Overdose rates in lithium-treated versus antidepressant-treated outpatients


*Registrar in Psychiatry, Airedale General Hospital, Skipton Road, Steeton, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 6TD, United Kingdom


Our clinical experience that lithium is an agent used infrequently for self-poisoning was investigated. The rate at which such overdoses occurred was determined from hospital records. A retrospective casenotes study then compared overdose rates in patients taking lithium versus patients on antidepressant medication. A low rate of lithium overdoses was identified, and this appeared to be due to patients on lithium rarely taking overdoses rather than their choice of agent.