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Been lurking around here and am loving this site and the knowledgable people so I joined.

 

I'm looking for info on all the lithium variants..Pdoc and I are considering it among others for my bipolar.

 

I understand there are several variants and have read some info on this site but I'm still not fully understanding each of them.

 

Lithuium carbonate

Eskalith

Eskalith CR

Lithobid

and more?

 

I'm sure this or some similar topic has been covered but couldn't find it, so I apologize if this question is tired.

 

If I decide to use Lithium as my main stabilizer which variant is the best in terms of side effects...producing the least tremor, least upset tummy, least weight gain and least dosing? Also I don't really want to be taking it 3x a day. What do you all take or used to take?

 

And If I choose this as my stabilizer will it wreck my kidneys..? have had some issues with them in the past as well as other family members with kidney difficulties. Aaaannndd is it going to slowly destroy my thyroid?

 

Yeah I'm a newbie please don't be annoyed by my questions, just looking for support and others experiences.

 

Happy Fourth of July!

 

Thanks Everyone.

 

BlueMoon

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I currently take generic lithium carbonate.  I take 900mg per day (300mg in the morning and 600mg at bedtime).  I did have a tremor when first starting lithium but it went away over time (at least for me).  I've been on this medication at approx. 5 years now.  I do have routine blood work done to assure that the lithium level is within the normal range.  I've not gained weight from the Lithium.  So far (thank god), it has not affected my kidneys or my thyroid.

 

I hope this information helps.  I wish you the best with your treatment.

~ Andy

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I also take 900 mg lithium carbonate (450 mg in the am and 450 before bed).  I do have a tremor, but it is almost totally masked by the beta-blocker I take.

 

I haven't experienced any stomach trouble or kidney problems and have not gained weight from it.  Like Andy, I have bloodwork done every few months to make sure my lithium levels are in the therapeutic range.

 

I hope you find the right one for you.

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Hi Andy, Hi Phoenix_Rising,

 

Thank you both for the quick replies. Good information, I appreciate it.

 

Did either of you feel aggitated or kind of anxious when first starting Lithium? (possibly from ad effects kicking in?..not sure waht dose ad effects would kick in)  Reason I ask is I've read online of other people saying it sedated/relaxed them at first and then as the dosage was increased aggitation began? Worried I may get that as I am sensitive to everything..of course.

 

I guess it could be a possibility as everyone's chemistry is different.

 

I hope I can find something that works for me as this is trying and tiring as I'm sure you know.

 

 

Thanks again.

 

BlueMoon

 

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If you're prone to tummy problems, you'll probably be best off with lithium carbonate ER. That's the only one that I can take and not get physically ill. If you aren't prone to GI issues then regular old lithium carbonate should be fine. I'd steer away from lithium citrate. People that have never had GI issues have problems with lithium citrate. This doesn't mean that it'll bother you but if you do have issues, ask for lithium carbonate ER. 

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I took 1500mg of lithium carbonate (750mg twice a day) for a few years, I had no stomach problems but I did get a tremor. Inderal, a beta blocker, masks that though. Some people take it all in one dose, others split the dose, it doesn't seem to matter a huge amount which you do.

I havn't found it to be sedating or much of anything really, it just does its job. I've gained weight on it, but not really attributable to it - I've also lost part of the weight I gained while on it. I've been on 4 different antipsychotics and several antidepressants while on it, and they seem to have a much greater impact on my weight.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I take lithium carbonate ER. 1200mg.  900mg in the morning and 300mg at night.  No side effects at this dose.  I keep all of my lab appointments.  When we aren't playing around with the dose then labs are done every 6 months.

 

Everybody's body is different.  At 1500mg, I had diarrhea, cognitive impairment - having a hard time retrieving words, and an unquenchable thirst.

 

Regardless of the dose however, my thyroid is off. Thanks to lithium... and genetics. Both parents and one sister have hypothyroidism.  But not a big deal, take a tiny pill and get your labs done until you find the dose to get you in that normal reference range.

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I take lithium carbonate 500mg AM and 500mg PM. I don't have any side-effects now.  I did have some mild nausea when I first started but it's gone away. My weight is the same after about 10 months on lithium. My hands do tremble but they did before lithium. I'm not sure if it's any worse.  My level is 0.6 and labs are all normal. I'm not particularly worried about the long-term risks. Compared to other options, they don't look too bad to me. The kidney thing is rare, the thyroid thing is somewhat more common but still most likely will not happen to you. If it does happen, it's not a really a huge deal either. Good luck :)

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I took 900mg Lithium Carbonate generic. 300mg 3x's a day for 8 years. I had levels checked regularly but after 8 years I developed an extremely rare kidney problem called diabetes insipidus related to lithium. My levels were never toxic. I stayed at the same dose. It helped tremendously, I did have a tremor but did not need medication for it. 

