What medication's are there for bipolar?

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  1. profile image0
    lostwithinmyselfposted 12 years ago

    Im wondering what medication people take for bipolar, as i have tried many medications with bad side afffects or they do not work. So wondering if there is any i have not tried?

    1. GoGreenTips profile image61
      GoGreenTipsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Been diagnosed with bi-polar for close to twenty years, tried lithium hated it. Then for a number of years tried life without meds. Didn't work to well. I'm now taking Depakote and Wellbutrin. At the advice of my Dr. , added fish oil couple years ago and it did seem to help stabilize my moods. Pretty sure it wouldn't do the trick by itself, but in conjunction with the others, it did help.

      Really hope things go well for you and I think if you research most of us with bi-polar go through the same period of finding the right combination, I know I did.
      Good Luck!

  2. billzb profile image60
    billzbposted 12 years ago

    Lithium is the medication used most often to treat bipolar disorder. This medication evens out mood swings. It is used not only for manic attacks or flare-ups of the illness, but also as an ongoing maintenance treatment for bipolar disorder. Lithium will usually reduce severe manic symptoms in one to two weeks. It may take weeks to several months before the condition is fully controlled.

    1. profile image0
      lostwithinmyselfposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I heard about lituim but my worry is about hair lose. I tried dapokate in jan for about 3 months and noticed my hair falling out so i rufued to take any more of them. I was then put on lamictal i was on this for about 3 months and the hair lose was dreadful it was coming out in handfuls and my hair is thin enough but this made me feel terrible and my anxiety was so bad and i refused to take it, and now my psyciatrist is talking about litium but i looked it up and that cause's hair lose to and i have only just started getting my hair back to normal but my moods are cycling again and finding it hard to get through the day..

      1. catsimmons profile image67
        catsimmonsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Maybe there is something else that is contributing to increasing hair loss in your case...
        You might find this link useful:
        http://www.womenshairlossproject.com/ha … hair-loss/

      2. schoolgirlforreal profile image81
        schoolgirlforrealposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I don't like Lithium either but I've taken it for 19yrs. Recently thou I found out about Lamictal.

        messes up the liver and gave me constant diareeah. And a dry mouth.
        Lamictal: has no side effects I know of except in the beginning you can get a rash. And it has no weight gain. Try it, it's changed my life.

        1. profile image0
          lostwithinmyselfposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          I won't go back on lamictal again, i researched it and found so many people that had lost hair over it. My hair is slowly starting to feel like hair again so i am not going to try any medication for my bipolar as i can't hack the side affects to be honest. It makes me worse mentally. Im glad you have found something that works for you though smile x

          1. Jlbowden profile image87
            Jlbowdenposted 12 years agoin reply to this


            You know I believe that in a most recent post to your forum question to this subject, MikeNV, did answer your question and gave you some great feedback. In fact I have to agree with Mike also. However if you you do need to take any medications for Bipolar disorder, Depakote, even though an older drug is quite effective given along with Klonopin, a benzodiazepine clas drug, to control some associated anxiety. Depakote does tend to make you gain weight, but so do a lot of other drugs and/or chemical substances. Lithium has some awful side-effects and I do not recommend this drug to anyone. I have a few friends that have this disorder. They take a variety of drugs for their Bipolar depression. The following is a list of a few of these medications, however in terms of efficacy and side-effect profile, I would not recommend them even if I was an MD. Hope this helps you out.

            Abilify-As mentioned this drug is very expensive and has way too many side-effects in my opionion. It also acts more like a booster to an existing antidepressant med that you may already be on.

            Seroquel XR

            Wellbutrin XL



            Lamictal-In my opinion this drug does not work at all according to feedback, I have had from people I knew on this drug.

            These are some of the popular ones and hope I have helped answer some of your questions about meds for Bipolar disorder.  Once again Mike has hit the nail on the head.  I hope you feel better and do get the assistance you need with you illness.  The best to you!


