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So...finally my pdoc decided which horsie I'm to start my race with.

The diagnosis is BP2, exarcebated to rapid cycle by antidepressants and cocaine abuse (yep I did stop that crap, been off for over 2 years...)

Now my doc is quite paranoid about medicating me because I ended up in the hospital with serotonin syndrome after 3 days of 50 mg of Zoloft...extreme sensibility to meds (well, and the coke used to make me positively catatonic...also a weird reaction)

Any ways, he decided to start with carbamazepine, titrating from 100 mg up to who knows where over the next few weeks...I have a stern warning to stop if anything too alarming occurs, or even if I just "feel strange" (ah! how the hell I am supposed to know? I forgot what normal was like!)

I read through the board and no one seems to be on this exclusively, especially for bipolar. Is there anyone out there that would be willing to talk about their experiences with this med?

I already read the PI sheet and the five page handout from the pharmacy. What I'm interested to know (if anyone would like to share) is what life is like on tegretol on a day-to-day basis. I think those of you who have read my posts know I'm a newbie, this is my first BP med, and yes, I'm scared...

<<<WAAAA I WANT MY MOMMY!!! WHY ME OH GOD! PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME EVERYTHING"S GONNA BE ALLRIGTH>>>

Especially...I am pathologically afraid of fat (yeah I know the stuff about Tegretol and how you can die from blood disorders and the goddam rash (the doctor told me), but hey, I don't care if I die as long as I die relatively thin, clear skinned and with hair on my head...crazy I know, but what the hell)

All feedback deeply appreciated...i'll be lurking around waiting in fact! ;)

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i'm on tegretol as monotherapy - carbemazepine, at any rate. started at 100mg/day, have titrated up to... um, fuck. i take two and a half tablets a day. it does make me a bit stupid, i admit, but i was stupid before. i'm on it for theoretical epilepsy, and my brain's kinda crispyfried already.

i don't know much about tegretol and bipolar disorder, i'm afraid. i've heard that trilipetal, which is similar in composition, but not quite the same, tends to be more effective for bipolar than tegretol, but as ever mileage may vary.

effects i've noticed: it's hard to separate 'feeling weird' from 'was that a seizure?', but i've had phases of jamais vu - where everything feels totally unfamiliar, as though you've never seen any of your surroundings before. sometimes things look larger or smaller than they should - i look at a tree and suddenly feel like a giant, or suddenly feel dwarfed by the plunger in the bathroom. it's rather alice-in-wonderland, and kinda fucked up.  i have a lot of trouble with numbers lately. counting is pretty much beyond me all of the time. spatial issues i've always had? hell of worse. and i also twitch a lot.

of course, what i experience is likely to be entirely different from what you experience. if it helps, though, individual members of the anticonvulsant family don't have similar side effects, as you see in other classes of drugs. tegretol isn't likely to do the instant-middle-age thing you'd see with, say, depakote, where you gain hell of weight and lose hell of hair.

if it makes you feel better, i've not gotten acne, lost any hair, or gained any weight on tegretol. felt rather nauseous for the first couple weeks, and for the first week it made me fucking exhausted all of the time, but now that's worn off. now i only feel like shit if i *forget* to take it and skip a dose.

give it a chance and see how it works. when you do get up to a higher doseage, or after you've been on it for a month or so, make sure you don't quit it cold turkey, even if you do get unpleasant side-effects. that is somethin you can. NOT. do. with anticonvulsants.

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well up until today i was on carbamazepine as monotherapy. i was on it 2 months as mono...400mg. (I'm BP I by the way). I've liked it so far...weight neutral (in fact i've lost weight on it) and no more mania. we just added wellbutrin because, well, there's no antidepressant effect from carbamazepine...at least for me. So i'm still on 400mg and we've added 100mg of wellbutrin. day to day? i dunno how to explain it really except that i feel "normal" or whatever normal used to be for me. it's not as great as my Lamictal was, but this pretty good.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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wow Kassi...shucks. That was a lot of stuff to go through...Im glad u came out of it. Hope things are better.

I can see how you would find my vain attitude stupid. Intelectually speaking, so do I. But the freakin depression corresponds to thinking I'm already so ugly that nobody really  loves me or likes me (no matter that some people say otherwise) and well, death on the other hand would be, like, very welcome...I tried to invite her in but failed. If the pills do it, then I least the "s" word wont be on my certificate.

So, more crazy talk, eh? Get mad if you want!

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I have used carbamazepine as a monotherapy for rapid cycling bpI and i found it very effective. Much more useful than all the antipshychotics i tried. It made me very calm, got rid of rage/outburts of anger, stabilised my mood for longer periods and didnt make me increase weight.

The only side effects i got with it were incredible not being able to leave the sofa dizziness for the first 4 days...but after that i was fine.

I was taken off it by my old consultant because 5 months after i started it i got what looked like a sweat rash all over my body...he thought this was caused by the tegratol.

My doc (and a few other people) have mentioned this drug worked well for me as i seem to have my bipolar and just recently epilepsy coming from the temporal lobes....im waiting on an EEG and MRI to help confirm this...hope this helps.

