Mood stabilizers are medications that decrease the mood swings associated with bipolar disorder. In this section we’ll discuss lithium and various anticonvulsants being used as mood stabilizers. In the next section we’ll review antipsychotic medications, which have historically been used to treat mania and psychosis, but currently many of these are being used, or evaluated, as mood stabilizers.
In 1970, lithium became the first medication approved as a mood stabilizer by the FDA. Lamotrigine (Lamictal), more recently has been approved for this use. In this section we’ll review these, as well as other, “off label,” medications currently used as mood stabilizers, such as valproate (Depakote, Depakene), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and oxcarbazepine (Trileptal).
We’ll also discuss medications that were thought to have mood stabilizing properties that subsequent studies have found to be of little, or no, benefit.