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March 1988

Is 'Lithium Carbonate' an Editorial Dictate?

Author Affiliations

The Psychopharmacology Research Unit The Psychiatric Hospital Skovagervej 2 DK-8240 Risskov Denmark

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(3):293. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800270113014

To the Editor.—  In the inaugural lecture at the Second British Lithium Congress in September 1987 I had occasion to present the following reflections:Since I have an opportunity here to make general comments, I may perhaps air a long-held grievance. It concerns the term 'lithium carbonate,' which in my opinion is all too often used inappropriately or incorrectly, especially in titles.Lithium carbonate was the salt chosen by John Cade for the treatment of psychiatric patients, and it is still contained in many lithium preparations. But it is by no means the only one used. Other lithium salts, for example, the citrate, the sulphate, and the acetate, are equally effective, which is hardly surprising, since it is the lithium ion and not the salt as such that is the therapeutic agent. One must therefore regret that many clinical papers carry titles such as 'The Prophylactic Effect of Lithium Carbonate'

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