View Full Version : My Mother and Lamotrigine


Powderbucket
06-24-15, 02:23 AM
Hi people,

My mother, who is now 61-years old, went to a psychiatrist yesterday (same one as me) and she was prescribed lamotrigine. My mother has always had massive mood swings ever since she was in a bad car accident that resulted in her only waking from a coma after 3 weeks. She was never mentally assessed after her accident as it was a long time ago and they didn't care too much for that at the time.

Anyway.

She has decided not to take the medicine because she is afraid of all the side-effects. The psychiatrist is worried about her because she definitely has a mood problem but does not seem to realise it. I can quite confidently say that my mother's mood swings do make her very stressed and very unhappy, but, for her, it's become "the way things are" - so more of a way of life now than a problem.

Does my mother really have that much to be afraid of with these pills? She is hypertensive (the doc knows this) and also has osteoporosis (bone degradation).

psychopathetic
06-24-15, 04:36 AM
I don't know a whole lot about the specifics on this med...all I know is when I was going through some really rough times late last winter and my doc put me on this stuff...I didn't really "feel" anything...but I woke up one day and just noticed I was no longer depressed. It was a great relief for me.

I guess there is a dangerous (potentially life threatening) rash that you can develop if you take too much of this med...so my doc put me on a really low dose and increased it slowly for me.

The list of side effects for this med is quite long as well...I can definitely see how reading about the med could scare people away.

You can get a list of the potential side effects HERE (http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/lamotrigine-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20067449).

I hope your mom doesn't give up on the idea of taking any meds at all. If this isn't the meds she wants to take, I hope she's open to finding some she's okay with.
I know meds don't 'fix' problems...but dang it's nice not to have to live in such a dark world (depression). For me lamotrigine lifts that darkness.

Powderbucket
06-24-15, 05:48 AM
I don't know a whole lot about the specifics on this med...all I know is when I was going through some really rough times late last winter and my doc put me on this stuff...I didn't really "feel" anything...but I woke up one day and just noticed I was no longer depressed. It was a great relief for me.

I guess there is a dangerous (potentially life threatening) rash that you can develop if you take too much of this med...so my doc put me on a really low dose and increased it slowly for me.

The list of side effects for this med is quite long as well...I can definitely see how reading about the med could scare people away.

You can get a list of the potential side effects HERE (http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/lamotrigine-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20067449).

I hope your mom doesn't give up on the idea of taking any meds at all. If this isn't the meds she wants to take, I hope she's open to finding some she's okay with.
I know meds don't 'fix' problems...but dang it's nice not to have to live in such a dark world (depression). For me lamotrigine lifts that darkness.

Thank you. That already makes me feel better, and I will even show her your response because she seems to be swarming herself in scary things she's finding on Google and such. Apparently it's possible to catch the serious rashes quite early, so if she knows that she can be preventative about anything life-threatening, that will also ease her woes.

The doctor also instructed her to slowly take the medication, and increase her dose over time.

Taking Concerta was terrifying for me and I did have a rough time at first, but now I feel like I am living for the first time in my life. I want her to feel the same. I just don't want the medication to eff-up her life. Guess I'm just sensitive because she is my mother, and she is over 60 now.

Fuzzy12
06-24-15, 05:55 AM
I took lamotrigine for a while. It's got amazing reviews both in terms of efficacy and side effect profile. Personally, the main side effects I experienced were tiredness and a lack of appetite (but all meds seem to kill my appetite, including anti-depressants).

As psycho said the famous lamotrigine rash can be extremely serious and normally the advice is to discontinue the med once you develop a rash. I don't remember the exact numbers but it's not a common side effect.

I've always suspected that my mom is bipolar as well but she refuses to even entertain the idea and keeps sticking to anti depressants, which make her hypomanic every once in a while.

Abi
06-24-15, 06:09 AM
If these things started only after a car accident, it's likely she suffered some physiological brain trauma.

Have they done an MRI and EEG?

Powderbucket
06-24-15, 06:18 AM
If these things started only after a car accident, it's likely she suffered some physiological brain trauma.

Have they done an MRI and EEG?

Yeah, she had to learn how to read/write/speak/walk etc again.

The psychiatrist wants to book her into a nice hospital for 2 nights so that they can do an MRI, blood test and some neuro-cognitive tests. Doing this as an inpatient is MUCH cheaper. It's actually "for free" as the medical aid will cover everything. If she does these as an out-patient, she has to fork out a lot of cash.

So to answer your question, she has not done the MRI or EEG but will have them done by mid-July sometime.

She has the script sitting with her at the moment. Do you think it's better to wait? I'm not sure why the doc would have given her the script if she thought it was too soon?

:confused:

Powderbucket
06-24-15, 06:21 AM
I took lamotrigine for a while. It's got amazing reviews both in terms of efficacy and side effect profile. Personally, the main side effects I experienced were tiredness and a lack of appetite (but all meds seem to kill my appetite, including anti-depressants).

As psycho said the famous lamotrigine rash can be extremely serious and normally the advice is to discontinue the med once you develop a rash. I don't remember the exact numbers but it's not a common side effect.

I've always suspected that my mom is bipolar as well but she refuses to even entertain the idea and keeps sticking to anti depressants, which make her hypomanic every once in a while.

