Lithium Toxicity

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wen4003
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   Posted 9/13/2007 9:47 AM (GMT -7)   
I've been on Lithium Carbonate for about 7 weeks.  In the last week or so I have been experciencing slurred speech, tremors, can't walk straight/bumping into things and excessive thirst.  I called my pdoc's office and explained what is going on and they want a blood draw to get my lithium level.  The nurse mentioned that they think I'm at a toxic level.  She took me by surprise when she said it, so I didn't think to question her about it.
 
Can anyone here tell me what this means please? 
 
Thanks,
Wen
I have Bipolar Disorder, Panic/Anxiety Disorders, Agoraphobia, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Severe Acid Reflux, Barrett's Esophagus, and Narcolepsy
 


olivia of course
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   Posted 9/13/2007 2:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Wen,
 
I have been on lithium for a over a year, and about 2 months ago I had symptoms of lithium toxicity.  My lithium level was 1.7, and it is usually at 1.0.  I had slurred speech, horrible stomach cramping, and other symptoms.  My pdoc lowered by dosage and the symptoms went away in about 2 weeks.
 
Therapudic levels of lithium should be between .8 and 1.2, some people need a little bit more.  If it is higher than 1.6 it is a risk for toxicity (the level is taken through blood test).  This means you have too much lithum in your body than what it can process.  One way to avoid this is to make sure you drink plenty of fluids.
 
I hope you feel better soon, you'll be ok.  Keep us updated.
Olivia
Moderator, Bipolar
 
Dx:  Bipolar 1, Anxiety-Panic Disorder
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wen4003
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   Posted 9/13/2007 2:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Olivia,
 
Thanks for the info - I'm having the blood drawn tomorrow.  I hope they get the results soon because I can't take much more of this.  To be honest, I'm becoming extremely careful of what I'm doing because I'm just so afraid that I'm going to get hurt.  I've been drinking like crazy - I'm always thirsty.  I think if I drink any more, I'm going to turn into a fish - LOL.
 
Thanks again for the info Olivia, very helpful.
 
Wen
I have Bipolar Disorder, Panic/Anxiety Disorders, Agoraphobia, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Severe Acid Reflux, Barrett's Esophagus, and Narcolepsy
 


olivia of course
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   Posted 9/15/2007 12:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Wen,

how did the blood work go, any results? I hope you feel better soon. :-)
Olivia
Moderator, Bipolar
 
Dx:  Bipolar I, Anxiety-Panic Disorder
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wen4003
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   Posted 9/15/2007 4:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Olivia,

Thanks for asking. I don't have any results yet. I'm hoping for Moday. I'm really getting tired of feeling like crap. I'll keep ya posted.

Wen
I have Bipolar Disorder, Panic/Anxiety Disorders, Agoraphobia, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Severe Acid Reflux, Barrett's Esophagus, Sleep Apnea, and Narcolepsy
 


wen4003
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Date Joined Aug 2007
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   Posted 9/19/2007 6:56 AM (GMT -7)   
I finally got my results back from the blood draw  - my level was 1.9, toxic.  The pdoc has taken me off the Lithium for now until I see him tomorrow and we will decide what to do.  I've only been off it for one day and I'm already feeling better.
I have Bipolar Disorder, Panic/Anxiety Disorders, Agoraphobia, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Severe Acid Reflux, Barrett's Esophagus, Sleep Apnea, and Narcolepsy
 


olivia of course
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   Posted 9/19/2007 9:17 AM (GMT -7)   
wen,

wow! that's pretty high, I'm glad you didn't end up in the hospital. It is also a good sign that you are starting to feel better already.
Olivia
Moderator, Bipolar
 
Dx:  Bipolar I, Anxiety-Panic Disorder
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wen4003
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   Posted 9/19/2007 10:58 AM (GMT -7)   
Olivia,
 
Thanks for checking on me.  It's nice to be feeling quite a bit better, there are some things that really need to go - LOL, but I know the will.  It's just nice to see a difference already.
 
