Strattera, Wellbutrin, & Bipolar
[Home] [Bipolar News] [Bipolar Disorder] [Medications] [Treatments] [Bipolar Disorder/Job/School] [Disabilities] [Ask the Doctor] [Ask David] [Self-Injury] [Personal Stories] [Graham's Column] [Steven's Column] [Storm's Column] [Columnist Archives] [Suicide] [Community Support] [Family Members] [Expressions] [Greeting Cards] [Books] [Awards] [Links & Rings] [About Us] [Contact Us]


Q:  Strattera, Wellbutrin, & Bipolar

My child has been treated for ADHD & depression, currently prescribed to take Straterra & Wellburtrin.

Is it a concern that if he is in fact BiPolar that these combinations might be making thigns worse.  I have arranged for a specialist to evaluate him but I'm concern that information I have received advises me to take him off this combination of Rx. 


Dear Darlene -- 
There is controversy about whether stimulants (e.g. Straterra) can make bipolar disorder worse.  I've been watching the comments about this in the psychiatric literature for several years and opinion still seems about evenly split (half of psychiatrists report their worry about the combination, but the other half announce their sense that the combination is not worsening things.)  The few research studies on this question are not precisely designed to address this question, but even those we have seem to point to opposite answers (e.g. stimulants may pose risk
Soutullo;  and stimulants seem not to pose any riskGalanter). 

By comparison, antidepressant medications (e.g. Wellbutrin) clearly can make bipolar disorder worse.  How often, that's controversial; how much protection against this that one gets from a mood stabilizer, that's not clear either; and when to stop an antidepressant if things are going well, that's controversial too.  But that they can in many people, at least 20% and perhaps more like 30 or 40%, depending on circumstances -- that's well agreed upon.  

The real question here, the place you have to start, is "does he have bipolar disorder?"  Because even those who would consider using a stimulant in someone with bipolar disorder generally agree: "treat the bipolar first". 

Dr. Phelps

Published May, 2004


Bipolar World   1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Allie Bloom, David Schafer, M.Ed. (Blackdog)
Partners:  John Haeckel, Judith (Duff) 
Founder:  Colleen Sullivan

Email Us at Bipolar World


About Us  Add a Link  Advance Directives  Alternative Treatments  Ask the Doctor   Ask Dr. Plyler about Bipolar Disorder   Ask The Doctor/ Topic Archives  Awards  Benny the Bipolar Puppy  Bipolar Chat  Bipolar Children  Bipolar Disorder News  Bipolar Help Contract  Bipolar World Forums  Book Reviews  Bookstore  BP & Other mental Illness   Clinical Research Trials & FDA Drug Approval   Community Support   Contact Us  The Continuum of Mania and Depression   Coping   Criteria    Criteria and Diagnosis  Criteria-World Health Disabilities,  DSMV-IV   Dual Diagnosis  eGroups  Expressions (Poetry, Inspiration, Humor, Art Gallery, Memorials  Family Members   Getting Help for a Loved One who Refuses Treatment  Greeting Cards  History of Mental Illness  Indigo  Job and School  Links  Manage Your Medications  Medications   Medication and Weight Gain    News of the Day  Parent Chat  Pay for Meds  Personal Stories  Self Help  Self Injury  Significant Others  Stigma and Mental Health Law  Storm's Column  Suicide!!!  The Suicide Wall  Table of Contents   Treatments  Treatment Compliance  US Disability  Veteran's Chat  What's New?