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What medications are available to those suffering from bipolar disorder?

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Lithium is the primary medication used to treat the mania of bipolar disorder, often in combination with anticonvulsants, such as Lamictal, or with antipsychotics, such as the older Haldol or the newer drug, Abilify, reports WebMD. Benzodiazepines, such as Klonopin, are used for mania, while Seroquel treats bipolar depression.

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Patients with severe mania or episodes of depression and mania combined are most helped by either older antipsychotic medications, such as Adasuve, Loxitane or Risperdal, or newer options, such as Geodon or Zyprexa, combined with lithium or the anticonvulsant Depakote, states WebMD. Studies show the lithium reduces up to 80 percent of the symptoms and frequency of manic episodes and reduces suicides by 600 percent. Ativan, Valium and Xanax are benzodiazepines frequently used to treat mania.

Symbyax is an SSRI antidepressant that is used to treat bipolar depression, often in combination with the antipsychotic olanzapine, reports WebMD. Latuda is another antipsychotic that is used either alone or in combination with lithium or Depakote. Antidepressants Prozac, Zoloft and Wellbutrin are commonly used for bipolar disorder, but in up to 20 percent of patients, antidepressants can trigger manic episodes. Research shows that the anticonvulsant Lamictal, when used alone, is more useful for preventing future depression than in treating acute bipolar disorder. Individuals using lithium require regular blood tests to monitor the kidneys and thyroid for drug toxicity.

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