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The Psychopharmacologic Specificity of the Lithium Ion: Origins and Trajectory

Jair C. Soares, MD, and Samuel Gershon, MD

Published: July 31, 2000

Article Abstract

This article examines the development of lithium therapy since its dramatic introduction into psychiatryin 1949. Since that time, lithium has been examined in the treatment of a variety of neuropsychiatricconditions, but it is in the treatment of bipolar disorder that it is most effective. This suggeststhat it has specificity in the treatment of this disorder. These findings are very relevant as they suggestthat understanding the mechanism of action of lithium in bipolar disorder may hold keys to elucidatingits pathophysiology and to developing newer and more effective treatments. We review the publisheddata on the effectiveness of lithium in bipolar disorder and various neuropsychiatric conditionsand also the available data on anticonvulsants and newer therapeutic agents in the treatment of thiscondition.

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Volume: 61

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