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A 63-year-old female asked:

have used lithium for 10+ years with constant edema of ankles. now have chronic venous deficiency. could lithium have caused this as long use.

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Nestor Del rosario
Addiction Medicine 34 years experience
Unlikely: Lithium causes problem with the balance of na and electrolytes through the kidney and , yes, can cause edema but mostly just electrolyte imbalances. I am not sure it can cause venous insufficiency on its own.
Dr. Leonard Lado
Psychiatry 32 years experience
Lithium and veins: Endothelial cells have the key function of participating in the maintenance of open and functional capillaries. Dysfunction of the vascular endothelium is thus a hallmark of human diseases such as peripheral vascular disease (rajendran 2013) however lithium alters the disposition and release of norepinephrine and, as a result, affects adrenergic neurotransmission(beaty 1981) may impair venous flow.

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I agree with the above with the caveat you discuss this plan with your internist or specialist. The reason by attempting to remove swelling of the foot you would want to make sure you are not overloading your heart or lungs.
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Last updated Nov 22, 2013

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