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Is my Seroquel causing my weight gain and bloating???
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Is my Seroquel causing my weight gain and bloating???

I am so confused.  I have been on Seroquel for 2 years now.  I am Bipolar but more than anything, I have a terrible mood disorder.  I was put on Seroquel for anxiety.  Prior to that, I had been on Epival and another medication for quite sometime, but between the 2 of them, I had a 40 puond weight gain.  I went from 130 to 170 pounds.  I have an small to medium frame and am 5 foot 5 and 130 is good for me.  When the psychiatrist switched me to Seroquel, the pounds just fell off, my anxiety was gone, my moods were stable and I slept like a baby.  I started off on 150 mg at bedtime.  It always has caused me to be very groggy in the morning.  I have no idea what it's like to wake up and feel good!!!  Anyway, still, the medication was doing it's job.  Come this last October, my symptoms started changing.  I was feeling stressed, depressed and angry all the time.  All this however was due to circumstances going on in my life.  My husband and I were not getting along and he has always accused me of having a touch of OCD as well.  Possibility!  I did end up leaving.  At that time, I self medicated and bumped up to another 50 mg.  I also within the month of October decided to quit smoking.  I had smoked for 30 years at a whole pack a day(I am 44)  Why I picked this time to quit????  I have no freaken idea, but I did!  Till this day, I still have not had a cigarette.  Yeah for me!!!   Since the end of October when I did quit, I snacked a little more, sure.  I didn't exercise as much as I was, It was winter and with the quitting smoking, I became a little depressed.  Again, still taking my 200 mg of Seroquel my life was spinning out of control. I was feeling very sad, since I quit smoking, my digestive system has gone haywire and there isn't a doctor that can figure out why.  Everytime I eat, I bloat, I have extreme constipation, my body is bloated and I just keep gaining more and more weight.  If feeling hungry and snacky all the time and the funny thing is, I have a very physical job, I walk a lot, and I have a gym membership and I have been doing a whole lot of cardio 4 to 5 days a week.  I was mentally feeling like my life was just a mess.    About 10 days ago, I again uped my pills to 250mg.  My psychiatrist had written on the pill bottle, take 4 to 5 at bedtime.  I was still within my range of NOT ODing.  Since then, I have gained more weight, I am up to 153 pounds, I"m hungry, I'm bloated, I just want to sleep ALLLL day.  I get up for work at 5 am and It is horrible.  I am feeling agrgumentive, extremely aggressive, depressed, hopeless, LAZY, I still have major bloating that's getting worse.  I ALWAYS look 100 months pregnant, cant fit into my clothes.  Gone from about a size 8-9 up to about 11.  My waist is over 31 inches.  I'm not suicidal, however, I"m contenplating what life would be like for everyone if I wasn't around.  I have 3 beautiful children and my youngest is 10.  If feeling cold and heartless even toward my kids.  I HATE LIFE anymore and that is just not me.  Does anyone think this has to do with increasing my seroquel?  A counsillor suggested that perhaps Lithium would be a better fit for me because my main symptom is not anxiety anymore.  I am petrified of changing meds and mortified at the thought of gaining more weight.  Does anyone have any hopeful words for me?  
19 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
Seroquel can cause weight gain.  It's one of the potential side effects.  I would ask your psychiatrist about it.  The question is: is your Seroquel helping balance your moods?  It doesn't sound like it with how you describe your attitude toward life and even your own children.  I would suggest telling your psychiatrist all this and, "It's not working and it's causing weight gain.  Could we please switch to one that might help me and has less likelihood of causing weight gain?"  It might be hard to find such a med as weight gain is a common side effect of many medications used for bipolar disorder, but you can find a medication that will help.  It will take time, but it will be worth it.

Are you in therapy, by the way?  Medication alone is nowhere near as effective as both therapy and medication.  Medication helps lessen your symptoms and therapy teaches you techniques to avoid triggers and recognize early signs you're swinging up or down so you can try to nip an episode in the bud.
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Avatar_f_tn
Have you tried fiber supplements or laxatives since you stopped smoking?  Nicotine is a stimulant, and your body might have gotten used to it helping your digestive tract along.  Even if it isn't the nicotine's fault that you're constipated, fiber supplements (with lots of water!) or miralax should help stop it.  You should also check if certain foods make you feel more bloated.  You could try keeping a diary of foods eaten and severity of digestive discomfort.  Milk and gluten are two common culprits.  If you're really swollen from extra water, you can see your doctor about maybe getting some diuretics to help you pee off the excess (and extra water weighs a lot).

