Lithium Carbonate

Lithium Carbonate, a brand name for a formulation containing essential Lithium Carbonate, is widely used for various health benefits. This guide provides comprehensive information on the uses, dosage, side effects, and mechanism of action of Lithium Carbonate, as well as insights into how long it takes to work. Understanding these aspects can help you make informed decisions about its use and effectiveness.


Lithium carbonate is a mood stabilizing medication commonly used in the treatment of bipolar disorder. It works by affecting certain chemicals in the brain that are involved in mood regulation and helping to stabilize the person’s mood.


Lithium carbonate is primarily used to treat bipolar disorder, but has also recently been used for other psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and depression. It can be used in a maintenance dose to help prevent the recurrence of manic episodes or depressive episodes.

Mechanism of Action

The exact mechanism of action of lithium carbonate is unknown, however it is believed to affect neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. Lithium may also act on other areas such as enzymes involved in signal transduction pathways, and may affect the activity of neurons in certain areas of the brain involved in mood regulation.

How Long Does It Take to Work?

Lithium carbonate usually begins to work within 1-2 weeks of starting treatment, but its full effect can take up to 8 weeks, or possibly even longer. It is important to talk to your doctor if you feel that the medication is not working for you.


Lithium carbonate is rapidly and completely absorbed from the gut, with peak plasma concentrations occurring ~1-2 hours after an oral dose. The bioavailability of lithium carbonate is not affected by food.

Route of Elimination

Lithium carbonate is rapidly absorbed from the gut and is primarily eliminated through the kidneys in the urine. Approximately 90% of a dose is excreted in the urine within 24 hours.


The usual adult dose of lithium carbonate for the treatment of bipolar disorder is 600-1500mg per day divided into 2-3 doses. The dose should be individualized according to patient response, blood levels, and side effects. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions closely when taking this medication.


Lithium carbonate is available in tablet form and should be taken orally, with or without food. It should be swallowed whole and not crushed or chewed. It is important not to take more or less than the prescribed dose, and not to stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

Side Effects

Common side effects associated with lithium carbonate may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, increased urination, tremor, and skin rash. Although most side effects are mild and can usually be managed by adjusting the dose or changing medication, other serious effects can occur and should be reported to your doctor immediately.


The therapeutic range for lithium carbonate levels in the blood is 0.6-1.2 mM/L. Toxic effects may start to occur at plasma concentrations of 1.5 mM/L or higher, and may lead to seizures, coma, and even death at very high levels.


Lithium carbonate should be used with caution in patient’s with kidney or thyroid disease, heart disease, or people taking diuretics. It is also important to inform your doctor about any other medications, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. Lithiumcarbonate may interact with some medications and therefore the dose may need to be adjusted.


Lithium carbonate may interact with certain other medications, and it is important to tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following: diuretics, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), cyclosporine, or anti-seizure medications. Lithium can also interact with alcohol, caffeine, and certain vitamins or herbal products.

Disease Interactions

There is an increased risk of side effects associated with lithium carbonate in patients with certain diseases, such as kidney or thyroid disease, heart disease, and those taking diuretics. It is important to inform your doctor if you have any of these conditions before starting lithium carbonate.

Drug Interactions

Lithium can interact with certain medications and should not be used concomitantly with diuretics, ACE inhibitors, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other drugs that can interact with lithium include cyclosporine, certain anti-seizure medications, and some antibiotics. It is important to check with your doctor before taking any other medications.

Food Interactions

Food and alcohol can affect the absorption and effectiveness of lithium carbonate. Eating a low-sodium diet and avoiding alcohol will help to reduce the risk of unwanted side effects. It is important to follow your doctor's instructions when taking this medication.

Pregnancy Use

Lithium carbonate is not recommended for use in pregnancy due to the risk of birth defects. It is important to talk to your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of taking this medication during pregnancy.

Lactation Use

Lithium carbonate and its metabolites pass into breast milk and therefore should be avoided in breastfeeding women. It is important to talk to your doctor before using this medication while breastfeeding.

Acute Overdose

Lithium carbonate overdose can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. Symptoms of overdose can include weakness, confusion, tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and coma. Seek emergency medical care if an overdose is suspected.


Lithium carbonate should not be used in patients with hypothyroidism, severe renal impairment, or a history of lithium toxicity. It is also contraindicated in pregnancy, due to the risk of birth defects.

Use Directions

Lithium carbonate should be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. It may take up to 8 weeks for the full effects to be seen. Do not change your dose or stop taking the medication without talking to your doctor first.

Storage Conditions

Lithium carbonate should be stored at room temperature and away from direct light, heat, and moisture. Keep the medication in its original container and out of the reach of children.

Volume of Distribution

Lithium is highly distributed in the body and has a volume of distribution between 0.6-0.8 L/kg.

Half Life

The half-life of lithium carbonate is 18-48 hours, depending on the dose and patient characteristics.


The clearance of lithium carbonate is 0.3-0.7 mL/min/kg.

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