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Pray4Peace: Lamictal and Seroquel


Pray4Peace

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Hello and thank you in advance for any help and support you can give me. I'm struggling, but I'll try to make it brief.

I am 44 yrs old.I was diagnosed Bipolar II in June 2015 after an extremely stressful few years that led to a breakdown. It's been almost two years and I have tried 9 different drugs in various cocktails. (Lamictal, Wellbutrin, Lithium, Zoloft, Seroquel, Gabapentin, Klonopin, one that starts with an A that I can't remember, and another that I can't remember at all.)

I told my pdoc from the outset that I am very, very sensitive to all medications. Most of the medications didn't work due to awful side effects or the medication just not metabolizing like it does in people that it helps.

So, in a nutshell, there has been no improvement in the two years since I started meds. I feel...different, but in no way better. For over a year now, I have been suffering with this horrible, horrible, horrible feeling where everyday, on and off all day, I will get a wave of high anxiety that lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes, and that is followed by a very brief wave of almost euphoria that lasts about 15 seconds and then I feel just "normal" anxiety/depression until the next wave. This is a terrifying and exhausting way to live and it seems to be cyclical which makes me think it's the medication. I have an extremely difficult time waking up in the morning (Seroquel) and can't even get out of bed no matter hard I try before 10a.m. I'm groggy and not even functional for a good hour or two. Around 1 in the afternoon, the first waves begin to hit. They are more mild at that time. Then it peaks around 6-8p.m. and then is more mild again until I go to bed.

My symptoms are also affected by my menstrual cycle. A few days before my period I am usually hypomanic and the week after my period is a nightmare of depression/anxiety and derealization. (The derealization is the WORST.)

In March 2017, I started a low carbohydrate diet to feel physically healthier. I think this is relevant because holistic therapy often supports a low carbohydrate, whole foods approach. My pdoc doesn't think it has any effect, but I feel physically healthier, so I want to stick with it.

As you can see in my signature, I know that I am tapering too quickly. I know it's counterproductive, but I am just SO SO desperate to make the daily waves stop. It is exhausting and terrifying and I just can't take it anymore. I feel like these meds are poison in my veins. I am less functional now than I ever was.

I have tapered off the Gabapentin and lowered the Lamictal on May 10th. I have felt no different. Not better. Not worse. Last evening, I decreased the Seroquel from 300 to 275 and today I feel pretty awful. Anxious, racing thoughts, and derealization (not altogether here). I have used the Klonopin on and off over the last two years, taking it I'd say an average of a few times a months .5 - 1mg/day. Usually preventative for things I know will cause anxiety or if I'm having a difficult time falling asleep.

I'm just not sure where to go from here. The Seroquel is going to be the hardest, I know. When my pdoc prescribed it, I had horrible side effects within 1 week, she stopped it, and I went off the rails, so she put me back on it at a lower dose and upped it slowly. But the more I research, the more I feel like it's the meds causing most of my problems.

I tried to keep this organized. If you got this far, thank you for sticking with me. I just need someone to shake me and talk some sense into me. Lol.

Edited by scallywag
tags

Lamictal 100mg/bedtime

Seroquel 300mg (tapered over 6 week period; last dose 6/16, too fast)

Klonopin up to 2mg as needed (rarely take: average 3 times a month .5 - 1mg)

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Welcome to the forum. I'm sorry to hear you have been feeling bad for such a long time. There's a lot of support here from people and hopefully you will be on the road to recovery soon.

200 Zoloft; 10 mg Zyprexa; 4 mg valium as of May 2021;  Valium taper: July 16: 3.5 valium; July 30: 3 mg (paused valium taper); Aug. 23: 2.5 mg
Zyprexa: July 26: 8.75 mg; Aug. 9: 7.5 mg; Aug. 30: 7.1 mg

-------
Dec 1, 2016. 10 mg zyprexa for 1.5 month. Started taper mid-Jan. 2017. Cut 1.25 mg every 2 weeks; smaller cuts 2.5 mg down. Stopped at .6 mg. May 7, 2017: zyprexa free. 
Zoloft: Dec1, 2016, 200 mg. Started taper: Jun12, 2017: 197.5 mg; Jun19,:195 mg; July 2:185mg; July 9,:180 mg; July16,: 175; July 23: 170; July 30: 165; Aug6: 160; Aug13: 155; Aug. 20: 150; Aug.27: 146 mg; Sept3: 145 mg; Sept10:143 mg; Sept17:140 mg....Nov5: 122 mg...Dec3:112.5 mg; Jan14, 2018: 95 mg...Jan28: 90 mg; Feb21:80 mg; Mar11: 75 mg; May2:70 mg; May15: 68 mg; May28: 65 mg; Jun9: 62 mg;Jun25: 60 mg:July22: 55 mg; Aug25: 45 mg. Aug28: 50 mg...Oct 28: 38 mg; Dec.4: 30 mg; Jan8,2019: 25mg; Feb6: 23.5 mg; Apr1:17.5mg; May1:1 mg; May 5: 18;  May 18:15mg; June 16:12.5mg; Sept 10:11 mg; Sept.16:10 mg; Oct. 1: 9mg; Nov. 27: 8mg; Dec.5: 7mg; Jan.1,2020, 6 mg; Feb1: 5 mg; May 1: 2.5 mg; Jn 1: 2 mg; Jy 1: 1.5 mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi PFP, welcome to SA. You have had quite a cocktail and your nervous system is struggling with all the changes. It makes me so angry that doctors continue to prescribe these drugs even when someone is obviously sensitive to them. I would STOP tapering anything right now and let your brain have a chance to catch up by having the same doses every day.  Can you tell us your symptom pattern? It will be good to write things down on paper. I use an appointments diary, they have a page for every day and have times for appointments too. You can fill it in with your doses, when you take them and also when your symptoms change.  Do this for a few days and you will find a pattern appearing. This will help to see what drug is causing the problem. It is also a good idea to go to drugs.com and put all your drugs into the interactions checker then post the results here. 

