Lamotrigine still not working - horre... - Mental Health Sup...

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Lamotrigine still not working - horrendous symptoms

Booblet profile image

Hi, Sorry to go back to this situation again, but I'm going through hell at the moment.

I have now been taking Lamotrigine 150 mg for 4 weeks. I do understand that this drug has to be adminstered very slowly ((25 mg over two wks).

However, i have really tried 'to give this drug time to work', but i am honestly feeling worse:

I feel much more depressed, far more anxious to the extreme that I cry so much more than i used to. I actually feel like my personality and charecter have been supressed - and that is a horrendous feeling.

I am under the care of a Psychiatrist, abd my nxt app is in November. I dont think i will last that long.

I also take Venlafaxine 150mg..I have tapered off from 300 mg but not well enough to take a lesser amount.

I have been told by my Psychiatrist that Lamotrigine does not have an effect until at least over 100 mg.

Please, is there anyone who can help?

I feel that there are no other solutions regarding this medication situation i am in.

Kind Regards.


15 Replies

There is very little we can suggest, if your Health Professionals know how you feel and how uncomfortable you are, they would have tried to put your mind at rest and will expect you to carry on with your recommended medication doses.

These medications take an extended period to work, regards above four weeks is just the beginning of this treatment, so it is important you give the treatment plan to work. Soon hopefully the worse of those feelings will disappear and with therapy they will hope you will begin to feel that much better.

One of the problems we have here is we are not Health Professionals, so we can only follow the team who is looking after you.

At the moment I am going through withdrawal on some of my medications, I withheld on one type and after eight hours I now need to revert back to the original dose, with a slight increase so I can start a different withdrawal. What I am trying to say medications are complex and we have to take small steps to get where we wish to go. We need to follow recommendations and keep our expectations alive and well. It is difficult to follow medication regimes, we have to be careful and look forward to those better times as we get well


Booblet profile image
Booblet in reply to borderriever

Thank you again Bob for your wonderful reply. You have helped me understand a bit better the complexity of these drugs.

I will persevere, and try to be positive.

Kind regards to you, you are so very kind.

Have a lovely weekend,

Hi Booblet, thank you for your post. Things sound very difficult for you. Because these medications take an extended period to work, it is important you give this time. It may be a good idea to make an appointment to see your GP and discuss with him/her how you are feeling. Your GP practice may have a mental health nurse who can offer you help and support.

Please remember that you are not alone. In the meantime, if you are distressed, please call--

The Samaritans Freephone 116 123 [24 hour helpline 7 days a week. They provide a listening ear]. Also, please have a look at the pinned posts section on the screen which includes Free Mental Health Guides.

Are there any other members who can help Booblet, please?

Thank you and best wishes.

Booblet profile image
Booblet in reply to MAS_Nurse

Thankyou so much for your reply. You are so kind. I think your explanations of 'medications' is very true. It feel like a 'waiting game' that is very difficult.

But, I will persevere.

Kind Regards,

And, have a lovely day!!.

Ask to be switched to lithium, just a suggestion. Takes a while to find the right dose so you need patients if you can. I didn't like Lamotragine either. Quetiapine might be an even better choice but start low. About 250mg max to lift depression. Even 50mg might work. To much and you're in bipolar teritory. Probably just feel too heavy and numb. Same with any atypical antipsychotic. Low doses for unipolar, higher doses for bipolar. Just a general rule of thumb.

Booblet profile image
Booblet in reply to MaskedNinja

Hi, thankyou for your reply. It was so informative. I think the problem is with mood stablelizers is that they are not just used for depression.

I was told by my Psychology that this drug takes at least 6 weeks to work, and that is on a stable dose.

However, the problem is waiting for it to 'kick in'. Im a bit worried about trying another related drug as i will have to go through the same procedure again.

I will wait for another two wks to see what happens.

What you said about unipolar makes a lot of sense. I have certainly related to this.

