Mood stablizers

These drugs are used as prophylactic medication in bipolar affective disorder. That is, they are given long-term in order to reduce the frequency, duration, and severity of further episodes of affective disorder, whether manic or depressive. The drugs do have slight effectiveness in the acute episode, and are usually started during it; however, they are not strong enough to be relied on by themselves for treatment of acute episodes, needing to be supplemented by major tranquillizers and/or benzodiazepines.

The main drugs in use in the UK are lithium and certain drugs originally marketed as anticonvulsants but that have been found to have effectiveness in this area; these include sodium valproate, carbamazepine, and, to some extent, lamotrigine and other newer agents.

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