"Pins & Needles" Feelings
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Q:  "Pins & Needles" Feelings

Hello Dr. Phelps,

I was diagnosed with probable Bipolar II disorder after I had the major depressive episode and other related problems. I tried Valproate, but had enormous side-effects, so I stoped. I am on Serzone now. What worries me is a strange 'ticklishness' or 'pins and needles' feeling in my skull, mostly in the forehead area or in the back of my head, near the spine. During this time my cognitive abilities are also noticeably degenerating. My question is if you have some insight into this symptom - is it perhaps the Serzone, or a typical feature of Bipolar? I await you response. Thank you very much,


Dear Anna -- 
Those "pins and needles" feelings are not clearly a symptom of bipolar disorder that I've run into (maybe some other doc' might have).  And I have had patients report vague things somewhat like that on Serzone, but not just that as you describe it here.  

My greater concern would be taking an antidepressant without a mood stabilizer, if it's clear that you have bipolar II.  I'd go so far as to wonder whether the sensation you're experiencing could somehow be related to the antidepressant's effect on bipolar disorder, as opposed to being either a symptom of BP as such, or a side effect of Serzone as such.  However, that's for you and your doctor to work out. Good luck with that. 

Dr. Phelps


Published February, 2002


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