Latuda and its Happy Side Effect

I want to share with you the success I’ve had with a new medication.  I know a lot of you are frustrated with your meds and their inability to treat multiple symptoms without uncomfortable or dangerous side effects.

Most of you with bipolar are aware that there are only two medications that are FDA-approved specifically for treatment of bipolar disorder:  Seroquel and Lithium.  And many of you may have tried those two meds, with little or no success.  I fall into that category, and for several years I have bounced around between various prescriptions, trying a combination of this and that, hoping for some success.  I was looking for a medication that I could take singularly, without having to take a separate pill for each of my symptoms.

I think I’ve probably tried just about everything on the market, or combinations of those meds.  The aforementioned Seroquel and Lithium, along with Abilify, Tegretol, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Cymbalta, Lexapro and Topomax all had their positive attributes.  Most of them treated one of more of my symptoms, but one alone was never enough.  I needed something for the depression, anxiety, sleeplessness and mania.  None of these seemed to be effective on its own, so I was always taking more than one pill at a time.

More frustrating than having to take several pills a day were the side effects.  I lost weight and gained weight, my hair fell out in clumps and my vision blurred.  I woke up several times during the night, or couldn’t wake myself in the morning without severe grogginess the rest of the day.  I had dry-mouth and night sweats, headaches and swollen hands and feet.  I had the shakes and increased  anxiety, short temper and extreme fatigue.  Some of the medications decreased my mania, but increased my depression.  The commercials for anti-depressants that said, “some people taking this medication may experience increased feelings of depression or thoughts of suicide……”?  Those disclaimers were meant for me.  It was incredibly frustrating.  I couldn’t believe scientists could put a man on the moon, but they couldn’t come up with a singular treatment for manic depression without the horrific side effects.

Eighteen months ago, I finally settled on a combination of ECT, Tegretol and Ativan.  The ECT treated my mania very effectively, and I continue still with those procedures because it is the only treatment I have found that stops my mania in its tracks.  The Tegretol made me fairly sleepy at night, but I still needed the Ativan to keep me asleep until morning.  However, after about a year of the Tegretol, I started experiencing chronic aches and pains every time I laid down.  Sleeping (if you can call it that) became very difficult.  I woke several times during the night with what the doctors initially thought was “restless leg syndrome”.  I saw a rheumatologist thinking it might be arthritis, and was then referred to a neurologist only to learn that he believed it was drug-induced lupus.  The only way he could be sure was for me to discontinue use of the Tegretol.  After taking nothing but the Ativan for about 6 weeks, I did start to feel better, but felt slightly depressed because I knew I couldn’t go back to the drug that seemed to work best for me.  I was then put on Abilify, which I found to be very effective at quickly treating depression.  Within a week, I felt my spirits lift a bit, but unfortunately I gained quite a bit of weight in a short amount of time and had constant muscle twitching in my hands.

That’s when a medication called “Latuda” was suggested.  Latuda is a fairly new drug with no generic that is being used “off-label” to treat bipolar disorder.  It’s actually a medication used to treat schizophrenia, but has shown significant benefits for bipolar patients.  My doctor told me that the FDA has not yet approved it for manic depression, but he thinks that might be right around the corner because of its success in treating the combination of depression and mania.

What side effects have I experienced from Latuda?  Well, it doesn’t make me groggy and the first couple of nights I took it I felt light nausea, but that went away quickly.  I have to take it with protein or it won’t work as effectively, but other than that I’ve noticed few negative side effects.  I have felt much less anxious, and I have not yet experienced that heavy weight of aggression, anger and anxiety that builds up and inevitably leads to a manic episode.  It is those symptoms that send me to ECT, and I’m hoping that if the Latuda remains truly effective, I might be able to limit or even eliminate ECT from my treatment plan.

More importantly is the positive side effect:  I feel happy.   Yeah, you heard me right.  HAPPY.  I’ve only been taking this medication for about two months, but so far I have felt better on it than on any other prescription or drug combination.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress while taking Latuda, but I wanted to throw the name out there in case any of you are as frustrated with your treatment plan as I have been.  Maybe ask your doctors about it?  It’s the first medication I’ve found to be truly effective in treating nearly all of my symptoms of bipolar disorder and just knowing that I may have found “the one” makes me feel better already.

