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Lamictal has saved my life


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After being on a rollercoaster for 5 years with anti-depressants (been through EVERY single one, plus Abilify and Topamax), I was finally diagnosed correctly and given Lamictal.  At first I hated it - the shitty side effects titrating up.  Everytime I would go up on a dosage it would return (memory loss, irritable, too emotional, hair loss) I cannot tell you how much i wanted to quit taking it but I held on, it was my last hope.  I was going to give up trying meds if this one didn't work.

  But now at 150 mg I feel like a normal person.  I no longer engage in unsafe activities and addictions, and this includes bad relationships with people.  My doctor cannot believe the difference in me.  She said that 3 months ago I came in her office pissed off and hopeless.  I never looked her in the eye and I was awful to the nurses.  I have now apologized to them and I am able to talk about doing positive things.  I never thought anything would ever work for me, but Lamictal did.  After feeling like shit for years, I finally feel hopeful about the future.  My grades went from F's and D's to all A's.  I recommend this drug and don't give up on it when the side effects are bad (especially feeling memory loss) it goes away and then you are normal.  Don't give up guys!!

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Heya ma cherie,

So glad you found Lamictal!

I love this drug.  I'm on the bandwagon with you.

I won't go over my whole story, since I've blaba'd it elsewhere.

But after 20 years of feeling like crap, two SSRIs that may as well have been water, useless anger management, and two or three misdiagnoses, I ended up on Lamictal in July because I have an amazing family doc.

Now I sleep through the night most nights, I'm not angry 24/7 anymore, and therapy has a hope in hell of working.

Yay Lamictal!

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im happy to hear that lamictal is working so well for you!

lamictal was a life saver for me as well. surprisingly, around 150-175mg the sunlight started to come out from behind the clouds for me as well. it only got better from there...

tal

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Cherie, you guys:

I appreciate reading about your positive responses to Lamictal. I have been on 200mg for about two weeks now and while improvements have been small, I have noticed that I'm crying a little less and focusing on schoolwork a little more. now I have hope that it will only get better from here. I have been doing especially poorly lately and could do with a little bit of hope, y'know? so thanks.

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sounds good Mechante.  I don't know if you are having trouble on your schoolwork when you go up on doses (I know I couldn't read and remember things) but it is almost nonexsistant after 2 - 3 weeks for me. It is so easy to focus on the negative, let's talk about the positive.

yay for hope! also -I take Lamictal as monotherapy.

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Hi. This is my 1st time posting.

I've been dealing with lifelong depression -- yes, truly as far back as I can remember; it's not normal for a 4 yr old to be obsessing about death, is it? ;) Refractory, somewhat leaning toward BPII. Been on everything, and a lot of combos. Was even a patient in one of the 1st Venlafaxine (Effexor) studies in the early 90s. For a few years it worked well (had to take 450 mg. day). Then it pooped out.

Earlier this year, I titrated off Effexor and on to Cymbalta. Nothing. Might as well have been water. Since I think late Aug/early Sept, I've been titrating off Cymbalta and on to Lamictal. Fortunately, I have a wonderful internist. He's also been very conservative, only upping it 12.5 mg. at a time. (Going to ask him Friday if we can go to 25 mg. increase.) I'm now on 100 mg, and I think as of this week I can finally say I am over the KILLER headaches and muscle pain. (thank god!!!) Still no antidepressant effect, but I don't expect that yet.

Reading the messages at this site has given me encouragement and hope to hang on with this process. I do have a couple questions I haven't seen answered yet here, for those of you who have longer experience dealing with Lamictal (sorry about the long ramp-up to get to these!):

1. Anyone out there with my particular "flavor" of depression (very treatment-resistant, with some thought towards it being BPII) who's had experience with Lamictal? Has it been successful? What dose did you need for it to work? Did it stay effective at that level, or did you need to increase it? Given my background, I'm wondering if it's likely I'm going to need a super high dose -- I know no one can tell me this, and it's obviously going to be trial and error. On the other hand, maybe someone in my situation, similar condition, might have some light to shed. (I'm getting antsy and am probably particularly sensitive to this possibility -- that I'm going to need a high dose and it'll take a long time for me to get there -- because my finances are in such rotten shape and I desparately need to be able to make a living, which is not really possible now in my current state.)

2. Does the hair loss stop? Does it grow back? I've seen many times people mentioning the other side effects do stop when you hit a therapeutic level, but I've seen no mention about the hair loss. 

Thanks for bearing with this lengthy message. (Not sure if this is the right place to post this though; maybe will put somewhere else as well, or start a new topic, too?)

Susan

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Lamictal has been a wonder drug for me.  I haven't had a single mania since I went on it.  The depression has gotten pretty bad, but that's because I'm still trying to find the right dosage.  Even with the downs, I still feel more stable than I have in many years.  It's lovely.