            1. profile image0
              lostwithinmyselfposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              Thanks for your reply, I have tried Seroquel and had bad reactions from the minute i took it, I had to take it and go straight to bed and the slightest move and i would feel sick and dizzy which made me more anxious. At the minute im not taking anything other then matazapine which is only an anti-depressant. I was on a manic for weeks and decorated every room in my house nearly but now im on a low again and hating it. I just feel every medication i have took either does not work or has bad side affects *sigh*. My poor psychiatrist does't know what to do with me but keeps on about lithium and i keep refusing due to having hair loss with the lamictal and dapakote. I can't win to be honest!! x

            2. schoolgirlforreal profile image81
              schoolgirlforrealposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              In reply to your drug accessment, I just wanted to comment that every bipolar person is uniques and needs a "cocktail" blend to assist their needs. In my case Lamictal has changed my life! I agree Lithium sucks and this is why I got it replaced with Lamictal. Lithium causes liver damage, dry mouth, diareeah, etc.

              well, lostwithinmyself, you should just read the big book of Pills, or look up side effects online before yout try anything, everyone should. If I had known this when I was 16, I would have tried to argue this for myself. But young adults and even children have not much say sadly, like children put on ritalin......nuff said. Doctors often overmedicate.

          2. schoolgirlforreal profile image81
            schoolgirlforrealposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Wow, that's weird about the hair loss. I haven't experienced it .. hope you find something that  works

        2. profile image58
          Liasis1posted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Lamictal can cause a life-threatening condition called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. I've had it, & it's unpleasant.
          A little (hah!) background on myself; I'm 59 yrs old & in 2002 I was dxd bipolar 1. Dr put me on lexapro & seroquel, along with klonopin. I did well on that for a year, then my Pdoc moved & I had to find a new one.
          My new Pdoc was highly recommended so I trusted him. He said he didn't like to use antidepressants & put me on lamictal, leaving me on the seroquel & Valium. This was late Feb. By mid-March I was getting low-grade fevers along with horrid scrunchy shuddery shivers. I mentioned it to Pdoc, who said it was probably an infection I was fighting off. By May my fevers were up to 104-105, nearly every day. I was delirious most of the time.
          I quit the lamictal & my fevers continued, going even higher. Finally, one night I woke up naked in the ER with no idea where I was or how I got there, with all my kids around me. Found out later my husband came home from work & found me just burning up, he said I ws talking but not real words. He said it was like i was speaking in tounges (i honestly dont remember) He made to put me in a cold bath, said I screamed in pain when he touched me. He called 911 & they got me to hospital where all sorts of unpleasant things were done to me, including a lumbar puncture, dantrolene in 1/4 liter syringes being injected into both arms as rapidly as possible...they couldn't find anything wrong with me. No infections, nothing. After 2 days in ICU they sent me home, where the fevers continued.
          3 weeks later I woke up in the ER again, naked under an ice blanket. They said my temp had gone over 109 dg F but they couldn't tell how high cause their thermometers couldn't read higher. Another lumbar puncture, more dantrolene...I was so out of it that when they told me they were taking me down for a picture (CAT scan) I expected them to load me in an ambulance, take me to downtown Nashville police headquarters for mug shots. In the machine I was wondering if I should smile for the camera, which I decided to do. (shows just what a high enough fever can do to your brain)
          After another day in ICU the doctor came in & told me I'd had Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome & took me off all psych meds. it took several weeks to get back to normal, the fevers had destroyed my body, no more cellulite or fat, even flesh was gone.
          In Jan. my Pdoc started me back on a low dose of Seroquel (I'd tried lithium which made me horribly sick), & the fevers started back up, tho not nearly so high. I felt safe as long as it didnt go over 101deg F. In Sept I went to my PCP for a wellness exam & started a febrile episode right there in the office. In less than 10 minutes my temp shot up from normal to 101.5 & kept going. I was shaking & shivering so bad! My dr admitted me to the hospital immediately, which saved my life. My heart rate was 179 BPM, they stopped it 3x to try & slow it down. I was in hospital 3 days, my dr said stay away from Seroquel; in fact I cannot take any atypicals or drugs that have that little disclaimer about high fever, stiff muscles, delirium, etc.
          So what does all this have to do with Lamictal? My Pdoc believes that was the trigger. He later put me on a low dose of Lamictal, I started getting fevers & itchy rash all over my body. I was sobbing from the itching & my skin was literally sloughing off. It peeled off like sunburn, & the only time I felt any comfort was in the bath. I lived in the tub for days while getting the lamictal out of my system. (that was a MILD episode of Stevens-Johnson, because I didn't take it long)
          Because of the fevers, parts of my brain are permanently damaged (the ER doc bluntly told me he was truly surprised I wasn't dead, even more so because I can still walk & talk & think). I cannot go out in the sun; even a short exposure causes my skin to burn & peel. I'm of Italian descent & never had a sunburn in my life. Another reason I can't go out in warm weather is cause my brain can no longer regulate my temp. I have to self thermoregulate, like a reptile.
          Meanwhile, my bipolar is untreated exept for Valium & Neurontin, which I take for fibromyalgia.
          I'm sorry this is so long, but I'm hoping my story will help someone and maybe answer questions people may not have known to ask.
          It's a true miracle I was able to survive such a lengthy period of such high fevers, & my husband has been wonderful about taking care of me when I couldnt do it. Even after I screamed & cussed at him in the ER when my veins were collapsed & they couldn't put an IV in & were stabbing my neck!
          Life's a trip, isn't it?

