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Seroquel / Lamictal side effects ?


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I need some help here from people who are taking either Seroquel or Lamictal. My pdoc is elusive on the side effects (docs always seem elusive on that...). I've read a lot on these and all of their side effects, but they both have exhaustive lists citing almost anything that can go wrong with a med... I want to know firsthand by actual users how it is "in real life" !

Do they have lots of side effects ?

What are they ?

Are they all bad ?

Do they affect libido/orgasm in any way ?

Are they as bad as SSRIs ???

Thank you in advance for your responses.

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Well, I've been on Seroquel for a few years now, for a long time at 300 mg, and now at 600 mg. I've found it quite mild in terms of side effects. The weight gain has been the biggest problem - about 30 pounds over 2 years, but part of that was my crummy eating habits.

When I started taking it, and when I increase the dose, I have some cognitive problems and some daytime sleepiness, but it tends to wear off after a few weeks. No sexual side effects at all.

I like it a lot better than SSRIs, because it calms me down instead of jacking me up.

I'm starting Lamictal now, so I can't really comment. So far no rash or anything horrible like that, though I'm only on 25 mg every other day.

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These are my personal notes. Make of them what you will.

Seroquel:

Low Dose: (50-150mg)

Reaction - Knocked me out cold.

Side Effects - Low dose, used for sleep. Drowsy all of the following day.

High Dose: (300mg)

Reaction - Knocked me out first two nights. Feel spacey-drugged and a bit on-edge. Poor concentration.

Side Effects (With High Dose)- Orthostatic Hypotension, Tachycardia (low-end), Drowsiness, Akathisia (slight and remittant with drug clearance).

Notes - When used for sleep: First 2 days - Sedation & Drowsy; Next 2 days - Sedation & No Drowsiness; Following days - Ineffective for Sedation

Lamictal:

Reaction - Helped depression like a soft brick wall. Meaning that it helped the depression, but caused a tired insomnia that made everything much worse when I crashed.

Side Effects - Slight headache with startup and dose change. No rash or anything, able to increase dose quickly. Had uncommon side effects of tired insomnia & anxiety that made depression much worse. Wanted to blow my brains out & might have.

Second Attempt - Trying again with help from Risperdal and Ambien CR. Still feel on edge, but will wait till 200mg before deciding whether or not to terminate; as the activation may go away. No other start-up effects this time. (UPDATE: Risperdal and Ambien did not fix the problem. Would like to get this drug working correctly as only It, Abilify, and Cymbalta did anything positive. Had to stop at 100mg yet again.)

Third Attempt - Slight headache and insomnia (addressed by Elivil & Trazodone). Up to 100mg successfully, raising to 150 then 200 if all goes well.

Update: Got to 400mg just fine. Edit: oh, yeah.. acid reflux

As far as SSRI's go, they never did work for me. Got nauseous on Zoloft, that's it. So I can't really say.

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As far as libido / orgasm, Lamictal is supposed to be neutral. I found it to be neutral to positive, sometimes quite positive. YMMV.

I've had very few side effects on Lamictal. I have the "word finding" problem (where you want to use a word, you have the "tip of your tongue" feeling, but the word doesn't quite come to you), but it isn't too bad.

I haven't tried Seroquel.

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for the last month i've been on a small dose of seroquel for sleep (50mgs). it knocks me out and i don't feel groggy upon waking. makes me crave sugar. never taken a larger amount than 100mg i don't think... i've usually only taken it to knock me back out of a mixed state (which is why i'm taking it now).

lamictal has been weight neutral for me. and very effective in shrinking the "range" of mood i experience. on a steady dose of at least 200 mg, i can still get really depressed, but i don't feel suicidal or out of control - and on the flip side, i'm far less likely to get hypomanic/mixed. so i can't go too low or too high. it's excellent as a stabilizer but not enough by itself for my depression. on more than 200 mg, the cognitive effects really start to bug me. problems finding words, poor memory, terrible at math.

like tryp, these meds are far kinder to me than SSRIs ever were.

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I have taken Seroquel for nearly 2 years. I was taking 600mg, and am currently taking 400mg. I also have been taking Lamictal for over five years. I take 300mg daily. I prefer to take Seroquel in one dose, at night, because it tends to kick my ass in terms of feeling exhausted. When I began taking Seroquel, and was titrating, I recall feeling a bit foggy-headed, and that really pissed me off. It didn't last long, and as soon as my dosage went up, it went away. I have been on Lamictal for so long it's hard to recall titration- I am absolutely *certain* I would remember any bullshit with it, or I would have stopped taking it. Lamictal is my steadfast BFF mood stabilizer. If I miss more than one dose or so, I notice that my hands will tingle and my vision gets wonky, but that may just be me. Any other random side effects I experience I typically blame on my other meds.

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Thank you very, very much for your answers, I greatly appreciate it !

Both seem to be good on side effects, but Lamictal seems better, if only for the neutral weight gain.

I'll talk to my pdoc about all this and my "preference" for Lamictal, we'll see what she thinks and I'll follow her advise on the subject.

Thank you again.

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Thanks for you input DiIanthus, I always like your point of view. The info about the meds helps too.

I never "liked" a side effect, in fact some of them actually scare the s*** out of me and gets me anxious. It really comes down to which side effects I don't want. For exemple, weight gain and libido killers (among some others) are out of the question for me, it'd put my relationship in jeopardy, and fuel my misery. I've been through enough already with my family that I don't want to have a med causing some other collateral damage.

