Can I take anticonvulsant meds for treating bipolar disorder in a webp image

Conditions that cause nerve pains may also lead to spasms, seizures and convulsions or fits. Research suggests strong links between damages of spinal cord as well as incidence of diabetes mellitus and nerve conditions like fits. In some cases, people who live with infections caused by herpes zoster (which shows up as shingles – an infectious condition) are also likely to get seizures. These nerve conditions can be treated with the intake of drugs; especially with meds belonging to a genre called anticonvulsant meds. But can these anticonvulsants for bipolar? It is important to know more on this.

Federal drug regularity board – known as the food and drug administration (FDA) in the US – has approved some drugs for treating nerve-linked conditions. These drugs form part of a family of meds called antiepileptics or anticonvulsant medicines. These meds essentially change the way your body responds to nerve pains and associated discomforts like fits, seizures or convulsions.

What are commonly prescribed anticonvulsant meds?

Drugs widely used in this category are gabapentin, pregabalin, etc. Of these, gabapentin is used to decrease severity of convulsions or seizures; it can also be taken to prevent fits. It is considered as key member among the meds known as anticonvulsants. You get this drug both as a generic and as a branded drug.

Pregabalin (a popular brand Lyrica is made from it) is used for the treatment of nerve conditions such as fits, nerve pains (neuralgia), fibromyalgia, etc. This anticonvulsant med gets into your body quicker than most other anticonvulsant drugs. It may only take less than an hour’s time to attain maximum level of concentration in bloodstream.

Other meds in anticonvulsant category are lamotrigine (available as a brand called Lamictal), carbamazepine (one of the commonly available brands is Tegretol) and valproate sodium (leading brands are Depakene / Depakote).

Can I take anticonvulsants for bipolar?

A few of the aforesaid anticonvulsant drugs can be used for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Your treating doctor may prescribe drugs such as Lamictal (based on a generic drug called lamotrigine), Depakote (a popular brand made from valproate sodium) as well as Tegretol (a branded form of the generic carbamazepine) for bipolar conditions.

The way each of these aforesaid meds works varies. For example – Lamictal is known to be highly potent as an antidepressant; its antimanic properties are not very pronounced. On the other hand, meds such as Tegretol and Depakote are known to allay spells of mania and are known to be less effective in treating depression.

Of these anticonvulsant drugs, Lamictal has capabilities to prevent possible spells of depression and mood-related disorders. Tegretol as well as Depakote however do not prevent possible onset of manic disorders; instead, these two drugs are used for the treatment of acute spells of bipolar disorder.

Apart from the above listed drugs, a few other anticonvulsant meds are taken “off-label” to treat bipolar conditions. Such off-label drugs include Neurontin, Lyrica and / or Topamax. Lyrica is known to get into your system much faster than many other anticonvulsant meds. In less than 60 minutes’ time, the key chemicals of Lyrica reach a high level of concentration in your plasma.

These drugs help get a good night’s sleep / minimise spells of insomnia (sleeplessness) and also manage acute episodes of pain. Doctors also use these meds to reduce restlessness, anxieties, being hyperactive, nursing weird thoughts or suicidal instincts and other related mental conditions.

Lastly, use of anticonvulsant meds for bipolar needs to be prescribed by a qualified caregiver. It is hence unsafe to take such drugs over the counter (OTC) or through the self-medication route. In order to know more about anticonvulsants, you are advised to consult with your caregiving team.


Information provided here are only of supplementary nature. Information shared here does not substitute a qualified doctor’s advice. This website is not suggesting intake of this drug as safe or appropriate. Hence it is advised to talk to your doctor before consuming this med or any other drug.

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