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June 22, 2005

Lithium & Anticonvulsants Useful

Lithium and anticonvulsants lamotrigine and valproate semisodium have been proven to be effective in providing long term treatment to those with bipolar disorder. "'Bipolar disorder is an illness in which sufferers may have over a dozen episodes in their life, so one object of long-term treatment is to prevent relapse,' presenter Dr. Allan H. Young told Reuters Health. However, 'no single drug seems to prevent manic and depressive episodes completely so we should now be testing combinations' like (the antipsychotic drug) olanzapine and lamotrigine or lithium and valproate, he added" (Reuters Health, 2005).

"Compared with valproate sodium, those on lithium were more likely to relapse due to any mood episode (hazard ratio 1.34), withdraw for any reason (risk ratio 1.21) or to cease treatment due to adverse events (risk ratio 1.81). Patients taking lithium were also more likely to cease treatment than those on lamotrigine (risk ratio 2.20), but less likely than those on carbamazepine (risk ratio 0.37)" (Reuters Health, 2005).

Most of the drugs are better at treating for manic symptoms than depressive symptoms. Lithium and olanzapine seem to cut down on manic symptoms, but they may not be as affective in treating for depression. But since a good part of one's time as a bipolar diagnosed individual is spent depressed, this is not a good thing. "Lamotrigine and valproate sodium 'appear to be good for preventing relapse into depression'" (Reuters Health, 2005).

The results of many studies conflict with each other so make sure to be skeptical when looking at each one. Talk to your psychiatrist before changing or adjusting your medication.

For more information on Bipolar Disorder medications go to: http://www.moodswing.org/meds.html

The source of this article was Reuters Health.

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