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cheers44: Stopping Lamictal and Feeling Like Hell


cheers44

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About 10 months ago I was put on Lamictal. Weaned slowly up to 100mg. Realized it wasn't helping AND causing me to lose no weight no matter how hard I tried. My Dr....ugh...that is a long story. He said to stay on it even tho I didn't want to. So I have been weaning myself off. 2 weeks at 75, 2 weeks at 50, and now down to 25.

 

Last year I weaned off of Cymbalta for similar reasons (only much worse). I felt pretty ok until about 1-2 weeks AFTER being off of it completely. And then I was in hell. Mentally and physically. I wanted to die and I am not a suicidal type.

 

I dont know how I will live through that again. If it feels like this still having some in my system, how bad is it going to get when I am off altogether? I am scared to death.

 

I calmly and nicely explained to my DH before doing this what could happen and to please have patience and be supportive. But he does NOT get it at all. We have been fighting for days. Even over our 8th anniversary. I cant take how he can be so mean when I am clearly in so much pain. He only cares about how this is affecting HIM!! Anyway, I know this isnt the time for decisions, but I feel as tho I want to leave him. I am so mad that he cant just be there for me. I have NO support system. None. No friends, no family. And my shrink just had open heart surgery and will be gone a while.

 

I really need to either listen to the experiences of others or even hopefully get some tips on how to manage my life while I am going through this. I have a 6 year old here with me all day. I am a freelance writer but have deadlines each week. Not a lot of work - but stuff which takes focus.

 

I am miserable. Please help if you can. Thank you for listening. Willing to provide any further info. Just didnt want to make you read a novel.

 

Heather, 37, WI

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Hi I am Konnie the wife of a sufferer.

 

We went through 5 years of benzo hell. A couple of return to symptoms and now the AD hell. I am sick of drugs ruining our lives. If mhy husband had never seen a doctor in his life he would be well and we would be traveling the world. He has never been to a doctor that helped him with anything and the psyche guys were total idiots. No such thing as benzo withdrawal etc.

 

So yes the stress takes a toll on relationships and I have seen many dissolve when Rik was supporting benzo people. I know how hard it is on you and my prayers will be with you. Understand when a person is well they cant comprehend what this feels like.

 

Riks family called him everything from a drug addict to a malingerer. He is so far from any of that - he is the biggest health person you could know. His aunt who is a nurse told him he just wanted the drugs as to why he was so sick. So yes family, doctors and friends can be cruel when we need them most.

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Im going though benzo withdrawl now 2 years of its pure he'll, I hope your husband feels better soon : )

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  • Administrator

Back to cheers44, who is not experiencing benzo withdrawal.

 

Welcome, cheers. How long did it take you to recover from Cymbalta withdrawal? Or was that why you were put on Lamictal?

 

Like other psychiatric drugs, Lamictal requires a slow taper for some people, to minimize withdrawal symptoms. You may have tapered too quickly up to this point.

 

How long has it been since you were taking 50mg?

 

What are your symptoms now?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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With CYM - I was okay throughout months of tappering down...like constant PMS. Then I was off and felt ok for about a week. Then BAM - it was pure hell for about 2 weeks. I was also put on Wellbutrin shortly before going off CYM. Once on only the WB, it just wasn't working much anymore so he added LAM months later.

 

Tappering off the LAM was starting at 100. Then 2-3 weeks at 75. 2-3 weeks at 50. Now, I am on day 5 at 25.

 

I am unbelievably tired. Constant headaches. Crying spells. Rage, anger. Irritability. WAYYYY too much pleghm (could that possibly be related??). Very depressed, reactive and anxious. I am still on (and will likely always be on) Klonopin daily. It eliminated panic attacks which were dibilitating. It causes no side effects and have never had to increase dose (.5mg twice a day...often take only .5 a day) in over 6 years. So I do think that is helping the anxiety part of it. Also, noticing more PVCs (ectopic heart beats...I have a benign heart thing for which I take a beta blocker). I think that pretty much covers it. I just feel like absolute crap!!

 

Thanks for the replies!!!

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  • Administrator

Okay, sounds like what happened is your doctor tried to treat your Cymbalta withdrawal with Wellbutrin and then Lamictal.

