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askesis

Akesis: Began Lamictal withdrawal today, 10/17/2014

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askesis

I joined this site last week, and I'm happy to report that I have begun my withdrawal today following the 10% guideline as an organizing principle. My body and my brain state will dictate my actual pace!

 

Please see my signature for my withdrawal particulars.

 

The only other medication I take is Vyvanse 40 mg daily. I must say, Vyvanse has had a major positive impact on my life. Struggling with a prefrontal cortex disorder (so inadequately discribed as ADHD by the DSM series over the years) that I had no idea I had for 55 years provides me with a very thorough "before" context for the before and after comparison. In my wildest dreams before trying Vyvanse, I could not have imagined the degree of cognitive clarity I enjoy now. I am also a lot more at ease, now that I have confidence that my cognitive abilities are reliable, day after day.

 

I have an extensive history of being on and off a variety of psychoactive medications. I do not remember particulars such as dosages of medications I took years ago.

 

1992 Prozac as monotherapy, discontinued suddenly and replaced with Lithium by my psychiatrist. Lithium discontinued in late 1993.

 

1995-2002 As monotherapy: Paxil, succeeded by Zoloft, succeeded by Wellbutrin. Tapered off of Wellbutrin by my prescriber, but quickly.

 

2003-200 Wellbutrin and Effexor taken concurrently. Medically "managed" taper of 4 weeks.

 

2006-Jun 2012 Lexapro 30 mg daily. Wellbutrin 150 mg daily added Feb 2012, discontinued Jun 2012.

 

Feb 2012-Jun 2012 Lithium 300 mg, twice daily.

 

All of my medication withdrawals were medically supervised, but nevertheless very rapid in retrospect using the wealth of personal experience I have read on this site.

 

So there you go, just the facts.

 

I will check in regularly with Lamictal withdrawal updates, further research sorties, and especially to tap the experience of others if I hit rough patches during my withdrawal

 

 

 

 

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askesis

I forgot to include nonpharmacological supports that I take in my intro post. Sorry about that, and here they are:

 

Fish Oil: EPA 1450 mg/ DHA 1060mg per teaspoon, 1 tsp daily

 

An organic, whole food multivitamin for men; includes turmeric, ginger and herbal blends for cardio support and immune support,

 

Vitamin D 5000 IU daily

 

Vitamin B complex daily

 

Magnesium glycinate chelate 300 mg daily

 

A vitamin/herb blend for prostate support.

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mammaP

Hi Akesis, welcome to SA, I am glad that you found us and have done some research before starting your taper.

There are very few doctors who actually know anything about tapering and as you have discovered, give out 

more drugs when withdrawal sets in, telling us that it is a return of the depression. 

 

You seem very capable and ready to taper, if I can make a suggestion, I would wait longer than the 3 weeks

before your next cut, sometimes withdrawal symptoms take that long to show and cutting again before the

symptoms have settled makes things worse later in the taper.  Wait 4 weeks and if symptoms appear don't cut

until they have settled. You will soon get to know how your body copes and may be able to go 3 weeks once you

have found your pattern of symptoms. Hopefully there wont be any and you will taper with no problems.

 

I'm sure you will have read the topic for tapering lamictal but in case you missed it here is the link. It is available

in dispersible tablets that can be dissolved in water so would be easier to get the lower doses. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1122-tips-for-tapering-off-lamictal-lamotrigine/

 

Many people find B vitamins too stimulating in withdrawal, if they are helping then that is great but if you start to 

feel withdrawal then cutting the b vits might help there. 

 

Keep us posted, and thank you for the signature, it is very helpful. 

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Rhiannon

Sounds like you're prepared and doing this sensibly. Please do keep us posted, you have our support. And congratulations! Good luck!

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askesis

MammaP and Rhi, thank you both for your kind and helpful comments.

 

MammaP: thank you for mentioning the Vitamin B-related overstimulation that others have reported. I have decided to stop the Vitamin B supplementation to remove it as a possible confounding factor. Also, I'm going to follow your advice and extend this first cut from 3 weeks to at least 4 weeks.

 

During my research and planning (which included a thorough reading of http://survivingantidepressants.org...tal-lamotrigine/ ), I realized that a gradual withdrawal following the 10% or less per cut rule of thumb would take the better part of the next year, so I'm not in any rush.

