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Nervenarzt. 1998 Nov;69(11):935-43.

[Lithium salts in child and adolescent psychiatry].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Klinik und Poliklinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen.


Lithium is--besides neuroleptics--the drug of choice for the treatment of manic episodes. If the use of antidepressive drugs, during unipolar depressive illness, does not lead to a positive response, the additional administration of lithium is appropriate, even during a depressive episode. Lithium is also considered as the drug of choice for prophylactic treatment of bipolar affective disorders. This holds true also for adolescents. In contrast to the indications in adults, in adolescents an early administration is desirable to reduce risk factors of psychosocial development. Additional indications may be the presence of severe aggressivity in conduct disordered children. In these cases, a treatment with lithium salts can result in a behavioral improvement. This may be also the case in impulsive self-injurious behavior. The dosage and serum levels of lithium, as well as its adverse effects are comparable with those known from adults. At present, lithium treatment cannot be recommended for children under 12 years of age--except under in-patient conditions.

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