History and Discovery | Structure–Activity Relations | Pharmacological Profile | Pharmacokinetics and Disposition | Mechanism of Action | Indications and Efficacy | Use in Special Populations | Side Effects and Toxicology | Drug–Drug Interactions | Conclusion | References
First used in the 1800s as a medicinal treatment, lithium was
touted for a wide range of medical woes—including gout
and neurological and gastrointestinal ailments—and was
used as a table salt substitute and even sold in bottled beverages
(El-Mallakh and Jefferson 1999). After noting its sedating
properties in animals, Cade (1949) first described
the successful treatment of mania with lithium salts. The U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) approved lithium for use in treating
acute mania in 1970 and for the prophylaxis of bipolar disorder
4 years later (Jefferson and Greist 1977). However,
lithium did not come onto the market easily in the United States.
Pharmaceutical companies were reluctant to produce this inexpensive drug
that they could not patent (Kline 1973).