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Current Therapeutic Profile of Lithium

Samuel Gershon, MD; Jair C. Soares, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1997;54(1):16-20. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1997.01830130020004.
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WITH The advent of new pharmacotherapies for bipolar disorder, it may be an opportune time to look at the course of events that initiated the possibility of specific pharmacotherapy for this disorder. It is now 48 years since Cade's original report about the effects of lithium carbonate treatment in cases of mania was published.1 The time course of lithium therapy introduction in 1949, and its subsequent development, is concomitant with the span of the professional career of one of us (S.G.). The article by Schou2 in this issue of the ARCHIVES raises several key points that we would like to address.

MAGNITUDE OF LITHIUM EFFECTIVENESS IN MANIA  The early studies of lithium in the treatment of acute mania reported high effectiveness. In Cade's initial open study,1 all 10 patients with mania clearly responded to lithium administration. In subsequent, controlled studies, high (~70%-80%), effectiveness of lithium therapy


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