I'm sorry that you have had health problems that MAY be related to lithium. Just so you know, it is normally a psychiatrist who does prescribe lithium. You were VERY smart to go to your primary care physician and tell him/her your concerns. It is good that you have been tested.
Laboratory tests may be done for many reasons. Tests are performed for routine health screenings or if a disease or toxicity is suspected. Lab tests may be used to determine if a medical condition is improving or worsening. Lab tests may also be used to measure the success or failure of a medication or treatment plan. Lab tests may be ordered for professional or legal reasons. The following are possible reasons why this test may be done:
- Lithium monitoring
- Lithium poisoning
When and how often laboratory tests are done may depend on many factors. The timing of laboratory tests may rely on the results or completion of other tests, procedures, or treatments. Lab tests may be performed immediately in an emergency, or tests may be delayed as a condition is treated or monitored. A test may be suggested or become necessary when certain signs or symptoms appear.
Due to changes in the way your body naturally functions through the course of a day, lab tests may need to be performed at a certain time of day. If you have prepared for a test by changing your food or fluid intake, lab tests may be timed in accordance with those changes. Timing of tests may be based on increased and decreased levels of medications, drugs or other substances in the body.
The age or gender of the person being tested may affect when and how often a lab test is required. Chronic or progressive conditions may need ongoing monitoring through the use of lab tests. Conditions that worsen and improve may also need frequent monitoring. Certain tests may be repeated to obtain a series of results, or tests may need to be repeated to confirm or disprove results. Timing and frequency of lab tests may vary if they are performed for professional or legal reasons.
When this test is used to monitor treatment with lithium, the test is performed 12 hours after the last dose is taken. This test should be done at least every 6 months after a patient has become stable on lithium. http://www.muschealth.com/lab/content.aspx?id=150195
If you are unhappy with your current psychiatrist (especially since s/he has not listened to your concerns about the effects of the medication), you need to ask your primary care physician for a referral to another psychiatrist. Hopefully, your test results will come back such that your lithium levels are in the normal range. However, if you are still having the bad effects, your primary care physician will have to order more and different testing to determine what, if any, other physical conditions may be causing your problems.
Again, I am glad that you were so smart. You did the absolute right thing by going to your primary care physician for follow up. Because there are so many variables, there may be nothing legally that you can do against the psychiatrist.
You may wish to consider filing a complaint against the psychiatrist to the Michigan Board of Medicine. The Board has appropriate investigative bodies at the local level that can review physicians’ conduct. If appropriate, the Board can take disciplinary action against a physician’s license to practice medicine. Below is the contact information to the Michigan Board of Medicine:
Michigan Board of Medicine
611 W Ottawa St, 1st Floor
PO Box 30670
Lansing, MI 48933
It has been my pleasure to assist you today with your information needs. It is my goal that you are satisfied. No expert can promise you an answer that is favorable to your circumstances. But I will do my very best to explain the legal principles that are related to the facts you’ve described so that you can better understand the “why” of things.
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