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980052 tn?1262970679

alternative for depakote (bipolar ll)

Hi I've never posted on this particular sight but here I go..I am currently back on depakote (was taken off during pregnancy) but am reaching out and asking if any 1 who has bipolar ll and anxiety disorder has had any luck w/ another mood stabilizer?? I am thinking of trying lamicatal b/c I have read alot about it and heard of many ppl who really feel good on it w/o the weight gain..I feel I am basically on my own in finding a med that works for me b/c my psy. just seem's very limited in the meds she uses and doesn't take my concerns of the side effects of depakote I have very serious. Depakote has along list of side effects and weight gain being a huge one. Ik there are other alternatives to depakote and am also aware that every med has side effects but I guess I'm just asking for others opinions or results from diff. meds. I also just don't feel like depakote is working as well as it was befor the baby,also Ik finding anew psych. is another option which I will be doing but for ins reasons I am stuck w/ her for now so any suggestions would be appreciated also if taking lamictal what other meds (if any) are taking in combo w/ this for good results and some real stability!!!thanks to any 1 that can help
19 Responses
Avatar universal
I use lamotrigine (generic Lamictal) and it works quite well for me and I don't have any side effects anymore. A bit of sleepiness at first if I remember correctly. Depakote and lamictal react with each other (I can't remember if it increases or decreases effectiveness of Depakote) so be careful with that.

It isn't 100 percent effective for me though. I have had some breakthrough episodes but they were caused by adding Wellbutrin to the mix. I also take an antipsychotic and trazodone for sleep.  Although not 100% it is one med I would not do without. By far and away the most effective med for me.
980052 tn?1262970679
Thankyou, no I plan on stopping the depakote and starting the lamictal, I was just wondering what other's have to say about it. I also take celexa (for now) for a little bit of break through depression seasonal...I was on seroquel for sleep but since the baby $ mos) ago I had to stop b/c it really knocked me out I've done ok w/o it. she tried me on abilify  and I felt very lethargic.so stopped that so I am now on nuerotin depakote xanax and celexa but am def looking to replace the depakote w/ something that can be taken along w/ these meds so I lamictal looks/sounds like a good alternative for me.I really don't lk the sside effects I'm having from the depakote this time around..thankyou for ans me I appreciate it
Avatar universal
Hi dear, i am on lamictal after having tried other medication and suffered weight gain myself. i even told my psychiatrist once that i dont care taking the medication if i put on that kind of weight because whatever the benefits of the moodstabilizer are fading away in view of the depressed felling i get because of my body body image...
About lamictal: overall it is working and no side effects. At the beggining i was on effexor because of the severe depressive symptoms. The two were working well togehter but the goal was to just stay with a mood stabilizer. The thing is that my last blood exam revealed high hepatic -sgot- levels. they want to check if it is because of lamictal.It might well be a reaction to any virus infection i might have gone through -even a cold! so i cannot tell. What i know is that for the past two years i did not feel any side effect.  Anyway i like lamictal and dont want to change eventhough my doctor wants me to take lithium instead....
980052 tn?1262970679
That's exactly how I feel,after having my second baby 4 mos ago the weight was coming off until she put me back on the depakote and I feel my body image and not seeing my weight coming off is also causing me to feel depressed and self concious. I am also experiencing alot of hair loss which is a side effect from depakote along w/ alot of others. I am going to tell her I am not comfortable taking this anymore and wld like to try the lamictal. Even my counselor agrees that there are other options for mood stablilization and I should beable to try/do what's right for me.As I had stated earlier I don't even feel as if it's working as well as it was before the pregnancy and w/ winter coming (seasonal depression) I really need to get squared away & IK I'm not feeling as well as I could be. thankyou I really appreciate you sharing w/ me
1255505 tn?1272822715
I took Depakote many years ago, and I remember feeling rather dulled by it. I don't remember any weight gain, but maybe that was because I was on Wellbutrin too, which is known for weight loss.

I've been on Lamictal for a while now, and I love it. At first the side effects were muscle and joint aches and kind of an occasional blue-green vision. These went away after about a week and would come back (but less so) with each dose increase.

