Is a return to lithium for bipolar warranted?

The use of lithium has declined substantially over the years. You don’t see pharmaceutical companies promoting it. It’s not a commercial money-maker and there’s been considerable concern about its potential dangers. 

However, a new systematic review and meta-analysis looking at the toxicity of lithium (published online in the January Lancet) may help reaffirm its place as a treatment of choice for bipolar disorder. This is particularly the case, given that there is increasing evidence for its efficacy, and that the alternatives also have their own risks and side effect profiles, according to Australian psychiatrists Professor Gin Malhi and Professor Michael Berk, who published a commentary alongside the review in the Lancet. 

The team of researchers from University of Oxford and Sainte-Marguerite Hospital in France analysed 385 studies.