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Bipolar Disorder Treatment - Lamotrigine and Calcium Channel Blockers

Rashmi Nemade, Ph.D. & Mark Dombeck, Ph.D., edited by Kathryn Patricelli, MA

Lamotrigine (Lamictal)

Yet another drug originally designed to treat epilepsy, lamotrigine behaves similar to sodium valproate and carbamazepine when used as a bipolar disorder treatment. Unlike either of those, lamotrigine has an anti-depressant effect as well as an anti-manic effect. Its effectiveness as a long-term preventative bipolar disorder treatment is unknown at this time.

Side effects of lamotrigine include:

  • nausea
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • dizziness
  • sleepiness
  • lack of coordination

Quite serious skin rashes are a rare, but a possible side effect as well.

Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium channel blockers are a class of medications that are approved to treat high blood pressure, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, and similar conditions. There are multiple types of calcium channel blockers. Verapamil, Nimodipine, Diltiazem and Isradipine have been studied with regard to bipolar disorder treatment. Though calcium channel blocker mood regulation effects are usually less significant than those produced by lithium or the anticonvulsant mood stabilizers, they may be useful for some patients.