FDA Approves New Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

A Marlborough-based pharmaceutical company’s new drug targets depressive symptoms.

Latuda image provided.

Latuda image provided.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new treatment for bipolar depression this month. The drug comes from Marlborough-based Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, which can now distribute Latuda to American patients, specifically to those who struggle with the depressive tendencies of bipolar disorder.

Individuals with bipolar disorder often experience unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe, and are much more intense than the normal ups and downs that an average person experiences each day. Manic episodes include overly positive feelings, while depressive episodes include extremely desolate, negative feelings. An individual with bipolar disorder vacillates often between the two extremes.

Latuda is geared specifically towards eliminating those depressive symptoms of bipolar disorder, which are usually more common than the manic symptoms.

Dr. Gary Sachs, the founding director of the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, says that the FDA’s approval of Latuda will be positive both for patients and their care providers. “Although the depressed phase of bipolar disorder is far more frequent than mania and accounts for the majority of impairment associated with bipolar disorder, only two treatments have been approved for this disabling condition,” he says.

Sachs also notes that so far, Latuda’s results in controlling the core symptoms of depression have been strong. Although some patients experienced adverse reactions like nausea and vomiting, the drug has fewer adverse long-term effects, like increases in weight and cholesterol, than many of the other drugs on the market.

  • Steve

    Great Another FDA approved Drug to Kill US!!
    Fck You FDA and you Murdering Doctors!!

    • Randy

      To Steve I’m guessing you never struggled with bipolar,if you did you,d appreciat any new drugs the FDA approved, as they often give great hope to those who suffer.

      • Steve

        Sad to say I am bipolar. I see how doctors masked my problems and destroyed my life! I am sure it Took the FDA a week to approve this drug with No long term effects! Wonder how much they made to pust this drug on the market.

        • Mike

          Steve your clearly off your meds go get help

          • Steve

            lol. Actually I am getting help but I do not see any miracles. I have lost my mind as in memory. I Just hope I do not have Dementia, I’m only 47 years old.

            If there is a miracle drug I will take but have yet to find a miracle Drug.

            Will see my outcome.

          • Steve

            Just Lock me up and throw away the Key!

        • kat

          I’m been on nearly every psych drug thru the years. Many caused all
          sorts of problems but I was desperate to have something anything make a
          difference. Now 24 years later I decide I’m fed up with taking a handful
          of meds twice a day so I begin the LONG journey of d/c’d one at a time.
          Each time WOW I felt better than before and now only taking ONE feeling
          my best ever. If they had given a better/correct diagnosis and med
          regimen many years ago I could have had a good career and life off
          welfare. So it’s important to be pro active, question, and be
          knowledgeable about what they think is your problem and what really is
          your problem. Psych meds dull your mind and then the next thing you know
          20 years of your life is gone, too late to do over.

  • Dig Deeper

    It would be great to have another option for treating my Bipolar 2. The medicine I currently take is extremely effective but makes my hair fall out; I’m a 30 year-old woman with a receding hairline, and no signs of stopping 🙁

    • barb

      What drug are you currently taking? Are you taking Latuda and if so, is it causing any hair loss?

      • Dig Deeper

        It’s Lamotrigine (brand name Lamictal). It started falling out almost immediately after I started taking it. But It’s the only thing that works so I don’t have a choice.

        • Lauren

          Have you had your thyroid checked? a lot of mood stabilizers halt your thyroid or push you into hypothyroidism. If you get it checked you can get thyroid meds.

    • Anthony C Ekiko

      I am sorry to hear this what is exactly that you are taking please .

  • Dawn

    I just started taking Latuda last night. I am hopeful that it will help with my depression. However very concerned with the fact that it’s a new medication and the insurance “arguments” will begin.

  • C. K. Garman

    Does anyone know if this med is effective for mani-depressive “combination” (not sure about correct nomenclature for diagnosis)? What about side effect of increased blood sugars? Any help appreciated.