Consuming the recommended medication to treat bipolar disorder is important because it can control depression and mania. It can also prevent further relapse once the mood has stabilized. For those suffering from bipolar disorder, the thought of taking medication for the long-term can be an inconvenience. However, it is still important, especially if you are struggling with undesirable side effects at the same time. Similar to someone with diabetes that needs to take insulin every day to stay healthy, those suffering from bipolar disorders need to take their medication to help them manage their moods and keep it as stable as possible.
Finding the appropriate drug and the right dosage can be challenging, which is why it is important to work closely with a specialist who can help assess and evaluate your medication and prescriptions regularly. Taking medication regularly, as prescribed, is one key factor in ensuring the success of your treatment program.
Antipsychotic Drugs in the Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
Antipsychotic drugs are a set of drugs in the more general category of anxiety medications. In some cases of severe anxiety, especially during a depressive or manic episode when you lose touch with reality, you will be prescribed antipsychotic drugs because these drugs are helpful in managing such episodes. Antipsychotic drugs are also helpful if you have been using mood stabilizers but have failed to keep you stabilized, so they may often be combined with a mood stabilizer, such as valproic acid or lithium.
Since 2000, the use of antipsychotic drugs has increased significantly, and this has been FDA-approved for the following reasons:
- Treating bipolar depression
- Managing mania and mixed episodes
- Maintaining medication to prevent manic, mixed, or depressive episodes
Antipsychotic medications in the treatment of bipolar illness include:
- Clozapine (Clozaril)
- Quetiapine (Seroquel)
- Ziprasidone (Geodon)
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
- Aripiprazole (Abilify)
- Risperidone (Risperdal)
- Lurasidone (Latuda)
- Cariprazine (Vraylar)
- Asenapine (Saphris)
Antipsychotic medications may also be used as long-term mood stabilizers. For example, quetiapine may be taken to manage long-term bipolar depression.
Common Side Effects
Side effects are common when you consume antipsychotic drugs, which is why your initial dose will be relatively low. Significant weight gain, high risk of diabetes, and increased cholesterol levels are also among the common side effects. If you want to take these drugs, you need to have screening for stroke, heart disease, and diabetes beforehand.
Other side effects may include:
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Weight gain
- Muscle spasms or tremors
Take note that despite its effectiveness in treating bipolar illness, Clozapine (Clozaril), in particular, is not usually prescribed because it can cause a rare and possibly fatal side effect that may require you to undergo biweekly or weekly blood test monitoring. Another antipsychotic drug, Ziprasidone (Geodon), is associated with a rare but potentially deadly skin allergy.
If you are prescribed an antipsychotic drug, regular checkups are required at least every three months. If you have diabetes, you may need to have the checkup more often.
Bipolar Medication is Not Enough
Remember that taking the prescribed bipolar medication is only one element in the treatment of a bipolar disorder. There are many more steps that you can do to help manage your symptoms and even lessen the amount of medication needed. Self-help coping strategies, healthy lifestyle changes, exercise, therapy, and even social support networks are contributing factors in helping you cope with this condition and guide you towards living a full productive life.
Taking medication, especially if more than one, can be overwhelming. This is where a medication management app can help you ensure that you are taking your medicines at the right time and dosage. Check out the MedManage medicine assisted treatment app and learn how it can help make your medication regimen much simpler and convenient.
If you’re looking for a medication management app, get in touch with us today to see how we can help.