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Mood Stabilizing Medications

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Updated: November 14, 2006

Drugs Used in the Treatment of Alzheimer's

Mood stabilizing medications are increasingly being used to help treat symptoms of dementia. They can sometimes help reduce behaviors such as severe agitation, aggression, severe impulsive behavior, mania and disinhibition.

Types of mood stabilizing medications for dementia
Mood stabilizers are not defined precisely but are generally agreed to include:

  • Medications that treat bipolar disorder

  • This includes medications such as lithium carbonate. Lithium was one of the first medications used as a mood stabilizer for Bipolar disorder. Lithium carbonate, a type of salt, can produce serious side effects if it is not monitored closely. It is this toxicity that is one of the reasons that the drug is not used very often in older people.

  • Medications used for hypertension as mood stabilizer

  • Medications used to treat high blood pressure can also stabilize mood. They include beta blockers such as Propranolol that are also used to reduce anxiety.

  • Anticonvulsant drugs as mood stabilizers for Alzheimer's

  • This type of mood stabilizing medication is causing a lot of interest. Historically anticonvulsants, also known as antiepileptics, have been used to treat seizures. Anticonvulsants are also being used for conditions such as migraines, and some types of pain. This anticonvulsant group used to stabilize mood can help decrease behavioral problems in dementia. They include:
    carbamazepine (Tegretol)
    divalproex sodium
    gabapentin (Neurontin)
    lamotrigine (Lamictal)
    levetiracetam (Keppra)
    topiramate (Topamax)
    oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)
    zonisamide (Zonegran)
    tiagabine (Gabitril)

  • Antipsychotic neuroleptic medications

  • Medication used to treat psychosis can also be used to help treat behavior problems such as aggression, agitation, mania, disinhibition and impulsive behavior. Included in this group of drugs are Quetiapine, Haldol and Thorazine.

  • Antidepressant medications and mood stabilization

  • Antidepressant medications also have mood stabilizing effects.

    Article Sources Include:
    Agronin, Marc E. Dementia. Philadelphia: lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2004.

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