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swtchelley
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/19/2005 10:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,
 
I'm new to this forum, and wanted to share my current situation. I was taking 75 mg of Lamictal since June, but then recently discontinued taking the medication (it's been more than a week since I stopped cold turkey), since I was worried I might be pregnant. It turns out that I'm not pregnant, but I haven't re-started Lamictal... so far, no major signs of withdrawal, but last night, I was emotionally sensitive and started crying when my husband came home a little late.  I haven't been able to consult with my doctor about this, because she just changed medical facilities and my husband and I moved to the east coast.  Has anyone else stopped taking Lamictal and been alright off the meds?  My husband thinks I'm in denial about being bipolar-- I was diagnosed with type I, though I think I have more of the depressive aspects of the mood instabilities.  Hope to hear from you soon!

Ellie 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 10/19/2005 10:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello and Welcome to HealingWell swtchelley

It is never a good idea to discontinue any medication without first consulting with your physician. I really don't know what physical and emotion side effects you could have from stopping lamictal cold turkey but if you are BP1 it seems that you may have a return of the symptoms that compelled your dr. to originally prescribe the medication. I wouldn't risk it. I'd get in touch with my physician asap to insure you remain stable. You don't want to risk an episode.

Hope all works out well for you
Ellie

Arenace
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 249
   Posted 10/19/2005 10:59 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm with Ellie. Get in touch with your Dr. It just isn't worth it!!!!

Sandra

BP brings new meaning to Life's Little Ups and Downs


swtchelley
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/19/2005 11:04 AM (GMT -6)   
ellie & arenace,
 
thanks so much for your replies and your advice!  I'm not sure if I'll be able to contact my physician anymore, because she just stopped working for the medical facility I have health insurance thru. Because I've already stopped taking Lamictal, what do you think I should do at this point? re-start the meds at a lower dosage?

Arenace
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 249
   Posted 10/19/2005 12:01 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm not a medical person and I sure can't advise anything like that, I wouldn't want what I say to be in error!! Surely your clinic has another Dr. that took over her cases.

Sandra

BP brings new meaning to Life's Little Ups and Downs


swtchelley
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/19/2005 12:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm supposed to receive a postcard/letter that says I'll need to request another physician soon. But, I'm actually on the east coast now, since my husband started his new job, so I need to find  a physician in a completely different facility.

kittycat27
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 438
   Posted 10/19/2005 12:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Okay I am no doc, but when did you stop the meds? How long you been off them? Did you have another prescription for them? See here's the deal, when you quit cold turkey from meds, as I have done as well, we all don't listen to docs all the time... you can go through withdrawal symptoms. If you don't , you still have that medication in your system for x amount of time. So depending on when you stopped , depends on  if I would say start again at a lower dosage. Can you call the physician you had, reach them at all? Where are your medical records? See having a doc , as of right now , with your records helps more than anything. What could be worse , well you mood altercation, especially if you are BP I. I was just there less than 2 months ago. How long have you been receiving treatment for BP? Denial is what we all go through, at least you take meds that are prescribed. When I was in denial , I would start , stop, .... you get the idea. I am open about it all now. NO denying here. Please remmeber , I am not a doc, only going on personal experience. I really think just making an appointment for now with an MD, would be beneficial. Just to get you back on your meds, by an authorized person. Let me know how things turn out, and Welcome. Nickie   ( living a scary dream, which is my reality.. Bipolar)


Arenace
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 249
   Posted 10/19/2005 12:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Nickie, glad to see someone could speak from personal experience. I have never stopped a med like that so I didn't know.

Sandy

BP brings new meaning to Life's Little Ups and Downs


kittycat27
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 438
   Posted 10/19/2005 12:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Sandy, nice to chat with ya sweetie.. I hvae never done this with my lamictal, but other meds. My doc always just restarted at a lower dose with me. As long as the med doesn't require bllod work , labs.... So how you feeling? I am actually superb, well I have my days, but really have never felt better. Of course i take alot of meds now. Since what happened and all. It's great to finally feel better. This is the best I ahve felt without being hypo, or manic. That is a false " sense of  feeling good". Well take care , gonna read one more and off to school I go!!!! Nickie

swtchelley
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/19/2005 12:38 PM (GMT -6)   
hi Nickie,
 
