Generic name: lithium carbonate
Dosage form: capsules, controlled-release tablets
Medically reviewed on May 10, 2018.
Immediate-release capsules are usually given t.i.d. or q.i.d. Doses of controlled-release tablets are usually given b.i.d. (approximately 12-hour intervals). When initiating therapy with immediate-release or controlled-release lithium, dosage must be individualized according to serum levels and clinical response.
When switching a patient from immediate-release capsules to ESKALITH CR Controlled-Release Tablets, give the same total daily dose when possible. Most patients on maintenance therapy are stabilized on 900 mg daily, e.g., ESKALITH CR 450 mg b.i.d. When the previous dosage of immediate-release lithium is not a multiple of 450 mg, e.g., 1,500 mg, initiate ESKALITH CR at the multiple of 450 mg nearest to, but below, the original daily dose, i.e., 1,350 mg. When the 2 doses are unequal, give the larger dose in the evening. In the above example, with a total daily dose of 1,350 mg, generally 450 mg of ESKALITH CR should be given in the morning and 900 mg of ESKALITH CR in the evening. If desired, the total daily dose of 1,350 mg can be given in 3 equal 450-mg doses of ESKALITH CR. These patients should be monitored at 1- to 2-week intervals, and dosage adjusted if necessary, until stable and satisfactory serum levels and clinical state are achieved.
When patients require closer titration than that available with doses of ESKALITH CR in increments of 450 mg, immediate-release capsules should be used.
Optimal patient response to ESKALITH can usually be established and maintained with 1,800 mg per day in divided doses. Such doses will normally produce the desired 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 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.
The desirable serum lithium levels are 0.6 to 1.2 mEq/L. Dosage will vary from one individual to another, but usually 900 mg to 1,200 mg per day in divided doses will maintain this level. Serum lithium levels in uncomplicated cases receiving maintenance therapy during remission should be monitored at least every two months.
Patients unusually sensitive to lithium may exhibit toxic signs at serum levels below 1.0 mEq/L.
N.B.: Blood samples for serum lithium determinations 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.
Elderly patients often respond to reduced dosage, and may exhibit signs of toxicity at serum levels ordinarily tolerated by younger patients.
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