The impact of a county-wide lithium monitoring database

What is lithium?
In the 5th century AD a Roman physician was reputed to have recommended the use of alkaline waters to patients suffering with mental disorders. The effect of these waters on their mental state is thought to be due to the lithium levels found in them (Marmol 2008). Since the 1800s lithium has been used to treat recurrent depression and other depressive states. It is now the ’Gold standard‘ treatment for bipolar disorder (manic-depression), both for mania and relapse prevention. Lithium is also used with other antidepressant treatments in difficult to treat depression (Cade 1949; Collins, Barnes et al. 2010).

Caffeine – humankind’s favourite drug

More people consume caffeine more often than any other drug. Worldwide the predominant sources of caffeine are tea and coffee, although colas, ‘energy’ drinks, mate, guarana, and cocoa (chocolate) also contribute significantly to consumption.

After consumption of a caffeine-containing drink, caffeine is distributed rapidly throughout the body, reaching its highest concentration in the bloodstream and in the brain within 30-40 minutes. Caffeine and its metabolites are then gradually eliminated from the body, mainly in the urine. For adults, the elimination half-life of caffeine – the time it takes for half of the caffeine consumed to be eliminated from the body – is around 3 to 6 hours.