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Mood Stabilizers & Bi-Polar II


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Guest Ventucky

I'm diagnosed with Bi-Polar II with OCD tendencies and ADHD. My doctor has me currently on Trileptal 300 mg x2, Lamictal 200mg, Topamax 200 mg, Wellbutrin 300mg and Ritlin 10mg x3. I used to be on Abilify 10mg but this was removed after a while (it was expensive and I was afraid of weight gain). The Topamax was added because I have alcohol issues and me and the doctor thought it could help with the mood stabilization (We are aware of the side effects Dopamax and stuff like that). I've been on the Lamictal and the Trileptal for a while and they seemed to be working well but then last week I had some unfortunate things occur to me and I spiraled into a heavy depression and became suicidal. The doctor already afraid of my depressive state from before already had me on a small amount of Wellbutrin and we decided to increase it to 200mg. I guess this helped because I haven't had such dark thoughts since then. Now I've just started taking the 300 mg. I have two questions for the forum. I'm not concerned about the ADHD medication but the other 4 medications are they a odd combination to take? My second question is I haven't been manic really at all in the last few weeks, actually I've gone between normal and depressed and I feel like I should reduce or stop taking the Trilepral to give me a higher ceiling for moods what do you guys think about this?

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I'm diagnosed with Bi-Polar II with OCD tendencies and ADHD. My doctor has me currently on Trileptal 300 mg x2, Lamictal 200mg, Topamax 200 mg, Wellbutrin 300mg and Ritlin 10mg x3. I used to be on Abilify 10mg but this was removed after a while (it was expensive and I was afraid of weight gain). The Topamax was added because I have alcohol issues and me and the doctor thought it could help with the mood stabilization (We are aware of the side effects Dopamax and stuff like that). I've been on the Lamictal and the Trileptal for a while and they seemed to be working well but then last week I had some unfortunate things occur to me and I spiraled into a heavy depression and became suicidal. The doctor already afraid of my depressive state from before already had me on a small amount of Wellbutrin and we decided to increase it to 200mg. I guess this helped because I haven't had such dark thoughts since then. Now I've just started taking the 300 mg. I have two questions for the forum. I'm not concerned about the ADHD medication but the other 4 medications are they a odd combination to take? My second question is I haven't been manic really at all in the last few weeks, actually I've gone between normal and depressed and I feel like I should reduce or stop taking the Trilepral to give me a higher ceiling for moods what do you guys think about this?

I can't really speak about the Trileptal/Topamax interaction - I'm not well versed in them. However on wiki, "Trileptal has recently been found to be associated with a greater enhancement in mood" so if that's correct, Trileptal may actually give you a higher mood and therefore be a positive thing. That said, I don't believe your combo is negative. I've seen Trileptal and Topamax used together before. Also, I know that Lamictal and Wellbutrin is a normal combo and quite effective in managing your mood. If anything, I would raise the Lamictal since you're on a small dose..400mg is much more common. Jenn (my BP 1) friend finds that the Wellbutrin/Lamictal is the most helpful combo for her, so the raise in Wellbutrin is a pretty good idea.

Anyway, that's my best guess.

Oh, and if you don't have insurance, you can get Abilify for free though patient assistance.. just go to rxassist.org.

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Making any changes to your meds without your pdoc's approval is a bad, bad, bad, plan.

Given that your mood hasn't exactly been stable of late, I wouldn't think this would be a great time to go making big changes. Not having been manic for the past few weeks isn't really a great track record.

Making any changes to your meds without your pdoc's approval is a bad, bad, bad, plan.

Given that your mood hasn't exactly been stable of late, I wouldn't think this would be a great time to go making big changes. Not having been manic for the past few weeks isn't really so much to go on.

