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  • Lithium with SSRIs?

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    Old 09-22-2007, 09:59 AM   #1
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    Lithium with SSRIs?

    I'm just wondering if anyone takes an SSRI with Lithium. It seems like it would be a good combination to me but I read that it can cause more agitation.


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    Old 09-22-2007, 10:30 AM   #2
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    Re: Lithium with SSRIs?

    I'm asking my son and will get back to you. He is my resident expert on pharmacology.

    He's been on lithium for quite awhile, first just lithium for about 2 years and then in combination with other meds...but I don't know if any were SSRIs.


    Old 09-22-2007, 12:09 PM   #3
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    Re: Lithium with SSRIs?

    Ok, here's what he said:

    In general, taking SSRI (and SNRI) anti-depressants can be bad for anyone that’s bipolar, regardless of what else they are on.

    By their nature, SSRIs are activating—they increase serotonin levels (also norepinephrine for SNRIs). In someone that is prone to excess activation, such as a person with bipolar, the result can be some form of mania—results can be anywhere from agitation to suicide. As a result, SSRIs are avoided by many doctors for such patients (though these drugs do help many others without problem). In other words, anti-depressants are meant to lift you up--with someone who’s bipolar they sometimes overshoot their mark.

    Does that help?


    Old 09-22-2007, 07:11 PM   #4
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    Re: Lithium with SSRIs?

    Hmmmm, I'm on Lexapro (SSRI) and lithium. I went onto lithium because the Lexapro wasn't helping me the last half of the summer. Now that I know this, I wonder that it might have brought on my "late unpleasantness." After battling 4 years of mood swings that I thought were occuring due to Premenstrual Disphoric Disorder, something else happened. In July, on 10mg Lexapro, I began to feel increasingly anxious, restless, unable to concentrate. By August, I was experiencing -

    difficulty making decisions
    poor judgement
    very poor short term memory
    inablity to relax
    inability to read or even watch a movie w/o constant distraction

    I was barely able to do my housework and taxi-ing of the kids. I found that playing solitaire on my cell-phone (while waiting for the kids) helped me to relax, but that was about it. All other realxing activities did nothing for me.

    I still don't know if I'm officially bpII, but I know my pdoc is considering it. We'll talk more in Nov. All I know is that lithium was a life-saver, as that's what he called in for me after I called him for help. But he didn't say to stop the Lexapro. I'll mention this info to him soon.


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