I’ve discovered the correct med combo for my BP II. That in itself is in comparison to winning the lottery. I at long last won the med lottery with my pink (Lithium) and white (Lamictal) combo. It only took eight years, but I really am “Dancing with my Pink and Whites”.
Actually, I have the main 2 meds w/Zyprexa & Seroquel added. The last two I really use for sleep, although Zyprexa & Seroquel are used for BP.
The meds though, it’s amazing how sensitive your body is to them. The med Zyprexa, that I am on, I gained 40 pounds outright. I fought to get off of this med, but it made up the final combo 4 and is successful for me. I did drop from 15mg to 2.5 and also some girth around the mid section dropped some too, so I was content with that.
But, what’s with the pdocs and the meds over the years? They never gave the meds a chance to work. I recall so often, I’d be on one med for a month, then completely taken off, then 6-8 months down the road put on this same med again, then yanked off it once more. Are these the quality decisions we want from pdocs? Were they even looking at my charts? The other meds were just not working; couldn’t they see that? Obviously not; the snowball effect: ECT, hospitalization, suicide attempts, all due to drug-resistant depression. A circle of sorts.
Hospitalization became the norm in my life, so this was the typical agenda:
My anticipated three-week wait, post-discharge from hospital for my outpatient appointment finally arrives. Pdoc greets me, smiles, goes over my medications, asks how I’ve been (I feel as I have to talk in rapid speed due to appointment time limits), I tell him I have been lousy, he says “we’ll increase this and that”, shoves a script at me and states “and I’ll see you in a month”. And that was it. One month. I waited three weeks for a 6.5 minute visit and a crappy script.
I always wonder too, why do they always seem to increase? At least they seem to with me – tiny doses of course each time. And never time for true assessments. A major beef of mine are the changes in meds. I may have 75 pills left over from the last prescription. Very expensive.
I was never without all of the side effects: puking, weight gain/loss, nausea, hand trembling, zombie state and actual depression.
Here are just some of the psychiatric meds. I was not on all of these listed, but quite a few sure ring a bell during my eight year journey:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Doctors often consider selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa) and escitalopram (Lexapro), as the first-line treatment for depression because they have fewer serious side effects. They seem to work by increasing the availability of the neurotransmitter serotonin in your brain. Drugs similar to SSRIs include serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as trazodone (Desyrel, Trialodine) and venlafaxine (Effexor), and dopamine reuptake inhibitors, such as bupropion (Wellbutrin).
Tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants. These medications also affect neurotransmitters, but by a different mechanism than that of SSRIs. They may be used for any type of depression, be it mild or severe. Among tricyclic antidepressants are amitriptyline, desipramine (Norpramin), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), trimipramine (Surmontil), and a combination of perphenazine and amitriptyline. Tetracyclics include maprotiline and mirtazapine (Remeron).
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). These drugs, which include phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate), prevent the breakdown of neurotransmitters. The drugs have potentially serious side effects if combined with certain other medications or food products. Doctors rarely use them unless other options have failed. Your doctor may prescribe them if you have chronic depression and eat or sleep excessively.
Lithium and mood-stabilizing medications. Doctors prescribe lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), valproic acid (Depakene), divalproex (Depakote) and carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol) to treat bipolar depression. Medications called atypical antipsychotics such as olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone (Risperdal) and quetiapine (Seroquel) were initially developed for treatment of psychotic disorders. Doctors sometimes also use them to treat bipolar disorder.
So many people criticize Lithium, however dramatic, it pretty much saved my life. I am very fortunate to have few side effects from it, and moods are pretty stable.
The only close call I did have with Lithium was, and truly my own fault: I went to an open market in the summer, no hat on, no bottle of water, ate no breakfast and stood out in the hot sun for 2-3 hours. Came home, started feeling nauseous (flu symptoms), headed to bed, sudden cramps, diarreah and then suddenly I fainted. I was staying with a friend and she got me to ER. Turns out I was severely dehydrated, had to be hospitalized for 3 days on IV and doctors said I would have needed dialysis if I had waited. A close call. I was shocked and stunned!
But thanks to my present psychiatrist, who out of all of those other pdocs knew what the hell he was doing, and put me on the correct meds, I can at least enjoy my life now.