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How to wean off Depakote
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How to wean off Depakote

I am currently taking Depakote 500 mg once daily, Cymbalta 60 mg once daily, and Valium as needed for Bipolar Disorder.  I have been taking this for the past four and a half years.  I gained 40 pounds when starting the Depakote and Cymbalta.  I don't know which one caused most of the weight gain but feel it is due to the Depakote.  I would like to wean off the Depakote.  I know I need to wean the medication slowly but don't know whether I should take 500 mg daily and skip a day and then take it again the next or what is best to do or how long to do it.  Could anyone give me any suggestions?  I would greatly appreciate any feedback.
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First of all don't try and come off depakote without speaking to your psych first.  Once you have done that I'm sure he/she will advise you that depakote has to be reduced very slowly - definitely do not miss a dose.  I withdrew from 1000mg and it took 3 months and I still had horrid withdrawal effects.

I therefore think it is only prudent to discuss this with a medical professional.
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I used to be on depakote and found it caused weight gain. I talked to my doctor about it and he changed me to Lamictal. Depakote is a mood stabilizer, so you really should not stop it without something to replace it. Talk to your dr and tell him you want to change because you believe it is causing a weight problem and others have had the same problem that you have talked to. That way you have something to stabllize you. Actually, the Lamictal worked much better for me. RJ
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547573_tn?1234659310
Namaste,

As suggested by bulldozer and rj233, please don't try to wean yourself off of Depakote or any medication without the consent and advice of your doctor. Discontinuing Depakote, which is notorious for weight gain can have painful side effects that can lasts for 2 months or more.

Talk with your doctor, as I did, and tell him your concerns and you want off the Depakote.  I like RJ233 switched to Lamictal and in my case it made a world of difference. I lost the weight I had gained and regained some of my self esteem.

So speak with your doctor, let us know how you are doing and take care of yourself!!

Michael
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I greatly appreciate the feedback.  I have talked to my doctor about the weight gain, but he says I have to make a decision as to whether I want to feel better versus the weight gain.  I feel horrible not being able to wear my previous clothes and it really affects my self-esteem.  I am going to research the Lamictal that you suggested.  This is something that I will discuss with my physician.

I just joined this site and am very happy with the feedback that I've received.  It's great to know that someone out there really cares.
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I recently went back to my psychiatrist and was switched from the Depakote to Lamictal.  I had gained almost 50 pounds when I took the Depakote and had complained over and over about it.  I was lucky enough to get him to change it to the Lamictal.  I had posted some information about this before and received several answers, which I greatly appreciate.  Now I'm wondering if it's possible to lose the weight I gained with the Depakote and how long it will take.  This has been a very big issue with me and my self-esteem has greatly diminished.  Does anyone have any answers?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Lea

The weight will come off, when I came off depakote the weight came off gradually over about a 4-6 week period.  This was without changing my diet or exercise, so if you look carefully at your diet and try and fit in some exercise you may find it comes off a little quicker.

Good luck and don't despair.

xxx
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Avatar_f_tn
OHHH how I can relate....
I am weaning off now. They told me my doses would take months to do
without reactions...250 mg..a month to go off safely. BUT, you should
definitely do this with a Drs. supervision....
I, of 'course tried to do this myself quicker, & crashed....now I am back to
250mg, one month, 500 total mg, the 2nd month & etc....
The fact is I am on Lamictal also, it is a great drug but like all meds should
be added very slowly, I think if I remember correctly the 1st dose is 25 mg,
then so on...
I had them replace Depakote with Abilify, & I love that combo...
But as I said things go slow, & should be supervised!
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I see that you are taking Abilify.  How long have you been taking it?  My doctor wanted me to go on this med, but after reading the side effects I was afraid to.  I used to be on Triavil when I was younger and the Abilify lists some of the same side effects i.e. tardive dyskinesia, involuntary movements, weight gain, high sugar.  Have you had any of these side effects?
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I hav't had ANY of those side effects. I was worried about the 'sugar' increase (possibly)
but, it hasn't happened & high sugar runs in our family. The muscle jerks I was terrified
of. My Father has Non-hogkins, which causes the tremors, but after being on the Abilify
for many years that doesn't seem to apply either. I've not gained any lbs. except in show
of the Depakote. I gained an embassingly huge amt. of weight while on Zyprexa, but lost
it once that got out of my system! I was tried on Seroquel & a few others, but their names escape me right now, but ANYHOW the end result was NOTHING worked till' the
Abilify. Last year they added the Lamictal & it is working with the Cymbalta. That mix is my lifesaver! Good luck! Tres
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I have ADD/ADHD and bipolar (?)  I am on the following medications:

