Haematological Side-Effects of Lithium

  • Glenn Tisman
  • Show-Jen G. Wu


Many studies of lithium-treated patients suggest that ingestion of this drug causes a diversity of haematological changes1–3. The most consistent changes documented in the literature have been associated with an elevation of the white blood cell count. Red blood cell counts have not been reported to be affected by lithium administration1,2,4. Lithium effects on circulating platelet counts have been variable, some authors noting no change1,4, but others demonstrating a mild protective effect of lithium on platelet counts of chemotherapy-treated patients5. In addition, another author has noted significant increase in platelet counts in psychiatric patients treated with lithium2. The elevation of the white blood cell count is due primarily to an increase in the number of circulating granulocytes. Lymphocyte counts have been reported either to remain the same (no change in the absolute lymphocyte count or in the absolute number of T and B cells)6 or relatively or absolutely to decrease1–3,7. Though eosinophil and basophil counts generally are not affected1,3,8, mild eosinophilia due to lithium administration has been reported2.


White Blood Cell Count Aplastic Anaemia Lithium Treatment Absolute Lymphocyte Count Lithium Chloride 
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© MTP Press Limited 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenn Tisman
  • Show-Jen G. Wu

There are no affiliations available

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