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karen06071 karen06071

Can you manage bipolar without mood stabiliser??

Hi, I am currently stable. 

I’m on 150mg lamotragine p/day

50mg risperidone p/2 weeks injection

Due to side effects of lamotragine I’m thinking of asking my nurse if I can come off it. I’ve been on it for around 4 years on diff doses. 

I know I could switch mood stabilisers but I keep looking at side effects and they put me off. 

Is anyone successful in staying stable when on an antipsychotic alone??? Can it be done or will I fall into depression without a mood stabiliser ??? 

7 Replies

  • christina93015 karen06071

    Hi Karen, from my experience I'd say no because I think the anti psychotic is what controls mania and a mood stabilizer is still needed to keep you stable and control the highs and lows. I have bipolar 1 with psychotic features (my manic episodes can turn into full blown paranoia, hallucinations, etc. sad I take a mood stabilizer, and an anti psychotic and I'd honestly never try going without a mood stabilizer again. In my younger days when I was first diagnosed, I stopped my meds many times and ended up right in the hospital sad

    As we all know everyone is different, but I recently started lithium after trying every other med out there for the last 20 years and it was a rough start with side effects but after 6 weeks now, I feel the best I ever have. I was always afraid to try lithium, but there's a reason why it's been used for over 50 years and it's been a wonder drug for a lot of people with bipolar disorder. I take that and vraylar and I'm thinking I've finally found the right meds after many ups and downs!

    Good luck to you, Stay positive smile

    • christina93015

      Keep in mind..you might be stable now. But what goes up always comes down for us with Bipolar. Whether it's in a few weeks or months, you're risking it without being on a mood stabilizer.

      Changing meds sucks and I can totally relate, I've spent the last 9 months switching from one to the next trying to find what works again. It's pure hell 😫 but I stuck it out somehow.

    • karen06071 christina93015

      Hi, thanks for the response. Did the side effects of lithium go away after 6 weeks then? 

      I’m not stopping anything without my nurses consent but spoke to him before and he said depakote and lithium are my two other options.

      He also said that I need to be on a mood stabiliser.

      I’ve always been terrified of lithium myself because of the side effects but I’m thinking of giving it a go after talking it over with my mum and my nurse 

  • christina93015 karen06071

    Yes, the side effects actually weren't that horrible with the lithium. I was so worried about trying it too and about the side effects and it being high maintenance with making sure the levels are in the right range with labwork, but it was only a few weeks of side effects that were still tolerable, a couple trips to the lab and now I guess I only go every few months to the lab.

    The side effects I had were mainly dizziness and nausea but it got better each week and now I dont notice any side effects.

    I'm dumb for looking up med reviews online because that's the worst thing you can do, everyone has a horror story, but everyone is so different. And lithium is so well known and my new Dr (50yrs of experience) said there's a reason why it's been prescribed for over 50 years..it works!

    I also weaned off lamictal (no issues, just didn't need 2 mood stabilizers) and I'm still weaning off trileptal and replacing it with the lithium so it's been a long transition but I'm honestly feeling great lately, and my husband and kids notice so it's been much better in our household lately smile

    I'd definitely give lithium a try. I've been on depakote and it caused major weight gain which has always been a struggle for me so I chose to try the lithium. It still has weight gain as a side effect but I think it's less likely than the depakote.

    • karen06071 christina93015

      That’s good to know about the weight gain thing! As a recovered anorexic I still worry about weight gain to the extremes of some medications. Thinking of definitely giving it a try now anyway. And I was definitely scared of lithium mostly because of what I’ve read about it online.

  • Notwavingbut... karen06071

    Hi Karen

    I also had to stop taking lamotrigine because of the side effects, severe eye irritation/conjunctivitis for nearly 18 months - no medic made the connection, visited eye hospital twice and they said it was blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids) and I had to clean them twice a day with solution of baby shampoo and cotton buds! It was me who made the connection after reading the patient info leaflet - within weeks of stopping lamotrigine my eyed cleared up.

    Anyway back to you. Sort of.

    I take quetiapine as a mood stabilizer even though it is officially an antipsychotic. Quetiapine is known to also have antidepressant properties and is sometimes used as an antidepressant as an add on treatment in bipolar depression.

    As my bipolar mostly takes the form of depression it wasn't enough on its own for me and I also take venlafaxine to guard against severe episodes which it has, although it hasn't prevented the mild more recurrent low moods.

    If you do decide to give quetiapine a go, be wary of taking too high a dose as it can leave you feeling flat and can't be bothered with things.

    I found the therapeutic dose for me was 150 - 200mg.

    Good luck.

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