Far be it from me –

Guest Post by Beatrice Bray -Hypoparathyroidism : A Known Side Effect of Lithium

on April 3, 2012

As I write this I am in lying in bed because I feel acute muscular pain and extreme tiredness.  I feel like this most of the time. I used to be a very active person but not now.

These symptoms are probably caused by hypoparathyroidism, an illness which is very rare amongst the general population but it is common amongst people who take Lithium, the drug routinely prescribed to people with bipolar disorder.

I have been taking Lithium for 26 years.  I was never warned of the risks of hypoparathyroidism.  For myself I would like to discuss this with my doctors but they refuse to talk.  I would also like some way to get the message out to other people who take Lithium that they need to be aware of this risk.   They should know the symptoms and they should be tested for hypoparathyroidism on a routine basis.  Their doctors also need to keep a watch for this illness.  This is a known side effect.

The symptoms of hypoparathyroidism can be confused with psychiatric symptoms.  They were in my case and that delayed the process of diagnosis.  Not all forms of lethargy and irrritability are caused by mental illness.  Such symptoms can have physical causes.
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