Lithium And Alcohol

life threatening

Alcohol and lithium have opposing effects on the period and phase of the behavioral free-running activity rhythm. This is important regardless of how someone feels because high amounts of lithium can cause brain damage and death.


Commonly used dosages are mentioned below, but always take the dosage your medical professional recommends. If you have a rash while taking lithium, we suggest you tell your medical professional right away. Your doctor can recommend ways to treat this side effect.

Lithium Carbonate ER disease interactions

Patients who experience these symptoms should talk to their healthcare provider to check for and prevent this condition. Lithium is a medication that treats bipolar disorder, a condition that involves episodes of depression, periods of mania, or both. While lithium is a common treatment for bipolar disorder, it has many side effects, including vision changes. If you have a nagging cough, you’ll likely reach for an over-the-counter expectorant. While the drug can quell your symptoms, if mixed with alcohol, it can result in extreme drowsiness or dizziness.

Lithium can make you drowsy so it’s best to stop drinking alcohol during the first few days of taking lithium, or if your dose is increased. Feeling tired or sleepy – as your body gets used to lithium, these side effects should wear off. If these symptoms do not get better within a week or two, your doctor may either reduce your dose or increase it more slowly.

Lithium a mood stabilizer that is a used to treat or control the manic episodes of bipolar disorder . Manic symptoms include hyperactivity, rushed speech, poor judgment, reduced need for sleep, aggression, and anger. Serum lithium levels reflect only the extracellular lithium concentration. However, lithium exerts its effects once it has moved to its intracellular compartment. This phenomenon illustrates the reason why patients with significantly elevated serum levels might be asymptomatic. Taking lithium and alcohol consumptions are not recommended as they might lead the signs of medication and bipolar disorder more distinctly.

Excessive intake or impaired excretion can result in lithium accumulation. Being a cation, acting similar to potassium and sodium, thus affecting ion transport and cell membrane potential . Use a calendar, pillbox, alarm clock, or cell phone alert to help you remember to take your medication. You may also ask a family member a friend to remind you or check in with you to be sure you are taking your medication. Kinetic and dynamic interactions of oral viqualine and ethanol in man. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


If that does not work you may need to switch to a different medicine. Medications typically are safe and effective when used appropriately. Your pharmacist or other health care provider can help you determine which medications interact harmfully with alcohol. This pamphlet lists medications that can cause harm when taken with alcohol and describes the effects that can result.

What Should I Discuss With My Health Care Provider Before Taking Lithium?

However, when antidepressants have not worked, your doctor might prescribe lithium as well. This may be more effective and help your symptoms get better. Tiny amounts of lithium are found naturally in rocks, and in our food and bodies. For more information about how lithium can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, read this leaflet on the Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy website. You could be having a serious allergic reaction and may need immediate treatment in hospital.

  • To minimize the challenges of anxiety, depression, and mania that a person might have while withdrawing from alcohol, doctors frequently prescribe medication.
  • For patients on lithium, alcohol may decrease the benefits and increase the adverse effects of the medication.
  • They or your pharmacist can tell you about possible interactions these substances may have with lithium.
  • Alcohol can disturb mood and can raise the risks of side effects of Lithium such as sleepiness.
  • Lithium toxicity is a potentially life-threatening event and should be attended to urgently by a healthcare professional.

While cirrhosis scars from excessive drinking are irreversible, quitting alcohol and leading a healthier lifestyle can help your liver heal from alcohol-related liver disease. Alcohol detox isn’t easy and not everyone can do it on their own. That is why alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal treatment is administered by medical professionals. Drinking alcohol while on lithium can cause lithium toxicity due to dehydration from alcohol intake. Lithium is not addictive except in the sense that anything can become psychologically addictive. Lithium does not cause any physical dependency in people taking it, as is the case with alcohol or opiates.

