A recent critical analysis of the pharmacoeconomics of long-term lithium prophylaxis showed that the benefits of such treatment clearly outweigh the costs.
In Germany, the prescription volume for lithium in 1991 amounted to at least 16 million defined daily doses. Treatment frequency in the German population was approximately 0.06%.
The yearly cost of long-term lithium treatment was estimated at Euro 444 per patient.
In 1991, lithium prophylaxis in the Federal Republic of Germany resulted in a savings in the gross national product of approximately Euro 113 million.
Long-term lithium prophylaxis can reduce suicide mortality, leading to a gain of approximately 3060 working years in the population under 65 years of age.
Given the impressive benefits of long-term lithium prophylaxis, it is unfortunate that many patients whose condition clearly warrants treatment are denied adequate prophylactic treatment with lithium.