Thank you Fuzzy.

I'm just terrified of her being the "one" patient out of 1000 who get the serious rash. I would hate myself if that happened to her while she's trying to improve her life.

Sigh.

Maybe she should rather try some supplements or something to help her mood? I'm not a huge fan of supplements because I believe the Rx drug gets the job done, but it is scary when one out of a thousand patients can die from this med :(

sarahsweets
06-24-15, 06:23 AM
Lamictal was origionally made to treat seizures and they discovered it helped with mood and bipolar treatment so in her case it could help with neurological effects from the accident and her mood. I know it saved my life.

Powderbucket
06-24-15, 07:41 AM
Lamictal was origionally made to treat seizures and they discovered it helped with mood and bipolar treatment so in her case it could help with neurological effects from the accident and her mood. I know it saved my life.

It's good to hear all the positive stuff.

It's almost like people only access the internet to talk about the bad things. When something good happens, it's not always reported because there's no questions, concerns or worries. Anyway, it's good to see the good stories.

stef
06-24-15, 08:42 AM
Maybe it would reassure her, just to wait? it's really not much longer!

I don't know anything about these meds but my mom went back on antidepressants at over age 65 (she had taken them for just a few months many years ago), they really improved her life! Her last years were much brighter.

Little Missy
06-24-15, 08:45 AM
When my mum went on Lexapro I remember her on the couch with her half-glasses on and a book propped up on a pillow brightly saying to me, "I love Leprachaun, this stuff has made me a better person!"

Fuzzy12
06-24-15, 08:51 AM
Thank you Fuzzy.

I'm just terrified of her being the "one" patient out of 1000 who get the serious rash. I would hate myself if that happened to her while she's trying to improve her life.

Sigh.

Maybe she should rather try some supplements or something to help her mood? I'm not a huge fan of supplements because I believe the Rx drug gets the job done, but it is scary when one out of a thousand patients can die from this med :(

The thing is that if you know about the rash it's really not such a big problem. You can just stop the meds as soon as you develop a rash (or rather inform your doc or get it investigated). I got a rash when I was taking lamotrigine but my GP who was prescribing my meds at that point wasn't aware of the dreaded lamotrigine rash (I don't remember it's medical name) and actually wanted to increase my dose. :rolleyes: In my case, I don't think it was THE lamotrigine rash (and I get rash with all meds) but when I later told my psychiatrist he was pretty horrified that my GP dealt with it so casually. Anyway, my point is that as long as you know that a rash is potentially worrying when taking lamotrigine then it's really not such a big problem (I think, but her doc can advise her on that).

The only supplement I can think of is Omega-3. In India, people think that jaggery (a form of cane sugar) contains traces of lithium and that it has mood stabilising properties but I haven't been able to find much info on that.

Abi
06-24-15, 08:54 AM
Xxxxx

Powderbucket
06-24-15, 10:00 AM
Thank you all, Stef, Little Missy and Fuzzy for the positive responses. It really calms my nerves. I really wish that Google wasn't so easy sometimes!

I feel a lot better now. I'm going to let my mom make up her mind when she is ready, whether this is before or after he scans. She is due back at the doc in July and I'm going to trust that the doctor will help her make the best choice. I figured that, the doctor would not prescribe something that she isn't confident about. There must be a reason why she chose lamotrigine.

I feel that I know enough now and will keep what I must to myself. I don't want to frighten her with my investigation, but at least I have found some positive news :)

Powderbucket
06-26-15, 02:21 AM
Just an update:

MY mother is starting Lamotrigine next week Friday, so that she is not at work when she firsts starts it, and my sister will also be at home with her in case anything goes pear-shaped. She'll then be going to the psych ward for assessments, blood tests and brain scans.

She now seems pretty excited.

I'm happy for her, and hoping for the best!

psychopathetic
06-26-15, 07:12 AM
:yes:

Glad to hear!

Powderbucket
07-24-15, 02:31 AM
Hi everyone,

I just wanted to post a little update.

My mother was booked into a psychiatric hospital for three nights because that was the only way the medical aid would pay for all the tests she needed to go through. She really loved her stay at the hospital (it was like a guest-house, but with doctors) and they treated her so well.

She has been on Lamotrigine for a month now and it upping her dose to 50mg today. Already, my mother has this funny aura about her, like she's lighter and brighter. The doctor is going to push her up to 75mg and then see if it's even necessary to go on a higher dose. She is old, has hypertension and thyroid issues, so the doctor doesn't want to push a lot of meds on her. Anyway, already there is something different about her and she seems happier. She says she can't really explain what she's feeling, she just feels "normal". It's really awesome :)

It looks like her frontal lobe and the back of her brain was quite damaged in a car accident she had in 1978, and so mood swings and anxiety was to be expected. We saw an MRI and some parts of her brain have calcified and looks like bone! It's really strange.

But we are all humbled, happy, and now hoping Lamotrigine keeps helping.

BTW, we did have a rash scare about a week ago. My mom asked me to come look at this itchy thing on her back. There was a funny red rash along her underwear-line.... We soon discovered that her panties were a little too tight around her hip and there was too much washing powder still in the clothing. So no rash problem at all according to the docs :)