Lithium Carbonate

Pronunciation

Dosage Form: capsule

Lithium Carbonate Capsules

Warning

Lithium toxicity is closely related to serum lithium levels, and can occur at doses close to therapeutic levels. Facilities for prompt and accurate serum lithium determinations should be available before initiating therapy (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION)

Lithium Carbonate Description

Lithium Carbonate is available for oral administration as capsules containing 300 mg of Lithium Carbonate.  Each capsule contains talc, gelatin, D&C Red #28, FD&C Red #40, FD & C Yellow #6, titanium dioxide, and the imprinting ink contains black iron oxide, butyl alcohol, dehydrated alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, potassium hydroxide, propylene glycol, purified water, shellac, and strong ammonia solution. 

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Lithium is an element of the alkali-metal group with atomic number 3, atomic weight 6.94, and an emission line at 671 nm on the flame photometer. 

Lithium Carbonate is a white, light, alkaline powder with molecular formula Li2CO3 and molecular weight 73.89.

Lithium Carbonate - Clinical Pharmacology

Preclinical studies have shown that lithium alters sodium transport in nerve and muscle cells and effects a shift toward intraneuronal metabolism of catecholamines, but the specific biochemical mechanism of lithium action in mania is unknown.

Indications and Usage for Lithium Carbonate

Lithium is indicated in the treatment of manic episodes of Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder, Manic (DSM-III) is equivalent to Manic Depressive illness, Manic, in the older DSM-II terminology. 

Lithium is also indicated as a maintenance treatment for individuals with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Maintenance therapy reduces the frequency of manic episodes and diminishes the intensity of those episodes which may occur. 

Typical symptoms of mania include pressure of speech, motor hyperactivity, reduced need for sleep, flight of ideas, grandiosity, elation, poor judgment, aggressiveness, and possibly hostility. When given to a patient experiencing a manic episode, lithium may produce a normalization of symptomatology within 1 to 3 weeks.

Contraindications

Lithium should generally not be given to patients with significant renal or cardiovascular disease, severe debilitation or dehydration, or sodium depletion, and to patients receiving diuretics, since the risk of lithium toxicity is very high in such patients. If the psychiatric indication is life-threatening, and if such a patient fails to respond to other measures, lithium treatment may be undertaken with extreme caution, including daily serum lithium determinations and adjustment to the usually low doses ordinarily tolerated by these individuals. In such instances, hospitalization is a necessity.

Warnings

Lithium toxicity is closely related to serum lithium levels, and can occur at doses close to therapeutic levels (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Unmasking of Brugada Syndrome

There have been postmarketing reports of a possible association between treatment with lithium and the unmasking of Brugada Syndrome. Brugada Syndrome is a disorder characterized by abnormal electrocardiographic (ECG) findings and a risk of sudden death. Lithium should generally be avoided in patients with Brugada Syndrome or those suspected of having Brugada Syndrome. Consultation with a cardiologist is recommended if: (1) treatment with lithium is under consideration for patients suspected of having Brugada Syndrome or patients who have risk factors for Brugada Syndrome, e.g., unexplained syncope, a family history of Brugada Syndrome, or a family history of sudden unexplained death before the age of 45 years, (2) patients who develop unexplained syncope or palpitations after starting lithium therapy.

Pregnancy

Lithium may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. There have been reports of lithium having adverse effects on nidations in rats, embryo viability in mice, and metabolism in-vitro of rat testis and human spermatozoa have been attributed to lithium, as have teratogenicity in submammalian species and cleft palates in mice. Studies in rats, rabbits and monkeys have shown no evidence of lithium-induced teratology. Data from lithium birth registries suggest an increase in cardiac and other anomalies, especially Ebstein’s anomaly. If the patient becomes pregnant while taking lithium, she should be apprised of the potential risk to the fetus. If possible, lithium should be withdrawn for at least the first trimester unless it is determined that this would seriously endanger the mother.

Lithium-Induced Renal Effects

Chronic lithium therapy may be associated with diminution of renal concentrating ability, occasionally presenting as nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, with polyuria and polydipsia. Such patients should be carefully managed to avoid dehydration with resulting lithium retention and toxicity. This condition is usually reversible when lithium is discontinued. 

Morphologic changes with glomerular and interstitial fibrosis and nephron-atrophy have been reported in patients on chronic lithium therapy. Morphologic changes have also been seen in bipolar patients never exposed to lithium. The relationship between renal functional and morphologic changes and their association with lithium therapy has not been established. 

