Treatment of lithium intoxication: facing the need for evidence

Int J Bipolar Disord. 2015 Dec;3(1):23. doi: 10.1186/s40345-015-0040-2. Epub 2015 Oct 22.


Lithium has been used as the gold standard in the treatment of major depressive and bipolar disorders for decades. Due to its narrow therapeutic index, lithium toxicity is a common clinical problem. Although risk factors for lithium intoxication seem to be well-described, lacking patient education and inexperience of treatment are assumed to contribute to the probability of lithium intoxication. A review of literature shows that the treatment of lithium intoxication has not been adequately studied or standardized. The aim of this literature review is to compile and present current evidence on the treatment of lithium intoxication and contribute to a standardization regarding general treatment recommendations as well as evidence on indication for extracorporeal methods. Against the background of this common and potentially life-threatening condition, the standardization of the treatment of lithium intoxication is definitely a task for the future.

Keywords: Affective disorders; Bipolar disorder; Extracorporeal methods; Hemodialysis; Intoxication; Lithium; Treatment.