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Lamictal to lithium

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Anna38

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Feb 4, 2020
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Hi, so i havent really been that good on lamictal, doesnt help that much. My pychiatrist wants me to come off lamictal now and start on lithium. Im also on cipralex. Does anyone have any experience of changing mood stabilizers and if lithium will be a better option?
 
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Mister_Fabulous formerly BetaMale

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While lamictal is really good for depression and doesn't really help with mania, lithium helps more with mania than with depression. Lithium has side effects like weight gain and the possibility of kidney damage or hypothyroidism whereas lamictal is a more benign medication.

I'm assuming you have bipolar disorder, so when you take an SSRI like cipralex there is always a risk of mania for which an antimanic like lithium may be required.
 
Bipolarbear2

Bipolarbear2

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I'm on both of these medications. Lithium is the best mood stabilizer. Even doctors don't know exactly how or why. It has a proven track record.

Betamale already said about weight gain and hypothyroidism (which I have.) You have to have blood tests every 6 months so they can check your thyroid levels. It also makes you thirsty. I have been very stable on lithium for twenty years and while I did put on weight, I'm not Overweight. Good luck.
 
LadyDomino

LadyDomino

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Like @Bipolarbear2 I'm on both. I have tried coming off each of them at separate times, but became very unstable.

IMO most medications come with the risk of weight gain.

I have hypothyroidism, but the good new of that is in England it means you qualify for free prescritions (you need to apply for a vaild medical exemption certificate).

I have blood tests every 3 months to check whether the lithium levels are stable and check kidney function and cholestrol (and other routine medical checks).

Lithium does conflict with other medications, such as ibruprofean, so check with a pharmasist before taking over the counter meds.

But overall I find the combination of the 2 plue an anti depressant and anti psycotic works for me.
 
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Anna38

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Thankyou for your replies. Very good information 😊😊
 
JessisMe

JessisMe

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Like @Bipolarbear2 I'm on both. I have tried coming off each of them at separate times, but became very unstable.

IMO most medications come with the risk of weight gain.

I have hypothyroidism, but the good new of that is in England it means you qualify for free prescritions (you need to apply for a vaild medical exemption certificate).

I have blood tests every 3 months to check whether the lithium levels are stable and check kidney function and cholestrol (and other routine medical checks).

Lithium does conflict with other medications, such as ibruprofean, so check with a pharmasist before taking over the counter meds.

But overall I find the combination of the 2 plue an anti depressant and anti psycotic works for me.
I’m also on Lithium and Lamotrigine and an anti-psychotic, no anti depressant. I take a thyroid pill too. I’m relatively new to Lithium but it seems to work better for me than Depakote which I was on for several years before.
 
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figuringthingsout30

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May 22, 2020
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Like @Bipolarbear2 I'm on both. I have tried coming off each of them at separate times, but became very unstable.

IMO most medications come with the risk of weight gain.

I have hypothyroidism, but the good new of that is in England it means you qualify for free prescritions (you need to apply for a vaild medical exemption certificate).

I have blood tests every 3 months to check whether the lithium levels are stable and check kidney function and cholestrol (and other routine medical checks).

Lithium does conflict with other medications, such as ibruprofean, so check with a pharmasist before taking over the counter meds.

But overall I find the combination of the 2 plue an anti depressant and anti psycotic works for me.
Hey I was wondering if you gained weight then on this switch then? I've had hypothyroidism my whole life so I always struggle with my weight but does lithium make it worse?
 
Bipolarbear2

Bipolarbear2

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I know you're asking figuringthingsout30 but for most people lithium is going to make you put on weight. I didn't really though. I started taking it when I was 21. I'm 40 now and I've gone up or down by about a stone 12lbs over the last 20yrs.
I've been taking a thyroid drug for about 10 years and I did put on weight before I finally found out my thyroid was overactive. When I got medication I started to even out (weight wise).

I do believe lithium is the best medication though. After taking it if you're happy and well mentally you may feel more energised to be active. I just felt better generally and within 6 months or so (can't really remember).
 
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figuringthingsout30

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I think could deal with that, thank you!
 
HLon99

HLon99

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I've never tried lithium but I am on Lamotrigine. So far, its been great, its pretty much banished my depression and curbed my hypomania. But as already mentioned its not so good for mania. As for the antidepressant, I'm not so sure its a good idea for bipolar, especially in the absence of an antipsychotic as it can trigger mania. If mania is more of a concern for you then consider first withdrawing from the antidepressant and then see how you feel, as lithium is a very heavy medication with a plethora of side effects. Also consider adding a low-dose antipsychotic. I've also been on aripiprazole for the last few weeks and it has really helped stabilise my mood, psychotic symptoms and general state of mind.
But if all else fails go for the lithium, aside from the side effects, I hear its very good mood stabiliser, working for both depression and mania.
 
LadyDomino

LadyDomino

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Hey I was wondering if you gained weight then on this switch then? I've had hypothyroidism my whole life so I always struggle with my weight but does lithium make it worse?
I'm on throid meds, anti psychotics and anti depressants too. Its difficult to say which is resposible for me being overweight. Though chocolate may had something to do with my weight.
 
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Mario68

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May 18, 2020
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Hi Anna38. There is one side effect which has not been mentioned. Hand tremors. It is very common and not a game changer but it does stand out like a sore thumb when you hold a pen.
if you are trying to keep your condition from employers then you will need to be prepared with an explanation why your hands are shaking.
 
LadyDomino

LadyDomino

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Hi Anna38. There is one side effect which has not been mentioned. Hand tremors. It is very common and not a game changer but it does stand out like a sore thumb when you hold a pen.
if you are trying to keep your condition from employers then you will need to be prepared with an explanation why your hands are shaking.
For me the hand (& leg) tremours only occur if my lithium level is slightly out of normal - like if I've had too much caffine, ibruprofean (& other anti inflamatory meds) or some local anethestics.
 
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