Any Thing Else with Less Side Effects?
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Q:  Any Thing Else with Less Side Effects?

My husband has bipolar and was diagnosed about 10 years ago. He takes 4 300mg of lithium per day. It has caused severe weight gain and he has high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. His BD is more mania than depression. Of course plenty of short temperedness.

 Is there any thing else he could take with less side effects that would be effective?

Also his saliva is always salty tasting to myself when kissing him. He gets a 3 month supply and gets blood level checked then. Any info will be much appreciated  

Dear Ms. E' -- 
He and his psychiatrist could look at the full range of alternative medications (for a handy list with links to more information on each option, try my
Mood Stabilizers list). Sounds like, with the short-temperedness, the lithium is not working fully well anyway. We end up switching folks from lithium, even when it's working very well, because some people -- after decades -- have some kidney problems on it (that's what those lab tests he does routinely are supposed to be monitoring, so presumably he's not got that problem with it); the point there being that sometimes we have to switch people off of lithium, and fortunately we have multiple alternatives. Unfortunately none of them comes with a guarantee that they will work at all, or as well as lithium; but from the sound of it, there's the chance that some might work better as well. 

Dr. Phelps

Published July, 2006


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