Finding The Right Medication Cocktail


Is the number of different medications I have been on in 3 years.

10 of those were in 2012 alone.  That was the year I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.

To say I was mildly frustrated would be a lie.  Mild would not cut it.  It was a hard battle trying to find a medication cocktail that worked well for me.

They have been in different combinations, different dosages.  New medications added, old medications stopped, dosages changed.

My doctor believes in the lowest possible dosages to treat the problem so we always start slow and work our way up to a dosage that works for me.

So in February of 2012 after battling for a long long time I finally had to get more help.

My very first medication on this journey was Risperidone.  I took it for less than a week.

I was then hospitalized so my medications ended up being regulated by my admitting doctor instead of my regular psychiatrist.

He stopped Respiradone and started Zoloft.  Few days later they added Wellbutrin and Clonozapam. Few days after that they added a sleeping med called Zopiclone and he also added Seroquel.  I cannot remember the exact changes and additions and what was dropped during this period of time, but when I got out of hospital I was taking Seroquel, Zopiclone, Ativan and Wellbutrin.

During a manic episode my doctor kept upping the dosage of my Seroquel but it did not seem to make any difference, in fact I was getting worst and worst.

He stopped the Seroquel and started Lithium.  I wrote about the scare I had with Lithium in a post found here.

I only took one dosage of Lithium because of a terrible reaction and then started Valproic Acid.  Which worked wonders to take me out of the mania because it sedated me so badly trying to wake up was like swimming just under the surface of water, hearing voices but not able to actually wake.

I took it for almost a month and my body did not adjust enough for my liking so I asked my doctor to change it.  I have small children and cannot be sedated all the time.

The next mood stabilizer we tried was Tegretol, after a couple of adjustments it seemed to work pretty well.   I ended up with a rash that we thought might have been related so we changed to Trileptal which is a sister drug to Tegretol.

Then during a mania in December of 2013 my doctor added Temazepam and Methoprazine to my cocktail, so at this point along with those two medications I was taking Wellbutrin and Trileptal.  I had Slept 11 hours in 14 days and he desperately wanted me to sleep.  I ended up sleeping 19 hours that first night taking the two new medications, waking only once in the middle for about 5 minutes.

I kinda stopped the Methoprazine and Temazepamon my own when I felt good. *I admit this was not a good idea in retrospect*

My Trileptal got changed back to Tegretol once we realized the rash was not caused by the medication.

And my final medication change was during my recent mania where he added Chlorpromazine.

My current cocktail is Chlorpromazine, Tegretol, and Wellbutrin.

My whole entire point to this post is that there are so many medications and so many different combinations of medications that eventually you and your doctor working together should be able to find something that works well for you.

It takes a lot of work.  It really does.  I have to admit that frustrations can run high. Things change all the time, from mania to balanced to depression and full circle again.

It is vital that you have a good relationship with your treating doctor.   He or She needs to know when things change and when your medications need to be adjusted.

So to those of you who are still trying to get dosages straightened out, keep your chin up, hopefully soon you will find the medication combo that is good for you.

11 thoughts on “Finding The Right Medication Cocktail

  1. wow, you got your cocktail figured out pretty quick. i spent 10 yr trying this, adding that, changing this adding etc. i have tried almost every antipsychotic, antidepressant, antianxiety and sleep med there is. after 10 yrs and many hospital stays for attempts, i finally told the doc if he didn’t find something that works now, i wasn’t going to have a next time. finally, i was tried on lithium–and this drug has saved my life. it is the only single drug that works to keep me stable and human. recently they took me off of it, and it was a monthlong nightmare until my destablization was so severe i was hospitalized for the first time on lithium after being on it for 7 yrs. finally back on lithium, i am stable again. the side effects i have from lithium are severe, rta, a problem filtering the electrolytes in the kidneys due to acidosis has developed and may end up in renal failure one day…even if i stop the the lithium. my thyroid has become extremely low, also do to the effects of lithium. but i would rather stay on the lithium and have a life that is worth living, even if it means i may die earlier. because what would be the use of living forever if you are trapped inside an unmedicated bipolar brain, making life hopeless and not worth waking up for?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I never hear much talk about cymbalta here, I wonder if it is called something different. I have to go google it now 🙂

        Seroquel I have tried and Clonazepam.

        I take ativan now and then its a left over prescription from anxiety that was really bad and now and then if it gets bad enough I take it again.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like you had a very long process. I thought my 3 years was bad enough I cannot imagine going 10 years trying to get the right medication combo. I took some meds back when I was 18 but (and in retrospect) went into mania and stopped taking them. Then I tried again about 9 or 10 years ago and stopped them because it was a hell drug for me. Effexor and have also tried Paxil. But then just stopped going to the drs and said to heck with it. But I guess we all know where that got me.

      I am glad to hear that the lithium works well for you. It was a scary drug for me, even after one very small dosage.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. like i posted somewhere…it is not without its costs. i have a kidney issue caused by electrolyte imbalance due to the lithium, and hypothyroidism also due to it. the kidney issue will deteriorate over time, even if i stop the lithium now. but, better a good mind and a liveable life than long life that is miserable.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish we could find my cocktail. I am going on 2 years since the hospital and starting new meds. I am now on completely different ones and I have to start the Latuda as soon as I get it. Then it will be Latuda, Cymbalta and Clonazepam. So far the Clonazepam that even makes me a little drowsy. I can’t stay asleep either and she added Ambien CR back in. No help at all. The over-the-counter sleep aids work better.


    1. Fingers crossed that it does not take too much more time to find something that works well for you. I hate sleep meds, either they don’t work at all or they sedate me too much.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Couldn’t have said it better myself. It takes time, a lot of time, and it’s all trial and error. I hope it continues to work for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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