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Psychiatry & Psychology--General/how do you lose weight on lithium


hi dr. harrop, I have been having a problem with lithium that won't go away.  it's a weight problem that has been bugging me for years. what causes this weight gain and how do you lose weight on it. is the cause metabolic, increased appetite or water retention. I would really like your help with this matter and give me your best advice, thanks.

You can attribute about 10 lbs of weight gain to water distribution due to the salt of the Lithium -- there is not much you can do about that.

Unfortunately, the only way to lose the rest of the weight is to eat fewer calories and exercise more -- Weight Watchers or a weight loss 12-step program may help.

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Daniel S. Harrop, M.D.


Dr. Daniel S. Harrop received his B.A. and his M.D., both from Brown, and his M.B.A. from the Edinburgh Business School, Scotland. Board-certified in adult and geriatric psychiatry, he is a past president of the R.I. Psychiatric Society and a member of the Committee on Medical Quality of the American Psychiatric Association and the Committee on Continuing Medical Education of the R.I Medical Society. He serves as a consultant to four of the top five major medical management companies, including OptumHealth/United Healthcare, Magellan Behavioral Health Services, ValueOptions and APS Healthcare, and maintains a private practice in Providence, R.I. He also serves as chief psychiatric consultant on the Medical Advisory Board at the R.I. Workers Compensation Court. He was formerly on the faculty at the medical schools at both Brown University and Harvard University.

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