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Tips for tapering off Lamictal (lamotrigine)

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ChessieCat
On 10/02/2018 at 1:38 AM, robcbar1 said:

Hi all - I asked this question on a separate thread and looking for some immediate help.  I've been taking 5 mg of Lamictal for about 30 days to help quell my SSRI WD.  It's not doing anything for me and may actually be making some of my symptoms worse (namely derealization and tinnitus).  I'd like to stop but scared I'm going to get additional WD symptoms.  Have I been on it for a short enough time where I can cut down to 2.5 mg?  I know a 50% decrease is never advised but I hoping it's ok since I haven't been on it too long?  Any insight would be much appreciated.  Thanks.         

 

My personal opinion is that I think it would be better, as RubyTuesday suggested, to try a 10% reduction and keep notes on paper.  If you feel okay you could try another 10% reduction sooner than the 4 weeks, eg between 2-3 weeks after.  I think tapering carefully would be better than risking too fast a taper.

 

On 22/08/2011 at 6:46 AM, Altostrata said:

Removal of lamotrigine can cause a nasty rebound of "alerting," i.e. anxiety, restlessness, and sleeplessness.

 

Yes, I think going cautiously is your best option.

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robcbar1
10 hours ago, RubyTuesday said:

Hi, This is a good question, I would be cautious and just try 10% reductions even though you have been on a short time, only because I also tapered off Lamictal and the depression was severe triggered by tapering. Of course I was on it for much longer, about 4 years, and also to help with SSRI withdrawals (11 years). I had tablets which dissolved in water so I used a beaker and took out 10% at a time. On the other hand since you have only been on a month you may well be fine with a faster taper. You can always give it 3 days and then play it by ear, reinstating and then going slower if the situation warrants. Good luck with that!

Hey Ruby - I went down to 2.5mg for 2 days last week and it was disastrous: major rebound anxiety and akathesia.  It's scary how powerful these drugs are even at small doses.  So I'm going to hold where I am for a bit @ 5 mg.  How are you doing overall?    Can I send you a message to learn more about how you converted Lamictal to a liquid?  I have the 5mg dissolvable tabs but I'm clueless on using a beaker etc.  

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RubyTuesday

Yes of course you can message me, I will say more later today. I am not surprised you got a bad rebound from a small drop. Every time I took a small drop, (I think it took me over 2 years to taper 50 mg) I got nasty suicidal depression mixed with a feeling that someone was banging me on the head. I am doing great and please do check in.

 

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RubyTuesday

I purchased a small graded 10 milliliter thingey at the drugstore, that came with a dropper. Rather than dropping 10% of each previous dose, as recommended, that was too much math for me, as I had no help from a doc or a pharmacy, I dropped 1/10th of my lowest dose of a 25 mg tablet, I think about every two weeks at the end. I had tapered down from 50 to 25, I don't remember exactly how. I dissolved my little white tab in water, and agitated it vigorously with a long spike thing that my son ordered for me off the Internet (he was studying Chemistry) and took out, using the dropper, 1/10th, then

2/10th etc. and threw it away and swallowed the remainder. This went on for about a year I think. I was down to about 3/10th of the dose when there was a full moon eclipse and I happened to get into a conversation at the public library with a total stranger who was trying to homeschool a very bright and difficult son, as I had done several years earlier, and deal with the local school system, who are all total idiots. I felt so inspired remembering this phase of my life, before being poisoned by psych meds, that when I came home and stared at the remaining Lamictal, I was simply unable to put it into my body so I just didn't. That being said, I still had mind boggling suicidal depression in waves for about 6 months afterwards, I signed up for college classes but was unable to complete any of them, and I couldn't get myself back to ballet class either although I had done that after jumping off Seroquel and still being on Lamictal. Around 6 months out a period of slow & steady improvement commenced although Christmas season of 2016 (I jumped off in March of 2016) I again had terrible waves of godawful deppression. Since then the depression has been slowly & steadily lightening up and I am left with a feeling not unlike I used to have after LSD trips when I was in my early 20s, sort of a feeling of being flat and empty, but okay, and able to begin again. Anyway hope that helps, everyone is different, but the thing is, you can always speed up the taper, but it's harder to slow it down and still deal with the withdrawal effects. Best of luck!!!

