by Hamid Tabatabai, M.D.
- 6October 2007
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a summary and does not contain all possible facts. For complete information about these product ask your health care professional. This information is also for use in children. Adult patients may have medical conditions or be taking medications that will require additional precautions.
Psychiatric medications are used to treat certain brain conditions (such as mood conditions, thought disorders like schizophrenia, or ADHD). They work by helping to restore the balance of certain natural chemicals in the brain.
Many medications have more than one indication. For example, medications such as Depakote, Tegretol, Trileptal, Neurontin , Topamax , and Lamictal are also used to treat seizures and migraine.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Take these medications as directed, even if you are feeling better and thinking more clearly. Do not make any changes without consulting with your doctor.
You should familiarize yourself with the side effects but do not allow them to scare you. In most cases they are mild & temporary. The serious side effects are very rare. Remember that the benefit of treating your child’s medical condition is far greater than the risk of side effects or leaving it untreated.
Minor or moderate side effects usually go away by themselves or by reducing the dosage. You should however stop taking the medication if you notice serious side effects and report them to your doctor right away.
Like any other medication, you may be allergic to these & develop rashes & hives and should stop it in consultation with your doctor.
Mood stabilizing medications can cause serious medical conditions on rare occasions. It is therefore a good idea to have some blood tests once a year preventatively.
Tests for drug levels, liver functions and blood counts, are needed with medications such as Depakote or Tegretol.
· Diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, hair loss, blurred/double vision, shakiness (tremor), weight increase.
· Unlikely side effects: fast/irregular heartbeat, swelling of hands/feet, uncontrolled eye movement (nystagmus).
· unlikely but serious side effects include a drop in platelets (small blood “cells” that help stop bleeding) which can cause unexplained bruising or bleeding.
· Rare cases of liver or pancreas damage have been reported. They can show itself by unusual tiredness, swelling of the face, dark urine, persistent nausea/vomiting, severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes or skin. Tell your doctor immediately or visit an emergency room if you develop these or any other unexpected & severe condition.
This medication, like many others , is processed in the liver. They can increase or decrease liver enzymes & can therefore affect each others’ levels in the blood (increasing it & causing toxicity or decreasing the levels & effectiveness of the other drug). You should therefore tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule.
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