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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 76-86

Lithium-associated movement disorder: A literature review

1 Department of Medicine, Federal University of Santa Maria, Santa Maria, RS, Brazil
2 Department of Medicine, Federal University of Fronteira Sul, Passo Fundo, RS, Brazil
3 Institute of Philosophy and the Humanities, University of Passo Fundo, Passo Fundo, RS, Brazil

Correspondence Address:
Jamir Pitton Rissardo
Av. Roraima, 1000 - Camobi, Santa Maria - RS, 97105-900
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/bc.bc_77_21

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In 1949, Cade described “sedative effects” after injecting guinea pigs intraperitoneally with lithium (LTM) carbonate. Based on his experiments, he began treating psychiatric patients with LTM. This literature review aims to evaluate the clinical epidemiological profile, pathological mechanisms, and management of LTM-associated movement disorder (MD). Relevant reports in six databases (Excerpta Medica, Google Scholar, Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature, Medline, Scientific Electronic Library Online, and ScienceDirect) were identified and assessed by two reviewers without language restriction from 1949 to 2021. A total of 250 reports containing 1100 individuals who developed MD associated with LTM were identified. The MDs encountered 148 parkinsonism (PKN), 114 dyskinesia (DKN), 97 myoclonus, 22 dystonia (DTN), 20 Creutzfeldt–Jakob-like syndrome, 11 akathisia, 10 restless legs syndrome (RLS) symptoms, 6 tics, 5 cerebellar syndromes, and 3 stuttering. In the subgroup of cases not clearly defined, there were 320 individuals with extrapyramidal symptoms, 135 with DTN, 37 with DKN, 24 with PKN, and 7 with RLS. Other 141 individuals were only described as presenting an abnormal involuntary movement without further explanation. The mean age was 53.06 years (standard deviation [SD]: 15.64) and the predominant sex was female, i.e., 56.20% (154/274). The mean LTM dose was 963.03 mg/day (SD: 392.03). The mean serum LTM level was 1.53 mEq/L (SD: 1.08). The median onset time was 3 months (1 day to 40 years). The mean recovery time was 0.94 months (SD: 0.87). 45.94% had a full recovery. LTM-induced MD was extensively reported in the literature. Only general terms were used in the majority of the reports. LTM polytherapy probably affected the identification of the MD cause.

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