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robcbar1
16 hours ago, RubyTuesday said:

I purchased a small graded 10 milliliter thingey at the drugstore, that came with a dropper. Rather than dropping 10% of each previous dose, as recommended, that was too much math for me, as I had no help from a doc or a pharmacy, I dropped 1/10th of my lowest dose of a 25 mg tablet, I think about every two weeks at the end. I had tapered down from 50 to 25, I don't remember exactly how. I dissolved my little white tab in water, and agitated it vigorously with a long spike thing that my son ordered for me off the Internet (he was studying Chemistry) and took out, using the dropper, 1/10th, then

2/10th etc. and threw it away and swallowed the remainder. This went on for about a year I think. I was down to about 3/10th of the dose when there was a full moon eclipse and I happened to get into a conversation at the public library with a total stranger who was trying to homeschool a very bright and difficult son, as I had done several years earlier, and deal with the local school system, who are all total idiots. I felt so inspired remembering this phase of my life, before being poisoned by psych meds, that when I came home and stared at the remaining Lamictal, I was simply unable to put it into my body so I just didn't. That being said, I still had mind boggling suicidal depression in waves for about 6 months afterwards, I signed up for college classes but was unable to complete any of them, and I couldn't get myself back to ballet class either although I had done that after jumping off Seroquel and still being on Lamictal. Around 6 months out a period of slow & steady improvement commenced although Christmas season of 2016 (I jumped off in March of 2016) I again had terrible waves of godawful deppression. Since then the depression has been slowly & steadily lightening up and I am left with a feeling not unlike I used to have after LSD trips when I was in my early 20s, sort of a feeling of being flat and empty, but okay, and able to begin again. Anyway hope that helps, everyone is different, but the thing is, you can always speed up the taper, but it's harder to slow it down and still deal with the withdrawal effects. Best of luck!!!

Thank you for these details. It sounds complicated.  How does liquid ml correlate to mg???  I reread your signature history and it sounds like you've been through a lot.  March marks 2 years of protracted withdrawal for me after 20 yrs of SSRI use.  I literally feel like the walking dead right now.  I've begged anyone who will listen for help (docs, therapists, naturopaths, people on SA) but haven't seen any improvements.  I am very concerned that I'm not going to heal.        

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scallywag

robcbar - RubyTuesday is probably making a solution from the tablets.  The concentration, how many mg in a ml, is completely flexible.

 

You recently dropped from 5 mg to 2.5 mg, probably because it's easy to cut a tablet in half.  Having found that reduction was too large, you may want to try increasing to a dose of 4.5 mg, a 10% reduction from 5 mg. Let's continue this conversation in your introduction topic.

 

For reference on making a liquid: Making a liquid from a tablet or capsules .

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RubyTuesday

Yes, that. What scallywag said. About the reduction technique.

As for feeling like the walking dead, this is not uncommon. How fast did you taper the SSRI or did you cold turkey? In any event, best to taper the Lamictal as slowly as humanly possible. Have you tried acupuncture? Acupuncture was the most helpful for me.

You will definitely heal. We are all built to heal. Best wishes. Feel free to reach out any time.

Ruby

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robcbar1
On ‎02‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 12:00 PM, RubyTuesday said:

Yes, that. What scallywag said. About the reduction technique.

As for feeling like the walking dead, this is not uncommon. How fast did you taper the SSRI or did you cold turkey? In any event, best to taper the Lamictal as slowly as humanly possible. Have you tried acupuncture? Acupuncture was the most helpful for me.

You will definitely heal. We are all built to heal. Best wishes. Feel free to reach out any time.

Ruby

I'm currently down from 5mg to 3.8mg in about 3 weeks.  I know that's too fast but I really need to get off of this drug as it's making my protracted WD symptoms much worse.  I don't know if I'd survive 10% every 4 weeks based on my first 10% drop.  The derealization, agitation, and suicidal depression that comes with each drop is insane.  I had no idea Lamictal was such a nasty drug, even at this very small dose.  Please share any advice or positive vibes. 

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RubyTuesday

Yes it is a nasty drug. I personally felt like someone was beating on my head with a hammer every time I took a drop. You are doing GREAT!!! 

If you want to PM me your real name I will place it in my own favorite prayer circle. Totally optional.

Big Hugs!!!

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Hibari

Lamictal is a very nasty drug.  I have been tapering for the past 2 1/2 years and these lower doses are tough.  I'm at 10mgs down from 200mgs.

 

I just have come out of horrible wave after pushing my taper the last two drops.   Though I too have wanted to push through this last phase, I continue to face the fact that the impact of Lamictal on my nervous system won't let me.  I chose some videos on YouTube at random and heard again how necessary it is to go slow at the lower doses due to the medication being at it's highest concentration point (my understanding and my words).  It goes against everything our bodies seem to want us to do, which is to move out of pain. 

 

I empathize with what you are going through and very much understand your frustration about the protracted wd symptoms of Lamictal.

