Lithium May Cause Sexual Dysfunction — More Research Needed

Rob Wipond
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Lithium — a drug commonly given to people diagnosed with bipolar disorder — appears to reduce libido and sexual function, according to a review of the scientific literature published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. However, the team of University of Southampton researchers added that more methodical research is needed.

The researchers found only 13 relevant published papers that examined sexual function related to lithium use.

“Clinical reports suggest lithium may reduce sexual thoughts and desire, worsen erectile function and reduce sexual satisfaction,” wrote the researchers. “Concomitant benzodiazepine prescription with lithium is associated with an increased risk of sexual dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction during lithium treatment appears significantly associated with a lower level of overall functioning and may reduce compliance.”

In a report on the study, Pharmacy Times stated, “The preclinical studies shed light on the etiology of lithium-related sexual dysfunction, noting that the drug could significantly reduce testosterone levels and impair nitric oxide-mediated control of male erectile tissue.”

“The findings of this systematic review reveal the paucity of information about the incidence, associated factors and management of sexual dysfunction with lithium treatment and highlight the need for well-designed studies in this area,” concluded the researchers.

Elnazer, Hesham Y., Anthony Sampson, and David Baldwin. “Lithium and Sexual Dysfunction: An under-Researched Area.” Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental 30, no. 2 (March 1, 2015): 66–69. doi:10.1002/hup.2457. (Abstract)

Lithium and Libido: Few Studies, Some Problems in Bipolar Patients (Pharmacy Times, February 12, 2015)

9 COMMENTS

  1. Lithium is a toxin in any amount and is not one of the body’s essential trace elements. No one can have a lithium deficiency. It should be obvious that ingesting large amounts of a toxin could have a negative effect on one’s sex life and on the quality of life in general. Suggested reading “Sex Energy” by biochemist Robert S. De Ropp, PhD.

    • Do you know that before Cade’s “discovery” of lithium’s quieting effect on manic patients in Australia in the early ’60s, the drug of choice for manic-depression was potassium bromide. As a mood stabilizer, KBr worked quite well but all bromine preparations produced a secondary toxicity and were eventually withdrawn from the market. Psychiatrists also tried potassium chloride “K-Lyte”, another dangerous prescription-only preparation without success.

      Today we have chelated forms of potassium supplementation that are free of side-effects and toxicity, and accurate tissue mineral analysis to determine if a potassium deficiency exists. Read up on adrenal stress and its effects on mood and energy here.
      http://www.arltma.com/Articles/AdrenalInsufDoc.htm
      http://www.arltma.com/Articles/BurnoutDoc.htm

  2. At least that’s one issue I never had while I was on Lithium. It’s amazing how nothing can really be said which is universal, we are all so affected differently, as with anything. I’d imagine research would show this, were everyone who had ever experienced psychiatry were to be interviewed without censor, which I don’t really see how that could possibly happen.

    I had a lot of side effects from former psych drugging–foggy brain, lethargy, anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, all the things they were supposed to be treating, of which Lithium had created the onset, but loss of sex drive was not one of them.

    Although thinking now about this vicious cycle of distress-psych drugs-more distress-more psych drugs, it’s incredible how all this works, must be the brainchild of a group of really sinister and greedy masterminds. Certainly, all of this cleared up once I had detoxified from all of these.

    For me, the drugs were the mental illness and disability, precisely. Without them, all is back in balance. I know I’m not alone in this claim, and that’s the best evidence we have that this is all a ruse.

    • “For me, the drugs were the mental illness and disability, precisely. Without them, all is back in balance. I know I’m not alone in this claim, and that’s the best evidence we have that this is all a ruse”.

      Exactly what happened to me too. My psychiatrist never looked beyond his nose to see severe drug induced akathisia he diagnosed as mania. Drug free I can sit quietly reading for hours.

    • The lithium didn’t effect me that way either. But I would like to add that the lithium has moderate drug interaction warnings with all the neuroleptic drugs. So it’s highly likely, since combining lithium with the neuroleptics is the “gold standard” treatment for bipolar, these drug interaction warnings may help explain the truly horrible outcomes for most “bipolar” patients. Perhaps the psychiatrists should get some new “gold standard” treatments?

      “… it’s incredible how all this works, must be the brainchild of a group of really sinister and greedy masterminds.” It’s shameful and disgusting.

    • Yes, once I released the drugs, I became an actor and stage performer, which I’d never done in my life. Suddenly, after all that chaotic and crippling anxiety, which made me insomniac and catatonic with depression for a while–a real big friggin’ mess which the drugs had caused–I was able to learn songs, lines, even leads, and perform in front of audiences. Took work, focus, and courage, but it was well worth it. Audiences and critics liked me and I got a lot of work, one show after another, and had fun doing it, too. I grew during that time more than I can say. I’m still performing, as musical director for a band that plays at an assisted living center, I’m able to pay this forward now.

      That’s how I came back in synch with myself, by going out on a limb. I went straight from the system to theater, once I released the drugs and cleared my mind a bit. I was shocked at all that I could do, knowing how I’d been just a few years prior. Had I stayed on medication, I’m sure none of this would not have occurred, and my life would certainly lack the joy and fulfillment I enjoy today. I’ve no doubt of this, because I would never, ever have been able to memorize anything or have even close to the clarity and courage it took to get up and sing in front of an audience! No way I could have done that on meds. Without them, I was able to not only accomplish this, but get a career out of it.

      What disturbs me so much about all of this is that these ‘medication treatments’ are squashing valuable resources, gifts, and talents that society could use right now. There are some brilliant minds and voices who will never be heard and witnessed, because they have been drugged out of their brilliance. I know this, I’ve seen it in my journey through the system. I felt it myself, as though my IQ had dropped to about half of what it had been. Thank God that was only temporary.

      It’s not just harming individuals, it is keeping really good stuff from society, by drugging the value, intelligence, and talent out of people. And for what, lots of bucks for a few people? That’s pure wicked vampirism.

    • I know that the reponsibility is mine for taking the Lithium while I was compliant, but also simultaneously a non-believer in my label. Feeling afraid that unexplained events would repeat if I didn’t blunt my nervous system’s responsiveness. My best guess is that the use of Lithium brought me to much more severe post-traumatic stress and potential for flashbacks, depersonalized states, and derealisation. Why wouldn’t it? Since you have the very expereinces that you need in order to confront your demons…, but if you can’t process the emotional stimulation that would most naturally happen to you in tricky situations, then the effects are likely to snowball and catch up with you later.