Lithium is the mainstay of treatment for bipolar disorder, mania and an augmentation therapy in patients with treatment resistant depression. It has a narrow therapeutic index, with recognized adverse multi-system and endocrine side effects.
To assess the impact of lithium therapy, in particular lithium toxicity, on the development of endocrine and renal disorders in a cohort of patients in a single tertiary referral centre in Ireland.
A retrospective analysis was performed of the prevalence of lithium toxicity and renal, thyroid and parathyroid dysfunction in our study population.
We collected laboratory data from the Clinical Chemistry department of the Adelaide and Meath Hospital incorporating the National Children's Hospital (AMNCH), Dublin, Ireland. Our study population included all patients who had at least one serum lithium measurement from January 1st 2000 to December 31st 2014 inclusive.
A total of 580 patients were included in the study. Among our study group, 70 patients (12.1%) had 1 toxic lithium measurement (lithium level > 1.2 mmol/l). 27.8% (n > 161) of patients developed stage 3 Chronic kidney Disease (CKD) or higher, which was commoner in those patients who developed toxic lithium levels (P < 0.0001) and in those who developed hypernatraemia (P > 0.0001). 16.2% of patients (n > 94) had one serum sodium > 145 mmol/l during follow up. 60 patients(10.3%) had a TSH > 10 mU/l, while complete suppression of TSH (< 0.05 mU/l) was observed in 22 patients (3.8%) during follow-up. 4% (n > 37) of the study population had >= 1 serum corrected calcium level > 2.55 mmol/l, and 4 patients had biochemical confirmation of primary hyperparathyroidism but PTH levels were only performed in 2.8% (n > 16) of the studypopulation.
Stage 3 CKD is common in patients receiving lithium therapy. Lithium toxicity is associated with CKD and hypernatraemia. Thyroid dysfunction and hypercalcaemia are common in patients receiving lithium therapy. Patients receiving lithium therapy require surveillance of renal, thyroid and bone biochemistry.