Are There Any New Drugs or Alternative Treatments as of July 2011?
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Q:  Are There Any New Drugs or Alternative Treatments as of July 2011?

I am either allergic to or have tremendous side effects to bipolar medications.  I'm 57 and have had it for years.  Depakote is the only one that helps, but robs me of all creativity, affects cognitive function, and puts me in a perpetual humourless state, ETC. I've never been hospitalized for it, but have had 30 aught jobs.  Fortunately, I've currently taught for over 16 years in one school district.  I've been either escorted out, told I'd lose my job, encouraged to retire or apply for disability, left on my own, or stayed home "sick" when things weren't good.  Recently Trileptal was retried (lower dosage), but with the same disasterous results.  Everything has failed.  I want my hair and a life back!  Are there any NEW drugs or alternative treatments as of July 2011?  Something must be able to help, yet preserve my artist and creative ability, intelligence, subdue anger, and quiet migraines at the same time.  I am tetering on writing off science and research!  HELP and THANK YOU!   


You will need to meet someone who can put in the time and effort to review all of your medication trials to determine if there are any alternatives available.  You mentioned Depakote and Trileptal but I am assuming you have also tried Lithium and Lamictal?  If none of those has worked, you may want to consider the atypical antipsychotics such as Zyprexa or Abilify.  Also therapy can be very useful especially ones like IPSRT that focus on the biorhythms and social interactions in a person's life.  ECT may also be a possibility.  There is always research ongoing into new treatments for bipolar illness, but there is nothing revolutionary out currently.  You may need a combination of low dosages of multiple medications so that you will be able to minimize side effects and achieve mood stabilization.
Dr. Plyler

Published October, 2011

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