It also sounds like you need a med adjustment, either adding more seroquel (which could possibly increase weight gain) or adding another drug.  You should detail your symptoms that you mention here to your psychiatrist and let them help you figure it out.
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Avatar_f_tn
Please don't be scared about trying diff meds. This is quite normal with Bipolar. Sometimes it takes time to find the right med. You keep increasing the Seraquel but you say it's not working. Sounds like a change is in order. Some meds can do the opposite as it was intended. Everyone is different as to how they respond and side effects too. Side effects in your body can also happen even though you have been on it a while. If the seraquel is causing the constipation, increasing the dose is only  going to make matters worse. Weight gain is a side effect of Seraquel. I did not gain weight on Lithium and their are other weight nuetral meds to choose from. Talk to your dr and see which meds you would like to try that are weight neutral. Your bloating is probably from the constipation. See your dr about "cleaning your system out". Many meds cause constipation. I personally have had to use the colonoscopy prep OTC to start fresh and then I drink a glass of prune juice everyday. Talk to your dr about this. This did not happen on Lithium but other meds it did.

Once you get on the right med or combo of meds, you will feel better, your mood and anger will get better. Like I said before, some of these meds make you feel worse, anger, agitated etc. We just don't know how our bodies will respond until we try.
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Avatar_n_tn
Just wanted to say thank you so much guys for responding back to me:) As far as the constipation goes, I'm doing much better with that.  I take 150 mg of Magnesium Citrate before bed and wash it down with a cup of senna tea.  The magnesium is the prep for a colonoscopy which I have had also.  All looked great!  My stomach started getting real bad at the time that I quit smoking.  That just also happened to be the time that I uped my meds too.  For the record, Seroquel is a wonderful medication.  It got me through my life for 2 years.  I had absolutly no weight gain on it and slept well.  It does make you very groggy in the mornings though.  I think I did better physically on a lower dose, but mentally, I seemed to plateau.  Now, I am totally screwed up both mentally and physically.  This weight gain has happened very quickly and I do think the seroquel does have something to do with it.  I wonder if lowering the dose and adding to it would help.  What do I add though????  I go see my psych on Tuesday.  Not sure what I'm going to say to him.  All depends on what mood I'm in.  I know that medication effects everyone differently, but does anyone have any suggestions ?  I cant gain anymore weight because it will not be healthy for me.  Ironically, I quit smoking for my health and because I wanted to start running.  Lol.  Now, I'm too tired to get up a flight of stairs.  Carrying around this extra weight is hard on my lungs.  I have heard some good things about Geodon.  Any feedback?  Thanks again everyone.  It's nice to be able to talk to people that understand the trials and tribulations of finding the right meds!!
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't have time to write a long reply right now, but check out the CrazyMeds site (just google it, it'll come up).  It has lots of information about most meds used for bipolar, including information about weight gain and diabetes risks.  Hopefully it will help you find some things to ask your psychiatrist about during your appointment.
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Avatar_f_tn
Your dr will no which meds are weight neutral and can determine if adding something to Seraquel will work. Since it's no longer working at the lower dose and the higher dose is not working, he may want to try another med or combo of meds. Look up Geodon and some other meds you are familiar with and read the side effects, weight gain. I have looked up many meds to determine which ones I was willing to try. I am on Lithium and just started Lamical 1 month ago. No weight gain for me, but everyone is different. Some people have had weight gain on Lithium but I have not. It is a very good drug. There is no weight gain on Lamical. I gained a lot of weight on Depokote and I am a small person, plus my hair fell out. That was my experience though.
Luckily there are weight neutral drugs out there to choose from. Glad your meeting with your dr soon. Hope you feel better soon. Crystal
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Avatar_n_tn
Great advice... Thank you Crystal:)
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Okay, I found the web site Crazy Meds.  Wow!!!  A lot of people seem to be liking Lamictal.  I googled it.  There are a ton of side effects to this medication.  Scares the crap out of me. All these meds have some sort of side effect.  I remember when I tried Ambilify.  It was horrible.  Caused extremely bad anxiety for me.  I couldn't drive or leave the house.  I can't take Welbutrin either.  I love my seroquel.  Would love to try the Lamictal.  Doesn't seem to be weight gain on that one.  Am I just being too worried?
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Avatar_f_tn
Don't worry about side effects. Whatever the doctor gives you he will give you because the benefits outweigh the risks.  You will not get every single side effect.  The main thing you have to look out for with Lamictal is a rash.
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Avatar_f_tn
Lamictal is pretty good, especially for bipolar depression.  It also overall has one of the best side effect profiles of mood stabilizers, which is why it's a first choice for a lot of doctors when it comes to bipolar II.  It's also supposed to be weight neutral.  Everyone freaks out about the rash, but it's actually extremely rare (and a lot less rare than internet forums would lead you to believe--how many people spontaneously go on the internet to praise something vs. complain about it?).  It's even more rare if you follow a slow titration schedule.  

