Why does lithium cause weight gain? (2024)

Why do people on lithium gain weight?

Scientists believe that lithium-associated weight gain occurs due to various reasons, such as increased thirst, increased appetite, alterations in metabolism, sodium retention, hormonal fluctuations, constipation, and fatigue.

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Does lithium make you put on weight?

Mood stabilizers used to treat bipolar disorder include lithium (Lithobid), valproic acid (Depakene), divalproex sodium (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol, Equetro, others) and lamotrigine (Lamictal). All of these medications are known to increase the risk of weight gain except lamotrigine.

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Why do mood stabilizers make you gain weight?

During manic episodes, you typically may not sleep much and may burn off lots of energy. Taking a bipolar drug can calm your mood and help you sleep. In turn, these effects could decrease the amount of energy your body burns. This can lead to an increase in weight, especially if you don't adjust your diet.

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What happens when a healthy person takes lithium?

Lithium is generally safe to take for a long time. Most people take it for years with no problems. If you've been taking lithium for some time, it can cause weight gain. It can also cause problems with your kidneys or thyroid gland.

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Why is it hard to lose weight on lithium?

Lithium often triggers increased thirstiness. Quenching your thirst with high-calorie beverages, such as full-calorie soda or fruit juice, is a possible contributor to weight gain. Lithium might also cause sodium and water retention in people who consume a high-salt diet, which can lead to added bodyweight.

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Why do bipolar people gain weight?

For instance, the condition can cause periods of depression. You might eat more and not exercise as much during these times. If you have bipolar disorder and a binge eating disorder, you'll eat large amounts of food and feel out of control. All of this can lead to more body fat.

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What foods should you avoid while taking lithium?

Avoid excessive intake of caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, cola or energy drinks, since these may decrease levels of lithium and decrease effectiveness of the medication. Discontinuing caffeine use may increase lithium levels. Consult your health care provider before reducing or stopping caffeine use.

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What are the symptoms of too much lithium in the body?

In mild lithium toxicity, symptoms include weakness, worsening tremor, mild ataxia, poor concentration and diarrhea. With worsening toxicity, vomiting, the development of a gross tremor, slurred speech, confusion and lethargy emerge (Bauer and Gitlin 2016).

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Does lithium thin your hair?

Hair loss may occur in 10% of patients treated with lithium. Reducing lithium levels to 0.75 mEq/L and correcting thyroid disfunction may help to prevent hair loss. Consider supplementing with zinc and selenium to treat hair loss.

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Why do people quit taking lithium?

Adverse effects were the most common cause for lithium discontinuation. Among the adverse effects, diarrhoea, tremor, creatinine increase, polyuria/polydipsia/diabetes insipidus and weight gain were the top five reasons for discontinuing lithium.

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What is the black box warning on lithium?

Lithium has a boxed warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about lithium toxicity. This refers to a high level of lithium in your blood, which can lead to serious side effects. The boxed warning appears on the drug's label and alerts you to possible serious risks.

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What are the symptoms of excess lithium?

In mild lithium toxicity, symptoms include weakness, worsening tremor, mild ataxia, poor concentration and diarrhea. With worsening toxicity, vomiting, the development of a gross tremor, slurred speech, confusion and lethargy emerge (Bauer and Gitlin 2016).

Why does lithium cause weight gain? (2024)

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