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Beginning new meds...freaking the hell out


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Hey! I'll do a quick introduction of myself since I'm new here. I'm 36. Have been effed up for as long as I can remember. I've always been "sensitive", the smallest things sending me spiraling down into the abyss. One of my earliest memories of my effed-upness is when I was 5 years old and saw a little old man eating alone in a restaurant, I cried for 2 days because I was sure he was a lonely widow, just waiting to die...yeah...that about sums up my emotional state, even 31 years later.

 

I have been on every antidepressant known to man (woman..whatever). None of it worked. I was finally diagnosed with bipolar (2) and have an apt with a mental health medication specialist (whatever the hell that is) next week. I've heard whispers of putting me on lamictal. So, of course, I've researched the crap out of it and now I'm in a state of panic. What if it makes me an even bigger bitch (is that even possible?)? What if it sends me into mania and I spend our life savings (ha! like I even have a savings)? What if I get the dreaded rash and my face becomes a giant strawberry and I die? And the worst worry...what if it, like everything else, doesn't work?

 

So any advice here would be great...I'm pretty much at the end of my rope, husband looks at me like I'm the devil incarnate, kids wonder why I'm locked up in my room constantly, etc etc etc. Tired of being so unstable. Just want normal, or some version of normal that is my own.

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Welcome to CB! :D

 

Sounds like you've been on the rollercoaster long enough. 

 

I don't have advice about Lamictal, since I just started on it as well. I've been on it for 5 days so far and I've not gone manic, no rashes, and I'm just regular ol' bitchy me, nothing new. :P

 

I hope your appointment goes well, and that if you do get put on Lamictal, I hope it works for you! 

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Hey, welcome to the boards. In my experience, Lamictal is introduced and increased very slowly; I think I was on 25mg for 2 weeks, 50mg for 2 weeks, 75mg for 1-2 weeks, etc. etc. Those increases may be different for different people but I felt safe doing it, and I take it with other medications. I was put on it in the first part of April to bring me down from some relatively quickly escalating hypomania; it took awhile but it did end up doing its job and I'm still on it two months later.

 

It's natural to worry I think, especially when you've read about it online; the companies have to list the side effects even if they're the rarest of the rare just to cover their own asses a lot of the time. Going into it positively can't hurt, and may even help. 

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I think I started on Lamictal at 12.5mg, and slows titered up.

 

Everyone responds to meds differently, but - it has been great for me.  I still get depressed sometimes, but it's not so bad, often, and it's been pretty well side effect free for me. 

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oh my gosh

calm down

 

Lamictal is a real workhorse of a medication for bipolar.  A LOT, a LOT of people take it.

If it works for you it will be a blessing.

 

And THE rash is very, very, very rare.  Plus your doctor will titrate you up slowly,

watching for symptoms.  Pharmacies even have special punch cards which start

at a very low dose at a time.

 

And just for the heck of it, if your doctor wants to try you on Lithium

don't worry!!   That is a fantastic medication.

I love it, and it is considered the gold standard for mania by many.

 

Your life, your ability to be a good mother and loving wife will IMPROVE when your

bipolar is treated.  Hang in there honey, things will get better.

Edited by bpladybug
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My experience seems to be like yours leading up to the point where you're staring at the pill bottle. When finally diagnosed Bipolar 2, Lamictal was the first drug they put me on. They started me very low and slowly took me to what turned out to be a pretty high dose (300 mg). I had to watch out for that weird rash (I didn't get it) but otherwise I didn't even have side effects. I was coming off of a hypomanic episode when I started, and still I didn't have a problem.

 

Your mileage may vary, of course, but my advice is to try to keep from looking up drugs on the internet right away (I am bad about this). I'm on lamictal six years later at my same high dose, and it has worked VERY well for me.

 

I wish you well with it. Know that you will find something that works for you, even if this isn't it. Hang in there.

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Thanks everyone! I have 8 days until my med appt. It was the soonest they could get me in. I am trying to stay distracted and not let myself obsess about it all until I'm completely paranoid between now and then. It's good to hear that people have success on these meds because google was just bringing up all bad reviews.

 

Thanks again!

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I've taken Lamictal for years. It is my antidepressant. I love it.

 

Most of the posts you find on the Internet are people bitching. That's whether you are talking meds or refrigerators. The much larger percentage of people without problems don't usually take the time to post. So, ya know, keep what you read in check.

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Lamictal has worked wonders for me. I have a sensitive stomach so I was vomity sick when I was at about 75 mgs but that was 6 weeks in. I am now almost a year latter at 200mg and it helps to keep me even keeled. I also take other fun meds (see my sig) but that was the worst thing I have ever had from it. Other then chokeing down the pill (generic is uncoated) but its worth it.

