Lithium has been commonly used for the treatment of several mood disorders particularly bipolar disorder in the last 60 years. Increased intake and decreased excretion of lithium are the main causes for the development of lithium intoxication. The influence of lithium intoxication on body is evaluated as two different groups; reversible or irreversible. Irreversible damage is usually related with the length of time passed as intoxicated. Acute lithium intoxication could occur when an overdose of lithium is received mistakenly or for the purpose of suicide. Patients may sometimes take an overdose of lithium for self-medication resulting in acute intoxication during chronic, while others could develop chronic lithium intoxication during a steady dose treatment due to a problem in excretion of drug. In such situations, it is crucial to be aware of risk factors, to recognize early clinical symptoms and to conduct a proper medical monitoring. In order to justify or exclude the diagnosis, quantitative evaluation of lithium in blood and toxicologic screening is necessary. Following the monitoring schedules strictly and urgent intervention in case of intoxication would definitely reduce mortality and sequela related with lithium intoxication. In this article, the etiology, frequency, definition, clinical features and treatment approaches to the lithium intoxication have been briefly reviewed.
lithium, intoxication, etiology, treatment