I am actually on Lamictal, and it's my first mood stabilizer.  It seems to be working fairly well.  The side effects I have gotten are acne (but controllable, but mostly just after a dose increase), intermittent facial flushing, which I think is decreasing, and it initially screwed with my birth control, but switching to a different pill fixed that.  In short, everything but the facial flushing was fixable, and well worth the mood stabilization.  And remember that EVERYTHING has some side effects.  The atypical antipsychotics (like Seroquel) actually scare me a lot more than Lamictal or other anti-epileptics.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I used to be on seraqual until I got pregnant   but it only made me sleepy and I would sleep until 3 in the afternoon
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you again everyone.  Going to see the shrink today and I'm sure what I'm going to say.  I'm thinking that I might like to stay on a low dose of Seroquel if I can and add something to it.  The Topomax (topamax) sounds good, but the more I read about that drug, sounds like I wont be able to function.  I have a job that requires me to do a whole lot of multi tasking!!  I think more than anything I'm looking for something that's not constipating and that theres a good chance I wont gain more weight.  I know, wishful thinking with all these meds:)  I will see what he has to say anyway.  Problem with him, he is not warm and fuzzy.  He is a get to the point kinda guy and there are a few things that I would like to talk to him about.  I want him to hear about how I've been feeling and I want him to know that I am very unsure about changing meds.  I will let you all know later what happens!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hope it went well!  Just remember that some side effects are pretty easy to deal with.  Constipation is one of them.  You can get Benefiber or the generic equivalent and add it to liquids or soft foods 3x a day, and it doesn't taste like anything.  It's great if you don't feel like upping your prune intake, which also works.  And if that doesn't quite do it, Miralax was invented for a reason :)

I think a good system for choosing a med is: 1) Does it control my moods/do what it's supposed to?  If yes, 2) Does it have any really dangerous or intolerable (not fixable) side effects?  If no, 3) How tolerable are the side effects, and can they be controlled with reasonable ease without causing more issues?  After this, if you have more than one drug that fits criteria 1 and 2, you can use criterion 3 to decide which one is better.  The drawback, of course, is that you have to try drugs to find out how effective they are for *you* and what side effects *you* will get.

I hope your doctor found a good plan of action for you!
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Avatar_n_tn
The problem with my psychiatrist is that he doesn't talk to me.  He is there just to prescribe the meds.  That's it!  Kinda pisses me off.  Anyway, he has me on 100 mg of Seroquel and 40 mg of Latuda before bed.  Have to have a 300 calorie snack with it so I have decided to try to get that the healthy way rather than loading up on chocolate bars.  I have to get this extra 25 pounds off me.  Eating before bed does not sit well with me, but if the meds are going to help me, I will just eat healthy:)  I am feeling very drowsy in the morning.  My seroquel always made me feel that way.  This is a little worse.  I hope that goes away soon.  The doctor wants me to increase to 80 mg but didn't say when and how.  I got a sample box not a prescription.  When do I start the 80 mg and do I take the 80 mg together or split it up twice a day?  I am hoping this will help me get out of this funk that I'm in.  Stop me from cycling and perhaps help me lose a few of these extra pounds.  I'll keep you posted!!!
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Avatar_f_tn
That's really annoying.  Can you switch psychiatrists?  The first one I interacted with a few years ago through my college was awful.  He sat there to prescribe me meds, and didn't listen to me when I said I didn't want more, and just tried to throw more meds in my direction.  I hated him, and he's one of the reasons I took so long to see someone this time around.  An ******* of a psychiatrist is really bad, because you won't be able to communicate properly with them and get the right med combo (or it will be a lot harder to get things right if they won't listen).

