Mental health conditions impact quality of life of patients and can be a draining experience for family members. Various medications are presently prescribed to help deal with mental health conditions and the associated symptoms. Lithium orotate is one among the various mood stabilizers prescribed for patients with psychiatric conditions. One of the reasons for its popularity is its distinct action. Unlike mind altering medications, Lithium is known to help in dealing with mania as well as depression. It is also considered as an effective option as part of combination therapy for depression. However, it is not free from possible adverse outcomes. Here is a detailed analysis of lithium orotate side effects to help users and caregivers learn of the best ways to cope with the effects.

Overview and history of lithium orotate

Initially used for treating gout in patients, the salts of Lithium are known to be effective as mood stabilizers, in addition to being prescribed as a preventive formulation for migraine. In addition to migraine, the salts of lithium are also used to help prevent cluster headaches. While the actual mechanism of action that is responsible for the outcomes remains unknown, it is suggested that the manner in which the formulation interactions and changes the glutamate receptors is the reason for the outcome. Experts opine that excessive glutamate between neurons is the reason behind mania, while lesser than required glutamate between neurons is the reason behind depression.

Lithium orotate comprises lithium and orotic acid that is produced in the body from microorganism in the intestines. The former is an alkali metal, while the latter is a compound. The dietary supplement is preferred for treating various conditions, and is effective in helping reduce brain activity that is considered as abnormal. It is this abnormal activity in the brain that is responsible for behavioral changes and symptoms seen in patients with psychiatric conditions.

Conditions that are typically managed with lithium orotate

As outlined above, lithium orotate is used for treating various mental health conditions. This includes Alzheimer’s disease that is a known age-related condition. Apart from this, the supplement is also used to help take in deaddiction of individuals grappling with alcoholism. It is used for effectively managing mental health conditions such as ADHD, acronym for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder. Symptoms that are commonly associated with psychiatric conditions or mental health conditions include anxiety, depression and possible insomnia. The supplements help alleviate the symptoms, offering relief for the patients. Additionally, the supplement is also known to be effective in helping prevent the onset of migraine and cluster headaches.

Other conditions that can be managed with the formulation include Parkinson’s disease, another age-related condition. The supplement is also used to help individuals with glaucoma, apart from helping psychiatric patients struggling with stress and post-traumatic stress disorder. Documented studies reveal that the supplement is effective in preventing alcoholics from relapsing into the habit, after having stayed off alcohol. Various other mental health conditions and associated symptoms are also managed with the formulation. This includes schizophrenia, blood disorders such as anemia and lesser white cell count.

Eating disorders are also a part of the symptoms that afflict individuals, such as anorexia, and binge eating, medically known as bulimia. Epilepsy, another condition that is related to disorders associated with the brain, is also managed with the formulation. The formulation is also used for managing diseases such as liver ailments, renal impairments, and various skin conditions. This includes seborrhea, movement disorders, and aggression in patients.

Possible lithium orotate side effects

There is a possibility of patients experiencing side effects when on the supplements. This is not unusual or an exception. All medications and most supplements are known to trigger some side effects or undesirable outcomes, in addition to the desired outcomes. This is primarily as a result of the mechanism of action of the substance, and possible interactions with other medications. Side effects may manifest differently in various individuals; for some the effects may be pronounced, while for others it may not be experienced, while many may experience relatively mild or moderate effects. Similarly, the duration of the effects may also differ, with experiencing persistent effects, while others may experience effects only for a short duration.

Here is a compilation of possible side effects of the supplement, with a disclaimer that it is not an exhaustive compilation. It is also necessary to add, that every individual on the supplement may not necessarily experience unwanted effects. Most frequently reported undesirable effects include nausea, that may or may not be accompanied by dizzy feelings. Individuals may also experience diarrhea, while many are known to feel weak for no particular reason. Fatigue and overall weakness in the muscles are a possible side effect. In most instances, these conditions typically resolve after the initial intake of the supplement.

