U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Divider Arrow National Institutes of Health Divider Arrow NCATS


Stereochemistry ACHIRAL
Molecular Formula C4H5O4.Li
Molecular Weight 124.021
Optical Activity NONE
Defined Stereocenters 0 / 0
E/Z Centers 0
Charge 0







Molecular Formula C4H5O4
Molecular Weight 117.0801
Charge -1
Stereochemistry ACHIRAL
Additional Stereochemistry No
Defined Stereocenters 0 / 0
E/Z Centers 0
Optical Activity NONE

Molecular Formula Li
Molecular Weight 6.941
Charge 1
Stereochemistry ACHIRAL
Additional Stereochemistry No
Defined Stereocenters 0 / 0
E/Z Centers 0
Optical Activity NONE

Curator's Comment: Description was created based on several sources, including https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19538681 | https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23371914 | http://www.rsc.org/periodic-table/element/3/lithium

Lithium is an alkali metal widely used in industry. Lithium salts are indicated in the treatment of manic episodes of Bipolar Disorder. The use of lithium in psychiatry goes back to the mid-19th century. Early work, however, was soon forgotten, and John Cade is credited with reintroducing lithium to psychiatry for mania in 1949. Mogens Schou undertook a randomly controlled trial for mania in 1954, and in the course of that study became curious about lithium as a prophylactic for depressive illness. In 1970, the United States became the 50th country to admit lithium to the marketplace. The specific mechanisms by which lithium exerts its mood-stabilizing effects are not well understood. Lithium appears to preserve or increase the volume of brain structures involved in emotional regulation such as the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and amygdala, possibly reflecting its neuroprotective effects. At a neuronal level, lithium reduces excitatory (dopamine and glutamate) but increases inhibitory (GABA) neurotransmission; however, these broad effects are underpinned by complex neurotransmitter systems that strive to achieve homeostasis by way of compensatory changes. For example, at an intracellular and molecular level, lithium targets second-messenger systems that further modulate neurotransmission. For instance, the effects of lithium on the adenyl cyclase and phospho-inositide pathways, as well as protein kinase C, may serve to dampen excessive excitatory neurotransmission. In addition to these many putative mechanisms, it has also been proposed that the neuroprotective effects of lithium are key to its therapeutic actions. In this regard, lithium has been shown to reduce the oxidative stress that occurs with multiple episodes of mania and depression. Further, it increases protective proteins such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor and B-cell lymphoma 2, and reduces apoptotic processes through inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3 and autophagy.


Curator's Comment: The first lithium mineral petalite, LiAlSi4O10, was discovered on the Swedish island of Utö by the Brazilian, Jozé Bonifácio de Andralda e Silva in the 1790s. It was observed to give an intense crimson flame when thrown onto a fire. In 1817, Johan August Arfvedson of Stockholm analysed it and deduced it contained a previously unknown metal, which he called lithium. He realised this was a new alkali metal and a lighter version of sodium. However, unlike sodium he was not able to separate it by electrolysis. In 1821 William Brande obtained a tiny amount this way but not enough on which to make measurements. It was not until 1855 that the German chemist Robert Bunsen and the British chemist Augustus Matthiessen obtained it in bulk by the electrolysis of molten lithium chloride.

Approval Year



Primary TargetPharmacologyConditionPotency
6.53 µM [IC50]
2.0 mM [Ki]
Target ID: O95861
Gene ID: 10380.0
Gene Symbol: BPNT1
Target Organism: Homo sapiens (Human)
0.3 mM [IC50]


ConditionModalityTargetsHighest PhaseProduct

Approved Use

Lithium is indicated in the treatment of manic episodes of Bipolar Disorder.

Launch Date



[Remarkable thymoanaleptic effect of lithium gluconate in recurrent melancholic states].
1971 Mar 20
[Modifications of serum creatine phosphokinase activity under the influence of lithium gluconate in Duchenne's myopathy].
1972 Nov
[Lithium induced diabetes insipidus with response to antidiuretic hormone].
1975 Apr 28
[Treatment of lithium induced polyuria].
1975 Mar 10
[Do lithium salts have a place in the treatment of severe hyperthyroidism? (author's transl)].
1977 Oct 8
Lithium prevention of amphetamine-induced 'manic' excitement and of reserpine-induced 'depression' in mice: possible role of 2-phenylethylamine.
1978 Dec 8
[Ultrastructural modifications in the thyroid glands of mice treated with lithium gluconate].
1982 Feb 8
Experimental amitriptyline intoxication: electrophysiologic manifestations and management.
1984 Jan-Feb
Treatment of ventricular tachyarrhythmias resulting from amitriptyline toxicity in dogs.
1984 Nov
Urothelial injury to the rabbit bladder from various alkaline and acidic solutions used to dissolve kidney stones.
1986 Jul
Experimental amitriptyline intoxication: treatment of cardiac toxicity with sodium bicarbonate.
1986 Sep
Incidence of hypotension associated with epidural anesthesia using alkalinized and nonalkalinized lidocaine for cesarean section.
1987 Nov
Sodium bicarbonate alleviates penile pain induced by intracavernous injections for erectile dysfunction.
1993 May
Effects of magnesium sulfate and lidocaine in the treatment of ventricular arrhythmias in experimental amitriptyline poisoning in the rat.
1994 Mar
Metabolic alkalosis and myoclonus from antacid ingestion.
1996 Jun
Suppression of herpes simplex virus infections with oral lithium carbonate--a possible antiviral activity.
1996 Nov-Dec
Lithium therapy, hypercalcemia, and hyperparathyroidism.
1997 Sep-Oct
Oral sodium bicarbonate reduces proximal renal tubular peptide catabolism, ammoniogenesis, and tubular damage in renal patients.
1998 Mar
Hyperosmolar coma.
1999 Apr 3
Lithium-induced nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.
1999 Jan-Feb
Somnambulistic-like behaviour in patients attending a lithium clinic.
1999 May
Lithium induced cognitive side-effects in bipolar disorder: a qualitative analysis and implications for daily practice.
1999 May
Clozapine-induced acute interstitial nephritis.
1999 Oct 2
Infiltration of lymphocytes in the limbic brain following stimulation of subclinical cellular immunity and low dosages of lithium and a cholinergic agent.
1999 Sep 20
Lithium-treated mood disorders, paroxysmal rhinorrhea, and mesial temporal lobe epilepsy.
1999 Summer
Does 'rebound mania' occur after stopping carbamazepine? A pilot study.
Hypercalcemia, arrhythmia, and mood stabilizers.
2000 Apr
Olanzapine-induced urinary incontinence: treatment with ephedrine.
2000 Aug
Remission of tardive dyskinesia after changing from flupenthixol to olanzapine.
2000 Aug
Lithium therapy.
2000 Dec
Superior sagittal sinus thrombosis due to lithium: local urokinase thrombolysis treatment.
2000 Jan 25
Glomerular structure in lithium-induced chronic renal failure in rats.
2000 Oct
[Delirium syndrome as a side-effect of lithium in normal lithium levels].
2000 Sep
Influence of chronic barbiturate administration on sleep apnea after hypersomnia presentation: case study.
2000 Sep
Changes in quantitatively assessed tremor during treatment of major depression with lithium augmented by paroxetine or amitriptyline.
2001 Apr
The transient receptor potential protein homologue TRP6 is the essential component of vascular alpha(1)-adrenoceptor-activated Ca(2+)-permeable cation channel.
2001 Feb 16
Treatment of bipolar depression with twice-weekly fluoxetine: management of antidepressant-induced mania.
2001 Jan
Lithium-induced exacerbation of stutter.
2001 Jul-Aug
Bupropion manic induction during euthymia, but not during depression.
2001 Jun
A historical cohort study of kidney damage in long-term lithium patients: continued surveillance needed.
2001 Jun
[A case of atropine-resistant bradycardia in a patient on long-term lithium medication].
2001 Nov
Lithium use in octogenarians.
2001 Oct
Connection between lithium and muscular incoordination.
2002 Feb
A case of Parkinsonism due to lithium intoxication: treatment with Pramipexole.
2002 May
Hydroethidine detection of superoxide production during the lithium-pilocarpine model of status epilepticus.
2002 May
Risk factors for falls during treatment of late-life depression.
2002 Oct
2004 Mar
[Lithium gluconate 8% in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis].
2007 Apr
Anti-inflammatory effects of lithium gluconate on keratinocytes: a possible explanation for efficiency in seborrhoeic dermatitis.
2008 Jun
Hexavalent chromium affects sperm motility by influencing protein tyrosine phosphorylation in the midpiece of boar spermatozoa.
2016 Jan

Sample Use Guides

Optimal patient response to Lithium Carbonate usually can be established and maintained with 600 mg t.i.d. Optimal patient response to Lithium Oral Solution usually can be established and maintained with 10 mL (2 full teaspoons) (16 mEq of lithium) t.i.d. Such doses will normally produce an effective serum lithium level ranging between 1.0 and 1.5 mEq/l. Dosage must be individualized according to serum levels and clinical response. Regular monitoring of the patient’s clinical state and of serum lithium levels is necessary. Serum levels should be determined twice per week during the acute phase, and until the serum level and clinical condition of the patient have been stabilized.
Route of Administration: Oral
Although lithium at a high concentration (10 mM) activated β-catenin in different types of neurons, β-catenin shifted to the nucleus at a therapeutically relevant concentration (1 mM) only in thalamic neurons, both in vivo and in vitro.
Substance Class Chemical
by admin
on Fri Dec 15 17:43:41 GMT 2023
by admin
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