Im on Topamax now which seems to be doing the same thing as carbamazepine, except im getting weight loss and a few other minor side effects.

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OK, I was taking it with wellbutrin, but notes on starting up on tegretol:

-know that generics are often more bioeffective (eg get more of it into your system) then the brand name; therefore be prepared for mild dosage-increase side effects if you switch to generic, though if you're not too sensitive you might not feel it.

-I got a little dizziness, slight spacial disorientation, mild nausea and word loss for a few days every time I increased the dose.  Just plan for a day or two of being stranger than usual.  If you have more extreme side effects, well, can't help you there.  I found drinking lots of water was helpful for some reason.  Maybe it just made me feel I was doing something about it.

-If my memory serves me, some pdocs aim for 1200 mg as a target dose, and stop or reduce as necessary if side effects don't go away.   

I only got to 800 before it knocked the wellbutrin completely out and left me terribly depressed.  I was taking the max dose of wellbutrin and was in the shitter.  I was sorry it didn't work for me, because it was absolutely lovely at controlling my irritable, itchy, anxious manic symptoms.  It did make me a bit stupid, though that might have gone away with time. 

Good luck with it.  It's great to hear people are doing well on it; it can be a wonder drug.  My blood stayed fine, no rashes, good health overall. 

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I was on tegretol 1200mg/day for six months and it was great until I got a rash that kept spreading. It leveled my cycling and my rampant irritability seemed to help with insomnia as well. It made me feel motivated and quite normal.

I lost some ability to use my words as well as concentrate and I had some OCD like stuff (checking mostly) more than usual anyway. And a peculiar tendency to stutter while excited. I simply rolled with the punches b/c I felt so much better I really would have put up with a lot more to get the results I had.

since then I have found a combo that works as well or better. Depakote(1000 mg) and Lamictal (150mg) as well as seroquel 12.5-25 mg for sleep. Good luck with the tegretol.

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Guest anonymous27yoldf

So...finally my pdoc decided which horsie I'm to start my race with.

The diagnosis is BP2, exarcebated to rapid cycle by antidepressants and cocaine abuse (yep I did stop that crap, been off for over 2 years...)

Now my doc is quite paranoid about medicating me because I ended up in the hospital with serotonin syndrome after 3 days of 50 mg of Zoloft...extreme sensibility to meds (well, and the coke used to make me positively catatonic...also a weird reaction)

Any ways, he decided to start with carbamazepine, titrating from 100 mg up to who knows where over the next few weeks...I have a stern warning to stop if anything too alarming occurs, or even if I just "feel strange" (ah! how the hell I am supposed to know? I forgot what normal was like!)

I read through the board and no one seems to be on this exclusively, especially for bipolar. Is there anyone out there that would be willing to talk about their experiences with this med?

I already read the PI sheet and the five page handout from the pharmacy. What I'm interested to know (if anyone would like to share) is what life is like on tegretol on a day-to-day basis. I think those of you who have read my posts know I'm a newbie, this is my first BP med, and yes, I'm scared...

<<<WAAAA I WANT MY MOMMY!!! WHY ME OH GOD! PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME EVERYTHING"S GONNA BE ALLRIGTH>>>

Especially...I am pathologically afraid of fat (yeah I know the stuff about Tegretol and how you can die from blood disorders and the goddam rash (the doctor told me), but hey, I don't care if I die as long as I die relatively thin, clear skinned and with hair on my head...crazy I know, but what the hell)

All feedback deeply appreciated...i'll be lurking around waiting in fact! ;)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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Thanks so much to everyone that responded!!! You guys helped me summon the courage to swallow the damn things...hard given my anxiety and the bad experience with Zoloft

Everything's going well. My pdoc got my first blood test results today and apparently I'm already in the therapeutic range (on only 200 mg!) and he's not surprised to hear that I already feel a bit better, what with my extreme sensibility and all...so there's lots of reson for hope. It seems to be working!

As for side effects so far I only had some water retention (this is under observation) and some itchiness, maybe a couple of headaches that may or may  not be from the drug. If it stays that way it'd be cool.

Oh yeah I also had the dizzy/drunk/Alice in Wonderland feelings but I rather enjoy those ;) . In fact I will miss it...it is already diminishing.

Thanks for the help, everyone! Wish me luck on this first horsie ride.

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I'm really glad it's working!  I was the itch queen--no rash, just itchiness all over, especially around my torso.  It quickly went away, probably a few weeks after I stopped increasing dosage.  I ended up at 800 but it knocked me out.

By the way, watch how you feel--Tegretol is one of the enzyme inducing meds, which basically means that about 4-6 weeks (YMMV) after getting up to speed, it may seem to poop out.  If it seems that way, remember it hasn't pooped out, it's just being taken up by your body more efficiently, which means you have to increase the dose.  As I understand it (correct me if anyone know differently) this only happens once.  So in a month or two you may find yourself needing another hundred mg or so, and should then be stable.  Your doctor will know all about this.

I did love the leveling qualities of Tegretol, and I'm sorry it didn't work for me.  But it's one of those tried-and-true drugs that are fabulous for a lot of us.

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