Lithium Effect on Renal Glomerular Functionin Individuals With Intellectual Disability

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The current study evaluated the effects of chronic administration of lithium on renal functioning in an intellectually disabled population.


Fifty-seven lithium-treated individuals were compared with 24 behaviorally symptomatic controls using a retrospective chart review method. Serum creatinine levels and creatinine clearance activities were compared at baseline, at the time of peak creatinine levels, and at the end of the study in 2006.


The mean length of lithium administration was 8.76 years (range, 1-23 years). Chronic lithium administration yielded a significant increase in peak serum creatinine levels and a decrease in the corresponding creatinine clearance activity. Of the subjects, 22.8% had peak creatinine levels of 1.5 mg or higher per 100 mL (a common threshold for renal insufficiency). This contrasted with 0% (none) for the symptomatic control subjects (P = 0.008). In addition, 26.3% of the lithium-treated subjects had creatinine clearance activities less than 55 mL/min and 17.5% had less than 50 mL/min, both indicative of renal insufficiency, versus none of the symptomatic control subjects (P = 0.004 and P = 0.029, respectively). With lithium withdrawal, further deterioration of renal function did not occur in most cases, and many showed improvement, with decreases in serum creatinine levels and increases in creatinine clearance activity.


Chronic administration of lithium led to clinically significant increases in serum creatinine levels and decreases in creatinine clearance in lithium-treated intellectually disabled individuals.

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