Latuda (lurasidone) Is A New Medication For Patients with Bipolar Depression Who Don’t Respond Well To the Other Medications
Often finding a medication that works with a patient in treating their bipolar depression that is effective with has minimal side effects is one of our greatest challenges in treating bipolar depression; or any other mental illness for that matter. Latuda seems to be one of those new medications that we can use with our patients who might not otherwise respond well to the current or previous medications available. As of late 2013, the FDA approved a relatively new medication for the treatment of acute bipolar depression. This medication goes by the trade name, latuda, or the generic name of lurasidone.
This is a very good addition to the sparse repertoire of previous medications that were previously FDA approved for acute bipolar depression. The typical treatments were the combination therapy of olanzapine and fluoxetine, also known as symbyax and the monotherapy medication of quetiapine, also known as seroquel. These two medication therapies have been the only FDA approved medications for the treatment of acute bipolar depressed episode for the past seven to twelve years. Because of this limited selection of medications, there has been a great need for a new drug that would help people with bipolar depression, since this is the episode that people with bipolar disorder are in approximately 68 % of the time. This depressive state is also the most debilitating along with the mixed state (mania combined with depression) for a patient to be in due to the life-threatening suicidal ideation or relationship and or employment-threatening symptoms patients have in this state and where there is a high risk of need for psychiatric hospitalization.
Bipolar Depresssion Treatment Might Become More Effective With The Introduction of Lurasidone
Because of these clinically urgent situations that come with the depressed episode of bipolar disorder, lurasidone, has become a welcomed addition to the available medication that can be effective both alone as a monotherapy treatment or when it is added to valproate or lithium, as an adjunctive therapy. The reason that lurasidone has been much awaited as receiving the new FDA approval is that it is not only one more possible medication that can be effective in treating bipolar depression; but also, because it has a much more favorable side effect profile than the two older therapies just described.
Latuda also has a much lower risk of weight gain, and other increases in metabolic parameters, such as increased blood pressure, or an increased risk of increased blood glucose levels and cholesterol numbers. These problems have sometimes made the older therapies virtually intolerable to many patients. There also seems to be, from what I have seen clinically, a lower sedative effect, which can be very helpful especially in those depressed patients who are already fatigued; and we do not want to add to that during the day if that can at all be avoided. Unfortunately, much of the time the older medications do cause sedation and fatigue to the point that people find it difficult to function. I have found lurasidone to be an effective and per many of my patients’ reporting a well-tolerated medication for the treatment of their bipolar depressive episodes. I find that it is an exciting new medication that we now have in our armamentarium of medications making bipolar depressed episode much less debilitating. What I have seen with my patients is nothing short of a miracle in their depressive symptoms resolving. Sometimes patients are amazed at how much better they are doing after going over the symptoms with them, however many times, they already know they are feeling better before I point it out to them. Right after they step in the room, they comment on how much better they feel. I am certainly thankful for this new medication as I know they are; and I am grateful that there is an alternative medication for treatment of this sometimes very troubling illness, that with this medication is much more easily treated. Patients tend to get back to their normal level of functioning in a shorter period of time, due to the relatively few side effects that they may have in comparison to the older agents.