The benefits are great. I'm now one cool cucumber. I don't shred friends and family. My spending and drive for more, more, now, now is lowered. I'm able to think clearly at work. I can focus on my creative projects...no dulling like the Depakote. But this last thing makes it worth it even if it  didn't have the other benefit...that is my sleep. I'm not exhausted at the end of the day and can choose to go to bed whenever I want, but when I go to bed, I fall asleep immediately. I sleep solidly and wake up refreshed on average about 6 hours later.

It also acts as a mild appetite suppressant for me.
980052 tn?1262970679
Seph..THANKYOU SO MUCH!!!!  I feel so encouraged now after reading your post b/c as I was reading it I realized that this is EXACTLY how I'm feeling on depakote very dull...and until you described that as a symptom you had a lightbulb went off!!!! I can't wait to switch now this has made me feel very encouraged that there is a stabilizer that WORKS for me w/o these awful side effects....You sound alot like me w/ the now,now now that is controlled but I'm feeling exactly what you said DULL AND UNMOTIVATED!!! Again thankyou for giving me that AHA MOMENT b/c I wasn't sure if it was the depakote making me feel blah!!!!
Avatar universal
I have a 12 yr old girl, who I just took off Focalin, because it made her meaner than she was. she was screaming she hated everyone, and nothing makes her happy. I am thinking of putting her on depakote, but then I am reading good about lamictal. I need help and fast, before she hurts someone or herself. She punched 2 big holes in her bedroom wall. I don't know what to do for her. HELP
Avatar universal
i have bipolar II and i dont just have ups and downs but i have ups and downs every damn day.  My illnesss ruined my marriage, my relationships with friends and family, and in November it cost me my job!!!  ( i have had a few psychotic episodeds the past few years, but none in the past 12 months  Im presently taking depakote(500 ERmg daily) mixed with lamictal(75mg daily)  But until the depakote wastarted 9 months ago, i was a tall athletic dude but i nhave put on 33 lbs in the last 9 months...plus my damn hair is thinning.  I cannot keep taking a med that causes that!!!  I need help figuring what kind of NON-PSYCHOTIC drug will complement the lamictal  Im so sick of my major weight gain, and im sure that there is something out there that would not have these side effects in such a huge day...HELP ME!!!!!!
Avatar universal
I started taking Depakote 2 days ago and I'm already experiencing weirdness. My Migraines have amplified (2 horrible ones both days) and I can't sleep for crap...It's 5:00 am right now and I am wide awake. I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 very recently and this is the first med my doc is trying me on. I am also experiencing two out of nowhere bruises...one in my ear?? And it's only been 2 days. I want to be switched to Lamotrigine.....I hate this stuff already.
Avatar universal
I'm on quitiapine and venlafaxine and those are really working for me
Avatar universal
Lamictal caused mental dulling and word finding issues for me.  It also did nothing for my depression
Avatar universal
Hey everyone, I thought I'd add to this to clear a few things up.

(1) Lamictal works to counteract & prevent the depression phase of bipolar disorder & Depakote works to counteract & prevent the mania/hypomania phase.

(2) Depakote amplifies the effect/dosage of Lamictal if they're taken together. For example, if you're taking 100mg Lamictal and 500mg Depakote, it's like you're taking 200mg Lamictal. So it's important to know that if you're using them both you should take about half of the dose as if you were just using Lamictal.

(3) It's really important to get the correct dosage of Lamictal &/or Depakote. Everyone has a different "sweet spot" in terms of the dosage. Too low of a dose of Lamictal/Depakote can be ineffective and too high of a dose can cause harmful side effects (like the "dull" feeling for example, as stated above).

(4) MOST IMPORTANT: READ, READ, READ and learn everything about you're condition *from multiple sources*. If you have a mood disorder (ex. bipolar 1 or 2, etc..), you're in it for the long haul & it's extremely important/helpful to understand the disorder. Learn the possible causes, the effects, the brain mechanics (about neurotransmitters /receptors /etc and how your brain works differently because of your condition..), and the triggers & symptoms of depression/mania phases (extremely important to be aware of when you're entering/in an unnatural phase so you can try to counteract the disruptive behavior).
It's also good to know how your meds work/effect you so you can work with your doctor better to find the right dosage. If you still haven't found the right meds then you should be reading about the possible meds & how they work.

