[Cerebellar degeneration following acute lithium intoxication]

Rev Neurol (Paris). 1998 Jul;154(6-7):546-8.
[Article in French]


Lithium is a neurotoxin with a particular affinity for the cerebellum. The risk of permanent neurotoxic sequelae of lithium is increased by the concomitant use of certain conventional neuroleptics. We report two new cases of lithium neurotoxicity; one received lithium alone, not in combination with a neuroleptic. Both cases showed severe cerebellar atrophy on brain CT and MRI. Additional factors such as dehydration, systemic infection, other medications, or rapid correction of frequently-coexisting hyponatremia may contribute to the risk of lithium neurotoxicity. We discuss possible pathophysiologic mechanisms and preventive measures.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Atrophy
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy
  • Cerebellum / drug effects
  • Cerebellum / pathology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Fluvoxamine / therapeutic use*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lithium / adverse effects*
  • Lithium / therapeutic use
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Degeneration / chemically induced*
  • Nerve Degeneration / pathology
  • Psychotic Disorders / drug therapy
  • Time Factors


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Lithium
  • Fluvoxamine