39 thoughts on “Latuda and its Happy Side Effect

  1. I’m glad to hear you are experiencing some relief with Latuda.

    I am a fellow blogger with a mental illness and I’m currently working on a spiritual memoir entitled “Delight in Disorder: Meditations from a Bipolar Mind”. Currently, I’m working on “The Study” chapter where I reflect on books that have impacted my understanding of mental illness as well as list other works of art (books,movies,visual arts, music) worth exploring.

    I’d love for you to visit my site and share what you’ve found helpful. The post is here –

    http://writingforfoodinindy.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/madness-in-media/

    Hope to see you around.

  2. Your writing is flat out excellent in style, humor, content, and readability. I’m learning much from your work on this blog. One thing I’m learning is that I can have more respect for someone that I already highly respect and admire, because I have this “new window” open on that person into a room that I never new existed.

  3. I too love latuda. I still have to take it with other meds but it definitely changed my life for the better. Good for you for your perseverance in finding the right Med

  4. I’m very anxious to continue to learn how Latuda affects you. I’m on a daily cocktail of 6 meds. It took about 3 years of trial and error to get where I am today and I’m doing fine overall. But to go from a med cocktail down to just one pill a day sounds wonderful.

    • Well, I’m actually taking Latuda AND Ativan, because I still need the Ativan to help me sleep at night. And I do ECT (are you familiar with that?), so that helps, as well. But I used to take several pills a day and now I’m down to just the Latuda and Ativan. I find that I’m a tiny bit jittery right after taking it, but that goes away fairly quickly. It doesn’t make me sleepy like other meds used to, and I don’t wake up feeling groggy and thick-headed. Of course, I’ve only been on it a few months and in the past, my body has grown tired of certain meds and seems to build up a resistance to it and I have to switch to something new, but so far so good with the Latuda. Because it’s a pretty new drug, several doctors I’ve spoken to haven’t heard of it or haven’t prescribed it to their patients because they don’t have a lot of history to work with. However, I definitely think it’s worth inquiring about. Good luck! Please let me know if you try it – I’d love to hear how it’s working for someone else. Thanks for your reply!

      • Just wondering how you are still feeling taking the Latuda. My doctor has prescribed a cocktail of different meds that don’t seem to be working and Latuda was on of them. I was wondering if I just took the Latuda to see if it helps. I feel more depressed now than I did before I ever started taking the meds. I felt better when I wasn’t taking anything at all but I had terrible mood swings and anger fits.Just wanted to see how things have been since May for you as I may just start taking Latuda and Clonazepam alone to see if it works for me.

      • Hi, Heather –
        Funny you should ask! I just saw my psychiatrist about ten days ago and told him that I thought the Latuda was not working as well as it did in the beginning (February). He asked exactly what I noticed, and I told him that I was slightly shorter-tempered, and maybe a little more depressed. It worked so well when I first started taking it and I noticed such a positive difference in my demeanor, and I was concerned when I felt I wasn’t reacting to it as well six months later.

        It turns out I was on a fairly low dose (40mg) and he asked if I’d be willing to try 60mg, instead. I’ve been doing that for over a week, and I do definitely notice a positive improvement. I feel much like I did when I first started taking it – definitely less depression and I feel a little more tolerant of common annoyances. The only negative thing I notice is that about 30 minutes after taking it, I feel like my heartbeat speeds up a little and I feel a little panicky. Maybe that’s not the right word – I guess I feel a little bit jumpy for about half an hour after it kicks in, and then I calm down. So I’ve started taking it at night when I also take Ativan to sleep, and the Ativan seems to knock out the jumpy effects of the Latuda.

        So those are the only two meds I’m taking now, and it seems to be a pretty good combination. Maybe you are ready for an increase in the Latuda? Maybe it’s something that can be taken alone? My psychiatrist told me that Latuda has just been approved for use as a bipolar medication, making it the only official bipolar med on the market other than Seroquel. So maybe that’s all you need? Clearly I’m no doctor and am in no position to prescribe anything to you, but this is my experience and maybe you can use it as reference the next time you speak with your doctor.

