I was diagnosed with bi-polar when I was 21, a single mother of an infant, working full-time and attending school full-time. I feel like the doctor's diagnosis was a little hasty since he seemed to base it on a 10 question sheet. I have asked my current doctor to let me go off the medicine and he says that bi-polar patients often are in "denial." My son is now 9, I am married and have completed college. I am very comfortable with my life now, but am hesitant to stay on this medicine (Lamictal) my entire life. Advice? Also, a few months ago, a generic for Lamictal was released. It seems like the generic doesn't work as long as the Lamictal did. Is this possible? Thanks -
People with bipolar usually require medication for life. Lamictal can be taken safely for life. But if you don't know why you need it it would be best if you spoke to your psychiatrist what exactly it was prescribed for and what its helping on. Also try to remember what life was like before it and how things have changed, especially in terms of moodswings and overall ability to stay rational. As for generics they often don't work as well. That's common. Have your psychiatrist write "Dispense as Written" on the prescription pad and if there is a denial of coverage at that point appeal it and have him writing a detailed letter stating why the generic didn't work as well. Generic medications are supposed to the same but I've found for myself vary in terms of quality and quantity at times.
If you are really concerned about the dx, I would seek another pdoc out, I wouldn't go off the med The med you are on is a fantastic drug, first one that's actually helped me.
Like other's have said, we have a tendancy to go off meds, if things are going smoothly and life has changed. People will stay off the drugs until they crash, then your BP could be harder to treat the next time. Pdocs in north american follow the DSM-IVr to the T, it's actually easier to figure out which med to put a patient on.
I was diagnosed at 16 and thought my shrink was absolutely wrong, between 25-40 my moods have swung more then a monkey's. I know have a semblance of normality now, because of the meds. I suggest maybe using the mood tracker that's on this site, as long as you are honest with your moods and feelings,( denial being a cruiel bedfellow),
you might have a better idea right? If you go off your meds, then be vigilant with your tracker as well. Hope this helps :)
We would all like our diagnosis to be wrong but the fact that the Lamactil works and you notice the difference with the generic might indicate something else.
And wanting to go off meds is a bad sign for many bipolars, because when you go off is when bad things can happen. The most dangerous time for BP's is when they feel good and everything is working - this is when they think they do not need the meds anymore.
If you are not sure get a second opinion but they dont just base things on the K10 even if it appears that way.
I didn't say that if a generic is less expensive that its not worth trying. I've just said that personally I've run into difficulties with some generics. Actually some of the medications I take are in generic form. So it depends. Generics vary. I've had times where I took a generic version of a brand medication and it was fine and they replaced it with another generic that didn't work out. When it comes to medications there are not just the brand of the medication and the generic. There are multiple generics and they can differ. Usually not enough for a person to notice. But there can be problems. The best thing to do is try them and if there's a problem ask to be switched back to the brand.
Why not have your pdoc review the DSM-IVr and have him take a deeper look? As far as the meds go, everyone is right, we tend to think we don't need the meds anymore, and then all hell breaks loose and we're right back where we started. Usually in far worse shape. If you truly feel your diagnosis was incorrect then don't take a blow off response from the pdoc, pursue until you feel that you are dealing with someone who is going to take you seriously and take a second look at the diagnosis, but be prepared to be told that you truly are bi-polar. Nothing wrong with that.... until then, stay on your meds, and see if you can get back on the brand name drug...
I take the generic for Lamictal and it works great for me. I was told by my pdoc and pharmacist that the only difference (besides the obvious cost) is the labeling of the drug. The generic, Lamotrigine, is the exact same drug as Lamictal with the same dosage, it just doesn't have the Lamictal name on it.
Also, one of the HUGE warnings that is with Lamictal is NO DRINKING. Lamictal is one that actually slows your brain and adding a depressant like alcohol is a horrible thing to do to your body!
Unfortunately generics can vary in strength and quantity. That's a fact. It makes sense to switch to them when they are available but if people encounter side effects or problems then as I said to have your psychiatrist write "dispense as written". I can't comment on Lamictal in particular but I've had many generics that didn't work where the brand did. There are many reliable websites that will confirm this. But they are still worth trying as for cost effectiveness. But I know with the Zofran the generic Ondanestron and brand Zofran are at slightly different strengths. The generic actually seems to have a slightly larger dose so when I take the brand I have to take more. Its an aggravation but its been known to happen. But worth knowing about. When I took Lamictal the generic they gave me caused difficulties but that was not because it was a generic. They accidentally gave me the chewable kind for children and it didn't work. I always look at my prescriptions before I leave to make sure what I got was correct.
Understandable and sorry if anyone, including myself came off as judgmental but I'm not so sure if when the hypomania gets under control the urges will subside as the binge drinking issue is a seperate problem and also makes the Lamictal unable to work as well as it could. There are recovery groups for people who are dually diagnosed. I'm not sure if your psychiatrist understands alcoholism (I know this term in itself seems judgmental but I come from a whole family with this background, myself not included, and have a good familiarity with it) and its seperate from bipolar. Binge drinking is dangerous in general. How about this? Look into a recovery group for people coping with both issues (psychiatric and alcoholism) and share your coping strategies with them back and forth. At that point you wouldn't feel judged. Think about that.
Well thanks for your input. From what you guys are saying I'm surprised my pdoc is not more concerned. He wants to up my meds but what's the point if drinking is making them less effective. I have so many challenges - this is not so easy!
I used to binge drink - I was in a full blown manic state and boy did I throw down the liquor..... it's not an easy thing to stop, but you gotta realize that alcohol and these drugs just don't mix... at all... it's a bad situation, but you need to get control of it, and overcome the urges........no one is judging you, if anything we're more concerned for the reactions of the meds and alcohol.....
So how did you stop? I've been going to AA and have been sober for 3 weeks now. I was doing O.K. until this week when my cravings started up again. I've noticed a huge improvement in my moods since I stopped so this is motivating me to stay sober but the cravings drive me insane sometimes.
I went in because I was loosing my cool with my soon to be ex in 2010. She was caught in many lies and had pulled away from me fo starting a business. at the point in time that I went in she had not been intimate with me in over 18 months. We had two small children. I was clueless what to do. No previous "major" issues before then.
Over the next year my life fell apart. I became manic, I became obsessed with her past. I started drinking (the only thing that seemed to help my pain) I took steriods to make myself look better for her. Long story short. I lost my mind. In june I was hopitailzed with pancrtits which was beleived to be caused by the depakote. I went into a mental hospital under the care of a new psyche to be take carefully off the meds. The doctor there after spending 3 days with me said that he beleived it was an anxiety disorder due to familial stress. I was kicked out my home and had a protective order slapped on me for saying very mean and threating things in feb 2012. I have to see my children in protective custody because of my actions.
I am now medicine free and have been for 5 months, I feel better than ever.
The meds masked my emotions, inhibited my emotions and caused me to gain over 50 pounds. I had a psychologial evaulation today and have to complete a 23 week anger management course before my ex will even contimplate letting me see the kids.
I was wrongly diagnosed. Serious mood altering meds should only be administered if there is an intense evaluation completed.
My life could have been saved my counseling.... the meds made me into a monster.
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