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Wanting to wean off a couple meds, any success stories?


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Hello all. First I wanted to mention that I’m not new to the boards. I’ve been here since ’07. I changed my name due to privacy issues, (twice now). I’ve been MIA for ages, but I have missed this board tons, and this is the only place for me.

Ok, enough rambling. I’m going back to school in three weeks. I have severe ADHD. It’s a horrific bitch of a situation. I have three kiddos, and will be taking two out of three of my classes online. I just lost my health insurance, so my out of pocket cost for my meds *would* be $2,200 per month. I laugh every time I type or say that.

I have forms to submit to pharma companies for a discount on their respective meds. My doc can give me samples to “get by”…for a bit. Here’s my question-

Currently I’m not manic or hypo. I desired to reduce my quantity of meds prior to my coverage ending. I recognize that this is apersonal choice, I need to make this decision under the care of my pdoc… but I would love to hear any personal experiences with reducing meds, specifically relating to bipolar. I’m pretty sure I can wean off the Cymbalta, as I started that up again once winter hit, so I’m thinking that was perhaps a seasonal necessity. I have been on Seroquel for over a year, since I was last completely manic. I have been too terrified to go off of it. I will be weaning from 600mg to 400mg this week. I’m really curious to hear if weaning off meds has been successful for any of you. Thanks.

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You can always kick it old school with some meds off the four dollar lists. Blood work can get spendy, but there are ways to get around that.

Is there a free clinic in your area? Sometimes they can hook you up with meds if you don't have insurance.

Call around for prices (Walmart is often cheapest, but not always).

Like it's been said, do it under supervision, and good luck!

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I've been through a med reduction before. It was a real uncomfortable bitch of an affair. But it had no lasting ill effects. I'm back on so many meds now because the low med routine wasn't working and I got a new pdoc that believes in polypharmacology.

If you do reduce your meds, I suggest getting on some good cheap generics that are powerhouses. Walgreens will give you 120 lithium ER 300mg tabs for 4 for 30 days.

The other advice I'd give is switch slooowly. You don't need to stop/reduce 4 meds all at once. Just a recipe for disaster. Also, a benzo during this time might be a good thing.

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I'd look into Lithium for the Cymbalta and Seroquel. If the Topa is for BPII, I'd question keeping that.

The big thing I have to say is One Med At A Time. If you drop Cymbalta, an AD, and Seroquel, an AD like med, you are setting yourself up for some depression regardless of time of year. Do one, then the other. Don't go too fast either. Lithium is an antimanic but it also acts as an antidepressant. It is dirt cheep. Lab tests become infrequent once you reach steady state.

Check with your school about medical insurance. I think all four year ones offer student insurance. Many have their own clinics. I'm not sure about community colleges but it certainly makes sense to ask.

Patient assistance programs help make meds affordable.

I would not be thinking to reduce so much as to slowly replace with cheaper.

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I'm agreeing with Stacia here on the go slowly and switch approach, hopefully you have some time.

If you can figure out a way to manage the blood tests, lithium might be your best bet. Some of the older school APs are dirt cheap and might make a decent replacement for the seroquel, if you can possibly manage it. sounds like a tough situation, I'd be looking into free clinics as well to see what the options are.

I'm surprised you can't get medical insurance through school. Or is it just too expensive?

Anna

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Thank you all so much for your replies! I saw my pdoc today, and he made it very clear that reducing/ switching/ fucking with one med at a time was the only route to be taken. He seemed very surprised to hear my desire to wean off Seroquel and Cymbalta. In fact, he sounded hesitant as hell about the Seroquel, especially with school starting. Since I will be able to submit paperwork to AstraZeneca in hopes of reduced/ free rx, I may hold my horses and slow this whole process down. Di, I hope perhaps later in the year I may no longer have to take an AP full time, like you mentioned. I eagerly went through the $4 list, unfortunately there are no meds on that list that will work for me. I have been on Lithium and it was not a good experience. Stacia, I checked with the school and they do have insurance. I am not sure about rx coverage, but I will know more tomorrow. Gizmo, the benzo's are something I need to remember at ALL TIMES, LOL! I need to be mindful about utilizing what I *do* have on hand when I'm decreasing meds. You have all been really helpful. Thanks again.

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