Savvy Psychopharmacology

How should you use the lab to monitor patients taking a mood stabilizer?

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Ms. W tolerates and responds well to lith­ium. No further dosing recommendations are made, based on clinical response. You measure her weight at 6 months, then annu­ally. Renal function and thyroid function are monitored at 3 and 6 months after lithium is initiated, and then annually. One year after starting lithium, she continues to tolerate the medication and has minimal metabolic side effects.

Related Resources
• McInnis MG. Lithium for bipolar disorder: A re-emerging treatment for mood instability. Current Psychiatry. 2014; 13(6):38-44.
• Stahl SM. Stahl’s illustrated mood stabilizers. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; 2009.

Drug Brand Names
Carbamazepine • Tegretol Valproic acid • Depacon, Depakote
Lamotrigine • Lamictal Warfarin • Coumadin
Lithium • Lithobid, Eskalith
Oxcarbazepine • Trileptal

The authors report no financial relationships with any company whose products are mentioned in this article or with manufacturers of competing products.

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