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Does Lamictal really work this well?

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I was started on Lamictal monotherapy two to three weeks ago for bipolar II disorder while I was in the hospital for a suicide attempt. It is the first mood stabilizer I have tried. In that time I've gone from being suicidally depressed to what I would consider a full remission - I have no problem motivating myself for school, I've returned to having an active social life, I enjoy simple things again. I really can't imagine why I wanted to kill myself three weeks ago anymore.

I don't think I'm switching into hypomania because I don't feel grandiose or hyperactive or impulsive at all. I just feel confident and in control of my life. I haven't been able to think this clearly in years, honestly.

I really, really want the Lamictal to be responsible for this shift, because if it is then it is a miraculous drug for me. A dream personality makeover in a pill. It seems too good to be true, however, especially since I'm only on 50mg so far and I am aware of the fact that it is not supposed to be efficacious at treating active mood episodes, just preventing them. My concern is that this is really just the beginnings of a mood switch - that I'm kidding myself into thinking this feeling will be sustainable.

I'd really appreciate it if I could get some thoughts on this, thanks!

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Lamictal can be activating at low doses. Some people find it irritating. For you, it may be good. 

I know that everyone says therapeutic doses don't kick in until at least 100-150, but if you're med-sensitive-I am-well, I was on 75 mgs for months and months and felt great. Slowly I built up my dose as the lower doses petered out for me. I was at 100 mgs for over a year, I think. Now, after being on it since 2011, I'm up to 200 mgs. It's a great med for me. For bipolar ll depression it's the gold standard. I'm bipolar one; at any rate that was my original diagnosis, though I think that over time my illness has shifted, and I have more depression to treat. And it's been the only mood stabilizer that has ever worked for me. Screw lithium. Bite me, depakote. 

If you're responding well now, I think it looks promising for you. Good luck!


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It worked almost magically for me too, at first.  I was in a post-hypomanic downswing when I started it and it lifted my mood quite quickly, but I wasn't at all manic, just...normal.  Content, functional, good.  And like you, it was the first time in years that I'd felt that way for any length of time.

I am sad to say that it didn't last, but that does not, in any way, mean that Lamictal hasn't worked for me.  I'm not saying this to be a downer, just sharing my experience so you might be prepared if this happens.  

I did wind up getting depressed again after a while.  That's normal for me toward the end of winter.  But, I had a lot fewer symptoms.  I still had the fatigue, gloom, hopelessness, etc., but I didn't get the leaden paralysis or total anhedonia that I used to get, which meant I could still function decently at work, exercise, and make myself spend time with friends.  All that helped prevent me from totally going down the depression spiral.

Overall, good experience with Lamictal, but it wasn't magic.  



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When I started taking it about 15 yrs ago it was amazing.


i felt off before but couldn't describe my mood. Each time I titrated up I would feel better. With each increase I felt better. It was great. I don't know if my mood was liable or I was depressed and didn't know it. It has been great and you couldn't pry it out of my fingers.


with each increase it was activating and I loved that.

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When I started taking it I was in a hypomanic episode being caused by Cymbalta. We were titrating up on Lamictal and down on Cymbalta at the same time to correct my mood swings. But you know Lamictal titrating is slow because of the "rash" so I just wasn't sufficient on its own. However, eventually I leveled out with the help of antipsychotics. We determined that I really needed an antidepressant, an antipsychotic, and an anticonvulsant. However, Lamictal wasn't "settling" enough for me. I needed something more calming, which is why I switched to oxcarbazepine. However, Lamictal was great for my depression and was a solid foundation for a cocktail that contained other medications. I didn't feel that Lamictal on its own was enough though.

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