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Lithium use in a patient on haemodialysis with bipolar affective disorder and lithium-induced nephropathy


Lithium is an effective mood stabiliser used to treat bipolar affective disorder (BPAD); however, it can also adversely affect the kidneys, causing acute toxic effects, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, chronic renal dysfunction and end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) in a minority of patients. We describe the case of a man with a 34-year history of BPAD type-1 and a 2-year history of ESKD secondary to lithium-induced nephropathy who experienced a manic relapse. He previously responded well to lithium but, following a deterioration in kidney function, was switched to olanzapine and sodium valproate. This precipitated a period of instability, which culminated in a treatment-resistant manic episode requiring hospital admission. After a multidisciplinary team discussion, lithium therapy was restarted and provided remission. This was achieved safely through a reduced dosing schedule of three times a week post dialysis, slow dose titration and blood level monitoring prior to each dialysis session.

  • psychiatry (drugs and medicines)
  • bipolar i disorder
  • chronic renal failure
  • dialysis

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