        I’m glad you looked me up – I hope this was at least a little bit helpful. Good luck – keep me posted!

        C

  5. Just yesterday I started latuda for bipolar. Did u gained weight while taking latuda alone.? i am taking just latuda alone. like to take zoloft with it but researing whether it is a good combination..

    • I have not gained any weight. That was a concern for me prior to starting Latuda, but my doctor assured me that it is “weight neutral”, which means you should not gain weight as a result of taking it. However, that might change if it is taken with other medications. But so far, I haven’t had any problems with it.

  6. Thanks for all the info on Latuda, I have a friend with bipolar disorder and is taking Lithium which is working but she sometimes is still short-tempered at times. I have printed some of this information so that I can have her read it and possibly ask her psychiatrist about prescribing it for her. I first saw the commercial about this new drug on TV and thought maybe this new med. would help her as well.

  7. Does latuda make you drowzy and put you strait to sleep when you take it and if so do you feel growgy in the morning when you wake up from taking it. Im ready to start tonight for the first time as nothing else seems to work for me and hope latuda is the answer to my issues as it seems to be working for others.

    • Hi, Robert –
      I’ve now been taking Latuda for just over one year. I have not noticed any side effects since I first started. No drowsiness (I take it at night), no discomfort, no weight gain, nothing. And unlike when I was taking other meds, I do not wake up feeling groggy. I feel well rested and calm when I wake. When I first started taking Latuda, sometimes I felt my heart racing within five minutes of ingesting it, but that anxious feeling would go away after just a few minutes, and eventually it disappeared altogether and I no longer feel that, either. You do, however, need to be watchful for side effects that some people suffer, especially twitching or ticking of your muscles. Apparently, that can be dangerous. But again, I didn’t experience any of that. This is the longest I’ve been on any medication for my bipolar disorder, and I feel quite calm. I, too, have tried seemingly every other drug on the market with very little luck, so I am grateful that Latuda is working for me. I wish you luck. Please keep me posted!

  8. I too have been on several different mediactions for bipolar depression. I have been hospitalized as well and must say laTuda in combination with zoloft for my specific situation is working GREAT! I too can say after over a decade of severe depression, I am Happy! I experienced upset stomach as well and have to take it with food or my dr told me it will not be absorbed properly. I am glad my dr recommended this to me and it has been able to help other people as well. I wish I would have had this 10 years ago, would have cut out alot of crap. I truly have my dr to thank. Everybody notices a positive massive difference in me with everything. My personality is blossoming ,and I am much more outgoing and apparently funny. Glad I found this! And I am glad it has helped u and u can finally be happy:)

    • Hi, Brittany – How are you feeling? Are you still having success with the combination of Latuda and Zoloft? I’m still doing so well with the Latuda and I love hearing that others are having positive effects, as well, because it’s so new and it hasn’t gained a lot of popularity yet. I hope you’re continuing to do well!

      • Hi I was on latuda and stopped it because I felt a really strong feeling I could not breath when I reported it to my doctor he wants me to start it again with cymbolta 80/30 have you ever heard this before PLEASE COULD REALLY USE YOUR HELP BEFORE SUNDAY AFTER THE BREATH PROBLEM REALLY UPSET TO START AGAIN THANKS FOR PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE

      • Hi Patty –
        Because I’ve never personally met anyone else who is taking Latuda, I can only vouch for myself and my own experiences with it. But I’m happy to share with you the side effects I’ve had:
        I was told to take Latuda at night, at the same time I take Ativan, which I take to help me sleep. Ativan has also been helpful to relax me when I start to feel panicked. I took both drugs at night all the time, but one morning I realized I hadn’t taken the Latuda the night before so I decided to take it right away. It was about 8am and I’d never taken it in the morning before. Within 20 minutes of taking it, my heart started to race and I felt very agitated. I thought I was having a panic attack. I honestly thought I had too much caffeine that morning, and didn’t associate it with the Latuda. However, to calm myself down I took 1mg of my Ativan, and felt calmer pretty quickly. I took my dose of Latuda once more in the morning a couple of weeks later instead of at night because I had again forgotten to take it the night before, and I experienced the same shortness of breath and racing heart. I did not have the Ativan to calm myself down which only made me feel more anxious, but after about thirty minutes the panicked sensation slowly went away and I felt fine. And although I can’t prove the Latuda caused my heart to race, I now only ever take it at night in combination with the muscle relaxant and have not had any additional problems. My doctor had not heard from any other patients that they had suffered from the anxiety sensation, but Latuda is a fairly new drug and perhaps hasn’t been well-documented.

