking Lithium.  I believe it is a long time. I'm very concerned and worried about him.  I was just reading up on side effects of Lithium and came across this site.  I do hope it is ok to write you with my concerns. Thanks so much

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    • Posted

      Hi.....has he been getting his levels checked regularly? Too much Lithium in his blood can be very dangerous and will effect his  kidneys and other organs. I would look into that straight away!  It sounds like his dose may need adjusting. I've been on lithium many years and the only real side affects I've had is some weight gain. Other than that it works great  for me. Best wishes....hope to hear how he is doing. 

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  • Posted

    I've been taking Lithium Carbonate for only four years, but my memory is so bad I have been afraid I have early onset dementia. It's crazy. I'm a writer, and I lose words. I eventually remember them, but it's really scary. I forget the names of my friends and their children, and last month I left my purse two different places on the same day. Ugh! My doctor is weaning me off the Lithium and adding lamictil. I hope it doesn't have the same effects. I hope my memory comes back too. Hoping.

    Anita

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    • Posted

      Anita..ive also been on lithium this past few years and was on it 2 years before this period for 5 years if I have confused you with thay timetable I'm sorry maybe over the past 10 years i have had a 2 year period were i was weaned of it under my GP supervision.

      I just want to say that I am also on 100mg Lamactol by my phsycharist and 150mg Sertraline 600mg lithium also its been a great combo for me. I do attend lithium clinic every 3 months for blood tests and thanks be to God I've always been fine only one time when my lithium was upped to 800mg that was before the other 2 were added in..i was toxic so was immediately put back down to 600mg and them other 2 meds added. I've never looked back and that was a few years ago now. I also give much thanks to my God also.

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  • Posted

    I think it's broken my Kidneys, I'm on DIALYSIS

    My kidneys just don't work at all.

    I'm a drug user, and the drugs have destroyed my poor Kidneys.

    Lithium is my drug of choice and is very recreational.

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  • Posted

    I am sorry, but Lithium is first line treatment for Bipolar disorder. If i did not have Bipolar, I would not even CONSIDER taking it. Why does your doctor not have you on a regular SSRI?  Lithium does have a lot of side effects. i have taken it a long, long, time. But i have to.   I really have never heard of anyone taking it that does not have a bipolar diagnosis????     I guess i could be wrong. I am in the US. Sounds lke Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft  would be more in line longterm.....  good luck to you.
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  • Posted

    I took 2400 mg of Lithium from 1999-2015.  The net effect was the development of Parkinsonism.  I was misdiagnosed as bipolar (I have ADD).  I had to leave work and go on disability due to the Parkinson's and cognitive effects of lithium.  I actually have ADD (I take no meds now).  When my neurologst recogized this in 2015, he referred me to a psychiatrist and together they titirated me off all drugs over 10 months.  10 months following titiration, I became asymptomatic for Parkinson's, and was cleared to return to work.  I had (and still have) memory problems (short-term and long-term). I have almost no memories from 2001 - 2014.  I don't remember my children's childhoods - only vague memories.  The grief I experience because of all this is unimaginable.  To think that I lost nearly 20 years of my life due to drugs given to me for a conditon I didn't have is almost unbelievealbe.  But life has turned around, and this period of my past is finally behind me.

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    • Posted

      i have a corect diagnosis of bipolar and was on lithium at a max dose of 1200 mg for years. many times it was at 900 mg. your story is infuriating. so many people are misdiagnosed, but to gvie you that much, 2400 mg, is unbelievalble. i am so sorry that this happened to you. was it a specialist that diagnosed you?  i hope that you will be able to recover damages for you pain and suffering. please don't let them keep getting away from misdiagnosing this illness and over medicating people because it is just easy. make them be responsible. good luck to you. i think you have the right attitude, and you can get through this. at least you can think now.....

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  • Posted

    To everyone who takes lithium- PLEASE be very careful.  I have always been a healthy person but suffered from depression.  In '86 I was very depressed and ended up in the hospital.  They really doped me up, but one thing I wasn't aware of, they put me on lithium.  When I finally got my senses back, I questioned it.  They said I was bi-polar and I knew I wasn't. try convincing a doctor that after being diagnosed by an opinion by another doctor =? They will not go against the other doctor.  So I fought for years- 25 in fact.  When I found out I had kidney disease due to the lithium, I was scared and begged them to let me go off it.  Answer- oh,no after 6 months you will become manic.  I had never ever been manic and the lithium did nothing to help my severe depressions I ended up with.  So I decided on my own, telling only 1 person, my best friend, to stop taking the lithium and I stopped for 9 months.  No mania- actually I felt much better.  First I went to my therapist and told her what I did and she told me that I have been with her for 2 1/2 years and she never saw a sign of bipolar.  she told me to go to the psychiatrist I was seeing at the time and when I told him, he asked me to get my records from when I was in the hospital.  He looked at it and said it was a big joke- I am not bi-polar, nor was I ever bi-polar.  he took the BRAND off my records.  as it turned out I had stage 2 kidney disease,  I haven't taken lithium for 10 years now.  recently the doctors found a problem with my heart which required open heart surgery.  I had many, many tests, plus the creatine for my kidneys- they went way up. So I had to go through a series of tests for my kidneys.  As it turned out I am now at stage 4 and need  surgery for my heart, which complicates everything.  This has been nerve racking as it is.  But to know I am having these problems because of taking a medication I should never have taken, has broken my heart! it can not be reversed.  now I have had trust issues with many medicals, also because of the way they treated me when they thought I was bi-polar.  At that time the stigma about bi-polar was terrible.  there are other mood stablizers out there- try those.  There may be that slight chance it may not happen to you- but I know many it has happened to.  Thanks

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  • Posted

    1200 mg of lithium daily. I'm honestly not sure what side effects I may or may not be experiencing because I'm on several other anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds as well as an anti-psychotic. I know the blood tests are mainly to determine liver function and sodium as lithium is a salt and can be toxic in large quantities. Been on this dose for 2 years and my psychiatrist has never really gone into or seemed concerned about potential side effects. Sorry if this post isn't useful, but i thought it might help to know someone on a higher dosage that's still kicking (mostly...). 

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  • Posted

    I have been on lithium now for 8 years and I take a rather small dose compared to the dosages I read in the posts above. I am bipolar and I can not due to severe allergic reaction to anti psychotic take them. So that has left me with lithium. I only take 600 mg and I have my blood tested regularly and last blood test reviewed I am low on my lithium. So along with being low on my lithium levels my feet and ankles have started swelling to painful portions. Pain in my legs and lower hip and now I am noticing joint pain in my hands. I once was so active and danced for a living and taught aerobics now I am almost bed ridden and the doctors are in the midst of a deluge of test my blood work and heart test all came back normal. I am loosing my mobility and I am beginning to wonder if my lithium has done this. It's so frustrating to know to stay sane I have to take a medication that causes this kind of damage. I was really just starting to enjoy my life and now all this.. I wish you well on your journey

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    • Posted

      You sound like you are having the problems I have had for years.  After seeing my Nephrologist I have learn a lot about what lithium does.  I've also been researching.  Lithium will stay in your body doing damage until the day you die.  I took it for 25 years, begging my doctors to take me off it because I knew the doctor's opinion about my being Bi-Polar was totally wrong, but no one ever listened to me.  I also found out that lithium is a metal and it is going inside of everyone taking it.  Please for your own safety and health see if there is another mood stabilizer that could help you!  I hope and pray you don't ever get to the point that I am.  Lithium effects the nervous system and yes, I believe it does a lot more to the body than any one is willing to admit.  I am praying for you and wish you the very best.  <3 Linda80818

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