Posted 8/11/2014 6:50 PM (GMT -7)
Hope your Mom is doing better now that they figured out the problem! I am on lithium, have been for around 10 years or so. My dose has changed many times, due to the way symptoms were as well as due to what the levels were in my blood. I have had lithium toxicity twice, but never as severe as your Mom's case. I was able to stay on the med, and wanted to, because it has worked well to manage my disorder. I can't help you with the other meds out there, but I do know there are a few to choose from. And my understanding of the lithium building up is that it has to do with how much the kidneys can excrete. I am not saying there is something wrong with the kidneys, just that if she's on other meds that are excreted the same way, sometimes the body can only handle so much. I am able to stay on lithium, safely, by talking to my docs when I'm not feeling well, making sure every doc knows what every other doc I have is doing, and what all the meds are that I'm taking. I also get my blood levels checked, sometimes every 2 weeks or so (when doses change or we suspect a problem), sometimes every couple of months (when things are going well and meds are stable). With any medication, you have to know things like: how will it interact with my other meds, what signs and symptoms do I need to watch for (that may signal a problem), do I need to avoid any meds, food/drink, or even things like excessive heat or sun? You have to really know all you can about the medications. It is so important!
The best thing you can do right now is to talk to the doctor(s) about your concerns. Ask as many questions as you want/need to in order to understand what's going on and what to do about it. If you do not feel comfortable with the doc or the answers they give you, time to search for a new doc. My psychiatrist specializes in pharmacology, so she knows a crazy amount about meds and how they work on the body. It's like having a psychiatrist and pharmacist in one. If you do end up looking for a new doc, maybe look for one who has a specialty in pharmacology or psychopharmacology.
I hope you find the answers you need for your Mom. Sounds like her case is a bit complicated, and you need a doctor who understands the MS, the bipolar, and the meds/treatments that are used for both.
Hang in there. I know you are probably feeling overwhelmed. It will get better!!