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Anyone out there with my particular "flavor" of depression (very treatment-resistant, with some thought towards it being BPII) who's had experience with Lamictal? Has it been successful? What dose did you need for it to work? Did it stay effective at that level, or did you need to increase it? Given my background, I'm wondering if it's likely I'm going to need a super high dose -- I know no one can tell me this, and it's obviously going to be trial and error. On the other hand, maybe someone in my situation, similar condition, might have some light to shed. (I'm getting antsy and am probably particularly sensitive to this possibility -- that I'm going to need a high dose and it'll take a long time for me to get there -- because my finances are in such rotten shape and I desparately need to be able to make a living, which is not really possible now in my current state.)

revlow, welcome to the boards!

lamictal was great in treating my depression. 250mg worked *and continues to work* VERY well.  although, everyone is different...as im sure you understand.  at 75mg, i felt great.  at 125mg i wanted to kill myself.  at 150mg i felt great again. at 200mg...i was horribly depressed...etc.  i found a sweet spot at 250mg and i havent moved from there.  most docs dont like to go above 200mg,  but some people here are between 300-400mg and it works VERY well for them. 

please, be patient with the dosage.  if it works out for you - its well worth the wait.

also, i never really had a problem with the hair loss. i thought it was maybe coming on, turns out i was just panicking over nothing  <_<

tal.

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lamictal helped my depression, but i turned into a schizomanic disaster (from beyond the moon).

i hear lamictal is great for bpII, though. all the bpI friends i have who have taken it have told me that it made them manic as all fuck.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

*that* is the problem i had with lamictal on its own.

anything below 250mg did fuck all for my depression, but spun me into a HORRID psycho/dysphoric manic mess.cycling went out of control.

topamax was my life saver.

doc insisted on lithium several times but i disputed for selfish/stupid reasons...i am far too scared of long term side effects.

seroquel made me insane - did the opposite of what its supposed to do.

next friday we're debating on risperdal/abilify.

a lot of people here helped me with this....

i dont want to scare anyone - but eventually it all worked out REALLY well for me.

just make sure you keep your doctor fully aware of how youre feeling at all times!

/tal ends rant.

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Another Lamictal fan here!!   

I wanted to quit so many times!!!  I had so many horrible side effects (muscle aches, nausea, headaches, massive migraines, rapid cycling like never before) and with support from this wonderful site, my pdoc and my husband I didn't give up. 

I started 200 mgs a week ago and I honestly feel like another person.  I'm still me.  I'm just a stable me, if that makes any sense...  I honestly don't know the last time I've felt so good.   

For anyone struggling with the side effects, I highly recommend sticking with Lamictal.  When you need support come here and, like me, maybe you can get through the rough days too!!

As far as hair loss...I'm still dealing with that side effect.  Lucky for me I have very thick hair, so I don't really notice any difference...other than it being annoying as hell to constantly pick hair off my clothes, furniture, floors, shower...you get the idea.

aimee     

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Thanks, aimee. I appreciate the encouragment!

Since you have just now gotten to a therapeutic level (Congratulations!), I'd be VERY interested in hearing if the hair loss situation changes.

I used to have very thick hair. Not so much anymore. ;)   Of course, there may be other factors -- stress for one. I'm under stress big time (no money, no job). Or my age; I'm 50 and perimenopausal. But I don't think it's my age/hormones -- both my post-menopausal older sister and my 76 year old mother still have their thick gorgeous hair. I also have hypothyroidism, but that's been effectively treated for decades.

The timing is such that I do think the hair loss is from the Lamictcal.

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revlow,

My experience with hair loss and Lamictal...

I didn't really notice an increase in my hair loss until I started taking 150mgs.  Since I have really thick hair, I always seem to lose/shed a bit, but my normal hair loss amount has probably doubled since 150mgs.  I am hoping that, like all of my other side effects from Lamictal, the hair loss slowly gets better with time.  My pdoc recommended a multivitamin, so I've added that to my daily pill intake.  I don't know if the vitamin will help with the hair loss, but I needed to be taking one anyways. 

Good luck to you and I'll let you know if my hair loss slows down.

aimee     

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I'm truly happy that Lamictal has helped so many of you! 

revlow,

I, too, have med treatment resistant bipolar II with depression, anxiety, and a slew of physical problems (I take a total of 13 pills with breakfast, and that's not it for the day).  I almost never react to meds the way I'm supposed to.  I'm always having the rare side effects, etc.  I was put on Lamictal about 2.5 years ago.  I'm on 400mg.  I don't notice much of a difference, but it's at least something, right?  I'm also on Paxil - I think 150mg, Wellbutrin 450mg and Xanax.  Believe it or not, I'm still anxious and depressed.  I have occasional manic episodes but I'd rather have 2 a month than 2 an hour!  My doc is still messing with my meds (I've been on and off meds for almost 15 years).  I've not had any hairloss with the Lamictal, but I'm also not a 'changed person' that feels that Lamictal has saved my life.  I am glad it came into it, however.  I've tried so many different combinations and quite a bit of the time I'm so frustrated with the amount of meds I take (I'm only 30).  The only reason I continue to take my meds is I make myself remember who/how I am without them.  I hope you can hang in there while the correct adjustments are made.  I also hope you have a good doc that listens to what you're saying and acts on it. ;) Good luck!

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baloogal:

Just re-read my reply to you. Didn't mean to imply that your meds aren't working for you. As you said:

I don't notice much of a difference, but it's at least something, right?...The only reason I continue to take my meds is I make myself remember who/how I am without them.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I totally understand this. Until earlier this year, I'd been taking Effexor for many years when it really wasn't working the way it should any more. But, it was doing something, right? At least I felt it was better to have something in my system than not.

More accurate to say, I hope we both get to the place where all our meds are working much better!

Best wishes ;)

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