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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)?
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to lithium.
Before taking lithium, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take lithium.
FDA pregnancy category D. This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not use lithium without your doctor's consent if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication.
Lithium can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the effects of this medication.
Do not give lithium to a child younger than 12 years old.
How should I take lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid)?
Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow the pill whole. It is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.
Measure the liquid form of lithium with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Taking lithium can make it easier for you to become dehydrated, especially if you have any vomiting or diarrhea, if you are outdoors in the sun, or if you exercise vigorously or sweat more than usual. Dehydration can increase some of the side effects of lithium.
Drink extra fluids each day to keep from getting dehydrated while you are taking lithium. Tell your doctor if you have been sweating excessively, or if you are sick with fever, vomiting, or diarrhea for more than a few hours.
To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your kidney function will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.
If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are taking lithium.
Store lithium at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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