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July 20, 1979

Lithium in the Prophylactic Treatment of Affective Disorders

Author Affiliations

From the Psychopharmacology Research Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(8):847-848. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780080021005

In discussing the current state of the evidence concerning the prophylactic use of lithium in recurrent affective disorders, it is informative to focus on recent decisions made by two important committees in the United States—the Neuropsychopharmacology Advisory Committee to the Food and Drug Administration and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Task Force on Lithium Therapy. Both committees concluded that lithium has demonstrated superior efficacy over placebo in the treatment of bipolar recurrent affective illness. The FDA Committee's conclusion was made part of the revised Lithium Carbonate Package Insert, issued in 1974 by Smith Kline & French Laboratories, Rowell Laboratories Inc, and Roerig Division of Roerig Laboratories, Pfizer Inc, which approves the use of lithium for the long-term maintenance treatment of bipolar affective illness. The APA Task Force Report on Lithium Therapy,1 published in 1975, concurs with the FDA's position that lithium is effective in preventing or attenuating recurrences