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.
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:
- 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
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