Kind Regards,


MaskedNinja profile image
MaskedNinja in reply to Booblet

Quetiapine is an antipsychotic. Completely different class and so works nothing like lamotrigine. Remember that! Different class of meds all together. Hence why I mentioned it/them. And definitely not mood stabilizers! Quetiapine is sometimes even used on it's own for depression. They usually kick in quick and no reason to increase extra slowly. What I can't say is that they will work

Booblet profile image
Booblet in reply to MaskedNinja

Hi, Said Pychologist when i meant Psychiatrist. A big difference!!

Seems to me there are withdrawal symptoms in there but how can you tell what is the withdrawal symptoms and what is a possible bad reaction to the new drug ?

What do I know but surely the previous drug should've been tapered off first ?

One and the same aren't they? Whether its a serious life threatening allergic reaction or a bit of annoying constipation, both are still side effects. That is, not the desired 'effect' of the drug but an unwanted one. A 'side-effect' 🙃

I was advised to give Venlafaxine ago by my GP i was so scared and put off by the negative feedback that i went back to my GP and challenged her about the negative information i had read, she agreed with me some and changed them to deluxatine and the only side effect i have suffered was fatigue. Basis of my story was the GP didnt take much presuading and you know your body better than anyone. You need to continue with any medication prescribed as suddenly stopping can dangerious.

MaskedNinja profile image
MaskedNinja in reply to Tony95

- "You need to continue with any medication prescribed as suddenly stopping can be dangerious."

ABSOLUTELY! 100% correct!

Brain zaps anyone?

Hello Booblet, I don't use this forum much now but was asked if I could help as I take venlafaxine. My experiences won't help much as the reaction, side effects and benefits of each drug varies very much with the individual but maybe I can help a bit with the depression. However I'll give you my experience for what its worth before coming to the depression.

I've taken 150mgm of Venlafaxine plus 45 mgm of Mirtazapine for about 10 years having suffered from depression for 40 years plus (I'm now 76). I've never suffered bad side effects from either although I think the Mirtazapine does help me get a good night's sleep, a very welcome and probably beneficial side effect. Whether they do anything else for me I just don't know as I don't know how I would be without them. About 8 years ago I thought my symptoms looked like Bipolar 2 and was therefore referred to a psychiatrist who confirmed Bipolar 2 and added a mood stabiliser, Depakote to the other two drugs. I am told that this is the recommended treatment for bipolar 2 although I think some psychiatrists would not advocate taking antidepressants with a mood stabiliser. It seemed to me that recommended or not Depakote did me a power of no good, longer and deeper spells of depression. Eventually I asked to change to Lithium which my Psychiatrist agreed to somewhat reluctantly. Result no improvement. I then paid to see a private psychiatrist who thought my wish to come off mood stabilisers and return to only the other two drugs was reasonable and wrote to my GP confirming this. That was over a year ago and life has been wonderful since. I don't think I'm cured and I would like to stop the Venlafaxine as well but my GP is not in favour. I would retain the Mirtazapine because of its help in aiding sleep.

However this experience is irrelevant to you as your mileage will vary from mine. My theory is best explained this way. Everyone's finger prints are different, even identical twins. The human brain has about 90 billion neurons and the same number of Glial cells, which they have recently discovered are not just "scaffolding"for the neurons but are also part of the thinking process along with the neurons. As if 90 billion neurons was n't enough already. Then each neuron is connected to usually several ,sometimes up to a 1000 other neurons. Complicated enough for anyone I should think !!! So no two minds are alike. They have far more scope to be far more different than fingerprints have. This means I don't have bipolar 2 I have olderal 1, you have Booblet1. If Father Christmas got depressed he would have Father Christmas 1. So treating it is a guessing game for the medical profession. BUT they are trying to help and see a lot of depression in their job so I always do as they say. We all know they can't do much but what they can do is usually positive and you need all and any help you can get. Its a rough ride. This means for you sticking with the Lamotrigine until at least November when you see the psychiatrist. Its bad now but it could be worse without it. Give it a chance.

If by November you are convinced its doing you a power of no good discuss it with your psychiatrist and hopefully he/she is a good one and will try something else. Eventually with a good GP and psychiatrist (good ones are the ones you like, that listen to you and take your views on your treatment seriously).

This is long enough. I'll talk about the depression next in another post straight away except to say you'll last until November. You are a survivor.



