Quickbite: Monitoring and managing the renal adverse effects of lithium

by Dr Sumeet Gupta and Dr Udayan Khastgir


Last reviewed: September 2020


Lithium is an established treatment for bipolar disorder and an augmenting agent for depression. Despite evidence for its effectiveness, many other mood-stabilising drugs are preferred to lithium because of concerns about its adverse effects (including renal adverse effects) and toxicity.


Among those taking lithium, renal adverse effects are common, but it is difficult to predict which patients are likely to develop them. Hence, regular monitoring is essential to identify and manage these problems.


This module will help you understand how to monitor and interpret different renal parameters, especially the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and the albumin/creatinine ratio (ACR), so as to manage renal adverse effects. You will learn about the risks and benefits of lithium continuation or discontinuation in patients developing renal impairment.


This module provides an overview of the renal adverse effects of taking lithium, but focuses on chronic kidney disease (CKD) in particular.


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If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


Safe lithum prescribing: initiation and monitoring by Dr Ekta Sharma, Dr Tayeem Pathan and Dr Stuart Adams


The pharmacological management of mania by Dr Karine A.N. Macritchie and Professor Allan H. Young


The pharmacological treatment of resistant depression – an overview by Professor Philip J. Cowen



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