 

But think of meeting with the MH specilist as a time for you to take care of you. You deserve it. Untill then try to do the things that you love that are safe, movies, and popcorn, coloring, reading and so on.

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I take lamictal and love it too. I have been on and off it for mostly 6 years. It is a great med. no side effects at all for me. I just feel clearer and smoother and more even on it.

And I agree with Anne that most other accounts on the Internet are going to be people bitching. It seems people focus on negative and don't take much time to post about the positive because they are out living life.

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Lamictal is a great med. A lot of people successfully take it and have no issues. The titration up can be a bit of a bitch, but once you're at a therapeutic dose, things start going away. I was put on lamictal while hospitalized and titrated up there. I was the rare one and got the rash, the titration could have been too fast, and I tend to react oddly to medications.

It's normal to feel anxious about a new medication. Most people (99.9%) on Lamictal don't get the rash. It is a mood stabilizer, it can be activating, but it probably won't throw you into mania, because it stabilizes.

Remember, a lot of people bitch about things that don't work than praise things that do work. Good luck.

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I am ok on Lamictal at 150 or below. Above 150 - up to 300, I get mixed episodes/ rapid cycling worse than normal.  It worked ok (for a year), until we needed to up the dose, then the super sensitivity kicked in and crazy out of control me make an appearance.

 

I had no skin problems on this drug, I did however have a lot of hair fall out and about 1/3 of it broke off to hair that was 4" all around.  The hair loss and breakage started around 2 months after my last dose titration.

 

It grew back like normal, although that took at least a year.

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I have heard a lot about hair loss on this med, which worries me a bit because I started losing my hair about 3 years ago. I wasn't on any meds at that time and the "experts" attribute it to hereditary issues. I've taken every hair growth supplement possible with little to no results. I've kind of accepted it but wouldn't want it to be worse. Guess if it happens, I'll have to get a wig. Sigh.

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I love Lamictal, have been on it for about four years. It was an add-on to Wellbutrin, see my signature for my pdoc's (psychiatrist's) comments.

When I titrated up I had a headache when I started and at every dose increase, but it was okay with some Tylenol, and they only lasted a couple of days each, well worth it in my opinion. This is the longest I've been without an episode of major depression in the last 15 or so years.

I'm one of the approximately 20% of people (per my pdoc's experience) that finds Lamictal sedating, so I take it at bedtime. I started out with a.m. dosing but it made me too sleepy.

I hope your experience with it will be as good as mine has been.

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Another Lamictal user here with no problems. I'm titrating up and currently on 50mg. I'll go up to 75mg in another week, and up to 100mg after that. Another benefit to Lamictal is that it seems to be weight neutral for most people meaning that it shouldn't cause you to gain much if any weight! I know that shouldn't matter much if the trade off is stability, but it's always nice to not have to worry about that as a side effect :)

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The only side effect I get from Lamictal (or more accurately the combination of Lamictal and Trileptal) is a lack of coordination, kind of like I'm drunk. I just take my meds at night so I'm lying down when this kicks in. No noticeable effect on my quality of life.

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I've been on Lamictal for about 7 years. My dad, who is a pdoc, was thrilled when I was put on it, he thinks it is that good of a mood stabilizer. There are a few people on the boards who have had The Rash, but this board is a self-selected group of people with particularly bad mental illness, so you are more likely to hear about bad med reactions than in the general population.

 

My biggest side effects are: Patchy rashes on my forearms, word-finding difficulties, and a tremor. I am not talking about The Rash, all ACs can cause rashes. My husband takes Lamictal for Epilepsy (600mg/day), and he gets patchy rashes on his shins.

 

When I was on either Depakote or Lithium with it, I got a pretty bad tremor, but since I have been on propranolol to stop the lithium tremor, it took care of the Lamictal tremor as well (I think, correlation is not causation, blahblahblah). The word finding I still struggle with, but if word finding is a possible side effect of a med, I get it. So the duration could be from any med, or combo of meds, I take.

 

I haven't noticed hair loss, but I have a lot of hair. I guess that wouldn't matter, though. I could be like one of those balding guys who try to compensate with a ponytail.

 

As thesystemisdown said, it can be a rocky titration. Don't give up at the first side effect, it has no real bearing on what your final side effect profile will be.  If something is unbearable, call your pdoc before changing anything (with the very rare exception of The Rash, in which case you should go to an ER).

 

Oh, something I haven't seen mentioned (I may have just missed it, sorry) is that you may have very vivid dreams, especially after each titration. A lot of people have nightmares. This will almost certainly get better (there are always exceptions). I had one of my worst nightmares EVAH when I was titrating up.  And I'm a lucid dreamer, it was horrifying, every time I tried to walk out of a scenario, the next one would be worse. But I am back to my usual migraine-y vivid dreams.

 

Good luck.

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