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A good mood stabilizer?

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Posted

If anyone's been following my posts, I got off of Risperdal about 100 hours ago or so because I couldn't stand the flatness and how hard it was to study (I only have one more quarter before I get my associate's degree...I'm going into literature and writing and I NEED creativity and my brain for that...)

Anyway, last night I started researching Lamictal and Lithium, both on forums here and on the internet. I was concerned when I kept reading that Lithium can cause flatness (which I never want again) and that Lamictal can cause serious itching (I already have chronic hives for an unknown reason and I really don't want MORE skin problems). I wouldn't be worried if I hadn't kept reading board after board and post after post about those two drugs and the problems involved. How likely am I to become flat on Lithium or itchy on Lamictal? Are there other good mood stabilizers? I feel unstable without the Risperdal, but I hated how I felt on it too. I need help.

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Posted

I think YMMV and you won't know until you go on them how you'll react.

If it helps, I didn't flatten on lithium and the second time I took it, had only the mildest, short-term itching on lamictal (the first time I took it I got a rash).

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Posted

How much of each were you on? Maybe I just need to make sure I don't get overmedicated. And short term itching I can deal with...I mean, like I said, I get hives as it is, and I'm used to it. As long as it goes away and I don't get dandruff all over my coat and embarass myself.

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Posted (edited)

I'll second Lamictal and Lithium. Lamictal tends to have fewer side effects for folks. It is a stronger antidepressant than antimanic. It's quite effective for many by itself or paired with a stronger antimanic. It basically is my antidepressant. I really like it. Average dose seems to be 200mg. Lithium can be a great med. Studies show it as the most effective at promoting new neuron growth (repairing your brain) which is why it's being studied for non-psych brain diseases. It doesn't work for everyone, though. About 25% get no effect from it. About 25% have side effect problems. The other 50% do well. Dosing is by serum level, not milligrams, so there are blood tests involved. Once you are at a steady state, those usually are only every three to six months. I was one of the 50%. No appreciable s/e's save some acne. Both paired together is not uncommon.

A few other meds to consider are Trileptal, which like Lamicatal is an anticonvulsant. Many do well on it. Tegretol is somewhat similar to Trileptal. It has been great for rapid cycling for me. Depakote is another anticonvulsant that is quite effective for many. It *can* come with side effects, more so than some other meds. Each person is different, so you never know. Some don't have any s/e's on it, so you never know until you try.

Edited by Stacia

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Posted

How much of each were you on?

I don't remember how much lithium I was on, or what my target blood level was. I was on lithium for almost a year though. The one thing it did to me was make me hypothyroid fairly quickly, but you can take synthroid for that.

Lamictal I got up to 50mg the first time and developed a rash, got taken off of it. I'm on 150mg right now and use it for Invega-related depression.

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Posted

Here's the list of mood stabilizers I know are out there:

Lithium, Depakote, Tegratol, Trileptal, Lamictal, Topamax, Neurontin, Gabatril, Zonegran

You'll have to give each one a try and see what happens. If you don't like one there are others of which you can try. I wish you the best.

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Posted

I'm on Lamictal and it has done wonders for me. It works without making me feel "flat" all the time, which is nice.

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Posted

This is the second time I've been on Lamictal, and neither time have I experienced any skin problems at all. I really hope it will help this time. I feel better, more even, since I went back on it.

However, I went up to 400 mg Lamictal before and ended up with serious cognitive impairment. I was on a high dose of Epival/Depakote at the time, tho (1500 mg), so it could have been the combo. The s/e went away when the doseages were lowered.

Lithium was a bust- got a rash from that!

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Posted

I'm @150mg Lamictal and noticed some "itchiness" but no rash (mostly in the morning, but it is winter after all). From what I understand the itchy/rash is when you go up too quickly.

Otherwise, it works. I depend on creativity for my one job (author) and stability for my other one (sports official). I can't afford flatness. All along the line since way back docs have always told me to avoid Lithium citing that because I TS I should not take it. I can't recall why exactly, but I need to avoid flatness in general so, I suppose that's just as well.

