How does lithium affect Add or Adhd

Therapy with lithium has many facets

DRESDEN. How does lithium work in patients with bipolar disorder, and which patients will benefit most from appropriate treatment? Scientists from the Carl Gustav Carus Medical Faculty at TU Dresden investigated these and other questions in a study (The Lancet 2016, 387 (10023): 1085-1093).

"We have repeatedly observed in our patients that lithium is one of the few drugs that can switch off suicidal thoughts in the long term. There is no other drug that reduces suicidal thoughts and actions so markedly," says Professor Michael Bauer, director of the clinic and polyclinic for psychiatry and psychotherapy cited in a communication from TU Dresden.

"Today you can hardly find a drug on the drug market that has been prescribed for more than 60 years, and yet we are still discovering new aspects of action that surprise us. For example, while analyzing long-term treatment data, we found that lithium also has one has a certain protection against memory loss and dementia. In laboratory tests, the neuroprotective effect of lithium could be clearly demonstrated, "says Bauer.

"If patients take lithium for ten or twenty years, the dementia rate also goes down." These were all reasons that spoke in favor of taking a closer look at lithium. As early as 2008, an international research consortium met in Dresden to collect and evaluate very detailed patient data. Professor Bauer, who started the initiative eight years ago, has great expectations that the more than 3,000 data sets will provide a new insight into the mechanisms of action of lithium that have not yet been comprehensively researched.

Lithium triggers a number of intracellular effects, among other things. The salt also increases the release of serotonin. One possible reason why it is so effective in therapy. Many patients who have had a long history of severe mania or bipolar illness are considered cured by taking the drug.

"We differentiate into three groups: excellent lithium responders, patients in whom the drug is less clear and those in whom it does not work at all. It is interesting that, similar to bipolar disease, the response behavior to the drug is inherited," explained Bauer.

At the Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, a large, multi-center, nationwide study on this research focus is currently being carried out by the Dresden research team, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. This offers the opportunity to demonstrate the immediate effect of lithium on suicidal ideation in depression, something that has not yet been proven for a single drug. (eb)