When kidney function is assessed, for baseline data prior to starting lithium therapy or thereafter, routine urinalysis and other tests may be used to evaluate tubular function (e.g., urine specific gravity or osmolality following a period of water deprivation, or 24-hour urine volume) and glomerular function (e.g., serum creatinine or creatinine clearance). During lithium therapy, progressive or sudden changes in renal function, even within the normal range, indicate the need for reevaluation of treatment.

Precautions

General

The ability to tolerate lithium is greater during the acute manic phase and decreases when manic symptoms subside (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). 

The distribution space of lithium approximates that of total body water. Lithium is primarily excreted in urine with insignificant excretion in feces. Renal excretion of lithium is proportional to its plasma concentration. The half-life of elimination of lithium is approximately 24 hours. Lithium decreases sodium reabsorption by the renal tubules which could lead to sodium depletion. Therefore, it is essential for the patient to maintain a normal diet, including salt, and an adequate fluid intake (2500 to 3000 mL) at least during the initial stabilization period. Decreased tolerance to lithium has been reported to ensue from protracted sweating or diarrhea and, if such occur, supplemental fluid and salt should be administered. 

In addition to sweating and diarrhea, concomitant infection with elevated temperatures may also necessitate a temporary reduction or cessation of medication. 

Previously existing underlying thyroid disorders do not necessarily constitute a contraindication to lithium treatment; where hypothyroidism exists, careful monitoring of thyroid function during lithium stabilization and maintenance allows for correction of changing thyroid parameters, if any. Where hypothyroidism occurs during lithium stabilization and maintenance, supplemental thyroid treatment may be used.

Information for the Patients

A condition known as Brugada Syndrome may pre-exist and be unmasked by lithium therapy. Brugada Syndrome is a heart disorder characterized by abnormal electrocardiographic (ECG) findings and risk of sudden death. Patients should be advised to seek immediate emergency assistance if they experience fainting, lightheadedness, abnormal heart beats, or shortness of breath.   

Outpatients and their families should be warned that the patient must discontinue lithium therapy and contact his physician if such clinical signs of lithium toxicity as diarrhea, vomiting, tremor, mild ataxia, drowsiness, or muscular weakness occur. 

Lithium may impair mental and/or physical abilities. Caution patients about activities requiring alertness (e.g., operating vehicles or machinery).

Drug Interactions

Combined Use of Haloperidol and Lithium

An encephalopathic syndrome (characterized by weakness, lethargy, fever, tremulousness and confusion, extrapyramidal symptoms, leucocytosis, elevated serum enzymes, BUN and FBS) followed by irreversible brain damage has occurred in a few patients treated with lithium plus haloperidol. A causal relationship between these events and the concomitant administration of lithium and haloperidol has not been established; however, patients receiving such combined therapy should be monitored closely for early evidence of neurological toxicity and treatment discontinued promptly if such signs appear. 

The possibility of similar adverse interactions with other antipsychotic medication exists. 

Lithium may prolong the effects of neuromuscular blocking agents. Therefore, neuromuscular blocking agents should be given with caution to patients receiving lithium. 

Caution should be used when lithium and diuretics or angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are used concomitantly because sodium loss may reduce the renal clearance of lithium and increase serum lithium levels with risk of lithium toxicity. When such combinations are used, the lithium dosage may need to be decreased, and more frequent monitoring of lithium plasma levels is recommended.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS)

Lithium levels should be closely monitored when patients initiate or discontinue NSAID use. In some cases, lithium toxicity has resulted from interactions between an NSAID and lithium. Indomethacin and piroxicam have been reported to increase significantly steady-state plasma lithium concentrations. There is also evidence that other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents, including the selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors, have the same effect. In a study conducted in healthy subjects, mean steady-state lithium plasma levels increased approximately 17% in subjects receiving lithium 450 mg BID with celecoxib 200 mg BID as compared to subjects receiving lithium alone.

Pregnancy

Teratogenic Effects

Pregnancy Category D:See WARNINGSsection.

Nursing Mothers

Lithium is excreted in human milk. Nursing should not be undertaken during lithium therapy except in rare and unusual circumstances where, in the view of the physician, the potential benefits to the mother outweigh possible hazards to the child.

Usage in Children

Since information regarding the safety and effectiveness of lithium in children under 12 years of age is not available, its use in such patients is not recommended at this time. There has been a report of a transient syndrome of acute dystonia and hyperreflexia occurring in a 15 kg child who ingested 300 mg of Lithium Carbonate.

Adverse Reactions

Lithium Toxicity

The likelihood of toxicity increases with increasing serum lithium levels. Serum lithium levels greater than 1.5 mEq/L carry a greater risk than lower levels. However, patients sensitive to lithium may exhibit toxic signs at serum levels below 1.5 mEq/L. 

