Drugs such as lithium are used to treat a wide range of neurological conditions including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit disorder.
But there are now growing concerns about the long-term effects on the brain of these drugs, as new research shows that people with dementia and those with psychosis-type disorders have a higher risk of taking lithium-containing drugs.
Lithium, which is a naturally occurring element found in nature, is widely used in medicine, but its long-lasting and often fatal effects have been recognised by many scientists.
Drug research is a vital part of the NHS, which has invested millions of pounds in researching treatments for dementia and mental health.
Drugs like lithium have been linked to high risk of psychosis and psychosis-style behaviour.
It was thought that lithium may play a role in the development of schizophrenia, but new research suggests that this may be false.
Drug companies have been trying to find out if lithium can help treat psychosis, but a new study from the University of Cambridge suggests that it may cause a higher rate of psychosis in people with the condition.
The study analysed the data of more than 2,400 people with psychosis and more than 1,000 people with depression.
The researchers found that people who had psychosis were more likely to have been taking lithium, the medication which causes the symptoms of schizophrenia.
The people who were taking lithium were also more likely than the people who didn’t to have a history of other mental health problems.
This meant that, even though lithium might help some people with a psychosis, it could also cause problems for other people who are vulnerable to the effects of psychosis.
Dr Lisa Wright, from the Department of Psychiatry at the University, said:”The fact that the people taking lithium might be more prone to the symptoms and problems of psychosis could have a detrimental effect on other people.”
The more you’re taking lithium the more likely you are to have other problems.
“She said that lithium-induced psychosis is more common in people who have schizophrenia and is more likely in people over 50.”
It’s important to remember that the more you take lithium the greater the risk of developing psychosis and the longer the effect lasts,” she said.”
This is particularly true in older people who might be at risk of having a further increase in symptoms.
“We need to understand more about the impact of lithium and psychosis on people with mental health issues.”
Drug company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said the results of the study showed the “possibility that lithium can contribute to the development and progression of psychotic disorders, including those associated with schizophrenia”.”GSK takes the safety and effectiveness of our medications very seriously, and all patients are screened and treated appropriately,” a spokesman said.
“GSK has conducted a rigorous review of the safety of lithium-26, a class of drugs used for treating epilepsy and schizophrenia, and has concluded that the drugs do not appear to pose a risk to the general population.”
Dr Sarah Kiley, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the findings highlighted the need for more research into the use of lithium.
“Lithia has a number of different effects and the main risk factor is lithium, so the findings highlight the need to do more research to understand the potential side-effects of lithium, such as hallucinations, memory loss and cognitive impairment,” she added.
“These effects could be serious, potentially causing significant harm to people who take lithium.”
The study was published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.