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4support 06-18-2007 07:47 PM

Lamictal questions...
Hi friends, :wave:

For those of you who are doing well taking Lamictal, I am interested in knowing how long after starting this med did it take to have a therapeutic effect for you? How does the medication make you feel - calmer? able to think more clearly? Does it help prevent mania, in addition to depression? Has anyone been taking a combo with Lamictal for a long time with success?

My husband is on lithium and in his fourth week of taking Lamictal. I have just noticed over the past 4 days that his demeanor has changed (in a good way!) - he seems calmer, more receptive to conversations and able to communicate better, he isn't as argumentative and seems to be able to handle stress he's feeling in a more constructive way. He's mentioned that he thinks he is "thinking a little more clearly". He even admitted (for the first time ever and he was dx 3 yrs ago) that his BP probably has caused most of the conflict in our life. This is the FIRST time he's acting as though he's not in total denial that he is BP (although I don't want to jump for joy yet) and actually acknowledged that...PROGRESS!

I am just happy that he seems to be doing better, therefore there has been improvement for all of us.

I would love to hear more about this medication and how it works for you.


Dee-nah 06-18-2007 07:56 PM

Re: Lamictal questions...
I congratulate you on your husbands process... I did take Lamtical for a couple of months and everyone agreed that is was the best I've ever been BUT i got the rash and since then have been through med hell...

Good luck on the Lamtical hope everything works beautiful for you, it seems you are definitely off to a good start!

Paige1989 06-18-2007 08:02 PM

Re: Lamictal questions...
I've been on Lamictal for a loooonnnngggg least it seems that way to my seventeen-year-old self. ;) At least a year. But anyway, it originally took me to 100mg. before it was therapeutic (can't remember how many weeks but I started with the starter pack). Then I took myself off of it (stupid teenage decision) and didn't tell my pdoc until I'd been off of it for about two weeks so then I had to start from scratch again because of the rash issue. >_> Anyway, that time it took me up to 200mg. and now I'm on 400mg. but it does help with both mania and depression, but is better known for working on depression. It was the first mood stabiliser I was put on and I've stuck with it for the most part - except when my stupid self decides that I'm "better"...not doing that again, I hope. :rolleyes: At first, it worked on its own, but then I had anxiety problems so went on Ativan during the day and Klonopin at night...then switched to just Klonopin - day and night. Right now I'm on Klonopin, Seroquel, and Lamictal. I'm thinking that I need to switcht he Seroquel out for something else because I've been on it since mid-March and [i]still[/i] am having side effects (tired all day mostly), which doesn't help with school, work, etc. But as far as Lamictal goes, it's a wonder drug for me. :) It's the main stabiliser I'm on and I think I need another one, but that's mainly due to my changing hormones as a teenager that it keeps changing...or I might be totally off. Either way, Lamictal works. Even though it tastes nasty. >.< I have to take it with milk 'cause it's a thicker liquid and it can block out the taste. Anything else, I end up choking because of the nastiness...


goody2shuz 06-18-2007 08:25 PM

Re: Lamictal questions...
I just wanted to tell you how GREAT this news is.....your hubby is definitely making a turning point with the daughter is on it and showed similar improvement and has been doing well on it. We just had another increase a few weeks ago and she is now on 200mgs/day.

I know that this has been a long road for you and I just wanted to let you know how thrilled I am to hear this news!!

Love ~ Goody:angel: :wave:

4support 06-18-2007 09:26 PM

Re: Lamictal questions...
Hi Dee-nah, Paige...thank you for sharing your insight with me!

Goody, so good to hear from you again. :wave: Thank you for the encouragement, and for your good wishes. I am so happy to hear about your daughter's progress!! I have been waiting for so long for my husband to find stability, it seems we're moving in the right direction, I can only hope! Will keep u posted...


tsohl 06-18-2007 09:34 PM

Re: Lamictal questions...
Hello 4support ~

The antidepressant effects can be felt usually around 100mg and the mood stabilizing effects usually kick in between 100-200mgs. Some people need to take as much as 400 mg. to receive the same benefits, but for most there is no need to go over 200 (depending on what else you're taking.)

Wonderful news that your husband is developing some self-awareness. Thanks for letting us in on the good news. Now if you can get him to stop drinking he'll really start feeling better.

Hip, hip hurray:bouncing: :bouncing: :bouncing:

4support 06-18-2007 11:03 PM

Re: Lamictal questions...
Hi Tsohl,

I was hoping to hear from you! :wave:

You know, out of all the mood stabilizers out there, I asked the pdoc if he could try Lamictal based on so many positive experiences I keep reading about. I knew that your son has done well taking it, and countless other people, although I know different meds work for different people. Anytime the meds are tweaked, it could go either way, so I've been a little nervous.

I do think the Lamictal is starting to help him though. ;) He is just starting the 100 mg pills and goes to see his pdoc this week. I definetely see a difference and I think he sees a little one as well.

The biggest leap that I have seen is when he and I were talking over the weekend and he did seem to have more awareness and mentioned that he thought the new med may be helping him 'see things more clearly'. This whole time, if he would just accept, it would make things much easier.

Luckily, he does not drink often. I worry more about when we are in a social situation (such as the family wedding/reunion we have coming up in Canada in August) where there is alcohol readily available and everyone else is having a good time with it. He used to be fine and there was never a problem, but this is something I've noticed become a problem over the past couple of years and since his dx. Even small amounts of beer will change him (and not for the better). There was one incident when we were overseas visiting friends/family last year where he drank so much out one night that he appeared manic (very hyper and talking too fast, etc..) and ended up throwing up all over my friends' home (very embarrassing). He is aware that he needs to either abstain or limit his intake, but what scares me is not only that it's not good to mix with his meds, but that his meds don't seem to be effective after he has had too much to drink. I know the therapist is working with him on this. I think therapy is helping him progress as well (I would hope so after this long!) :dizzy:

This part is probably me, I am definetely an optimistic person, but with the road as long as it has been, I'm a bit hesitant to accept if this is "it" or not, and a little scared to take anything for granted. We should know soon, and I have never stopped praying. He is so much more pleasant to be around and seems to be returning to the man I fell in love with all those years ago.

Tsohl, thank you so much...

I hope things are going well for you and your family.


goody2shuz 06-19-2007 05:49 AM

Re: Lamictal questions...
4Support ~ One thing that you may want to keep tucked away in your mind and heart is that once your hubby is medicated and feeling better and able to rationalize and reason things better, he will come to the realization that [B]first[/B] drinking is going to interfere with his stability AND [B]second [/B]that he doesn't need a drink to make him feel better anymore. He is going to have to see for himself as he becomes more self aware that there is sooo much more to lose than to gain when he chooses to drink. And he has to figure out ways to stop doing it such as not putting himself in situations that will be difficult for him to refrain from doing so.

He can learn to mix some seltzer and cranberry and stick a lemon or lime in it and sip on that knowing that it is far better to remain stable than to take a chance on throwing things off balance and having to take the consequences of doing so.

I KNOW how difficult it is for you to get those hopes up too soon but things ARE looking good and I sure hope they stay that way.

PLEASE, keep us is GREAT to hear good news around us all hope and incentive to "Carry On", as a wise fellow on this board often says!!!;)

((((HUGS)))) ~ Goody:angel: :wave:

2fast 06-19-2007 08:04 AM

Re: Lamictal questions...
I have been taking Lam. for about a year now and I wish I had as much success. It has helped me as far as my explosive episodes, they still happen, but they don't last as long and I do eventually stop to think about what I'm saying/doing. I'm on Wellbutrin 300mg XL, which helps A LOOOOOT with the depression (it also makes me more hyper than I already am) and I just started Zoloft 50mg less than a week ago and I already feel better. I don't feel like flipping out over little things, I feel more content and calm, basically an overall better outlook on everything, AND I think a relationship saver.
I'm happy for both of you, I know how much BP effects both people in a relationship (at least in my case...pretty BAD at times).