This should be continued until a descending drift has been established. Factors increasing lithium concentration in the body include excessive intake and impaired excretion. A specific treatment to reverse the effects of lithium does not exist, but there are treatments to decrease the effects of the medication. Generally, the combination of lithium and alcohol cannot be suggested a person must seek advice from his physician regarding the risk factors involved and the side effects. Even when a person does not intend to mix lithium and alcohol he must stay hydrated the whole day, consequently, mixing lithium and alcohol compels this even more.

Mixing alcohol with benzodiazepines—drugs that help relieve anxiety and panic attacks—can result in life-threatening symptoms. You might feel drowsy or dizzy, or, even experience difficulty breathing, impaired motor control, unusual behavior, or memory problems. If you feel OK after this, you can drink alcohol but it’s best not to drink too much it’s likely to make you dehydrated.

MeSH terms

Our staff of professionals has one job—to help you improve your life. Outpatient— you live at home and attend therapy during the day but the sessions are not as long or frequent as Intensive Outpatient. Intensive Outpatient—You may be able to live at home and attend therapy sessions during the day. Residential–Some people will need care in a residential facility, where they are sheltered from situations and environments that may cause a relapse. Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

alcohol use disorder

There are few other deliberations with lithium and alcohol apart from effects on the central nervous system. It is suggested that those individuals who take lithium should entirely avoid taking it should lower the level of alcohol consumption. On top of this, alcohol can interfere with your Lithium levels which poses a problem to your mental and physical health. Alcohol addiction and a high amount of alcohol consumption may cause short-term and long-term health, family, and work problems. Those who take Lithium long-term may develop hypothyroidism. This occurs when there are low levels of the thyroid hormone.

In rare cases, lithium may cause a serious allergic reaction . They are more likely to happen when you start taking lithium. This is usually only prescribed for people who have trouble swallowing tablets . Lithium carbonate comes as regular tablets and slow-release tablets – where the medicine is released slowly over time. If you have a heart condition, the doctor may also do a test that measures the electrical activity of your heart . Lithium is a type of medicine known as a mood stabiliser.

Signs of lithium toxicity include severe nausea and vomiting, severe hand tremors, confusion, vision changes, and unsteadiness while standing or walking. These symptoms need to be addressed immediately with a medical doctor to ensure your lithium level is not dangerously high. Avoid drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while you are taking lithium. They may decrease the benefits (e.g., worsen your condition) and increase adverse effects (e.g., sedation) of the medication. Lithium may also be helpful when prescribed “off-label” for depression, especially when combined with antidepressant medications.

Research shows that lithium can significantly reduce suicide risk in patients with mood disorders. Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

If the rules of a sober living home on MAOIs, it’s especially important that you avoid red wine and beer. These beverages contain a byproduct that when consumed with MAOIs can increase the risk of high blood pressure. “Stimulant drugs like those for ADHD…can have wildly activating effects when mixed with alcohol,” says Dr. Cutler. Mixing Adderall, Vyvanse, or Dexedrine with alcohol increases the risk for heart problems, and drinking on Strattera carries a risk for liver damage, the NIAAA notes.

Measurement of the serum levels should be carried out at least 6 to 12 hours after the last therapeutic dose to avoid misinterpretation of pre-distributional levels. Lithium freely crosses the placenta and is also excreted in breast milk. It is labeled as pregnancy class D and has been implicated in the increased risk of congenital cardiac defects, particularly the Ebstein anomaly. Breastfeeding infants of mothers taking lithium have been reported to have signs of cyanosis, hypotonia, and lethargy. This information is being provided as a community outreach effort of the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists.

Not only does alcohol negatively affect the body in a variety of ways, but it can also cause more health concerns when combined with Lithium. However, certain food groups also have benefits when it comes to helping with the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and detoxification. All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

The consequences of drinking while taking medications can range from minor to fatal. This are some medicines that may interfere with how lithium works and this can affect the levels of lithium in your blood. When you start your treatment you’ll need to have a blood test every week to make sure the level of lithium in your blood is not too high or too low. Your doctor may change your dose depending on the results of your blood test. Older people are at particularly high risk for harmful alcohol–medication interactions.

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