Im trying to conceive and having taken Lithium for 15 years. I understand I need to stop for the pregnancy. Can I stop suddenly or should I taper off? I ask because there will be a lapse of time between me finding out if im pregnant and an appt with my psych doctor.
Always, always, always need to taper, this is the one area that I am not my best in, in regards to mg's by day and so on, when it comes to tapering... I have seen many other member's that are good with this and will eventually see this question as well... you don't want to put your body in complete shock... That will, has and can happen on any psych med especially, like stopping the use of oxycontin suddenly after 1 yr or more... I would be careful of the time frame in which to conceive until you get a handle on the drug lithium... I really could not tell you how harmful this could be to a new fetus but my guesses are any medication other than pre-natal vitamins, smoke and so on aren't. The most critical time is the first 3 months, trimester, then you can revisit the issues of these types of meds while continuing pregnancy... but if you can go with out, the better... talk with an obgyn as soon as you can and discuss this with him or her... good luck blaze22
You are ok to stop the lithium as your ob/gyn prescribed. You want the Lithium to be out of your system before conceiving due to the potential of birth defects as follows:
One retrospective study of 101 women concluded that rates of recurrence of bipolar disorder during the first 40 weeks after lithium discontinuation were similar for pregnant and nonpregnant women but then sharply increased postpartum.
Lithium has been assigned to pregnancy category D by the FDA. Use of lithium in the first trimester has been associated with congenital defects, particularly cardiac defects such as Ebstein's anomaly, although recent studies (including a prospective study of 148 women on lithium) have concluded that lithium is not a major human teratogen. Lithium toxicity (such as cyanosis, hypotonia, atrial flutter and bradycardia) has been reported in neonates whose mothers took lithium during pregnancy. There is no controlled data in human pregnancy. Lithium should only be given during pregnancy when there are no alternatives and benefit outweighs risk.
Please note the possibility of recurrence of your disorder after pregnancy although during pregnancy the rate of recurrence was not noticeable, that is encouraging.
I don't know how soon you will get pregnant but you need the ltihium to be out of your body before conceiving. I can't find what is called the half life for Lithium so I'm not sure how long this could take. To be most safe you need to discontinue the drug and have your levels checked before getting pregnant.
Hope this had helped and good luck,
- Lithium Information for Consumers
- Lithium Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Lithium (detailed)
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