Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

What do I need to know about lithium?

        Health | Headache

Lithium is used mainly to treat people with a manic-depressive disorder. It can also be used to prevent migraines. In some cases, it can also prevent cluster headaches.

How does lithium work?

Lithium works in a couple of ways to prevent headaches. It works on brain chemicals, such as serotonin, which are associated with migraines. It may also alter electrical impulses in the brain. That reduces the chance of a migraine attack.

What are the possible side effects of using lithium and what should I do about them?

The following side effects are generally not considered serious. You still, though, should let your doctor know if you experience any of the following:

  • diarrhea
  • increased thirst
  • nausea
  • vomiting

The following side effects are serious. Contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • excessive urination
  • hand tremors
  • heartbeat abnormalities
  • seizures

What are the possible drug interactions with lithium?

Lithium can have an adverse effect if you take it with any of the following drugs:

  • antidepressants
  • antipsychotic agents
  • asthma bronchodilators
  • carbamazepine
  • diuretics
  • fluoxetine
  • haloperidol
  • NSAIDs
  • theophylline
  • verapamil

Always talk with your doctor and pharmacist about possible drug interactions with any new medication you take. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the other medications you are taking. You should also tell them about your other medical conditions, both past and present. You need to keep your regular appointments while you take this medication so that your doctor can keep track of your progress.


More to Explore