WHAT IS A LITHIUM LEVELS LAB TEST?
The Lithium Levels Lab Test is a blood test used to determine lithium levels in the blood in order to maintain a therapeutic level or to detect lithium toxicity.
AM I REQUIRED TO FAST FOR THIS LAB TEST?
WHAT IS THE PRICE FOR A LITHIUM LEVELS LAB TEST?
*Price may vary by location – contact your local ANY LAB TEST NOW®
Lithium is a medication used to treat bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder. The disorder is characterized by wide mood swings with extreme depression including sadness and a lack of energy and interest in normal activities at the low end of the spectrum and mania or extreme euphoria and energy at the high end. Bipolar disorder can be treated with medications such as lithium and psychotherapy (psychological counseling). Mood swings can be as infrequent as a few times a year or as often as several times a day. Without treatment bipolar disorder may get worse causing severe disruption to normal activities like work and social life.
WHY DO I NEED TO HAVE MY LITHIUM LEVELS CHECKED?
Are you taking lithium for bipolar disorder and experiencing side effects?
Lithium can be extremely helpful in the treatment of bipolar disorder and the ability to carry on normal activities but there are many possible side effects. Common side effects are dry mouth, restlessness, weight gain, cognitive problems, lethargy and digestive issues. These can often be managed by adjusting the dose or dosage schedule. When beginning lithium treatment it will be important for you and your doctor to monitor the levels of lithium in your blood to minimize side effects and to ensure that the level is not toxic.
High levels of lithium can cause severe side effects including tremor, nausea, diarrhea or blurred vision and these symptoms may indicate toxicity. Long term use of lithium can lead to kidney problems so monitoring of lithium levels is critical to your health over time. Extreme toxicity can cause neurotoxicity, delirium, or encephalophathy (swelling of the brain) and needs to be addressed immediately. Lithium is effective in a very narrow therapeutic range and too low a dose may not be effective.
Because of the narrow therapeutic range, ongoing monitoring is very important. Lithium levels should be checked after the initial dosage and then 5 days after any dosage adjustment. Long term monitoring should be done every 3-6 months with stable lithium levels or with any change to the treatment plan.
The therapeutic range of lithium levels is generally 0.8-1.1 mmol/L but this will depend on the individual patient and the range of therapeutic levels can be as wide as 0.5-1.2 meq/L.
LOW RESULTS INDICATE:
Low results will be dependent on the patient.
HIGH RESULTS INDICATE:
Lithium levels above 1.5 meq/L may be toxic and levels above 2.0 meq/L have been associated with life-threatening side effects including neurotoxicity, delirium and encephalopathy.
WHAT TYPE OF PHYSICIAN SHOULD I SEE?
You should consult your psychiatrist or the doctor prescribing your medications.