Lithium Week One – Not So Good


Off to a rocky start, suffering round-the-clock nausea, vomiting, severe intestinal pain, diminished mental acuity + low energy.


At the end of Week One of the China SCI Network Lithium protocol, my blood serum Lithium level tested at 0.97 mEq/L. This is toward the upper end of the recommended therapeutic dosage range of 0.6 to 1.2 mEq/L.

On the other hand, we have independently uncovered evidence that “patients abnormally sensitive to lithium may exhibit toxic signs at serum levels of 1.0 – 1.5 mEq L.”  So maybe I’m just in that “abnormally sensitive” subset of the population.

Anyway, presently I’m taking the initial recommended 750 mg daily dosage of Lithium Carbonate tablets in three doses of 300mg-150mg-300mg, respectively.

Problem is, logically we do not have any proof yet that my serum Lithium level was actually stable at 0.97 when the test was completed on Thursday.  This is because in the first week the serum Lithium level accelerated from baseline test @ 0.1 up to 0.97.

That is, the serum Lithium level may have reached 0.97 on, say, Day 4 and then stabilised … or the level might have been still accelerating through 0.97 on Day 7 when my blood was drawn + tested.

So tomorrow (Monday) morning we’re going to test again + I’ll post the results in a short blog update.

Meanwhile, test levels aside, the clinical picture is not good. I’m seriously ill and getting worse by the day. I can’t make it six weeks like this.

After we have the Monday test results, I’ll see if it helps to reduce dosage to get back into the lower end of the recommended therapeutic range.

And until we get this under control, I’m going to have my serum Lithium level tested every 72 hours.

3 responses »

  1. My heart sank when I read your post this morning. I am so sorry you are so ill, Ali. It sounds dreadful – I can’t imagine being nauseated on top of your pain. Maybe your baseline levels are just much lower than normal, so your therapeutic blood serum levels will be lower than what the evidence says. I guess you will have to play this by ear – do you have one of the researchers advising from abroad? I hope and pray that everything stabilises quickly and you can begin to see good results on the pain front. Thinking of you and wishing I could DO something helpful.

  2. I read every message you send out — very word — even when I don’t reply.

    Sorry to hear you are having such a rough time.

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