In the mean time, ask him why he keeps insisting on atypical antipsychotics, and ask if you could try an anti-epileptic mood stabilizer instead.  He might have reasons not to, but he should tell you.  Or you could ask to try a weight neutral antipsychotic like geodon or abilify (weight gain rare).  And you should call him up and ask about the latuda increase schedule.  If he wants you to increase, he had better darn well tell you when he wants you to and how to take it (since it's sedating, I suspect all at night or maybe 20 in the morning and 60 at night if it comes in 20 mg sizes).  

Which type of bipolar are you?  Have you tried lamictal before?  It works pretty well to combat bipolar depression in a lot of people (not so much for mania), it's weight neutral, and has a good side effect profile (as long as you don't get the rash, but even that is usually benign as long as you stop taking it).  Definitely ask your psychiatrist to explain in terms you can understand (no obfuscation through technical babble) why he wants you on the meds he's prescribing and if he's willing to try something different, and if not, why not.  If he refuses to explain anything to you, I'd say that's a major red flag.
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YES!!!!! For me, it also causes me to be sluggish, hard to wake up occationally and difficulty swallowing at times. I binge at nite.
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Avatar_f_tn
Anonymouse88 gives very good advice! I wanted to reiterate the fact of how important communication is with your psyc dr. You should always feel comfortable asking questions and he answering them. It's important you understand your treatment. Him not telling you when to go up on the Latuda is absurde. Did he even give you a rx for the increase? Were you able to tell him you wanted something that was weight neutral? From what you describe of this dr, I would find another one. If I have a lot of questions and I know I can't fit everything in in a 15 min appt, I schedule a 30 min appt. If I'm not doing well then I make it fo 50 min. That way you will have plenty of time to get all your questions answered and to take notes.

When I took Latuda I took it in the morning. I was glad the dr prescribed it that way so I could take it at breakfast (my 300 calories). Since your taking it at night maybe you could take it with dinner that way you won't need to eat again at night. Everyone is different but for me the Latuda did not make me sleepy but the Seraquel did. Since you felt groggy before with the 150mg I would suspect it is the Seraquel that could be making you tired even though you lowered it to 100mg.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi guys:)  Thank you again for all your great advice!  It's been a few days now and I feel about the same.  Coming down to the 100 mg of Seroquel has helped I think.  My moods seem to be all over still, but really, I just don't know what's normal anymore.  Does anyone out there feel as if they have forgotten who they are????  I wonder if when I show emotion, anger, happiness etc, if it's all real or when I'm really happy am I just cycling.  Is there such thing as circumstances that make you sad or depressed or is it just because your bi polar????  I KNOW that my children and my husband have no idea about "being bi- polar".  Seems that when I do get angry about something, they blame it on my mental health!  As I asked....does anyone question who they really are?  In addition to my seroquel, I am taking my 40 mg of Latuda before bed.  Yes, eating that 300 calorie snack before bed *****!!!  Must choose wisely.  Not sure if it makes me drowsy because I take it with my seroquel.  I seem to be doing well this last few days, but could this Latuda be making me confused or say dumb things?  I do feel a little disorientated.  Been on 40 mg for 4 nights, when should I increase to 80 mg?  Thank you everyone again for listening!!  I love the support and the great advice:)
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Avatar_m_tn
whenever I go back on Seroquel...immediately 15 lb weight gain. my stomach looks preggo. I only take it to sleep about 200 mg a shot. I can sleep about 3 hours so I usually take it in the middle of the night after only sleeping a few hours. I am extremely medication resistant. sometimes I take it during the day if I do not sleep well the night before and I can get a 1=2 hour nap. worst side effect is stomach bloating and cravings.
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