Conference Coverage

Lithium drug interactions not quite as bad as imagined



– You don’t have to stop prescribing lithium when patients go on ACE inhibitors or angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) for blood pressure treatment.

Some might opt to do that, but there’s no need to worry. In fact, the reason both classes are known to protect the kidneys is that they were tested with lithium; it was used to measure the drug’s effects on renal clearance, according to Stephen R. Saklad, PharmD, director of psychiatric pharmacy and clinical professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

There is interaction, but “lithium is not toxic in the presence of an ACE or an RB. You just have to adjust the dose,” he said at the annual Psych Congress.

Dr. Saklad shared lithium drug interaction pearls during a video interview at the meeting, including also using lithium with diuretics and NSAIDs. “The worst offender is probably my favorite of the NSAIDs, which is ibuprofen,” he said.

Most of the time with lithium, all that’s needed is a dose adjustment up or down of either it or the coadministered medication.

The overall guiding principle, he said, is that “lithium follows sodium. Anything that alters sodium in the body is going to alter sodium.”

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