Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why Lithosun (Lithium carbonate) be toxic?

Lithosun is a brand of Lithium carbonate manufactured by Sun Pharma India.
Lithium  is an essential medication in treating Bipolar Affective disorder. It is especially effective in Manic phase of the illness. Numerous studies have shown its effectiveness and no one doubts its effectiveness. However, it is a toxic metallic ion that can be fatal if taken overdose.

Its toxic effects are thought to be mediated via Lithosun ‘s ability to interfere with Sodium potassium channels in neurons. In a normal neuronal cell, there is an electrical gradient between outer and inner cell membranes. This electrical gradient is essential for neuronal transmission. Problem with Lithium is Human body mistakenly thinks Lithium is sodium and incorporate it instead of Sodium in the ion channels. This disrupts cell membrane electrical gradient and disrupt neuronal transmission. However, this effect is marked only in over dose.

Normally Lithosun is toxic when the plasma levels go beyond 1.2 mmol/l. Problem is that lithium need to be given dose above 0.6 mmol/l to be effective. Therefore, Lithosun level should be maintained within a very narrow spectrum. Therefore, patients who are on lithium should follow strict guidelines on how to maintain lithium levels at optimal level.

Generally following advices should be followed to avoid Lithosun toxicity,

1.       Take adequate water.
2.       When going to a doctor for any other illness, patients need to tell him/her that they are taking lithium as some medications can cause dangerous interactions with Lithium
3.       In addition, they should know toxic side effects of Lithium such as Gross tremors of limbs, severe vomiting, diarrhea, and confusion.
4.       Check blood lithium levels at least three monthly intervals. However, in some centers Blood lithium level test can be an expensive one.

 Another interesting finding is before 1951 Lithium is included in popular soft drink 7Up. It was introduced to improve mood. After that it was discontinued due to reports of toxicity. 

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