 

I'll be in touch!

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askesis

I am in week 1 of my first cut. I am experiencing these withdrawal symptoms:

 

Increased fatigue (this seems like a paradoxical response, since so many others have reported agitation, sleeplessness as they withdrew from Lamictal---of course, it's very early in the process).

 

Short term memory and especially vocabulary/phrase recall are noticeably worse now then they were taking the full dose, and they were deficient then. There was a time, up until five or so years ago, that my short term memory and vocabulary/phrase recall were extraordinary. My fingers are crossed that when my brain ultimately moves into homeostasis after my withdrawal from Lamictal is over, I will have these skills once again. I fear the possibility that bombarding my brain with so many different medications over the years may have permenantly changed the architecture of my brain and that these skills may not return as I remember them. Time will tell, and I will resist the temptation to dwell on the long term and continue to remind myself that my life is today, not in some conceptualization of the future.

 

A very peculiar phenomenon I had forgotten about that I experienced during my uptitration when I began taking Lamictal. When I move my eyes from a level, neutral gaze toward my nose, I see a flash of light in the outside peripheral vision of the eye now looking inward. For example, if I look all the way to the left, my right eye moves towards my nose. I will see the flash to the right, on the very outside of my right eye's peripheral vision. The same thing happens with the left eye when I look all the way to the right. The flash happens almost all the time on the right side, less frequently on the left side.

         

The flash occurs both when I deliberately move my eyes as described and when they move like this in the course of going about my day. The flash is very brief. It's in the shape of a long, skinny "floater". There is no pain, no change in clarity of vision.

 

I mention this benign flash phenomenon only to see if others have experienced this during their withdrawals from any medication.

 

That's my update.

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Altostrata

Hello, Akesis.

 

That sounds like a variation of brain zaps, a common withdrawal symptom.

 

Hopefully your nervous system will adjust to 10% decreases in a few days or so, then get stabilized for several weeks before your next reduction.

 

I am sure you will get your cognitive abilities back when you are off Lamictal.

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askesis

Withdrawal update. I cut my dose again on 11/10/2014, reducing from 187.5 mg to 175 mg. The withdrawal has been smooth so far. Other than the brain zap variant I reported in the first week of my first cut, I have not experienced any noticeable side effects at 175 mg.

 

I plan to make another cut from 175 mg to 162.5 mg on 12/11/2014.

 

My Primary Care Provider has been so very supportive of my desire to get off of this medication. She was not the original prescriber, and has been prescribing for me at my request. She is good people.

 

I'll be back with updates as they occur.

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mammaP

Glad your taper is going well Akesis, and really pleased that your PCP is supporting you so well.

Thank you for updating us.  :)

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askesis

Withdrawal update: I went 4 weeks at 175 mg with no withdrawal symptoms, so I began the next cut to 162.5 mg today. Updates to follow.

 

I am grateful for the support I have received from the kind souls on this site who are following my updates.

 

A

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Rhiannon

So great to hear how well you're doing! Gave me a big smile. Thanks for keeping us updated. We don't often get to watch someone taper with the 10% protocol right from the beginning.

 

You mentioned fatigue after your first cut. I just wanted to let you know that's a pretty common side effect of Lamictal withdrawal. I don't understand it either, but it's happened to me and seems to happen to other people too.

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askesis

Thank you Rhi. The fatigue has diminished quite a bit; maybe it's gone and I'm just experiencing pre-Solstice hibernation instinct! In any event, I'm feeling well and very confident that I'm on the right track slowly withdrawing from lamictal.

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Narcissus

Good luck askesis, sounds like you're doing well so far.

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askesis

Thank you Narcissus. 

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askesis

Withdrawal update: I completed an uneventful month at 162.5 mg and began my cut to 150 mg on 1/11/15. I have not experienced any other withdrawal symptoms other then what I reported after my very first cut from 200 mg. HUGE improvement in cyclical depression! Fatigue is now occasional, and may be a mid-winter artifact unrelated to my withdrawal. Short term memory has improved a bit. Vocabulary recall and libido still largely unchanged from pre-withdrawal baseline. That's all, folks!

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Altostrata

That's good news, Akesis. Please let us know how you're doing with your taper.

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askesis

Thank you for noticing Altostrata! I will continue updates for each cut, and for any speed bumps in the road to withdrawal that may lie ahead.

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