Bipolar Disorder (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Medicines, when taken regularly as prescribed, can help control bipolar mood swings. Although your family doctor can prescribe medicines to treat bipolar disorder, you will probably be referred to a psychiatrist, who is trained specifically to treat mental disorders.
Mood stabilizers, such as lithium, are usually prescribed first to treat mania and to prevent the return of both manic and depressive episodes. You may need to take a mood stabilizer for several years, or even for the rest of your life, to manage the illness. Your doctor may prescribe additional medicines, typically antipsychotics, to better control your symptoms.
Your doctor will vary the amounts and combinations of your medicines according to your symptoms, which type of bipolar disorder you have (bipolar I or II, rapid-cycling, or bipolar with mixed symptoms), and how you respond to the medicines.
Several medicines are used to treat bipolar disorder. It may take time and several attempts at using different medicines to find the treatment that works best for you. The most common medicines used to treat bipolar disorder are:
What To Think About
Antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (for example, Prozac), are used very carefully to treat depression, because they can trigger a manic episode. Experts now recommend that antidepressants only be used for short periods of time during severe episodes of depression and that they be combined with mood stabilizers.10
If you are prescribed lithium carbonate, valproate, or carbamazepine, you will need regular blood tests to monitor the amount of medicine in your blood. Too much lithium in your bloodstream may lead to serious high lithium carbonate side effects. Your doctor may want you to have blood tests while you are on medicine, to check whether the medicine is affecting your liver, kidneys, and thyroid gland or to measure the number of blood cells in your body.
During your doctor's appointment, ask about:
Taking medicines during pregnancy for bipolar disorder may increase the risk of birth defects. If you are pregnant, or thinking of becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor. Medicines may need to be continued if your bipolar disorder is severe. Your doctor can help weigh the risks of treatment against the risk of harm to your pregnancy.
FDA Advisories. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued:
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Get tips on therapy and treatment.
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies