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


Stereochemistry ACHIRAL
Molecular Formula 2Li.S
Molecular Weight 45.9462
Optical Activity NONE
Defined Stereocenters 0 / 0
E/Z Centers 0
Charge 0







Molecular Formula Li
Molecular Weight 6.94
Charge 1
Stereochemistry ACHIRAL
Additional Stereochemistry No
Defined Stereocenters 0 / 0
E/Z Centers 0
Optical Activity NONE

Molecular Formula HS
Molecular Weight 33.074
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 gluconate is used in oligotherapy for psychological problems (normothymia, manic depressive psychosis) under special biological surveillance and more specifically when the lithium rate is to be controlled. Lithium gluconate ointment was significantly more effective than placebo, with a complete clinical remission after 4 and 8 weeks respectively in the treatment of seborrhoeic dermatitis. At low concentration (1.6 mM), Li enhanced TNFalpha secretion, whereas, at higher concentration (5 mM), Li significantly enhanced IL10 expression and secretion in skin models. However, there was no significant modulation of Li on IL6 and TGFbeta1 secretion. Moreover, Li at 5 mM significantly decreased TLR2 and TLR4 expressions by differentiated keratinocytes. As Li concentration during topical treatment is probably closer to 5 mM than to 1 mM, the therapeutic effect of Li gluconate in seborrhoeic dermatitis may be explained by two anti-inflammatory actions: an increased expression and secretion of IL10 and a decreased expression of TLR2 and TLR4 by keratinocytes.


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



Renal failure associated with acetazolamide therapy for glaucoma.
1975 Apr
Sodium bicarbonate and systemic hemodynamics in volunteers anesthetized with halothane.
1975 May
Obsolete but dangerous antacid preparations.
1978 Jan
Organophosphate poisoning: modifications in acid base equilibrium and use of sodium bicarbonate as an aid in the treatment of toxicity in dogs.
1983 Feb
Calcification of superficial scalp veins secondary to intravenous infusion of sodium bicarbonate and calcium chloride.
1983 Jul
Bupivacaine cardiotoxicity in a pregnant patient with mitral valve prolapse.
1983 Jun
[Effect of antacids on mineral metabolism].
1983 Mar
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
Incidence of hypotension associated with epidural anesthesia using alkalinized and nonalkalinized lidocaine for cesarean section.
1987 Nov
The effect of pH buffering on reducing the pain associated with subcutaneous infiltration of bupivicaine.
1991 Mar
Summation effects of uracil and other promoters on epithelial lesion development in the F344 rat urinary bladder initiated by N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl)nitrosamine.
1991 Nov
Reversal of desipramine toxicity in rats using drug-specific antibody Fab' fragment: effects on hypotension and interaction with sodium bicarbonate.
1992 Mar
Sodium bicarbonate alleviates penile pain induced by intracavernous injections for erectile dysfunction.
1993 May
Alkalinization of local anesthesia with sodium bicarbonate--preferred method of local anesthesia.
1994 Jan
Effects of magnesium sulfate and lidocaine in the treatment of ventricular arrhythmias in experimental amitriptyline poisoning in the rat.
1994 Mar
Reversal of flecainide-induced ventricular arrhythmia by hypertonic sodium bicarbonate in dogs.
1995 May
Neutralizing pH of lidocaine reduces pain during Norplant system insertion procedure.
1995 May
Reduction of desipramine cardiotoxicity and prolongation of survival in rats with the use of polyclonal drug-specific antibody Fab fragments.
1995 Sep
Effect of calcium chloride and 4-aminopyridine therapy on desipramine toxicity in rats.
Pathophysiology and treatment of cocaine toxicity: implications for the heart and cardiovascular system.
1996 Dec
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
Therapy of Sjögren's syndrome. New aspects and future directions.
1998 Feb
Oral sodium bicarbonate reduces proximal renal tubular peptide catabolism, ammoniogenesis, and tubular damage in renal patients.
1998 Mar
Acebutolol-induced ventricular tachycardia reversed with sodium bicarbonate.
Sodium bicarbonate treatment reduces renal injury, renal production of transforming growth factor-beta, and urinary transforming growth factor-beta excretion in rats with doxorubicin-induced nephropathy.
1999 Aug
Comparative effects of sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride on reversing cocaine-induced changes in the electrocardiogram.
1999 Dec
pH-dependent cocaine-induced cardiotoxicity.
1999 Jul
The effects of sodium bicarbonate on thioridazine-induced cardiac dysfunction in the isolated perfused rat heart.
2001 Apr
Ménière's disease in childhood.
2001 Dec 1
Renal tubular peptide catabolism in chronic vascular rejection.
2001 May-Jul
Aborted sudden death, transient Brugada pattern, and wide QRS dysrrhythmias after massive cocaine ingestion.
2001 Oct
Physostigmine, sodium bicarbonate, or hypertonic saline to treat diphenhydramine toxicity.
2002 Feb
Fanconi syndrome caused by antiepileptic therapy with valproic Acid.
2004 Jul
Prevention of contrast-induced nephropathy with sodium bicarbonate: a randomized controlled trial.
2004 May 19
Alkaline induces metallothionein gene expression and potentiates cell proliferation in Chinese hamster ovary cells.
2005 Dec
Reversal of citalopram-induced junctional bradycardia with intravenous sodium bicarbonate.
2005 Jan
Quinidine cardiotoxicity.
2005 May
Deregulation of the p16-cyclin D1/cyclin-dependent kinase 4-retinoblastoma pathway involved in the rat bladder carcinogenesis induced by terephthalic acid-calculi.
2006 Oct
Comparison of usefulness of sodium bicarbonate versus sodium chloride to prevent contrast-induced nephropathy in patients undergoing an emergent coronary procedure.
2007 Sep 1
Contrast medium-induced nephropathy: strategies for prevention.
2008 Sep
G418-mediated ribosomal read-through of a nonsense mutation causing autosomal recessive proximal renal tubular acidosis.
2008 Sep
Sodium bicarbonate versus normal saline for protection against contrast nephropathy.
Mass casualties from acute inhalation of chlorine gas.
2009 Dec
Iatrogenic Flecainide toxicity.
2010 Dec
Acute propafenone toxicity after two exposures at standard dosing.
2010 Jun-Jul
High sensitivity of RBL-2H3 cells to cadmium and manganese: an implication of the role of ZIP8.
2011 Jul
Chemicals inducing acute irritant contact dermatitis mobilize intracellular calcium in human keratinocytes.
2013 Feb

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
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