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So, I first showed up here some months ago under the suspicion of BPD.

I'm back now, with a diagnosis of Bipolar with a side of anxiety. Fan-tabulous.

I just started a job last week... working full time, having to get up at 4 in the morning to get here on time.

And now I've been started on Risperdal and Lamictal.

I thought I'd wander in and ask what to expect. I'm not sure whether the road's gonna get easier or bumpier for the next few months... And to add to things, I'm expected to attend my fiance's graduation and meet his parents at the end of the month... and it'll be my only chance to see him in 6 months, if you get my drift. Thus, side effects are scaring me.

Any tips? Warnings? Anything at all?

(And lemme know if this is in the wrong spot <.<; It might be, even though I didn't intend for it to be med-centric.)

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Lyra,

Welcome to the boards.

Everyone's experiences are different, but I haven't had a lot of Lamictal side effects. These meds usually aren't onew of those "get worse before you get better" type of thing.

Life's a journey, and it's MUCH more interesting when you put Bipolar in the mix.

Hang out, read the threads, feel free to post anything you like.

Welcome back to Crazyboards.

InfoNut

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Lamictal was a dream drug for me. Very few side effects, didn't feel like a zombie, all in all it was pretty cool... until I developed a rash. ;) I'm pretty sure it wasn't even "the rash," but my pdoc has a zero tolerance policy for rashes of any kind, so it got yanked. I was very sad and I remember really wanting to back off the dose and keep trying, which isn't normally the case with me and meds.

I've not taken Risperdal, so I can't comment there. Good luck with your combo, and welcome to the boards!

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Hi, Lyra...

I can't speak from experience re: Risperdal, but I can about Lamictal.

For some people it takes very little Lamictal before they start to feel better, as little as 25-50 mg. For others, it takes more. For me, it was around 125 mg., which I think is somewhat higher than the average.

Some people get side effects, others don't. (I know...sounding a bit wishy-washy by now :) ) Seems like most people's posts I've read here mention SEs that are temporary. That's the way it was with me, too.

I don't know what to tell you re: the road you'll be facing. You don't mention...do you know yet what particular type of BP is your diagnosis? I'm BPII, so what I may say will pretty much apply to that.

In the meanwhile, before you start feeling the benefits of the meds, the only think I can recommend is a lot of healthy self-talk to help you get through the stresses you face. You start to feel pressure at work? Tell yourself "I'm doing my best" or "I'll be feeling better soon" or take a deep breath and count...whatever works for you. (Any suggestions from some wiser voices here?)

At least that's all I can come up with. If I think of something else, I'll let you know. ;)

Best,

revlow

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Revlow: No, they didn't tell me. Actually I had no clue what I had until my Pdoc said outright, "Well, the good news is, the treatments for Bipolar are a lot more advanced now." They were being oddly secretive about it but I think my Tdoc just didn't want me to "taint" my symptoms since she knows I've got a pretty good idea of what everything is.

Thanks for your support everyone...

Pdoc warned me about the rash. With my luck it'll happen... I'm never allergic to anything until it's something REALLY obscure. Here's hoping though.

He's starting me out with .5 of Risperdal and 25 of Lamictal, tapering to 1 and 100 for now.

Work right now is easy but hard part's gonna be earning enough to pay for my meds... Stupid insurance and their co-pays...

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Welcome to our world, Lyra! ;)

It's possible that your pdoc didn't want to pigeonhole you into BPI or BPII. Seems that many pdocs, mine included, aren't too interested in which flavor of BP you are. The BP world is now referred to as the "bipolar spectrum" (as in BP spectrum disorder), since the treatments are similar for all types. Not necessarily the same, but their based on what the predominant symptoms you present with.

He's right, too. BP is much more treatable than it was even 10-15 years ago. New meds and new approaches have made stability possible. Remember that many of us post here because we have terrible trouble either with side effects or with getting stable. Don't panic if you see a lot of negatives about any meds. We're skewed that way. And then there are those of us who check in because we empathize with the struggle and want to help newbies, or just because we still want to talk about adjusting our worlds.

Lamictal is often prescribed when the prevailing mode is depression punctuated by mania or hypomania. It's not generally used by itself at first if you're in an acute manic state, but if you're primarily depressed when starting it it's considered to be just dandy. Myself, I was in a severely depressed phase induced by another med, and lamictal helped with that even at 25mg. 100mg added stabilization, and at 400 I'm doing pretty darned well, although I'm still adjusting other meds. 200 is generally a good place to start evaluating how you're doing.

