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Xephon

Starting Lithium

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Hi Bipolar Forum Members,

I just started on Lithium. I'm taking 300 mgs twice a day.

So far I've felt mildly dizzy, and a bit itchy (nothing serious). In most cases, do these side affects go away as my body becomes used to the drug?

FYI I've only been on lithium for eight days, my pdoc says it will be a little longer until I am raised to a proper therapuetic dose.

Thanks for any help or information you can provide.

-Xephon

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Dizzyness is quite common at start-up and will usually go away in a few weeks. Itchiness may or may not be a side-effect; however, if it persists and increases, bring it up with your pdoc. A long-term side-effect of Lithium is tremors of the hands. Read the FAQ sheet or Google Lithium for all the information. It's the first drug (mid-1940's) used to treat mental illnesses. It's tried and true for it's effectiveness.

The therapeutic level of Lithium is 0.5-1.0. It takes awhile to get the level that works for you. I didn't like the weekly blood tests, but that's the only way to monitor the levels. After the right dosage is found and the therapeutic level is reached, blood tests are usually drawn every 3-4 months. My pdoc also requested an annual liver function test.

Lithium is a salt so it's necessary for you to drink at least 8 glasses of (clear) water everyday. Frequent urination is common as Lithium secretes through the kidneys. If you're out in hot sun, increase your fluid intake and go inside if you start feeling the slightest dizziness.

Sheepwoman

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Dizzyness is quite common at start-up and will usually go away in a few weeks. Itchiness may or may not be a side-effect; however, if it persists and increases, bring it up with your pdoc. A long-term side-effect of Lithium is tremors of the hands. Read the FAQ sheet or Google Lithium for all the information. It's the first drug (mid-1940's) used to treat mental illnesses. It's tried and true for it's effectiveness.

The therapeutic level of Lithium is 0.5-1.0. It takes awhile to get the level that works for you. I didn't like the weekly blood tests, but that's the only way to monitor the levels. After the right dosage is found and the therapeutic level is reached, blood tests are usually drawn every 3-4 months. My pdoc also requested an annual liver function test.

Lithium is a salt so it's necessary for you to drink at least 8 glasses of (clear) water everyday. Frequent urination is common as Lithium secretes through the kidneys. If you're out in hot sun, increase your fluid intake and go inside if you start feeling the slightest dizziness.

Sheepwoman

Thanks Sheepwoman. The itchiness has gone away but I am still getting a bit of dizziness.

I have also been experiencing extremely intense dreams (usually nightmares) since starting lithium. Is this common? It might be because on lithium I am actually sleeping the whole night through-so I am able to dream. Previous to lithium I hadnt dreamt for about 6 months.

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If you do get the tremor it should go away in a few weeks :)

I don't know about the itching - never heard of that one

Of all my meds Lithium causes the fewest side effects. It's a lifesaver.

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Hi,

I've also just started taking Lithium (300mg twice daily) a lot more tired than usual this morning.

Which I guess is better than how I usually feel - little bit edgey / anxious.

What can I expect from Lithium?

If it works, will it just make the severe bouts of depression (black cloud hovering) go away, or become milder?

I have never had mania. Just the swings to the intense lows, that last for hours or days. The rest of the time I feel less depressed, still depressed, but it's ok-ish.

I also take:

150mg Seroquel at night to sleep (but I'm up for at least an hour during the night)

180mg Cymbalta at night (about to bump up to 240mg),

60mg max of Serapax (benzo) There were a few times when I took 120mg (4 tabs a day) much to my Psychiatrist disgust, but I was desperate. If I'm going through anxiety (my anxiety when bad doesn't lead into panic attacks... just the feeling of being on the verge of one 24/7).

But most days if it's ok, I'll only take 2 x 15 mg serapax.

I look forward to hearing about your experience with Lithium,

Cheers,

B.

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Hi,

I've also just started taking Lithium (300mg twice daily) a lot more tired than usual this morning.

Which I guess is better than how I usually feel - little bit edgey / anxious.

What can I expect from Lithium?

If it works, will it just make the severe bouts of depression (black cloud hovering) go away, or become milder?

I have never had mania. Just the swings to the intense lows, that last for hours or days. The rest of the time I feel less depressed, still depressed, but it's ok-ish.

I also take:

150mg Seroquel at night to sleep (but I'm up for at least an hour during the night)

180mg Cymbalta at night (about to bump up to 240mg),

60mg max of Serapax (benzo) There were a few times when I took 120mg (4 tabs a day) much to my Psychiatrist disgust, but I was desperate. If I'm going through anxiety (my anxiety when bad doesn't lead into panic attacks... just the feeling of being on the verge of one 24/7).

But most days if it's ok, I'll only take 2 x 15 mg serapax.

I look forward to hearing about your experience with Lithium,

Cheers,

B.

I have been taking Lithium for about 2 years and I've had only 2 side effects that haven't gone away. I get bad headaches and hand tremors which are really annoying, It makes it hard to eat or write because my hand shakes so badly. But I wouldn't trade it for anything, it has helped me so much! I hope this helps! (I take 900mg a day)

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Hi,

I've also just started taking Lithium (300mg twice daily) a lot more tired than usual this morning.