 
Wen
I have Bipolar Disorder, Panic/Anxiety Disorders, Agoraphobia, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Severe Acid Reflux, Barrett's Esophagus, Sleep Apnea, and Narcolepsy
 


wen4003
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Date Joined Aug 2007
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   Posted 9/21/2007 9:36 AM (GMT -7)   
I continue to feel better as the effects from the toxicity continue to wear off - YAY!!
 
I saw my pdoc yesterday and he is now putting me on Lamictal.  I hope there's nothing that goes wrong for me on this me.  We shall see.
 
Wen
I have Bipolar Disorder, Panic/Anxiety Disorders, Agoraphobia, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Severe Acid Reflux, Barrett's Esophagus, Sleep Apnea, and Narcolepsy
 

A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.

Benjamin Franklin

 


olivia of course
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   Posted 9/23/2007 11:18 AM (GMT -7)   
wen,

I am really glad for you that you are feeling much better as the days go by. I was on Lamictal for over 1 1/2 years in the past, it is a good med.
Olivia
Moderator, Bipolar
 
Dx:  Bipolar I, Anxiety-Panic Disorder
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Mr.T
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 133
   Posted 9/30/2007 10:58 PM (GMT -7)   
I am glad to hear that you are doing ok. I have a question, if you don't mind. What was your prescribed dosage and how long were you at this level. I started about a week and a half ago and am supposed to go back to the doctors next week to increase from 600 mg that I am currently taking to ,well I don't have a clue. I guess I am being moved up in steps. I have heard so many bad things about it I am getting a bit worried as the doses increase. Not sure what to do or think about it.

serafena
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   Posted 10/1/2007 6:25 AM (GMT -7)   
How are you feeling, Mr. T?
I would definitely ask to have your bloodwork done next week for your own peace of mind. Are you keeping up with drinking enough fluids?
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Ask me about my Bipolar Disorder!


wen4003
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Date Joined Aug 2007
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   Posted 10/1/2007 7:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Mr. T.
 
I don't mind answering your question at all.  My pdoc started me at 900mg while I was in the hospital and we had some bloodwork done abut 6 days later and I was within the therapeutic range at that time.  I was on Lithium for about 3-4 weeks when I became toxic.  I experience many things while toxic - my balance was off, I kept bumping into things - it sounds funny now but at the time it wasn't; my hands were extremely shaky, my vision was very blurry, diarrhea, slurred speech, and excessive thirst. 
 
Remember that everyone reacts different to medications, so what may work for me, may not work for you.  The best thing for you to do is continue to work with your doctor and absolutely insist on getting regular bloodwork to check your levels.  I would also suggest doing some research on the internet on Lithium so you know how it works, problems that could possibly occur, etc.  My philosophy has always been that the more you know about your condition(s) and medications the better off you are.  And I'm certainly learning alot these day cool
 
NAMI.org and Wikipedia are both decent sites to start with.  Just remember to try and make sure the site you are reading is reputable.
 
Hope this helps and good luck.  Keep us posted
 
Wen
I have Bipolar Disorder, Panic/Anxiety Disorders, Agoraphobia, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Severe Acid Reflux, Barrett's Esophagus, Sleep Apnea, and Narcolepsy
 

A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.

Benjamin Franklin

 


Mr.T
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 133
   Posted 10/1/2007 6:57 PM (GMT -7)   

Thank you both,  I wish i could say  I am doing fine, but I'm not. I jst don't feel right or good or something.  I know it is not lithium toxicity if anything it may be the lack of medication.  My mind is racing.  I am going through horrible mood swings.  I just don't know what to do.  I am only on Lithium and i don't think it has taken yet or is enough.  I don't have an appointment unitl saturday and I don't know to go earlier or not. I know it takes time, but what do I do unitl it takes effect?  I don't want to seem like a hypocondriac to my doctor.  I just want to feel better.  I don't know where to turn or who to turn to.  No one understands me here.  "you don't need that"  "you take too much medication" "your the same as you have always been".  This is driving me up the wall.  I don't take too many pills.  I know that I need this to control my moods and yes I am the same I have been the last few years. Moody, depressed and want to be isolated away from everyone and everything.  I want to be happy and enjoy life and people and not hide in my room.  I have everythig, yet I have nothing. Is is wrong to want to be happy.  I don't get it.  I just wish I could be stabalized.