  3. princess g profile image60
    princess gposted 12 years ago

    I use Abilify right now. I've heard this is one of the better ones, but it costs a fortune. 600 a month. I get it free directly from the company.

    I haven't had too many bad side effects. At first it made me really tired, then really restless, but both those went away. Then it made me depressed, so I started taking Celexa.

    1. profile image0
      lostwithinmyselfposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I have never heard of that one.. I will have to look it up and ask my psyciatrist about it. I would't mind the tiredness. Do you find it helps now though?? what's Celexia??

    2. profile image0
      lostwithinmyselfposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Oh celexia is citralopram?? I was given this also and it can cause hair lose along with the other one you take and at the moment im scared to take any thing that may cuase my hair to fall out as its thin enough as it is sad .. i just can't win at the monent!

      1. princess g profile image60
        princess gposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I hate celexa. It helps minimally, and makes me sleep all day. I don't thionk there are any psych meds that don't have some sort of bad side effects.

        1. princess g profile image60
          princess gposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          The celexa's just for depression, I still take the Abilify for bipolar (it's a mood regulator, and an anti-psychotic)

          1. profile image0
            lostwithinmyselfposted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Yeah i took one of the celexa and i was like a zombie i just sat there and could't move in the end i had to go to bed as i could't keep my eyes open any longer lol. I would't mind taking the med's if i did't have the hair lose i can cope with other side affects like weight gain and being tired its just the hair loss is a big thing for me and most medications for bipolar cause hair loss. I think my psyciatrist is giving up hope for me as she has tried me on so many things lol

            1. princess g profile image60
              princess gposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              I've never had a hair loss problem, maybe I'm lucky. Have you tried abilify yet?

