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by Dr Ekta
Sharma, Dr Tayeem
Pathan and Dr Stuart
Last reviewed: November
Lithium is one of the oldest mood
stabilisers prescribed in psychiatry, and is among the
most efficacious treatments for bipolar affective disorder and
treatment-resistant depression. However, it is well known that
patients on lithium commonly suffer from adverse effects.
Many of these side-effects are preventable
by improving clinical practice. Despite this, audits carried
out by the Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health (POMH-UK) have
shown that a significant number of patients are not monitored in
accordance with NICE guidance. The National Patient Safety Agency
(NPSA) received 567 incident reports relating to lithium use
from 2003–2008, and the NHS litigation authority dealt with
two fatal and twelve severe harm incidents involving lithium
therapy from 1995–2004.
We hope that this module
will not only help you learn about lithium but will also help you
understand the need for keeping patients informed, as well as for
regular monitoring and timely management of side-effects.
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