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By July 26, 2010 - 7:17pm
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My 18year old daughter who has schziophrenia started taking lithium 3 weeks ago. Her pychiatrist ordered weekly blood tests. He does not review the results until 6 days after the blood was taken. I am concerned about toxicity. How quickly can the levels change? I know the test results are availble after 2 days. Is 6 days acceptable?

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Hi happydays,
From my understanding, lithium toxicity would occur if your daughter is taking over the recommended dose. In other words, toxicity would not occur if your daughter is not overdosing, and is has not taking this prescription long-term.

Is your daughter's doctor concerned with the dosage of her prescription, and has asked for you to be aware of possible signs of overdose?

If your daughter has an acute overdose of lithium, the symptoms would appear rather quickly:
After taking too much lithium you will have symptoms such as:
* DiarrheaDiarrhea
* Dizziness
* Nausea
* Stomach pains
* Vomiting
* Weakness
You may also have some of the following nervous system symptoms, depending on how much lithium you took:
* ComaComa
* Hand tremors
* Incoordination of arms and legs (ataxia)
* Muscle twitches
* Seizures
* Slurred speechSlurred speech
* Uncontrollable eye movement (nystagmus)
Heart problems may occur in rare cases.

Chronic toxicity would be more difficult to notice immediately, and may be what her doctor is more concerned about. Checking lab results every week would help prevent any chronic toxicity.

I found this information at MedlinePlus:

Please let me know if this helped to answer your question.

July 27, 2010 - 1:34pm
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