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Lithium and fibro katia

Posted by Barbara Cat on July 28, 2003, at 0:33:09

In reply to Re: Dancing queen and proud of it! Barbara Cat, posted by katia on July 27, 2003, at 16:05:21

To answer your questions, I actually started lithium to augment Remeron. Rem started out great and then pooped as all my SSRIs have done over the years. Lithium supercharged it right from the start for 3 months, then the usual fizzle. Through this board, I realized my symptoms were bipolar and not major depression. I stopped Remeron and was on lithium only (along with thyroid and other meds not directly related to mood). All was fine for about 2 months and then I began to have depression. I didn't want to increase lithium from 600mg because it had done well and I was afraid of it clobbering my thyroid further than it already was. But I was still depressed, although not like my prior awful pre-lithium mixed-states depressions. So I went on lamictal very slowly getting up to 75mg. Any more than that caused anxiety so I stopped increasing it.

Lamictal 75mg and lithium 600mg worked pretty well (I was still mildly depressed but didn't realize it at the time). Then my Mom died from getting hit by a car in December and it was too much for me. I was also dealing with fibro as well (more info below). It was a rough time and I went on nortriptyline to bring me out of an severe depression. It indeed brought me back from the brink, but caused annoying side effects like cotton mouth, weight gain, constipation. So I decided to do a trial and tapered off nortrip. I was still taking 600mg lithium and 75 lamictal all this time. I bumped up lamictal mainly to offset any withdrawal from nortriptyline but was pleasantly surprised at how my mood was positively affected. I'd heard how lamictal really kicks in around 200mg as an antidepressant but always was hesitant to try it because of former anxiety, which I didn't experience this time around. I'm now at 150mg and feeling pretty darn good. One thing, however, that I've just found out tonight is that increasing sometimes brings on a case of the itchies. I've been scratching like I have fleas and feel like I'm going to go bonkers. I'm going to start a new thread on this. There were some threads a year ago, but it might be time to resurrect it. I hear it goes away, which I sure hope, cause this is the first combo that's really worked.

OK, fibromyalgia. The best I can describe it is how it feels to have a very bad flu where the muscles ache all over (not the joints), you feel totally wiped out but have insomnia, irritable bowel alternating between explosions and constipation, confusion and foggy thinking, incoordination, morning stiffness, anxiety and depression (it affects brain centers). These are uniform across the board with fibro folks. Mainly, most of the physical symptoms are there all the time in a mild to moderate form, but during the dreaded 'flares' which can last 2-3 weeks in bed, these symptoms are severe. Moderate exercise, avoidance of stress (hah!) and getting sleep are the keys to prevention, but sometimes a flare hits anyway and it can feel pretty hopeless. Add bipolar to this and yikes! However, the last flare not too long ago was the first where I wasn't despondent and this is since I've been on the higher dose of lamictal. So, that's why I hope I can continue with a med combo that's helped alot with my mood, even though it hasn't really made much impact on my fibro physical symptoms.

Sure hope you don't have fibro, but if you think you do, please converse with me. I'm more than happy to help if I can - been sleuthing this out for 3 years. Besides, it's a real bear to get diagnosed by your standard primary care doc. Good research has been done that's shedding some light, but it's still not taken seriously by too many doctors who tend to avoid what they don't understand. - Barbara




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