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Just something to consider, but Trileptal, Topamax, and Lamictal all interact with each other, and adding/removing/changing the dosage of either Trileptal or Topamax can affect how the others work, because they affect the metabolism (and hence blood levels) of each other (and some other things, too). They definitely can be used together successfully, but that has to be taken into account, and it can sometimes take some fiddling around with the others when you change one of them. Going from 0->200 mg/day of Topamax can be enough for Lamictal to not work as well at the same dose for some people, for example, especially with Trileptal in the mix, which also lowers Lamictal levels on its own. It's...complicated. What to do about that, if anything, is your doctor's call, though.

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I created an account now. I'm not going to change the Trileptal without my doctor's knowledge even though I have the urge to try it for a few days and see what happens. From what I understand the Trileptal suppresses the effect of the Lamictal and if I were to lower or stop the Trileptal it would make it stronger. This would probably not be a bad thing I know people who are up to 400mg of Lamictal. I didn't know the Topamax affects the Lamictal though. Actually I wonder if my worsening depression was brought on by medication changes but I was going through some tough circumstances that would make anyone depressed (the difference I think between me and regular people is that I get suicidal). Like I said before I think the increase of the Wellbutrin really helped me out a lot. Before last year I would mostly bounce from normal to hypo-manic and I really liked it. I'd sometimes crash into depression but it wouldn't last that long and then I'd be back to my normal/hypo-manic state. I'd have a ton of energy and run around like crazy and rarely be depressed and everything. Then I started drinking heavily last year and it brought me down into more wild swings between hypo-manic to depressed states. If you saw me at someones party it could be pretty scary because at the beginning of the night I was energetic and running around and a lot of fun and by the end of the night I could be crying and upset and who knows what. So out of desperation I had a nurse practitioner friend of mine prescribe me Prozac because I have a lot of obsessional tendencies and my mind races a lot. This was a huge mistake. I think the prozac sent me into some kind of manic state where I drank even more and more but for some reason I continued to take the prozac. I finally ended up at the local mental hospital in November (2 1/2 months ago). They detoxed me and started me on a similar medication regime that I am on now. The original stuff I was on was Abilify 10 mg, Trileptal 300mg x2, Ritalin SR 20mg x2. The hospital's shrink added Lamictal when I continued to have suicidal thoughts.

So I guess my question now is I know manic behavior isn't always great and the idea of mood stabilization is to stay in the middle but I kind of want to get my medication to be a little more towards the manic side because I miss being in a more manic state. I feel like in the last few weeks I've only bounced between normal or depressed and now thinking about it this could maybe even be from the Topamax but I really thought it was hardly a mood stabilizer and I'm not even taking it for that...

Btw I've been reading these forums a lot and they have been great. I thought I was on a crazy amount of medication and that I was alone and connecting with you guys on here really helps!

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By stopping Trileptal, you are in effect increasing Lamictal because of the way the two interact. It could be substantial and could make the rash issue a problem. DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT YOUR DOCTOR. It is more complicated than you think.

Every time you are hypomanic, you are causing brain damage. Every time you get hypo increases the odds of rapid cycling, mixed states, and becoming difficult to treat. If you don't know much about rapid cycling or mixed states, read around on the boards. They are awful, awful, awful and not a fair trade for some hypo while younger. Bipolar is a progressive illness. You will get worse as you get older. The question is how much. With treatment, it can be minimized. Without, it gets bad.

Pdocs will work with you on meds. If yours refuses, then hire another one. Most will help you discontinue if you are adamant. Psych meds are complicated as are mental illnesses. If you have to stop something, it is much safer to do with a doc. It also helps maintain the relationship and trust with the doc. And, it means the doc will be around when you need help. Quitting something on your own is trouble and will probably get you fired as a patient.

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They detoxed me and started me on a similar medication regime that I am on now. The original stuff I was on was Abilify 10 mg, Trileptal 300mg x2, Ritalin SR 20mg x2. The hospital's shrink added Lamictal when I continued to have suicidal thoughts.

Did the Lamictal stop the thoughts? How was your mood before and after? Did your mood lower when you stopped the Abilify?

