Bipolar Disorder Medication

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For most people with bipolar disorder, medication is an essential part of treatment, allowing them to keep their illness manageable and under control. Medication is often used in combination with psychosocial therapies to treat both acute episodes of bipolar disorder and over the long term.

Since there is no cure for bipolar, ongoing medication therapy is often indicated. This rarely means picking one medication and staying on it for life. Many people with bipolar disorder find that they need to adjust their medication dosages or types in response to a change in symptoms, lifestyle factors, or side effects. For this reason, medication therapy for bipolar is generally closely monitored.

Mood stabilizers are the most common type of drug prescribed for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Of those currently approved by the FDA for use in bipolar, lithium is the oldest and probably the most well-known. Depakote is another mood stabilizer commonly prescribed for bipolar. Other FDA-approved mood stabilizing medications include Tegretol and Lamictal.

Antipsychotic medications and antidepressants are also sometimes used to treat bipolar, generally in combination with a mood stabilizer. The antipsychotics Zyprexa, Abilify, Risperdal, Seroquel, and Geodon are all FDA-approved for use in bipolar disorder, as is Symbyax, a drug containing the atypical antipsychotic olanzapine and the SSRI antidepressant fluoxetine.

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