Side Effects – Mood Stabilizers
Antidepressants are safe and popular, but some studies have suggested that they may have unintentional effects on some people, especially in adolescents and young adults. Possible side effects to look for are depression that gets worse, suicidal thinking or behavior, or any unusual changes in behavior such as trouble sleeping, agitation, or withdrawal from normal social situations. Families and caregivers should report any changes to the doctor. The following sections describe some common side effects of the different types of medications used to treat bipolar disorder.
In some cases, lithium can cause side effects such as:
- Dry mouth
- Bloating or indigestion
- Unusual discomfort to cold temperatures
- Joint or muscle pain
- Brittle nails or hair.
Lithium also causes side effects not listed here. If extremely bothersome or unusual side effects occur, tell your doctor as soon as possible. If a person with bipolar disorder is being treated with lithium, it is important to make regular visits to the treating doctor. The doctor needs to check the levels of lithium in the person’s blood, as well as kidney and thyroid function.
These medications may also be linked with rare but serious side effects. Talk with the treating doctor or a pharmacist to make sure you understand signs of serious side effects for the medications you’re taking.
Common side effects of other mood stabilizing medications include:
- Mood swings
- Stuffed or runny nose, or other cold-like symptoms.
The Psychotropic Drug Advisory Service (PDAS) in Melbourne is an independent source for information on medicines used to treat mental illnesses and other drugs that affect the way we think, feel and behave. Service users include individuals, medical practitioners, health care professionals, mental health care support organisations and their staff, carers and consumers. Though predominantly telephone based, the service is also accessed via email and facsimile.
PDAS provides advice on:-
- Treatment choice
- Treatment response
- Adverse effects of medications, as well as other psychoactive substances
- Interactions between medications and other drugs
- Specific information on the use of medications by special populations (e.g. children, adolescents, the elderly and women who are pregnant or breast feeding)