|Background:||Lithium administered as lithium carbonate is used for the treatment of the manic phase of affective disorders, mania and manic depressive illness. It acts by enhancing re-uptake of neurotransmitters thereby reducing their concentration in the neuronal junction. This produces a sedating effect on the central nervous system.
Absorption of lithium from the gastrointestinal tract is complete, with peak serum concentrations reached in 2 – 4 hours after an oral dose. Serum lithium concentrations are monitored to assure patient compliance and to avoid intoxication. Early symptoms of intoxication include drowsiness, speech difficulties and twitching.
|Reference Ranges:||0.4 to 1.0 mmol/L: Therapeutic
1.0 – 2.0mmol/L: Moderately toxic
>2.0 mmol/L: Severe toxicity
NOTE: These values are applicable at 12 hours post dose
|Specimen Requirements:||Serum or plasma from EDTA or sodium heparin
Specimen should be collected 12 hours post dose of lithium.
|Turnaround Time:||2 hours|