Lithium has been shown to increase serum creatinine levels in a subgroup of patients. However, lithium-induced increases in serum creatinine have not been well studied with regard to timing, trajectory, or predictability.Methods:
The medical records of 16 intellectually disabled individuals treated with lithium between 1980 and 2010 in whom serum creatinine levels peaked at 1.5 mg/100 mL or higher (ie, who developed renal insufficiency) were reviewed. These individuals were compared with a group of 36 similar lithium-treated individuals in whom serum creatinine did not reach 1.5 mg/100 mL.Results:
The 16 lithium-treated individuals who developed renal insufficiency had a mean peak serum creatinine level of 1.8 ± 0.3 mg/100 mL while on lithium. The mean time from institution of lithium until the 1.5 mg/100 mL serum creatinine level was first reached was 7.9 years. After lithium was discontinued, overall mean serum creatinine levels did not significantly change. Reaching a serum creatinine level of 1.3 or 1.4 mg/100 mL predicted reaching a 1.5 mg/100 mL level or higher. No significant differences in the age lithium was started, baseline serum creatinine levels, years receiving lithium, sex, or race differentiated those who developed renal insufficiency.Conclusions:
Prescribing lithium led to elevated serum creatinine levels in some individuals. A serum creatinine level of 1.3 and/or 1.4 mg/100 mL predicted renal insufficiency. Clinical implications of this study are that if 1 serum creatinine result reaches 1.3 mg/100 mL or more, intensive monitoring for further increases is indicated.