Mood Stabilizers

For certain types of agitated, depressed, or excitable states, healthcare professionals may give mood stabilizers. Some common medications of this type are: divalproex sodium (Depakote), lithium carbonate (Eskalith), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and valproic acid (Depakene).

What do mood stabilizers do?

  • These medications may help individuals reduce aggression or have fewer mood swings.

What should I tell the healthcare professional about the individual who will be taking these medications?

  • Tell the healthcare professional about any alcohol or medications (prescriptions, or nonprescription) that the patient is taking.
  • Tell if the individual is pregnant.
  • Tell if the individual has had any diet changes, especially eating more salt.
  • Tell if the individual has liver, kidney, or heart disease.

How should I give this medication and how should I store it?

  • Give these medications on time and as prescribed.
  • You can give these medications either with or without food unless indicated on the prescription.
  • Store these medications at room temperature.
  • Give these medications by mouth unless indicated on the prescription.

What side effects should I look for and when might I see them?

  • The person taking the medication may feel sleepy or restless during the first few days after starting the medication. Females may have a change in their periods. Lithium may cause increased urination or thirst. Many who take lithium or Depakote/Depakene may develop tremors during the first few days of administration. This should go away. Depakote/Depakene may cause stomach distress or hair loss.

What side effects must I report at once?

  • Lithium can rise to dangerous levels if individuals loose body fluids due to fever, sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. Watch these individuals for signs of lithium overdose.
  • You must observe for these signs of lithium overdose: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, increased drowsiness, difficulty walking, and seizures.
  • Individuals who take other types of mood stabilizers also will have routine blood tests. Report easy bruising, extreme tiredness or increased drowsiness, clumsiness, or stumbling.

Where can I buy mood stabilizers?

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