Sorry, this is just driving me crazy this morning.  Hope all is well with you all.


wen4003
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Date Joined Aug 2007
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   Posted 10/2/2007 8:03 AM (GMT -7)   
Mr. T.
 
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be happy with your life in every way.  Because of several medical conditions, I know from experience that it could take 3-4 weeks (or longer, depending on the med) for it to fully kick in.  It could also just be a matter of tweeking it a little bit (decrease or increase).  However, with that said, if I were you I would make a call today to talk to the doctor's nurse and explain how you are feeling and ask if they have an earlier appointment than Saturday for you.  If they don't, then ask if you could be called if someone should cancel their appointment and maybe you can take that one. 
 
Personally, I don't believe that you are a hypochondriac - you know how you feel and you want to feel better.  If others around you are noticing there hasn't been any difference in you, then make sure you tell your pdoc.  He needs to know this along with how you are feeling.  You have the right to insist on the bloodwork, because you also want to know whether you are in the therapeutic range. 
 
You will get stabilized, it will just take a little bit of time, try to be patient.  But most certainly call the pdoc's office.  If you don't advocate for yourself, it's likely that no one else will - so  you have to do that.  Don't forget to educate yourself on this condition and the medications -that's very important.  Also, I will reiterate what serefina said - drink LOTS of water, it's a must while on Lithium.
 
I myself am not completely stablized as I've had to change medications and I'm slowly working up to the desired dose.  It just takes time.
 
I hope some of this helps.  Feel free to email me at any time.
 
Wen


I have Bipolar Disorder, Panic/Anxiety Disorders, Agoraphobia, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Severe Acid Reflux, Barrett's Esophagus, Sleep Apnea, and Narcolepsy
 

A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.

Benjamin Franklin

 


serafena
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Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 10/2/2007 11:54 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm so sorry to hear you're not feeling well Mr. T. and I'm especially sorry that you're isolated and haven't much support. We'll do our best to make up for the lack. Wen's right. It's not ridiculous to want to feel better, and certainly we all know what that emptiness feels like. I also agree that a call to the doc's office is in order. If you're feeling that badly, I think they'll want to squeeze you in before Saturday. The doctor isn't going to think you're a hypochondriac. I'm sure he's had real hypochondriacs before and knows the difference. How about going for a walk just to get out and clear your head a bit. You're going to be okay. The moodiness is horrid, but I promise, it will pass. You WILL NOT feel this way forever. Be well.
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Ask me about my Bipolar Disorder!


Mr.T
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 133
   Posted 10/2/2007 6:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you Wen and Serafena.  i really do appreciate the kind words and encouragement.  i am so glad that I found this site.  I finally can tell someone how I feel and what I am going through without being chastized. I am going to call the doctor and get an earlier appointment.  I really do want to feel better and he needs to know what I am going through.  Like I said before it is a bit difficult speaking to my doctor.  His English is ok, but I just find it hard to open up to him.  I am worried about what he thinks of me.  I don't know why.  I do have a nuerologist that I feel really comfortable talking to.  She seems to understand me and talk with me more than my phsc. doctor.  She even gave me her mobile numbers, but I just don't want to bother her. It's strange, but I just would feel weird calling her.  She has many other  patients with serious neurological problems.  Mine would pale in comparison.  Anyway, enough on that.  Thank you again for your support.  It really does mean alot to me.  I don't feel so alone with this anymore.  I will try to be patient and let the medicine take it's course.

olivia of course
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   Posted 10/2/2007 7:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Mr. T,

You just started lithium just recently, it takes an average of 6-8 weeks to work as do most other mood stabilizers. You are also on a very low dose, the therapudic dose does not start till you are at least on 900mg. Please give it a little more time, don't give up on it just yet.

