Lithium Carbonate

LITHIUM CARBONATE- lithium carbonate tablet, extended release
Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA Inc.

Rx only

WARNING

Lithium toxicity is closely related to serum lithium levels, and can occur at doses close to therapeutic levels. Facilities for prompt and accurate serum lithium determinations should be available before initiating therapy (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

DESCRIPTION

Lithium Carbonate Extended-release Tablets USP contain lithium carbonate USP, a white granular powder with molecular formula Li2 CO3 and molecular weight 73.89. Lithium is an element of the alkali-metal group with atomic number 3, atomic weight 6.94 and an emission line at 671 nm on the flame photometer.

Lithium Carbonate Extended-release Tablets USP are available for oral administration containing 300 mg of lithium carbonate USP. This slowly dissolving, film-coated tablet is designed to give lower serum lithium peak concentrations than obtained with conventional oral lithium dosage forms. Each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: calcium stearate, Opadry II (Beige), povidone, sodium chloride, sodium lauryl sulfate and sorbitol. Opadry II (Beige) contains: hypromellose, polydextrose, polyethylene glycol, red iron oxide, titanium dioxide, triacetin and yellow iron oxide.

The tablets meet the requirements of USP Dissolution Test 5 in the USP monograph for Lithium Carbonate Extended-release Tablets USP, 300 mg.

ACTIONS

Preclinical studies have shown that lithium alters sodium transport in nerve and muscle cells and effects a shift toward intraneuronal metabolism of catecholamines, but the specific biochemical mechanism of lithium action in mania is unknown.

INDICATIONS

Lithium carbonate is indicated in the treatment of manic episodes of Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder, Manic (DSM-IV) is equivalent to Manic Depressive illness, Manic, in the older DSM-II terminology. Lithium carbonate is also indicated as a maintenance treatment for individuals with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Maintenance therapy reduces the frequency of manic episodes and diminishes the intensity of those episodes which may occur.

Typical symptoms of mania include pressure of speech, motor hyperactivity, reduced need for sleep, flight of ideas, grandiosity, elation, poor judgment, aggressiveness, and possibly hostility. When given to a patient experiencing a manic episode, lithium may produce a normalization of symptomatology within 1 to 3 weeks.

WARNINGS

Lithium Toxicity

The toxic concentrations for lithium (≥1.5 mEq/L) are close to the therapeutic range (0.8 to 1.2 mEq/L). Some patients abnormally sensitive to lithium may exhibit toxic signs at serum concentrations that are considered within the therapeutic range (see BOXED WARNING and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). Lithium may take up to 24 hours to distribute into brain tissue, so occurrence of acute toxicity symptoms may be delayed.

Neurological signs of lithium toxicity range from mild neurological adverse reactions such as fine tremor, lightheadedness, lack of coordination, and weakness; to moderate manifestations like giddiness, apathy, drowsiness, hyperreflexia, muscle twitching, ataxia, blurred vision, tinnitus, and slurred speech; and severe manifestations such as clonus, confusion, seizure, coma, and death. In rare cases, neurological sequelae may persist despite discontinuing lithium treatment and may be associated with cerebellar atrophy. Cardiac manifestations involve electrocardiographic changes, such as prolonged QT interval, ST and T-wave changes and myocarditis. Renal manifestations include urine concentrating defect, nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, and renal failure. Respiratory manifestations include dyspnea, aspiration pneumonia, and respiratory failure. Gastrointestinal manifestations include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating. No specific antidote for lithium poisoning is known (see OVERDOSAGE).

The risk of lithium toxicity is increased by:

Recent onset of concurrent febrile illness
Concomitant administration of drugs which increase lithium serum concentrations by pharmacokinetic interactions or drugs affecting kidney function (see PRECAUTIONS-Drug Interactions)
Acute ingestion
Impaired renal function
Volume depletion or dehydration
Significant cardiovascular disease
Changes in electrolyte concentrations (especially sodium and potassium)

Monitor for signs and symptoms of lithium toxicity. If symptoms occur, decrease dosage or discontinue lithium treatment.

Unmasking of Brugada Syndrome

There have been postmarketing reports of a possible association between treatment with lithium and the unmasking of Brugada Syndrome. Brugada Syndrome is a disorder characterized by abnormal electrocardiographic (ECG) findings and a risk of sudden death. Lithium should generally be avoided in patients with Brugada Syndrome or those suspected of having Brugada Syndrome. Consultation with a cardiologist is recommended if: (1) treatment with lithium is under consideration for patients suspected of having Brugada Syndrome or patients who have risk factors for Brugada Syndrome, e.g., unexplained syncope, a family history of Brugada Syndrome, or a family history of sudden unexplained death before the age of 45 years, (2) patients who develop unexplained syncope or palpitations after starting lithium therapy.

Psuedotumor Cerebri

Cases of pseudotumor cerebri (increased intracranial pressure and papilledema) have been reported with lithium use. If undetected, this condition may result in enlargement of the blind spot, constriction of visual fields, and eventual blindness due to optic atrophy. Lithium should be discontinued, if clinically possible, if this syndrome occurs.

Renal Effects

Chronic lithium therapy may be associated with diminution of renal concentrating ability, occasionally presenting as nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, with polyuria and polydipsia. Such patients should be carefully managed to avoid dehydration with resulting lithium retention and toxicity. This condition is usually reversible when lithium is discontinued.

Post marketing cases consistent with nephrotic syndrome have been reported with the use of lithium. Biopsy findings in patients with nephrotic syndrome include minimal change disease and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Discontinuation of lithium in patients with nephrotic syndrome has resulted in remission of nephrotic syndrome.

Morphologic changes with glomerular and interstitial fibrosis and nephron atrophy have been reported in patients on chronic lithium therapy. Morphologic changes have also been seen in manic-depressive patients never exposed to lithium. The relationship between renal function and morphologic changes and their association with lithium therapy have not been established.

Kidney function should be assessed prior to and during lithium therapy. Routine urinalysis and other tests may be used to evaluate tubular function (e.g., urine specific gravity or osmolality following a period of water deprivation, or 24-hour urine volume) and glomerular function (e.g., serum creatinine, creatinine clearance, or proteinuria). During lithium therapy, progressive or sudden changes in renal function, even within the normal range, indicate the need for re-evaluation of treatment.

Encephalopathic Syndrome

An encephalopathic syndrome (characterized by weakness, lethargy, fever, tremulousness and confusion, extrapyramidal symptoms, leukocytosis, elevated serum enzymes, BUN and FBS) has occurred in a few patients treated with lithium plus a neuroleptic, most notably haloperidol. In some instances, the syndrome was followed by irreversible brain damage. Because of possible causal relationship between these events and the concomitant administration of lithium and neuroleptic drugs, patients receiving such combined therapy or patients with organic brain syndrome or other CNS impairment should be monitored closely for early evidence of neurologic toxicity and treatment discontinued promptly if such signs appear. This encephalopathic syndrome may be similar to or the same as Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS).

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