Many clinicians are reluctant to use traditional mood-stabilizing agents, especially lithium, in children and adolescents. This review examined the evidence for lithium's safety and efficacy in this population.
A systematic review was conducted on the use of lithium in children and adolescents with bipolar disorder (BD). Relevant papers published through June 30<sup>th</sup> 2018 were identified searching the electronic databases MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Library.
30 articles met inclusion criteria, including 12 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Findings from RCTs demonstrate efficacy for acute mania in up to 50% of patients, and evidence of long-term maintenance efficacy. Lithium was generally safe, at least in the short term, with most common side effects being gastrointestinal, polyuria, or headache. Only a minority of patients experienced hypothyroidism. No cases of acute kidney injury or chronic kidney disease were reported.
Though the available literature is mostly short-term, there is evidence that lithium monotherapy is reasonably safe and effective in children and adolescents, specifically for acute mania and for prevention of mood episodes.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Masson SAS
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