Posted by: Theuns | 2020/04/22


What is the alternative medication for current medication used for treating bipolar?

I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder about 12 years ago. My current medication (daily - evening) 800mg litium,500mg dopaquel,300mg epitec, then also (daily - morning) 100mg serdep. When taking my meds at night. The evening dose knocks me out for at least 6 hours afterwards. I am now looking for work but most if not all positions I apply for require shift work which I cannot do for the above reasons. Is there any alternative for my meds? or any suggestions as to how to address the issue? I am also gaining weight which can be attributed to the meds.... any suggestions to correct this?

Expert's Reply


Depression expert
- 2020/05/08

Hello Theuns,
Clearly this would be a good issue to discuss with the psychiatrist treating you, when this is possible.  You seem to be on a reasonable combination of meds for Bipolar Disorder, but there are a number of alternatives.  You don't mention how useful this combination may have been in controlling the Bipolar ; it's not always easy to achieve this, so a doc may be reluctant to change a combination of meds that are working well. 
Your point about shift work is so important, and not something we usually think of before it becomes so relevant.  I wonder how often the shifts change.  In some jobs there may be a change of shifts within the week or at least within the month, which could be very difficult.  The meds vary a bit in how long each dose would last , so planning a pattern for changing the doses if the shifts changed often, could be difficult.  In some jobs, the shifts would change maybe once every month or two, which would be easier to plan for.  
Apart from the meds, simply the changes in sleep/wake rhythms could disturb the bipolar disorder.  Check with your doc.  As I recall, the laws about employment would not allow an employer to discriminate against you for any pre-existing condition, either in deciding to employ you or once you have the job. I wonder whether  they could make some changes to accommodate you and your needs.
If you had lost a leg, that might be a big problem if you wanted to be a footballer in a major team, but in most other jobs, they'd need to be prepared to make reasonable changes to accommodate your medical needs.

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