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LITHIUM

About the test
What is this test done for?
Lithium test is done to assess the levels of lithium in the blood of a person to maintain the therapeutic level or to detect lithium toxicity.
Why is it Done?
The test is used to measure and monitor the doses of lithium before starting medications to maintain the therapeutic levels and to check for toxicity in such cases. It is usually administered by patients of bipolar disorder.
When should it be performed?

The test should be performed when the following symptoms are seen:

  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizzy feeling
  • Lack of concentration and co-ordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Irregular tremors
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
How is it done
A blood sample will be collected from a vein in your arm. No fasting is required for the lithium test.
Results
  • Normal range is from 0.6 to 1.2 mmol/L.
  • If it is in the normal range, the possibility of the therapeutic dose being adequate is high.
  • If the range is below normal, it may be due to mood disorders, irritability, confusions, and disorientations. It would possibly mean that the therapeutic dose is inadequate.
  • If the results show the lithium levels above the normal range, it could lead to stupor, seizures, renal failures, and be fatal too. This could mean that the dose is high.
Other Tests
People with kidney disorders have increased lithium levels. Thus, checking for Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine is important. High lithium can lead to hypothyroidism, so thyroid profile should be performed.