Archives for Side Effects - Page 2

Bipolar Medication

Combatting Lithium Joint Pain and Headache Side Effects

Kim Asks...


Is there a way to combat the headaches and joint pains when taking the lithium?

Dr. Fink Answers...


Hi, Kim. Good question. Most importantly discuss these side effects with your doctor immediately. Your doctor may want to run a blood test to determine your lithium level and make sure your lithium level is not toxic. Headaches can indicate toxicity. Headaches may also be a sign of dehydration, which can occur with lithium, so keeping hydrated is important.
Continue Reading

Antipsychotic

Long-Term Antipsychotic Use May Reduce Brain Volume

Until recently, doctors and researchers had believed that brain volume loss in schizophrenia was caused primarily by the disease itself. One recent study, however, questions this long-held belief and identifies antipsychotics, the medications most commonly used to treat schizophrenia, as the more likely culprits.

With the increased long-term use of antipsychotics to treat schizophrenia and other forms of mental illness, especially bipolar mania, it's important to determine whether the illness or the medication (or both) contribute to the potential loss of brain volume.

In an article published in the Archives of General Psychiatry (February, 2011) entitled "Long-term Antipsychotic Treatment and Brain Volumes," Beng-Choon Ho, MRCPsych, et al. conclude the following:
Continue Reading

Bipolar Medication

Galantamine as Potential Treatment for Cognitive Deficits in Bipolar Disorder

It is well known that some people with bipolar disorder experience a variety of neuro-cognitive deficits (problems in areas such as attention, learning, and memory) in addition to their emotional and behavioral symptoms.

Because many of the medications used to treat bipolar disorder can cause cognitive problems as a side effect, psychiatrists have often debated whether these problems with learning and thinking are due to medications or are related to the underlying brain changes found in bipolar disorder. It seems likely that both factors are at play.

Some ongoing studies are looking at a medication called galantamine (Razadyne is the trade name), which is FDA approved for treating the cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease.
Continue Reading

Bipolar Disorder Q&A: Safe to Conceive While Father on Medications?

We often discuss the potential risks to a fetus when the mother is taking psychiatric medications, but we rarely if ever consider the potential risks of a prospective father taking psychiatric medications. One of our readers posted a question addressing this issue.

Heidi asks...


Hi there, my husband started taking Depakote for bipolar disorder several months ago. We are talking about having another baby and are wondering whether it's safe for us to conceive while he is on Depakote? Any advice is helpful, thanks.
Continue Reading

SSRI Antidepressants Linked to Decreases in Bone Density

Over the last several years, a number of studies have found a relationship between decreased bone mineral density – bone strength – and long-term use of SSRI antidepressants. The theory behind this association is that serotonin is part of the system that regulates signaling in bone cells and that medicines that affect the serotonin system could change bone metabolism.

At the American Psychiatric Association meeting in May of this year, researchers from Canada (Bolton, et al. 2010) presented a large, well done study that provides even more evidence that bone density can be reduced in people taking SSRI’s for long periods of time. Following are additional details from the study:
Continue Reading

Managing Bipolar Medication Side Effects

Syndicated from the Bipolar Blog

Sometimes, you may begin to wonder what’s worse—the depression and mania or the side effects from the medications used to control the depression and mania. In fact, one of the main reasons that people with bipolar disorder stop taking their medications is because they simply can no longer tolerate the negative side effects. And who can blame them? Nobody likes to gain 30 pounds, feel groggy all day, become forgetful, walk around feeling dizzy, shake, twitch, feel nauseous, or have an anxiety attack. Yet, all of these side effects and more are possible with one medication or another used to treat bipolar symptoms.
Continue Reading

Preventing and Reversing Weight Gain Associated with Psychiatric Medications

Many people who carry the bipolar diagnosis also carry something else – extra pounds – primarily due to the medications used to treat mania or depression. Atypical antipsychotics, including Zyprexa and Seroquel; anti-manics, including lithium and Depakote; and even some antidepressants have been known to pack on the pounds, despite a person's best efforts to stay fit and trim.
Continue Reading