 

https://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.php

You tapered gabapentin very quickly and might benefit from reinstating a small dose then holding to stabilise. You can read about reinstating here.  

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

I suspect that there may be some interdose withdrawal with the klonopin, but will know more when we have your symptoms pattern. How often do you take it? 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm sorry, I didn't make it back here to follow up. I have been overwhelmed. But I need a little support if that's ok. 

 

Update: I was on Seroquel a little less than a year. I started tapering in May from 300mg by reducing the dose by half every 5 to 7 days. My anxiety gradually lessened, but I began to experience the gradual onset of a come and go tension headache during this process. I have neck issues that cause tension headaches, so it wasn't clear at first if it was a withdrawal headache or not. But as I ended the week of 75mg, it became obvious this was a withdrawal headache because it became constant pulsating and affected my vision to some degree. The next two days I took 37.5mg while the headache persisted non-stop. So then I just stopped taking it altogether. Friday night was my last dose 37.5mg. So it's been 3 days with no Seroquel. The headache is still constantly present.

 

I absolutely know that I tapered too quickly, but I just couldn't stand the awful side effects of this medication another day. They have been horrible and I have endured all I can. Emotionally, I am feeling better and I'm confident the Seroquel was causing the daily waves of anxiety. I'd rather deal with this headache than deal with that.

 

But this headache is relentless and debilitating. I'm couch-ridden. It just doesn't go away and the only things that have provided relief are an ice pack on the back of my neck, a high dose of ibuprofen (800mg), and a Vicodin (both prescribed for my neck/tension headaches), but I almost never take either one of them. I took a Vicodin on Saturday to let up the pain enough to sleep. I took one an hour ago and it's giving me heart palpitations so I won't take it again. I'm kinda used to just suffering with pain and these only took the edge off and I don't think I'm doing myself any good taking them.

 

My questions are, is the withdrawal headache dangerous? Has anyone else shared a similar experience? Also, is there any information on how long this headache might last? 

 

I see my pdoc tomorrow, but my old pdoc left in May and this is my first appointment with the new one. He's going to be thrilled.

Lamictal 100mg/bedtime

Seroquel 300mg (tapered over 6 week period; last dose 6/16, too fast)

Klonopin up to 2mg as needed (rarely take: average 3 times a month .5 - 1mg)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Headaches are a common symptom during withdrawal. Discussion topic: Migraines, headaches, neck ache, and head pressure.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Oh, thank you!! That thread was very helpful and reassuring.

Lamictal 100mg/bedtime

Seroquel 300mg (tapered over 6 week period; last dose 6/16, too fast)

Klonopin up to 2mg as needed (rarely take: average 3 times a month .5 - 1mg)

Link to comment
  • Moderator

Hey Pray - please, you are having symptoms, please slow down your taper now.

 

You've reduced your drug load significantly, let your nervous system settle down so that your pattern becomes more clear before continuing?

 

You can come off the drugs faster - but your body can only heal at the rate it can heal.  Pushing your taper could actually extend your healing time.

 

Please see this video - while you are not on any antidepressants - these psych drugs twiddle neurotransmitters much in the same way (just different neurotransmitters):

Healing from Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery (by Toxic Antidepressants)

 

Also please see this thread:  Delayed Onset of Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Changes you make now could take months to rattle through your system.  You have made a lot of rapid changes.  Please rest and hold before you taper any more.

 

How is your headache?

 

 

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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Are there specific supplements, remedies, or suggestions that might help relieve the physical symptoms of withdrawal?

 

I tapered off of Seroquel too quickly, my last dose was 6/16. About two weeks before the last dose, I started developing an on and off headache. A couple of days before my last dose, the headache just didn't go away. I've had it non-stop since then. On a pain scale of 1 to 10, it ranges from a 4 to 8, and it never goes away. 

 

I also am struggling with the insomnia, just accepting I brought this on myself for tapering too quickly.

 

At first I tried ibuprofen, but it did nothing, even made it worse I think. I am tempted to take a klonopin here or there just to get some sleep, but I haven't because I'm afraid that will delay recovery, even though my pdoc told suggested I take it as needed through this time. I've never really developed a dependency issue with it, I think because I rarely ever took it to begin with.

 

Reinstating Seroquel is not an option because...just no. Lol. I'd rather suffer the withdrawal than that.

 

I searched the site and saw Omega 3 and Magnesium might help, but it isn't helping. (I have been taking both for months now.) 

 

Any other suggestions for coping with the relentless headache that I'm missing?

 

(I'm not sure I put this in the right place. This site can be a little overwhelming, which is a good thing because it's an excellent resource. But I tend to get lost. Lol.)

 

 

Edited by scallywag
merged topics

Lamictal 100mg/bedtime

Seroquel 300mg (tapered over 6 week period; last dose 6/16, too fast)

Klonopin up to 2mg as needed (rarely take: average 3 times a month .5 - 1mg)

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

You're in the right place :) to ask this question.  This thread might be a good starting place:  non-drug-techniques-for-dealing-with-physical-pain 

 

GiaK, who started that thread, also has an incredible website which is well worth a visit:  BeyondMeds

 

And speaking of physical pain, I'm now off to the dentist...:blink:.

 

 

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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