Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Case report
Partial nephrogenic diabetes insipidus associated with lithium therapy
  1. Eka Nandoshvili1,
  2. Steve Hyer1 and
  3. Nikhil Johri2
  1. 1 Endocrinology, Epsom and Saint Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust Epsom Hospital, Carshalton, UK
  2. 2 Chemical Pathology, Epsom and Saint Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust Epsom Hospital, Carshalton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Steve Hyer, steve.hyer{at}


A 40-year-old Caucasian man developed excessive thirst and polyuria particularly at night over the preceding 6 months. He had been taking lithium for 16 years for the treatment of bipolar affective disorder. Investigations revealed subnormal maximum urinary concentrating ability after 8 hours of water deprivation and only a borderline response of urine osmolality to exogenous desmopressin given by intramuscular injection. A plasma copeptin concentration was elevated at 23 pmol/L. These results were consistent with partial nephrogenic diabetes insipidus. He was encouraged to increase his water intake as dictated by his thirst. In addition, he received amiloride with some improvement in his symptoms. Clinicians should be aware of the risk of nephrogenic diabetes insipidus with long-term lithium use and seek confirmation by a supervised water deprivation test augmented with a baseline plasma copeptin. If increased water intake is insufficient to control symptoms, amiloride may be considered.

  • drugs: endocrine system
  • fluid electrolyte and acid-base disturbances

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors EN reviewed the patient in the clinic and produced the first draft of the manuscript. SH revised the manuscript, prepared it for submission and prepared a revised manuscript in line with the reviewers' comments. NJ contributed to discussion and final draft of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.