Less information is available concerning the non-prescription form of lithium called Lithium Orotate, and will be covered in the topics below, although somewhat limited by available trials, testing, or other resources.
Below is medical information concerning these and other topics related to lithium and may be helpful to those considering starting or stopping a prescription of this type of drug.
Lithium had been used for the control of mania since the late 1870s, but became an abandoned practice in psychiatry until new compounds were developed and approved by the FDA in 1970 for the treatment of mania. (4) (3)
Lithium salts or compounds are used as psychiatric medication (mood stabilizers) and are prescribed for these conditions:
Lithium refers to the metal, or mineral, however, the word lithium has become synonymous (although not entirely accurately) with all the various compounds and salts that have been produced in pharmaceutical labs across the world. The natural form of the element is simply called lithium and is not patentable because it is a natural element found in mineral deposits in the earth.
Various forms of compounds and salts will contain lithium, synthesized using various types of binding agents, such as:
There have been many other compounds/mixtures produced over the last century and a half. Some of these were found to be toxic, as in the table salt version, and unsuitable for use in food products, as in 7-up soda pop of the 1950s. Some have survived and exist in pharmaceutical products used today.
Brand names include numerous examples such as Theralite, Efalith, Lito, Prolix, and hundreds of additional trade names.
Side effects that are very common happen in greater than 10% of the people taking prescription drugs containing lithium salts or compounds, and these include:
Common adverse effects seen in patients at a rate of between 1% and 10%:
Studies show that a gradual reduction of lithium medication produces less severe adverse reactions compared to sudden cessation. (5) (6)
Withdrawal symptoms coming off lithium include:
Abrupt cessation of prescription drugs containing lithium salts or compounds can have pronounced episodes of returning mania (5) as well as Bipolar relapses. Compared to gradual withdrawal patients had less severe returning symptoms overall. (6)
No published studies were found relating to withdrawal from natural lithium or lithium orotate. At times, someone may choose to slowly convert from the prescription form of Lithium (Lithium Carbonate) to lithium orotate, as a way to bridge off of the drug. This technique involves gradually taking away the medication version and slowly introducing lithium orotate. This is a pragmatic route for many, but it should be discussed with an integrative medical doctor prior to attempting.
There are reasonable theories regarding the role of trace minerals in respect to mental health. (10)
It may be possible that a trace mineral deficient person (which is common due to over-farming techniques) may respond positively to lithium. An unsubstantiated hypothesis may be that lithium is providing a certain role for these deficiencies and possibly covering the function of other similar minerals. It could be argued that trace mineral supplementation could offer support and that the use of trace mineral supplementation during withdrawal may be of benefit. As this is a bit of a tenuous assertion, please discuss this with an appropriate doctor who has both knowledge in medications and supplemental methods before considering.
It is important to distinguish lithium orotate (non prescription form) from other lithium (prescription-only) compounds when comparing and assessing their characteristics of safety and efficacy.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about lithium mood stabilizing prescription drugs, drug interactions, and other topics.
The Alternative to Meds Center is focused on reducing or eliminating the need for prescription drugs, while helping clients attain sustainable natural mental health.
Our goal is to help those who have been disappointed with the results from prescription drugs or other drugs which may not have provided the relief that was hoped for. Drugs may leave certain unresolved symptoms as well, and these can be addressed using non harmful methods and therapies for restoring health and vibrancy.
When needed, safe and gradual tapering is our specialty and we have helped literally thousands of clients to achieve success in becoming drug-free, or as close to it as realistically possible. Please contact us for more information on how our programs may be beneficial to your specific health and wellness goals, and how the center may be your best choice for attaining sustainable mental health naturally.
Dr Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine. Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.