So I guess my question now is I know manic behavior isn't always great and the idea of mood stabilization is to stay in the middle but I kind of want to get my medication to be a little more towards the manic side because I miss being in a more manic state. I feel like in the last few weeks I've only bounced between normal or depressed and now thinking about it this could maybe even be from the Topamax but I really thought it was hardly a mood stabilizer and I'm not even taking it for that...

Manic behavior is *never* great. You're probably talking about hypomania - which is not uncommon to really enjoy.. but it never stays like that. Trying to keep it there will not only not work, but in doing so you'll make it worse for you in the long run.

It may seem like a good idea, but it's not. Normal should be your goal.

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Lamictal did help stop the suicidal thoughts. That is why we titrated it up to the full dose of 200mg so it helps me not get so "low". I also think the Abilify helped stabilize me a lot those first few days at the hospital and the days after I got out of the hospital but it was more expensive than all of my other medications combined and now that my health insurance is running out at the end of the month its not an option to take any more. I am deathly afraid of gaining weight and do not want to take any medication that has weight gain as a side effect. I went from the 10mg of Abilify to the 5 mg to none as I raised the Lamictal up to 100mg and that seemed to be alright. I think my mood did lower a bit without the abilify. I think it was when a couple of situational things occured in my life recently was when I had some of the suicidal thoughts come back again. The scary thing is I think because of my impulsiveness and I guess my OCD I'll just suddenly get the thought in my head to end my life and as soon as I get it it will go away and I won't even be in a depressed mood. What I was going though last week was different I was depressed for longer than a day and had extended periods of suicidal thoughts. Of course I shared all of this with my shrink and we made additional changes in my medications and I am feeling better now.

I think I'm just obsessing about my medication and my mental illness and I just need to chill out. I won't make any adjustments to the meds without my doctors knowledge or permission. He said we can visit the idea of changing the Trileptal on the next visit (I don't think hes going to want to though). He is a cool doctor though. He can tell that I am intelligent and that I know about the medication that I am taking. We come to agreements about the medication plan and its not like he doesn't listen to me or anything. Thanks for letting me vent on here I might have actually done something stupid like not take my Trileptal and I forgot about the rash thing with the Lamictal too.

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now that my health insurance is running out at the end of the month its not an option to take any more.

So you won't have any insurance at all then? Are you getting samples or something?

I am deathly afraid of gaining weight and do not want to take any medication that has weight gain as a side effect.

It is a possible effect, but it's not really all that common comparatively. I've been on Abilify for a long time without it causing me to gain weight. If you're worried about gaining weight on a med why not just wait and see if it happens before you decide to stop taking it?

I went from the 10mg of Abilify to the 5 mg to none as I raised the Lamictal up to 100mg and that seemed to be alright. I think my mood did lower a bit without the abilify.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Abilify is often used to fight off the depression. It's good that the Lamictal helped to offset it.

I think it was when a couple of situational things occured in my life recently was when I had some of the suicidal thoughts come back again. The scary thing is I think because of my impulsiveness and I guess my OCD I'll just suddenly get the thought in my head to end my life and as soon as I get it it will go away and I won't even be in a depressed mood. What I was going though last week was different I was depressed for longer than a day and had extended periods of suicidal thoughts. Of course I shared all of this with my shrink and we made additional changes in my medications and I am feeling better now.

I'm sorry you went through that. I'm very glad that you brought it to their attention and it helped.

I think I'm just obsessing about my medication and my mental illness and I just need to chill out. I won't make any adjustments to the meds without my doctors knowledge or permission. He said we can visit the idea of changing the Trileptal on the next visit (I don't think hes going to want to though). He is a cool doctor though. He can tell that I am intelligent and that I know about the medication that I am taking. We come to agreements about the medication plan and its not like he doesn't listen to me or anything. Thanks for letting me vent on here I might have actually done something stupid like not take my Trileptal and I forgot about the rash thing with the Lamictal too.

