Psycho-Babble Medication Thread 978642

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Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?

Posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 4, 2011, at 9:33:43

Lithium was mentioned as an option and am open to listening to all ideas. I am just at the beginning figuring things out. Was on Lamictal (titrating up), alprazolam 0.25mg up to 4x/day, and 10mg Ambien at night. Unfortunately, I developed a rash/fever/flu symptoms/and severe body ache when the dose of Lamictal reached 50mg/day. Very bummed about it because I did definitely feel a vast improvement in mood those few days I was at 50mg (and it could not have been a placebo!)

So now, I feel like we're back at square one. alprazolam is doing well for keeping my spinning anxiety in check, but it is a band-aid at best for right now. I'm mostly on the depressive side but when I swing the other direction I get very irritable and make crazy irrational $ decisions.

Lithium was mentioned, and I am open to it, I have used lithium orotate in the past with good results (helped anxiety, but at such a low dose it didn't touch the low mood/lack of motivation)

I AM afraid of weight gain. I do keep myself in good shape, and I do not want that apperance to change. I had a devestating response to birth control pills that left me 20 lbs heavier in just 30 days. (this was 9 years ago). I would not be able to tolerate this type of a gain, it would throw me into depression.

What are your experiences on Lithium? did you gain weight? If so, are you male or female...I'm wondering if there is any sex-type connection to weight gain with different meds.

If you have other suggestions...please let me know! :o) I will be talking options with pdoc on Monday.

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? BetweenDreams81

Posted by Phillipa on February 4, 2011, at 11:29:04

In reply to Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?, posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 4, 2011, at 9:33:43

I hate to say it but I've heard lithium in theraputic range is weight gaining. A family member of ex husbands was on it and did gain weight was a male. Is trileptal an option? Phillipa

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? Phillipa

Posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 4, 2011, at 20:02:10

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? BetweenDreams81, posted by Phillipa on February 4, 2011, at 11:29:04

that's what I've heard as well. I do know someone on 1200 mg's who has not gained weight on it and he's been on it for 12 years,but just trying to get a consensus. and also to see if it differs with women.

Not sure about trileptal...haven't heard much or done much research on it. Do you know if it does much for depression.

Possible to do an AD w low dose lithium. Do they still monitor kidneys/blood test with low doses of lithium?

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?

Posted by morgan miller on February 4, 2011, at 22:58:22

In reply to Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?, posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 4, 2011, at 9:33:43

If it were me, I would start lithium at 150 mg, extended release first, then consider 300 mg after a few weeks if it helps but you still need more stabilizing. Then, if you feel you are still dependent on the benzos, I would consider starting 2.5 mg of Lexapro with a plan to stop using benzos as you feel Lexapro kicking in. The only way to get scored tablets of Lexapro may be over the internet, so if this dose is where you want to stay at, it would be more convenient and less expensive to order Lexapro at an online pharmacy. If you feel the need to try 5 mg after a month of 2.5 mg, that would be much easier but you may still feel the need to order your medication online. Eventually, you would hopefully be doing well on 150 to 300 mg Lithium and 2.5 to 5 mg Lexapro. I may actually end up on something like this over the next 3 or 4 months after I tweak some things. I have found Lexapro to be much less activating than other SSRIs, at least at the very low doses I started out at. I think you mentioned your mother being on an SSRI and you not thinking it was helping much. Well, you may be very different than her as far as brain chemistry and your reactions to medications are just as likely to be different as they are similar, despite what they try to tell you, at least this has been my experience.

Sorry to hear the Lamictal trial didn't work out. Hope you figure something out soon. If you mention lexapro to your doctor and he has any reservations about using it tell him you've heard it is not as likely to cause mania as other SSRIs, especially if used at very low doses. This is what I've read at least, maybe it's not true.

Morgan

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?

Posted by morgan miller on February 4, 2011, at 23:09:31

In reply to Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?, posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 4, 2011, at 9:33:43

Oh yeah, I didn't really gain any weight from lithium, but I don't gain weight from medications that easily, with the exception being Zyprexa. I think if your diet is strong and you keep exercising you should be fine.

