Dialysis of saliva improves accuracy of saliva lithium determinations

Rif S. El-Mallakh, Mark Linder, Roland Vales, Stephen Looney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Saliva lithium (Li) determinations have been explored as a potential alternative to plasma levels. Unfortunately, this method has been shown to be unreliable. Saliva has two major components: the aqueous and the mucopolysaccharide portions. Methods: Since Li is likely to distribute only in the aqueous fraction, we dialyzed the saliva through a 3000 Da filter to isolate the aqueous component and determine the Li level in it. Results: Lithium levels in the dialyzed saliva agreed more closely with plasma levels (Spearman's rho = 0.901, p < 0.001) than did whole saliva (Spearman's rho = 0.775, p = 0.012). Conclusion: Dialysis of saliva may contribute to more accurate saliva Li levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-89
Number of pages3
JournalBipolar Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar
  • Lithium
  • Lithium levels
  • Manic-depression
  • Saliva

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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