2020 issue 2


Volume 36, issue 2

Case report

A severe course of the COVID-19 in a patient receiving prophylactically lithium

Karolina Gattner1, Janusz Rybakowski2
1. Centrum Psychiatryczne Szpitala HCP w Poznaniu
2. Klinika Psychiatrii Dorosłych, Uniwersytet Medyczny w Poznaniu
Farmakoterapia w Psychiatrii i Neurologii 2020, 36 (2), 143–148
Date of publication: 03-08-2020
DOI: https://doi.org/10.33450/fpn.2020.06.005
Keywords: SARS -CoV2, COVID-19, lithium, antiviral activity


Introduction. The SARS-CoV2 pandemic makes a challenge for patients with bipolar disorder receiving prophylactically lithium. There have been findings pointing to the antiviral effect of lithium which arouse suppositions that using the drug may prevent or attenuate the illness.

Case report. A 58-year old male patient, inhabitant of Lombardy, with bipolar disorder for more than 20 years, who have been receiving prophylactically lithium and valproate since 2010. In February 2020, became infected with COVID-19 disease, with a temperature of 40°C; chest pain, dyspnoea, and dry cough developed. SARS-CoV2 infection was confirmed by PCR test; chest imaging showed characteristic changes for the infection. He was treated with antibiotics, oxygen, fluids, and antipyretic drugs. Hyperpyrexia and respiratory problems persisted for 40 day; full recovery occurred after 7 weeks.

Comments. This case shows that also in patients on long-term lithium therapy, COVID-19 may run a severe course.

Address for correspondence:
Prof. dr hab. Janusz Rybakowski
Uniwersytet Medyczny w Poznaniu
Klinika Psychiatrii Dorosłych
ul. Szpitalna 27/33
60-572 Poznań, Poland