        That is my only negative experience. I don’t know what Cymbalta does – is it a muscle relaxant? If it is a calming agent, the combination might be better than taking the Latuda alone. But I don’t know anything about Cymbalta so I can’t really advise you safely. Maybe ask your doctor what Cymbalta does and if he/she thinks it might prevent the breathing problem. I wish I could be of more help, but I can only share with you my own experiences. I hope this helps a little bit, Patty. And I hope you have good luck with this. Please keep me up to date on your progress.

  9. Hi there. I just started Latuda yesterday. I’m thankful that I came across your blog being that you have shared so much about your own experiences with it. It’s good to hear that it’s been over year and you are still feeling well.

    Before, I was on Effexor and Welbutrin but I noticed that things got progressively worse. So much so that I had a breakdown and couldn’t stop crying for two days. My doc now has me on Latuda and Doxepin. Both of which I take at night with a meal..

    I will report back soon to share my own experiences.

    • Hi Crissy – I’m so glad that you have the opportunity to try something that hopefully you will find helpful. I continue to have success with Latuda, and I don’t really have any negative side effects. I’ve just started seeing commercials for Latuda on TV, which means it’s finally getting some recognition for being effective. Please keep me posted – I’d like to hear how you are progressing.

      • Thank you for your note about Latuda. I have been on Latuda with Viibryd (antidepressant) and it is working pretty well overall. While I am diagnosed with Bipolar 1, I typically cycle between agitation and depression (not really elated). I take Latuda at night and Viibryd during the day. So far it is working well…sure beats the Lithium and Depakote combination from years ago.

  10. It’s been almost 3 weeks since I began taking Latuda. Thus far, I feel more at ease and not nearly as anxious or depressed. I feel more even keeled than anything else.

    It took time to ween me off of the Effexor that I had been on for ten years. At the same time I’m being weened off of Effexor I started Latuda at 20 mg. At first if felt as though needles were prickling my entire body. I also felt extremely dizzy, light-headed, numb, nauseous, and had this overwhelming sense of fatigue. I also felt very paranoid. As though people were staring at me and following me. I know. Sounds crazy – no pun intended. ;) These side effects were probably from the Effexor; not the Latuda.

    I still have my highs and lows. Most recently, I was on a manic high. So much so that I felt incredibly productive, high energy and could do anything. About 30 minutes later I felt just the opposite. I went from feeling as though I was on top of the world to why am I here?

    In regards to side effects – haven’t had any. No weight gain, no drowsiness, no twitching of muscles, etc. I do however have a tremendous problem with concentrating/focus. Since being off of work, I have created tasks for myself. My goal is to start and finish. Knowing that I have a very difficult time completing even the simplest of tasks. I can’t tell you how many tasks I have started but none of which has yet to be been completed.

    For now I am on 3 meds. Brintellix in the morning and Latuda 40mg and Doxepin in the evening.

