Bipolar disorder causes
What causes bipolar disorder?
Scientists don't know exactly what causes bipolar disorder in people. It's probably a combination of genetics, environment and other factors that create chemical imbalances in the brain.
The chemical imbalance may be caused by a problem with hormones or with certain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemicals act as "messengers" to the brain's nerve cells.
Scientists also are just beginning to understand the genetics of the disorder. They believe that small variations in some genes can make you more likely to have bipolar disorder. When several of the genes with the variations are combined, they can affect your brain.
Sometimes environmental factors such as a period of emotional stress, substance abuse or illness can trigger the disease for the first time or can trigger bipolar episodes.
Who has bipolar disorder?
If you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you are not alone. About 5.7 million Americans have the disease. Others may not be accurately diagnosed with the disorder. They may have anxiety, depression or substance abuse disorders and are in treatment for those conditions rather than bipolar disorder. Sometimes individuals with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed with schizophrenia.
Bipolar disorder can develop no matter what your age or where you live. It does tend to run in families, so individuals with the disorder may have close family members who also have been diagnosed.
There also is more than one type of bipolar disorder. The types are classified according to how severe the symptoms are and the pattern of moods involved. Patients with one type of the disorder may develop another type.
Other illnesses and bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder commonly coexists with other illnesses. Diagnosing and treating other conditions that occur with bipolar disorder is important to managing the disease. The other conditions may include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Substance abuse
- Heart disease
- Autoimmune thyroiditis, in which the immune system damages the thyroid gland
Learn more about the symptoms and types of bipolar disorder.
Important Safety Information You Should Know about STAVZOR
Liver problems Your doctor should check your liver function before you start taking STAVZOR and at frequent intervals while you're on therapy. If you feel generally ill (malaise), weak, and tired, if your face is swollen and you lose your appetite, and start vomiting, call your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy: Birth defectsWomen who can become pregnant need to know that valproic acid has been associated with birth defects, in particular with spina bifida, a condition in which the baby's spinal canal fails to close. If you are planning to become pregnant, you should discuss the risks of birth defects, along with other possible treatment options, with your doctor. If you do become pregnant while taking STAVZOR, call your doctor immediately.
Read more important safety information about pregnancy.
PancreatitisSome people taking valproate have experienced a serious, life-threatening illness called pancreatitis (inflamed pancreas). If you experience stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or loss of appetite, call your doctor immediately.
Common side effects reported in studies with valproate were nausea, drowsiness, vomiting, and dizziness. These are not all the side effects that may occur. You will find a complete list of side effects in the full Prescribing Information.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Recent Information about Antiepileptic Medications including STAVZOR® (valproic acid) Delayed Release Capsules for any use
For Patients and Caregivers
All antiepileptic medicines, used for any condition, may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some patients. Pay close attention to any changes, especially sudden changes, in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. Keep all follow-up visits with the healthcare provider as scheduled. Call the healthcare provider between visits as needed, especially if you have concerns about symptoms.
Watch for and call the healthcare provider right away to report if you or your family member see the appearance or worsening of symptoms of depression, any unusual changes in mood or behavior, or the appearance of suicidal thoughts, behavior, or thoughts about self-harm. Behaviors of concern should be reported immediately to the healthcare provider.
For Healthcare Professionals
All antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), including STAVZOR, increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in patients taking these drugs for any indication. Anyone considering prescribing Stavzor or any other AED must balance their risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with the risk of untreated illness.
Patients, their caregivers, and families should be informed that AEDs increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior and should be advised of the need to be alert for the emergence or worsening of the signs and symptoms of depression, any unusual changes in mood or behavior, or the emergence of suicidal thoughts, behavior or thoughts about self-harm. Behaviors of concern should be reported immediately to healthcare providers.
For medical inquiries specific to Stavzor, please call 1-800-455-8070