(5) All drugs aren't created equal. Though your doctor & pharmacist will insist that generics are identical to name brand, they are selectively leaving out information. It's kind of like how Grey Goose & a generic-plastic-bottle brand are both vodka - however, they're manufactured using better/worse processes & ingredients to create the "same" product. Same goes with generic vs. generic brands which use different processes & "fillers." Some are also produced in different countries with a hotter environment which affects the efficacy of the product. If you can afford it or your insurance covers it, *ask* your pharmacist for 'name brand' and if you can't afford it, research (multiple sources) which generic brand is the best. Think about it- you'll be taking them every day to help your debilitating condition so a few hours of research is well worth it.

(6) Don't just take your meds & call it a day - there's more you can do to improve your condition and your life. It's mostly just common sense things that we (myself included) don't do like: eat a healthy diet (VERY important - when I started paying attention to/recording what I ate I was shocked at how little actual nutrition I was getting in my diet), consistent exercise (*cardio* & moderate weight training), drink enough water, wake up/go to bed early, and get out more & enjoy life.

(7) This is an addition to #6. Some sort of therapy helps a lot. There's a variety of different kinds available & most likely hundreds of psychotherapists in your area. For me, I've found that simply writing out my thoughts helps a LOT. If I'm in a depressed or anxious state, I write out my thought processes & try to get to the bottom of what's making me feel that way. I have a theory that these disorders (bipolar, anxiety, etc) magnify / bring to the forefront your subconscious thoughts so if you deal with your "inner demons" then your disorder won't be able to manifest them as much.

Hope all this helps. I'm no doctor but if you want, feel free to shoot me a message and I'll see if I can answer any questions.

- Ryan
Avatar universal
My wife has been wanting to get pregnant for the longest time but is on Depakote and Zyprexa which is said to cause harm to the development of infants.  We've tried alternatives but have basically come to a dead end and end up back on the Depakote.  Now that I've heard some good cases in taking Lamictal we may try having our first child together.  Any more input would be great.
5764859 tn?1400885356
Hello, I wanted to comment on what my Dr decision not to do the Depakote/Lamictal together was in his opinion the two combining is more risk at the lamictal rash, so he tapered me off of it before increasing the lamictal.
5764859 tn?1400885356
Good and thorough information there for me, thanks!
Avatar universal
Been on Depakote known by the name Diva ER 500 mg and then to 1000mg for the last two to three years, the side effects such as dullness, running nose, weight gain were too prominent, i am now without any medication and feeling real depressed. I am looking for a better dov and a replacement.
Avatar universal
Just found this website. I also have Bipolar II Disorder. I was diagnosed in 2000. I have been on many different medications. I was on Depakote and Lithium for several years. The combination worked well, although I gained 50 lbs which was troubling. This year I worked with my psychiatrist to try tapering off the Depakote. I did it over a six month period. Lithium is inexpensive and has been very useful in treating my disorder. You may want to mention to this your doctor. Good Luck!
Avatar universal
Dear Ryan,
I read your comment on bipolar from 2013, and if  you by any chance still visit this place, I would love to get in touch.

My main problems so far have been with mania, but I also struggle with depression.
I am on depakote and clopixol, but I've read about lamictal, and I will discuss it with my doctor.

I have really hard time losing weight (I weigh 102 kg which is probably more than 240 pounds), and I think the Depakote makes it even harder to lose weight. I don't have such a problem with appetite, as with the physical activity. I find it difficult and painful..

Could you please get in touch if you read this, I would love to discuss and chat with you.
Empathise with the weight control problem. The leaflet does warn of it and of hair loss too, something that I have certainly noticed on me!
Avatar universal
Sorry, I cannot advise but I also would like to find an alternative for bipolar affective disorder.

Did you solve your question and get something different that works long-term?
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