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Lamictal side effects vs Lithium side effects

W

WordsInfluence

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I’m bipolar 2, have GAD and a few other conditions. Taking Lamictal and Prozac.

Anyone have experience dropping Lithium for Lamictal? Any specifics on changes in side effects?

I took 900mg of Lithium for nearly 20 years. Though I was severely depressed a lot of the time, and often for months on end, I slept well. None of my psychiatrists ever said anything about trying something else.

in mid 2019 my doctor suggested I taper off Lithium. She was concerned about my thyroid even though no lab work showed any issues. It took 5 months to taper.

I’ve now been on Lamictal for about 6 weeks, starting at 25mg and working my way up to 150mg. currently on 125mg.

Around when I was at 150mg Lithium I started to get some hypomania, shortness of breath and a dry cough. I thought the breath issue was a symptom of rising anxiety. Lung tests showed no issues. I was diagnosed with mild sleep apnea after a sleep study.

Since I switched to Lamictal, the shortness of breath has worsened, as has the dry cough. Also excessive yawning. But I’m no longer depressed which is amazing. Still a bit hypomanic. Lost over 35lbs in the last four months. No longer experiencing diarrhea either. Overall much better on Lamictal.

Still, I’m concerned with the breathing issue and dry cough and yawn. Sometimes I yawn a ton. I recently read all these are side effects of Lamictal.the yawning may also be tied to prozac. I take 40mg.

Anyone have these side effects with Lamictal? a bit concerned they’ll get worse if I go up to 200mg eventually but I may need to in order to lessen the hypomania. My brain is moving rapidly and I’m losing patience with people often.

thanks
 
Bipolarbear2

Bipolarbear2

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I'm on both lithium and lamictal. Also an antidepressant. Docs have been saying to me for years that I should be off the antidepressant. That's what causes the mania. Have your doctors talked to you about dropping down on the prozac?

Alarm bells went off when you mentioned problems with breathing. Over the years my breathing had gotten quite bad. Just before xmas I went to a&e because I couldn't catch my breath. I didn't know that was a side effect!
 
W

WordsInfluence

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I think I need the Prozac to keep the depression away. I was always severely depressed on Lithium and when I tapered off and shifted to Lamictal, my ongoing depression has more or less disappeared for a couple months now. I’ll ask my doctor but I’m pretty sure dropping Prozac from 40mg to 20mg could be risky.
 
W

WordsInfluence

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Original poster here: come to think of it, another idea might be to taper off Prozac and return to Lexapro. I slept well on Lexapro.
 
M

Mister_Fabulous formerly BetaMale

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I used to be on lithium (900 mg to 1200 mg) for around five years, and as a result I gained weight and developed a goiter stemming from subclinical hypothyroidism. So, I asked my psychiatrist to stop (taper) the lithium and start me on lamictal instead. After stopping the lithium, I lost enough weight for my BMI to be back in the normal range. I still have a 'diffuse goiter' thanks to the years of lithium use. I'm presently on 200 mg lamictal and although I don't know if it has helped much, I'm fairly certain I don't have any side effects because of it.
 
vanish

vanish

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I remember I used to take 1250mg of lithium for many years. I also developed hypothyroidism which has continued, despite not having to take lithium for about 10 years. I had the offer of taking lamictal but declined, as I didn't find mood stabilisers useful for me.
 
W

WordsInfluence

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If I could go back in time I’d have switched from Lithium to Lamictal years ago. Though I have several side effects now, they are nothing compared to the depression I experienced for years before my bipolar 2 diagnosis and while on Lithium for 15 years.

I would tell my doctors I was sleeping well but was depressed. None of them ever mentioned the notion of switching mood stabilizers. and I accepted my state of mind, thinking this is the best it will get for me and I’m sleeping well so it’s the way to go.

I’m researching how to switch from Prozac to Lexapro and finding a few different pieces of guidance. Will post about that separately. Maybe returning to Lexapro will help with sleep. I may gain weight again. Surprisingly on Lamictal and Prozac I’ve lost a lot of weight and am back to a healthy weight. I thought with Prozac I wouldn’t lose weight at least not 35 lbs.
 
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