I am sorry about your mom, that is not making it easy on you, and def hard to stabilize you. Please keep up updated on how both of you are doing.
Olivia
Co-Moderator, Bipolar
 
Dx:  Bipolar I, Anxiety-Panic Disorder
Support HealingWell:
 
http://www.healingwell.com/donate
"Don't let your yesterday, ruin your today"


Mr.T
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 133
   Posted 10/3/2007 5:41 PM (GMT -7)   

Good morning,

Well I went to my doctor yesterday and explained to him what was going on in my life and my head.  He had to tell me to slow down.  I guess I was just rambling on, but at least I ended up getting it all out.  He uped my lithium to 1200mg and added frisium 5mg 2 times a day and the normal serequel 100mg and rohypnol for bedtime.  He said that I did not need a blood test yet, but wanted my heart check in a couple of weeks because the meds I am taking may give me rapid heart beat or arithmia(I think) something to do with irregular heart beats.  That was a bit concerning.  He said if I collapse to have someone take me to the hospital. I know I have to drink alot of water as you all have said and will do that.  I tried to speak to my partner about this and got a cold reception.  Why do you need this and how long?  He just doesn't think I need to be taking any meds.  I guess I have always hid the problems from him and medicine and he just thinks that I am moody and should just deal with it.  I tried to explain that I have been "dealing" with this for a long time, but the conversation ended.  I guess I should have just kept my mouth shut.  I do believe that in time I will get better and I am not going to give up or stop taking meds no matter what my friends think.  My doctor and I know best.  Not them.  I just wish they would understand.  Maybe that is asking too much right now.  Anyway, Thanks again for your support and I did tell my doctor I finally had some people to talk to who are or have been going through the same thing and he was happy about that.  Believe me so am I.  Have a great day.

 

Jery


wen4003
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Date Joined Aug 2007
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   Posted 10/4/2007 7:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Jery,
 
I am so glad that you saw you doctor and it's great that he listened to you!!  It sounds like you may be on the right track with the meds.  Just keep track of any and all side effects and drink LOTS of water.
 
I am sorry to hear that your partner won't listen to you and doesn't think you need this help.  But you are so right when you say that you and your doctor knows what's best for you.  Maybe your partner will come around once you all see the difference.
 
Best of luck to you and keep us up to date on what's going on.  :-)
I have Bipolar Disorder, Panic/Anxiety Disorders, Agoraphobia, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Severe Acid Reflux, Barrett's Esophagus, Sleep Apnea, and Narcolepsy
 

A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.

Benjamin Franklin

 


serafena
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Date Joined May 2007
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   Posted 10/4/2007 7:52 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm glad to hear it Jery. I hope this helps you feel a little better soon. And Wen's right. Maybe once your friends start to see the difference in your mood they'll realize why you need the meds. Or... maybe they don't need to know about them at all. Only my very closest know I'm bipolar, because it's my business, not theirs. I know you're talking about your partner, and you want to open with your partner, but if he's not going to be supportive, then you don't have to discuss it with him in any depth. Come talk to us about it. We'll be your cheerleaders. Go Go Go!!!
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Ask me about my Bipolar Disorder!


Mr.T
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 133
   Posted 10/4/2007 5:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Good morning to you all.  I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You just don't know how nice it is to get a response and advice from you all.  I get a smile on my face when I see that I have a message.  I finally feel like someone cares about me and what I am going through.  I know it probably sounds strange, but I feel as if i have made some new friends here already and boy does it feel good.  I have decided just to keep my problems to myself and you guys. You are right it isn't anyones business but those I wish to share it with and can understand.  If they don't understand then I won't push it.  You guys have given me such good advice.  If there is anything I can do for you to repay your kindness please let me know.  Thank you again
 Have a great day.

serafena
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Date Joined May 2007
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   Posted 10/4/2007 7:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Fantastic! I'm glad I can be a part of that.
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Ask me about my Bipolar Disorder!


Mr.T
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 133
   Posted 10/5/2007 7:31 AM (GMT -7)   

No. Thank you to you for helping me through this tough time. Serena, Wen and Olivia.  You are now in my heart and will always be there.  thank you.

jery


wen4003
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Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1193
   Posted 10/5/2007 9:28 AM (GMT -7)   
I am so happy for you that we have been able to you in any way that we could.  It's great to be a part of helping someone to feel better.  Hope all continues to go well for you.  Keep posting and keep us up to date.
yeah   yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
 
Wen
I have Bipolar Disorder, Panic/Anxiety Disorders, Agoraphobia, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Severe Acid Reflux, Barrett's Esophagus, Sleep Apnea, and Narcolepsy
 

A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.

Benjamin Franklin

 

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