I would be more concerned about lithium throwing off your thyroid. I believe though that at a lower dose lithium may not be nearly as likely to impact thyroid function. This might be something to talk to your doctor about. Many people are on very high doses of lithium for years with no kidney or thyroid issues. I even read about one guy on 1200 mg that runs marathons regularly. Since dehydration can cause lithium toxicity and 1200 mg is already close to a toxic dose, that's pretty amazing.

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? morgan miller

Posted by Phillipa on February 4, 2011, at 23:30:19

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?, posted by morgan miller on February 4, 2011, at 23:09:31

Morgan my sample packages of l0mg lexapro are scored so with a pill cutter cut in half then quarter it. Am finding that 2.5 is better than 5 with luvox energy wise. Phillipa

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? Phillipa

Posted by morgan miller on February 5, 2011, at 0:14:12

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? morgan miller, posted by Phillipa on February 4, 2011, at 23:30:19

So you are taking Lexapro now, and it's helping, that's great. I would still rather get it on the cheap at MagicPharma.com with easy to split scored 5 mg tablets. 2.5 is more energizing than 5 huh, cool.

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? morgan miller

Posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 5, 2011, at 14:28:15

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?, posted by morgan miller on February 4, 2011, at 23:09:31

That's good to know. I do keep to a fairly healthy diet (my only major battle is dairy! I cannot live without dairy!)

As far as Lexapro...I am just so leary of using it cause that is what my mom takes, and (in my opinion) it doesn't do much for her...but then again, she isn't on any additional stabilizers either so it could have a vastly different effect with the addition of lithium. I tend more toward depression, and wouldn't mind an activating AD, because my biggest battles are anxiety, lack of motivation, and a huge case of the 'blahs' that leave me not wanting to do ANYthing (ie: staying ing my room 24/7). But like I said when I swing...I make CRAZY irrational money decisions and become extrememly irritable and can be downright nasty/mean at times. Only a few times can I remember feeling "euphoric" and they were recent when I was experimenting before I had an appointment set up for evalutaion with pdoc (took low dose, 2.5mg Adderall/Benadryl for sleep...this does make me manic).

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? morgan miller

Posted by Phillipa on February 5, 2011, at 20:04:58

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? Phillipa, posted by morgan miller on February 5, 2011, at 0:14:12

Morgan kind of a catch 22 as anxious so need calming ad, but also get tired easily. Could be my age. Best results ever had was 250mg of luvox. But now bipolar. Phillipa

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?

Posted by morgan miller on February 5, 2011, at 23:08:56

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? morgan miller, posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 5, 2011, at 14:28:15

You could consider Zoloft along with a moderate dose of a low to moderate dose of a mood stabilizer-lithium or depakote,whichever works best. I really don't think your mother's reaction to lexapro is a good judge of what yours will be. One thing to consider is that you are much younger than your mother which could play a role in having a more positive response. Was your mother ever on any other medications before lexapro? This could also affect the outcome of her treatment.

>That's good to know. I do keep to a fairly healthy diet (my only major battle is dairy! I cannot live without dairy!)

What's wrong with dairy??? Unless your eating high sugar/white grain cereal with milk or lots of ice cream, I see no problems with dairy. You just don't want to eat TOO much dairy. Some strict paleo dieters eliminate dairy from their diets, but I don't think you are going for that approach. I eat plain whole milk yogurt everyday and have cereal with whole mild yogurt a few times a week. I also eat goat cheese a few times a week when I make my dandelion salad. Dairy is very good for you when you eat moderate to high fat dairy that is minimally pasteurized and unhomogenized-which might allow for some enzymes lost in most ultra pasteurized dairy and higher nutrient value. Moderate to high fat dairy provides good fats and allows for better absorption of nutrients.

Fat in your diet is not the enemy as long as it's from a good source(animal, eggs, nuts, dairy) and in moderation(meaning you shouldn't be trying to cut down on it, just don't eat too much. If you eat a good balanced diet and don't overeat, fats should not be a problem at all). Sugars and grains are the real bad guys as they spike insulin, make you gain weight, and give you inconsistent energy levels. Your mind and body work more efficiently on fats than on sugars and grains.

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? morgan miller

Posted by Phillipa on February 6, 2011, at 18:48:34

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?, posted by morgan miller on February 5, 2011, at 23:08:56

Real butter also. And fat has twice the calories of protein and carbs but much more filling. Phillipa

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?

