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.