Drug Class: Antimanic

Table of Contents


Lithium Carbonate is an antimanic agent used to treat Manic-Depressive Disorder (Bipolar Disorder). This medication may also be used to prevent cluster headaches. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Lithium smoothes out the highs (manic) and lows (depression) in bipolar patients by restoring the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. It is sometimes referred to as a mood stabilizer.

Using this medication continuously may help to reduce the frequency of manic episodes. It also may decrease manic episode symptoms, including anxiousness, aggressive or hostile behaviors, feelings that others wish to harm you, exaggerated feelings of well-being, irritability, or rapid/loud speech.

This information is for educational purposes only. Not every known side effect, adverse effect, or drug interaction is in this database. If you have questions about your medicines, talk to your health care provider.

How to Take It

Follow the directions for using this medicine provided by your doctor. Take this medicine with food. Drinking extra fluids (8 to 10 glasses of water or other liquid) while you are taking this medicine is recommended. Check with your healthcare provider for more instructions. Do NOT change the amount of salt in your diet unless you have talked with your doctor.

Side Effects

Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include:

  • mild thirst
  • frequent urination
  • fine hand tremor
  • drowsiness
  • weight gain
  • lightheadedness
  • mild nausea

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • diarrhea
  • lack of awareness
  • unsteadiness or clumsiness
  • ringing in the ears
  • vomiting
  • confusion
  • difficulty walking
  • blue color in fingers and toes
  • poor memory
  • mental depression
  • convulsions or seizures
  • unusual muscle weakness

Warnings & Precautions

  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have heart or kidney disease, an under-active thyroid, or any debilitating medical condition.
  • Tell your doctor immediately if you experience vision changes, unsteadiness on your feet, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, joint swelling, confusion, slurred speech, blurred vision, severe hand trembling, or pain or discoloration of finger/toes, cold hands/feet.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding liquids you can drink /intake amount. Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.
  • Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to this medicine.
  • AVOID large amounts of caffeine-containing foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, cocoa, cola drinks, and chocolate.
  • For an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. For non emergencies, contact your local or regional poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Drug Interactions

Before taking any new medicine, either prescription or over-the-counter, check with your doctor or pharmacist. This includes supplements and herbal products. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking medicines that contain ibuprofen (Motrin) or naproxen (Naprosyn).

Dosage & Missed Dose

Use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more or less of it. Lithium should be taken at the same time every day. It is available in tablet, capsule, extended-release tablet. Dosage varies depending on the condition. The tablets, capsules, and liquid forms of Lithium are usually taken 3-4 times daily. The extended-release tablets are typically taken 2-3 times daily.

Swallow extended-release tablets whole. They should not be split, chewed, or crushed.

Take your next dose as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not double doses or take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.


Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (preferably not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed.


This medicine has been shown to CAUSE HARM to the human fetus. If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medicine during pregnancy. This medicine is excreted in breast milk. It is advised that you DO NOT breast-feed while taking this medicine unless you have talked to your doctor or pediatrician.

More Information

For more information, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or health care provider, or you can visit this website, https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a681039.html for additional information from the manufacturer of this drug.