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In 1949, an Australian psychiatrist, John Cade, reported on the antimanic efficacy of lithium carbonate, which is regarded as an introduction of lithium into contemporary psychiatry. Since the 1960s, lithium has been a precursor of mood stabilizers and has become first-choice drug for the prevention of affective episodes in mood disorders. For nearly four decades, lithium has also been used for the augmentation of antidepressant drugs in treatment-resistant depression. The knowledge of clinical and biological factors connected with the capability of long-term lithium treatment to prevent manic and depressive recurrences makes an important element of the personalized medicine of mood disorders. Excellent prophylactic lithium responders can be characterized by distinct mood episodes, with full remissions between them, the absence of other psychiatric morbidity, and the family history of bipolar illness. In recent years, many other clinical and biological factors connected with such a response have been identified, helping to select the best candidates for lithium prophylaxis. The antisuicidal effect of lithium during its long-term administration has been demonstrated and should also be taken into account as the element of personalized medicine for the pharmacological prophylaxis of patients with mood disorders. Several studies pertaining to personalized medicine were also dedicated to lithium treatment of acute mood episodes. Lithium still has a value in the treatment of mania and bipolar depression. However, it seems that the more important indication would be the augmentation of antidepressant drugs in treatment-resistant depression. The factors connected with the efficacy of lithium in these conditions are reviewed.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Drug development research
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