Mood stabilizers and treatment adherence in bipolar disorder: addressing adverse events

Ann Clin Psychiatry. Sep-Dec 2003;15(3-4):217-24. doi: 10.1023/b:acli.0000008175.32403.8e.


Adverse events associated with lithium and anticonvulsant use in patients with bipolar disorder have been determined to decrease rates of treatment adherence; however, research that explores how adverse events influence treatment adherence, and which events have the greatest impact, is sparse and limited. This paper reviews the existing literature regarding common side effects encountered with lithium and anticonvulsant use in patients with bipolar disorder and presents data regarding their impact on treatment adherence. Guidelines for reducing and limiting adverse events are highlighted, as are recommendations for improving compliance associated with the experience of adverse events in the bipolar disorder population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects*
  • Antimanic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antimanic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Lithium Carbonate / administration & dosage
  • Lithium Carbonate / adverse effects*
  • Patient Compliance* / psychology
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patient Satisfaction


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antimanic Agents
  • Lithium Carbonate