‘Camcolit’ Lithium Carbonate, Europe, 1984

1984 in Europe
1x100 container of Camcolit-250 tablets (lithium carbonate) by

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1x100 container of Camcolit-250 tablets (lithium carbonate) by
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

1x100 container of Camcolit-250 tablets (lithium carbonate) by Norgine, expires 1988

‘Camcolit’ was the brand name under which this lithium carbonate medication was sold. It treated psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression), recurrent depression and self-harming behaviour. People with bipolar disorder undergo periods of deep depression and extreme emotional highs. Lithium carbonate acts as a mood stabiliser. It blocks certain chemical reactions in the brain. This leads to a more level emotional state.

The medicinal properties of this drug have been known for well over 100 years. It formed the active ingredient in some soft drinks in the early 1900s. It was prescribed for ailments including epilepsy, gout and cancer. Australian psychiatrist John Cade (1912-80) conducted experiments on rats in 1948 to assess lithium’s mood stabilising capabilities. Cade tested the drug on himself and then on a manic depressive patient. The patient was so improved after four months he left the psychiatric hospital and returned to his former occupation.


Materia Medica & Pharmacology
Object Number:
overall: 86 mm x 42 mm, .04kg
drug and lithium carbonate
Donated by A M Christopher