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Quetiapine or Lithium

Antipsychotics, antidepressants, benzodiazepines. Whatever your flavour, discuss experiences, usage, effects and all your worries about them here.

Quetiapine or Lithium

Postby chimera » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:08 pm

I would like to know what experiences people here have from Quetiapine and from Lithium, both good and bad, what starting taking them was like, what side-effects you had, how it was like to stop, if you have any permanent changes etc.


I recently met a doctor who thinks I should be on quetiapine because of bipolarity, as a mood stabilizer, and something that I don't know if there's an English word for, but I think it's similar to the concept of "at risk mental state" or psychosis prodrome. (She is putting all the focus on bipolarity though, so that's my one diagnosis now, and all questions regarding PDs are dropped.)
My regular contact doesn't think quetiapine is right for me, but instead thinks I should try lithium.

Personally I'm pretty sure I don't want either, partly because of the side-effects, partly because I think it's attacking the problem from the wrong angle, and partly because I think that what is the desired effect from the medication from the doctor's viewpoint is not what is a desirable effect to me.
But I'm not completely closed off to the idea though, so I'm all ears (or more like, eyes).
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Re: Quetiapine or Lithium

Postby Always_Question » Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:10 am

Having been on both, I can try to give a comparison of what it was like for me.

For Lithium: I took it for a few months and had stomach aches, head aches, drowsiness, and before I stopped using it I felt drunk and was walking into things. It works well as a mood stabilizer and is one of the best drugs for people at risk for suicide. No short-term damage I can think of, except the discomfort of the side effects and weight gain. Long-term, like, 10 years or something, there is a significant risk for kidney damage. To help mitigate the risk of damage, blood samples are taken regularly to make sure that you are in the narrow therapeutic range, and not over it (which increases risk for kidney damage). I would prefer this medication over several others.

For quetiapine: The first time I took it, I think it put me deeper into a psychotic state. I could not figure out how a bed worked. Like, I knew it was to sleep in, but I could not understand how to lay in it. It was very bizarre. Years later, I was given 100mg and was very drowsy and light headed. When I got up the next morning at a psych hospital I almost collapsed on the linoleum floor, even though I told staff I was light headed. So, if you try it, start light, I would say. I also gained weight on it, it made me hungry. It takes a long time to be able to get going in the morning on it. It sapped me of energy and drive to do things. No clear help with psychotic symptoms or mood stabilization other than that I was so tired I didn't bother with things. I keep some around, just in case I cannot get to sleep, though. It caused me to have vivid dreams, mainly nightmares.

Short story, I would say Lithium for mood stabilization, quetiapine for psychotic symptoms (works for some). You can always get them and take them after a while, then ditch them if the side effects are too much to deal with.

Another mood stabilizer (off label) that might be of interest that has worked for me is gabapentin, which I and someone I know both tolerate well, and neither of us tolerate medication well in general, either. Gabapentin is pretty safe, too. Some headaches, a little weight gain, sometimes I get bizarre side effects, like increased reflexes and concentration, but more often it does the opposite for people and makes them drowsy, but not nearly as much as quetiapine. It can also reduce the desire for alcohol, if that is an issue.
If my post does not make sense, is too vague, or incoherent, ask for clarification if it would be helpful.

Dx's: Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizotypal PD, Boarderline traits, and Anxiety disorders
Rx: Gabapentin and Clonazepam.
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