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Lithium and colonoscopy?

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    Lithium and colonoscopy?

    My dr has been pressuring me to have a routine colonoscopy because I have a family history. Neither my dr nor the surgeon seemed concerned that the prep could cause dehydration and raise my lithium levels. My pharmacist is concerned that I would not be able to stay properly hydrated. Has anyone who takes lithium successfully gone through the colonoscopy prep? Thank you.

    Hello Soundbeader, and welcome to the forum. Sorry I don't know enough to be of much help, but it's a good question and I hope someone else on the forum can address it. I'm wondering if your pharmacist and doctor communicate with each other; that might be worth trying.

    ~ it's always worth it ~


      A family history, especially a first degree relative is a strong indicator for a baseline colonoscopy and repeated in a certain time frame (depending on results and that of other family member's).

      Colonoscopy preps are not all the same. For the elderly and those for who electrolyte and fluid imbalance are especially a concern, the prep procedure usually includes that awful jug of powder you add water too. (The other prep involves 2 small bottles of bowel cleaner, much harder on the bodies fluid and electrolyte balance.)

      Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can be a concern in spite of the differences in prep procedures. That's a whole lot of 'fluid' to be flushing down the toilet. Your concern being on Lithium is a valid one. Dehydration can increase Lithium blood levels and that is a valid concern.

      I would recommend calling the colonoscopy clinic where you are to have the procedure (Once you have a date and the prep information given to you). Find out what the best option for your prep procedure would be for you. Staying hydrated will be the key.

      As much as there are risks involved and medication concerns, missing the opportunity to check for a nasty cancer and catching it early, or removing pulps before they become cancerous, is worth all the effort. Good for you for not letting them dismiss your concerns.

      A drug information/poison control center (for health professionals) can probably provide your doc or pharmacist with information about Lithium dosing in such a procedure. They can ask for that information over the phone. If it's anywhere in the scientific literature they'd be the ones to track it down.

      Humans punish themselves endlessly
      for not being what they believe they should be.
      -Don Miguel Ruiz-


        Hello Soundbeader and welcome. When I was taking lithium I had a colonoscopy. Nobody (except for me) seemed very concerned about my lithium levels. My solution was to stop taking lithium a couple of days in advance and resume a couple of days later. I also have quit taking lithium when I had a bad case of the runs and/or was throwing up a lot due to the flu and thus becoming dehydrated.However your doc is the best one to ask for advice. Take Care. paul m.
        "Alone we can do so little;
        Together we can do so much"
        Helen Keller