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Br Med J. 1973 April 21; 2(5859): 135–136.
PMCID: PMC1589265

Lithium and Pregnancy—I, Report from the Register of Lithium Babies


We have collected information about 118 children born to mothers who were given lithium treatment during the first trimester of pregnancy. The data show that the risk of teratogenic effects is lower than one might have expected from some of the studies carried out on rats and mice; they do not answer the question of whether or not lithium is teratogenic in man. The data were collected retrospectively and therefore overestimate rather than underestimate the risk of teratogenicity.

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Selected References

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  • Aoki FY, Ruedy JR. Lithium intoxication. Can Med Assoc J. 1972 Jan 22;106(2):112–112. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Baastrup PC, Schou M. Lithium as a prophylactic agents. Its effect against recurrent depressions and manic-depressive psychosis. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967 Feb;16(2):162–172. [PubMed]
  • BASS AD, YNTEMA CL, HAMMOND WS, FRAZER ML. Studies on the mechanism by which sulfadiazine affects the survival of the mammalian embryo. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1951 Apr;101(4):362–367. [PubMed]
  • Gralla EJ, McIlhenny HM. Studies in pregnant rats, rabbits and monkeys with lithium carbonate. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1972 Mar;21(3):428–433. [PubMed]
  • Johansen KT. Lithium teratogenicity. Lancet. 1971 May 15;1(7707):1026–1027. [PubMed]
  • Lewis WH, Suris OR. Treatment with lithium carbonate. Results in 35 cases. Tex Med. 1970 Dec;66(12):58–63. [PubMed]
  • SCHOU M. Biology and pharmacology of the lithium ion. Pharmacol Rev. 1957 Mar;9(1):17–58. [PubMed]
  • Schou M, Baastrup PC. Lithium treatment of manic-depressive disorder. Dosage and control. JAMA. 1967 Aug 28;201(9):696–698. [PubMed]
  • Szabo KT. Teratogenic effect of lithium carbonate in the foetal mouse. Nature. 1970 Jan 3;225(5227):73–75. [PubMed]
  • TRAUTNER EM, PENNYCUIK PR, MORRIS RJ, GERSHON S, SHANKLY KH. The effects of prolonged sub-toxic lithium ingestion on pregnancy in rats. Aust J Exp Biol Med Sci. 1958 Aug;36(4):305–321. [PubMed]
  • Vacaflor L, Lehmann HE, Ban TA. Side effects and teratogenicity of lithium carbonate treatment. J Clin Pharmacol J New Drugs. 1970 Nov-Dec;10(6):387–389. [PubMed]

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