Could Long-term Lithium Use be Causing This?
[Home] [Bipolar News] [Bipolar Disorder] [Medications] [Treatments] [Bipolar Disorder/Job/School] [Disabilities] [Ask the Doctor] [Ask David] [Self-Injury] [Personal Stories] [Graham's Column] [Steven's Column] [Storm's Column] [Columnist Archives] [Suicide] [Community Support] [Family Members] [Expressions] [Greeting Cards] [Books] [Awards] [Links & Rings] [About Us] [Contact Us]


Q:  Could Long-term Lithium Use be Causing This?

Dr. Phelps,

My father (77 years old) has been on lithium (for manic depression) for over 30 years.  Recently he has exhibitied sytmptoms of tremors, drooling, fatigue and memory loss.  At first, we were concerned that it could be the onset of Parkinsons, but now his physicians have expressed concerns of his long term lithium use. My father refuses to give up the lithium.  Could long term lithium usage be causing these problems? Are there alternatives? 



Dear Pam -- 
A friend of mine says "medications are guilty until proven innocent", so I wouldn't say "no, that's not it"; and besides, you have some doc's who are right on top of the story who think lithium might be the culprit.  I can say: tremor, yes; fatigue, yes; but drooling and memory loss, I would be less likely to attribute to lithium if these had not been apparent over the years.  You've probably already pursued this:   a trial of lowering the dose just slightly, perhaps he'd agree to that, as a means of determining whether there's some validity to the concerns?  

Dr. Phelps

Published September, 2003 


Bipolar World   1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Allie Bloom, David Schafer, M.Ed. (Blackdog)
Partners:  John Haeckel, Judith (Duff) 
Founder:  Colleen Sullivan

Email Us at Bipolar World


About Us  Add a Link  Advance Directives  Alternative Treatments  Ask the Doctor   Ask Dr. Plyler about Bipolar Disorder   Ask The Doctor/ Topic Archives  Awards  Benny the Bipolar Puppy  Bipolar Chat  Bipolar Children  Bipolar Disorder News  Bipolar Help Contract  Bipolar World Forums  Book Reviews  Bookstore  BP & Other mental Illness   Clinical Research Trials & FDA Drug Approval   Community Support   Contact Us  The Continuum of Mania and Depression   Coping   Criteria    Criteria and Diagnosis  Criteria-World Health Disabilities,  DSMV-IV   Dual Diagnosis  eGroups  Expressions (Poetry, Inspiration, Humor, Art Gallery, Memorials  Family Members   Getting Help for a Loved One who Refuses Treatment  Greeting Cards  History of Mental Illness  Indigo  Job and School  Links  Manage Your Medications  Medications   Medication and Weight Gain    News of the Day  Parent Chat  Pay for Meds  Personal Stories  Self Help  Self Injury  Significant Others  Stigma and Mental Health Law  Storm's Column  Suicide!!!  The Suicide Wall  Table of Contents   Treatments  Treatment Compliance  US Disability  Veteran's Chat  What's New?