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Special Considerations: Use of Lithium in Children, Adolescents, and Elderly Populations

Michael J. Tueth, M.D.; Tanya K. Murphy, M.D.; and Dwight L. Evans, M.D.

Published: October 1, 1998

Article Abstract

Certain populations of patients require special considerations when lithium is prescribed. Childrenand adolescents have higher volumes of body water and more active renal glomerular filtration ratesthan adults. Their central nervous system is developing and therefore is vulnerable to the impact ofsubstances, including medications such as lithium, that can cause side effects or adverse events. Elderlypatients have less body water, slower metabolism, and often comorbid illnesses, so they also requireclose evaluation and monitoring when prescribed lithium. This paper examines the indicationsfor, pharmacokinetics of, clinical uses of, and side effects of lithium in children, adolescents, and theelderly. Use of alternate mood stabilizers is also addressed briefly.

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Volume: 59

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