 

I too recommend acupuncture (Acupuncture - Posts #6 & #8 - not detox or stimulation) or some kind of soothing body treatment to help calm your nervous system.  It helps a lot.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added link to acupuncture topic

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Altostrata

Hibari, it sounds like it's time you took a vacation from tapering. Stay at 10mg lamotrigine for some months, then resume tapering. Congratulations on getting down so far!

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PollyJ

Hi-

I'm on 250 mgs of lamictal and currently tapering off of Effexor. I appreciate the thoughtful, specific and sober approaches to getting off of these meds. My goal is to be med free. I already feel better and alive in a way that I forgot about. Will stay close to this forum. Thank you to everyone who contributes here. 

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Hibari

You are not alone PollyJ and taking it step by step will get you there. 

 

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Art

Hi I’ve been tapering down Lamotragine from 100 mg/day for around 3 years.  I’m at 7.8 mg in oral suspension from Walgreens.  I’m tapering 0.05-0.1 mg every few weeks and maintaining a technical job and marriage. I get strong feelings of hopelessness and try to get extra sleep and not do any damage to self or others. I really want to be done but taking time to allow brain to adjust.  The suspension is 1mg/ml and I use a plastic syringe. Ps my real name is not Art.

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Altostrata

Hello again, Art. If you would like to participate here more often, please post in your existing Introductions topic.

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Survivor1

Has anyone who has taken lamictal ever develop bleeding gums?  I have always had excellent oral hygiene, and never had this issue, but two weeks after starting lamictal, I notice blood everytime I brush.  I have seen anecdotal stories of gum issues, but it is not on the side effect list.

 

I also seem to have some usual facial pain (anywhere from jaw to cheekbone to eye socket).  

 

Thanks

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Altostrata

I've never heard of bleeding gums from Lamictal, but what do I know.

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Survivor1
22 hours ago, Altostrata said:

I've never heard of bleeding gums from Lamictal, but what do I know.

 

Hi Alto,  

 

Looks like I have to thank WD for the bleeding gums.  Yesterday it was gone, as is this morning.  Whether it was a lamictal start-up issue or WD, I'll never know, but I'm glad it seems to be gone.

 

Thanks for responding

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commitmenttohope

hello, I've been tapering off of lamictal for 3 years. I have been going very, very slowly with long periods of resting from tapering in between.  I started at 100mgs and now I'm at around 37mgs.  I have also tapered completely off of Cogentin and I'm also working on tapering abilify, was at 5mgs and now i'm at 4mgs of abilify.  this has been a very challenging process.  I'm preparing to make another reduction of lamictal. I'm gathering my supports and preparing for what will come with the with drawl. I am recommitting myself to the process knowing that no matter how bad I will have to feel,  we must keep our eyes forward. better health is ahead. we must continue moving forward in the process and slowly by slowly my health will be restored. thank you for your support.

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Rhiannon

About Lamictal withdrawal:  It was Googling "Lamictal withdrawal" that led me to Gianna Kali's site Beyond Meds back in 2009, which was the first step that led me to tapering off all the psych meds. At that time she said that her "Lamictal withdrawal from hell" page was by far the most visited page on her site, and she was still saying that years later, and it may still be the case. Apparently there are a lot of people experiencing problems and looking for help.

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Rhiannon

Here is her latest, posted in 2018, lots of comments from people about Lamictal from the Furious Seasons website, probably other stuff too. I haven't read all of it. https://beyondmeds.com/2007/07/26/lamictal-comments/

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Rhiannon

I have read through some of these now, they aren't especially helpful for tapering, mostly just people freaking out about withdrawal. If you need confirmation that tapering Lamictal is just as problematic as tapering any other psych drug, you can get that.  But if you are here you probably already know that. 😕 

17 hours ago, Rhiannon said:

Here is her latest, posted in 2018, lots of comments from people about Lamictal from the Furious Seasons website, probably other stuff too. I haven't read all of it. https://beyondmeds.com/2007/07/26/lamictal-comments/

 

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carefulprayerful

Rhiannon, have you seen a dose/occupancy chart for Lamotrigine?  

 

I am glad to read you are feeling better! 

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Rhiannon
On 9/20/2019 at 12:41 PM, carefulprayerful said:

Rhiannon, have you seen a dose/occupancy chart for Lamotrigine?  

 

I am glad to read you are feeling better! 

No, the only ones I've seen are what's here on SA, I don't think there's one for lamotrigine. I tend to assume it has the same kind of curved shape as the other drugs, just based on how difficult it is to taper at lower doses anecdotally.

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carefulprayerful

I did a google images search and did not find a dose occupancy chart but did this chart: 

 

Therapeutic plasma levels in relation to dose

 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1059131107002452

(Scroll down.)

 

It’s roughly consistent with the dose occupancy charts for the other drugs. 

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