PMID: 7085573Jun 1, 1982Paper

Is lithium bad for the kidneys?

The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry
S Lippmann


Lithium alters renal physiology (e.g. polyuria) and is nephrotoxic in severe intoxications. With proper precautions, lithium was otherwise presumed safe through the mid-1970's. In 1977, the controversial question arose whether lithium may induce a chronic renal disease documented by biopsy. Later, similar lesions were demonstrated in affective disturbance patients never exposed to lithium. The possible role of lithium as an inducer of kidney damage is undetermined; but concern for the kidney in lithium patients is expressed. Better pre-lithium patient selection and renal work-up, lower serum lithium levels, and closer clinical and laboratory follow-up are advised.


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