Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Frying your meds

Hey guys, I'm sorry I've been slack on visiting my regular blogs. Things still haven't returned to normailty down here. We're frantically trying to get Miss L into a new school, and it's all pretty hectic. I'll catch up with you guys on the weekend. Promise.

Last week in Johannesburg my meds ran out (I'd only planned to stay for 3 days) and I had to go to a pharmacy for an emergency supply. Usually I get my meds posted to me as chronic medication by a Chronic Medication Distribution company.

Anyhow, I got chatting to the pharmacist and he told me something pretty scary that I had never even thought of before. He'd only qualified recently, and in his final year of study his class had tested the quality of meds that had been sent in the post. Meds need to be stored at certain temperatures remember. Well, they found that 40% of the meds had been "fried" in temperatures above acceptable levels. And, yes, this definitely affects the way the meds work.

Scary huh? Just think, you could suddenly have a really bad month and be wondering what the fck happened, when all that really happened was that your meds got fried in the mail. Not that buying direct from a pharmacy solves the problem. Sensing that he was trying to promote pharmacuetical sales over direct distributor sales, I shot back at him "well how the heck do the meds arrive here?" Yeah, in the back of sometimes overheated trucks!

Maybe one day the psychiatrists and drug cos will realise this, and meds will need to be mailed in special temperature controlled containers. And our moods will be totally stabilised (but our bank balance bust from paying the extra costs).

Speaking of meds, I must once again lavish Lamictal with kudos. Upping my daily from 200mg to 250mg has really improved things. OK, so right now I'm completely exhausticated from last weeks wild forays, but it's now purely energy levels, sans the ugly depression that used to accompany it.

Only thing is that the shake in my hands has gotten even worse, and the smart dude pharmacist I introduced you to above, confirmed that Lamictal can do this.


  1. I was diagnosed bipolar at age seventeen, and began a pharmaceutical treatment that prevented me from completing high school. I stopped taking Lithium at age 19, got a job and moved to England for five months. I came back, continued working, moved in with my new girlfriend, and was accepted to university as a mature student. Over the next six years I completed my degree in visual arts and began working as an art director. I had a manic episode age 27 and was instituionalised, going back on meds of course. Less than a year later I had once again kicked the pills and began my new career. It's been almost ten years now with no medication. I'm not recommending it to anyone, but I wouldn't live my life any other way.

  2. Interesting. My birth control had to be kept at 40 degrees, so it shipped on dry ice.

  3. Sometimes I miss that depression that Lamictal cures because it keeps me from running around making a bloody fool of myself.

    But I'll stand beside you and sing its praises, too. Of all my meds, it is the most effective.

    kodeureum: lucky you to be

  4. I keep hearing great things about Lamictal. Maybe I need to discuss this with my pdoc...

  5. I had the absolute worst experience with Lamictal. My face broke out in zits bigger than the ones I had at 14! I also put on over 20lbs., and my doctor didn't believe that it had anything to do with the Lamictal because it isn't a common side effect.

    As for mood stability, it worked at first, but as I got bigger and bigger and BIGGER and had to wear my husband's clothes, I got more and more depressed. I've been off of it for about a year now and have about 15lbs. left to lose.

  6. It's tough, Joel, and I think it wreaks havoc on my personal relationships, but it's the choice I made.

  7. Hi BP,
    I've been doing some catching up here.
    Congratulations on having your daughter with you, at last.

  8. i wonder whether someone can educate me a little. I'm newly diagnosed bipolar II and 3 months into lamictin. The hypomania brought on by the cymbalta (treating me purely for depression) confirmed my fears so i stopped that at once and eased into lamictin. In the past 3 months i have become stable, in control and clear headed. Then all of a sudden the rapid cycling hit me like a ton of bricks completely out of left field, leaving me physically shaking with anxiety, lack of sleep, and groggy depression. In short, i'm a mess. I'm going through a patch... left my job, boyfriend left me etc. Everyone says it's to be expected that i'm due for a spin. But hang on a sec - why on earth am i taking Lamictin twice a day if i'm still going to fall into vicious mood swings in bad times? Isn't it supposed to hold me and pick me up over possible stumbles? Or do i just not understand this new condition of mine? Any takers?

  9. Pica Dilly: BiPOlar is never curable - only manageable. Lamactin ("Lamactil" in the US) has made things a lot smoother for me. I still hit manias and lows but they're not as chronic as without Lamactil. It's also important to find the right dose amount. I'm on 250mg a day.


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