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New Medication For Bipolar Depression: New Meds & Therapies

Exploring Bipolar Depression

Everyone wants to explore bipolar depression and now doctors are finding ways of new medication for bipolar depression. As it’s the dangerous type of depression in which the person faces different mood swings according to the conditions. He might face a lack of interest in his life and sadness becomes his habit. He might gain or lose weight during bipolar depression. Excessive sleeping becomes a habit, remains confused all the time which causes him to become poor at decision making and have a negative thought of death or suicide. 

Traditionally people were given medicines which have so many side effects. As technology advances, new medication for bipolar depression are given to the patients which have less harmful effects and give positive results. 

New Medication for Bipolar Depression

Doctors prescribe lithium which is an antimanic drug, an antipsychotic drug or a combination of both — in order to reduce symptoms of depression without triggering a manic episode. According to the Research Lithium and the anticonvulsants lamotrigine and valproate are mood stabilizers that are sometimes used “off label” as treatments for bipolar depression, although none of these has been established as an FDA-approved first-line treatment for bipolar depression. In past years, psychiatrists have traditionally added an antidepressant to a mood stabilizer if a mood stabilizer alone is ineffective; however, research claims that antidepressants are often not effective for bipolar depression. 

A mood-stabilizing medication focuses on improving social interactions, mood, and behavior and is recommended for both treatment and prevention of bipolar mood states that swing from the lows of depression to the highs of hypomania or mania. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), lithium, lamotrigine, valproate, carbamazepine, and most atypical antipsychotic medications are approved by the FDA for treating one (or more) phases of bipolar disorder.

Antidepressants Used to Treat Bipolar Depression

new medication for bipolar depression

Although antidepressants are a powerful tool for individuals with major depressive disorder, their effectiveness for bipolar depression is less clear-cut. In most cases, especially for bipolar I disorder, antidepressants shouldn’t be the sole treatment (monotherapy). For some people with bipolar disorder, taking antidepressants alone might trigger a manic episode. Because of this potential risk, many doctors prefer to avoid using antidepressants as the only treatment for bipolar depression. 

According to the study, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) showed that mood stabilizers alone produced a stable improvement only in about 1 out of 4 people with bipolar depression. Adding an antidepressant to the mood stabilizer did not boost improvement further. So antidepressant are one the new medication for bipolar depression.



Antipsychotic Medication Used to Treat Bipolar Depression

new medication for bipolar depression

Research has shown that some antipsychotic drugs can treat bipolar depression. Short term bipolar depression can be treated by Lumateperone (Caplyta) and Quetiapine (Seroquel, Seroquel XR), olanzapine (Zyprexa) and fluoxetine (Prozac). 

Lurasidone (Latuda) can be used alone or it can be taken in combination of lithium or valproate to treating bipolar depression. Cariprazine (Vraylar), a treatment for bipolar disorder, may also be an off-label option. 

These medications affect the neurotransmitters in the brain that change mood and behavior of the patient. 

CNS Depressant

Central nervous system (CNS) depressant is a new medication for bipolar depression, including benzodiazepines, which act on neurotransmitters, slowing down normal brain function. Commonly used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders, CNS depressants may also be an effective alternative or adjunctive therapy for some bipolar patients experiencing acute mania. 

Common benzodiazepines include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), and diazepam (Valium). These drugs can all be addictive and cause slow thinking.  These are only used to treat sleep problems. 

Psychotherapy

new medication for bipolar depression

In conjunction with medication, bipolar depression patients can significantly benefit from ongoing psychotherapy. This one-on-one therapy integrates interpersonal psychotherapy with behavioral techniques. 

This combined approach equips patients with the skills to:

  • Manage interpersonal problems more effectively.
  • Maintain medication adherence.
  • Develop healthy lifestyle habits.

The STEP-BD study highlighted that adding structured psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal/social rhythm therapy, or family-focused therapy, alongside medication can significantly accelerate treatment responses for bipolar depression. The study found improvements of up to 150% compared to medication alone.



Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a new medication for bipolar depression. The American Psychiatric Association’s guidelines recommend electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a suitable, and in some cases, preferable, treatment for bipolar patients experiencing depression with psychotic symptoms or a significant suicide risk. Additionally, ECT may be beneficial for pregnant women suffering from severe bipolar depression or mania.

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious mental health condition that disrupts a person’s ability to think, feel, and behave normally. It can cause a disconnect from reality and make it difficult to function in daily life.

The common symptoms of schizophrenia fall into two main categories: positive and negative symptoms.

Positive Symptoms: These symptoms involve an addition or distortion of normal thoughts, perceptions, or behaviors. They include:

Delusions

These are false beliefs that a person holds with strong conviction, even when there’s overwhelming evidence to the contrary. For example, someone might believe someone is plotting against them or that they have superpowers.

Hallucinations

These are sensory experiences that aren’t real. Hearing voices is the most common hallucination in schizophrenia, but people may also experience seeing things that aren’t there or feeling sensations on their skin that aren’t present.

Disorganized Speech

This refers to difficulty forming clear and coherent thoughts. People with this symptom may jump from topic to topic or use nonsensical words or phrases.

Disorganized or Unusual Behavior

This can include agitated movements, repetitive behaviors, or inappropriate social behavior.

Negative Symptoms: These symptoms involve a reduction or loss of normal functions. They include:

Alogia

This is a reduction in speech or a lack of desire to speak.

Avolition

This refers to a lack of motivation or initiative to participate in activities.

Anhedonia

This is the inability to experience pleasure.

Emotional Blunting

This involves a reduced emotional expression or a flat affect.

Wrapping Up

Bipolar depression presents challenges, but new medication for bipolar depression options like Lumateperone and Lurasidone offer promise with fewer side effects. While antidepressants are helpful for major depression, they should generally be avoided alone for bipolar depression.  Therapy alongside medication is crucial, with approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy equipping patients with skills to manage their moods and daily lives.

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