It's alright. It's fine to look into your meds and options as long as you only do things with your pdoc's consent and supervision. Leaving the Trileptal where it is and raising Lamictal could also be something to do if he decides to leave the former alone. A good Lamictal/Wellbutrin combo is often very successful.

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Yeah I lose my insurance at the end of the month and I will need to figure out what to do then. My work laid me off but I really think they dismissed me for my disabilities. It doesn't matter I just have to deal with what I have now. The psychiatrist I see is just $75 a visit without insurance which is affordable but the medication I take I have no idea how much it is going to cost without insurance. I just replenished the medication so I am good until the end of next month but I might need to contact the state and ask them to assist me or something. My main reason that I stopped taking the Abilify was the cost not the possible weight gain. Honestly if I could keep taking it I probably would but since I couldn't afford it with insurance I definitely can't without it. I haven't taken it in over a month and am doing ok without it. I am feeling positive about my current medication combination I just think my recent loss of a job has given me too much time on my hands and I am getting bored which is not good for my rambling mind. I was starting to drink again which I am now trying to stay away because I recognize its not good to do with the Wellbutrin or with any of the mood stabilizers. I just need to learn how to chill out I guess which is hard to do when my mind is constantly going non stop.

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Thank you very much for the information I will keep this for this next month when I need to figure out my options when I need to reup my medications.

Yeah I lose my insurance at the end of the month and I will need to figure out what to do then.

Like I said before, http://www.rxassist....nts/default.cfm

Abilify: http://www.rxassist....1&search_type=2

Topamax: http://www.rxassist....1&search_type=2

Trileptol: http://www.rxassist....FTOKEN=52961466

Lamictal: http://www.rxassist....5&search_type=2

Ritalin: http://www.rxassist....FTOKEN=52961466

Wellbutrin: http://www.rxassist....2&search_type=2

mind is constantly going non stop.

Yeah, that's a sign of hypomania.

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Thank you very much for the information I will keep this for this next month when I need to figure out my options when I need to reup my medications.

You're welcome. You said you had enough for the next month right after loosing the insurance, right? If I were you, I'd go ahead and print the forms out & get both yours and the pdocs info filled in - that way all you have to do is send them out the instant you loose the insurance because some of them take up to a month to get.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm diagnosed with Bi-Polar II with OCD tendencies and ADHD. My doctor has me currently on Trileptal 300 mg x2, Lamictal 200mg, Topamax 200 mg, Wellbutrin 300mg and Ritlin 10mg x3. I used to be on Abilify 10mg but this was removed after a while (it was expensive and I was afraid of weight gain). The Topamax was added because I have alcohol issues and me and the doctor thought it could help with the mood stabilization (We are aware of the side effects Dopamax and stuff like that). I've been on the Lamictal and the Trileptal for a while and they seemed to be working well but then last week I had some unfortunate things occur to me and I spiraled into a heavy depression and became suicidal. The doctor already afraid of my depressive state from before already had me on a small amount of Wellbutrin and we decided to increase it to 200mg. I guess this helped because I haven't had such dark thoughts since then. Now I've just started taking the 300 mg. I have two questions for the forum. I'm not concerned about the ADHD medication but the other 4 medications are they a odd combination to take? My second question is I haven't been manic really at all in the last few weeks, actually I've gone between normal and depressed and I feel like I should reduce or stop taking the Trilepral to give me a higher ceiling for moods what do you guys think about this?

I just wanted to let you know my experience. I had nearly the same diagnosis. First of all, Bipolar II is a really bullshit diagnosis, it is not well defined clinically. My guess is that if you switch psychiatrists 3 times you will get 3 new diagnoses, all along the spectrum of ADD/anxiety/BPD. I would be very careful with the medication you take for this condition, because you may find that it is something fixable. This was my experience.

