Q. My 7 year old son has been recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder with dissociative features. This diagnosis came after trying Ritalin and he lost control. After this, he was started on Mellaril 10mg/day and Depakote 250mg/day. In all my readings on bipolar disorder, I have not seen Mellaril as a medication for bipolar. The doctor plans on changing him to Zyprexa for the summer. Can you give me more info on these medications and also if they are safe for young children?
A. I am not a child psychiatrist, but the medications should be okay. Depakote is used not only psychiatrically, but as an anti-epileptic agent. Many kids are on Depakote for seizures, and it is safe. Mellaril is an old fashioned antipsychotic medication. These agents are frequently used to slow down mania. Talk with your doctor about it. It seems reasonable to use these, but I honestly do not know the child data that well for young bipolars.