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Eskalith Side Effects Center
Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Eskaltih (lithium) is used for treating manic episodes due to bipolar disorder. It is also combined with antidepressants to treat depression. Generic formulations are available. Common side effects of lithium are fine hand tremor, dry mouth, altered taste perception, weight gain, increased thirst, increased frequency of urination, mild nausea or vomiting, impotence, decreased libido, diarrhea, and kidney abnormalities.
Lithium doses vary widely and are adjusted based on measurements of the levels of lithium in the blood. Most patients require 900-1200 mg daily in 2-3 divided doses. Lithium interacts with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hydrochlorothiazide, ACE inhibitors, and methyldopa. Lithium crosses the placenta and may adversely affect the fetus. It is also secreted in breast-milk and may cause side effects in the infant.
Our Eskaltih (lithium) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What is Patient Information in Detail?
Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.
Eskalith in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: 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 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 is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Eskalith (Lithium Carbonate) »
What is Patient Information Overview?
A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.
Eskalith Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects
Drowsiness, tiredness, increased thirst, increased frequency of urination, weight gain, and mildly shaking hands (fine tremor) may occur. These should go away as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: diarrhea, vomiting, fever, dizziness, unsteady walk, confusion, slurred speech, blurred vision, severe hand trembling (coarse tremor).
Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: vision changes (e.g., growing blind spot, vision loss), joint swelling/pain, pain/discoloration of finger/toes, cold hands/feet.
Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: severe dizziness, fainting, slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, seizures.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Read the entire patient information overview for Eskalith (Lithium Carbonate)»
What is Prescribing information?
The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.
Eskalith FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
The occurrence and severity of adverse reactions are generally directly related to serum lithium concentrations as well as to individual patient sensitivity to lithium, and generally occur more frequently and with greater severity at higher concentrations.
Adverse reactions may be encountered at serum lithium levels below 1.5 mEq/L. Mild to moderate adverse reactions may occur at levels from 1.5 to 2.5 mEq/L, and moderate to severe reactions may be seen at levels of 2.0 mEq/L and above.
Fine hand tremor, polyuria, and mild thirst may occur during initial therapy for the acute manic phase, and may persist throughout treatment. Transient and mild nausea and general discomfort may also appear during the first few days of lithium administration.
These side effects usually subside with continued treatment or a temporary reduction or cessation of dosage. If persistent, cessation of lithium therapy may be required.
Diarrhea, vomiting, drowsiness, muscular weakness, and lack of coordination may be early signs of lithium intoxication, and can occur at lithium levels below 2.0 mEq/L. At higher levels, ataxia, giddiness, tinnitus, blurred vision, and a large output of dilute urine may be seen. Serum lithium levels above 3.0 mEq/L may produce a complex clinical picture, involving multiple organs and organ systems. Serum lithium levels should not be permitted to exceed 2.0 mEq/L during the acute treatment phase.
The following reactions have been reported and appear to be related to serum lithium levels, including levels within the therapeutic range:
Neuromuscular/Central Nervous System: Tremor, muscle hyperirritability (fasciculations, twitching, clonic movements of whole limbs), hypertonicity, ataxia, choreo-athetotic movements, hyperactive deep tendon reflex, extrapyramidal symptoms including acute dystonia, cogwheel rigidity, blackout spells, epileptiform seizures, slurred speech, dizziness, vertigo, downbeat nystagmus, incontinence of urine or feces, somnolence, psychomotor retardation, restlessness, confusion, stupor, coma, tongue movements, tics, tinnitus, hallucinations, poor memory, slowed intellectual functioning, startled response, worsening of organic brain syndromes, myasthenia gravis (rarely).
Dermatologic: Drying and thinning of hair, alopecia, anesthesia of skin, acne, chronic folliculitis, xerosis cutis, psoriasis or its exacerbation, generalized pruritus with or without rash, cutaneous ulcers, angioedema.
Autonomic: Blurred vision, dry mouth, impotence/sexual dysfunction.
Thyroid Abnormalities: Euthyroid goiter and/or hypothyroidism (including myxedema) accompanied by lower T3 and T4. I131 uptake may be elevated. (See PRECAUTIONS.) Paradoxically, rare cases of hyperthyroidism have been reported.
EEG Changes: Diffuse slowing, widening of the frequency spectrum, potentiation and disorganization of background rhythm.
EKG Changes: Reversible flattening, isoelectricity or inversion of T-waves. Miscellaneous: Fatigue, lethargy, transient scotomata, exophthalmos, dehydration, weight loss, leukocytosis, headache, transient hyperglycemia, hypercalcemia, hyperparathyroidism, excessive weight gain, edematous swelling of ankles or wrists, metallic taste, dysgeusia/taste distortion, salty taste, thirst, swollen lips, tightness in chest, swollen and/or painful joints, fever, polyarthralgia, dental caries.
Some reports of nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, hyperparathyroidism, and hypothyroidism which persist after lithium discontinuation have been received.
A few reports have been received of the development of painful discoloration of fingers and toes and coldness of the extremities within one day of the starting of treatment with lithium. The mechanism through which these symptoms (resembling Raynaud's syndrome) developed is not known. Recovery followed discontinuance.
Cases of pseudotumor cerebri (increased intracranial pressure and papilledema) have been reported with lithium use. If undetected, this condition may result in enlargement of the blind spot, constriction of visual fields, and eventual blindness due to optic atrophy. Lithium should be discontinued, if clinically possible, if this syndrome occurs.
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Eskalith (Lithium Carbonate) »
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