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Bipolar Disorder - Medications

Monitoring medicines

You'll need to check in with your doctor regularly when taking medicines for bipolar disorder.

If you are prescribed carbamazepine, lithium, or valproate, 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 side effects. Blood tests can also help show how medicines are affecting your liver, kidneys, and thyroid gland or to measure the number of blood cells in your body.

The use of antidepressants alone has been linked to an increase in manic episodes. Antidepressant treatment needs to be monitored closely to avoid causing a manic episode.

FDA advisories

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory on antidepressant and anticonvulsant medicines and the risk of suicide. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, a person taking antidepressants should be watched for warning signs of suicide, such as threatening to harm himself or herself and being preoccupied with death or suicide. This is especially important at the beginning of treatment or when doses are changed.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 03, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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