Eskalith

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Eskalith (lithium carbonate) is predominantly used to treat mania in persons who have a manic-depressive disorder, such as bipolar disorder. The medication provides some benefit in other conditions as well, and may be used to treat them, but it is rarely preferred for other conditions.

When used to treat a manic episode Eskalith will reduce symptoms, often entirely, within one to three weeks. Used long term manic episodes should be less frequent and, when they do occur, should be less severe and shorter than without the medication.

While it can be tremendously beneficial in patients who have manic episodes, Eskalith---or any lithium medication---is not without risks, some of which are serious. It's important that all patients taking Eskalith see a doctor regularly, to ensure the medication is working as intended as well as monitor for developing side effects.

Taking Eskalith

Eskalith is typically taken three to four times per day. Food is optional, but may significantly reduce gastrointestinal side effects if experienced. A glass of fluid with each dose is recommended.

Significant dietary changes, particularly with regard to salt intake, should not be made for the duration of treatment without prior doctor approval. Changing diet, particularly (but not only) salt intake, can alter lithium blood levels, which will likely alter the way Eskalith impacts a patient.

Prior to starting treatment all patients should have lithium blood levels checked, done with a simple blood test. At the start of treatment additional blood tests will need to be performed up to twice per week, and dosage adjustments may be made according to lithium blood levels. Once an effective dose is established the frequency of checkups may be reduced to some extent, but will not stop entirely as long as Eskalith is being taken.

Patients in remission and on a maintenance dose should have blood lithium levels checked every other month.

Dosage often starts low and is gradually increased depending on tolerability and blood test results.

To broadly summarize treatment:

  • A doctor should determine dosage in all cases. Most patients find 900 to 1800 mg per day effective for mania and lower doses effective during remission, but there are many exceptions.
  • Doses should be taken every 6 hours if taken 4 times per day, every 8 hours if taken 3 times per day, or every 12 hours if taken twice per day.
  • Take doses at the same times each day to keep levels of the medication consistent in the body.
  • Food is optional, but will likely help alleviate gastrointestinal side effects if experienced.
  • Do not make major dietary changes during treatment without first getting doctor approval.
  • Attend all scheduled doctor checkups to help ensure treatment is effective and hassle-free.
  • Use Eskalith exactly as prescribed. Effective doses are typically very close to overdose levels; overdose can produce severe and even fatal complications.

In manic phases, results are significant 1 to 3 weeks after starting treatment. The medication alleviates symptoms of:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid and/or loud speech
  • Exaggerated or intense feelings
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressiveness
  • Hostility
  • Other related symptoms

Patients taking Eskalith as a maintenance therapy should have fewer manic episodes. When episodes do occur, they should have less severe symptoms and not last as long as without the medication. Dosage may be increased if a manic episode does occur, but this should not be done without doctor approval.

Side Effects

As mentioned above, Eskalith can produce serious, permanent, and even fatal side effects if misused. It is very important that dosage be determined by a doctor, that all dosage adjustments are approved by a doctor, and that patients attend all scheduled checkups to evaluate lithium blood levels.

Common side effects experienced by many patients taking Eskalith include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Mild weight gain
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Mild tremor

For many, the above stop occurring in the first few weeks of treatment. For others the above persist throughout treatment. Either way, they're not cause for concern unless severe enough to be disruptive.

More serious side effects are considerably more rare, but should be brought to the attention of a doctor if experienced:

  • Excessive diarrhea or vomiting
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion
  • Vision changes
  • Moderate to severe tremor
  • Swollen or painful joints
  • Painful or cold hands or feet

Very rare side effects that call for immediate, emergency medical attention include:

  • Fainting
  • Slow, rapid, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

Eskalith can interact with a wide range of other medications and other medical conditions. These may cause dosage adjustments or eliminate Eskalith as a treatment. Be sure the prescribing doctor is aware of all other medical conditions and medications being taken, and be sure to inform the doctor if a medication is stopped, started, or changed.

Eskalith/Lithosun

300mg lithium carbonate  Buy Eskalith 100 Tablets - $39.99
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Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.

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