Bipolar Study Update

As many of you know, I’ve been accepted into a study for Bipolar II depression medication at a local university hospital. The study provides me with 4 months of free medication, tracking of my condition, and a side benefit of $25 grocery store gift cards every time I go in for an appointment (once a week for the first 6 weeks then every other week for the remainder of the study.)

The study is designed to find out if lithium, zoloft, or the combination of both is best for Bipolar II depression. Since I’m obviously depressed (I’m still not certain I’m bipolar, but whatever, the meds are for depression anyway. I’m either ultra rapid cycling bipolar or just depressed with random extremely excited and elevated moods throughout my life.)

Lots of people have expressed concern that I won’t ever know what I’m on, since they can’t tell me what I was on until after the entire study is completed years from now. If the drugs work, then it sucks that I can’t know what I was on. If they don’t work, then it also kind of sucks because I don’t know what not to try in the future.

But the benefits of participating, I feel, far outweigh the negatives. Having ADD, I struggle to take pills on a regular basis. The structure that comes with participating in this study is really helpful. I was given this massive pillbox that where each day of the week and each time of day has a separate box for the pills I am supposed to take. I also have to track my moods on a daily basis, which is really good to do, especially when I’m on medication to see if it’s working.

I started last night taking one blue pill, which is either 300mg of Lithium or a placebo. I take that twice a day. I didn’t feel a lot of side effects last night, just some dry mouth that could have been from not drinking enough water.

This month I took one blue pill and one white pill, which is either 25mg of Zoloft or a placebo. I could be on both zoloft and lithium or just one of them, but I’m definitely on something right now. And I definitely am having some side effects. But I can’t tell which drug they are caused by…

Still, I’m having issues with dry mouth. I am extremely thirsty. I don’t drink a lot of water normally and I’ve already gone through almost two cups of it and I’m still very dehydrated. My mood, overall, is calmer than normal. But that might be due to half the staff at my office being out today, and looking forward to a 3 day weekend.

I’m curious what will happen when they up my dosage later in the study. SSRI’s and lithium aren’t supposed to really help your mood right away so either I’m really susceptible to the placebo effect or my brain chemistry is just very sensitive. I don’t have any other side effects yet that I can tell.

Have you been on either of these medications before? What were your side effects?

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3 comments

  1. Krisha Scannapieco says:

    Abigail,Thanks for the offer. I would enjoy chatting by e-mail. It s so hard sometimes to find other people that identify with exactly the things you feel/go through being bipolar. While my husband and family love and and support me they can only have empathy, they really can not identify because they are not bipolar. I am going through a particularly difficult time right now and it is hard to know what is caused by life, what is intensified by the bipolar and what is simply situational. It all just feels so intense. I am really hoping that the Geodon is going to work for me but I am only 3 weeks into it. While my "rage" seems to be calmer, I am still having mixed episodes of mania and depression. Just keeping it together at work is taking all my energy and by the time I get home I am a wreck. My husband thinks I am slipping into the depression side right now. He is probably right. I just feel really sad. The Blog I am keeping is helping though krishaskooking.blogspot.com. Anyway, thank you for the invite and I look forward to e-mailing with you. I can be e-mailed through my blog. I tried the address you posted but it would not go throughKisS the Kook CookKrisha

  2. Abigail says:

    I was recently diagnosed bipolar II so if you ever want to chat, shoot me an email. I'm getting used to the idea. Because of my chronic fatigue, doctors kept shooting it all down for ages. Since I didn't stay up for days on end, I couldn't be bipolar.Anyway, I hope this study helps. I've had success with Lamictil (generic: Lamotrigine). I can let things go better, things are more in perspective. Before, I'd just keep pushing a point in an argument even after my husband had agreed. It was weird. And in the back of my mind I knew I needed to let it go. But I couldn't. Moods are more stable, too. Like I said, if you ever want to chat about it, shoot me an email. (seattlegirluw at yahoo)

  3. KisS the Cook says:

    I have not been on Zoloft or Lithium but I do take Geodon. I can relate to the dry mouth as I am constantly thirsty. Try to get at least 8 glasses of water a day ( I carry a 16 oz water bottle and try to drink it 4 times) to see if that helps. Constantly sipping on something works for me.

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