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I think this is probably about the second time I've ever felt the need to post outside of the blog I keep, but I'm just into my second week of taking Lamictal in the hopes of leveling out my moods in relation to borderline, and things have been getting a little concerning. I'm only on 25mg for now, with the intention of being stepped up to 50mg at the end of this week, but in the last 3 or so days I've noticed my sleeping is becoming a real issue. I've struggled for years with maintaining a healthy sleep cycle, often bouncing between practically no sleep most nights for weeks on end to sleeping 10+ hours a night and never really feeling recharged. But as of a few nights ago not only have I been waking quite constantly, but the sleep I do get is plagued with very vivid and often upsetting dreams/nightmares, and I'm usually not one to to even remember my dreams. I've also been waking with a very stiff/sore neck, which isn't exactly a new problem for me, I've had neck pain issues for a few years now, but it's definitely gotten a lot worse in the last couple of days. Finally, since I took last night's dose I've been extremely nauseous and had a pretty damn bad headache, neither of which are common problems for me. From what research I've managed to do these all seem like somewhat common issues related to starting lamictal, but what I want to know is whether or not I should be worried, and furthermore, if/when it'll get better. The whole reason I've been put on it is because I've been really struggling lately, but these last few days have just been hell, and I'm not sure if I can take it if these are going to be longstanding issues, I can barely function at all right now.

Any input will be greatly appreciated.

 

 

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I'm on my third week of Lamictal and I started on 200mg (wow I just realized that seems like a lot compared to your dose?) and I am really bad at noticing side effects, or attributing them to meds, but the sleep thing I can relate to a lot. 

I noticed I've been waking up every couple hours, and actually right now I'm awake two hours earlier than my alarm, but I laid in bed for an hour and a half, unable to sleep. IDK if in my case it is meds related because I also started a new job which has different hours than my previous.

However, if you're concerned that the side effects will continue, I think your best bet is to call the prescribing doctor and ask them. They may be able to recommend something different if you think the side effects are debilitating (and it sounds like they could be). Good luck. 

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Oh wow, my dosage sounds like nothing in comparison! Normally I'm usually pretty bad at taking note of side effects too, but I feel like the lamictal has just hit me so damn hard. I've been told from a couple of people I know that the first 4-6 weeks can be really shitty, so I'm at least gonna try to stick it out and discuss everything with my doctor when it see him at the end of the week. I've just never had a med knock me around so much like this is doing currently. I'm literally not even functioning today, just trying to avoid moving making it worse, I'm see that's even possible.

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Yeah it's weird because my mom is taking it as well, and she's on 25mg. When she found out how much I was taking she was shocked. But that's what my doc started me on. I've been pretty resistant to most antidepressants so I can see why doc would start me higher.

Anyway! It's good that you're seeing the doc at the end of the week. And if it is something that will usually go away after a month or so then I hope you can stick it out and the meds do end up working for you :)

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I would bring your concerns up with your DR when you see him/her next.  It may be the lamictal side effects, and if they are side effects, it could take 6-8 weeks to feel what it is like to have the med in your system.  It is possible they could be side effects (that might even go away with time), but also a chance they are not.  The symptoms could be coming from a whole other thing.  It is hard to know sometimes.  But either way I'd bring it up with your DR and ask about it. 

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Update: Okay, this is seriously fucked.  By my count I slept for maybe 2 hours, had a dream so realistic that I woke up unsure I'd slept at all, then couldn't move for at all for several minutes and had an irrational fear that there was someone/something standing at my doorway, but couldn't move to turn my lamp on. This shit seriously better start getting better soon. I need real sleep. Plus the nausea still hasn't gone away. Excellent...

 

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When I started taking Lamictal, it really messed with my sleep. I recently went up in dosage and it has also messed with my sleep. If I read it right, you are taking it at night. I take mine in the morning because it can be activating for some people, and that is the case with me. When I took it at night, I'd wake up every few hours, then it stopped. Went up in dose, same thing, awake every few hours. I started taking it in the morning and that stopped. I'd have no problem sleeping. It is a rough start up, but after 6 weeks or so, the side effects do go away, at least for me they did. I had headaches mostly and trouble sleeping until I started taking it during the day. I just went up 50mg to 200mg and I'm nauseous all the time now. That is also a side effect, but I'm pretty sure it will go away after a while. I'd just rough it out. It will get better. And just as a side note, 200mg sounds outrageous. Of course I'm not a doctor, but the standard starting dose is 25mg for 2 weeks, or so, then starting up. I'd get a second opinion coz lamictal can be dangerous to mess with. I missed a week of meds due to scheduling issues and insurance and my doctor started me back up at 25mg and I had to work my way back up to 150mg, after only missing it for a week.