  11. First, I really appreciate your writing style! It’s tough to find those who write clearly and intelligently on the subject and their experiences. I’m so happy Latuda seems to have been quite a lifesaver for you! I however am having quite a difficult time and can’t seem to find anything online that fits with what I’m experiencing! I’m also switching psychiatrists this next week, for the third time in 7 years, to hopefully find a better drug cocktail. My most recent combination was Depakote (1,500 mg), Lamictal (200 mg), and Klonopin as needed. Due to an unrelated health incident, I was taken off the Depakote within a week and had terrible withdrawal symptoms. My doc wanted to try me on Latuda but I was very wary as I had TERRIBLE akathisia on Saphris, a drug in the similar class. I started on 10 mg to see if my body could handle it and I felt totally fine so I went up to the normal trial dose of 20 mg five days ago. For the past three days I’ve totally crashed; and I don’t experience akathisia. I can’t fall asleep; once I do I am like a log until 1 or 2 and cannot awaken. Once I do manage to get up, my entire body hurts: muscles, bones and all. No headaches or nausea, some of the typical side effects noted about the drug. I’m totally out of it, listless, irritable, wanting to cry, and am just so achey. I’ve also been experiencing shortness of breathe and increased anxiety. My Lamictal was increased to 300 mg two weeks ago when I came off the Depakote but I’ve been on Lamictal for 7 years and have never had a bad reaction. All I can think is to attribute it to the Latuda I’ve introduced to my body. I can’t find anyone who’s experienced any adverse reactions like this! Has anyone shared a bad experience on Latuda with you?
    Oh, I’m Bipolar II with mixed states.
    Thank you :)

    • Hi, Julia – So, I’ve been on all of those same drugs, except the Depakote because I heard it was very “hard core”. I developed a rash on my neck with Lamictal within the first few days of taking it, so my doctor had me stop because he said it could be a sign of a serious disease (maybe called Stevens-Johnson or something like that…..). Unfortunately, I was not on it long enough to experience any benefits, although I’ve heard it’s a very effective drug. I, too, am Bipolar II and I used to be “hyper manic” and would experience very fast swings between states. The Latuda has been really great for me. I actually have experienced total body aches as well, but I can’t be certain that it’s as a result of the Latuda. I ached almost any time I was horizontal. Sleeping was pretty tough and I would wake up feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. My doctor prescribed Lyrica, which is generally used for fibromyalgia, and it worked very well for me. I don’t take it consistently because I noticed that the pain was constant at night only for the first few months, and now I don’t feel it nearly as often. I only take the Lyrica when it’s really bad. The other thing I noticed about Latuda is that within 20-30 minutes of taking it, I initially would feel kind of a rush. My heart would race and I would feel very panicked, but that sensation would go away within an hour or so and then I would feel calm again. I take Ativan at night for sleep, and I noticed that if I take the Latuda with the Ativan, I don’t get that panicky feeling. I have not had any akathisia, which I’ve heard is a big concern with Latuda. My doctor monitored that very carefully, and had me write down any twitching sensations I felt during the first couple months I was on the Latuda. I experienced nothing, which is comforting. I also have taken Saphris, but it made me extremely tired and I had a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. You’ve been on the Latuda for a month now? Have you noticed any changes? Is your system getting used to the drug or are you still having the negative side effects? I really hope it works for you. If it doesn’t, please don’t give up. I really believe that there is a good combination for everyone, but it takes a lot of experimenting with lots of different medications to get to that point. I know it’s frustrating, but body and brain chemistry is just so darned complicated and sadly, what works for one doesn’t always work for another. I wish it was that simple. I’m hoping that since it’s been a couple of weeks since you posted this (and I’m sorry for such a late reply!), that you’ve made it through the initial “getting used to it” period and perhaps you’re having better success. Will you please let me know how you’re doing?

  12. I have a question…hope you can answer. I am on Prozac and Lithium. My Dr. just added Latuda to the mix yesterday. He says to take with the other 2 meds, but I was under the impression it could be taken alone and be effective. I just don’t want to overmedicate because I have done that for many years and was hoping to cut back. What is your opinion on the mixture of these 3? I also am on Xanax for anxiety. Thanks!

    • Hello! I’m so sorry I’ve taken so long to answer your question. I hope you’re doing OK and that you’ve had some success? I, too, have felt at times like I’m taking too much medication (right now I’m just on Latuda for bipolar depression, and Ativan to help me relax and sleep, etc). At one time a few years ago, I was taking up to five medications a day and I felt like I was doing myself a serious injustice because I was so worried about long-term effects. But after speaking with many other bipolar sufferers, I realize that most of us are taking several medications at once and have done so for years without any serious negative effects.

