Lithium induced nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is a rare form of diabetes that is caused by the medication lithium.

Lithium induced nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is a rare form of diabetes that is caused by the medication lithium.

Diabetes insipidus occurs when the kidneys have no ability to control the amount of water in the urine. This in turn leads to repeated urinations and tremendous thirst especially for ice water. It is a condition that is not common and occurs when the kidneys are performing their usual duties of filtrating blood. The retaining of water in the kidneys is controlled by an antidiuretic hormone (ADH) called vasopressin. This hormone is produced in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus and controlled by the pituitary gland which is a very small gland located at the base of the brain.

When diabetes insipidus is caused by the failure of the kidneys to respond to antidiuretic hormone or ADH, it is known as nephrogenic diabetes insipidus and is often caused by a problem based usually with the kidneys. This can often occur because of a problem such as blockage in the urinary tract, high levels of calcium, or low levels of potassium and use of certain medications. One of the medications that can cause this is lithium and thus the name lithium induced nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is an extremely rare form of diabetes. When the cause of this form of diabetes insipidus is identified and corrected, the disease usually clears up. In the case of lithium induced nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, stopping the lithium medication should cause the problem to clear up. Then treatment is needed to restore water levels to normal amounts. Medications used to do this and to treat nephrogenic diabetes insipidus caused by other problems include anti-inflammatory medication indomethacin and diuretics such as amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ).

Diabetes insipidus can also be caused by damage or problems with the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus. Some of these problems can be infection, surgery, tumor, or head injury. This is called central diabetes insipidus because the area that manages the retaining of water is where the problem lies. Central diabetes insipidus is the most common type of diabetes insipidus. In treating central diabetes insipidus, the underlying cause must be treated such as removing the tumor or controlling the infection. Symptoms of central diabetes insipidus are usually controlled with vasopressin either as a nasal spray or oral tablets.

Complications of any type of diabetes insipidus can be caused by dehydration which causes dry skin, fever, weight loss and rapid heart beat. Another complication can be electrolyte imbalance which causes fatigue, irritability, headaches and muscle pains. If you develop any of the symptoms or complications that can be related to either type of diabetes insipidus, especially if you are currently on the medication lithium, you should meet with your primary care physician as quickly as possible.

There is currently no way to prevent diabetes insipidus but the prospects for correction when diagnosed is good when the underlying reason for this problem is identified and treated.

Lithium induced nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is a rare form of diabetes that is caused by the medication lithium.

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