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Depakote and manic depression

  Someone I know was recently admitted to a mental health treatment center and prescribed Depakote (a traditional anti-seizure medication) for symptoms of bipolar disorder.  He says that Tegretol is also being prescribed for this condition.  How do these drugs work, on the molecular level, to reduce the symptoms of manic depression?  Are these effective treatments?  What, if any, is the relationship between seizures and/or epilepsy and bipolar disorder?  Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.
Thanks for the question. As a neurologist I do not treat bipolar disorder so this question might be better asked on the general medical forum. The depakote is used to treat bipolar disorder in these patients and not some underlying linked bipolar seizure disorder problem. The mechanism of action has not been established. It is thought to act in epilepsy by increaseing brain concentrations of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. How that is related to bipolar disease is unknown. The tegretol was originally developed as an antidepressant medication due to its chemical structure - how it exactly works again is unknown. Good luck
This information is provided for general medical education purposes. Please consult your doctor regarding diagnostic and treatment issues.

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