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Vakul Aren
Vakul Aren, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 4107
Experience:  MBBS,DTM&H( Univ of Liverpool),34yrs experience in practice
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My doctor has me on lithium as a mood stabilizer, along with

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My doctor has me on lithium as a mood stabilizer, along with Lexapro. I am extremely active and have always played tennis 4 times a week. All of a sudden, after starting the lithium, my blood pressure has fallen dramatically and my heart rate has dropped about 16-25 beats a minute. I think this may be causing my sudden neuromuscular problems I am having. The large muscles in my legs are extremely sore and no amount of stretching/hydrating is helping. I never had this problem before. My heartbeat gets so low that I cannot bring myself to go play tennis. All I am doing now is lying on the couch and I am getting super depressed. Can someone advise me on what I can do to counteract the physical symptons I am having? I really like the way the lithium affects my personality, I am very happy with that, but not the physical side effects.
Lithium is a effective drug for many mental problems bur unfortunately carries side effects which may be dose related.Some of the side effects occur within the therapeutic range of the drug.These may include cardiac arrhythmias,bradycardia,hypotension whichmay occur even when the blood serum levels of the drug are below 1.5 mEq/L.Muscular weakness,ataxia,giddiness,incoordination may occur at serum levels of below 2 mEq/L.Neuromuscular toxicity including muscle iritability,fine and coarse tremors,clonic movements of whole limbs,fasciculation and twitching of muscles may accompany the use of the drug.Anorexia,nausea,vomiting ,diarrhea may be seen.Thyroid abnormalities,EEG changes are also known to occur.Autonomic side effects include blurring of vision,dryness of mouth,impotence and sexual dysfunction.The toxicity of the drug may limit the use of the drug despite its efficacy.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your quick response. Last night my heart beat fell to 48 beats per minute. I thought I would go into shock. Is there some drug I can take that will keep my heart beats up to at lest 70 beats per minute? I can suggest this to my doctor next week when I see him. I really like taking the lithium, but the side effects are literally killing me. There must be something I can take to counteract its side effects.

Thank you

The drug Lithium has serious side effects even when used in moderate doses/ even at therapeutic serum levels.These include cardiac arrhythmias such as bradycardia,sinus node dysfunction,hypotension,syncope and peripheral vascular collapse as the cardiovascular side effects.The neuromuscular/CNS side effects include muscle tremors,myalgias,aching joints,dizziness,incoordination,vertigo,coma,tongue movement abnormalities,seizures,psychomotor retardation apart from others.The side effects may gradually subside in a few individuals.Some patients who are sensitive to this drug will continue to have side effects which may increase with time and may cause serious complications at a later date.They may have to stop usage of Lithium as it may be potentially life threatening.It would be best to discuss the matter with your doctor who can guide you further.
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