Lithium, Serum


Lithium salts are commonly used in the pharmacotherapy of several psychiatric illnesses including bipolar disorder. Toxicity associated with lithium treatment is highly prevalent; 75 to 90 percent of patients treated with lithium have signs or symptoms of toxicity at some point during their treatment. Many minor side effects may occur at serum levels of 0.6 to 1.2 mmol/L, although serious but reversible side effects can occur within this range as well. Severe toxic states frequently occur at serum levels above 1.5 mmol/L. Neurological damage or death may occur when levels exceed 2.5 mmol/L.


Measurement of lithium level is performed to ensure concentrations within therapeutic range and avoid drug toxicity.

Sample Type, Quantity & Conditions

1 ml Serum Stability: 72 Hours at 15‑25 °C 7 Days at 2‑8 °C 28 Days at (-15)-(-25) °C

Special Precautions

Sample preferred before next dose.

Normal Range

Therapeutic range: 0.6 - 1.2 mEq/L 0.6 - 1.2 mmol/L Toxic Level: > 2.0 mEq/L > 2.0 mmol/L

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