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Just_Justine's avatar

Could I ask you guys your experiences with medication on bipolar/depression?

Asked by Just_Justine (6456 points ) March 28th, 2010

Some one made a post here the other day, which got me thinking. The poster said, “She only really went onto medication when she accepted and believed she was bipolar”. I think I was in that phase. I felt like I had been misdiagnosed.

However, I have decided it might be better to go the medication route. I was for a short time on Solian (amisulpride) which was great, but blew me up like a balloon, I felt great though. So they tried me on Epitec lamotrigine which is also called Lamactil I think? That made my skin come out in welts so I could never reach the correct dose. They were planning to try a combo of Abifily and Epitec in the lower dose. But I gave up at that point.

Now they want to try Epilan. With Molypaxin.

My point is how did you deal with side effects? weight gain and other? Or was it easier for you. I really need to know overall general opinions on what worked for you and how it helped.

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22 Answers

loser's avatar

I had the same reaction to Lamictal and when I started Abilify I gained weight like crazy. I finally had to tell my doctor that we needed to try something else. I’m now taking Ativan and Neurontin. Not a typical treatment for bipolar but it seems to be working. All I can suggest is asking your doctor to try something else. Good luck!

MissAnthrope's avatar

Effexor has been the only medication that’s worked for me, and unfortunately, it pooped out on me after a month and never worked again. :\ I’ve tried Wellbutrin, Lithium, Paxil, and Remeron. For me, the sexual side effects of Effexor and Paxil make them difficult to take long-term, because, frankly, sex is a huge part of adult relationships. Not being able to perform can cause problems in a relationship, as well (very frustrating).

Remeron was not fun, ugh. I was sooooo tired all the time, and I may as well have been smoking pot all the time because all I wanted to do was eat, sleep, and get off (no sexual side effects here!). The pot would have been more enjoyable. I gained a ton of weight in a really brief period of time. I gave the Remeron plenty of time to kick in and never experienced one single improvement. Eventually, the weight gain starting making me more depressed and I didn’t feel like myself, so I quit. I did gain about 5 pounds in the first month of Effexor, but I had so much extra energy that I could walk or be active every day, no problem.

So, with those experiences, I feel like if something worked for me like the Effexor did, I could work around the side effects because it’d be worth it.

Mikelbf2000's avatar

i never took any medication but i have been depressed before. I usually feel better when im hanging around great people. I dont even have to tell them why im sad because im get happy when im around them.

Just_Justine's avatar

@MissAnthrope now see that is the reasoning I have, if they make you feel so good, then surely one would exercise because it was doable. If you know what I mean? Then at least you can control the weight gain. I also forgot about the sex side of it, when I needed a drill and hammer loll.

Just_Justine's avatar

@loser is Neurontin used for bipolar?

loser's avatar

@Just_Justine Yes, usually for bipolar 2.

Just_Justine's avatar

@loser thanks I will enquire about that. No one seems to have mentioned Epilan. So not sure how that would pan out. I just got rid of a shit load of weight don’t want to go through that again.

GracieT's avatar

I am an epileptic. The two anticuvulsants I did the best on were also antipsychotics, Lamictal and Depakote. I had no trouble with lamictal, and it just goes to show that not all medicines work the same way for everybody. You need to be very involved in your treatments!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Very good question. I am currently taking Abilify, and it’s working great for me. I am also taking Strattera for other symptoms that I have. And clonazepam (Klonopin) for anxiety disorder.

I have taken Depakote (valproic acid) in the past which seemed to work, but it has potential damaging side effects that have to be monitored by semi-annual blood tests. It also made my hands shake badly, so I had to take something to control that.

I think the answer is to keep trying until you find the right medication or combination that works for you.

escapedone7's avatar

Has anyone mentioned Geodon yet? It’s another common one used in the states.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’ve only ever known three bi polar people irl and if they went off their meds then they were pretty much unmanageable. Lithium was their consensus of the best med out of many experiments but even that took a lot of messing with doseage. Their number one complaint was feeling good and then convincing everyone else they were okay to go off the meds and become self managed- it’s cruel but it never worked.

GracieT's avatar

I never understood why before I was diagnosed but people who are bi-polar often feel like they are doing well enough that they no longer need the very medicine that is helping! I tried to make my doctor understand (while I was doing well on meds) that I no longer needed medicine. He was nice enough to remind me of how I felt before I was on medicine!

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@escapedone7 : I tried Geodon and it incapacitated me. Even on a low dose, I was so sleepy and drugged that I was unable to do anything. BUT, I have at least one friend who takes it and likes it.

gemiwing's avatar

I’ve been on combinations of Depakote, Trileptal, Lithium, Lamictal, Seroquel, Invega, Neurontin, Geodon, Zyprexa, Risperdol, Tegretol as AP’s and mood stabs. For sleep I have been on Ambien, Ambien XR, Lunesta, Restoril, Vistaril and Trazadone.

