Bipolar Disorder Channel
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Medications for Bipolar Disorder

Antidepressant Medications

In general, antidepressant medications are avoided for many people with bipolar disorder. Sometimes, starting an antidepressant in a person with bipolar depression can cause a "manic switch," causing a person to go from being depressed to being manic. In order to avoid this, many healthcare providers avoid antidepressants to treat bipolar disorder unless a person is also taking lithium, an anticonvulsant, or an antipsychotic medication (to help prevent the manic switch). In fact, a combination product called Symbyax® is available to treat bipolar depression. Symbyax contains fluoxetine (Prozac®), an antidepressant, and olanzapine (Zyprexa®), an antipsychotic.

Final Thoughts on Bipolar Disorder Medicines

Fortunately, several different medications for bipolar disorder are available. Each has its particular advantages and disadvantages. If one medication does not work for you, or if it causes bothersome side effects, chances are good that you will find another medication (or combination of medications) that is both effective and tolerable.
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