 

(I was also treated with Wellbutrin when I got Paxil withdrawal. Clueless.)

 

In my opinion -- and I'm not a medical expert -- you have Cymbalta withdrawal complicated by possible side effects from Wellbutrin and Lamictal withdrawal.

 

Are you still on Wellbutrin? If so, I would stop tapering off Lamictal for now and taper off Wellbutrin.

 

Wellbutrin is a noradrenergic, it is stimulating, exactly what people with antidepressant withdrawal symptoms do NOT need. On its own, it can cause headaches and palpitations. People who have anxiety or panic should not take it, it can exacerbate those symptoms.

 

It sounds like you like your psychiatrist. IMHO, he has led you wrong here.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I will agree that he has lead me wrong a bunch of times. I can get into it more later. One thing is he tols me as I was going thru the CYM w/d that it was just my depression. WRONG-O. Anyway...

 

However, last summer was great. I got off the CYM. Went through those 2 or so weeks of HELL and stayed on the WB. All summer I was great!!! Lost 32 pounds that I couldnt on the CYM (another thing my Doc said was impossible). Had no bad experiences that summer at all...while only on WB and Klonopin. In the fall, I had an appt and mentioned that my energy from the WB kinda pooped out and I was starting to feel a little less outgoing. Wanted to stay home more. But wasnt really depressed. He thought a little LAM would boost the effects of the WB. So I blindly followed.

 

So, I do believe this is LAM w/d and not CYM. And I am feeling a LITTLE (wee bit) better today. So I think I will try to stay with the 25 for a couple weeks and TRY to go to 12.5 for a couple more. However - I DO plan on getting off the WB as soon as the LAM is done. I will say that I fear the weight coming back - not sure how much WB helped in that arena also with energy. But I DO know that it causes some irritablity. That is another reason I went on the LAM.

 

This is such a mess. I KNEW I shouldnt go on these meds in the first place!!

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  • Administrator

It's up to you.

 

If I were you, I would get off the Wellbutrin first because it may be exacerbating underlying anxiety, etc. Why do you think you need it, anyway?

 

In general, it's better for our bodies to take as few drugs as possible. They are all modifying our natural functions in ways that, ultimately, may not contribute to health. They also interact with each other and generate side effects.

 

As for the Lamictal, I would taper it much more slowly. You're make 25% drops, and suffering what sound like bad withdrawal symptoms. If you make smaller decreases, you may be tapering longer but suffering less -- which is what it's about, isn't it?

 

Lamictal comes in 5mg tablets, and you can cut them up in halves to make 2.5mg doses.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 1 month later...

Am in a similar position... the list of my meds is in my signature (I think)... I'm on the last steps, but am really struggling with lamictal. I had very little sleep last night having dropped from 50mg to 25mg... night sweats and then today hot and cold, feverish... feeling better at the moment and hoping that I will get some sleep tonight. I was unable to go into work today but HAVE to be there tomorrow. Will it be better tonight? Was hoping to stay at 25mg for say a week, and then drop again. Is this realistic? Thoughts and advice welcome.. Thanks x

------------

Been on so many different meds over past 20 years. Now feel am at place where I can come off this concoction that have been taking for past 7 years:

Working to be free of: Venlafaxine (375mg); Trazodone (300mg); Temazepam (20mg); Lamictal (50mg)....

TAPERING METHOD

July 4th - 11th:

Monday, halved evening dosage of venlafaxine to 75mg, kept morning dosage same at 225mg

Wednesday, halved evening Trazadone to 150mg

Friday, halved evening Temazepam to 10mg

No changes made to Lamictal

July 11th - 18th:

Monday, stopped Venlafaxine in the evening, kept morning dosage same at 225mg

Wednesday, stopped taking Trazadone

Friday, stopped taking Temazepam

No changes made to Lamictal

July 18th - 25th:

Monday, halved Lamictal dosage in evening to 25mg (this is when hell broke out with symptoms)...

Maintained 50% reduced dosage that week, but:

0300hrs Friday, body woke me up and was violently sick, bringing up Lamictal pill and bile, taken six hours earlier.

That was the last time I took a tablet....

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  • Administrator

Hello, baibel. Welcome to the site. Good job with the signature.

 

That is a complicated question. It sounds like that was too big a drop for you. Perhaps you can taper slower with the Lamictal? Maybe cut the tablet into quarters?

