Monthly Archives: March 2012

Neurontin

Neurontin? Never heard of it? Neurontin is the brand name of the medication known as Gabapentin. A compound originally created to approximate the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA for short), Gabapentin has several FDA approved medical uses and is also occasionally prescribed for bipolar disorder. While not a common medication, might be helpful to be familiar with it, as some doctors do suggest a trial of this medication when others have not been well tolerated or effective. Continue reading

Risperdal

Many years ago, the only medications available to help people with psychotic symptoms were major tranquilizers, also referred to as neuroleptics. Thorazine is such one drug in this category. For many people, just the word “Thorazine” conjures images of severe mental illness and severe side effects: the shuffling gait and vacant stare among them. This whole category of medications were sometimes called “chemical straightjackets” since their effect was so intense.

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Abilify

Abilify is the brand name of a medication called Aripiprazole. It is a commonly prescribed medication classified as both an antipsychotic and an antidepressant. It comes in several forms, including tablets, injections, and liquid. This medication is quite similar to the other atypical antipsychotics such as Risperdal in that it offers effective control of serious psychotic symptoms without the side effects associated with the older antipsychotics such as Thorazone or Haldol. Abilify is even newer than Risperdal and seems to offer some improvements over that medication in terms of certain side effects. Continue reading

Lithium

If you remember high school chemistry, then lithium might sound familiar: this medication is made from the naturally occurring lithium element, in combination with carbon and oxygen. The way in which lithium, oxygen and carbon combine is called Lithium carbonate and is classified as a “salt” – not like table salt, which is made from sodium. Lithium carbonate is sold as Eskalith and Lithobid, which are the brand names for this compound. Continue reading