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The lithium blood test is a simple diagnostic test used to monitor the levels of lithium in your bloodstream. Lithium is a medication primarily used to treat bipolar disorder, a condition characterized by episodes of extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). It is also used in the treatment of major depressive disorder and certain types of headaches.

Lithium helps to stabilize mood and prevent the extreme highs and lows associated with bipolar disorder. It can reduce the severity and frequency of mania in bipolar disorder and also act as a preventative measure against bipolar depression. However, it's crucial to maintain lithium within a specific range in the blood for it to be effective and safe. Too much lithium can lead to toxicity, while too little may not effectively manage the symptoms.

  • Test NameLithium
  • Sample TypeBlood
  • Preparations RequiredThe timing of your sample collection may vary depending on your specific circumstances. Generally, your doctor will instruct you to have your blood drawn 12 hours after your last dose of lithium. No special dietary preparations or water restrictions are required.
  • Report Time2 days

Why do I need a lithium blood test?

If you are taking lithium, your doctor will regularly order lithium blood tests to ensure the dose you are receiving maintains a safe and effective level of the drug in your blood.

How is the lithium blood test performed?

The lithium blood test requires a small blood sample, typically taken from a vein in your arm.

Home Sample Collection Process

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Book your convenient slot
Sample Collection by Phlebotomist
Sample Collection by Phlebotomist
Reporting of the sample at lab
Reporting of the sample at lab
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Download Reports
Frequently Asked Questions

If your lithium levels are too high, you could experience lithium toxicity, which can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, tremors, confusion, and in severe cases, seizures, and even death.

If your lithium levels are too low, the medication may not be effective in controlling your symptoms.

No, it's usually recommended that the blood sample is taken 12 hours after the last dose of lithium.

Yes, you can eat and drink normally before the lithium blood test.

The lithium blood test is a routine blood draw, so potential side effects are minimal and can include slight pain or bruising at the needle site.

The frequency of testing depends on various factors, including how long you've been taking lithium, your overall health, and your response to the medication. It is generally recommended to get tested every few months, but your doctor will provide specific guidance.

Yes, several medications can affect lithium levels in your blood, including diuretics, ACE inhibitors, NSAIDs, and others. Always inform your doctor about all medications and supplements you are taking.

No, you should not stop taking lithium or change your dose without consulting your doctor, even if you feel better. Abruptly stopping can cause a relapse of your symptoms.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it's close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. Don't double the dose to make up for the missed one.

It's generally recommended to avoid alcohol while taking lithium as it can increase the risk of side effects and potentially alter lithium levels in the body.

If you experience side effects such as severe diarrhea, vomiting, shaky hands, frequent urination, thirst, or changes in heartbeat, immediately contact your healthcare provider.

Some people may experience weight gain while taking lithium. If this is a concern, discuss it with your healthcare provider.

If you suspect an overdose of lithium, seek emergency medical help immediately. Symptoms of an overdose can include drowsiness, shaking, diarrhea, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Lithium can have effects on the developing fetus and newborns. If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider.

Lithium is approved for use in children and teenagers, but the decision to use lithium should be made with careful consideration of the individual's overall health and the potential risks and benefits of treatment.

The duration of lithium treatment varies by individual. Some people may need to stay on lithium long-term to manage their symptoms effectively.

Yes, several other medications are used to treat bipolar disorder, including antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants. Psychotherapy is also a crucial part of treatment.

Lithium can affect kidney function. If you have kidney disease or reduced kidney function, your doctor will consider this when deciding on your treatment plan.

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