thank you for your advice from personal experience. I was first diagnosed in '98, after which I took depakote for 6 months and then tapered off it with the help of my previous physician.  I was fine for six years without taking any medication, until last year, when I became so depressed and stressed that I od'd on tylenol. I was then diagnosed with either major depressive disorder or bipolar I, and was prescribed respirdal and wellbutrin.  I took respirdal for a few months with wellbutrin, and then my doctor said it was fine for me to just take the wellbutrin, because I had bad side effects from respirdal. So I took wellbutrin (200 mg) up until January of this year, and a week after I stopped under doctor's discretion, I was hospitalized from withdrawal effects. I just had crying spells and I was really irritable around my mom, which is not normal for me. That's when I was re-diagnosed with bipolar I and started taking lithium and xyprexa, after which I turned to just lamictal because of the side effects from the other two meds.  So that's basically a brief summary of my history, fyi.  I've been off lamictal for a little over a week, and so far, I haven't noticed any major withdrawal effects or anything. But, I'll try to reach my doctor who moved to a different facility asap.

kittycat27
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 438
   Posted 10/19/2005 12:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Wish I had more time to talk with you, I really have to get to school, it takes a good 45min-1 hr to get there. Wow, I have so much to say. One thing quick before i do go, if you cannot reach your doc, is there anyone that replaced him/her? If not get your Med . records transferred to where you are and see a doc. As long is there licensed they can help you now!!! Take care, write later. Nickie Nice to meet you!!!!! :-)

psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 10/20/2005 4:39 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi, swtchelley,

Stopping Lamictal, or any of the meds we take can have disasterous results. usually depression is the effect.  Cant you get in to see a pdoc?  Everybody is right, a doc WILL be covering for your old docs patients, call and explain the situation.  It's just a question, for petes sake, but I recommend you do it today, before the depression gets worse. 

I am curious, how did you get diagnosed BP1?  There isn't a BP1 alive who does fine without meds!  Are you still on Zyprexa?  That won't help depression.  Without an episode of mania WITH psychosis (hearing voices, seeing things, smelling things not there, hearing people call your name that arent there often, thinking you have special powers no one else has, that you know things about the world no one else knows, that you are superman or the president, etc.) these are hallucinations, (most people think hallucinations are just seeing things, but there are many forms.)  That is the difference between I and II, not just being depressed more often than manic unlike popular belief.

Here is a screening test for BP, of course not to take the place of a competent psychiatrist, but every question is very pertinent.  also, my next post will be another link to the detailed symptoms of mania/hypomania and the last paragraph will explain how many of the symptoms are necessary in my next post.


Variety is the spice of life, BP is the key

Post Edited (psychnurse) : 10/20/2005 4:48:56 AM (GMT-6)


psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 10/20/2005 4:40 AM (GMT -6)   
 
 
 
Symptom criteria for diagnosis BP I and II:  (Bipolar I under Mania and bipolar II under Hypomania.

MANIC & HYPOMANIC EPISODES by http://www.bipolar-tightrope.com/ManiaHypomaniaMore.html

Major Signs & Symptoms Mania Hypomania
  • Exaggerated self-confidence and optimism

  • Decreased need for sleep without loss of energy

  • More talkative than usual

  • Sense that thoughts are racing

  • Distractibility and difficulty focusing

  • Increase in goal-directed activities or in nonproductive activities (pacing, squirming, and so on)

  • Planning and carrying out potentially risky activities (foolish business investments, reckless driving, sexual indiscretions, spending sprees)

Consists of three or more symptoms if mood is elated or expansive,
or four or more if
mood is irritable


May or may not
include delusions or hallucinations


May or may not need hospitalization to prevent harming yourself
or others

Without hospitalization, symptoms must be present for at least
one week


With hospitalization, symptoms may be present for
any
length of time

Consists of three or more symptoms if mood is elated or expansive,
or four or more if
mood is irritable


May not
include delusions or hallucinations








Symptoms present for
at least four days

 
 I strongly suggest you get a new pdoc and take these results to him in case he just takes your word for your diagnosis and it turns out you're not, so you can be treated for whatever you have.
 
I'm not saying your not BP, but docs these days are overdiagnosing it and people are not getting better because they don't respond to BP meds.



Variety is the spice of life, BP is the key

Post Edited (psychnurse) : 10/20/2005 4:44:32 AM (GMT-6)


swtchelley
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/20/2005 7:09 AM (GMT -6)   
hi Psych Nurse,
 
thanks so much for your response & information you provided. I tried taking the test twice thru the link, and it says that I may be bipolar (though the first time I took the test, it said I wasn't bipolar, because I had only one different response (on whether I talked fast or was more talkative) ). These are the responses I gave, the 2nd time around (the 1st time I took the test, I thought I wasn't more talkative than usual, but then I remembered how my now-husband said that there was one point last year when I was more talkative and energetic than usual. It was a little bit before I was hospitalized):
1. Has there ever been a period of time when you were not your usual self and...
         
