May 1973

Lithium Carbonate in the Treatment of Hyperactive Children

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md
From the National Institute of Mental Health, Laboratory of Psychology, Bethesda, Md. Dr. Greenhill is currently a Child Fellow at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(5):636-640. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750350020004

Nine severely hyperactive children, unresponsive to drugs and psychotherapy, were placed on a three-month modified double-blind trial of lithium carbonate alternating with dextroamphetamine or placebo. Six children showed no improvement or a worsening of symptoms when given lithium carbonate, and one dropped out of the study. Two children who improved transiently had been observed to have affective symptoms and differed on psychophysiological measures from the rest of our group.

Average evoked potential data using visual stimuli indicated all nine children resembled other hyperactive children unresponsive to amphetamine, showing similar "augmenting" responses to both dextroamphetamine and lithium carbonate. Lithium carbonate appears to be a safe drug for investigation in children but is inadequate for treating hyperactive children unresponsive to stimulant medication.