Camcolit tablets contain the active ingredient lithium carbonate, which is a type of medicine known as a mood stabiliser.

What is it used for?

  • Treatment and prevention of mania and hypomania
  • As a 'mood stabiliser' to prevent episodes of depression and mania in people with bipolar affective disorder (manic depression).
  • Treatment and prevention of recurrent depression when treatment with other antidepressants is unsuccessful
  • Aggressive or self-harming behaviour

How does it work?

  • Camcolit tablets contain the active ingredient lithium carbonate, which is a type of medicine known as a mood stabiliser.
  • The way lithium works as a mood stabilising agent is still not fully understood. It is thought that it modifies the production and turnover of certain chemical compounds called neurotransmitters that are found in the brain.
  • Neurotransmitters are involved in transmitting messages between the nerve cells in the brain. Serotonin is one example of a neurotransmitter, as is dopamine.
It is thought that lithium may affect the activity of these compounds in the brain.
  • Lithium is used in several ways. People with bipolar affective disorder (manic depression) suffer from episodes of severe mood swings, which range from abnormally high mood and extreme excitement (mania) to deep depression. Lithium is used to treat the mania, and to stabilise mood after an acute episode of mood swings to decrease the frequency and intensity of these episodes.
  • Lithium is also used to treat recurrent depression that has not been responsive to other antidepressants, and aggressive and self-harming or self-mutilating behaviour.
  • Camcolit 400 tablets are controlled release tablets that are designed to release the lithium slowly and continuously over several hours. This produces a steady blood level of the medicine throughout the day. The tablets can be broken in half, but they must be swallowed with water and not chewed or crushed, as this would damage the controlled release action.
  • Use with caution in

    • Elderly people
    • Psoriasis
    • Abnormal muscle weakness (myaesthenia gravis)

    Not to be used in

    • Decreased kidney function
    • Heart disease
    • Untreated underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
    • People with low levels of salt (sodium) in the body, for example due to dehydration, low sodium diets or Addison's disease
    • Breastfeeding
    • This medicine is not recommended for children under 12 years of age.
    • This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.

    If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

    Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

    Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

    • This medicine may be harmful to a developing foetus. It should not normally be given to pregnant women, particularly during the first trimester, unless the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks to the foetus. Seek medical advice from your doctor.
    • This medicine passes into breast milk and could have harmful effects on a nursing infant. Mothers who need to take this medicine should not breastfeed. Seek medical advice from your doctor.

    Side effects

    Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

    • Gut disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
    • Shaking, usually of the hands (tremor)
    • Thirst
    • Increased production of urine (polyuria)
    • Weight gain
    • Excessive fluid retention in the body tissues, resulting in swelling (oedema)
    • Muscle weakness
    • Dizziness
    • Dazed feeling
    • Decreased kidney function
    • Underactivity of the thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) - this may make you feel very tired or slow and you may notice the cold more, tell your doctor if you experience this
    • Worsening of psoriasis
    • Lithium toxicity if your lithium level is too high - for warning symptoms see the warning above
    • Abnormal heart rhythms
    • Sexual problems
    • Memory problems

    The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.

    For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

    How can this medicine affect other medicines?

    It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to ensure that the combination is safe.

    The following medicines may increase the level of lithium in the blood, causing an increased risk of lithium side effects or toxicity:

    • ACE inhibitors, such as lisinopril, captopril, enalapril
    • angiotensin II receptor antagonists, such as losartan, candesartan, valsartan
    • diuretics, such as bendroflumethiazide, furosemide
    • metronidazole
    • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as indomethacin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, celecoxib
    • tetracycline antibiotics, such as tetracycline, doxycycline.

    There may be an increased risk of side effects unrelated to the lithium level if the following medicines are taken with lithium:

    • antipsychotic medicines, eg clozapine, thioridazine, flupentixol, haloperidol
    • calcium channel blockers, eg diltiazem, verapamil
    • carbamazepine
    • maprotiline
    • methyldopa
    • phenytoin
    • tricyclic antidepressants, eg amitriptyline
    • SSRI antidepressants, eg fluoxetine, fluvoxamine.

    The following medicines may decrease the blood level of lithium, making it less effective:

    • antacids that contain sodium, eg sodium bicarbonate
    • theophylline.

    References:

    https://www.evidence.nhs.uk/formulary/bnf/current/4-central-nervous-system/42-drugs-used-in-psychoses-and-related-disorders/423-drugs-used-for-mania-and-hypomania/lithium/lithium-carbonate/camcolit

    http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/depression/a6361/camcolit/

    http://www.hse.ie/eng/about/Who/clinical/natclinprog/medicinemanagementprogramme/yourmedicines/PatientInformation/PatientInformation.pdf

    https://www.drugs.com/answers/lithium-camcolit-weight-gain-3015551.html