Lithium tremor

J Clin Psychiatry. 1995 Jul;56(7):283-7.


Background: Tremor is a common problem for patients taking lithium, but little is known about its true prevalence, its effect on compliance, and effective treatments.

Method: The data base of the Lithium Information Center in Madison, Wis., was searched for articles relating to lithium tremor.

Results: Studies show a wide range of incidence of lithium tremor--4% to 65%--due to differences in defining and reporting this side effect. While lithium tremor often decreases with time on lithium, other treatment options include changing the dose or preparation of lithium, decreasing or eliminating other drugs, and treating with beta-blocking drugs, primidone, fatty acids, or potassium. Severe tremor may be a sign of lithium toxicity.

Conclusion: Patients should be evaluated for lithium tremor on a regular basis. Diagnostic criteria should be standardized by a double-blind, random assignment, multicenter study that could also investigate proposed treatments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Information Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lithium / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Prevalence
  • Tremor / chemically induced*
  • Tremor / epidemiology
  • Tremor / prevention & control


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Lithium