Tag Archives: mood stabilizer

Lamictal (Lamotrigine): A Review. Part II

I haven’t gained any weight from being on Lamictal, it’s a weight neutral mood stabilizer. My psychiatrist has also informed me that it is the only medication I should be on (other than sleep meds), as it targets both mania/hypomania and depression, he also asserts that Bipolar Disorder sufferers shouldn’t also be put on anti-depressants combined with mood-stabilizers. He offered me the quick fix of Lithium when I was on a downward slope, telling me I’d be a ‘new woman’ within a week. I know Lithium is the top-shelf mood-stabilizer, but I’m also shallow and self-conscious enough that I don’t want to get fat. Lithium for me also has negative associations, I use to think of it only being prescribed to those ‘hardcore’ cases, but then again maybe I am a ‘hardcore’ case. Maybe I’m not bipolar, think I might argue with my psychologist on Thursday.

They have increased my dose on Lamictal, it wasn’t doing enough at the time, especially in contrast to Epilim which fixed me quick, but made me gain weight through excessive carb cravings. Overall I think this is a good medication once you get to the right dosage, I think they will slowly titrate my dose up until I have no lows or extreme highs. If you are self-conscious of weight-gain from bipolar medication: THIS is the drug for you, but be aware that you have to increase your dose slowly, so the effects aren’t instantly noticeable. Now I should just focus on losing the weight the other drugs made me gain…not fun.

I have a great appreciation for the ‘crazy meds’ site, giving funny yet knowledgeable and relatable twists on medication. I’ve been diagnosed as Bipolar 2, yet my reaction was more like Bipolar 1. As follows:

4.2  Bipolar 2

Generally considered to be the best drug on the market for bipolar 2. While there are always conflicting data, your mileage may vary, yadda yadda yadda, with its track record for efficacy and other factors, Lamictal should be the first med considered, but not necessarily the first med used, by many, if not most people diagnosed with bipolar 2.

4.3  Bipolar 1

If you take it like the FDA tells you to – after being stable on another med – the chances are pretty good you’ll stay stable. If you start it while manic1 or only mild-to-moderately depressed and aren’t taking, let alone stable, on another med, expect to be bouncing off the ceiling and have your cycling sped up.

________________________

My reaction was exactly like Bipolar 1’s statement, I was taken too quickly off Epilim which was replaced by Lamictal, I guess I migh’t have been completely stable when I made the transition between the two. I was lowering my dose of Epilim and replacing it with Lamictal. I don’t know what happened really, it felt like a low-level hypomania, but with the increased dose I’m starting to feel less agitated, although i sleep extremely poorly and often have night terrors when I do sleep.

________________________

Lamictal’s Pros and Cons

7.1  Pros

The best medication on the market to deal with bipolar depression without the risks of mania or lowering the seizure threshold associated with antidepressants. Weight neutral. One of the safest meds to use during pregnancy. The side effects suck less than the other meds with FDA approval for maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder.

7.2  Cons

That “without the risk of mania” is only after you’re taking enough. You might get a little too happy the first couple of weeks. Easily affected by drug-drug interactions, in spite of being metabolized in such a way that only a few meds should affect it. Can mess with your skin in all sorts of ways that could cause you to panic and stop taking it when you don’t have to.

__________________

331776

Advertisements

Mr Lamictal, How Lovely You Are.

Lamictal (lamotrigine) is AWESOME.

Visited another psychiatrist a few days ago, a very lovely and friendly man, he is 80% sure that I am Bipolar 2, but wishes to monitor my progress for the next year or so, because there are so many “areas of grey” in diagnosing people. It took one day for my life to crumble and the label of Bipolar to be assigned to me, my psychiatrist is hesitant to fully diagnose me because it’s been such a short time since I first started to see my psychologist and only 2months since I first approached my GP about anxiety, which opened the cascade for Bipolar. My severe reaction to such a low dose of Avanza makes him hesitant to add anti-depressants to my mood stabiliser, but thankfully I’m changing from Epilim (apparently a top shelf mood-stabilizer – but has weight gain side effects) to Lamictal (very little side effects).

cd9885c149985419d0f1b299aef35243

Epilim made my memory extra foggy and drowsy; I’ve started tapering off and have introduced Lamictal which will eventually be increased when I’ve completely tapered off Epilim. Lamictal is actually making me feel a lot better than normal, I had a brilliant day, my head feels good and I can actually see light at the end of the tunnel. I sometimes wonder if I should pick up the rest of my script for the anti-depressant just to see if it will cause hypomania again, I’m not exactly denying Bipolar, I just want more evidence for myself. I should just be happy that I’ve finally found a medication that makes me feel so good, I know that mood-stabilizers can’t always hold off depression though, but its nearly summer in Australia, so the sun if bright and my mood is good, guess I will wait for next winter to truly find out.This is one of the longest times (3weeks) in life where I haven’t been thinking about suicide, I’ve thought about suicide since I was at least 7years old, to some it might seem weird, but it’s always been on my mind somewhere, at the moment with Lamictal it is blessfully absent. I read recently on ‘crazymeds’ that Lamictal can make people go into an extremely good mood for the first few weeks of being on it. I think that’s where I’m at, I’ve been exercising a lot, I’m more pleasant to everyone, I’m motivated and energised . I do still have messed up sleep, jolting awake and thinking something is wrong, acting out my dreams, waking up thinking I’ve forgotten something or I’m late. I’m not usually a good sleeper but having this EVERY night is getting a bit much, in the past I would generally wake up twice a week randomly at 3am and do weird things, now it’s all the time.

“That “without the risk of mania” is only after you’re taking enough, usually 200mg a day. You might get a little too happy the first couple of weeks. Or too irritable, anxious and otherwise unpleasant to be around.”

Anyone had any long term side effects from Lamictal???