              1. profile image0
                lostwithinmyselfposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                I am not sure if it was made worse by another medication i was taking for acne but i have stopped that too so only on matazapine and diazipam. no i havant, im wondering weather to give it a go? Argh *pulls hair* lol

  4. Audra Johnson profile image58
    Audra Johnsonposted 12 years ago

    There are a tons of medications for bipolar-generally called mood stabalizers. Sometimes doctors will use antidepressants with mood stabilizers, as well as some "anti-psychotics". There are concerns that antidepressants alone can cause a manic episode in individuals with bipolar, thus care should be taken when given to an individual with bipolar. As you have noticed many mood stabilizers have negative side effects, thus you will probably go through a number of trial and errors before you find the appropriate drug and dosage that is right for you, and price is also a factor. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor these questions as well, or a pharmacist. As someone mentioned, lithium is a tried and true remedy for bipolar, especially type 1 bipolar. I was on it, and it helped level out my moods, and it was very cheap. However it caused severe weight loss and acne which made me very depressed so I asked for something else. I have also been on abilify and depakote which didn't help. Right now I take effexor (which is an antidepressant) and lamictal and topomax which are considered mood stabilizers. Hope this helps.

    1. Urbane Chaos profile image91
      Urbane Chaosposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I once knew a girl that was on lithium, but it didn't help her a bit.  She switched over to Seroquel and it did wonders.  You're right, it's all about trial and error.  Things work differently for different people.

  5. IntimatEvolution profile image71
    IntimatEvolutionposted 12 years ago

    Isn't clozapam(could be misspelled) a drug to treat bipolar disorder?

    1. catsimmons profile image67
      catsimmonsposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Clonazepam can be used to treat the acute mania of bipolar disorder but not as a long term therapy.  This drug is usually used for epilepsy, anxiety and panic disorder.

  6. cathylynn99 profile image73
    cathylynn99posted 12 years ago

    one mood stabilizer i haven't seen mentioned here is tegretol.

    1. cathylynn99 profile image73
      cathylynn99posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      i checked a reference (medscape) and hair loss is not a side effect of tegretol (carbamazepine). however, periodic blood tests must be done to check the liver and  blood count.

  7. Nerak2Karen profile image61
    Nerak2Karenposted 12 years ago

    I use to take Depakote, Wellbutrun and abilfy but that didn't work for me. I had a bad reaction to Abilify. I currently take Lamictal, Seroquel and Temezapam.

    Lamictal is weight neutral. They say Seroquel makes you gain weight but I haven't had that effect. In the beginning it made me feel drowsy and unbalanced but can I tolerate it now. So far this combination works.

    I wish you well and hope you can find relief soon. I have been there and understand how you feel.

  8. Sue B. profile image92
    Sue B.posted 12 years ago

    If you are looking for something you haven't tried, you may want to consider contacting a wholistic doctor and a nutritionist that has treated bipolar nutritionally.  Of course, you should always tell your MDs what you are doing.  Although many believe this cures bipolar completely, my take is that is complementary.  It is amazing how much we can do by changing what we take in.  Which does make sense when you think about it-- look at the tiny pills we take that are so powerful and do such much then look at the volume of food we are putting into our bodies. It makes sense that some of that food is benefiting us and some of that food could harm us.
    There is some research (not enough) that shows many issues such as allergies, eczema, ADHD, depression, bipolar- even schizophrenia and autism either originate or are greatly affected by the digestive system. I thought this sounded bizarre until I read about where this theory came from and how many toxins can enter our bodies through our gut.  There do seem to be practitioners all over the globe focused on gut health.  They treat the gut first before anything else and would see bipolar as a symptom of the gut issue (IBS, constipation, leaky gut, etc.)
    I think its worth a shot if you feel like you've tried everything and nothing seems to work.
    Good luck to you!

    1. Sue B. profile image92
      Sue B.posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Oh yeah- this is the book I read
      Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia [Paperback]
      Natasha Campbell-McBride (Author)
      It's available on Amazon if you want to check out reviews, etc. I wasn't sure if I was allowed to post the link or not.

      1. Mighty Mom profile image78
        Mighty Momposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Yes, links to outside resources are fine, helpful and encouraged.
        The "no-no" is linking to your own hub on the topic.