Posted by Hombre on February 11, 2011, at 1:30:19

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?, posted by morgan miller on February 5, 2011, at 23:08:56

Herbs that "warm the kidneys" help check meds that tend to slow down metabolism and lead to weight gain. I take two meds that are notorious for weight gain, but I'm in the best shape of my life.

Lithium made me put on a little weight and I got some weird skin issues. Ramping up the dosage increased my depression and gave me mild tremors. This was before I started taking herbs regularly.

If anxiety, irritability, insomnia and mania are chronic symptoms, you might find your energy levels increasing on a proper mood stabilizer. You won't be wasting so much energy being in a perpetual "emergency" state. Once you're sleeping and a little more chilled out, you can work on ramping up activity to keep your metabolism up.

Without the base of calmness and good sleep, you won't have the energy to pull yourself out of the depression and to get stuff done. It seems harder to get keyed up and then try to modulate down. If regular stuff stops stressing you out so much, you'll be able to do things to pep you up. A cup of coffee or tea or a brisk walk will shake off drowsiness and brain fog. Meds that sedate get a bad rap, but they can be a life saver and you do get used to them over time.

My $.02.

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? Hombre

Posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 11, 2011, at 7:18:46

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?, posted by Hombre on February 11, 2011, at 1:30:19

> Herbs that "warm the kidneys" help check meds that tend to slow down metabolism and lead to weight gain. I take two meds that are notorious for weight gain, but I'm in the best shape of my life.
>

I have Planetary Schisandra adrenal Complex...would that do the trick?

> Lithium made me put on a little weight and I got some weird skin issues. Ramping up the dosage increased my depression and gave me mild tremors. This was before I started taking herbs regularly.
>

We're starting low...150mg first week in PM, then 150mg AM and PM to see if there is any improvement/change.

Before going up in dosage did you notice a difference in depression?

> If anxiety, irritability, insomnia and mania are chronic symptoms, you might find your energy levels increasing on a proper mood stabilizer. You won't be wasting so much energy being in a perpetual "emergency" state. Once you're sleeping and a little more chilled out, you can work on ramping up activity to keep your metabolism up.
>

THIS...describes me to a 'T'...minus chronic mania, if anything it would be chronic depression with swings into mania sprinkled here and there. Since the orotate helped with anxiety we are hoping that this will have even more benefit (Hopefully without the icky side-effects)

> Without the base of calmness and good sleep, you won't have the energy to pull yourself out of the depression and to get stuff done. It seems harder to get keyed up and then try to modulate down. If regular stuff stops stressing you out so much, you'll be able to do things to pep you up. A cup of coffee or tea or a brisk walk will shake off drowsiness and brain fog. Meds that sedate get a bad rap, but they can be a life saver and you do get used to them over time.
>

Yes, I definitely notice a difference already even though this program is just a bandaid (ambien/alprazolam...just put in the RX for the lithium). I AM getting more sleep, and I am able to calm the storm of an overly stressed cyclical thought pattern. Hopefuly the lithium will even things out a bit.

> My $.02.

Always look forward to seeing your $0.02 :o) Thank you Hombre!

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?

Posted by Hombre on February 13, 2011, at 3:48:07

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? Hombre, posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 11, 2011, at 7:18:46

I'd go with this Planetary Formula, which is similar to the formula I take, with some added goodies:

Rehmannia Vitalizer
http://www.planetaryherbals.com/products/GP1544/

I suspect that a month or two on this will give you a whole new perspective on things. In fact, when I have extra cash I'll give this one a shot. I respect Michael Tierra a lot as an herbalist, and his formulas are very nicely designed.

Good luck with the lithium. We won't know if it will work until you've been on it for a while, so I'm hopeful for you.

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?

