Common Name: lithium carbonate
How does Carbolith work?Lithium is used for the treatment of the manic episodes of manic-depressive illness, also called bipolar disorder. It helps to control the symptoms of mania, which may include reduced need for sleep, poor judgment, hyperactivity, feelings of grandiosity, aggressiveness, and sometimes hostility. Lithium takes about one to three weeks before it has an effect on these symptoms. Your doctor may choose to use a medication for conditions other than the ones listed in these drug information articles. If you're unsure why you are taking this medication, contact your doctor.
How should I use Carbolith?The usual starting dose for treatment of mania is 900 mg to 1,800 mg daily divided into three equal doses. The dose may be started at a lower level depending on the circumstances of the person taking the medication. The dose of lithium is usually aimed at keeping a certain level of lithium in the bloodstream. This is why lab tests are needed to monitor the levels. Once the best dose is reached, the medication may usually be taken in a single daily dose. This dose may be lower than the total of the initial three daily divided doses. Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones given here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor. It is very important that this medication be taken on a regular schedule as prescribed by the doctor. If you miss a dose of this medication, take it as soon as you remember it. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and carry on with your regular schedule. Do not double-up on doses.
What form(s) does Carbolith come in?Carbolith® is available in strengths of 150 mg, 300 mg, and 600 mg. 150 mg: Each orange and white capsule, printed "ICN C11", contains lithium 150 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: gelatin, lactose, and starch. 300 mg: Each pinkish-beige capsule, printed "ICN C12", contains lithium 300 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: gelatin and starch. The 300 mg capsules do not contain lactose. 600 mg: Each aqua-blue, opaque-coloured capsule, printed "ICN C13", contains lithium 600 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: lactose and talc.
What should I NOT take with Carbolith?Lithium should not be taken by people who: are allergic to lithium or to any ingredients of the medication have significant kidney or heart disease are severely debilitated are severely dehydrated have low blood levels of sodium are taking diuretics (water pills)
Are there any other precautions or warnings for Carbolith?Fluid intake and diet: It is important to maintain a normal diet, including salt, as well as an adequate fluid intake (2,500 mL to 3,000 mL), at least during the initial period of taking this medication. Side effects have been reported to follow after large amounts of sweating or diarrhea. If this occurs, extra fluids and salt should be taken. Talk to your doctor about the appropriate amounts of fluid and salt to take. If you develop a fever, check with your doctor to see if you should reduce your dose or temporarily stop taking the medication. Lab tests: Lithium toxicity is closely related to the level of lithium in the blood, and can occur at doses that are close to normal. People taking this medication will need to have lab tests (as ordered by their doctor) so that the blood levels of lithium can be monitored. Kidney disease: Chronic lithium treatment is frequently associated with a decrease in kidney function as well as symptoms of thirst, excess urination, and weight gain. Contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms. Occupational hazards: Since lithium may reduce mental or physical abilities, people taking this medication should avoid activities requiring alertness (e.g., operating vehicles or machinery) until they know how the medication affects them. Stopping the medication: Do not stop taking this medication suddenly without checking with your doctor first. Stopping the medication suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms. Pregnancy: Lithium should not be used during pregnancy or by women of childbearing potential unless no other appropriate therapy exists, and, in the opinion of the doctor, the expected benefits outweigh the possible risks. Breast-feeding: Lithium passes into breast milk. Women should not breast-feed while taking lithium except in rare circumstances where, in the opinion of the doctor, the potential benefits to the mother outweigh possible risks to the child. Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for children under 12 years of age. Therefore, the use of lithium is not recommended for this age group.