Essay on Chemistry of the Drug Lithium

Write a 4 page essay on Chemistry of the Drug Lithium.

Lithium, as medically significant, is most commonly available as the carbonate or the citrate salt. These are used as drugs for various medical conditions, especially psychiatric disorders. Commercial synthesis of this drug requires addition of an electron to the poorly electronegative lithium ion (Li+). As a result, the synthesis requires an electrolytic step. The commercial ore spodumene, Li Al (SiO3)2 is widely used to produce this product. This is the α form. This is converted to β form by heating the ore to 1100 degrees centigrade. This renders the ore softer. Careful mixing with hot sulfuric acid and extraction in water generate a lithium sulfate (Li2SO4) solution. The sulfate is washed with sodium carbonate, Na2CO3. This results in a relatively stable precipitate of insoluble lithium carbonate, Li2CO3. The chemical reaction would be represented as Li2SO4 + Na2CO3 Na2SO4 +Li2CO3 Administered in this form, lithium in the body acts as a monovalent cation. This was used as a treatment for manic depressive psychosis despite its array of side effects since no other medications for this condition were available at that time.

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