Posted by Elanor Roosevelt on February 13, 2011, at 21:07:52

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?, posted by Hombre on February 11, 2011, at 1:30:19

> Herbs that "warm the kidneys" help check meds that tend to slow down metabolism and lead to weight gain.
What are the herbs you use to "warm the kidneys"

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? Hombre

Posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 13, 2011, at 23:45:33

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options?, posted by Hombre on February 13, 2011, at 3:48:07

Thanks Hombre, that looks very interesting. I was not able to find the Golden Cabinet Pills when I was in KY (surprise, surprise) So, it is good to know that the Planetary formulation is based on it. I'll see if the local Whole Foods has this formulation. Have been wanting to try the Golden Cabinet pills...originally got the Schisandra Adrenal Complex because I had a gut feeling my kidneys/liver needed cleansing. Still have a little left. Do you feel there would be much benefit to that formulation?

http://www.planetaryherbals.com/products/GP1547/

Starting the Lithium tomorrow. I'm hoping we're on the right track. Though, 300mg seems like a pretty low dose...the lower the dose the better, as far as I am concerned...but does 300mg really do anything? Supposed to give it 3 wks to feel anything...that seems like forever to me right now.

Missing/mourning the improvment I felt on Lamictal...sounds so silly I'm sure especially since it was only 3 days at the 50 mg when my body rejected it. It's frustrating to feel like you have found the right mix and then it goes haywire...I can't describe how clear I felt, I'd never felt like that before and I want it back!

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? BetweenDreams81

Posted by Hombre on February 14, 2011, at 4:35:02

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? Hombre, posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 13, 2011, at 23:45:33

I think the adrenal complex is more for burned out people that need to replenish Yin, so it is more neutral to cooling. Rehmannia Endurance would be similar in that regards, but Rehmannia *Vitalizer* will add more spark while also replenishing Yin. Without adequate kidney Yang, you'll have no drive, no ability to follow through on things, less confidence, etc. You have to feel the difference to believe it.

Oh, I also got the rash on Lamictal too, although I'm not sure if it was helping me. But not too long after that I stumbled upon a working combination of meds, including an adequate mood stabilizer, so keep on working at it until you find what works. Only after you get properly treated will you realize how much of your potential is not being expressed because of the illness.

I've become interested in a lot of things I'd long since given up on because I just couldn't muster the drive to continue working at them due to depression. Chinese medicine happens to be one of those things, as a matter of fact. I'm now poised to start learning directly in a clinic on a volunteer basis in a few weeks. I'd long given up on the dream of learning Chinese medicine, but as fate would have it, I was wrong.

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? Hombre

Posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 14, 2011, at 8:50:01

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? BetweenDreams81, posted by Hombre on February 14, 2011, at 4:35:02

Thanks Hombre...that certainly gives me hope. I'll pick up the Rehmannia Vitalizer today (if they have it, cross fingers)

What combo worked for you? It really does seem like our symptoms and reactions to things are so very similar. And finding the right combo sooner rather than later would be a welcome occurance!

Sooo, good to hear that you are following your passion! I'm very happy for you! Can't wait to hear more and more about the TCM ways in the coming weeks/months/years :o)

Oh! and Happy Valentine's Day to everyone

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? Hombre

Posted by BetweenDreams81 on February 20, 2011, at 1:36:43

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? BetweenDreams81, posted by Hombre on February 14, 2011, at 4:35:02

PS: Just started taking the Rehmannia Vitalizer and Country Life Omega 3 Mood

Hard to know what's working. I changed a few things around recently.

Instead of 0.25mg alprazolam 4x/day, I start off the day immediately after waking up with 0.5 mg...seems to get me going better in the morning and last longer, which is odd.

Since starting the lithium...as in since day one...I have been waking up around 7 AM no alarm clocks no matter what time I get to bed.

Still have trouble making myself remember to take the Ambien at a certain time and actually get to bed (ie: case in point, it is 2:30 AM)

But also, since taking these new 2, I have felt much more organized and able to put things in order. Not sure what's doing that, never really had that sense before...maybe they are all just harmonizing together even if they are new to my body.

How soon does one notice the effects of something like Rehmannia vitalizer? I have never expected to have any effects right away, in fact, I was very surprised to notice these things...still am holding out some skepticism (though, have hope too!)

How are you?!? How is the internship going? any new tips?

Hope all is well with you! ~Best~

-Kate

 

Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? Hombre

Posted by sigismund on February 23, 2011, at 13:31:46

In reply to Re: Lithium...did you gain weight? or, other options? BetweenDreams81, posted by Hombre on February 14, 2011, at 4:35:02

>I'm now poised to start learning directly in a clinic on a volunteer basis in a few weeks.

That is excellent.


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