        Everyone's brain and bipolar symptoms are a little different, so what works for one may be the exact opposite of what works for another.
        You also don't mention what type of Bipolar you have. Sounds like mania is the dominant problem.
        It's the psychiatrist's job to know ALL of the available mood stabilizer options and to keep remixing the ingredients of your brain cocktail.
        Don't know exactly which combos s/he has tried.
        Don't forget, too, that dosages can be changed up or down as well.
        You may find a lower dose of something levels out your mood swings without the hair loss.

        Wholeheartedly agree it's worth a try to get an acupuncturist/herbalist/nutritionist's opinion. As stated above, diet is often a big culprit in our ills, even when our ills are not directly tummy related!
        Good luck to you.

  9. MikeNV profile image67
    MikeNVposted 12 years ago

    Ask your Doctor what VERIFIABLE MEDICAL test is used to diagnose Bi Polar.

    Then look it up for yourself in the DSM IV

    It's a diagnosis that is purely subjective.

    So how can you treat a "Disease" that is essentially made up?

    Think about that.  If there is no way to medically verify a chemical deficiency as a cause for a disease how can you treat the "deficiency" chemically?

    Keep dumping chemicals on your brain and magically you will be "fixed".

    People accept what Doctors say because they are Doctors.  But the reality is the Psychiatric Profession has to make up names for conditions and diagnose conditions based purely on subjective behaviors because there is NO VERIFIABLE MEDICAL TEST.

    This is not to say there is no medical illness... there is just no chemical way to FIX a Medical Illness with Chemicals.

    Again if you do not believe that Ask your Doctor for a Verifiable Medical Test.

    There is no MRI, No CT Scan, No Bloodwork, nothing!

    So you may as well self diagnose and take herbs because you will be accomplishing the same thing with much less risk.  At least the body knows what herbs are... drugs made in labs are foreign to the body.

    If you want to dumb yourself down so you don't have to think about anything you might as well smoke pot.  At least you won't kill yourself or destroy your liver.

    1. tsmog profile image84
      tsmogposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Although I see truth in some of what you say MikeNV, I have to disagree with the intent of your post. They weren't able to verify a leg was broken except the obvious e.g. compound fracture until x-ray and MRI, yet they did make this diagnosis based on symptomatology for quite a while. Taking a gander at UCSD where their research has uncovered some amazing findings http://www.bipolar.ucsd.edu we may discover the nucleus for what you  have alluded to - no definitive test other than symptomatology.

      I take meds. Trial and error, for 'self' over 25 years dictates this being the most successful. However that said, I am a practitioner of complimentary alternative medicine as well (CAM) http://nccam.nih.gov But, which will be shared in hubs latter, I keep a detailed mood/med/life chart. I found a psychiatrist who is well versed in meds for BP disorder. I have a great therapist and a fantastic CAM nutritionist and other CAM practitioners. And, NO it is not cost prohibitive.

      One of the important component is what you are suggesting from the big picture - I am my team leader. I do not own this disorder, but I have this diagnosis. This is much longer than I intended. I will close with a strong recommendation to fellow BP'ers is to read Kay Redfield Jamison's works (look her up on the web), subscribe to BP Magazine, and give some long thought to any medical recommendations.

  10. Escobana profile image77
    Escobanaposted 12 years ago

    Hi Lostwithinmyelf,

    After reading all the answers...I guess you're looking for something that doesn't exist. Any medication to treat Bipolar Disorder has side effects you won't like.

    I know about the hairloss, and the feeling of getting very sleepy with Seroquel. I know about gaining weight with Lithium and Risperdal and I have to go and get my blood tested twice a year with Carbamazepine.

    No meds means no life worth living with Bipolar Disorder. In your case I would start talking with your psychiatrist about the best possible medication with side effects you're willing to accept.

    I don't want to get fat, so I banned Lithium after three years. Now I have thin hair because of Seroquel, I only have to go to the hospital twice a year to check out my blood instead of every month with Lithium and I am slim, happy and stable.

    There's no such thing as being absolutely satisfied with heavy medication, since it has unpleasant side effects always. It's for you to decide, which side effects are worth living with, next to staying stable and getting a chance to build yourself a wonderful life.

