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  Friday, 09 March 2018
  7 Replies
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I was wondering if lithium can affect your creatinine levels. For the past 5 or 6 years my creati one levels were fairly stable sometimes slightly high like .3 which the doctor put down to dehydration. To be honest I yused to be a heavy drinker so that don't surprise me. However 7 months ago I started taking lithium and noticed every blood test there was a rise in my levels of creatinine(everything else is within range) my BUN level although in range has been decreasing. Lithium seems to be the issue. Is this possible?


For your creatinine level, do you mean 1.3 rather than 0.3?

Regarding the cause, it would be helpful to have more information like urinary protein numbers, ultrasound findings etc.

However, Lithium can be quite harmful to the kidney. It is important to ensure levels of the drug are adequately measured but even then it can cause kidney toxicity. It is more likely to cause toxicity the longer you have been on it.

I suggest you talk to the prescriber of this medication about your concerns. Lithium is an excellent drug for certain disorders, however, it definitely has a down side as well. Please note that I cannot advise you change or stop your medications as this is beyond the scope of this forum. So I am speaking in generality only. Please do not change any medications without speaking to your doctor first.

Thank-you for your question,

Dr. Jordan Weinstein
6 years ago
Thanks for your reply DR.

If I can explain explain a bit. I had a hospital blood test before I started taking lithium. My creatinine was 1.33. The doctor said it was a little high but probably due to dehydration. I started taking lithium back in June. I had my first blood test in Jan it was 1.44 I had one 5 weeks later its now 1.62. Its a big rise in such a short space of time I think. Another thing I thought was strange was how when I was on 900 mg of lithium,my lithium level was .4 I was prescribed an extra 300 mg and its 1.1. Again I don't know about these things but that seems a big rise for 300 mg. But to answer your question ive been on lithium 8 months. The other results sorry I can't help there.
Are you on other medications as well?

It seems that kidney function was not optimal even prior to starting the lithium.

6 years ago
I take Lamictal but have been on that for 8 years plus. I also take lorazepam but not regularly.Ive also literally just started adderral. Which woukd only be relevant to the latest blood test. One thing that may be a factor. Is I'm allergic to tegretol it destroys my liver. May I just add. When I had my hospital blood tests I was a heavy drinker and had been for years I've only very recently just quit.
None of those should cause direct kidney injury.

It is indeed possible that you had pre-existing chronic kidney disease and that the Lithium has exacerbated matters. It would be very helpful to know your kidney sizes and appearance by ultrasound as well as levels of urinary protein. This can give greater insight in to what we are dealing with. Happy to comment further if you are able to get those done.
Generally chronic kidney disease (CKD) is not reversible. Success in managing CKD is defined as stable renal function over time. To do that, in general, one has to minimize urinary protein, avoid nephrotoxins (drugs dangerous to the kidney) and to treat underlying diseases that might lead to kidney failure. That said, if kidney function stabilizes, and depending on your age, you could have plenty of kidney function for a normal life.

6 years ago
OK thanks.

I appreciate your time.
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