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Old 04-15-10, 12:05 PM   #1
artimus
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Lithium and Cycling

Hi there,

As the weather warms up more day by day, I worry more and more about the combination of the two. I started using it in the off-season, and now worry about a toxic reaction out in the middle of nowhere. My doc is CLUELESS when it comes to the combination of the two (I guess that all his patients live very inactive lives).I'm looking for real life experience from other BFer's that have to use this drug. Tips and hints that I'm looking for are more based on heat/time/hydration.

Due to the sensitive nature of this issue, please feel free to PM me if you wish.

Thanx!!
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Old 04-15-10, 12:32 PM   #2
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Have you already checked the basic drug information available online or from your pharmacy? Such as http://www.drugs.com/lithium.html
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Old 04-15-10, 12:44 PM   #3
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This is about as good as it gets (from the site you linked).

"Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough."


More info: 44yrs/210 lbs
Riding: 35m/1.75 hrs
Temps: 60 F

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Old 04-15-10, 12:55 PM   #4
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On top of coordinating with your dr, have you thought about a med alert bracelet? If something happened it would allow the 1st responders to know how to better deal with the situation.
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Old 04-15-10, 01:09 PM   #5
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Talk to pharmacist - check
medic alert - check

Great ideas, thanks
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Old 04-15-10, 02:42 PM   #6
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Glad you got your answer. For what it's worth, I worked with a friend who was taking lithium. Hard labor, and sometimes in very high heat. It was a coal fired power plant, and personal discomfort was secondary to the cost of downtime. He didn't seem to have any problems, though it wasn't something we sat around and discussed. That's just one anecdote, of course.
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Old 04-15-10, 06:33 PM   #7
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Any first hand experience?
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Old 04-15-10, 06:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nermal View Post
Glad you got your answer. For what it's worth, I worked with a friend who was taking lithium. Hard labor, and sometimes in very high heat. It was a coal fired power plant, and personal discomfort was secondary to the cost of downtime. He didn't seem to have any problems, though it wasn't something we sat around and discussed. That's just one anecdote, of course.
I've worked in steam plants. Believe it or not, they're not as hot as you'd think. They're not cool by any stretch of the imagination, but they're not as hot as riding 50 miles in an 85F sun. At least not the ones I worked in. Because in my experience most of the time I spent in the plant was standing around quite a few minutes waiting for my next 30 seconds of strenuous exertion. And we almost always stood right under a large air vent blasting cool (OK, not-quite-as-hot) air on us.

Given the warnings regarding overheating and dehydration, I have to think the OP is being properly cautious.
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Old 04-15-10, 07:38 PM   #9
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My autistic son was on lithium for several years. He didn't ride a bike but walked everywhere, regardless of the weather and temperature. His doctor didn't have any concerns about the combination of temperature and meds. And my son never had any problems.
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Old 04-16-10, 01:53 AM   #10
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I've worked in steam plants. Believe it or not, they're not as hot as you'd think.
APS Four Corners Power Plant, Fruitland, NM for over 6 years as journeyman machinist. How hot depends on where you are, and when. I've built scaffolding on a live turbine, with softeners on the combined reheat valve. Come back from break, and the 2 X 6 was on fire. That was one of the hotter days. Since that grid does overhauls in the winter, there were people close to hypothermia on the same day on the scrubber deck.

As I mentioned, I was relating an anecdote, and only one.
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Old 04-16-10, 07:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by artimus View Post
Talk to pharmacist - check
medic alert - check

Great ideas, thanks
+1. My day job is working in a hospital pharmacy as a tech. (By night, I become Bicycle Repairman!) Can't advise, can't prescribe, I just make sure the right stuff gets to the right place.

Here's a more technical article: http://www.medicinenet.com/lithium/article.htm , with a list of drug interactions. I skimmed it, but I didn't see anything prohibiting cycling while on lithium. You have to stay hydrated to avoid driving the serum lithium levels too high (with associated side effects), but dehydration is a bad thing in anyone.

+1 on the Medic Alert, too.
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Old 04-18-10, 07:33 AM   #12
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Thank you all for your contributions. I guess that the plan for this summer is going to be:
1) talk to my pharmacist
2) medic alert
3) $$$ and cell phone if I'm in the middle of nowhere
4) extra water (camel back EWWW, bottles in jersey, or a saddle tri bottle holder)
5) take it easy

This sucks though. (known to me already), the fact that I can't use IBUPROFEN!!
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Old 04-18-10, 09:56 PM   #13
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I don't take lithium, but I work on a psych unit. I am by no means a medical doctor. Mainly , I've seen people get in trouble with lithium when, as a result of their mental illness, they either drink WAY too much water or become quite dehydrated. Years ago we advised people on lithium to eat more salt on their food--but not to go overboard with it. I don't hear about the salt advice so much any more, but I don't know why that is.

You might want to gradually increase your exercise and see how it affects you. Watch for the warning signs of toxicity like tremors, confusion, etc. Have your lithium level and sodium level (blood tests) checked after a period of daily exercise in warm weather and see if they have changed any. If you are adversely affected, you might want to ask your doctor about switching to a different mood stabilizer.

It can be a problem for all of us with chronic health issues (mental or physical) to find a doctor who will understand the importance of sports and strenuous exercise in our lives, although I think they are getting a little better about this.
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