From a Contributing Editor, Colleague and Friend of the Editor
Sixty-seven years ago, Australian psychiatrist John Cade published his case series on manic patients treated with lithium – truly the dawn of the modern era in psychopharmacology. Two decades passed before lithium came to Canada, and almost three before it came to the United States. In the treatment of mania, it was the first significant drug alternative to the only other enduring treatment from that time – electroconvulsive therapy.
Today, however, lithium suffers from under-promotion (there is no money to be made on it by the pharmaceutical industry) and under-exposure in the training of residents despite the evidence of its benefit that continues to emerge.
Here is a new paper that looks at suicide and self-harm during maintenance treatment of people with bipolar disorder treated with lithium, valproate or the increasingly popular second-generation antipsychotic drugs. And here is an old paper that reminds us what a difference lithium had already made in the economics of mental illness by 1980.
– David Goldbloom, OC, MD, FRCP(C) Continue reading