Janusz Rybakowski: Lithium The Amazing Drug in Psychiatry 


Samuel Gershon’s comments



        Dr. Rybakowski is a professor of Psychiatry at the University of Poznan in Poland.

        There has been a regular trickle of books on the many different aspects of this  topic over the  past 50 years. They have approached the topic from different aspects and points of view.       

        This book by Rybakowski is a very well constructed and organized volume especially valuable to educate readers about the main aspects of this valuable therapeutic agent. It is a paper back of 196 pages that manages to include a very comprehensive picture of the history of the initial studies on lithium and considerable discussion of the diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorders with lithium, as well as a very thorough evaluation of other possible medications. He begins with a discussion of the history of the diagnosis and  its formulations by Kraepelin and others since then.

        He then comes to the 1949 paper by John Cade which presents his small  clinical trial and Cade’s conclusion of the efficacy of lithium for the treatment of manic excitement. Rybakowski was a colleague of Mogens  Schou and was an important participant with Schou in the presentation of the important clinical properties of lithium in these disorders

       He then moves on to a current discussion of affective disorders and  the therapeutic possibilities of the available agents. He also offers an important chapter for clinicians on initiating the use and monitoring of lithium therapy and follows through with several chapters on the unique properties of lithium therapy. Each of these chapters look at some unique properties of lithium that have been reported by other researchers

      In summary, I would propose this book as an excellent resource  for updating information for experienced users of lithium as well as an excellent educational introduction for its optimal usage.


January 21, 2021