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August 27, 1982

Lithium and Lupuslike Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Medical College of Georgia Downtown Veterans Administration Medical Center Augusta

JAMA. 1982;248(8):921-922. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330080011007

To the Editor.—  A common side effect associated with lithium carbonate administration is a rash, possibly related to lithium's action on immunologic function.1 In this regard, lithium has been suggested to be a potential causative agent for drug-induced lupus erythematosus.2 We present a case report demonstrating the association between lithium administration and a lupuslike syndrome.

Report of a Case.—  A 44-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital for recurrent unipolar depression with suicidal ideation after ingesting 150 mg of desipramine hydrochloride in a suicide attempt. She had a history of thyroid surgery, spastic colitis, fissure in ano, and bronchial asthma. She had received tricyclic antidepressants in the past, including imipramine hydrochloride and desipramine. She had a history of allergy to sulfonamides, tetanus antiserum, and citrus fruits. At admission, physical examination findings were normal and no dermatologic abnormalities were noted; all laboratory test results were within normal limits. Her