Unwanted side effects:
Some mood stabilisers affect how well the contraceptive pill works, so if you usually take the pill to prevent getting pregnant and are prescribed a mood stabiliser, talk to your doctor about this.
Lithium is a very toxic substance, which must be very closely monitored by regular blood tests to prevent blood levels becoming dangerously high. It can interact with other medications to produce concentrations above the acceptable range. Signs of excessive amounts of lithium in the blood are unsteadiness, confusion and blurred vision.
|Medication||Common unwanted/side effects||Less common unwanted/side effects|
|Lithium||Tremor, nausea, diarrhoea, excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight gain, thyroid problems, discordination or muscle weakness, skin and hair changes.||Unsteadiness, confusion, blurred vision – these can be signs of excessive lithium in the blood and immediate medical attention is required.|
|Carbamazine||Drowsiness, double vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sedation, skin rashes.||Slight risk of significant reduction in white blood cell count (agranulocytosis). Talk to your Doctor About any infection you develop.|
|Sodium Carbamazine||Increased appetite, weight gain, nausea, stomach irritation, drowsiness.||Very rarely the liver can be affected so regular liver tests are performed at the beginning of treatment.|
|Gabapentin||Drowsiness, dizziness, discoordination, visual disturbances, headaches, tremor, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech,throat pains.||Pancreatitus, liver problems, skin condition known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome – if you notice any skin problems, tingling or itching let your Doctor know immediately.|
|Sodium Valporate||Nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, tremor, lethargy, weight gain, slurred speech, hair thinning/change in texture. For women – irregular periods, gynaecomastia (breast enlargement), polycystic ovaries, increase in testosterone levels.||Blood abnormalities – if you notice any unusual bruising, coughing or a sore throat tell your Doctor straight away. Liver damage, pancreatitis.|
|Valporate Semisodium||Nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, tremor, lethargy, weight gain, slurred speech, hair thinning/change in texture.||Blood abnormalities – if you notice any unusual bruising, coughing or a sore throat tell your Doctor straight away. Liver damage, pancreatitis.|
|Lamotrigine||Rashes, fevers.||skin condition known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome – if you notice any skin problems, tingling or itching let your Doctor know immediately.|
Information gathered from:
Full NICE Guidelines for Borderline Personality Disorder
D. Healy (2009) Psychiatric Drugs Explained Elsevier