This study compares the incidence of a variety of cutaneous conditions among 91 patients treated with lithium carbonate with the incidence of such conditions among 44 patients treated with other non-neuroleptic, maintenance medications. Data on cutaneous conditions and allergies were obtained using structured interviews, demographic data, medication histories and personal and family histories.
A significantly greater proportion of the lithium-treated patients than the comparison patients reported a cutaneous condition which may have been secondary to treatment in that it developed for the first time after the medication or appeared to have been exacerbated by the medication. Among the lithium-treated patients, females were found to be significantly more likely to report a secondary cutaneous condition. This effect was found across the whole range of cutaneous conditions. Male lithium-treated patients on the other hand reported approximately the same rate of secondary cutaneous conditions as both male and female comparison patients. Possible reasons for this sexual effect on incidence are discussed.
The literature on cutaneous conditions which have been associated with lithium therapy is also reviewed.