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November 26, 1973

Lithium Carbonate Toxicity

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York. Dr. Herrero is now at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Dallas.

JAMA. 1973;226(9):1109-1110. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230090033007

Lithium carbonate therapy, uncomplicated by other factors, can give rise to a deep coma even if the serum levels of lithium are within the desired range. A patient with manic depressive disease, having been treated with lithium carbonate for less than a year, developed progressive impairment of consciousness. A few days after the medication was discontinued, the patient had a slow but complete recovery. Lithium accumulation in the brain is postulated.