    Accepting Bipolar Disorder isn't easy, just as it isn't easy to accept medication. I wish for you to find the strenght within....to make some hard decisions. Good luck...

  11. profile image0
    Mz Andreaposted 12 years ago

    Any Dr will tell you that everyone reacts differently to the different medicines and there are so many different classes of medicines. I was diagnosed when I was 15 and I'm now 23 and over the years I have been on medicines for several years and then all of a sudden they would stop working and just about all of them have side effects. The main side effect that has bothered me was sweating. Then if you find a medicine that doesn't cause a side effect then it usually doesn't help your disorder. So you have to chose your battles sometimes.

  12. Disturbia profile image60
    Disturbiaposted 12 years ago

    Not meaning any disrespect, but you seem more concerned about your hair loss than treating your condition.

    1. profile image0
      lostwithinmyselfposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Tbh I am because I have issues with self image as it is, I suffer with adult acne and had to come off medication for it because my psychiatrist said they could of been causing it to but I hate the way I look as it is and having anxiety issues with a mixture of hair loss made me more mentally unwell. I went years without medication so since being on meds I have put on weight which is barable ATM because I lost 2st by doing ww diet but having hair loss makes me panic even more which sets off other things and makes me worse. I'm lucky I have a good psychiatrist who understands and helps me as much as she can as she knows little things like hair loss will just make me worse. ATM I'm not taking anything for my bipolar apart from matazapine so now I'm just taking each day as it comes. Yes I do worry more about my self image but that comes from bad experiences in the past from other people x

      1. Disturbia profile image60
        Disturbiaposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I completely get you.  I spent my formative years being the foureyed, redheaded, freckled, lefthanded, hyperactive, misfit who lost her only parent at 11 and got thrown into the lion's den of the foster care system because I had no blood relation that wanted me.  I was sexually assulted in a foster home, ran away at 16 and lived on the streets until I managed to attract the attention of an elderly gentleman (my first husband in fact) who was completely blown away by my most hated feature, my blazing, flaming red hair.  At 29 I was diagnosed with non-hodgkin's lymphoma and although I managed to survive the cancer, I have heart valve damage from the chemo (talk about hairloss) which has meant a life long regimen of several medications, all of which cause hairloss (lucky for me redheads seem to have lots of hair), weight gain as well as other side-effects that make one wonder if the medications are even worth taking.  I used to cut myself and I will carry the scars of that self-indulgent self-abuse to my grave. My first husband, the man I credit with having saved my life, put me into therapy to help me overcome that as well as several other "bad behaviors" as he called them.  Since his passing, which left me devastated, I've been married and divorced four times because I can't seem to avoid falling into relationships with the worst kind of selfish, abusive, losers, while leaving good, honest, men by the wayside.  So, believe me when I say I know first hand what pain low self-esteem can cause.  But I'm a fighter, not a quiter and the words of my  "no nonsense, take responsibility for yourself" mother ring true inside my head.  She was right when she used to tell me that only I was responsible for making myself feel bad when I would come home from school crying because other kids teased me.  So, I took charge of ME and I watch what I eat, workout, take supplements, and take very good care of myself.  I love the woman that I have grown into.  My point in all of this is that you don't have to be a victim of your circumstances.  There are things you can do to lessen and combat the side-effects of your medications, but all the meds in the world can't make you love yourself, which is what you need to learn to do.  You should probably look for a better therapist, one that doesn't just what to write a prescription and send you on your way, but who will work with you to develop and cultivate those feelings of good, positive self-esteem and self-love.  Because until you take charge of and responsibility for yourself, all the whinning in the world about how poor your self-image is and how bad all those side-effects are will amount to nothing but exactly what it is... whinning.  Have the courage to learn to love yourself and all will be well.

  13. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 12 years ago

    I would suggest shopping around for a better psychiatrist rather than going for recommendations from random strangers online.


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