Posted by Emily Elizabeth on April 29, 2006, at 14:41:53
In reply to Is lithium any good?, posted by Don_Bristol on April 28, 2006, at 19:53:08
I take lots of meds for unipolar treatment resistant depression (lexapro, desipramine, dexedrine, neurontin, lithium, and ambien)
and, honestly, I have not been able to get "well" for over a month within the past 3 yrs. I am once again looking into making some changes, HOWEVER, 2 pdocs and I agree that we don't want to touch the Li. It is one drug that does seem to have made a real dent in the depression. AND I haven't been quite as low as I was prior to the Li (6 mos ago?) One thing that Li is known for is reducing suicidal thoughts/feelings. It has done that for me.
I've never tried an MAOI, so I can't compare. (Actually, I can't believe that you pdoc was willing to try that before Li.)
QUESTION ONE: what else could he be thinking about using lithium for? Does lithium affect serotonin?
Probably treatment resistent depression. My pdoc said that a mood stabilizer can be especially helpful for depression where you get a little better on every thing, but not completely better. I don't know if she read that somewhere or it is her observation. I don't think that Li affects serotonin, but I'm not sure. It works differently than most AD's, so it often can work when other things won't. Also, it has been used for many yrs and there have been consistent research findings supporting its use in unipolar dep.
> QUESTION TWO Is lithium seen as a good med? All that blood testing seems to make lithium a lot of work. But is it worth it?
If you are using it to augment an AD, you won't need to take as much as a bipolar patient. So, the blood levels don't go so close to that toxic line and so you really don't need blood tests often. I've just had one. Pdoc says that it stays pretty stable unless you are having a manic episode. I have had a few more blood tests to check thyroid functioning, b/c Li can interfere. No big deal, though. I think that we were mostly checking b/c we keep wondering if I'm having thyroid probs which are causing depression (nope.)
I would say that Li is seen as a tried and true good med. Some people get a lot of s/e's, but I haven't. Lower doses are helpful w/ avoiding that too.
Hope this helps! Just ask if you have more ?'s.