Lithium comeback: The use of the ‘penicillin of psychiatry’ to treat bipolar disorder is resurging

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
images

A quick literature search for lithium therapy reveals a multitude of recent articles on its superior efficacy in the treatment of mood disorder—and its underutilization in favor of other, newer agents ….

Now, a new paper published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry concludes that “in practice, lithium should be prescribed to all [emphasis added] patients with bipolar disorder, unless there is a specific reason why an alternative is preferable or is better suited” (Malhi et al., 2020).

A frequent concern raised about lithium therapy is the risk of side effects, including lithium toxicity, which occurs when lithium is dosed too high or is taken in overdose. However, … lithium’s side effects are often overestimated by prescribers, and the drug’s long-term safety at appropriate doses has been well-established. Years of anti-lithium advertising by the pharmaceutical companies has contributed to these negative perceptions surrounding lithium treatment.

Related article:  ‘If you get better, you stay better’: Deep brain stimulation could offer long-lasting depression treatment

Fortunately, there now appears to be broad consensus in academic psychiatry that lithium, long-recognized as the single most effective mood-stabilizing agent, is underused—and that this represents a major problem in bipolar disorder treatment. Psychiatry’s “orphan drug,” long unsupported by any major pharmaceutical company, may be making a comeback.

Read the original post

Outbreak Featured
Infographic: Gene transfer mystery — How 'antifreeze' genes jumped from one species to another without sex

Infographic: Gene transfer mystery — How ‘antifreeze’ genes jumped from one species to another without sex

It isn’t surprising... that herrings and smelts, two groups of fish that commonly roam the northernmost reaches of the Atlantic ...
a bee covered in pollen x

Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

First introduced in 1995, neonicotinoids ...
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
glp menu logo outlined

Get news on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.