Reader Question on Lamictal (Lamotrigine)

Hi Julie,

I just read all the blogs and comments on Lamictal (and the generic Lamotrigine) and they really answered a lot of questions for me. First off, and I know you’re not supposed to do this, but my daughter had some left over meds when she tried it, so I used those up before I refilled my prescription. I noticed a couple of different things that happened to me while taking her prescription, but I blew them off not even thinking about them until I read the blogs. The first one was a twitch I got in my left hand when using the computer mouse and the second one is the rash that I got on my chest just above the breast. I am very thankful that you talk so much about [ Read More ]

Bipolar Disorder Medications: Lamictal (or should I say- generic Lamotrigine!)

Well, I have been traveling for a week- first to Texas and now in Florida. It has been great, but I have had a lot of sleep and medication problems.

I am really uncomfortable as I write this- I have what I call the Lamictal twitches and I feel like I’m going to crawl out of my skin. I hate it. I’m pretty sure I took my dose this morning, so this is odd. It’s amazing how uncomfortable these side effects can be. It’s hard to live with sometimes- but the Lamictal is worth it for me.

Actually, I should say Lamotrigine as I am now on the generic. Who knows if the side effects worsened because of the medication change. I have not seen a change in my moods, so that is all that matters. There is a big discussion on the generic Lamictal on the blog- if you go to the [ Read More ]

Bipolar Disorder Medications: What is Zyprexa? (Olanzapine)

Zyprexa, also known as Olanzapine is an anti psychotic drug (also known as a neuroleptic) used to treat psychosis and psychotic mania.

It’s called an atypical antipsychotic as it is a new class of drugs with less side effects that the old anti-psychotics such as Thorazine and Haldol. Zyprexa is known for weight gain- an average of 20 pounds per person, but I definitely know people who don’t gain weight at all.

Zyprexa is used to treat bipolar disorder mania and psychosis – (and schizophrenia.)

I have seen it work miracles on people who are very ill. It’s hard to find a balance between the benefits of the drug and the side effects- but for many, the benefits are what matters. I have a friend who was on the drug for two years to keep her mania and psychosis in check. It definitely kept her out of the hospital- but she felt over drugged [ Read More ]

Reader Comment: Running out of Lamictal

Here is a comment from Gina about running out of (Lamotrigine):

Hi Julie,

I’m gonna run out of Lamictal before the year ends and insurance won’t cover any till after 1/1. I take 400mg per day, what can I do to stretch this out? I can’t afford to buy them! The doctor didn’t have any samples. 🙁 Any ideas?

I called GSK and because I can’t scrape up $600 worth of receipts for this year they won’t help me. Other drs office has no samples. It was like $18 per day to get just enough to get me into next year. It’s nerve wracking coming off 400 mg per day down to so little though. I definitely had some bad timing this year. I’m on medicare part D and am in the gap where I have to pay [ Read More ]

Remembering to Take Your Bipolar Meds

I just received this reader comment from Alexis.

It’s such an excellent idea for people who miss meds. I tend to go through phases where I mess up my meds for days at a time. It’s really dangerous sometimes. I will use this idea if I feel one of those phases coming on. It’s also a fantastic idea for traveling.

Julie-I too had a hard time remembering to take my meds. I set the alarm on my phone to 6:30am and 8:00pm to remind me to take my meds. It’s worked great. The only thing I have to remember is to bring my evening dose with me if I’m not at home at 8:00. Alexis

Bipolar Disorder and Pristiq (desvenlafaxine): a new antidepressant

I recently opened a magazine and saw an antidepressant (Pristiq) I had never heard of- so I asked my coauthor Dr. John Preston to explain the mistique of Pristiq!

Hi…Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)is a clone of Effexor…I like it because the starting dose is often the therapeutic dose (50 mg)…with Effexor you had to start low (37.5 mg) and gradually increase the dose (often up to 150-300 mg)…also Pristiq has somewhat less nausea than Effexor….but like all antidepressants is absolutely can cause mania… John

**And as we all know… people with bipolar disorder can’t take antidepressants alone- and if they do take them- it needs to be in combination with a mood stabilizer such as lithium, depakote or tegretol! Pristiq sounds like a resort! Who names these things! Julie

PS: If you view this blog from, you can see the whole blog at

[ Read More ]

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