Bad swear words and a lot of 'em. I just typed a lot and it vanished into the ether. I'll start again.

Right the depression, difficult without writing a book and I've just lost half a book into the ether, but I'll try :-

1/ It will end .It always does . If you ve had depression before you know that. When it ends you will be happy again and life will be good. Make sure you are around to enjoy that bit. Its coming to you. Don't miss it. At the moment your brain is slightly malfunctioning. One would think its supposed to be on your side ,after all its part of you, but at the moment its not helping. If the medical profession knew why it started to malfunction the discoverer would be worth a fortune. Apart from reactive depression no one knows why your brain went slightly out of kilter but it will come back perfectly soon, no one knows why or when. So make sure you don't miss it when it starts behaving again.

2/ When you are born no one gives you a guarantee you will be happy. Depression is a bit more than unhappy, a lot more but if you had depression without the unhappiness life would n't be so bad. So you are having a spell of unhappiness in spades. Well everyone gets unhappy at times. When I'm depressed I imagine I'm a very rich inhabitant of Warsaw in 1940. Fur coats ,diamonds ,a very big house,a good marriage, good kids, the lot,perfection. .Unfortunately the next day due to our race/religion my whole family and I are sharing just a small room with another family in the awful Warsaw ghetto and worse ,unimaginable worse is to come. It stinks, no privacy, no food and lots, really lots are dying. You've seen the films. Just the lottery of life.,luck or bad luck. Suddenly my depression seems quite a minor thing for a few hours ( but I have a fairly good imagination.)

Many went through all this, dying a horrible death at the end without getting depressed so even reactive depression is n't very well understood. Why did some get depressed (almost certainly a lot more than usual) and others did n't? Just the lottery of life.

3/ Obviously your mind and body are very connected. Give your mind its best chance by keeping your body in good shape. Not always easy with depression, in fact very difficult, but always possible. Eat well and healthily , get regular and plenty of sleep, do as much exercise when and as you can. A walk even on your own in a park or the country side on a sunny day is believe me worth any 100 pills. That's not difficult,but it is more difficult when depressed. You want to get better don't you? Well however difficult you have to make some effort yourself

4/ If you can keep working even if its very difficult. Work brings valuable social interaction, gives you more self worth, and tends to avoid financial problems which you can do without.

5/ You will sometimes fail on 3/ and 4/. Don't beat yourself up about it but resolve not to fail next time. You will fail again, just keep trying to minimise the failures.

6/ Avoid introspection. It can be a good thing but not when depressed.. Even a walk on a sunny day is not so effective if you are walking and never stop thinking about your depression. Your mind needs a holiday ,even if only a few hours from that.

7/ A confidant, a partner, parent or friend with discretion who you can talk things over with and be frank and honest with ,knowing they won't discuss it with others is invaluable. You already have two in your GP and psychiatrist. That might be enough but one other is invaluable. But take care not to overdo this with family or friends . someone else's depression will eventually bore them if its all you ever talk about.

8/ ~Going back to introspection if you can lose yourself in something that interests you, a good book, dancing, watching a good film on DVD, whatever ,for a few hours it gives your mind a little holiday .

9/ Try and avoid any major life changing decisions while depressed. This is not always possible but you are going to get better and when you do you don't want to reenter the land of the living to find you've made decisions which now detrimentally affect your new life. Decisions are best made when the brain is working well.

I could write a lot more but thats quite enough. To someone who's never had depression it all seems obvious but if you managed all the above you probably would n't come out of depression immediately. But every little thing is helping and you'll certainly come out of it quicker the more of this you do and while you're depressed life will be a little bit better. My depression will return eventually I've no doubt but it no longer worries me and an awful lot of the time it has advantages. I get hypomania. One would have to spend an awful lot on drugs (the other kind, a big no no for anyone who suffers or has suffered depression) to feel as good as I do when hypomanic. Colours are brighter, music is wonderful, my brain works faster and my memory and productivity are much better than normal. One of the good side effects of what they call bipolar 2 but is really Olderal 1.

Best of luck. Olderal


borderriever profile image
borderriever in reply to Olderal

Hello Olderal

Nice to see your return


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