Which I guess is better than how I usually feel - little bit edgey / anxious.

What can I expect from Lithium?

If it works, will it just make the severe bouts of depression (black cloud hovering) go away, or become milder?

I have never had mania. Just the swings to the intense lows, that last for hours or days. The rest of the time I feel less depressed, still depressed, but it's ok-ish.

I also take:

150mg Seroquel at night to sleep (but I'm up for at least an hour during the night)

180mg Cymbalta at night (about to bump up to 240mg),

60mg max of Serapax (benzo) There were a few times when I took 120mg (4 tabs a day) much to my Psychiatrist disgust, but I was desperate. If I'm going through anxiety (my anxiety when bad doesn't lead into panic attacks... just the feeling of being on the verge of one 24/7).

But most days if it's ok, I'll only take 2 x 15 mg serapax.

I look forward to hearing about your experience with Lithium,

Cheers,

B.

I have been taking Lithium for about 2 years and I've had only 2 side effects that haven't gone away. I get bad headaches and hand tremors which are really annoying, It makes it hard to eat or write because my hand shakes so badly. But I wouldn't trade it for anything, it has helped me so much! I hope this helps! (I take 900mg a day)

How does it make you feel? Just 'normal' or 'even'? Does it drain or zombify or numb your emotions or mind? I'm just wondering cause a about 5 years ago I used to take a lot of prozac, which did the job, but it got to a point where I didn't feel anything. I switched to Lexapro, and have since switched to Cymbalta. But I've had very bad year (developed anxiety, and left a 13 year long abusive relationship, been through a lot of stress, had the worst lows of my life more and more frequently) which is why my Psych Doc has given me Lithium.

This is only my third day, I feel 'meh' or 'ok-ish' mood wise which is good, but my insomnia was bad last night, despite the fact I actually felt tired for once. I only managed to get about 3 hours sleep - even after taking seroquel. I don't usually sleep that well anywhere... I'm up during the night for at least an hour every night.. but on a good night I manage to get 6-8 hours. I don't know if not being able to sleep so well last night had anything to do with the lithium. I guess I'll see how I go tonight sleep-wise.

Thanks.

B

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Hi,

I've also just started taking Lithium (300mg twice daily) a lot more tired than usual this morning.

Which I guess is better than how I usually feel - little bit edgey / anxious.

What can I expect from Lithium?

If it works, will it just make the severe bouts of depression (black cloud hovering) go away, or become milder?

I have never had mania. Just the swings to the intense lows, that last for hours or days. The rest of the time I feel less depressed, still depressed, but it's ok-ish.

I also take:

150mg Seroquel at night to sleep (but I'm up for at least an hour during the night)

180mg Cymbalta at night (about to bump up to 240mg),

60mg max of Serapax (benzo) There were a few times when I took 120mg (4 tabs a day) much to my Psychiatrist disgust, but I was desperate. If I'm going through anxiety (my anxiety when bad doesn't lead into panic attacks... just the feeling of being on the verge of one 24/7).

But most days if it's ok, I'll only take 2 x 15 mg serapax.

I look forward to hearing about your experience with Lithium,

Cheers,

B.

I have been taking Lithium for about 2 years and I've had only 2 side effects that haven't gone away. I get bad headaches and hand tremors which are really annoying, It makes it hard to eat or write because my hand shakes so badly. But I wouldn't trade it for anything, it has helped me so much! I hope this helps! (I take 900mg a day)

How does it make you feel? Just 'normal' or 'even'? Does it drain or zombify or numb your emotions or mind? I'm just wondering cause a about 5 years ago I used to take a lot of prozac, which did the job, but it got to a point where I didn't feel anything. I switched to Lexapro, and have since switched to Cymbalta. But I've had very bad year (developed anxiety, and left a 13 year long abusive relationship, been through a lot of stress, had the worst lows of my life more and more frequently) which is why my Psych Doc has given me Lithium.

This is only my third day, I feel 'meh' or 'ok-ish' mood wise which is good, but my insomnia was bad last night, despite the fact I actually felt tired for once. I only managed to get about 3 hours sleep - even after taking seroquel. I don't usually sleep that well anywhere... I'm up during the night for at least an hour every night.. but on a good night I manage to get 6-8 hours. I don't know if not being able to sleep so well last night had anything to do with the lithium. I guess I'll see how I go tonight sleep-wise.

Thanks.

B

No the Lithium hasn't made me fell like a zombie or anything like that,but I do know if I don't take my Seroquel at night I don't sleep. I don't know if the insomnia has anything to do with Lithium or not but I just thank god for the Seroquel!! I haven't had any bad side effects from Lithium other than the shaky hands and the headaches. I have taken ALOT of other medications for bi-polar and had really bad side effects until I started taking Lithium and I wouldn't go off it for anything, because I haven't had any mania episodes since starting Lithium. I hope you have a better time on Lithium than you did on the other medications you were taking. It might take a few weeks for the Lithium to kick in.

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