I don't have experience with risperdal.

Anyhow, this is a good place to start. If you have specific med-related questions (like all the possible gory side effects of your meds) check out the anticonvulsant boards. Here we do refer to our meds, but a purely medication-related thread might be moved to the AC or AP boards by the moderators. Hang in there and keep posting!

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NARS said everything much better than I. Agree with everything she said about BP spectrum.

Work right now is easy but hard part's gonna be earning enough to pay for my meds... Stupid insurance and their co-pays...
Again, don't know about Risperdal...but Lamictal is available in a generic, which is identical to the brand. By identical, I mean it is the exact same med as Lamictal, both made by GSK.

Here's a thread about it: Generic Lamictal -- Yes, it IS available!. The bottom line of this long thread is on page 3: http://www.crazyboards.org/forums/index.ph...opic=6810&st=40, and here are the comments of chinacat (a former Clinical Study Coordinator), which put any disputes to rest: http://www.crazyboards.org/forums/index.ph...indpost&p=81803.

So you may want to look into the generic Lamictal (lamotrogine) to save $.

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Thanks for letting me know about the generic I may get that if my insurance will allow it (they're weird like that).

Right now I'm having to deal with a combo of the meds hitting me and going without caffeine for the first time in months. It wouldn't be so bad except I'm having to deal with a lot of noise at work and it's making me very aggitated - I feel like biting the voice boxes out of about three-fourths of the office, seriously. But luckily I have my CD player... i'll just be glad when there's something to do because right now we're not doing anything and so I'm bored and me being bored is seldom good. I still feel groggy (I was shocked that the pills knocked me out in under 30 minutes last night - I've had times before where I've been up for 3-4 days at a time and I've still never felt that sleepy). Pdoc told me to keep my caffeine to a minimum, and since I'm used to having at least a red bull if not a jolt every day especially at work I really don't feel like I can function correctly. Not too mention the girls in my cube were mean and stuck me with the crappy chair because I was late to work since I fell asleep on the train this morning despite 10 hours of sleep last night and wound up missing my stop.

Ugh, I'll check in later maybe for now I'm going to go try to read for a while until some work appears - and turn up my music till the gossippers take a hint. My poor ears.

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i took risperdal for about a month to make the voices quit calling my name. once they ceased i was taken off of it. i didnt have any SEs with it either.

im now on remeron and depakote but i see my pdoc in a week and he may change things up, so says my tnurse. my dx is bp nos so they havent pigeon-holed me one way or the other at this point but pdoc may change even that. im not sure i wanna see him but i guess i need to...

anyway, good luck to you!

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As for knocking you out- it could be both of them, but I have taken risperdal and still do on occasion and it does have a tendency to knock me out. I did take it more often at one point and this effect lessened though.

I like Lamictal- it's had a quieting sort of effect and helped my moods a little on the depression end. As far as side effects go... I am sure I have gained some negatives from it, but it has been such a positive for me that it has outweighed things that I might have noticed otherwise.

Risperdal hadn't really given me any negatives as far as i can recall, though I don't take it often at all so I may not be a great source of info. It does take me a longer to fully wake up, but i don't feel hung over and it doesn't stick with me through the day. Nor do i find my self knocked out for a huge amount of time.

~navy~

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It might help to taper off the caffeine rather than to just quit it. If you do coffee, you can start with 75% regular and 25% decaf and go down from there. Soda is a little trickier, but if you're used to Jolt and Red Bull, maybe switching to regular caffeinated soda for a little while and then going to a caffeine free cola after that would help. Caffeine withdrawl can give you a nasty headache as well as make you feel super tired. It's considered safe enough to be in food, but it's still a drug!

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I take 1 mg of risperdal, and after taking some of the other anti-psychotics like seroquel (which made me sleep 14 hours a day and want to sleep the other 10) I don't even know I'm taking it.

What do I do to counteract the "sleepy" effects of the meds? I take them at night. Risperdal, in particular, will likely relax you enough to make you drowsy. Experiment on what time at night to take them. Start at dinnertime and work you way later until you get to a time when you're not groggy in the morning. Ever since I was 14, I was an insomniac. I used to have tons of sleeping pills, and even ambien would work so-so on me (of course, when you're manic nothing will get you to sleep). Now, I sleep like a baby for a full 8 hours every night!