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15 minutes ago, AnnaBanana said:

And just as a side note, 200mg sounds outrageous. Of course I'm not a doctor, but the standard starting dose is 25mg for 2 weeks, or so, then starting up. 

I'm not sure how much of that was meant for me, lol. But my doctor really didn't tell me much when she prescribed it to me (I'm still really frustrated, because that appointment was basically me saying "Hey I need meds again cause trying to do this unmedicated is killing me" and her going "okay, let's see what you can get that's covered by the low income plan" and picking Lamictal. She didn't even tell me about any side effects. I'm grateful my mom is on the same thing because she was helpful in telling me about the rash that can develop?)

So I wasn't aware that 200mg was a high dose. I started on half a 100mg, 2 times a day (so 100mg total) for a week and now am taking 100mg tablets twice a day (in the morning & before bed). But I mean when I was on prozac I went up to a pretty high dose on that, and a high dose on wellbutrin as well. So maybe she just thought to start up there and see what it does. 

I am not sure if, for me, it is doing anything. But I haven't finished my first month so I suppose I'll wait it out. 

Anyway I hope I'm not thread-highjacking, lol. Bambi, I really hope you can make it through until you see your doctor. It sounds like this is really rough on you. 

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Wow, that is a crazy fast titration. Which are you seeing, a psychiatrist or a GP? Keep an eye out for rashes.

OP, believe it or not, every symptom you list is a side effect of *starting* Lamictal. Those kind of side effects usually go away when you reach about 100 or 150mg. It can be a rough eight weeks, then you can see if it helps.

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6 hours ago, crtclms said:

Wow, that is a crazy fast titration. Which are you seeing, a psychiatrist or a GP? Keep an eye out for rashes.

Just a GP. Not sure that it's working for me anyway (surprise...) but yeah, I'm super aware of anything that starts to itch now lol. No rashes yet thankfully. 

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Okay, well I think that he titrated you up on what would be an okay schedule for other anti-seizure medication, because I've been on a lot of them. Lamictal was the only one that needed the super slow titration. Or has anyone's experience been different?

You really need a pdoc to manage your meds, imo.

Edited by crtclms
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Is pdoc a psychiatrist? I saw one at the referral of my doctor (in the same doctor's office). But it was only once because it's hard to get appointments with him & his main suggestions for me were to go back into the IOP program I was in, which I definitely can't afford monetarily, and I can't give the time either. 

If I'm not using the meds for anti-seziure does that still matter? Sorry, I really don't know a lot about medications or anything like that. I have been struggling a lot with trying to find what is right for me to help me feel normal. I am going to try to make an appointment with my doctor soon because I need blood tests for other things. Maybe I can get another meeting with the psychiatrist. 

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16 minutes ago, hugbug said:

Is pdoc a psychiatrist? I saw one at the referral of my doctor (in the same doctor's office). But it was only once because it's hard to get appointments with him & his main suggestions for me were to go back into the IOP program I was in, which I definitely can't afford monetarily, and I can't give the time either. 

If I'm not using the meds for anti-seziure does that still matter? Sorry, I really don't know a lot about medications or anything like that. I have been struggling a lot with trying to find what is right for me to help me feel normal. I am going to try to make an appointment with my doctor soon because I need blood tests for other things. Maybe I can get another meeting with the psychiatrist. 

Even if you're not taking Lamictal for anti-seizure reasons, you're still supposed to have a slow titration.  Yours has been shockingly fast.  I've never heard of anything like that before, and I've been on it twice now.  

 

(and yes, pdoc is a psychiatrist)

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Yes, I've gone slowly every time I've titrated up with lamictal (three times total). This most recent time was the quickest, and even then it was 25 for one week, 50 for one week, 100 for one week, 150 for one week, and 200 for one week. And that was largely (I think) because I've gone up on it twice before without problems.