BUT, my pdoc always has the final word, I trust her. I do think that facing my fears and sharing them with her is essential to establish trust. That she takes in consideration how I feel about certain meds, and then gives me advise and recommandations is a must. If she is rather convinced that a certain med will do me good, whatever the side effects, I'll try it. Following this, if I say I'd prefer Lamictal, she will either be ok with it or dispute my choice and explain me why (not a med for me, better try another med first, it doesn't work in bipolarity, etc). I'm fine with it all as long as she understands me and how I feel... if that is even possible for someone "normal" to understand. Guess pdocs are as close as it can get in understanding without living it.

Anyhow, thank you for elaborating on both meds, clears my head a bit. When I'm hypomanic (like these days), I have a strong tendency to use "magical thinking", like : I've discovered a subtle truth and that I, contrary to all logic, will benefit from it because I'm so exceptionnal compared to others, bla bla bla... it's bad and people around me help simply by getting my feet back on the ground, like you just did.

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Thanks for you input DiIanthus, I always like your point of view. The info about the meds helps too.

I never "liked" a side effect, in fact some of them actually scare the s*** out of me and gets me anxious. It really comes down to which side effects I don't want. For exemple, weight gain and libido killers (among some others) are out of the question for me, it'd put my relationship in jeopardy, and fuel my misery. I've been through enough already with my family that I don't want to have a med causing some other collateral damage.

BUT, my pdoc always has the final word, I trust her. I do think that facing my fears and sharing them with her is essential to establish trust. That she takes in consideration how I feel about certain meds, and then gives me advise and recommandations is a must. If she is rather convinced that a certain med will do me good, whatever the side effects, I'll try it. Following this, if I say I'd prefer Lamictal, she will either be ok with it or dispute my choice and explain me why (not a med for me, better try another med first, it doesn't work in bipolarity, etc). I'm fine with it all as long as she understands me and how I feel... if that is even possible for someone "normal" to understand. Guess pdocs are as close as it can get in understanding without living it.

Anyhow, thank you for elaborating on both meds, clears my head a bit. When I'm hypomanic (like these days), I have a strong tendency to use "magical thinking", like : I've discovered a subtle truth and that I, contrary to all logic, will benefit from it because I'm so exceptionnal compared to others, bla bla bla... it's bad and people around me help simply by getting my feet back on the ground, like you just did.

If you're hypo at the moment, seroquel is a vastly better choice than lamictal.

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You never know for sure how a drug will affect you. You may have no side effects on Seroquel. As Di said, go for the one that matches your symptoms better. If it doesn't help or if side effects are intolerable, switch then.

All other things being equal, if I were you, I would start with Seroquel because you can titrate more quickly up to a therapeutic dose, and you will get a better idea more quickly of how it affects you.

Also speaking as someone on Lamictal for 6 months (and have a good memory of the rocky titration period), I think it is risky to start Lamictal if you are currently hypo, because Lamictal has a tendency to actually make you hypo for the first few weeks while you are at low doses. Adding more hypo to your existing hypo = Not Good.

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Thank you Dianthus, SashaSue and tamagotchi.

Indeed, I am hypomanic these days... it's good for my writing, work and for general hapiness, not good for my anger bursts and impatience.

I get to see and understand your point of view. I will go for the best option and talk about it to my pdoc. I'll mention about my present state, about seroquel and lamictal and asks for her to decide what is best for me.

I'm a bit stressed out since my current pdoc considers herself not a specialist in bipolarity (she is great in depressions and ADHD), she is currently reffering me to another pdoc. Start the whole explanation again is a pain !

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I have taking Seroquel for several years and the worst side effect for me is the heartburn; it wakes me up an night sometimes and I have to get up and take tums and drink some water. I have been taking Lamictal for about 2 months, and it messes with my memory a bit, like I can't remember if something happened yesterday or last week. Also, I get my words confused, which I never did before, or I can't think of the word I want to use. The benefits far outweigh the side effects, though. I take it in the morning with my Lexapro and it is a great mood stabilizer for me. It took a few weeks, because my dose was slowly increased from 25mg to 200mg. My libido is a little less than what it used to be, but hasn't affected my marriage. Anyhoo, that's my experiences with Seroquel and Lamictal. Oh yeah, Seroquel will make you gain weight, which is the side effect I hate the worst. But once again, the benefit outweighs the side effects.

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  • 1 month later...

I tried Seroquel but it zombified me so much that I couldn't even take the smallest dose. Lamictal actually sorta gave me energy when I first started taking it. It helped for a few months....

If you decide to try Lamictal and you end up not liking it, the withdrawals from it are like a freaking acid trip or something.... definitely make sure you taper!! LOL

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one must always taper an AC unless in an emergency situation (the lamictal SJs rash is one of them) due to the slight risk of seizures on abruptly stopping.

I love seroquel, it causes no s.e.'s for me other than some mild hunger. If I take too much (am one of those freaks where I don't get less sleepy on a higher dose) I am a zombie. it works great for anxiety, and mania, and sleep. Love it.

Absolutely no sexual side effects for me, at any dose range. Like any AAP it can cause weight gain, but I was able to lose 45 lbs on depakote and quel so go figure. If you maintain decent exercise and eating habits (and on AAPs, decent eating habits mean low carb, not how much you eat) you should not have too much of a problem.

I would be more apt to start with seroquel if you are hypo, it will be the med to bring you out of that most quickly, probably.

I loved lamictal but it gave me SJS. I did get hypo on it titrating up, and that's been the experience of many. So better to wait until stability is achieved, I would think, but it's not a BAD drug for bp and at a therapeutic dose it CAN provide stability in both directions, though it does not always do this. Probably will not help with anxiety, no. Again, no sexual side effects, unless you count my boobs getting bigger as a sexual side effect, heh.

I'd say start with the quel, but lamictal as a long term mood stabilizer has a lot of benefits to it if it works well for you. Which it may or may not do..... depending on your particular sx and how your body reacts to it.

Anna

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