October 5th, 2010
08:35 AM ET

Can antidepressants raise liver enzymes?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Tuesdays, it's Dr. Charles Raison, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, and an expert in the mind-body connection for health.

Question asked by Ann, of Bloomfield, New York

How do I help my daughter who has a diagnosis of bipolar and each time the doctors put her on an antidepressant, her liver counts go up and she goes into mania? This happens when the liver levels rise. It takes at least two weeks to cycle through.

Expert answer

Dear Ann,

The short answer to your question on how to help your daughter is to get her under the care of a clinician who will stop prescribing her antidepressants. We've known for years that antidepressants can worsen the course of bipolar disorder, at least in some patients. While some bipolar people take antidepressants without difficulty - and in fact need them - others have symptoms much like your daughter's every time they are placed on them.

Many psychiatric medications can increase "liver counts," by which you mean blood measures of liver enzymes. Usually this is not something to worry about. I've known some world-famous gastroenterologists who counsel psychiatrists not to worry about these short term rises in liver counts - even when the counts double. Every once in a while a medication will really damage the liver and counts will really shoot up. That is a different and very serious issue.

Although antidepressants can make bipolar patients manic and they can raise liver counts, these two effects are probably not connected. We are not sure how antidepressants induce mania. Recent studies suggest that people with certain genes are more likely than others to have this problem, and it is not just medications that can do this. Sleep deprivation is especially famous for its ability to make people manic.

I do not know your daughter's treatment history from this short question. Let me assume she has  been treated only with antidepressants. If so, the good news is that multiple other medications are likely to be of far more help to her both in terms of her depressions and manias. The classic medication in this regard is lithium. Newer medications that have been shown to stabilize mood in bipolar disorder include valproic acid (Depakote), carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine, lamotrigine (Lamictal) and several of a class of medications known as atypical antipsychotics.

I have seen countless people treated with the wrong medications who made remarkable recoveries when started on medications better suited to their diagnosis. Given your question, it is likely your daughter may be one of them.

soundoff (482 Responses)
  1. house for sale harrison


    May 14, 2021 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. horse trailer paint


    May 14, 2021 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Eye Doctor Phoenix


    May 14, 2021 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Arizona's Vision


    May 15, 2021 at 01:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 2016 Maserati For Sale

    This is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate information… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read article!


    May 15, 2021 at 03:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. houses for sale rathdrum id

    This is the right site for anybody who wants to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that has been written about for a long time. Excellent stuff, just great!


    May 15, 2021 at 03:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. houses for sale athol id


    May 15, 2021 at 04:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. vinyl wraps for rv

    Very nice write-up. I certainly love this site. Stick with it!


    May 15, 2021 at 05:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Maserati Oil Change Cost


    May 15, 2021 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. tires in orange county ca

    I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your blog and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.


    May 15, 2021 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. combigan

    generic combigan buy generic combigan

    May 15, 2021 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Eye Doctor Near Me

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and the rest of the website is very good.


    May 15, 2021 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. homes for sale post falls id


    May 15, 2021 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. How Much Does A Maserati Car Cost


    May 15, 2021 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. property for sale near my location


    May 15, 2021 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Contact Lens Exam

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thanks for providing these details.


    May 15, 2021 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. rv tire repair near me

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to come back once again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    May 15, 2021 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Maserati Louisville


    May 15, 2021 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Social Media Marketing Company


    May 15, 2021 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Maserati Ghibli Price 2016

    This site was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Thanks!


    May 15, 2021 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Digital Marketing Consultant Near Me


    May 15, 2021 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. how to play on private aika server

    I truly love your site.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my own personal site and want to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Kudos!


    May 16, 2021 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Social Media Marketing Market

    I love looking through an article that can make people think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!


    May 16, 2021 at 02:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Digital Marketing Program

    bookmarked!!, I really like your website!


    May 16, 2021 at 04:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Video Marketing Orange County


    May 16, 2021 at 05:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Digital Marketing Orange County

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!


    May 16, 2021 at 06:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. how to repair rv fiberglass exterior damage

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you so much, However I am encountering issues with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I can't join it. Is there anybody having identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 16, 2021 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. best rv repair

    Good post. I absolutely appreciate this site. Keep it up!


    May 16, 2021 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Dodge Van Repair


    May 16, 2021 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. 2018 Maserati Quattroporte Configurations

    Right here is the right webpage for everyone who really wants to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject that has been written about for a long time. Great stuff, just excellent!


    May 16, 2021 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. 2006 Sprinter Fuel Pump Repair

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the greatest blogs on the web. I will highly recommend this web site!


    May 16, 2021 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. avanafil

    avanafil buy avanafil buy

    May 16, 2021 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Mercedes Sprinter Maintenance Service Near Me


    May 16, 2021 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Handicapped Van Repair

    Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Spending some time and actual effort to produce a superb article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don't seem to get anything done.


    May 16, 2021 at 18:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Sprinter Service Near Me


    May 16, 2021 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. 2017 Maserati Convertible


    May 16, 2021 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Mercedes Sprinter Rust Repair Panels


    May 16, 2021 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Prestige Collision Sprinter Repair Mission Viejo

    I was very happy to discover this web site. I need to to thank you for your time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely liked every bit of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to see new information in your website.


    May 16, 2021 at 23:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Maserati Used Near Me

    Having read this I thought it was really enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 17, 2021 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. High Roof Sprinter Repair Panels


    May 17, 2021 at 01:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Mercedes Sprinter Maintenance Service Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am having difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody having similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 17, 2021 at 03:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. 2018 Maserati Levante Gransport


    May 17, 2021 at 04:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Mercedes Sprinter Diesel Repair Near Me


    May 17, 2021 at 06:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Diesel Sprinter Repair Service


    May 17, 2021 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. wukong333 test id free

    Hey there would you mind letting me know which
    hosting company you're utilizing? I've loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this
    blog loads a lot quicker then most. Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider
    at a reasonable price? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

    Look at my web site – wukong333 test id free

    May 17, 2021 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Service

    I was excited to discover this great site. I need to to thank you for your time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to see new things in your site.


    May 17, 2021 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Maserati Ghibli 2014


    May 17, 2021 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Couches Orange County


    May 17, 2021 at 17:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Lease Maserati

    Hello there! I just wish to give you a big thumbs up for your great information you've got here on this post. I'll be returning to your site for more soon.


    May 17, 2021 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. 918kiss-m.com

    This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me.

    Many thanks!

    Here is my page wukong333 android, 918kiss-m.com,

    May 17, 2021 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.