Monday, October 17, 2005

Lamactin Medication

The Lamactin medication (known as Lamactil in the US) I've been on since last November has definitely improved my life. I'll only know for sure though at the end of November - the first complete 12 month run. I say this because November has historically been my worst month as far as depression goes. (see here for reasons) . So the next 6 weeks will be the real acid test.

Lamactin is a very new mood stabiliser. It started out its career as a anti-convulsive for epilepsy sufferers. It can be pretty scary when you first take it, as in some cases it leads to bad rashes which, if untreated, can land up in fatal Stephens Johnson syndrome. So you've got to start on a really low dosage and build up from there (and hold your thumbs).

Luckily no rashes broke out on BiPolar Guy, so I've been on daily Lamactin ever since Nov 2004. The changes I've experienced:

  • I've been waking earlier ever since. This could be a secondary effect though, as I've always woken early when not depressed.
  • When I have "Got-a-Gun?" days (yip, I still get them) , the lows, although intense, are not as desperate as before. Deep down there is an unwavering bedrock of contentment.
  • The lows don't last as long. Previously they could hit for weeks at a time whereas now the bad downs ("Got-a-Gun?" ones, not "Pretty Shitty" ones) seem only to be temporary dips.
  • I've lost a fair amount of weight (which is a good thing). Once again this could be a secondary effect as "Got-a-Gun" eats 3 times as much as "In-the-Pink". Having said this though, it is a known fact that Lamactin puts on much less weight than Lithium and stuff like that.
  • I've developed quite a bad tremor in my hands in the last year. And NO its definitely not from alcohol - I haven't had a drop this year. In fact its quite awkward when I go to coffee shops because the trembling coffee cups DO make you seem like an Alcoholic. Which is why I try and stick to coffee shops that serve in mugs as opposed to those dainty little cups with handles. (Actually, come to think of it, the 8 cups of strong coffee that I consume daily can't be good for the shakes either).

What else can I tell you about Lamactin? My psychiatrist says it's better at controlling BiPolar predominated by downs as opposed to ups. The great thing is that it is recognised as a chronic medication for BiPolar, so my medical aid covers it gratis.

Well, that's it for now. My last few posts have been wandering off topic a bit, something that the Almighty Search Engines penalise you for, so I thought I'd better rectify things a bit so that my rankings don't slip too far down the search results.

5 comments:

  1. I have been on Camcolit for just over two years now. It is a lithium carbonate mood stabiliser. I have found just that, it flat-lines my mood. At times I miss those heady manic days. Those around me would argue that they prefer that both my feet remain on the ground.

    Those shakes ! I don't do coffee shops, but mugs are in at home. Use to blame the medication, but have come to the conclusion it is just a part of being the Manic within.

    Are you having a devil of a time catching your dog ?

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  2. The DOG is well under control. When it gets excitable I keep it on a lead. When there's open space, I let it run wild.

    You're probably right about the shakes not been solely caused by meds. Just hope I'm not heading for Parkinson's...

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  3. I took Lithium for years, but I too like Lamictil better. It doesn't make me feel like I'm in emotional handcuffs, my horrible depressive phase has subsided, and when I do feel hypomanic it's more controlled.

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  4. I just read some interesting articles about different medications for Bipolar disorder at PatientLinx.com. All the treatments and meds are researched by doctors. You may want to review articles like "making the most of medications." Check out http://www.patientlinx.com/bipolar/index.cfm?bt=todaysnews&go=home) to learn more about medical advise without going to the doctor every time.

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  5. Lamictal has helped pull me up & out of the dark for the last 6 months. Like you said, the real test will be during the winter months-SAD time. I also get migraines and have fibromyalgia. the list goes on. Really. My Neurologist said she gives Lamictal to her other patients with migraines to help prevent headaches. Part of my cocktail includes Topamax to also prevent migraines, so I'm getting a double whammy against migraines & daily headaches. And a double whammy for mood stabilizers. I'm so elated to be off the lithium & Depakote! I felt like such a zombie, buried alive. I seem to have lost my "shakes" pretty much after I quit taking lithium. Or maybe I willed them to go away. I'm an oil painter who had a bad case of painters block, I thought it was due to the drugs. The Lamictal, spring and daylight savings time all kicked in at the same time so I had a small bit o mania and a nice painting session. Enough so that I currently have 10 canvases hanging at my local coffee house. Thanks Lamictal
    Michelle

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