oa Central African Journal of Medicine - The laboratory and clinical monitoring of lithium treatment in manic-depressive patients

Volume 29, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



Lithium has proved to be a very useful drug in the treatment and prophylaxis of manic depressive illness. Its use requires constant monitoring to ensure that patients are not receiving inadequate or toxic doses. The patient should be warned that a good water and salt balance must be maintained and the prescribed dosage should never be exceeded. If a dose is missed for some reason no attempt should be made to 'catch up' by taking a double dose. If a patient is having a general anaesthetic the preoperative fast should be supplemented with adequate intravenous fluids to ensure adequate salt and water balance. Patients should also be warned against discontinuing the drug when they feel that their mania has been 'cured' as .rapid relapse and further hospitalization is likely to occur.

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