 

Unfortunately I had to stop taking lithium (again, this is a very rare scenario!) and I haven't found anything as good. I had a bit of stomach upset and its recommended to eat with it, or at least drink milk. Large amounts of caffeine aren't recommended, and NSAID's can effect the levels in your blood, so be careful. I had no problems managing pain with non-NSAID painkillers (I had some bad accidents horseback riding and broke several bones)

 

It's a great med. I really haven't found anything that helped as much. I'm on more meds now, but I couldn't risk kidney damage. Kidney disease runs in my family, so I was at risk.

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I was recently put on lithium carbonate, 600mg twice a day. So far I haven't noticed any side effects, thankfully, and I'm hoping none emerge. I'm already feeling better and more stable than I have in years.

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I have been on 1200mg of Lithium Carbonate for about 2 years now

 

I take 600mg in the am and 600mg at bedtime. I dont remember too many side effects that were too bad but its been two years. I do notice that the last few months my memory has worsened. I am talking to my psychiatrist this week about possibly titrating the dose down. 
 

I have issues with the thyroid (hypothyroid) but that started before I even began taking the Lithium. The biggest piece of advice is to keep your appointments to get your bloodwork done. Its easier to catch and fix a problem early.

 

Good luck!

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Todays my first day on here and my purpose was to get insight from others on their meds too :)  I started Lithium at 21 and was on full dose 1500mg ( Labs was 0.7-1.0)  (feeling well) until 27 when I got a goiter and need synthroid now. Since my doc said that I no longer could handle the med, I was using a cocktail (not feeling well) until 33. At that point I made it to the hospital where they said Lithium is the way to go cause it worked the best (hypothyroid still due to Lithium). Now at 39 I've been slowly been taken off (900mg) and turned onto other meds cause my kidneys are affected (been seeing docs for the past year). I can no longer stay on it long term :(  I already miss it.

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I forget exactly how long I've been on Lithium, but I would guess about two years. I have kidney damage from another med, so we keep an eye on values, and they haven't risen.  I take 300mg AM/PM, split only because my pdoc thinks it will be easier on my kidneys. If I forget my AM dose for some reason, I just take it with the evening dose. I actually have .6 as my blood level, which isn't technically a therapeutic level. But I respond well, and the less of it, the better it is for my kidneys. I use it as an add-on to Lamictal and Wellbutrin for depression.

 

The first time, 25 years ago, they started me on 900mg lithium, and I became toxic. This time, I started with 150mg, and stopped at 600mg. So I am still lower than 900mg; it is too bad they didn't start me off more slowly the first time, it might have made a difference in my illness.

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I've been on Lithium Carbonate long release 900mg a day (at the moment I'm splitting it morning and night) for about a month now. I haven't got a tremor and as far as I know I haven't gained weight- (no scales but clothes still fit the same and I look the same, even a bit thinner), but I have noticed it effects my appetite, not hungry much at all and taste- don't like chocolate anymore, only want bland savoury stuff, and I get a bit of nausea and stomach upsets. My level is around 1 I think, but checking it again this week. I'm way more stable, but finding it hard to get used to feeling 'normal' with no huge ups or downs or rushes of euphoria. 

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I just started Lithium ER a week and a half ago.

 

600mg at night first week.  Level .6 after 7 days.

 

Had some dizzy and foggy brain type stuff for a few days.

 

On Friday, after the level I'm up to 900 at bedtime (ER) and scheduled for another draw Friday.

 

The side effects are fading.  The mood swings are decreasing in intensity and frequency.

 

I've had two EUREKA moments in the last 2-3 days.

 

After 13 years of Bipolar hell I FELT NORMAL.  Just for a short while and it was earthshaking.

 

I REMEMBERED WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO FEEL NORMAL!!!

 

It's not all the time, but I can't believe it took more than a decade to try this.

 

Normal.

 

Jesus, I never thought that would happen again in my life.  I can't wait to see if it stays.

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I take Lithium Carb., 900 mgs every night.  No stomach problems.  I love Lithium and it calms my brain.  I hope I can take it all my life.  We do blood work 3 - 4 times a year.  My kidney and thyroid numbers are all normal.

 

I do have a small tremor, and thirst.  Thus I drink a LOT of water and then pee a LOT.  It is just the way it is.  I can't sit through a movie without leaving to visit the ladies' room. 

 

I think Lithium is amazing, and comfort myself by remembering that it is a salt, it is natural.  (sort of)  Lithium is not the perfect med for everyone.  Some people have more side effects and can't tolerate it.  However I think most bipolar folk should consider trying Lithium.

With their doctor of course.

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