Don’t give up on meds just yet. It takes on average five to ten different combos. Plus, one should factor in trying different doses as well as keeping one med the same and then adjusting others.

My meds change often and I have a stockpile because chances are I’ll be on them again. I have med-resistant BP though, so don’t be discouraged.

I’ve had reactions to every single one of them, and in all different doses. It comes down to what matters more to you. Is the ability to know you will react appropriately to life’s stimuli worth having dry mouth? Is not hearing voices worth having bouts of constipation?

Currently I am off a mood-stabilizer for now as I’m doing well. I have two PRN meds that I take as needed for psychosis/delusion and sleep: Invega and Lunesta. For anxiety I take Vistoril and it works well for me. Benadryl makes me sleepy and Vistaril is in the same family so I’m on a very low dose.

meagan's avatar

I don’t like the idea of not being totally in control of my mind.. it just doesn’t set right with me. I’m supposed to take meds for my manic depression but don’t anymore.
However I’m on medication migraines that give me a LOT of side effects. All I can really do is deal with it. Lots of nausea, weight loss, vertigo, sleep loss, etc.

wundayatta's avatar

I started with Lithium, the “gold standard,” according to my shrink. Lithium is a mood stabilizer that is good for reducing manias. I remained depressed, however, so I was given Welbutrin. That still didn’t get me back to normal, so finally, after much complaining, he decided to try Lamictal. Lamictal is a mood stabilizer that works better on depression.

The danger of Lamictal is the rashes that people mentioned. My shrink said there were very dangerous and that one out of 200 or 500 people died from them. So you start on a very low dose to check for the allergic reaction. If you get it, you stop immediately.

Fortunately, I’m not allergic.

The combination seems to be working. I tried going off Lithium for a while, but I had another manic episode, so I’m back on it. I’d like to get off it, because I’m worried about the side effects.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’m on my second episode of major depression. Paxil (paroxetene) and Valium (diazepam) seem to work in the short-term.

Valium makes me very lethargic, but was necessary to get rid of the suicidal impulses. Paxil lifts the worst of the depression, but leaves me feeling detached and numb and with zero sexual drive. I was on high doses of both Valium and Paxil for about three months, then gradually came off the Valium entirely. Reducing the Paxil dosage from 50 mg to 30 mg seems to be causing the depression to come back, I’ll probably have to go back on 50 mg again. The Paxils side effects don’t really bother me; since my ladys passing, I don’t really want to care about sex anyway. I made the mistake of just quitting the Valium and wound in the emergency room thinking I was having a heart attack (no one told me not to do that, I should have tapered off over a month, which is what I later did).

Some others meds that were ineffective in treating my depression in the early 90s were Wellbutrin and Prozac. No physical side effects, just didn’t do anything.

I have Aspergers Syndrome (not diagnosed until I was in my late 40s). It may have some effect on what works on my depression, although AS is not treatable itself, or the high dosages needed for Paxil to work on me.

It’s hard to judge when an antidepreesant is working for me. Some of my thought patterns and preferences are “normal” for me. I was a high-functioning loner for the first 39 years of my life. I’m just going to have to accept the fact that, without Meg, I’m asocial; any attempt to be otherwise will be a disaster for myself or others.

The worst “side-effect” of any of these medications, IMHO, is the knowledge that I am dependant on some chemical to keep my mind functioning reasonably correctly. It bothers me a lot.

thriftymaid's avatar

To start with, the meds for bipolar are very different from the meds for depression. I think that rather than discussing this here you should find a mental health professional whom you trust and can build a relationship and follow their advice.

Sophief's avatar

I’ve had bad side effects. One medication I was on, made me vomit constantly and I lost feeling in my right leg. Other medications do nothing for me. I think I’m too far gone.

MissA's avatar

My husband just started Seroquel and will go from 50 to 100 mg. if he tolerates it well the first week. He is also going in for an EEG and a brain MRI next week. It’s been an existence of incredible rage, depression, hysteria for some time. Can anyone relate to the rage and the damage it does to a family? Or, is this a separate question?

wundayatta's avatar

@MissA Separate question, I think.

GracieT's avatar

Even though I was unhappy taking 200 mg of Seroquel, I had to go back on 50 mg of it so that I could sleep again. I was thrilled about taking it because I like being able to sleep. I had a reaction to 300 mg, but could handle 200. I took 50 mg all the way through July, August, until Christmas. On Christmas eve I had an allergic reaction to 50 mg. 50 mg! Now I’m back on Remeron again. I am able to sleep, but I wake up at least 10 times every night. I think that the fear of having an allergic reaction is enough to keep me off of Seroquel, but at night I wonder.

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