Session 10 - Plasma levels of mood stabilizers  pp. 126-129

Plasma levels of mood stabilizers

By Francesc Colom, Eduard Vieta and Jan Scott

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The objective of this session is for the patient to understand the need for periodic tests in order to determine serum levels. Many patients do not do these serum determinations regularly, either because they forget, because they do not understand their importance or because they are afraid of needles. Others, on the contrary, overestimate the need/usefulness of these tests and give them diagnostic or prognostic value concerning the evolution of their disorder. This tenth session is intended to focus on and stress the importance of serum determinations of mood stabilizers.


  • As usual, the session starts with the presentation of two life charts.
  • After these presentations, we may start asking our patients how many of them take lithium, valproate, and carbamazepine and how many of them have had a lithium, valproate, or carbamazepine plasma concentration taken in the last half year. If the number does not match, we will ask why some of them did not have the test. Later we can ask whether they know why they must have regular determinations of their levels of mood stabilizers and we will review the homework.
  • We will present the material of the session and will open the round of questions and the discussion.
  • We will deliver the material and the assignment and will end the session.