Depression and Weight Issues Have you been diagnosed with depression, are possibly on depression medication, and find it affects your weight loss efforts? Post here for support!

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Old 03-09-2010, 01:33 AM   #1  
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Unhappy Manic-Depression, Lithium, and weight gain.

I've been suffering from my bi-polarity for years, and although I sought help in the past, I did not go on medication for any length of time. This past fall, I went on Prozac for a few months, stopped that, went on lithium for a few months, stopped that, and next Tuesday I'll find out what they have planned next. (Which might be Lithium again, at a higher dose.)

As to where it falls in with my weight, I have gained just about 40lbs- mostly in the first three months of being on (and then immediately going off) Lithium, although 10 were gained while on Prozac.

My weight went from 125 to 164.

I'm having a rough time fitting in exercise in with school, job-hunting (I also just recently lost my job), and my volunteer work (which is enjoyable, so it helps alleviate my depression). That, and since I now live in the city (very downtown-Albany-esque) finding a place to exercise outside where people aren't around is very difficult- I can even be seen in the back yard!

Any suggestions/help? I've never gained so much weight in such a short time before, and it's really not helping with my current issues...

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Old 03-09-2010, 09:07 AM   #2  
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Ask your dr if topamax can be used with lithium. My hubby has lost weight since starting it. It works great as an add on drug. It also is the only med that seems to help balance him out.
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:54 PM   #3  
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Hi dizzie. I am also bipolar but was only recently diagnosed. Here is the reason... For many years my docs and I only saw the depression. I never realized that I also had manias because they were rather subtle. Now that I don't have them, I realize that I had them before. Another reason my newest pdoc settled on bipolar is that no SSRI alone ever helped me. In fact, they made me worse. That's one of the indications of bipolar, when SSRI's make things worse instead of better, which might be why Prozac didn't help you.

Now I take Lamictal (my mood stabilizer) and Wellbutrin. For some that Lamictal alone works but not for all and not for me. I also need the Wellbutrin. But let me tell you, now that I have the right combination, I feel better than I ever have. Yesterday I didn't have the greatest day, but I just felt down. I didn't go into a deep depression. And today is better. Lamictal is good because it has few side effects and is weight neutral. I am losing weight when I exercise and eat well. Ask you doc about it, but I will warn you that it can be hard to start. You have to go up in dosage VERY gradually. But it is so worth it. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 03-10-2010, 12:32 AM   #4  
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Hi dizzie. I am also bipolar but was only recently diagnosed. Here is the reason... For many years my docs and I only saw the depression. I never realized that I also had manias because they were rather subtle. Now that I don't have them, I realize that I had them before. Another reason my newest pdoc settled on bipolar is that no SSRI alone ever helped me. In fact, they made me worse. That's one of the indications of bipolar, when SSRI's make things worse instead of better, which might be why Prozac didn't help you.

Now I take Lamictal (my mood stabilizer) and Wellbutrin. For some that Lamictal alone works but not for all and not for me. I also need the Wellbutrin. But let me tell you, now that I have the right combination, I feel better than I ever have. Yesterday I didn't have the greatest day, but I just felt down. I didn't go into a deep depression. And today is better. Lamictal is good because it has few side effects and is weight neutral. I am losing weight when I exercise and eat well. Ask you doc about it, but I will warn you that it can be hard to start. You have to go up in dosage VERY gradually. But it is so worth it. Good luck and keep us posted.
Thank you for the suggestion! My next appointment actually got a bit put off due to scheduling conflicts, but when I'm back on Tuesday I'll definitely bring it up with him. Thanks again! It's good to know I'm not alone out there.
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Old 03-10-2010, 12:35 AM   #5  
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Ask your dr if topamax can be used with lithium. My hubby has lost weight since starting it. It works great as an add on drug. It also is the only med that seems to help balance him out.
Right now I'm still not very neutralized, even on Lithium (my doses are still fairly low), so I'll certainly bring it up. Hopefully it will work for me as well Thank you!
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:06 AM   #6  
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Hubbys cousin is on lamitcal and has had great results!! Hubby never got past the early stages of that med. IT is important to find a med combo that works for you.Its important to stay on your meds to see long term results. GOOD luck and keep us posted
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Old 03-10-2010, 11:03 AM   #7  
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I know your pain. Psych meds in the past have caused me to gain 30 lbs in 2 or 3 months. I'm Bipolar I so I absolutely need medication, but I'm lucky that I don't get severely depressed so I rarely use antidepressants. I've had the diagnosis for 17 years so I'm a seasoned veteran. I feel like I have been on everything, but I settled with Lithium & a small dose of Seroquel. For me Lithium is great- dirt cheap and easy to tolerate. I felt like Depakote was worse for me with weight gain.

