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What medication combo do you take?
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What medication combo do you take?

What medication(s) do you take for your bipolar? I'm thinking about calling my MD and asking to be taken off lamictal and put on something different. Tell me how it's working for you. What other meds have you tried and why did you stop taking it?

Ash
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Everyone seems to do well on a different variety of meds, so you never know if one thing will work for you just because it works for someone else.  I just started abilify and I am starting to feel so much better.  I was taking lamictal and it didn't seem to be helping, possibly making things worse, so the doc added abilify.  He said to wait a couple of weeks and he might take me off the lamictal.  I have also tried rozerem for sleep problems (withought much luck) and today he put me on what he described as the "dreaded ambien."  I'm scared to take it though.  Good luck!
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513504_tn?1214175594
jesus ive been on loads of pills for this and still havent found the right thing so im prozac now i cant say it does alot at all if anything . i was on effexor for many years damn that stuff messed me up real bad. lamictal  did nothing. rozerem sill sleepless for a long time. it all depends on the person. good luck on finding your combo.
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I'm currently on Lamictal (a couple of months) and so far it is helping.  I was also on seroquel and depakote a short time ago, but both had such side effects (extreme weight gain, hair loss) that I stopped those.  Several years ago Prozac made me suicidal, and I was on effexor for a couple of years but that zonked me out like a zombie, I was so fatigued and also weight gain - so I finally got off that.  I took a Wellbutrin/Lexapro combination for several years and that was great, but then it stopped working for me.  Everyone reacts differently to all the meds and that's what makes treatment so frustrating.  Good luck to you.
Hugs,
Ruby
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I was allergic to lamictal, wellbutrin worked wonders for me, and worked even better when i added topamax to it.
Good luck and make sure you check your blood levels regularly to keep your liver and kidneys safe, all these meds can potentially be damaging on the long run but as long as you monitor your treatment you should be fine,
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So, most of these meds don't work for your lifetime? I'm wondering if doses have to be increased. I took prozac and I too was suicidal and homicidal (all thoughts-very aggitated). Wellbutrin made me break out all over my arms and belly. I loved lexapro, but it made me twitch and have muscle spasms.

Thanks for all the replies.

Ash
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I take Lithium 300mg, Lamictal 100mg and Lexapro 10mg twice a day.  
I've been on ALL type but for the last few years this combo has helped.

Robin
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I've been stuck on the same medication for years because every time I try a new medication, it freaks me out or has wierd side affects.  I really am a poor example.  I've been taking Lithium 300mg, Paxil 40, and Clonezepam .10 mg a day forever (the past 8 years at least) . . . I know other medications would be more affective but it's so hard to change as medications like Paxil and Clonezepam are addictive in your system and you feel the affects when you quit taking them . . . it has to be very gradual.
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522869_tn?1212171162
Cymbalta, Seroquel, Trazadone
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   I have been on almost all the drugs here in this session.  I am currently taking the old lamictal, trileptal combo, but will have to switch to something else as my perscription limit has run out and it costs around $500 a month for these two.  I will probably switch to lithium, depakote as it is cheap and works good for me.  The only draw back that really bothers me is the lithium level has to be watched close otherwise it will really shut you down, and I have been treated for lithium toxicity wich is not much fun.  The toxicity happened when we were trying to use it to get me to sleep better.

Good luck
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439168_tn?1307935340
Lamictal has a generic now. It was costing me a lot too. I was paying around $200 for a 3 month supply (25mg twice a day), but now it costs $10 for 3 months. The only thing is tho, I have the chewable kind....I can't stand chewing it, so I swallow it whole, which is says you can do that....and I get headaches sometimes from it...but I'm thinking the headaches will eventually go away....Still has the same amount of effectiveness for me. My body is so sensitive to a lot of the medications because I also have an autoimmune disease.

Best wishes.

Thank you everyone for your responses. I didn't know what kinds of meds were out there. I may be doing a switch also. Or addition.

Ash
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I take lamictal, lithium, and paxil.
I've taken everything under the sun over the last ten years. I am pretty satisfied with my mental state at the moment and have only cycled (I am rapid cycling, and used to cycle 3-5 times a day) a couple of times in the year and a half I've been on this combo.

