There are many OTC drugs which may
cause problems for bipolars and non-bipolars. A bipolar clearly must be particularly vigilant when they find that a drug causes them agitation or insomnia, as well as being aware of more drug interactions.
Here are some drugs which can cause problems... I include Sudafed, which i can take without incident:
- Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) - can cause agitation even in non-bipolars. if you feel agitated when taking it either stop, or try taking less of it, or spacing the doses further apart. (i can take it and go to sleep, lol.)
- Older antihistamines - these typically make one drowsy. Eg: Benadryl, which is even given as a sleep aid. However, some people (eg: MYSELF) get paradoxical agitation at certain doses. (I personally don't know if this is related to my being bipolar, I just know that it can make me really hyper so steer clear!)
- Dextromethorphan - a cough suppressant, this ingredient is common to many OTC cough syrups. It can on its own cause agitation, so beware and reduce or suspend use, if you start feeling hyped.
An even more important caution, not just for bipolars: this drug is serotonergic (increases serotonin activity in the brain). It MUST NOT BE TAKEN IF one is in treatment with any other serotonergic agent, eg: an SSRI type antidepressant, St. John's Wort (an herb), triptans, etc. Combining such agents increases risk of Serotonin Syndrome, which can be fatal.
Remember to check the ingredients when you take OTC meds. many have multiple drugs in them. For instance, pseudoephedrine could be present in combination with antihistamines under a different name than Sudafed. Same with dextromethorphan.
Any doubts when you try something unfamiliar, please talk to your pharmacist. Also, when taking several OTC drugs, it is a good idea to remind your pharmacist of prescription drugs you use or may use. The pharmacist will know or check if there are potential problems.
A final note. For some reason, I get racing thoughts when i am ill. I don't have to take anything to get them, nor be on Zoloft or anything. It just happens when i get sick. I don't even have to have a fever. So i tend to be extra careful about taking things that I know cause (me) agitation.
Thought I'd mention it in case anyone else gets this and perhaps hasn't noticed ... it took me a while to connect being ill with these bouts of racing thoughts.
~ waves ~