 

Please start an Intro topic for yourself and more people will respond to your particular situation.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Heather,

 

I'm just beginning to taper off of a 200mg daily dose of Lamictal. I actually ended up here today because I'm on day 5 since reducing to 50mg, and I'm experiencing extreme fatigue. I thought it was just me being lazy, but now I'm finding out how common these effects are. My point being, you're not alone.

 

The other thing I wanted to say is that I've had experience with Welbutrin, as well. My doctor prescribed it to try and counteract the brain fog I've been having for what seems like forever. I've tried it twice, and found that I became almost paranoid with anxiety. I've had anxiety issues, but this was a lot darker and a LOT angrier than what I had experienced. Perhaps some of what you are thinking is withdrawal is actually the effect of the Welbutrin?

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Radigan. Good to hear from you.

 

If you wish to taper at a slower rate, lamotrigine is available in a wide range of dosages. See Tips for tapering off Lamictal (lamotrigine)

 

Perhaps you can start your own Intro topic and give us more detail about your situation?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Just want to say that I think Alto is right on with her suggestions regarding tapering Wellbutrin and Lamictal. Particularly since you're experiencing palpitations. Lamictal is nasty stuff too, of course, but I think if it were me, I would taper the WB first.

 

Lamictal is tricky. I would say that anyone who is experiencing any kind of withdrawal symptoms with Lamictal needs to stop tapering and hold for a while, at least six weeks, maybe longer. The withdrawal doesn't seem to be linear--there's a lag time, and cuts can kick you in the derriere a long time after you make them. If you're cutting fast that can have a cumulative effect.

 

I recommend taking intermittent holds in ANY taper situation, to make sure your body has time to catch up with the cuts you've made.

 

Unfortunately there's not much of a track record on Lamictal w/d so I can't say if reinstatement to a slightly higher dose, followed by a slower taper, is a good idea. Personally if it were me I'd give it a try, if I had been tapering fast and I were experiencing w/d.

 

Most people new to psych drug withdrawal far, far underestimate the importance of gradual reduction. These drugs cause changes in our brains and bodies that cannot be quickly reversed. You need to taper slowly enough to allow your body/nerves to remodel themselves.

 

And by "gradual reduction" I mean cuts of 10% at a time MAX.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Another thing--many people (probably most people) find that as you get lower in dosage in any psych med taper, the taper becomes more challenging and you need to slow down. Often people end up cutting their taper rate in half, or thereabouts, once they're down to about the last 25% of their original dose. (This varies widely depending on a myriad of circumstances, but these numbers may give you some kind of ballpark idea.)

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Am in a similar position... the list of my meds is in my signature (I think)... I'm on the last steps, but am really struggling with lamictal. I had very little sleep last night having dropped from 50mg to 25mg... night sweats and then today hot and cold, feverish... feeling better at the moment and hoping that I will get some sleep tonight. I was unable to go into work today but HAVE to be there tomorrow. Will it be better tonight? Was hoping to stay at 25mg for say a week, and then drop again. Is this realistic? Thoughts and advice welcome.. Thanks x

 

Baibel, in my opinion your objective of getting off your meds is achievable and admirable, but you're going about a hundred times too fast. (not exaggerating)

 

The withdrawal that you're experiencing is probably not due to just the Lamictal at all, but to the cumulative w/d that you are probably only BEGINNING to experience from the drastic and rapid cuts described in your sig line. The cold turkey (which is effectively what you're doing, with such a rapid taper) on the temazepam alone would send most people into nasty withdrawal for many months.

 

You are basically cold turkeying multiple powerful psych drugs at once. I have never, ever seen a situation like this that ended in anything but tragedy, I am sorry to say.

 

Please consider slowing down (actually, halting and holding, for now, and probably reinstating as well) your multi-drug taper and doing a lot of reading and discussing and self-educating before continuing.

 

I'm sorry to come on so strong, but I've been around and seen a lot, and I just can't stand by and watch someone do this to themselves without saying what I think. Please don't become another casualty. Since you've gone so fast, if you act soon it's not too late to correct things (hopefully) and get onto a safe track. (Reinstatements are more problematic the more time that passes between the cut and the attempt to reinstate.)

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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