Q. I saw a news broadcast early this morning about new treatments for bipolar disorder. My Dad has been taking Lithium successfully for many years; however, his hands shake so badly that eating a simple meal is a challenge. Is there a promising alternative to Lithium available, and if so, where can we get additional information?


  A. There are a number of treatment alternatives to lithium. Antiepileptic drugs (Tegretol, Neurontin, Topamax, Depakote, Lamictal, and others) are pretty well studied. Some individuals are using atypical antipsychotics (Clozapine, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, and others) for treatment. Best thing to do is talk it over with you doctor. They should be well informed on all these meds, and able to help pick out not only the best class of medications, but best one within a specific class.