July 29, 2016

Lithium

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What other names is Lithium known by?

Atomic number 3, Carbonate de Lithium, Citrate de Lithium, Li, Lithium Carbonate, Lithium Citrate, Lithium Orotate, Litio, Numéro Atomique 3, Orotate de Lithium.

What is Lithium?

Lithium is an element. It gets its name from "lithos," the Greek word for stone, because it is present in trace amounts in virtually all rocks. Lithium works with other elements, drugs, enzymes, hormones, vitamins, and growth factors in the body in many different ways. People use it for medicine.

Lithium is used for mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia; for eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia; and for blood disorders, including anemia and low white-cell count (neutropenia).

Lithium is also used for headache, alcoholism, epilepsy, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disorders, arthritis, a skin condition called seborrhea, and overactive thyroid. Other uses include treatment of asthma, Huntington's disease, Graves' disease, herpes simplex, a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia, Tourette's syndrome, cyclical vomiting, Meniere's disease, a tingling or "crawling" sensation in the skin (paresthesias), and aggressive behavior in people with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Effective for...

  • Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder).

Likely Effective for...

  • Major depression.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Schizophrenia and related mental disorders. Lithium is usually used in combination with antipsychotic drugs when it is used for these disorders. However, sometimes lithium is given alone.
  • Impulsive aggressive behavior associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Alcohol dependence.
  • Blood cell disorders.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of lithium for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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