Diarrhea, vomiting, drowsiness, muscular weakness and lack of coordination may be early signs of lithium toxicity, and can occur at lithium levels below 2.0 mEq/L. At higher levels, giddiness, ataxia, blurred vision, tinnitus and a large output of dilute urine may be seen. Serum lithium levels above 3.0 mEq/L may produce a complex clinical picture involving multiple organs and organ systems. Serum lithium levels should not be permitted to exceed 2.0 mEq/L during the acute treatment phase. 

Fine hand tremor, polyuria and mild thirst may occur during initial therapy for the acute manic phase, and may persist throughout treatment. Transient and mild nausea and general discomfort may also appear during the first few days of lithium administration. 

These side effects are an inconvenience rather than a disabling condition, and usually subside with continued treatment or a temporary reduction or cessation of dosage. If persistent, a cessation of dosage is indicated. 

The following adverse reactions have been reported and do not appear to be directly related to serum lithium levels.

Neuromuscular

Tremor, muscle hyperirritability (fasciculations, twitching, clonic movements of whole limbs), ataxia, choreo-athetotic movements, hyperactive deep tendon reflexes.

Central Nervous System

Blackout spells, epileptiform seizures, slurred speech, dizziness, vertigo, incontinence of urine or feces, somnolence, psychomotor retardation, restlessness, confusion, stupor, coma, acute dystonia, downbeat nystagmus.

Cardiovascular

Cardiac arrhythmia, hypotension, peripheral circulatory collapse, sinus node dysfunction with severe bradycardia (which may result in syncope) unmasking of Brugada Syndrome (See WARNINGS: Unmasking of Brugada Syndrome and PRECAUTIONS: Information for the Patients).

Neurological

Cases of pseudotumor cerebri (increased intracranial pressure and papilledema) have been reported with lithium use. If undetected, this condition may result in enlargement of the blind spot, constriction of visual fields and eventual blindness due to optic atrophy. Lithium should be discontinued, if clinically possible, if this syndrome occurs.

Gastrointestinal

Anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.

Genitourinary

Albuminuria, oliguria, polyuria, glycosuria.

Dermatologic

Drying and thinning of hair, anesthesia of skin, chronic folliculitis, xerosis cutis, alopecia and exacerbation of psoriasis.

Autonomic Nervous System

Blurred vision, dry mouth.

Thyroid Abnormalities

Euthyroid goiter and/or hypothyroidism (including myxedema) accompanied by lower T3 and T4. Iodine 131 uptake may be elevated. (See PRECAUTIONS). Paradoxically, rare cases of hyperthyroidism have been reported.

EEG Changes

Diffuse slowing, widening of frequency spectrum, potentiation and disorganization of background rhythm.

EKG Changes

Reversible flattening, isoelectricity or inversion of T-waves.

Miscellaneous

Fatigue, lethargy, transient scotomata, dehydration, weight loss, tendency to sleep.

Miscellaneous Reactions Unrelated to Dosage are

Transient electroencephalographic and electrocardiographic changes, leucocytosis, headache, diffuse non-toxic goiter with or without hypothyroidism, transient hyperglycemia, generalized pruritis with or without rash, cutaneous ulcers, albuminuria, worsening of organic brain syndromes, excessive weight gain, edematous swelling of ankles or wrists, and thirst or polyuria, sometimes resembling diabetes insipidus, and metallic taste. A single report has been received of the development of painful discoloration of fingers and toes and coldness of the extremities within one day of the starting of treatment of lithium. The mechanism through which these symptoms (resembling Raynaud’s Syndrome) developed is not known. Recovery followed discontinuance.

Overdosage

The toxic levels for lithium are close to the therapeutic levels. It is therefore important that patients and their families be cautioned to watch for early symptoms and to discontinue the drug and inform the physician should they occur. Toxic symptoms are listed in detail under ADVERSE REACTIONS.

Treatment

No specific antidote for lithium poisoning is known. Early symptoms of lithium toxicity can usually be treated by reduction of cessation of dosage of the drug and resumption of the treatment at a lower dose after 24 to 48 hours. In severe cases of lithium poisoning, the first and foremost goal of treatment consists of elimination of this ion from the patient. 

Treatment is essentially the same as that used in barbiturate poisoning: 1) gastric lavage, 2) correction of fluid and electrolyte imbalance and 3) regulation of kidney functioning. Urea, mannitol, and aminophylline all produce significant increases in lithium excretion. Hemodialysis is an effective and rapid means of removing the ion from the severely toxic patient. Infection prophylaxis, regular chest X-rays, and preservation of adequate respiration are essential.

