Innovative free app for safe lithium treatment
An innovative app has been created by the pharmacy services at South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust to help with the safe prescribing, administering and monitoring of lithium. It will be a free service focused on lithium medicine management, but it has scope to be adapted to a variety of other medicines.
Lithium is a drug that is used most commonly to treat bipolar disorder, and patients have to be closely monitored while on a course of lithium. Lithium blood levels must be checked every 3 months, kidney and thyroid function checked every six months and an annual health check must be carried out as well.
Research was carried out among patients and it showed that they wanted the option of recording all this information in an electronic format rather than in a book, which has been the recommended method by NICE.
The app was developed with the support of Bipolar UK members and will:
- Record lithium treatment and levels
- Set health check reminders using the calendar function
- Record health check results at recommended intervals
- Record mood and sleep using the diary function
- Email GP or specialist prescriber test results
- Store emergency information and contacts
- Have a learning section with Frequently Asked Questions, Dos and Don’ts and a section on side effects
The app is available for Android and Apple devices and it is completely free to use. It is password protected and helps to maintain the patient’s dignity, as the app is discreet and secure.