How might recreational “party” drugs interact with medications for bipolar II disorder?

In Australia alcohol is the most popular “party” (recreational) drug, while cannabis (marijuana) is the most popular illicit drug (unlawful or illegal drug). Other major types of illegal drugs include: amphetamines (incl. crystal meth), cocaine (“coke”), ecstasy (MDMA), and hallucinogens (incl. LSD or “magic mushrooms”).

It is not clear how illegal drugs might change the way that medications used to treat bipolar II disorder (BPII) work, such as lithium, lamotrigine and quetiapine. Some illicit drugs, for example cannabis, can increase side-effects like:

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  • dizziness,
  • drowsiness (sleepiness),
  • confusion, and
  • difficulties concentrating.

Some people may also find it hard to:

  • think and make decisions, and
  • control their movements (motor coordination).

Do not change or stop taking your prescribed dose of medication. Talk first to your psychiatrist or GP.

For these reasons, it is a good idea to discuss your recreational and illicit drug use with your psychiatrist and GP when deciding on which treatment options might best suit you. You may also want to consider cutting down or avoiding recreational drugs as a way to help stay well and prevent relapse.