Skip to content

Bipolar Disorder Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Tricyclic Antidepressants for Bipolar Disorder

Older tricyclic antidepressants used for treating bipolar disorder may be more likely to trigger a manic episode or rapid cycling than other depression drugs. They also tend to have more side effects than newer generation antidepressants, and can be especially dangerous in overdose.  However, they are occasionally still used when other antidepressants are not effective, or when certain other conditions (such as migraine or neuropathic pain disorders) are also present.  Like all antidepressants, experts recommend against taking a tricyclic medication without a mood stabilizer (such as lithium or divalproex) to minimize the chance of inducing mania symptoms.

Tricyclic antidepressants include:

Recommended Related to Bipolar Disorder

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorder often have cycles of elevated and depressed mood that fit the description of "manic depression." When a person's illness follows this classic pattern, diagnosing bipolar disorder is relatively easy. But bipolar disorder can be sneaky. Symptoms can defy the expected manic-depressive sequence. Infrequent episodes of mild mania or hypomania can go undetected. Depression can overshadow other aspects of the illness. And substance abuse can cloud the picture. Taken together,...

Read the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder article > >

 

Tricyclic antidepressants work by increasing levels of the mood chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. However, because they may sometimes increase the risk of mania or rapid cycling -- as well as heart problems if you take heart medication -- these drugs are less often recommended for bipolar disorder.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on October 18, 2014

Today on WebMD

lunar eclipse
Signs of mania and depression.
Pills on blank prescription paper
Learn about this popular bipolar disorder medication.
 
serious looking young woman
Assess your symptoms.
teen girl in bad mood
How is each one different?
 
Feeling Ups and Downs
ASSESSMENT
Bipolar or Schizo
Article
 
Foods to Avoid
Article
Man being scolded by his shadow
Article
 
lunar eclipse
Slideshow
depressed man
Article
 
young women not speaking
Article
man talking with therapist
Article