“Examining the Association between Lithium Levels and Poor Renal Outcomes in Older Lithium Users: A Population-Based Longitudinal Cohort Study”
Lithium carbonate is a mood stabilizer, and the gold-standard of treatment for bipolar disorders. One percent of all Ontarians (more than 15,000 people) use lithium; many more patients with bipolar disorder and depression could potentially benefit from its use. Patients with mood disorders are often prescribed a number of medications and spend decades with inadequately treated symptoms. Mood disorders can be burdensome illnesses to patients, their families, society and the health care system. Lithium is one of the most effective medications in bipolar disorder, with 30 to 40% of patients responding better to this medication than alternatives. However, concern about its potential to cause kidney disease prevents more widespread use, especially in older adults. Adding to this, older adults are already at increased risk for kidney disease from other medical conditions, and it is not yet known which blood lithium levels are associated with increased kidney disease in older adults.