Anticonvulsants for bipolar disorder mania

Convulsions are not part of bipolar disorder-so why prescribe anticonvulsants to control emotions? When the therapeutic value of anticonvulsants was noticed by improving the emotional stability of patients with epilepsy, anticonvulsants for the treatment of mania were introduced.

Initially, they were used by those who are resistant to lithium treatments. They are now an important substitute for use alone and with other drugs.

Pros and cons of anticonvulsants

Different anticonvulsants seem to treat different aspects of bipolar disorder:

  • Some, such as Depakote and Tegretol, are particularly effective in treating mania.
  • Others, such as Lamictal, are more effective in treating depression.
  • Despite this, other people may be less effective in treating immediate symptoms, but do a good job of helping stabilize mood, thereby helping to avoid manic or depressive episodes.

Like most drugs used to treat bipolar disorder, anticonvulsants do have significant side effects, which vary from person to person. For example, most of them cause dizziness and drowsiness, headache, dry mouth, etc. However, in many cases, as your body becomes more accustomed to medications, side effects will decrease over time.

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Long-term use of anticonvulsants can also cause more serious side effects. For example, pregnant women should avoid anticonvulsants because they can cause birth defects. If not carefully monitored, some can cause kidney or liver damage.

It is also important to know that anticonvulsants can interfere with other medicines, so you should let your doctor know about any new medicines you are prescribed or over-the-counter medicines you are taking.

Despite all the problems with anticonvulsants, in some cases they are more effective than classic therapies-and there are fewer problems. For example, both anticonvulsants and lithium salts take several weeks to reach their peaks, but anticonvulsants usually work faster than lithium salts.

For some people with poor efficacy or poor tolerance of lithium, anticonvulsants may be a good choice. Because there are many different anticonvulsants, each has a slightly different effect, so you can try a variety of drugs to find the best option for your specific needs.

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Some commonly used anticonvulsants

Some of the anticonvulsants most commonly used to treat bipolar disorder are listed below:

Valproate (Depacot)

In 1995, the drug became the first anticonvulsant approved by the FDA for the treatment of mania. It is often used as a first-line treatment for fast cyclers.

Carbamazepine (Tigremol)

Tegretol was approved in 2004 for the treatment of mania and mixed episodes. Often, individuals find the side effects of this drug unbearable.

Lamotrigine (Lamictal)

Lamictal was approved in 2003 for the maintenance treatment of patients with bipolar disorder 18 years of age and older.

Topiramate (Topamax)

The latest anticonvulsant topiramate on the scene. It is also an adjuvant therapy. It seems to bring some difficulties to cognitive function, but it is usually beneficial for weight loss.

Trileptal (oxcarbazepine)

Trileptal (oxcarbazepine) has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of partial seizures in adults and children, and is sometimes used off-label to treat bipolar disorder.

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