Anyway, to the OP...I had never had sleep issues until this most recent titration, which was weird as anything. It was like all of a sudden it wanted to start messing with my sleep. It was strange...I could take 6 sleep meds, any one of which would ordinarily put me to sleep, and yet I was still struggling to fall and stay asleep. My pdoc put me (hopefully temporarily) on 200 mg on Seroquel and that killed the sleep issues. So I'd definitely talk to your pdoc. It can definitely be a titration issue...though that's not to say that it's not a symptom. I'm just saying that it's frequently a titration issue.

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15 hours ago, crtclms said:

Okay, well I think that he titrated you up on what would be an okay schedule for other anti-seizure medication, because I've been on a lot of them. Lamictal was the only one that needed the super slow titration. Or has anyone's experience been different?

 

No, mine wasn't different.  Slow titration for me too.

 

How has it been going this week?

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I'm in week 5 now and on 75mg, been going up 25mg every two weeks. My sleep is still really messed up, super vivid dreams and nightmares, plus waking up alot, but the nausea and headaches have mostly subsided. The downside is that due to the really disturbed sleep, my neck is getting worse because I'm constantly moving around in my sleep and end up losing my pillow. I really hate this so far, but I'm not up to the correct dosage yet so I'm just letting it run it's course for now.

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4 hours ago, heartless.bambi said:

Well, I'm in week 5 now and on 75mg, been going up 25mg every two weeks. My sleep is still really messed up, super vivid dreams and nightmares, plus waking up alot, but the nausea and headaches have mostly subsided. The downside is that due to the really disturbed sleep, my neck is getting worse because I'm constantly moving around in my sleep and end up losing my pillow. I really hate this so far, but I'm not up to the correct dosage yet so I'm just letting it run it's course for now.

Did your DR stop lamictal and re-start it at a lower dose?  Only asking because you were saying how you had started at 200 mg and now you are on 75 mg, going up every 25 mg/2 weeks. (which I think is a much safer titration).  (I'm sorry if I missed that ... I read through all of the posts and couldn't find where you were able to start on a lower dose).

I think you're right ... that you will have to just let your body get adjusted to it, and then the side effects might subside on down the road. 

I didn't have a hard time with titration, but I've heard people here on CB say lamictal was a rocky titration for them, but when you get to your "sweet spot" you'll know it and you'll start feeling better.

I hope this all works out or you.  Hang in there!

 

 

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I think you may have gotten me mixed up with someone else here, I originally started on 25mg and have been working my way up.

I'm a strong believer in just pushing through with meds until at least the 3 month mark, that way I've given them ample time to have the proper effect. Having said that, someone I spoke to said that the 4-6 week period that it takes for meds to properly kick in may not start until I hit the dosage level that my doctor wants to keep me at, so I'm not feeling optimistic at the moment.

I've heard similar things about it being difficult until you hit said "sweet spot", so I'm just trying to take everything in stride as it comes.

It probably didn't help that I was having withdrawal from my other 2 meds due to running out and not having the cash to restock, so I think that exacerbated things.

I'm not sure if it's a side effect of the Lamictal or just due to life at the moment, but I've been getting increasingly suicidal lately, which just makes everything harder.

Thanks for the support :)

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2 hours ago, heartless.bambi said:

I think you may have gotten me mixed up with someone else here, I originally started on 25mg and have been working my way up.

I'm a strong believer in just pushing through with meds until at least the 3 month mark, that way I've given them ample time to have the proper effect. Having said that, someone I spoke to said that the 4-6 week period that it takes for meds to properly kick in may not start until I hit the dosage level that my doctor wants to keep me at, so I'm not feeling optimistic at the moment.

I've heard similar things about it being difficult until you hit said "sweet spot", so I'm just trying to take everything in stride as it comes.

It probably didn't help that I was having withdrawal from my other 2 meds due to running out and not having the cash to restock, so I think that exacerbated things.

I'm not sure if it's a side effect of the Lamictal or just due to life at the moment, but I've been getting increasingly suicidal lately, which just makes everything harder.

Thanks for the support :)

Oh you're right!  I was looking at the OP, but must have had someone else's info in my mind!  Sorry about that!

If the suicidal thoughts get stronger I'd get in touch with your pdoc.  You're right, suicidal thoughts do make things harder.

 

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