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Is it time for me to stop taking Lamictal? Dreams and forgetful

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I've been taking 200 mg for almost a year now. I'm not bipolar, but have severe episodic depression. Lamictal has kept me level and the depression episodes only last a couple of days at the most. Before that, I couldn't get out of bed for days and was depressed for weeks before snapping out of it.

Now, I'm starting to have some side effects that are, believe it or not, making me depressed! I have a pretty demanding job and it's been brought to my attention that I'm forgetful. I also stop mid sentence while speaking because I can't find the word I'm looking for. It's embarrassing, but I try to cover it up. The forgetful part really bothers me. Even my notes don't make sense sometimes when I read back over them. I'm thinking about bringing a little digital recorder to meetings that no one can see, so I can play it back for myself.

Also, I've been having night terrors. Right after falling asleep, I have horrible nightmares. Thoughts and scenes blast through my head and wake me up sometimes sweating and out of breath. Some nights this happens 3-4 times over an hour before I can fall asleep. My Dr. gave me clonodine (blood pressure medication) and this has helped some.

I've also gained 25-30 lbs. I know this is not supposed to be a side effect of Lamictal, but I have no idea how I could have gained so much weight. I was very thin to begin with, so this is just a nuisance since my clothes don't fit.

Lastly, I feel myself getting short and am starting to obsess over things like I used to. I am not quite as in control over my emotions and my thoughts are starting to race a bit.

I can't take any SSRI's or other atypical antipsychotics, so Lamictal was really one of my only options for depression. My Dr. says that he may want to switch me to Abilify, but I'm not sure what to do at this point. Has anyone else had such side effects with Lamictal and what are the alternatives?

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Hi. That's tough. Having side effects and increased symptoms is never easy.

Have these side effects been there since you increased your dose to 200mg, or have they come about more recently? This is an important observation since the se's you describe can be the result of the illness. That is, if depression is peaking thru, it can cause memory and word find issues. I can understand why your doc is recommending adding some Abilify. Maybe try that an if the depressive symptoms back off and the se's remain, try backing off Lamictal a little. If possible, don't do both med changes at the same time. You would not be able to tell which me did what.

I take Lamictal and know that going over 200mg causes me some cognitive issues. I get he same with any anticonvulsant it seems. I have to weigh that against symptoms. So far, the best for me is to accept some issues that I can compensate for - I got a Blackberry to keep lists and beep reminders at me - because the illness symptoms are worse than without or on lower doses. That took a little while to accept. I backed off meds a few times to end up with illness problems. So, now, I just deal knowing what the score really is. Sucks, but what can I do. Anyway, when you start thinking to reduce, compare comprehensively to how you were before the med. It is a different perspective.

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Your sig says you also take klonopin. I would finger klonopin before lamictal if the issue is memory. Anxiolytics wipe memory.

Also, it's possible your symptoms are physiological.

Forgetful, weight gain? Check thyroid status.

Shortness/emotionality/racing thoughts could be anxiety, which is also a sign of thyroid as well as hypoglycemia. Waking up to nightmares & sweating may also represent hypoglycemia.

Today I had an episode of hypoglycemia at work. I knew it was hypoglycemia because I was sweating in weird places (e.g. my inner elbows), my body felt trembly and wobbly, I couldn't think well, and I felt nauseated. When I did my fingerstick I was 67, but I"m sure prior to that I was rocking around 90-110. With hypoglycemia, most of the symptoms that feel like crap aren't caused by low blood sugar itself, but it's caused by the sudden drop of blood sugar which activates the stress response in your body (thus sweating, burning nauseated stomach, quivering, crap for attention, irritable and emotional, so on).

Furthermore, hypoglycemia not only worsens energy highs but it can cause them due to the effects on the SNS/adrenal glands/neurotransmitters in brain. Hypoglycemia may account for the perception of racing thoughts especially if it also occurs with feeling irritable and short. These effects may last a bit after the hypoglycemia goes away, because the systems were activated and are lit up (sns, adrenal).

Gaining weight may be a sign of metabolic disorder, in tandem with frequent hypoglycemia. If your insulin level is chronically too high you will gain weight, and you will experience hypoglycemic attacks.

Point of all this, it's possible your symptoms could be physiological (med induced or unrelated). This sounds vaguely like thyroid, adrenal, or glucose issues.

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