Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Medicines & treatments centre

Terms Of Use


Brand Name(s) : Camcolit, Li-Liquid, Liskonum, Priadel
Side Effects


Lithium should be used with caution by:

It should not be used by:

Also see list of precautions and interactions.


Protect from light and store below 25°C.


What is it used for?

  • Lithium is used to treat a number of mental problems.
  • It is an anti-mania drug with additional action against depression, sometimes known as a mood stabiliser.
  • It is used to prevent and treat mania (overactive behaviour or thoughts) and depression.
  • In general this drug is used to treat mania, which is a symptom present in a number of mental disorders such as bipolar disorder (sometimes called manic depression), but it is also used to treat recurrent and severe depression, as well as patients' aggressive or self-harming behaviours.
  • Benefits of being on this drug can include improvements in the symptoms of depression and mania.

Listed below are the typical uses of lithium.

  • Treatment and prevention of mania
  • Treatment of bipolar disorder
  • Treatment of recurrent depression
  • Prevention of aggressive of self-harming behaviour.

On occasion your doctor may prescribe this medicine to treat a condition not on the above list. Such conditions are listed below.


How often do I take it?

  • Take this medication by mouth, usually once or twice daily, with or without food. Tablets should be swallowed whole and taken with a glass of water.
  • Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it.
  • Remember to use it at the same time each day - unless specifically told not to by your doctor.
  • It may take weeks or months before the full benefit of this drug takes effect.
  • Certain medical conditions may require different dosage instructions as directed by your doctor.

What dose?

  • Dosage is based on your age, gender, medical condition, response to therapy, and use of certain interacting medicines.

Do I need to avoid anything?

  • This drug may cause dizziness, sleepiness, or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there). If affected in this way avoid driving or operating machinery. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When can I stop?

  • It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well, unless your doctor tells you to stop.


  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Vomiting
  • Vertigo (spinning or swaying sensation when standing still)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tremor
  • Weight gain
  • Oedema (swelling caused by too much fluid under the skin)
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleepiness
  • Lack of co-ordination
  • Fits
  • Goitre (swelling of the thyroid gland, found in the neck)
  • Kidney problems (passing a lot of water or feeling thirsty)
  • Heart rhythm problems including a fast heartbeat (tachycardia) or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Low blood pressure or Raynaud’s phenomena (where fingers and/or toes are cold and numb)
  • Worsening of psoriasis
  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Changes in the sense of taste
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Coma (unable to wake)
  • Death.
If any of these persist or you consider them severe then inform your doctor.

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms: any changes in heartbeat (e.g. slower, faster or irregular heartbeat).

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine (which includes vaccines, herbals and over the counter medicines) that you are taking. It is run by the medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA). Please report any suspected side effect on the Yellow Card Scheme website.


Before taking lithium, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other antidepressant or anti-manic drugs; or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist in case of: kidney problems, heart problems, untreated under-treated thyroid, or Addison's disease (a rare condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough steroid hormones).

Before using this medication tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially any of the following: recent vomiting or diarrhoea (leading to dehydration), low sodium diet, psoriasis (a skin disorder causing red, scaly patches of skin), myasthenia gravis (a muscle weakness disease), or an infection.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Does alcohol intake affect this drug?

  • Avoid or moderate alcohol intake.

The elderly: lithium should be used with caution in the elderly as it may be more likely to cause side-effects and so particular care with monitoring patients in this age group is recommended.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding - please ensure you read the detailed information below


Lithium is not safe to take if you are, or are planning to become, pregnant.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during pregnancy whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Lithium is not safe to take if you are breastfeeding.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during breastfeeding whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.

This drug should not be used with the following medications because very serious, possibly fatal interactions may occur:

  • Anti-arrhythmics (e.g. amiodarone)
  • Ketorolac

If you are currently using any such medicine, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting lithium.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and non-prescription/herbal products you may use, especially of:

  • Antipsychotics e.g. haloperidol.
  • Antibiotics (e.g. metronidazole, co-trimoxazole or trimethoprim)
  • Antihypertensives (e.g. angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE] inhibitors [e.g. captopril, enalapril or ramipril], angiotensin-II receptor antagonists [e.g. losartan, telmisartan or valsartan], calcium-channel blockers [e.g. verapamil or diltiazem], or methyldopa)
  • Antidepressants (e.g. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs] such as fluoxetine or paroxetine, tricyclics [TCAs] such as amitriptyline, or venlafaxine)
  • Anti-epileptics (e.g. carbamazepine or phenytoin)
  • Antipsychotics (e.g. clozapine, haloperidol or sulpiride)
  • Diuretics (e.g. acetazolamide, bendroflumethiazide, furosemide, amiloride or spironolactone)
  • Pain-killers and anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. diclofenac, ibuprofen or celecoxib).

This information does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using lithium, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use.


The effects of overdose with lithium are: sickness, diarrhoea, blurred vision, passing a lot of water, light-headedness, muscle weakness or drowsiness. In extreme cases fits, heart rhythm problems (slow or irregular heartbeat), kidney failure, unconsciousness, coma and death may occur.

People who have taken too much lithium should seek immediate assistance from a healthcare professional.

If you think you, or someone you care for, might have accidentally taken more than the recommended dose of lithium or intentional overdose is suspected, contact your local hospital, GP or if in England call 111. In Scotland call NHS 24. In Wales, call NHS Direct Wales. In the case of medical emergencies, always dial 999.


If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Find a medication

Search by medication name for information on over-the-counter or prescription medications including side effects and interactions.
indicates detailed medicines information

Source: Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by Boots UK Limited. This copyrighted material is sourced from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorised by the applicable terms of use.
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse events, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any medicine, changing any diet, or discontinuing any course of treatment.

Search for a medicine or treatment

Search by medicine name or treatment for information including side effects and interactions.

Ex. Simvastatin, Ibuprofen, Amitriptyline Hydrochlorine

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

How to help headache pain
rash on skin
Top eczema triggers to avoid
boost your metabolism
Foods to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
Tips to support digestive health
woman looking at pregnancy test
Is your body ready for pregnancy?
sick child
Dos and don'ts for childhood eczema
Treating your child's cold or fever
bucket with cleaning supplies in it
Cleaning and organising tips
adult man contemplating
When illness makes it hard to eat
woman holding stomach
Understand this common condition
cold sore
What you need to know