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Laboratory Medicine

Test Directory / Lithium


Brown clotted serum, gel barrier or orange lithium heparin

Common AbbreviationsLi, LIT
ProfileUrea and Electrolytes co-requested in all cases
Tube typeBrown clotted serum, gel barrier or orange lithium heparin
Clinical IndicationUsed in the treatment of manic depressive psychosis and for prophylaxis in bipolar affective disorder. Serum measurements are made mainly to ensure compliance and avoid toxicity.
Specimen TypeBlood
Sample typeSerum or plasma
Minimum Volume0.5mL If requesting more than 10 tests please send an additional brown clotted serum sample.
Special PrecautionsPeak levels occur 2-4 hours after an oral dose. It is recommended that a standardised 12 hour post dose serum lithium concentration should be used to assess adequate therapy. Lithium Heparin tubes MUST NOT be used
Stability1 day at 20-25C and 7 days at 2-8C or greater than a year at -20°C.
Turnaround TimeInpatient: 6 hours Outpatient/ GP: 24 hours
LaboratoryYork and Scarborough
Reference IntervalTherapeutic Range: 0.4 – 1.0mmol/L
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