I also liked lamictal for a while, but things turned very bad quickly, with regards to cognition, and I did not notice it right away. Chalked it up to other reasons. I am paying the price now, and it has been very difficult. Lamictal also has some nasty effects on bone (yes, it is better than other ad's, with the exception of levitiracetam, but it reduces calcification of tissue, which means soft cartilage and bone, and this got me really fucked. I was a competitive athlete at the time I started taking it, and had 4 shoulder operations, with my surgeons amazed at how soft my labrums were). I may come off as a horror story, but I would recommend you don't play the game of statistics. Remember statistics isn't science. If you find that "concentration issues" affect 6.7% of the population (it's something like this for lamictal), that tells you next to nothing, except in comparison to placebo. No one is doing a biochemical study of your brain before administering this drug. There is no monitoring. You are taking a risk with your health, regardless of what your pseudo-scientific psychiatrist tells you.

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This is a concern to me because I am healing from a broken scaphoid bone in my right wrist. I got the surgery 3 months ago right after I got out of the mental hospital. I broke it roller blading almost a year prior and since so much time passed I needed two screws and a bone graft from my hip. The ironic part is partly because if this injury it causes so much depression I probably need to stay on the Lamictal to help me not get so depressed. Even so I still continued to have suicidal thoughts and my psychiatrist added Wellbutrin to help prevent me from getting so depressed. I know there are issues with Topamax also but actually so far I don't seem to have really any side effects and I am feeling pretty good specially for what I'm dealing with in my life currently. I know you can't medicate you way into feeling great and sometimes I feel like my doctor thinks you can but if I can just get myself to not have suicidal thoughts or the rambling highs of mania that I would otherwise have then I'm in a pretty good spot. I tried to do it myself without medication and it really didn't work too well and I almost killed myself so I can't imagine the side effects of the medication could be any worse than what I would end up doing to myself without the medication.

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I'm diagnosed with Bi-Polar II with OCD tendencies and ADHD. My doctor has me currently on Trileptal 300 mg x2, Lamictal 200mg, Topamax 200 mg, Wellbutrin 300mg and Ritlin 10mg x3. I used to be on Abilify 10mg but this was removed after a while (it was expensive and I was afraid of weight gain). The Topamax was added because I have alcohol issues and me and the doctor thought it could help with the mood stabilization (We are aware of the side effects Dopamax and stuff like that). I've been on the Lamictal and the Trileptal for a while and they seemed to be working well but then last week I had some unfortunate things occur to me and I spiraled into a heavy depression and became suicidal. The doctor already afraid of my depressive state from before already had me on a small amount of Wellbutrin and we decided to increase it to 200mg. I guess this helped because I haven't had such dark thoughts since then. Now I've just started taking the 300 mg. I have two questions for the forum. I'm not concerned about the ADHD medication but the other 4 medications are they a odd combination to take? My second question is I haven't been manic really at all in the last few weeks, actually I've gone between normal and depressed and I feel like I should reduce or stop taking the Trilepral to give me a higher ceiling for moods what do you guys think about this?

I just wanted to let you know my experience. I had nearly the same diagnosis. First of all, Bipolar II is a really bullshit diagnosis, it is not well defined clinically. My guess is that if you switch psychiatrists 3 times you will get 3 new diagnoses, all along the spectrum of ADD/anxiety/BPD. I would be very careful with the medication you take for this condition, because you may find that it is something fixable. This was my experience.

I also liked lamictal for a while, but things turned very bad quickly, with regards to cognition, and I did not notice it right away. Chalked it up to other reasons. I am paying the price now, and it has been very difficult. Lamictal also has some nasty effects on bone (yes, it is better than other ad's, with the exception of levitiracetam, but it reduces calcification of tissue, which means soft cartilage and bone, and this got me really fucked. I was a competitive athlete at the time I started taking it, and had 4 shoulder operations, with my surgeons amazed at how soft my labrums were). I may come off as a horror story, but I would recommend you don't play the game of statistics. Remember statistics isn't science. If you find that "concentration issues" affect 6.7% of the population (it's something like this for lamictal), that tells you next to nothing, except in comparison to placebo. No one is doing a biochemical study of your brain before administering this drug. There is no monitoring. You are taking a risk with your health, regardless of what your pseudo-scientific psychiatrist tells you.