...you felt so good or so hyper that other people thought you were not your normal self or you were so hyper that you got into trouble?
YES                     



...you were so irritable that you shouted at people or started fights or arguments?
YES
                      
  


...you felt much more self-confident than usual?
YES        


...you got much less sleep than usual and found you didn't really miss it?
YES
      


...you were much more talkative or spoke much faster than usual?
YES
     


...thoughts raced through your head or you couldn't slow your mind down?
NO
        


...you were so easily distracted by things around you that you had trouble concentrating or staying on track?
NO      


...you had much more energy than usual?
YES
    


...you were much more active or did many more things than usual?
YES
    


...you were much more social or outgoing than usual, for example, you telephoned friends in the middle of the night?
NO
     


...you were much more interested in sex than usual?
NO
     


...you did things that were unusual for you or that other people might have thought were excessive, foolish, or risky?
NO
   


...spending money got you or your family into trouble?
NO

      



2. If you checked YES to more than one of the above, have several of these ever happened during the same period of time?

YES

        



3. How much of a problem did any of these cause you - like being unable to work; having family, money or legal troubles; getting into arguments or fights?

Moderate Problem


swtchelley
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/20/2005 7:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi again, Psych Nurse,
 
More about my situation: I was first diagnosed with BP I in 1998, after I had a week of not being able to sleep, experienced delusions (my mom was extremely worried about me because I was crying a lot, sometimes for no reason even though I had just broken up with my then-boyfriend), and my doctor thought that I presented with a perspective that I had special pwrs. I was hospitalized for about a week and took Depakote for about six months (I had xyprexa too but for only a few months due to side effects).  Nothing happened until 2004, when I was really depressed and became suicidal in grad school. I od'd eventually, after which I was hospitalized for the 2nd time when I was being considered to have major depressive disorder and was treated with wellbutrin (200 mg) and a small dose of respirdal (0.5 mg). I took respirdal for a month or two only, but was on wellbutrin for about 9 months. But then, that diagnosis was switched to BP I again, after I discontinued taking wellbutrin under the doctor's discretion, and I experienced major withdrawal effects: couldn't sleep at all really for a week, had crying spells, and while I was actually on wellbutrin, I had become involved with four part-time jobs, trying to go thru a career change. A little over a week after I discontinued wellbutrin, I was hospitalized for my third time, when I was given xyprexa, and later lithium (which was too strong, so I was given lamictal this past summer).  So that's basically my history...not sure how I've been surprisingly alright without lamictal so far, considering I've been diagnosed by two different doctors as BP.  I guess BP is not something like having diabetes, where there's a more objective way of diagnosing the different types and treating the disease.

swtchelley
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 10/20/2005 7:43 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Nickie,
nice to meet you too! hope you had a good day of classes yesterday. let me know how I can reach you by email, and thanks for your advice.
 
kittycat27 said...
Wish I had more time to talk with you, I really have to get to school, it takes a good 45min-1 hr to get there. Wow, I have so much to say. One thing quick before i do go, if you cannot reach your doc, is there anyone that replaced him/her? If not get your Med . records transferred to where you are and see a doc. As long is there licensed they can help you now!!! Take care, write later. Nickie Nice to meet you!!!!! :-)

psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 10/20/2005 7:58 AM (GMT -6)   

Defo objective!  It's the hardest mental illness to diagnose and  usually takes a LOT of screening to get it right.  The answers you said no to are unusual for BP 1, but if you were having delusions, it's probably right.  You need to get back on Lamictal before another hypo/manic/depressive episode comes on, sometimes it can be a couple of weeks, sometimes a few days, who knows, everybody is different.   

Lamictal is not suffient stabilizing for BP I; it does not control mania.  It is really to keep you from going too low, which is awesome for us!  The the reality is we could go way up again, anytime, even tho you mostly suffer the depression.   Either episode will eventually happen one way or the other, so it's best to get back on your meds ASAP.  There WILL be a doc taking over the other ones patients for a time, it is illegal to leave a patient without a doctor.   So call today and let him tell you what to start at, usually 25mg at first, but you've only been off a week, still tell him and BTW the therapuetic dose is 200mg, otherwise, you dont get the full benefit.  And it won't make you sleepy or gain weight!  Great drug! 

For future reference:  DO NOT EVER STOP ANY MED COLD TURKEY!  It will really mess up the brain chemistry and is very likely to bring on an episode, but you were on a nontherapeutic (in studies, 200 mg is the right dose, for most everyone) dose, so that's the reason you aren't having worse effects.  Just don't go without, please!


Variety is the spice of life, BP is the key

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