Bipolar Remedy: Worse Than the Disease?

NEW YORK CITY, NY, August 19, 2014 – MedShadowFoundation, an online patient advocacy resource today published a revealing first person account chronicling the journey of Elaina J. Martin, a former editor who lives with bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety disorder. An estimated 5.7 million American adults have bipolar disorder, which is a mental illness characterized by dramatic changes or shifts in mood, energy and intensity.

Disturbing First Person Account Tells of Severe Side Effects and Benefits of Patient Advocacy

After being diagnosed in the fall of 2008 with bipolar disorder, Martin was prescribed Zyprexa, an atypical antipsychotic. Uninformed, she took the medication although it led to nightly binge eating and a twenty pound weight gain within only a month. Following her doctor’s directive, this was one of several prescriptions she tried- all with debilitating side effects-including Lithium, Geodone, Trazadone and several others. “With each try came a new side effect such as fatigue, nausea, constipation, hand trembling, foggy brain, double vision, headaches and sweating,” she says. “It was scary; this caused multiple setbacks in my treatment and ultimately, my recovery.” Frustrated, Martin finally switched doctors and was put on Saphris, another atypical antipsychotic. When coupled with Lamictal, an anticonvulsant and mood stabilizer, she experienced greater stability but continued to binge. As a result of deeper communication with her physician, Saphris was eventually replaced with Topamax, an anti-seizure medication, which proved to be effective without affecting her appetite.

“In sharing Elaina’s story, we hope to empower other patients suffering from psychiatric conditions to pro-actively inquire about the short and long term side effects of prescription medications before accepting them, “ explains Suzanne Robotti, founder and president of MedShadow Foundation. “This includes asking deeper questions of the physician or pharmacist, looking at the pros and cons of prescription drugs, and if appropriate, exploring other options.” In addition to her prescription medications, Martin’s personal motivation opened the door to alternative treatments such as  psychotherapy, acupuncture, meditation and yoga. “All of these things have helped me and didn’t come in a pill,” she notes. To read more of Elaina J. Martin’s story, read: Nasty Side Effects of Psychiatric Medications.


About MedShadow Foundation

Founded in 2012 by Suzanne Robotti, MedShadow Foundation seeks to empower patients and encourage discussion between patient and health care provider about the short and long term side effects of prescription medication. MedShadow Foundation uses its website and various social media platforms to gather and report breaking news and resources related to the side effects of prescription medications. While recognizing the beneficial, often life-saving effects of prescription drugs, we know that accurate and complete information on side effects is frequently lacking.  For more information, visit


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