Certain undesirable effects are known to be relatively persistent in nature, with patients experiencing the same, with long term use. For instance, the urge to urinate frequently or abnormal thirst may be experienced for a long period. Patients are also known to experience tremors when on the supplement for a long time, and this is also linked to the muscle weakness.  Other possible effects include weight gain, that is attributed to the craving for food linked to mental health conditions and medications. There is also the possibility of the patient experiencing swelling as a result of excess body fluids.

One of the effects of lithium orotate is the possibility of aggravation of existing skin conditions. For instance, individuals with acne, or psoriasis or outbreak of rashes, may end up with aggravated conditions that may require intervention by specialist dermatologists. It is necessary for patients with mental health conditions and skin disorders to carefully monitor the levels of lithium in the blood through laboratory tests. Any spike or increase in the levels of lithium are likely to have an effect on skin disorders.

Specific conditions that require medical intervention

Lithium and its salts may have an impact on heart rhythms. The irregular rhythms caused by the outcomes of the supplement may pose a problem for individuals with existing heart ailments. It is therefore important for patients with a history of heart conditions to seek medical advice specifically regarding the use of the supplement. Individuals with renal impairments may face a problem with the reduced ability of the kidneys to process and remove lithium. Dosages may have to be modified to ensure that lithium is removed from the body as required.

Lithium is also known to have an impact on the levels of serotonin in the body. This in turn has an effect on the central nervous system and could have a bearing on surgical procedures on the patients where it is necessary to administer anesthesia. Patients are generally advised to go off lithium supplements at least a fortnight before the planned procedure, with supervision by a specialist healthcare provider. In the event of any unplanned surgery or emergency procedures, it is necessary to specifically inform the specialists about the intake of lithium. This will help in the right procedures being followed to prevent unwanted outcomes.

Patients with thyroid problems are likely to experience increased effects of thyroid. It is important to speak to healthcare providers and look at suitable mitigating options to lessen the effects of thyroid problems. Here, it may be necessary to weigh the benefits of thyroid medication and lithium supplements. Depending on the intended outcomes of both and the possible adverse reactions, patients are to take a decision on continuing with either, or taking both with modified dosages. Staggering or changing the time of intake of either may also help to a certain extent but may not be fully effective considering the long-term duration of action of medication typically prescribed for thyroid problems.

Categories of patients who need extra care and caution

Certain categories of patients are expected to take additional care due to the warnings associated with use of lithium and its salts. Women who are pregnant are to take precautions and follow medical advice about the supplement due to the possible adverse effects. Lithium may expose the fetus to the risk of defects, manifested through heart complications. When the supplement needs to be provided to the patient due to the need for controlling certain conditions, it may be necessary to provide the patient with the supplement, subject to close monitoring and complete care in the right settings. Women who are nursing infants are advised to stay off the supplement, as it is known to secrete into breast milk. This may have an impact on the health of the child.

Possible drug interactions of the supplement

It is also possible that the supplement may trigger interactions with other drugs or OTC formulations. This is again common to all medications and supplements and is not an exception. The types of interactions include the possibility of aggravating side effects of either or both the products. Other possible types of interactions include a reduction in the efficacy of either or both the products. It may also result in an increase in the potency or desired outcome of either or both of the products. It is mandatory for patients and caregivers to intimate treating specialists about existing conditions and intake of medications for the conditions., This will help determine the possibility of interactions and appropriate measures to reduce the impact of interactions.

The supplement may interact with antidepressant medications. Patients diagnosed with depression are prescribed medications that cause an increase in serotonin levels. The supplement also triggers an increase in serotonin levels. Consequently, this may cause serotonin syndrome or other adverse conditions attributed to excessive levels of serotonin. Similarly, the supplement is also known to interact with MAOI medications prescribed for depression. The combination of the supplements with monoamine oxidase inhibitors may result in high levels of  serotonin. In addition to the above, ACE inhibitors prescribed for hypertension may also interact with the supplement. The possible effect from the combination of the two includes an increase in lithium levels in the body, which may trigger undesirable effects. Interactions with calcium channel blockers are also a possibility. It is essential to intimate the treating specialist, so as to discontinue use of either, to avoid interactions.

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