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Lithium overdose

Alternative names

Poisoning from an overdose of lithium.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • lithium

Where Found

  • Eskalith
  • Lithobid
  • Lithonate
  • Lithane
Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


  • body as a whole
    • slurred speech
    • weakness
    • incoordination
    • convulsions
    • tremors
    • increased thirst
    • increased urine output
  • skin
    • rash
  • gastrointestinal
    • diarrhea
    • vomiting
  • heart and blood vessels
    • low blood pressure
    • rare abnormal rhythms
  • nervous system
    • drowsiness
    • coma
    • seizures
    • stupor

Home Treatment

Contact Poison Control for appropriate treatment.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following:
  • the patient's age, weight, and condition
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)
  • the time it was swallowed
  • the amount swallowed
  • it the medication was prescribed for the patient

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:
  • Induce emesis .
  • Use dialysis .
  • Monitor lithium blood levels.
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis)

Death can occur from lithium toxicity, but survival also depends on other factors, including the patient's blood levels of lithium and amount of sodium intake.

Update Date: 2/12/2004

Cherlin Johnson, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT