Lithium treatment during alcoholic withdrawal

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1976 Aug;20(2):199-206. doi: 10.1002/cpt1976202199.


The efficacy of lithium carbonate was studied in 18 chronic alcoholic male patients in withdrawal. In mild alcoholic withdrawal, oral lithium carbonate, 0.3 gm every 8 hr, diminishes subjective symptoms of withdrawal and normalizes performance on a motor tracking task. Patients who start lithium while drinking ethanol improve most probably because it takes longer than 3 days for lithium concentrations in the blood to plateau. Lithium does not importantly alter patterns of catecholamine excretion, blood pressures, heart rate, serum cyclic-adenosine monophosphate (AMP), serum dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH), sleep pattern, or tremor amplitude during withdrawal.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / drug therapy*
  • Behavior
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cyclic AMP / blood
  • Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase / blood
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epinephrine / urine
  • Humans
  • Lithium / blood
  • Lithium / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine / urine
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / urine
  • Time Factors
  • Tremor / drug therapy


  • Lithium
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Dopamine beta-Hydroxylase
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine