What are the Side Effects of these Medications?
Before starting a new medication, people with bipolar disorder should talk to their doctor about the possible risks and benefits.
The psychiatrist prescribing the medication or pharmacist can also answer questions about side effects. Over the last decade, treatments have improved, and some medications now have fewer or more tolerable side effects than earlier treatments. However, everyone responds differently to medications. In some cases, side effects may not appear until a person has taken a medication for some time.
If the person with bipolar disorder develops any severe side effects from a medication, he or she should talk to the doctor who prescribed it as soon as possible. The doctor may change the dose or prescribe a different medication. People being treated for bipolar disorder should not stop taking a medication without talking to a doctor first. Suddenly stopping a medication may lead to “rebound,” or worsening of bipolar disorder symptoms. Other uncomfortable or potentially dangerous withdrawal effects are also possible.
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)