Synthroid ( 100 mcg)
Singular (10) mg
Zyprexa ( .25 mg)
Flonase
Astelin
Vyvanse ( 70 mg)
Dextroamphetamine  IR( 10 mg)
Depakote ER(750 mg)
Cymbalta (30mg)

I have been diagnosed with ADHD/ADD ( both  of them), hypothyroidism, allergies (seasonal and no-seasonal), and from my weight of 120 have gone up to 160.   I gained twenty pounds from the synthroid, and have put on twenty more pounds after that… I have severe sugar and salt cravings before my period, but not all the time.  I would like to have children but have to get off the depakote first.  The Depakote lets me sleep, and helps to control my anxiety.  I am not depressed but if I stop taking the cymbalta and /or the zpyprexa, the symptoms of TLE (Temporal lobe Epilepsy) appear. I also take the following vitamins:

Nature's Bounty Magnesium (500 mg)
Jarrow Cholecalciferol 1000 IU D3
******* Vitalizer Plus Iron
******* OsteoMatrix
******* GLA Complex
Nature's Bounty Niacin 250 mg
Does anyone think that going to Lamical.... might work?

Opinions are welcome.
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585414_tn?1288944902
Lamictal is a known mood stabilizer and one that was very helpful to me and other people (though each person reacts differently to each medication). Lamictal can sometimes be more helpful on depression than mania but also is less likely to cause weight gain and sedation than Depakoate but again this is an individual reaction. As for pregnancy there is a concern listed and that should be discussed directly with a doctor and if any of these medications are being used to control seizures as well any change in medication or adjustment in dosage should be discussed directly with a neurologist. Different anti-convulsants are more effective on different types of seizures. There is also a neurology forum as well.
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I have always been "high strung" like many memebers of my family but I have friends, am a teacher, have a family etc.  I had postpartum depression and was put on Lexapro-loved it, but had breast leakage & one doc switched me to something that made me angry, now I'm on Prestique and went to a psychiatrist to get off of the meds safely because when I have tried to wean off I have bouts of depression. She put me on Depakote 125 mg DR and has said to increase to 250 mg ER- I want off of this stuff!!!  I have never had manic episodes and she even said I have depression maybe Mood Disorder after 2 appts.  I am 33 years old, this is just happening but the depression is worse after getting on meds-what should I do? I have had my gyno (known me for years) do lab work & my regular MD all checks out that way and they thought I just needed to be on meds for 18 months or so-it's been 18 months and more meds?????
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585414_tn?1288944902
   Yes sometimes anti-depressents can worsen mania in a person with bipolar and with any mood stabilizer as with all medications people can react differently to them and might tolerate another one better. It would be worthwhile to speak to your psychiatrist about available options so they can adjust and/or change your medication as appropriate:
http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/meds/moodstabilizers.htm
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Avatar_f_tn
I am on 2-500 mg Depakote ER. Are you saying you can stop the Depakote and replace it with Lamictal. Im thinking that you have to get the Lamictal built up in your system first. My psych wont help me get off this stuff. She thinks Im mild bipolar and dont fall into any specific category such as Bipolar I or II. I got a second opinion from a good psychiatrist and he thinks maybe just depression. Any suggestions?
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I was on Abilify, Lea1959 .. and I gained SO much weight, also raised my blood sugar tremendously. I would complain each month about the weight gain (every month I stepped on the scale there was more weight gain) ... FINALLY I went to the Psychiatrist (I was seeing a NP who kept handing me the script for Abilify) ... The Psychiatrist said I should have been off Abilify well before I insisted on seeing her.
When I came off of it, I started to lose weight rapidly.
Some love the drug, most though that I have come in contact with hate it.
Good luck.
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