Many anticonvulsant medications are considered as mood stabilizers and are used to prevent or treat mood occurrence in bipolar disorder. Initially anticonvulsants prescription was given to those who didn’t show response to lithium. Nowadays they are prescribed with lithium, antipsychotic drug or alone in order to control mania.
Anticonvulsants work towards calming hyperactivity caused in brain in many ways. That is the reason some of the anticonvulsants are used to prevent migraine, treat brain disorders and epilepsy. They are recommended to those having rapid cycling like 4 or more than 4 episodes of depression or mania a year.
Anticonvulsants that are used in treating bipolar disorder are
- Depakote Depakene
These medicines are prescribed depending on the type of bipolar symptoms are helpful in treating. For example Tegretol and Depakote are effective in treating symptoms of depression and mania while Lamictal is helpful in preventing future episodes instead of treating current episodes. Tegretol and Depakote are effective in treating acute episodes rather than using them as preventative treatments.
Other anticonvulsants are not much effective when it comes to treating bipolar disorder mood symptoms whereas others like Lyrica, Topamax, and Neurontin are normally used “off label” for some other problems like weight loss and anxiety.
Each anticonvulsant works differently on our brain, so the experience with drug may differ depending on the drug you are taking. In short, you can experience the maximum effective of these drugs only after using it for several weeks.
Side Effects of Anticonvulsant
Your doctor may ask you to take blood tests occasionally in order to keep track of your health while you are consuming anticonvulsant. Some anticonvulsants can lead to kidney or liver damage, lower the blood platelets. Your blood platelets help in blood clotting.
Each anticonvulsant may differ slightly in the side effects they show. Common side effects seen are
- Weight gain
Most of the above side effects mentioned above reduce over a period of time. Side effects that last for long term vary from one drug to another.
Pregnant women should avoid taking anticonvulsants without discussing with their doctor as it might increase birth defect risks. Some anticonvulsants also lead to liver problems in the long run so the doctor can also monitor the liver on a regular basis.
Anticonvulsants interaction with other drugs is obvious and even with aspirin leading to serious problems. Make sure you tell your doctor if you are taking any herbs, drugs or supplements. Don’t consume any substance during your treatment without discussing with the doctor.
There are risks associated with bipolar disorder during pregnancy and it can get worse during your pregnancy. Pregnant women having bipolar disorder are seven times at risk in comparison to pregnant women who aren’t suffering from bipolar disorder. If you are pregnant and suffering from bipolar disorder, discuss with your doctor about possible complication so that you doctor can guide you better and help you with related treatment.