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Headache. 2016 Jul;56(7):1201-3. doi: 10.1111/head.12872. Epub 2016 Jun 17.

Long Lasting Impairment of Taste and Smell as Side Effect of Lithium Carbonate in a Cluster Headache Patient.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.
2
Department of Neurology, Alrijne Hospital, Leiderdorp, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Preventive treatment with lithium carbonate is a therapeutic option for chronic cluster headache. Lithium can lead to a broad spectrum of severe side effects, many of which are generally unknown.

CASE DESCRIPTION:

One week after starting treatment with lithium, a 55-year-old man with chronic cluster headache noticed a strange and unpleasant taste of various foods and a diminished smell. After 4 weeks, he decided to stop the therapy because of these complaints, but 9 months later both taste and smell still had not returned to normal.

DISCUSSION:

We present the first description of long-lasting dysgeusia and hyposmia as a side effect of lithium therapy in cluster headache. Dysgeusia has only rarely been reported as a side effect of lithium in other conditions and hyposmia has not previously been reported. Physicians should be aware of this rare, but severe, side effect when prescribing lithium.

KEYWORDS:

cluster headache; dysgeusia; hyposmia; lithium; prophylactic treatment; side effect

PMID:
27317012
DOI:
10.1111/head.12872
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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