Bipolar II is not a bullshit diagnosis. It's as clinically well defined as any other. Lamictal's not an AD. It's an anticonvulsant and mood stabilizer. I'm sorry if you were misdiagnosed, or whatever your bad experience was, exactly. But no matter how much your doctor might have sucked, that hardly means they all suck.

Knowing how side effects played out during trials lets you know both how likely they are to occur, when deciding whether or not to take a med, and, once you've started taking it, the likelihood that anything you experience is or is not a side effect, so you're better able to make a decision about continuing it.

There should be monitoring. Not of your brain's biochemistry, but of your overall health, with special attention paid to different things, depending on your medications. Bloodwork every 6-12 months, and working with your doctor, to sort out what is or isn't working, and what may or may not be causing side effects.

Whatever risk to one's health any given med might constitute, leaving Bipolar disorder or any kind untreated is also a risk to your health. A pretty huge one, actually.

Also, I don't know what kind of competitive sport you were participating in, or for how long, but high impact sports can also do a number on bones and joints. So, I don't know that there's really any way of knowing that Lamictal was the cause of your problems.

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This is a concern to me because I am healing from a broken scaphoid bone in my right wrist. I got the surgery 3 months ago right after I got out of the mental hospital. I broke it roller blading almost a year prior and since so much time passed I needed two screws and a bone graft from my hip. The ironic part is partly because if this injury it causes so much depression I probably need to stay on the Lamictal to help me not get so depressed. Even so I still continued to have suicidal thoughts and my psychiatrist added Wellbutrin to help prevent me from getting so depressed. I know there are issues with Topamax also but actually so far I don't seem to have really any side effects and I am feeling pretty good specially for what I'm dealing with in my life currently. I know you can't medicate you way into feeling great and sometimes I feel like my doctor thinks you can but if I can just get myself to not have suicidal thoughts or the rambling highs of mania that I would otherwise have then I'm in a pretty good spot. I tried to do it myself without medication and it really didn't work too well and I almost killed myself so I can't imagine the side effects of the medication could be any worse than what I would end up doing to myself without the medication.

I get that the bone issues are of concern to you. But, just as kind of a reality check, when you had your recent surgery, did any of your doctors voice any concern about the state of your bones?

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I also think bipolar II is not a bullshit diagnosis. Actually since I've been diagnosed things make more sense in my life. When I was younger the doctors kept trying to diagnose me with just depression and put me on SSRI's like Paxil, Luvox or Prozac and I went crazy on them and had bad reactions and would then stop taking the medication and stop seeing the doctors. Then I would self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Finally after going to the mental hospital in November and being on the current medications I'm on now this is the longest I've been on psychiatric medications and continued seeing doctors and I feel much better then I ever did when I was younger. Now that I look back on my life I see how I have acted in a hypo-manic way at times and how it is pretty easily hid and how I and others around me just see the depressive side of the mental illness. Actually as I have gotten older my mania has gotten stronger and more pronounced which is why I am glad to be on mood stabilizers to help control it. If I left my mental illness untreated I put myself at great risk of death (because of the harmful things I do to myself in depression or mania) I know that for sure and I would not stop taking my medication or stop seeing my doctor now. I think my issue when I was younger was the continued misdiagnosis of them just saying I was depressed and not seeing that I was bipolar.