What I have noticed is that the side effects of Lithium (such as tremor) disappear over time. I admit though that Lithium requires monitoring and can become toxic to the thyroid and kidney. But then again most drugs are either potentially toxic to the kidney or liver. No drug is without is downsides.

For me, if I stick with the same drug for a long time, I am able to lose a lot of the weight over time.

And some of the drugs that cause weight loss such as Topomax didn't do a thing for me. Neither did Wellbutrin. Exercise and diet was the only way to lose weight for me. But your mileage may vary.

Some bipolar drugs have metabolic side effects, which mess with your blood sugar and weight gain. Zyprexa, Seroquel, and a lot of the neuroleptics do that. I hear Abilify and Geodon are better in that regard. Lamictal seems to be a good drug because it deals with the highs and also has an antidepressant effect. You need good monitoring on Lamictal because it has some rare, but serious side effects (dangerous rash).

I'd be careful about doing a lot of med switching. There are only a limited number of drugs out there and you don't want to burn your bridges. Give a drug a proper chance before you decide.

As long as you have a good doctor, you'll do fine. Good luck.
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:41 AM   #8  
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Wow chickie,
That was some great adivce. I also take a small dose (50 mg.) of Seroquel at night, mostly to help me sleep and it sure does. I sleep very well but don't wake up with that "hangover".

I also did not lose weight on Wellbutrin. You are right that it is diet and exercise that will do it. Unfortunately, I haven't been exercising and therefore, not losing much weight. I keep telling myself how busy I am, but in reality if I really tried, I could probably find time. Sigh...

I still need the Wellbutrin with the Lamictal, but for me it's a great combination. I have also not had any noticeable side effects, which is great. I also totally agree with you in regards to the med switching and having a good doc. You are right on target.

By the way, have you ever visited the crazymeds.us website? They use the "mileage may very" phrase. If you haven't been there, I recommend everyone check it out. They offer a wealth of information in a very understandable format. Good luck to all.
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:00 PM   #9  
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Thanks, mom for the web site pointer. I haven't seen the site. "Your mileage may vary" is one of my favorite internet phrases. I remember first seeing YMMV way back in the mid 1990's. I've noticed people don't use it very much these days.

Weight gain from medication is extremely frustrating. And it seems like the weight stays on even after going off the drug.

Here's an anecdote. A couple years ago I was prescribed Topomax for weight loss and I got lazy and stopped taking it. Stayed on my other meds and went on a diet. I started losing weight and I told my dr that I was losing weight without the Topomax. But he insisted on prescribing it and I had a stockpile of pills.

I don't think my doctor understood that sometimes the easier way is through diet and exercise & not by taking a pill and praying it works.

But again, YMMV. I am not against anybody trying a different medication. I certainly have at least 25 times.

And off on a bit of a tangent. The birth control pill was horrible for my weight and cholesterol. Once I stopped, I found that I lost weight more easily. In fact, I think the pill was worse than Lithium in regards to weight gain.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:34 PM   #10  
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Went to the doctor today. Turns out he's one of those Drs that don't take kindly to suggestions or questions that thinks has an 'obvious' answer. Argh! So frustrating sometimes. (end of rant! lol)

Anyway, he suggested that I go back on the Lithium with a bit of a higher dose, and pair it with Wellbutrin next week, once my stomach gets used to the Lithium again. (The first week of upset was terrible last time)

Thanks again for your support, and I'll certainly keep you all updated!!
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:12 AM   #11  
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So Dizzie,
How's it going? Haven't heard from you recently. I'm sorry to hear abour your doc. I can be very frustrating. I dont remember if he is a phych or reg doc. It could make a difference. A lot of pdocs are more comfortable trying different things. Primaries tend not to do this because it's not something they are comfortable with and therefore so what they think is "safe". I don't like those kinds of guys. I always want to tell them that they aren't smarter than I am, just more educated. I do a lot of reading and research and to me, the sign of a good doc is someone who will listen and consider what you say. Enough for my rant, I just really wanted to know how you are.
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