Old drug, new data: Revisiting lithium therapy

  1. Lookup NU author(s)
  2. Professor Nicol Ferrier
  3. Dr Karine Macritchie
  4. Dr Lindsey Ferrie
Author(s)Ferrier N, Macritchie K, Ferrie LJ
Publication type Review
JournalAdvances in Psychiatric Treatment
ISSN (print)1355-5146
ISSN (electronic)1472-1481
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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.
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