Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Announcements

Visit our Crisis Assistance Link for resources. For immediate help, get to the ER.

*No Dr Outside Contact Please*
Includes Expert Content
lithium poison
avatar
neuro posted:
neuro I took lithium for 15 years and ended up unable to sleep, tingling in my feet legs and hands and sometimes other places. I have been off lithium for 5 years and I am still sick from the drug. It is not natural it is poison. Doctors tell me it should all be out of my system. My brain thinks I have neuropothy when I don't. Is there a Dr. on earth that knows how I can cleanse this completely from my body and get well.. When I get a little sick with a fever or anything I spend weeks suffering with the tingling. I take 200 mg of Trazadone, 2mg of Clonopan and 2 benadryl every might or I do not sleep.

Take the Poll

Can lithium kill you
  • yes it almost killed me
  • doctors lie about it being natural
vote
View Poll Results
Reply
 
avatar
ddnos responded:
Hi Neuro,

I can't answer your question but likely Dr. G will see this post and be able to address your concerns.

You said that your brain thinks you have neuropathy but you don't - have you been to a Neurologist to have it officially checked? Unless you've already been tested by a Neurologist, it's possible that you actually do have peripheral neuropathy. He/she would likely have done an Electromyography (EMG)
,a test that measures the electrical activity of a muscle. The doctor performing the test would know as soon as the testing is over if there is neuropathy and the severity and kind, etc.

I have mild peripheral neuropathy in my feet and lower legs and sometimes get symptoms in my hands.

I have been taking lithium for 20 years and it has been a life saver for me, but I'm sorry that it has not been as good for you long term. Unfortunately, we don't react to meds the same way. What's good for you could be catastropic for me and visa versa.

For me, the peripheral neuropathy started when I had to wean off my other medication, Nardil, of which I had been on for 17 years at that time. At first I thought the sensations were just withdrawal symptoms, but when it continued for months later and even when I went back on Nardil, I didn't know what it was. My primary doctor referred me to a Neurologist who evaluated me thoroughly and did various tests, including the above EMG, which showed that indeed I did/do have neuropathy. Whether it was because of or a result of going off Nardil (temporarily) I don't know, even though it certainly appears to be the case. I did some research and I found one reference to someone taking nardil long term could get neuropathy, but it's not common (if I remember that part right). But I get it when I go OFF the med. lol My guess is that my body system brain was so "used to" the chemicals of that med that when I went off it, albeit slowlyl, my body reacted. I will never know nor does it really matter to me. THe only thing I know is that the combo of Nardil and Lithium work for me (not perfect, but for me, about as close to perfect as it's going to get). So if Nardil somehow caused the neuropathy, I'm not going to stop taking it because that's the only anti-depressant that works for me - the trade off is worth it for me.

Anyway, hopefully Dr. G. will see this post soon and maybe answer some of your concerns and questions.

I wish you the best
Debbie
Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different --Unknown
 
avatar
tmcgrath112 replied to ddnos's response:
ive been on lithuim since 2009. I take 1200 mg a day. i have to go for blood tests every six months. this kinda scares me, this drug has been a savoir but i also question wat it is doing to me long term.
 
avatar
ddnos responded:
Oh Neuro, I forgot one thing - you said that you've been off lithium for 5 years and you ask if there is a doctor who knows how you can cleanse the lithium completely from your body. Well, you don't have any lithium in your system anymore - it takes 5 days for lithium to get out of your system - so it's been long out of your system.

What kind of doctor are you seeing for your systems?

Debbie
Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different --Unknown
 
avatar
Anneinside responded:
Lithium IS natural, it is an element. But natural doesn't mean safe. Snake venom is natural, but it can kill. Many people equate natural with safe. As far as lithium being safe, if taken at the right amount it is just as safe as most of the "unnatural" medications. All medications and chemicals we ingest have side effects, even something as commonly used as aspirin.
 
avatar
ddnos responded:
bump - Dr. G
Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different --Unknown
 
avatar
Joseph F Goldberg, MD responded:
Dear Neuro,

The problems you are describing do not sound like they are in any way related to your having taken lithium 5 years ago. If someone were to overdose on lithium, it could be lethal, or (short of death from taking too much) an overdose could cause kidney damage or cognitive problems that may persist long after lithium is completely gone from someone's system.

