IntroductionLithium treatment is considered the gold standard for the long-term management of bipolar disorder and recurrent unipolar depression. It is also extremely effective in other psychiatric conditions characterized by impulsivity and aggression, and for the prevention of suicidal behaviours.Areas coveredThis paper provides a scoping review and an expert commentary regarding the use of lithium in adult patients. Available information about efficacy, tolerability, dosing, and switching is analyzed, and the strategies that may be most useful in real-world clinical settings are highlighted.Expert opinionLithium is effective on different domains of bipolar disorder, including the long-term prevention of recurrences of affective episodes, management of acute mania as well as in the prophylaxis of all affective episodes. Lithium has been defined a 'forgotten drug,' since its use in routine clinical practice has been declined over the last 20 or 30 years. Reasons for this trend include lack of adequate training on the management of lithium side effects. Considering its efficacy, use of lithium in ordinary clinical practice should be promoted. Several strategies, such as using slow-release formulations, can be easily implemented in order to minimize lithium side effects and improve its tolerability profile.
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