Lithium

November 25th, 2015 by gelenberg Leave a reply »

Many people believe that natural products are safe and turn to compounds labeled “natural” (often erroneously) in the hope of symptom relief or cure. I often point to a host of medicines—old, highly efficacious, and potentially toxic—that come from plants or the earth. Examples are aspirin, digitalis, opium—and lithium. One of the oldest therapeutic agents in psychiatry, lithium is a salt of the earth and mined for a variety of uses, including batteries. In medicine, lithium is the proverbial double-edged sword: potentially life saving and, at the same time, potentially lethal. BTP will soon feature research highlighting some of this ion’s organ toxicity, as well as unexpected benefits for people who take it.

-Alan J. Gelenberg, M.D.
Editor, Biological Therapies in Psychiatry
Professor Emeritus, University of Arizona
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

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