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Home-Based Lithium Level Testing for Bipolar Patients

NAMHC Concept Clearance


William Riley, Ph.D.
Health and Behavior Research Branch
Division of AIDS and Health & Behavior Research


The goal of this initiative will be to assess the feasibility of a home-based lithium level test.


Although a number of pharmaceutical treatments exist for bipolar disorder (BD), lithium remains the treatment of choice for long-term management of BD. Lithium is both an effective and commonly used treatment for BD, particularly generic lithium for individuals with limited financial resources. Management of patients on lithium, however, is complicated by a narrow therapeutic range (0.6 to 1.2 mmol/L) with inappropriate levels resulting in poor symptom control or lithium toxicity. Improved lithium level monitoring could result in better clinical management and increased adherence to treatment. Recently, a reliable office-based method for obtaining lithium levels was developed and received FDA approval, indicating that lithium levels can be obtained routinely and relatively inexpensively. As chronic disease self-management models evolve, there is an increasing need to provide patients with the tools to monitor and manage their care. A home-based lithium test would provide BD patients with the tools to monitor their lithium levels on a regular basis and adjust treatment accordingly as directed by their health professional, similar to the model of treatment for Type I diabetes. The goal of this Phase I SBIR contract solicitation will be to encourage small businesses to assess the feasibility of a home-based lithium test. If successful, Phase II SBIR funding could be used to develop and evaluate a home-based system, including optional functionality, such as remote, real-time monitoring of lithium levels by the health professional.


1. Glazer, W. M., Sonnenberg, J. G., Reinstein, M. D., & Akers, R. F. A novel, point-of-care test for lithium levels: Description and reliability. J Clin Psychiatry. 2004 65, 652-655. PMID: 15163250

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