My main complaint is the lithium...it has killed my creativity. I used to be an artist...but I had to sacrifice that side of my life if I wanted to stay alive. I cannot remember anything anymore, and FORGET reading a map or doing a crossword puzzle, hah!
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When you say you are going to talk to your MD, do you mean psychiatrist? I hope so. Before I was diagnosed as BiPolar II, my internist prescribed Zoloft, just like it was candy. This set off a long period of what I later learned was ultra-rapid cycling. I lost a job I had for 14 years, then 2 more jobs...anyways, my point is that get the right med cocktail is an art and science and you must work with a psychiatrist experienced with your disorder.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am on Tegretol and am doing well on it.Was on Risperidone for a hypomanic episode but could not tolerate  side effects so my Psychiatrist  started to taper it off me and I am now four days away from stopping it.Tegretol is a very good mood stabilizer if you can tolerate it like I have.
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I am on perphenazine now and I think it is great.  I have always had mood swings, regardless of the medicine I'm taking.  It is true that all medications work differently for all people.  With lithium, I gained 80 pounds, my skin itched when I got hot, I developed a severe case of acne, I was a drone (walking sleep), and I was constipated constantly.  With geodon, well, I do not remember I was sleep so much.  Risperdal gave me constant bouts with mania and depression; on Zyprexa, I gained 40 pounds and could not sleep without it; with haldol (usually given while manic) I was nauseous; I was constipated, could not lose weight and was sleep 19 hours per day on depakote; I took Wellbutrin to counteract the depressive episodes that I had with all of these medications and I couldn't sleep at all.  The real kicker is that my whole body would shake all of the time on all of these medicines.  It was very embarrasing and it really affected my self-esteem (to the point where I stayed in the house because people would stare at me). I really hope that you find the medicine or combination that works for you.  Don't give up and if the medicine is making you sick, do not be afraid to tell your doctor and switch medications.  After several weeks, you probably will have a good idea about the medicine you're taking and know whether or not it's good for you.  Good Luck!!
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there is no such thing as good or bad mediction (medication), you will find here people taking all sorts of combos including myself.

I happen to be the only one i suppose taking anitipsychotics only , i.e. no lithium and no anticonvulsents. Yet i survive till now. When i correspond online with others, whether pts or doctors they either laugh or get astonished. I am taking 2 atypical (risperdal and seroquel) and one typical (stelazin). It doesn't make sense of course especially why 2 and 1 and why 3 AP's for start, why not one at a therapeutic dose say. I don't know myself.

I envy people when they say they are on lamictal because i consider it the best drug (so long you don't rash), super for depression. So on one hand it's an ms and also it prevents depression. The combo i dreamt of is lamictal+seroquel because the 1st true it doesn't help in mania yet it lifts depression while the 2nd is an antimanic so you get an equalization. However i tried the chewable  infantile dose and somehow it was excellent the 1st few days (2mg only) then got a seizure.

there is a site tgoogle it under "ranking mood stabilizers of Dr Jones", it gives you all their bloody names. Abilify is newer also and works different than the atypical in regulating the dopamine. For some it is a life saver, for others it causes anxiety and agitation and truly i didn't try it because i don't want to fidle with my peculiar combo.

However i am taking some AD called stablon it works well so far, so perhaps the combo is ok : the latter ups me and the AP's put me down so again some equalization. I tried to see the equivalence of stablonin the west it is called coaxil, very few use it but it's super for anxiety too

good luck in finding the right combo. Incidentally, don't wait for the prince charming you will never find something perfect, just something to put you back on your feet and functioning again

good luck  
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi adel I just wanted to mention that you should make another effort to taper Risperdal and Stelazin one by one and stop both and later bring Seroquel to theraputic level.You will definetely have plenty of anxiety while tapering both but you got to do it for your own good to prevent complications from combinations of 2 AP's and one typical combined .I encountered plenty of anxiety  while tapering Risperidone but I did not give up and now am just 4 days away from stopping it.I am presently at 0.5 mg.You might get angry at my suggestion but please give it a try again as you will be the beneficiary.
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I'm interested in hearing about your experience with Tegretol. What sort of side effects or symptoms do you have to tolerate?  Is it working to help stabalize your mood?  Does it cause weight gain ?  I'd like to hear all about it b/c it may be my next option.
Thanks
Jackie
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I have been taking Tegretol since 11 years and have been doing well on it but a huge personal stressor precipitated a Hypomanic episode and I needed Risperdone since July 2009.I have now tapered off it under guidance of my Psychiatrist and will be off Risperidone from 23rd November.I have had a mild increase in liver enzymes with tegretol as i was drinking alcohol a lot with it contrary to advice but it has not caused me any discomfort.In a very few people it can cause a decrease in white blood cell count so initially you will need blood tests to monitor your white cell count and liver function tests but these side effects are seen only in a minority of people otherwise it is safe. Only that that you cant drink much with it.It does not cause weight gain or any of the other lousy side effects seen in the other mood stabilizers and anti psychotics.It is amongst the best mood stabilizers available which is effective in both aspects of bipolar disorder.
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Avatar_m_tn
Dont let the blood tests scare you.After the first 6 months,you only need to monitor the white cell count,drug level in the blood and liver function tests once in 6 months.It keeps you relatively stable with the least possible discomfort as compared to other medications presently available for Bipolar.
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I have been seeing my psychiatrist for 6 years now for Bipolar Disorder and he keeps adding medication to my list.  I feel fatigued all the time, even though I take them at night and I don't feel productive at all!  I am currently taking Lamictal, Risperdone, Topimax, Celexa, Xanax, Trazadone, and abilify.  Has anyone heard of anyone with Bipolar taking this much medication?  I have had a few cycling over the years but nothing I think that would warrant this much medication.  Could all this medication be making me feel unmotivated and tired all the time?  Any help would be greatly appreciated as I can't live like this...I'm so unproductive!
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That much medicine sounds absolutely crazy!!  U have to be ur own patient advocate.  I know from decades of experience.  ( I was misdiagnosed from age 19  to 49,,severe depression is what they said). What I realize now is I was never treated or seeked treatment when I was hypo manic. Extremely functional during those times.. 4 yr. degree in nursing, good job in cardiac med surg, at a hospital,  lots of social energy.  After about 5 yrs, crashed into severe depression, suicide attempts, hospitalization ect.  Finally, this Godsend doctor asked me I how I accomplished this in my depression.  Told him I would better than great a year or two then crash.  Hence, the correct diagnosis.  What I'm getting at is for ur lack of severe symptoms relating to all the meds they have u on.  I'm by no means qualified to suggest u quit any meds, but I speak from a lifetime of experience dealing with incompetent psyche doctors that will throw pills at u an hope for the best.  An of course there is a stigma attached to the diagnosis of mental illness an if u voice ur opinion about ur treatment that doesn't necessarily agree with the doc, then ur labeled non- compliant an irritable at which point they want to throw more pills at u.  I am finally streamlined on lamictal an latuda, a fairly new drug out.  Like u , at one time think I was on 6 or 7 meds.  UGH!!  I would sit down an have a serious talk about whether all these meds are necessary considering ur fairly stable.  P.s.  On the other hand u might be stable BECAUSE of the shitload of meds !!!!  Stay healthy an take care
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Yes, I was on a lot of meds at one time, by the very good psychiatrist who Ai finally saw, and who diagnosed me correctly. He didn't like me being on that many meds either, but he felt he had no choice and my bipolar disorder at that time was very severe. I was also proving to be very resitant to psych meds. I used to look at other people in the hospital, who were being treated with bipolar disorder of different types, who only took 1 or 2 meds, and who were recovering a lot quicker than me with envy. People would leave the hospital program, and I would still be there for months.

