Medication Changes: Do They Ever End?

Marcia Purse Health Guide
  • During my first year after diagnosis my medications were changed at least once a month. I don't think that's unusual - they were all meds I'd never been on before. Side effects surfaced again and again. At diagnosis in late May I was started on Depakote, Wellbutrin and Zyprexa; in December I wound up taking Celexa and Trazodone.


    By the end of the second year I was taking Celexa, Trazodone, Serzone (no longer available) and Ativan (lorazepam). Those had actually been pretty much the same through that year and the next; we tried Depakote for a short time but weight gain worries made me request dropping that.

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    Toward the end of the year we tried Lexapro, but that had way too many side effects. That was interesting, because Lexapro - made from half the Celexa molecule - was supposed to have fewer side effects.


    I ended the next year taking:

    • Celexa
    • Wellbutrin
    • Ativan
    • Trileptal
    • Topamax
    • Naproxen (for fibromyalgia pain)

    My records are sketchier after that, but I know we tried almost every SSRI antidepressant available and all sorts of combinations. When I dropped all medications and was placed on Seroquel only as part of a clinical trial, I had tremendous lifting of depression - but gained an additional 25 pounds over time.


    Today my psychiatric medications are Lamictal, Seroquel (at a low dose), Trazodone and Cymbalta. The combination isn't perfect but it's pretty good. I can also take Klonopin (clonazepam) for anxiety, but anxiety isn't a big problem for me.


    Right now, the amount of sleep I get is critical to how well I function the next day. Lamictal, Seroquel and Trazodone, all taken at night, do a pretty good job giving me good sleep, but if I go to bed too late, I always wake up too early.


    Sooner or later, I suppose, something I'm taking will lose its effectiveness, as many drugs can do over time; or some change in my non-psychiatric meds will interfere with the psych meds; or my body/brain's needs will change.


    I know I'm not unusual - going through a lot of medication changes over time is common for people with bipolar disorder. Has your experience been like mine, or entirely different?



Published On: April 30, 2011