Learning Center Articles

Client/Family Education : Bipolar

Client/Family Education

  • Lithium
    • Take the medication regularly.
    • Do not skimp on dietary sodium.
    • Drink six to eight glasses of water each day.
    • Notify physician if vomiting or diarrhea occur.
    • Have serum lithium level checked every 1 to 2 months, or as advised by physician.
    • Notify physician if any of the following symptoms occur:
      • Persistent nausea and vomiting
      • Severe diarrhea
      • Ataxia
      • Blurred vision
      • Tinnitus
      • Excessive output of urine
      • Increasing tremors
      • Mental confusion
  • Anticonvulsants
    • Refrain from discontinuing the drug abruptly.
    • Report the following symptoms to the physician immediately: skin rash, unusual bleeding, spontaneous bruising, sore throat, fever, malaise, dark urine, and yellow skin or eyes.
    • Avoid using alcohol and over-the-counter medications without approval from physician.
  • Verapamil
    • Do not discontinue the drug abruptly.
    • Rise slowly from sitting or lying position to prevent sudden drop in blood pressure.
    • Report the following symptoms to physician:
      • Irregular heartbeat; chest pain
      • Shortness of breath; pronounced dizziness
      • Swelling of hands and feet
      • Profound mood swings
      • Severe and persistent headache
  • Antipsychotics
    • Do not discontinue drug abruptly.
    • Use sunblock when outdoors.
    • Rise slowly from a sitting or lying position.
    • Avoid alcohol and over-the-counter medications.
    • Continue to take the medication, even if feeling well and as though it is not needed; symptoms may return if medication is discontinued.
    • Report the following symptoms to physician:
      • Sore throat; fever; malaise, unusual bleeding; easy bruising; skin rash, persistent nausea and vomiting
      • Severe headache; rapid heart rate, difficulty urinating or excessive urination, muscle twitching, tremors
      • Darkly colored urine; pale stools
      • Yellow skin or eyes
      • Excessive thirst or hunger
      • Muscular incoordination or weakness