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Bipolar Disorder Health Center

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Medications for Bipolar Disorder

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How can I be sure the bipolar medication will work for me?

It's impossible to predict how well a particular bipolar medication will work for you. You may need to try several different kinds and different dosages. Getting the right medication or combination of medications for your bipolar disorder can take some time. You can't expect to feel better overnight.

It can be frustrating, but don't give up. Eventually, you and your health care provider should be able to find a prescription that works for you.

Medication Tips for Bipolar Disorder

If you have bipolar disorder, adopt good habits for taking your medication. Take it at the same time every day. It's easiest if you do it along with some other activity, like brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, or getting into bed. Getting a weekly pillbox can make it easy to see if you've missed a dose.

Be sure to talk to your pharmacist or doctor about the best time of day to take your bipolar medications. Some are best taken in the morning or at bedtime and others with meals or after meals.

For those rare occasions when you miss a dose, know what you should do. Ask your health care provider. Don't assume that doubling up is a good idea.

Side Effects of Bipolar Drugs

The medications available to treat bipolar disorder aren't perfect. They can cause side effects that vary depending on which medications you use. These side effects can include:

Some medications can affect your liver function or white blood cell or platelet counts (which can lead to increased susceptibility to infection or bleeding). You may need regular tests to make sure that you're staying healthy. Also, Geodon is linked to a rare, but potentially fatal skin reaction called Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms (DRESS syndrome).

Many side effects will fade after a few weeks of treatment. If you're still having unpleasant problems after that, see your health care provider. Don't assume you're just stuck with unwanted symptoms. Changing your dosage, adding another medicine to control the side effects, or trying a different medication altogether may help.

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