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Sick and taking lithium
danda08 posted:
So, I have been taking lithium for a couple months now..I am currently at 300 mg, 2 tablets at bedtime (so 600mg total). I am 4 weeks postpartum and I am also getting over a cold. I think that with being sick I haven't exactly been eating and hydrating as I should have been. That being said, I started having stomach issues last night that have continued through today and I'm not sure if it's related to the lithium or if it's from something else. When should I worry that it's the lithium and call my Dr. or see someone about it? I just don't want to be a bother on the weekend if it's nothing.

Joseph F Goldberg, MD responded:
Dear danda08,
Chances are your doctor would be more troubled by your not calling than if you did call when a medical question such as this arises, since only your doctor can advise you on whether there is anything of concern.

Dr. G.
doxielover10 responded:
OMG, Dr. Goldberg is right !!! I am an extremely, extremely rapid cycling bipolar. I got so bad I had run out of options on medication. I CATEGORICALLY did not want to go on Lithium, I had heard so many horror stories about it. However, my choices were Lithium or ECT. I chose the Lithium and within 4 months it had destroyed my thyroid. 5 months after that my Creatinin Level was 1.0 , 2 weeks later I arrived DOA at the hospital in total renal failure with a reading of 9.0. The only sign that something was wrong was I had been at my hairdresser's of 18 years and he called my husband and told him to get me to the hospital, something was wrong. It turned out to be aphasia. My husband had already called my Psychiatrist, who had already called MD Anderson Hospital.

This all happened on a Saturday and I was so out of it, I saw no symptoms. EVERYONE has told me it's a miracle I'm alive. If you are on Lithium, I don't care if it's Christmas, Hanukkah. CALL your Doctor, if you do not feel well.

The only thing that has saved me is that I go for a complete metabolic panel w/eGFR. Lipid Panel, CBC, TSH every 4 weeks now.

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Joseph F. Goldberg, MD, is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. He also maintains a private prac...More

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