February 1978

Lithium Carbonate Use in Children and AdolescentsA Survey of the Literature

Author Affiliations

From the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Department of Child Psychiatry, Bronx (NY) Children's Psychiatric Center.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978;35(2):216-224. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1978.01770260094012

• One hundred ninety cases of lithium carbonate use in children and adolescents are reviewed and divided by the authors according to DSM-II criteria into major affective disorders, behavior disorders of childhood and adolescence, and schizophrenia, childhood type. Of these 190 cases, only 46 cases were described in detail. In this group of 25 males and 21 females, aged 3 to 19, there were 30 positive responses to lithium carbonate. A family history of diagnosed manic-depressive illness was reported in only eight cases, while 19 had a family history of other psychiatric disorders.

We were impressed by the affective component, irrespective of diagnosis, in youngsters responding to lithium carbonate and by the use of the drug despite multiple neurological problems. Thirty cases had positive neurological findings. Nevertheless, the many incompletely reported cases prevent conclusive generalization and demonstrate the need for well-documented studies correlating clinical, familial, and biochemical indices.