We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Different Types of Lithium Medication?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Feb 15, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Lithium medication is one of the main anti-manic drugs used to treat bipolar I and II disorder. The various types are manufactured by a number of companies and may be known by different names depending on the manufacturers and the countries in which they are made. The three most common forms are plain lithium, controlled release and extended release. They are available in pills, which may be tablets or capsules and elixir, and vary in dosage. Some names these medications may carry include Lithobid®, and Eskalith®, which include a CR or ER to designate controlled or extended release.

There are complex methods for determining dosage. Generally, most adults take about 900-1200 mg per day, but the dose amount isn’t the determining factor. Instead, doctors determine the dosage based on patient response and blood serum level.

There is a very narrow line between a therapeutic dose and one that is poisonous and injurious to the body. Initial dosing gets patients up to a therapeutic range, but since response to lithium can change over time, with illness or with other medications, patients usually have lithium medication levels checked at least every six months once they’ve reliably reached a therapeutic range. More blood tests are required in initiation of lithium therapy to make sure the dose is adequate and effective.

This translates to very different doses for all users of lithium medication. It means changing doses over time for each person to adjust for various circumstances. Doctors use the least amount possible to get patients into the therapeutic range and only increase to address continuing symptoms. Higher doses than needed can cause unpleasant side effects, and a patient that is not responsive without exceeding the safe range needs other treatment.

One form of lithium medication isn’t clinically superior to others. Doctors tend to prefer to keep clients on the same type if it’s working and would not vary between controlled or extended release types. Some patients find they prefer one type to another.

Extended release forms may be better for people taking lithium once or twice a day and the standard type could better serve people who take more frequent doses of lithium medication. There’s a high degree of patient preference or perception on this issue, but all types are effective. The only form that may not get used often in adult populations is the elixir.

Another supplement that contains lithium is lithium orotate, which is sold online and over the counter. Medical professionals believe the levels of lithium provided by this supplement are insufficient to put people in the therapeutic range. Additionally, the wisdom of determining a dose without blood testing or medical guidance is ill-advised, given the serious consequences of residual mood swings or overdose of the drug. If people are interested in a more natural drug, it may help them to know that lithium is a natural mineral in abundant supply in the earth, and in this respect, it might only differ slightly from minerals like iron or calcium, except that it has a proven record in alleviating the symptoms of bipolar disorder for many people.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.