Psychiatry & Psychology--General/lithium and kidney disease


hi dr. harrop, on my last blood test my creatinine was 1.54 mg/dl and my gfr estimated was 55 ml/min/1.73m2. i was also diagnosed stage 3 chronic kidney disease. did lithium cause this disease and is it reversible. is this a legitimate reason to get off lithium. is there some other drug i can substitute for this reason. also ive been on lithium for 22 years.

I might have cause the problem, but so might a lot of other things.  What caused it and whether it is reversible can only be determined by your doctor.

Also, changing medication is a very difficult decision.  Obviously if has be to be changed IF Lithium is the cause of the kidney problems.  However, although medications like Depakote and Tegretol work for most people, they do not work as well in all people as Lithium does.

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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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