Also I did a little research about the bone loss thing and they did find some correlation between Dilantin and bone loss but not necessarily between all drugs in that class and bone loss. I am getting good results from Lamictal and the alternatives are not great so I would prefer to stay on it unless a bad side effect came up or it really doesn't seem effective. Of course again I did add Wellburin because I did continue to dip down to some deep lows but also I did not want to increase the Lamictal past the 200mg a day dose.

Overall I am happy with the mix of medication I am on it seems pretty good. I see my doctor next week and I will review everything with him. It is nice to be able to review things like this on this board :)

I'm diagnosed with Bi-Polar II with OCD tendencies and ADHD. My doctor has me currently on Trileptal 300 mg x2, Lamictal 200mg, Topamax 200 mg, Wellbutrin 300mg and Ritlin 10mg x3. I used to be on Abilify 10mg but this was removed after a while (it was expensive and I was afraid of weight gain). The Topamax was added because I have alcohol issues and me and the doctor thought it could help with the mood stabilization (We are aware of the side effects Dopamax and stuff like that). I've been on the Lamictal and the Trileptal for a while and they seemed to be working well but then last week I had some unfortunate things occur to me and I spiraled into a heavy depression and became suicidal. The doctor already afraid of my depressive state from before already had me on a small amount of Wellbutrin and we decided to increase it to 200mg. I guess this helped because I haven't had such dark thoughts since then. Now I've just started taking the 300 mg. I have two questions for the forum. I'm not concerned about the ADHD medication but the other 4 medications are they a odd combination to take? My second question is I haven't been manic really at all in the last few weeks, actually I've gone between normal and depressed and I feel like I should reduce or stop taking the Trilepral to give me a higher ceiling for moods what do you guys think about this?

I just wanted to let you know my experience. I had nearly the same diagnosis. First of all, Bipolar II is a really bullshit diagnosis, it is not well defined clinically. My guess is that if you switch psychiatrists 3 times you will get 3 new diagnoses, all along the spectrum of ADD/anxiety/BPD. I would be very careful with the medication you take for this condition, because you may find that it is something fixable. This was my experience.

I also liked lamictal for a while, but things turned very bad quickly, with regards to cognition, and I did not notice it right away. Chalked it up to other reasons. I am paying the price now, and it has been very difficult. Lamictal also has some nasty effects on bone (yes, it is better than other ad's, with the exception of levitiracetam, but it reduces calcification of tissue, which means soft cartilage and bone, and this got me really fucked. I was a competitive athlete at the time I started taking it, and had 4 shoulder operations, with my surgeons amazed at how soft my labrums were). I may come off as a horror story, but I would recommend you don't play the game of statistics. Remember statistics isn't science. If you find that "concentration issues" affect 6.7% of the population (it's something like this for lamictal), that tells you next to nothing, except in comparison to placebo. No one is doing a biochemical study of your brain before administering this drug. There is no monitoring. You are taking a risk with your health, regardless of what your pseudo-scientific psychiatrist tells you.

Bipolar II is not a bullshit diagnosis. It's as clinically well defined as any other. Lamictal's not an AD. It's an anticonvulsant and mood stabilizer. I'm sorry if you were misdiagnosed, or whatever your bad experience was, exactly. But no matter how much your doctor might have sucked, that hardly means they all suck.

Knowing how side effects played out during trials lets you know both how likely they are to occur, when deciding whether or not to take a med, and, once you've started taking it, the likelihood that anything you experience is or is not a side effect, so you're better able to make a decision about continuing it.

There should be monitoring. Not of your brain's biochemistry, but of your overall health, with special attention paid to different things, depending on your medications. Bloodwork every 6-12 months, and working with your doctor, to sort out what is or isn't working, and what may or may not be causing side effects.

Whatever risk to one's health any given med might constitute, leaving Bipolar disorder or any kind untreated is also a risk to your health. A pretty huge one, actually.

Also, I don't know what kind of competitive sport you were participating in, or for how long, but high impact sports can also do a number on bones and joints. So, I don't know that there's really any way of knowing that Lamictal was the cause of your problems.

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