February 1971

Chromosome Examinations in Patients on Lithium Carbonate

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Department of Medical Genetics, New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York. Dr. Bishun is now at the Marie Curie Memorial Foundation, Surry, England. Dr. Bleiweiss is now at the Instituto de Genetica Medica, Buenos Aires. Dr. Kato is now at the Otaru Seiwa Hospital, Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1971;24(2):166-168. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750080070011

Because of a report in the literature that three patients on lithium carbonate showed chromosome damage in excess of that seen in controls, peripheral blood cultures were set up from 16 manic-depressive patients who had taken lithium carbonate for periods of two weeks to over two years (seven of them for one year or more), from four manic-depressive patients on placebo, and from ten control subjects. Even though the highest average frequency of breaks occurred in the lithium carbonate group (3.3%), the value corresponded to the means (1.9% to 4.3%) generally observed in our laboratory and the difference between the lithium carbonate group and the present controls (1.5% breaks) did not reach statistical significance.