Lithium questions

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Mr.T
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 133
   Posted 9/28/2007 7:02 PM (GMT -7)   
I was just wondering and hoping maybe one of you can shed some light on this for me.  I am 37 and I am living in Thailand.  I have been going through bouts of depression and mood swings for about 3 years and nothing has really helped.  last week I went to my physc. doctor and he decided to put me on lithium carbonate.  I started with 300 mg last week and now this week I am to increase to 600 mg.  I have an appointment with him next week.  I really don't know if it is working.  It doesn't feel like it.  I don't know how long until it actually helps.  I also read about blood samples and I have not had any.  Maybe he is waiting until next week, but I am not sure.  Should I ask for one?  I really don't know what to do and it is difficult for me to even understand my doctor.  I try my best, but I usually don't think of questions til after the fact. He also prescribed me 100mg. seroquel and 1mg rohypnal to sleep at night.  It really doesn't work, but I try and end up taking over the counter sleeping meds as well that my family sends me from the states.  Anyway, if anyone can help I would appreciate it.  Thanks

olivia of course
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1523
   Posted 9/28/2007 7:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Mr. T,
 
Welcome to the HW family and to the Bipolar Forum, I am really glad you found us.
 
I have been on lithium for over a year now, and only had brief complications, but it was all resolved.  Technically you are supposed to have gotten bloodwork before starting on lithium, to make sure all your levels are okay.  But you'll probably be fine, you are on a very low dose of lithium, and toxicity is not common on such a low dose.  If you are really worried you should mention it to your Dr. and work something out.  He will probably request that you get bloodwork done soon, probably after the next time he raises your dose.
 
Then after a therapudic dose is reached (which can take 6-8 weeks), you are supposed to get bloodwork every 3-6 months.  I used to get mine done every other months because my levels were always weird, at least when I first started lithium.
 
SLEEP (lack of sleep, sleep problems) is a very common problem among people with mood disorders.  Wow, 100mg of seroquel used to knock me out like there is no tomorrow.  I am surprised that the Rohypnol is not working for you, it is considered a heavy hypnotic and is not even available in the US as a prescription.
 
You should not mix what your Dr. has not approved with your prescription (I am not saying don't take it at all, just have a talk with your Dr. first).  You never know what the long term affects will be.  What OTC Rx are you taking, just curious. You should mentions all you questions and concerns during your next Dr. visit.  Best Wishes! :-)


Olivia
Co-Moderator, Bipolar
 
Dx:  Bipolar I, Anxiety-Panic Disorder
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Post Edited (olivia of course) : 9/28/2007 8:46:21 PM (GMT-6)


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 9/28/2007 7:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Mr. T.

Welcome to the forum. We're a friendly group. I hope you'll find some help here.

I don't really know anything about lithium myself, but I'm sure some of the other board members can help you out. I imagine it will take longer than a week to take effect, though.

I can offer the somewhat obvious tip that I use which is to write your questions and concerns down before you go to the doctor so you remember to ask when you see him. And then if you think of new ones later, don't hesitate to call back. I don't know how the medical system works in Thailand. Is your doctor Thai? Are you American? Are the two of you communicating in English primarily or through an interpreter?

You're taking 100 mg seroquel at night and that's not putting you to sleep? I'm surprised by that. What are you taking OTC that's working better? What are your thoughts, board?
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum

Ask me about my Bipolar Disorder!


Mr.T
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 133
   Posted 9/30/2007 6:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for your responses.  it is very difficult to really open up to any one here.  I am an American living here in Thailand.  My doctors are Thai, but do speak English quite well.  Most of my firends speak a bit of English and I only speak a bit of Thai so you can't really hold an in depth conversation,plus they do not really accept depression as an illness.  I still have a hard time sleeping, but as said I take OTC sleeping meds like Unisom or generic sleep aids along with my regular meds.  My mind just races too much at night and i cannot sleep.  I am a worry wort.  I have to make sure everyone else is happy.  That is just the way i have always been.  I know my dose is low right now only 600 mg until I see my doctor again.  I just don't know how it works as far as stepping up the dosage and when it will become effective.  I did go for a 2 hour blind massage yesterday and it was nice to relax and not think about anything.  Anyway, I guess I will wait to see the doctor and take it from there.  Have a nice day

schizoflux1
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 10/1/2007 8:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi mr.T I hope you don't mind my response. You won't notice the lithium like you would notice any other drug. It works pretty much undetected, the only thing you'll notice after awhile is a stable mood. If you can't sleep with OTC sleeping aids, I'd recommend giving them up, because in my experience they only caused a headache. I take 2400mg of lithium a day or three 300mg caps 3x daily, I started off on 900mg, but as time went on things just changed. I take 100mg seroquel as well, it helps, but it doesn't put me to sleep the way it should. I'm going to my pdoc and I'm going to ask for a higher dose. I hope I provided some insight for you. Live well

olivia of course
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1523
   Posted 10/1/2007 12:10 PM (GMT -7)   
I was taking 900mg (for over a year), then went up to 1200mg at the most for a short while. But it made me really sick then I went back on 900mg, until my levels got too high due to drug interactions. And I got lithium toxicity. Everyone is different, some people need more others need a lower guess, you have to go with what your body tells you and how good your moods are.
Olivia
Co-Moderator, Bipolar
 
Dx:  Bipolar I, Anxiety-Panic Disorder
Support HealingWell:
 
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Mr.T
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 133
   Posted 10/1/2007 5:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the info. The problem is that I was taken off of everything to be put on lithium and right now my moods have been going crazy. I am happy one moment and then mad as hell the next. i just wish it would kick in. I don't know if i should wait til Saturday for my appt. or get an earlier one. Maybe it just hasn't kicked in yet and I have to wait, but I am really down right now and don't know what to do. My mind is just racing. last night I had to take 2 rohypnol and serequel and 1 unisom just to get to sleep and I know that seems like alot, but I can't stop my mind. I have always taken sleeping meds. It has always been a problem. My mother has done the same for 30 some years. Now she is battle cancer for the fourth time, but this time it is lymphoma so we know there is no cure, just maintenance. I wish I could afford to go see her again. it makes it very difficult. I just wish I could get back to normal(whatever that may be).
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