Lithium decreases the risk of developing severe hyponatremia

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have conducted a studty in which lithium treatment was compared between 11,213 individuals hospitalized due to hyponatremia and 44,801 controls. Interestingly, lithium treatment was half as common among individuals with hyponatremia. The results were recently published in Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Hyponatremia is a potentially serious disorder that may cause balance disturbances, confusion and even death. The authors have established a cohort that includes all of the 11,000 individuals hospitalized due to hyponatremia in Sweden over 10 years. The cohort has been used to study the associations between different groups of drugs and the risk to suffer from hyponatremia that demand inpatient care. Most drugs are associated with an increased risk. However, according to the present study, lithium treatment was associated with a risk that was halved.  

“Even though the study confirmed our hypothesis, we were surprised over the marked protective effect associated with lithium treatment,” says Henrik Falhammar, lead author of the study and associate professor at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet.

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