Dr. G.
 
avatar
neuro replied to ddnos's response:
Hi ddnos
I have been to a Neurologist, that is who figured out what was causing the problem. She soaked me in water and shocked my fingers and toes,etc. She also stuck needles in my nerves and watched a needle jump on a fancy machine. I do not know the names of the tests but would assume one was the EMG. I had been without sleep for a year and a half with a lot of pain and tingling. I was on half a dose of lithium and very quickly dropped it completely. With in a week the tingling was livable, I still cannot sleep with out lots of drugs and the tingling has never completely left. When I get sick it all rages up again.
 
avatar
neuro replied to ddnos's response:
ddnos That is what the doctors say, it is all out of my system.So why am I still suffering from its affects? I have seen several doctors and no one knows. My GP told me it could not be the lithium My Neurologist insisted it was. They could not agree. neuro
 
avatar
neuro replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
Dr. G
I got sick 5 years ago after taking lithium for 15 years, during which time I was careful not to overdose. They changed several of my other meds, I took B12 shots. Tried to knock myself out with Ambien for a 3 hour night. Dr. Shaw a neurologist in NE finally told me she was sure the lithium was causing my problems. I got much better when I quit taking it, but never completely well. My doctors have no clue why I still have sleep problems and tingling which really rages its ugly head when I get sick. They are also sure the lithium is gone.I am not convinced. I ran a fever for one day. The next 4 weeks I had more tingling worse everyday. It even settled in the back of my neck and shoulders. Ginger tea has relieved it.but it never goes away. An RN friend told me Ginger will help detox. My wrists are still weak and have to be careful I do not drop things. So if the Lithium is really gone, why do I still suffer from its effects. I have been to many doctors they do not know or seem to care. Hopefully I do not have to live this way forever. I do not understand , neuro
 
avatar
neuro replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
Dr. G

Do you know anyone that can figure this out? I am tired of being tired and tingling. Neuro
 
avatar
Joseph F Goldberg, MD replied to neuro's response:
Dear Neuro,

You are describing what sounds like a peripheral neuropathy (the tingling sensation in your extremities). the EMG's and nerve conduction studies that the neurologist performed would confirm this (what did the neurologist say were the findings from the EMG and nerve conduction studies?) Peripheral neuropathies can have numerous causes. Lithium toxicity/overdose can be a cause of peripheral neuropathy, but short of that, lithium is not a known cause. A neurologist would be the proper specialist to determine the cause of a neuropathy. What makes you think the lithium you took 5 years ago is related to it?

Dr. G.
 
avatar
neuro replied to Joseph F Goldberg, MD's response:
Dr. G
After the EMG and shocking experience the Neurologist told me I do not have Neuropathy, that my brain just thinks I have it.She was sure it was the lithium. I.went off the lithium and the conditions improved greatly as time went by. Six months later I was with out any tingling. I still cannot fall to sleep with out drugs. When I get sick the tingling reoccurs. especially in places I have ever been injured. Since the problem keeps happening with the same symptoms what else would it be. I have found that Ginger tea is really re leaving the tingling.So why does my brain still think I have neuropathy when I get sick. I acquired the symptoms gradually in the first place. I was unable to fall asleep for almost a year.Then I realized my feet felt cold. Soon the tingling started and eventually moved clear up to my knees. Then my hands started tingling and I had almost no grip. My balance got horrible and I realized I had not been able to ride a bike for years. I cannot stand with my eyes shut or stand in a dark room. I will fall over.I have spent more money on doctors than I would want to admit. I just wish some one knew why the problems go away and then return. I just assumed that the lithium is no really all gone. Or why does my brain keep returning to that idea.Neuro
 
avatar
Joseph F Goldberg, MD replied to neuro's response:
Dear Neuro,

I can't think of any reason why or how lithium would play a role in these symptoms. May be worth a second opinion from a neurologist who specializes in peripheral neuropathies.

Dr. G.


Featuring Experts

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

Helpful Tips

TO DROP MY WEIGHT, I DROPPED THE DIET SOFT DRINKS.
Been on Zonegran for about five years and a type II diabetic for 35 years using metaformin and insulin. It appears the jury is in for me on ... More
Was this Helpful?
6 of 10 found this helpful

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.