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Lithium 101: Optimizing Treatment for Bipolar Disorder and Beyond


To increase the appropriate use of lithium, this 12-week learning collaborative will focus on educating healthcare providers on the appropriate prescribing and monitoring of lithium for the needs of patients with serious mental illness.  Lithium is the gold standard for the long-term treatment of bipolar disorder and proven efficacy in decreasing the risk for completed suicide.    

This collaborative is intended for clinicians who want to optimize lithium use for their patients.  Through this 12-week activity, participants will increase healthcare provider’s knowledge of lithium using the following steps: interactive education on the mechanism of action, dosing, including pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic details, drug interactions, adverse effects and monitoring, and use in special populations.  Additionally, the course will have detailed discussions regarding indications and guidelines for the use of lithium.   

By the end of the learning collaborative, participants will increase their knowledge of lithium, and may more effectively discuss with their patients the risks and benefits of its use.  Participants will have a broader knowledge base of the required monitoring, drug interactions, and practical use of lithium.    

Program Schedule  

The facilitated 12-week syllabus will be held from April 1 to June 30, 2023. No content will be released during the week of May 6, 2024.  

Please note you must complete all 7 modules in order to claim credit for this course.  


Module Content 

Module Opens 

Office Hour 


Prework: Welcome and Introduction  

Mar 25 



Indications, Guidelines, Mechanism of Action, and Comparison to Other Mood Stabilizers 

Apr 1 

Tuesday, April 9 at 4-5 pm ET 


Lithium’s Renal Adverse Effects and Management 

Apr 15 

Monday, April 22 at 4-5 pm ET 


Drug Interactions 

Apr 29 

Monday, May 13 at 4-5 pm ET 


Initiating Lithium, Dosing, and Monitoring 

May 20 

Tuesday, May 28 at 4-5 pm ET 


Lithium’s Nonrenal Adverse Effects and Management 

Jun 3 

Monday, June 10 at 4-5 pm ET 


Special Populations- Pregnancy, Elderly, and Discontinuing Lithium  

Jun 17 

Monday, June 24 at 4-5 pm ET 


Program Schedule/Syllabus Ends 

Jun 30 



FREE - $0 

Funding for SMI Adviser was made possible by Grant No. SM080818 from SAMHSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, SAMHSA/HHS or the U.S. Government. 

Learning Objectives  

  1. Identify patients who are appropriate candidates for the use of lithium. 
  2. Describe evidence-based strategies for managing adverse effects for patient taking lithium.  
  3. Outline considerations for special patient populations who are considered for treatment with lithium, including pregnant, elderly, and pediatric patients.  
  4. Develop an effective treatment plan to utilize lithium to improve the care for patients with serious mental illness.   

Target Audience 

Nurse/Nurse Practitioner, Pharmacist, Physician (Non-psychiatrist), Physician Assistant, Psychiatrist 

Instructional Level  


Estimated Time to Complete 

Estimated Duration: 18.0 hours 
Program Start Date: April 1, 2024 

Program End Date: June 30, 2024 

Credit Available Until: August 29, 2024 

Note: This course has a 12-week syllabus. Credit must be claimed within 60 days of the last session. 

How to Earn Credit 

Participants who wish to earn continuing medical education (CME) or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course including the program evaluation. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians) or certificate of participation (other professions) showing the date of completion and hours earned. 

Continuing Education Credit 

In support of improving patient care, the American Psychiatric Association is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.  


The APA designates this blended activity for a maximum of 18.0AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 


This curriculum has been approved for 18 contact hours (1.8 CEUs) by the American Psychiatric Association.  The American Psychiatric Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. The Universal Activity Number for this program is UAN: JA0000145-0000-24-005-H01-P. This learning activity is knowledge based. Your CE credits will be electronically submitted to the NABP upon successful completion of the activity. Pharmacists with questions can contact NABP customer service ( 

Faculty and Planner Disclosures 


  • Megan Ehret, PharmD, MS, BCPP, Professor in the Department of Practice, Sciences, and Health Outcomes Research (P-SHOR) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. Dr. Ehret has practiced at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital as their Behavioral Health Clinical Pharmacy Specialist. She has experience in treating the spectrum of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Additionally, she is a past President for American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (AAPP) and serves as the Senior Editor on the Psychiatric Pharmacotherapy Review Course. Dr. Ehret reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.   
  • Jonathan Meyer, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UC San Diego, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Meyer has teaching duties at UC San Diego and the Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego, and is a psychopharmacology consultant to the California Department of State Hospitals.  Dr. Meyer has lectured and published extensively on psychopharmacology. Along with Dr. Stephen Stahl he is co-author of the Clozapine Handbook published by Cambridge University Press in May 2019, and the recently published book The Clinical Use of Antipsychotic Plasma Levels released in September 2021 by Cambridge University Press. Dr. Meyer reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.   


  • Teri Brister, PhD, LPC, National Alliance on Mental Illness. Dr. Brister has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.  
  • John Torous, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Torous has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.  
  • Donna Rolin, PhD, APRN, University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Rolin has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.  
  • Megan Ehret, PharmD, BCPP, University of Maryland, Baltimore. Dr. Ehret has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.  

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities 

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s online resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.  

Availability: On-Demand
Access expires on 08/29/2024
Credit Offered:
18 CME Credits
18 Pharmacy CE Credits
18 COP Credits
Contains: 13 Courses
Funding for SMI Adviser was made possible by Grant No. SM080818 from SAMHSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, SAMHSA/HHS or the U.S. Government.
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