tsohl 06-19-2007 08:24 AM

Re: Lamictal questions...
Hello 4support,

When your husband is feeling pretty ok and you haven't been harping on any other issues, could you calmly bring up the drinking and point out your observation that he is so much better when he doesn't drink at all?? Having been a drinker myself I know it is a sensitive issue -- however I also know that drinking is a habit and it often takes a long time for the drinker to realize that when s/he drinks, s/he does not behave "normally" even though s/he doesn't realize it at the time. It is harder to not drink as it is amazing how alcohol is really a part of so many activities of life and it makes others uncomfortable when you don't drink. I finally started accepting a glass of champagne in those situations where a toast is being made after almost having a fight with a waiter at one wedding!! He just wouldn't accept "No thank you." Now I take a glass, go through the toast and just touch the glass to my lips and then set it down on the table. But unlike Goody's suggestion, I always get a clear drink like tonic and lime or selzer --that way no one knows that it isn't gin and tonic, vodka and tonic, etc.and that way no one bothers you!!

I understand that your husband hates to be told what to do. He doesn't want you sounding like a parent telling him he can't drink, etc. Maybe the pdoc could really stress how potentially harmful it is to drink -- or that ONE drink does not mean it's ok to have four or five!! And, ONE drink cannot be a tumbler of gin or vodka only!!

Things are always rocky at the beginning of taking meds. As your husband starts to understand that he feels better on the meds, things will be easier. he will start to put the picture together and his stability will become important to him....god willing ;) .


4support 06-19-2007 01:46 PM

Re: Lamictal questions...
Hi goody & 2fast,



4support 06-19-2007 01:57 PM

Re: Lamictal questions...
Hi Tsohl,

We've had a few conversations about how he will handle any potential drinking, he does have awareness that ideally he shouldn't drink at all based on past incidents, and what his therapist and pdoc have explained to him. He seems 'disappointed' in himself about the way he has acted the last handful of times he has used alcohol. This he does on his own. He does tell me that he's a "Big Boy", which is true. I hope that my Big Boy can be Big Boy responsible then. Even though he is well equipped with the knowledge he needs as why he SHOULDN'T drink, it will be interesting to see how he handles it when we are in the next situation where it is around him. (I'm nervous) I even suggested just telling anyone who may be pressuring him to have a drink that he's on medication. I wouldn't mind telling someone this, but I think he may be too sensitive about it. They don't have to know what kind of medication he's on, many meds/antibiotics shouldn't be mixed with alcohol.

You mentioned things always being rocky in the beginning of the journey with meds toward stabilization - - but it has been 3 years of trying to find the right combo ~ so I sure hope this is it! We must still be in the beginning of the LONG journey to manage BP ;).

I know your son has been stable for over 2 years now, can you tell me from what you know, can the right med combo work for long periods of time, possibly even a lifetime? Or does the person's body eventually develop some resistance and the meds have to be changed. It sure would be nice to coast along for a good long while! :blob_fire

As always, thank u for all your wisdom and for caring.


4support 06-21-2007 10:24 PM

Re: Lamictal questions...
Hi Tsohl, Goody, Eyes, & all my friends here...:wave:

Just a quick update to let you know that my hubbie has been on 100 mg of Lamictal for a week now and it seems as though he is finally recognizing the positive changes within himself on his own! He saw his pdoc tonight and he is going to keep him at the 100 mg for a while, this may be enough for now with the lithium, he is really doing great and I feel I have my husband back (even better than before!) I can hardly believe that we may have FINALLY found the right combo for him!! :blob_fire

I am still wondering for those of you with experience with Lamictal (esp. Lamictal mixed with lithium or another mood stabilizer)...will Lamictal work for a good long while without being adjusted/increased? Or is it another case (like with the lithium) that after years you may become resistant to it?

