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Just Another Teachin’ Tuesday: Bipolar Research & A Med

New developments in research, as well as medications, are so relevant. Let’s have a look at two pieces of information especially meaningful to those enduring bipolar disorder.

The Pharmacogenomics of Lithium In The Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded $6.5 million to an international team to study the pharmacogenomics of lithium. The five-year study will be led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

Pharmacogenomics? I think all $6.5 million will go toward the word alone. Actually, it’s the branch of pharmacology that studies the influence of genetic variation on drug response. Pretty cool stuff. Its mission is to develop practical ways of optimizing drug therapy with the fewest adverse effects.

In doing so, pharmacogenomics takes into account the patient’s genotypye, which is at the very foundation of an incredibly hopeful medical model known as personalized medicine.

If you’re taking meds for depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder; you know why the work is so important. We all now by now that finding a med(s) that works – without turning us into a physically ill and motionless zombie – is a long and drawn-out crap-shoot. And in my opinion, this especially applies to our bipolar friends.

Finally, how ’bout this? Incorporating pharmacogenomics, the hope is that one day a saliva sample will be used to reveal our genetic markers. And that information will predict how we’ll react to a particular med. What a boost in finding the med(s) that will work best for what ails us.

Saphris (asenapine)

Saphris (asenapine) was introduced a year ago by Merck; and was FDA approved for the treatment of acute adult schizophrenia, as well as acute bipolar I manic and mixed episodes. Well now it wears two more hats. It’s been approved by the FDA for the ongoing treatment of adult schizophrenia, as well as adjunctive therapy – with either lithium or valproate (Depakote) – in the treatment of acute bipolar I manic or mixed episodes.

Saphris is an atypical antipsychotic, unique because it’s a sublingual (under the tongue) tablet. Initial results indicate it has minimal anticholinergic (blocking the effects of acetylcholine; resulting in potential inhibition of the functioning of the heart, blood vessels, airway, and organs of the urinary and digestive tracts) impact. Cardiovascular and weight-gain issues have been minimized, as well.

So there you have two pieces of interesting news on Just Another Teachin’ Tuesday. I enjoy discovering this stuff, and enjoy all the more sharing it with you. It’s so important that we stay current, don’t you think?

image credit  www3.imperial.ac.uk