Kidney Stones & Antidepressants
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Q:  Kidney Stones & Antidepressants

Dear Dr. Phelps,

My husband was diagnosed in December 2001 with BiPolar II Disorder by an extremely competent and compassionate therapist who prescribed a combination of Zoloft and Trileptal.  We've been very lucky that this combination works wonderfully well and most of his BP II symptoms have been drastically alleviated.  However, in Aril 2003 my husband needed a lithotripsy for kidney stones that he developed.  To our astonishment, after analysis it was determined that the kidney stones were approximately one year old.  The only lifestyle change during that time was, of course the introduction of the medication.  Which finally leads me to my question:

Dr. Phelps, have you seen any statistics/studies (or whatever) that pertain to antidepressant medications dractically changing bodily pH?  (pH imbalance is one of the primary causes of kidney stones)  Further, how about any studies that make the correlation between a lowered veinous blood pH (acidosis) and thyroid malfunction  that could additionally correlate to Metabolic Disorder and hence BiPolar II?

Dear Ms. E'
With apologies for the shortness of my reply, as I just lost about an hour of work and got that nice little message from Microsoft: "sorry for any inconvenience"...

There is a connection between lithium and stones, and certainly between topiramate, sometimes used in bipolar disorder, and stones; but not, in any of my quick searches just now, between Zoloft or other antidepressants, or Trileptal, and stones.  Trileptal does lower sodium levels in most patients, though; so as you're researching this, ask a urologist if he/she has ever heard of mild "hyponatremia" (low sodium in the blood) associated with stone formation somehow.  I couldn't find a connection on a brief search there either. 

Dr. Phelps

Published July, 2003


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