Lithium, the metal, is being given to patients to stop them from suffering manic attacks after being given corticosteroids. The treatment has raised eyebrows in some medical quarters because lithium can cause. . .manic attacks.
Another problem is that patients can suffer lithium intoxication, as happened to two patients in one trial.
Nonetheless, corticosteroids often given to treat inflammations and allergic reactions come with a high risk of causing psychological disturbances, with up to 14 per cent of all patients being affected, according to one study.
But perhaps lithium is not the way to solve it (N Eng J Med 1999; 340: 1123).