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Lithium with Imipramine, please help!

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Hi Everyone,

I've been on various SSRI's for 20 years, they helped somewhat but had bad side effects such as lethargy, and the last one I was on (Zoloft) stopped working. So I started seeing a Psychiatrist and she prescribed a Tricyclic to see if the side effects would be better. They were, but unfortunately it didn't help my depression at all, actually, it made it worse. I was also at that time diagnosed as having Treatment Resistant Depression. The Psychiatrist then said she would add Lithium to the Imipramine. It took a month or two to get to the effective blood level and I reached that at the beginning of November.  Since then I have found the Lithium difficult to take, causing exhaustion and also it isn't helping my depression that much. I requested that I be taken off the lithium and Imipramine, however my Psychiatrist basically refused, saying that she wants me to stay on this dose until the end of March at the latest! In other words she says we need to wait 6 months to see if the lithium will work or not. Has anyone else ever been told that lithium in combination with another drug can take that long to work? I'd be so grateful for any advice, I feel so alone with this, like my psychiatrist isn't listening and I'm wasting my life on a drug combo that isn't helping me!  I am not bi-polar, have Depression and anxiety.

I'm in the U.K. 

Many thanks!


Edited by Angie277
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  • jt07 unlocked this topic

Unlocking since somehow both topics got locked. We prefer that topics are posted only once. It makes for less confusion and helps consolidate responses if the topic is posted only once.

I did take amitriptyline (another tricyclic) together with lithium. That is kind of an old school algorithm for treating treatment-resistant depression. My current pdoc who is not young wanted to put me on that, but that would undo everything my previous, wonderful pdoc did in constructing my cocktail. Anyway, enough about me.

I don't think I was ever told that it takes 6 months for the lithium to work. I honestly don't recall though because that was quite some time ago. It will take some time to get the correct dosage to put your blood level in the therapeutic range. Beyond that I don't know. I would believe my pdoc, however, because she has the experience with it. 

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