Pharmacy Services at South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust (SWLSTG) have developed an innovative app that will be available for free to help with the safe prescribing, administering and monitoring of lithium.

In the UK, Lithium Carbonate (often referred to as Lithium) is the medication most commonly used to treat bipolar disorder. For lithium to be effective, the dosage must be strictly administered, and patients need to have their lithium blood level checked every 3 months, their kidney and thyroid function checked every 6 months and attend a full annual health check with their healthcare provider.

Patients can only receive a supply of lithium from a hospital or community pharmacy if they can show evidence of an up to date blood level result.

Research by the Pharmacy team showed that patients wanted the option of recording this information in an electronic format, rather than a paper booklet, as was traditional. This led the team to develop a phone app with the mobile technology developer Incentivated - who had valuable previous experience and knowledge of the health sector.

Although the app is focused on lithium medicine management, the wider aim is to develop a framework which can be adapted for a broad range of medicines. Pharmacy Services are hoping this will aid patients and health teams administer and monitor additional medicines and be a useful tool for other healthcare Trusts with similar needs or for further development and enhancement.

The app was developed with the support of Bipolar UK members and will:

  • Record lithium treatment & 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 & contacts
  • Have a learning section with frequently asked questions, Dos and Don'ts and a section on side effect

source SWLST Mental Health Trust