[Lithium and bipolar disorder--a renaissance?]

Neuropsychiatr. 2007;21(2):121-30.
[Article in German]


Objective: Overview and discussion regarding the use and relevance of lithium as an therapeutic agent for bipolar disorder in general, with a special focus on pregnancy, suicidality and possible side-effects.

Method: Literature was handsearched and by searches of medline with special interest in recent results and comparative studies.

Results: Lithium is still of high importance in the treatment of bipolar disorder. It is unmatched regarding decades of clinical experience and scientific evidence. It has a proven efficacy in every spectrum of bipolar illness, with less profound data regarding acute bipolar depression. Especially long term treatment of bipolar patients with lithium shows clear clinical benefits i.e.: importance of a continuous setting, gain of mood stabilizing effect over time, no loss of efficacy, reduced morbidity and mortality.

Discussion: Lithium should be regarded as a first line treatment for bipolar disorder.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Antimanic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antimanic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antimanic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bipolar Disorder / blood
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Ebstein Anomaly / chemically induced
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lithium Compounds / adverse effects
  • Lithium Compounds / pharmacokinetics
  • Lithium Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Long-Term Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk
  • Suicide / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antimanic Agents
  • Lithium Compounds