Lithium in the treatment of depressed elderly patients

Bekker, F.M.; van Marwijk, H.W.; Nolen, W.A.; Jansen, P.A.; van Nieuwkerk, J.F.

Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde 134(9): 442-445


ISSN/ISBN: 0028-2162
PMID: 2314507
Document Number: 366297
In the geriatric department of a Dutch psychiatric hospital the charts of 65 patients treated with lithium for depression were reviewed. We assessed efficacy and adverse effects. The sample included 65 patients, 12 men and 53 women, mean age 77 (64-91) years. A complete or partial response was seen in 30 out of 43 patients (70%) treated with lithium in addition to a cyclic antidepressant. Six out of 22 patients treated with lithium as a sole antidepressant responded completely or partially. During lithium therapy 16 patients suffered from severe adverse effects. In our view and in spite of severe adverse effects, with expert monitoring lithium can be of value in the treatment of (very) old and depressed patients.

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