Lithium is a medication used to treat bipolar disorder (manic depression). This article focuses on lithium overdose, or toxicity.
- Acute toxicity occurs when you intentionally or accidentally swallow too much of a lithium prescription.
- Chronic toxicity occurs when you slowly take a little too much of a lithium prescription every day for a while. This is actually quite easy to do, as dehydration, other medications, and other conditions can easily interfere with lithium in your body and cause it to build up.
- Acute on chronic toxicity occurs when you take lithium every day for bipolar disorder, but one day you take an extra amount (as little as a couple of pills or as much as a whole bottle).
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Eskalith toxicity; Lithane toxicity; Lithobid toxicity; Lithonate toxicity; Lithotabs toxicity
Lithium, a soft metal
Lithium is sold under various brand names, including:
Note: Lithium is also commonly found in batteries, lubricants, high performance metal alloys, and soldering supplies. This article focuses only on the medication.
Review Date: 01/21/2010
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.