I was a real challenge. We worked on it for 15 years. Before I  had this doctor, I was diagnosed as having severe depression. I went through a lot of different psychiatrists. This dr, who is treating me for a long time, was the one who came up ith the BP2 diagnosis, and it was given because a therapist lerted him that she witnessed me going through a short cycle of  mania between my depressed cycle. I didn't think I was cycling. I chalked  it up to the effects of sugar binges and PMS.

Both the disorder and the meds can make you fatigued, tired, have memory loss, dull your sensations, etc. It's a double edged sword. I can see that most of your meds  will do that to you. Psych meds are notorious for the way you feel. It was hard for me to figure out what was the depression, mixed states or the drugs.

I used to think there was something very, very wrong with me hen I compared myself with other people going through bipolar disorder, because I was having such a hard ime getting on the right medications. I was used to responding quickly and healing faster for physical ailments and conditions. I used to ask "Why wasn't I responding? How come the meds would work somewhat, great and then not so great? Why are those adverse effects or side  effects would happen. How come other people have it so easy?

I knew this  doctor was very competent. His specialty was in treating mood disorders. He was really easy for me to approach and he paid attention.

Don't compare yourself to others. Everyone is different, and things can change ith the med requirements.Everyone reacts different to  meds and med combos. I can't take Lamictal. If i did, it will probably kill me since I did have the bad "rash" reaction when I took it, and that was pretty much confirmed by what Ai had to go through to get that treated.

As soon as I got on the right medication after more than 13 years, the other meds started to come off. It's not just meds that make you better. The chances of recovery and having relapse prevention gets better when making lifestyle changes. When I got mentally ill, I didn't sleep, eat and exercise well and I got into bad coping habits and thinking.

I was driven by the disorder. It took a lot of work, conscious effort, practice and commitment on my part to get better. I had to become a competent practitioner of my own care. The doctor, therapist, support and myself had to do the work of getting me better. There's really no difference with physical illness and mental illness in that area. To get over diabetes, which is what everyone seems to like to compare bipolar diorder, depression and other mental illness, people not only have to take the med but also have to make changes in lifestyle and behavior.

If you are questioning the need to be on those meds, take time to talk to your doctor  about it, instead of wondering about it. Heaven knows, it's easy to spin things around over and over in the head. Just ask him the same question you asked here. Ask him if it is likely that the amount of meds will decrease and what has to happen for that to occur. Is it possible to take a drug off now? As I said  in another post, I'm down to 2 now, and I didn't change doctors. If you want, you have the option of getting a second opinion from another psychiatrist, who is a bipolar isorder expert on the meds you are on. Ask your doctor and/or your insurance how you can get a second opinion, if you aren't satified with the answers your doctor gives you.

When I got better for a lot longer I was still on a lot of meds. It was more than 5. I was on 7. The last one added on was effective enough to work on it's own. I'm morivated, less tired,able to concentrate and  feeling more and more together, and I'm getting better at not reacting to triggers to make me tip to mania, depression or mixed states. It's a pretty nice feeling to know that. I still tire easily, still have problems with sleep, some memory issues, and getting stronger. I can tell I'm better than the way I was a year ago and a month ago. The lifestyle and behavioral changes aren't work anymore and basically became easier and doesn't feel like a conscious effort. That's how the brain learns to function better.  



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