A man writing "Bipolar disorder" word

Latuda (lurasidone) for Depression Associated with Bipolar Disorder

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 5.7 million adult Americans are affected by bipolar disorder. With all forms of bipolar disorder, the patient will typically experience episodes of depression.   

Bipolar disorder involves fluctuation between hypomania or mania (“high”) and clinical depression (“low”).  The patient may experience episodes of high and low moods, with periods of normal energy in between, which can vary from mild to dangerous.  While the symptoms of depression may be very similar to other depression-related disorders, such as major depressive disorder (MAD), it is not the same condition and needs to be treated with different type of medications. During the high energy states, known as mania, the patient may experience decreased need for sleep, high creativity, excitement or euphoria, overactivity, fast or pressured speech patterns, and sometimes even delusions.

What are the symptoms of depression due to bipolar disorder?

There is no permanent cure for bipolar depression, but it can be controlled with medications. Some common symptoms include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble remembering or focusing
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Irritability
  • Headaches

How is Depression Associated with Bipolar Disorder treated?

While it is generally agreed that counseling and prescription medication for bipolar disorder is the best route for treatment, a qualified psychiatrist is the best person to be referred to help determine the most helpful course of treatment, including what medications should be prescribed. 

If bipolar depression is not correctly diagnosed and treated with the same standard medications as unipolar (“standard”) depression, the patient is at high risk of switching into a manic episode.

Some of the common medications prescribed for bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers (such as lithium or valproic acid), atypical antipsychotics (such as Seroquel and Latuda) and antidepressants such sertraline (but never on their own). 

Latuda (lurasidone) is used to treat several mental disorders and mood disorders including schizophrenia and depression that is associated with bipolar disorder.  It is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs called atypical antipsychotics, which work by balancing chemicals in the brain (dopamine and serotonin).

Latuda (lurasidone) is available in the following strengths:

20 mg tablets

40 mg tablets

60 mg tablets

80 mg tablets

120 mg tablets

How does Latuda (lurasidone) work?

Prescription Latuda (lurasidone) helps patients feel calmer and more focused, increase energy levels, improve and stabilize moods, improve sleep, and may also help decrease the frequency and/or intensity of hallucinations.

Prescription Latuda (lurasidone) is usually taken once daily by mouth, typically in the evening. The dosage depends on your doctor’s diagnosis, your response to treatment(s) and your medical condition. Latuda should be taken with food (at least 350 calories) in order to be fully absorbed. If you take Latuda on an empty stomach, only about half the dose will be absorbed into your system.

You should not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit while taking this medication.

You should not stop, decrease or increase this medication without specific directions from your doctor.  It may take a few weeks before the full effect of this medication is felt.

What are the side effects of Latuda (lurasidone)?

This is not a complete list of side effects:

  • Drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Restlessness or feeling like you need to move around (akathisia)
  • Problems controlling your body temperature so that you feel too warm
  • Increased blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels
  • Weight gain

Be sure to consult with your physician about what other side effects, including serious side effects, to be aware of.

Was this article helpful?  Other related articles:

Understanding Depression and Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder with Wellbutrin XL®

Facts about Schizophrenia and treatment with medication

Treating Depression, Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder With Lexapro™(escitalopram)

If you have questions about your prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our patient representatives will be happy to assist you or transfer you to a licensed Canadian pharmacist for a free consultation.

This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).