Now that my husband has also been in consistent psychotherapy with a wonderful therapist for several months, do you think this will also help him recognize changes if they need to be addressed BEFORE any major mania kicks in? He seems to have more self awareness now, and doesn't seem as much in denial (if at all, but he hasn't confirmed that yet). I'm just wondering if what he has learned in therapy and how he is feeling while he's stabilized on meds will stick with him, even if he is experiencing symptoms. I'm wondering if he'll be able to control his behaviour better, and if once you really do realize that you have a problem, accept that things are much better with the right treatment, and have the right meds helping you, will you know if the meds stop working, or does the illness still prevent you for realizing that something is amiss.

God bless you all for all of your insight, support and encouragement - this has been a very long road and finding meds that help my husband is a much needed break.

I know there are a lot of you out there who are still struggling, whether it's a struggle with BP or a struggle with or for a loved one, I am thinking of each one of you. I will still be scooting around here, and keeping an eye on how everyone is doing on their own personal journeys.


tsohl 06-21-2007 10:44 PM

Re: Lamictal questions...
Hello 4Support,

Hip, Hip hurray!! That's great news.
Eyes has been on lithium for something like 23 years and his dosage has been slightly reduced, if I'm remembering correctly.

My son's meds have been the same for two years. Part of it depends on a variety of variables -- levels of stress can causes changes in meds; loss or increase in weight, whether someone is drinking or using other drugs...just all kinds of things -- but it is possible for someone to just continue on....

Also, keep in mind that there are lots of new drugs in the pipeline that will probably be approved in the near future. I think there are better days ahead for most people who have BP !! Wouldn't that be great??

Gotta run -- my daughter is working on her resume and I don't want to stand in the way of progress!! I've been bugging her for days to do it and I don't want to be the excuse why she can't complete it!!

I'll write more tomorrow. Again, I am so happy for your husband. I think he will continue to grow in knowledge and self-awareness. I'll write a bit more about that next time.

:wave: Tsohl

4support 06-24-2007 11:50 AM

Re: Lamictal questions...
Hi Tsohl,

Thank you!!

My hubbie continues to grow with his self awareness and he is doing very well on the Lamictal so far. It's almost surreal to me how 'normal', logical and loving he is again, seeing the things that make him so wonderful to begin with again reaffirms that this is what I have been fighting for. I have told him I think he is doing great and asked him if he feels better, he seems to think so. He has recognized that he is "thinking more logically". Things are happy and calm at home. As you said, if he can manage his sleep cycles, stress and limit alcohol better, hopefully the meds will continue to help him forever! He is doing better on this combo than ever with the lithium alone. :D

I guess since I've seen and felt how devastating this illness can be, I feel the FEAR of the unpredictability still. Hoping this will subside or lessen as time goes on and things progress. I probably need to see the therapist to deal with this. Now that my husband seems more stable, I am terrified of ever seeing him the other way again (I am referring to the severe mania or depression). Granted, he hasn't had the severe mania since before the lithium, but he's had manic symptoms that are not pleasant to be around. I feel terrible that he has such debilitating depression at times, but it makes him highly irritable, negative, mean and hurtful which is what makes it hard on us. I'm not sure where the ADHD comes into play with these symptoms, but it can also make a person irritable, frustrated and depressed. This is really not the way he is as a person at all and I know that he is right when he says that he's always been the same person inside.

I think the question I have is when someone does find the right meds and has invested time in therapy, and does seem to have more self awareness and not in so much denial that they have a problem, is it UNLIKELY that they will revert to the same behaviour as before their treatment? My hope is that if anything does shift or if he cycles, my husband will be able to recognize it first and address it before it gets out of control. We're definetely a lot further along than we were 3 years ago!...and for that I am so grateful.

I remember how it is for things to feel almost hopeless and heartbroken, when nothing you are doing seems to help your loved one who is struggling. The affect is has on the people who are trying to hold the family together is insurmountable and exhausting. Tsohl, it is encouraging to hear you remind me that better things are in the works for people who are dealing BP. Hopefully, research and progress for the treatment of BP will continue to advance!

A big THANK YOU to the wonderful, caring individuals on this board who continue to give of yourself to help others!


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