Once you get used to the meds, things will be easier. The first week is always the roughest. I tend to take time off when switching meds, because I've had some bad reactions to some meds before (like acting completely drunk at work kind of reactions)

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Agree with SerraGeorge about methods of tapering off.

Have no idea how common this is, but if it's any consolation...once I started feel the benefits of Lamictal, I stopped having my cravings for coffee. I went from a complete coffee junkie to just 2 cups of Earl Grey tea a day. Yes it's caffeine, but it's a whole lot less than the coffee I used to need just to function.

I still enjoy an rare cup of coffee if I'm at a restaurant, but I don't go through the pots of it I used to. In fact my coffee is turning rancid, even in the freezer. ;)

Also, at least in the beginning, Lamictal was sedating for me. Finally got some good sleep for the 1st time in my life. Now, I divide up the doses since I'm on such a high dose, due to hormones. Still sleeping quite well in general.

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As for being BP- it is interesting. Sometimes it is a good thing, because we are so creative and feel so much more deeply than "normal" people. On the other hand, this sensitivity can turn itself into a nightmare.

Look at www.willigocrazy.org for the perspective of a BP psychologist.

As for Lamictal- it is wonderful for me. I don't even know I'm taking it. My moods are much more even and I feel more in control. A mood is just a mood- not an episode. It recently kept me down in hypo rather than letting a full mania hit, so I think it is helping dampen the disorder but not kick its butt entirely.

I take 400mg Lamictal.

Until today I took Risperdal too. I took Risperdal once before, a few months ago, but at a much higher dose. It made me lactate, so they yanked me off of it. I realize that with my disorder I need SOME antipsychotic, so I asked to try Risp again. This time it was introduced at 1mg instead of 4mg. Today I started lactating again. So now I'm off with my Haldol script. I've run out of AAP drugs to try.

But I can say good things about them both. Risp was the only AAP I ever liked. I never even realized I was taking it.

good luck!

loon

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And now I've been started on Risperdal and Lamictal.

Hello Lyra,

I had a particular rough time about 2 months ago with some thoughts that were driving me crazy. i got an emergency appointment with my doc and he upped my dosage of Celexa and added in Risperdal 1 mg.

Now the crazy making thoughts left me, but I was left feeling very groggy, like I was falling asleep at work, which is a no no. So after the third day since my crazy thoughts were gone I made my own decision to stop the Risperdal ( I know this is not recommended) but I hated the feeling of groggy mind. I left my celexa at 40 mg.

I have since seen my pdoc. and he has left me on the 40 mg. Celexa and no Risperdal. Said to let him know first next time yada yada yada. and off I went. doing okay now.

Hope all works out for you. Maybe the groggies will lessen with time for you.. Good luck.

Scooterman

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Sorry I've been so quiet the past few days. I came down with my yearly bout of bronchitis and have been too sick to make it out of bed, much less to work - I get to miss a whole week's pay, yay.

The bright side is, I've been sleeping 14 hours a day anyway, so my time tapering off of caffine has gone smoothly :)

I'm feeling pretty spaztastic overall still, so it's clear the effects of the meds beyond the grogginess hasn't kicked in yet. I doubt it will for a while yet.

I've noticed that most of the Risperdal use was for psychotic episodes and so on... I wasn't informed that I had them, so is there any other reason it's prescribed? I'd assumed it was for my anxiety.

Thanks for all the advice and support, guys. It's very helpful, considering my mother is the opposite. I got a call the day after I was diagnosed informing me that if I went on meds I'd be disowned... and sure enough, haven't heard from her since I started them. Then again, my Tdoc said that my anxiety is probably primarily from her, so it might be a good thing. Anyway, I know about the creative thing already... art/writing's been my main outlet for ages. It's the other things, like the random fits of screaming and throwing things, that I dislike. ;)

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I got a call the day after I was diagnosed informing me that if I went on meds I'd be disowned... and sure enough, haven't heard from her since I started them.
Wowser! What crap!

It never seizes to amaze me how shitty families can be, including my own, and the variety of ways in which they do so.

I hope you're feeling better soon, Lyra.

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