Lithium Carbonate Dosage and Administration

Acute Mania

Optimal patient response to Lithium Carbonate usually can be established and maintained with 600 mg t.i.d. Such doses will normally produce an effective serum lithium level ranging between 1.0 and 1.5 mEq/L. Dosage must be individualized according to serum levels and clinical response. Regular monitoring of the patient’s clinical state and of serum lithium levels is necessary. Serum levels should be determined twice per week during the acute phase, and until the serum level and clinical condition of the patient have been stabilized.

Long-term Control

The desirable serum lithium levels are 0.6 to 1.2 mEq/L. Dosage will vary from one individual to another, but usually 300 mg of Lithium Carbonate t.i.d. or q.i.d. will maintain this level. Serum lithium levels in uncomplicated cases receiving maintenance therapy during remission should be monitored at least every two months. 

Patients abnormally sensitive to lithium may exhibit toxic signs at serum levels of 1.0 to 1.5 mEq/L. Elderly patients often respond to reduced dosage, and may exhibit signs of toxicity at serum levels ordinarily tolerated by other patients.

N.B.

Blood samples for serum lithium determination should be drawn immediately prior to the next dose when lithium concentrations are relatively stable (i.e., 8 to 12 hours after the previous dose). Total reliance must not be placed on serum levels alone. Accurate patient evaluation requires both clinical and laboratory analysis.

How is Lithium Carbonate Supplied

Lithium Carbonate Capsules, USP 300 mg are hard gelatin capsules and each capsule has a flesh, opaque body and flesh, opaque cap, imprinted “APO 300” with white powder fill.  They are supplied as follows: 

Bottles of 100              NDC 60505-2504-1

Bottles of 1000            NDC 60505-2504-2

100 Unit Dose             NDC 60505-2504-3 

Store and Dispense: 

Store at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15° to 30°C (59° to 86°F) [See USP Controlled Room Temperature] 

APOTEX INC. 

Lithium Carbonate CAPSULES, USP 300 mg 

Manufactured by:                   Manufactured for:

Apotex Inc.                            Apotex Corp.

Weston, Ontario                    Weston, Florida

Canada M9L 1T9                    USA 33326  

                                                                                                            

May 2012                                                                                                           

Rev.03

PRINCIPAL DISPLAY PANEL - 300 mg

BOTTLE LABEL

APOTEX CORP. NDC 60505-2504-1

Lithium Carbonate CAPSULES, USP

300 mg

Rx only

100 Tablets

Lithium Carbonate  
Lithium Carbonate capsule
Product Information
Product Type HUMAN PRESCRIPTION DRUG LABEL Item Code (Source) NDC:60505-2504
Route of Administration ORAL DEA Schedule     
Active Ingredient/Active Moiety
Ingredient Name Basis of Strength Strength
Lithium Carbonate (LITHIUM CATION) Lithium Carbonate 300 mg
Inactive Ingredients
Ingredient Name Strength
TALC  
GELATIN  
D&C RED NO. 28  
FD&C RED NO. 40  
FD&C YELLOW NO. 6  
TITANIUM DIOXIDE  
FERROSOFERRIC OXIDE  
BUTYL ALCOHOL  
ALCOHOL  
ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL  
POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE  
PROPYLENE GLYCOL  
WATER  
SHELLAC  
AMMONIA  
Product Characteristics
Color WHITE (flesh, opaque body ) , WHITE (flesh, opaque cap) Score no score
Shape CAPSULE Size 18mm
Flavor Imprint Code APO;300
Contains         
Packaging
# Item Code Package Description
1 NDC:60505-2504-1 100 CAPSULE in 1 BOTTLE
2 NDC:60505-2504-2 1000 CAPSULE in 1 BOTTLE
3 NDC:60505-2504-3 10 BLISTER PACK in 1 CARTON
3 10 CAPSULE in 1 BLISTER PACK
Marketing Information
Marketing Category Application Number or Monograph Citation Marketing Start Date Marketing End Date
ANDA ANDA076795 11/29/2004
Labeler - Apotex Corp (845263701)
Registrant - Apotex Inc. (209429182)
Establishment
Name Address ID/FEI Operations
Apotex Inc. 209429182 manufacture(60505-2504), analysis(60505-2504)
Establishment
Name Address ID/FEI Operations
Apotex Inc. 205576023 manufacture(60505-2504), analysis(60505-2504)
Establishment
Name Address ID/FEI Operations
Apotex Inc. 255092496 analysis(60505-2504)
Revised: 05/2013
 
Apotex Corp
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