Lithium pp 33-49 | Cite as

Pharmacology—Lithium Absorption, Distribution, Renal Handling, and Effect on Body Electrolytes

  • Leslie Baer


Lithium is rapidly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. Blood levels peak after single oral doses of lithium between 2 to 4 hours (Amdisen, 1969; Platman et al., 1968; Trautner et al., 1955). Accordingly, in clinical practice blood lithium levels are measured at least 8 hours after the last dose to avoid sampling during these peaks. This very rapid absorption has led to the introduction of slow-release forms of lithium to achieve more constant blood levels (Amdisen, 1969; Coppen and Bailey, 1970). It is possible that by avoiding extreme flings of blood lithium levels and by permitting more precise monitoring of serum lithium concentration, the incidence of lithium-induced side effects will eventually be reduced.


Plasma Renin Activity Lithium Treatment Nephrogenic Diabetes Insipidus Renal Handling Serum Lithium Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie Baer
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Medicine and PsychiatryColumbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA

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