Dr. Lester Sandman is a Bellevue, Washington,
psychiatrist who maintains a referral-based private
practice. He consults with primary care physicians in
the local area in treating patients with mood and
anxiety disorders. Dr. Lester Sandman stays informed
on the latest developments in psychiatric medicine.
One recently posted article at
www.lestersandman.com details a new study of
lithium and its effectiveness in treating bipolar
Until the mid-1990s, lithium represented 80 percent
of prescriptions for bipolar disorder, but this changed
as drugs with fewer perceived side effects such as
Depakote entered the market.
Despite lithium’s reputation as a medication
with excessive side effects, the study points
to a situation in which patients taking
Depakote are 2.7 times more likely to commit
suicide than those taking lithium. Published
in the “Journal of the American Medical
Society,” the findings make a persuasive case
for physicians reconsidering lithium as first-
line depression treatment. At this point, it is
not known why lithium seems to be
associated with significantly fewer suicides.