What is/are Lithium Carbonate?
Lithium carbonate is an inorganic compound, the lithium salt of carbonate with the formula Li2CO3. This white salt is widely used in the processing of metal oxides and has received attention for the treatment for manic and bipolar disorder. It exists as the rare mineral zabuyelite.
In 1843, lithium carbonate was used as a new solvent for stones in the bladder. In 1859, some doctors recommended a therapy with lithium salts for a number of ailments, including gout, urinary calculi, rheumatism, mania, depression, and headache. In 1949, John Cade discovered the anti-manic effects of lithium ions. This finding led lithium, specifically lithium carbonate, to be used to treat mania associated with bipolar disorder.
Lithium carbonate is used to treat mania, the elevated phase of bipolar disorder. Lithium ions interfere with ion transport processes (see “sodium pump”) that relay and amplify messages carried to the cells of the brain. Mania is associated with irregular increases in protein kinase C (PKC) activity within the brain. Lithium carbonate and sodium valproate, another drug traditionally used to treat the disorder, act in the brain by inhibiting PKC’s activity and help to produce other compounds that also inhibit the PKC. Despite these findings, a great deal remains unknown regarding lithium's mood controlling properties[citation needed.
Some studies have suggested therapeutic benefit of lithium carbonate in certain neuromuscular conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy. A 2010 controlled trial of lithium carbonate in ALS did not confirm earlier suggestions, finding the compound ineffective and possibly toxic in ALS patients.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction while taking lithium: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop taking lithium and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
- Extreme thirst, urinating more or less than usual;
- Weakness, fever, feeling restless or confused, eye pain and vision problems;
- Restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck;
- Pain, cold feeling, or discoloration in your fingers or toes;
- Feeling light-headed, fainting, slow heart rate;
- Hallucinations, seizure (blackout or convulsions);
- Fever with muscle stiffness, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats; or
- Early signs of lithium toxicity, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, muscle weakness, tremor, lack of coordination, blurred vision, or ringing in your ears.
Less serious side effects of lithium may include:
- Mild tremor of the hands;
- Weakness, lack of coordination;
- Mild nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain or upset;
- Thinning or drying of the hair; or
- Itching skin.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Lithium Carbonate, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.