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Posted

This is the second time I've been on Lamictal, and neither time have I experienced any skin problems at all. I really hope it will help this time. I feel better, more even, since I went back on it.

However, I went up to 400 mg Lamictal before and ended up with serious cognitive impairment. I was on a high dose of Epival/Depakote at the time, tho (1500 mg), so it could have been the combo. The s/e went away when the doseages were lowered.

Lithium was a bust- got a rash from that!

Depakote doubles the strength of Lamictal, so that was one hell of a dose of Lamictal, like 800mg. Way too much.

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Posted

When I first started taking Lithium, I was on the regular capsules. I had the worst side effects possible but the medication worked miracles. When I told the doctor about my side effects, he decided to put me on Lithium ER (the extended release tablets) and I have no symptoms now except dry mouth, and even that isn't half as bad as it was before. If you were to want to try Lithium (which, for me, is a miracle drug for mood swings), I would strongly suggest that you ask about the extended release version of it.

Best of luck. Hope I helped some. =/

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Posted

I'm on 400mg Topamax and 200mg Lamictal.

No itchiness. No flatness.

Lithium wasn't good for me but it works wonders in a lot of people.

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Posted

400 mg. Lamictal (and all the generic versions) works well for me. I've been pretty stable for almost 2 1/2 years now. Of course, I take a bunch of other crap too.

Tommy

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Posted

Lamictal is a wonder drug as far as I'm concerned. My pdoc put me on it because even though I have never had mania, and may or may not have had hypomania, I've had several episodes of major depression. Since Lamictal is used as a mood stabilizer with really good anti-depressant effects, he chose it for me with the hope that it would break the depression cycle. I am also continuing the Wellbutrin anti-depressant that I've been on for years.

The pdoc has said that the next drug to add to the mix is a low dose of lithium, if I start getting depressed again. He has had good luck with combining Lamictal and lithium with many of his patients.

Although I've never had hives, I do have really sensitive skin and get rashes / irritations from lots of things like the wrong type of laundry detergent, hand soap, household cleaning products, the wrong brand of sunblock, etc. I didn't have any trouble getting up to 200 mg of Lamictal, although it is a slow titration.

My mood is good and I don't feel flat at all, and I've been on Lamictal for about a year. Creative thinking is also important to my work.

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Posted

I hear you. It's frustrating to find a good stabilizer.

I have done well on Lithium, few or no side effects.

I have been on Geodon for a year, and it's golden - have not had a manic or psychotic episode since I started. Side effects - slurred speech, extreme drowsiness - I make sure to take mine before bed instead of in the morning.

Good luck to you!

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Posted

Hmmm...I gotta admit, these replies changed a lot for me (in a good way). Yesterday I was really against meds and really rebellious. I'd forgotten about this post. Then I checked it and found all these "success stories" Lithium and Lamictal mainly (seems to be mostly Lamictal). I gotta say, it's awesome to hear that some of you are writers and other types of creative people and haven't lost that. I take mainly lit classes and I need my brain. It's reassuring to know that I can be on a mood stabilizer and not lose my life like I have on AAPs. I think I'll honestly consider what you guys have said. Thank you ;)

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Posted

I couldn't tolerate lithium long enough to stay on it. Lamictal was the wonder drug in my +xanax cocktail. Okay, that's probably overstating things. Lamictal is the first med I've taken that I felt helped more than hurt. Small doses of Lamictal and Xanax (plus talk therapy) helped me be pretty stable until I had to discontinue meds due to pregnancy. I've heard the serious rash is dangerous but rare. I did have a mild rash when starting Lamictal. Pdoc thought it was heat rash rather than the scary, dangerous one. Lamictal gave me intense hot flashes for about four weeks after starting it. Aside from hot flashes/rash, the main things I disliked about Lamictal: It often interfered with my sleep, and I already have chronic insomnia issues. Also, the generic version is reported to be different enough from the brand name to cause problems for some people when they change from one to the other. I'm super sensitive to the slightest med change, so this has me concerned. (Probably more than need be.)

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