      Yes, I’ve heard that Latuda can be effective when taken alone, so maybe with time you will be able to wean yourself from the other drugs. But I think for now it’s best to follow the advice of your doctor. Your system needs time to adapt, and maybe in a few weeks you can talk to your doctor about cutting back on the other two. I have, in the past, taken both Prozac and Lithium, but not at the same time. I took Prozac alone for several years before I realized it just wasn’t enough. And the Lithium for me was a short-lived experiment because I felt absolutely no benefit from that drug. Everyone is so different – I wish there was an easy solution for those of us with bi-polar disorder, but sadly there is not. It takes a lot of time and a lot of experimenting to find the right “cocktail” for our chemical makeup, and we have to keep reminding ourselves that eventually we will get it right. Please let me know if you’re doing well. There’s no way to see into the future and know that there will be no negative effects from taking several medications at once, but I’m trying so hard just to feel better NOW. I do worry about what is down the road for me in the future in terms of my medical health as a result of the steps I’m taking to improve my mental health. But I am mostly thankful that I’m doing well in the here and now. If I don’t do what makes me feel good right now, I won’t have a future.

      Good luck. Please let me know how you’re doing.

    • I was taking Latuda 60mg but had to have it reduced back to 40 mg due to the negative side effects. I would experience inner-restlessness, fidget (couldn’t sit still and I would twitch a lot). The inner restlessness made me want to crawl out of my skin. Just unbearable. Still have to take Xanax to calm me down after I take the 40 mg but since my dosage has been reduced the unbearable inner-restlessness is much more mild now. As far as the twitching goes…it’s more within my feet/toes then anything else. I have gained some weight but am not sure if that is due to the Latuda or the Brintillex.

      • Hi, Chrissy –

        I’ve never heard of Brintillex. I’ve heard that the Latuda is “weight-neutral”, which is one of the reasons I tried it because I gained so much weight on so many other drugs. But I never know if that is the truth, or just a claim by the drug company to get us to try it. I don’t think there’s a woman I know who would willingly take something that says “expect weight gain”!

        I’ve been told that the “twitching” can be dangerous and permanent, and that’s one of the side effects I was told to be wary of when I started Latuda. I think it’s called Akithisia (maybe that’s not the right word), and I was told to look out for mouth movements and uncontrolled twitching in my hands. I had a funny twitch on one of my lower eyelids which made me nervous because it started at about the same time I started the Latuda, but it turned out that I just needed glasses. I really am getting old!

        I take something similar to Xanax (I take Ativan) because I noticed that I got very nervous and restless feeling right after taking the Latuda, and it would last 20-30 minutes and then I could calm down on my own. But now I take the muscle-relaxant at the same time as the Latuda because I really hated that nervous feeling, even if I knew it would go away soon. Have you asked your doctor if you can take the Latuda at the same time as the Xanax? Maybe that would be helpful?

        The twitching makes me worry about you – please make sure that you are documenting when it happens, how long it lasts, and what parts of you are twitching – do your toes on both feet twitch at the same time, etc? Then I would definitely report what you learn to your doctor so he can determine if it is a serious side-effect or just maybe nervousness. I think it’s so important to listen to your body and monitor anything at all that seems abnormal for you.

        Good luck – please keep me up to date on your progress!

  13. My husband is currently taking Depakote and Lithium for his bipolar disorder. The side affects are so harsh that he has gained over 53 lbs in 5 months.. and he is losing all of his hair. His doctor is going to have him start backing off on the depakote and slowly incorporate 40 mg of latuda with the lithium… I am feeling kind of nervous about this change because id hate to see him go into a manic episode again.. I really hope that latuda will be a positive transition for him and make it so he is not a zombie anymore.

    • Hi, Brittany – I’ve heard that Depakote can cause weight gain, but a lot of people think that the positive side effects outweigh the possibility of gaining weight. I have been on Latuda for more than 16 months now, and haven’t had a manic episode since I started taking it. I don’t know if that is typical of everyone, but I’ve continued to feel very good while taking it. Also, Latuda is supposed to be “weight neutral” so hopefully your husband will have that benefit, as well. I’ve started seeing commercials for Latuda on TV, which is encouraging to me because it means the word is getting out about its successes. When I first started taking it last year, I had never heard of it. I hope your husband starts feeling better soon. Hang in there – the loving support of family members is so important in recovery and “sanity maintenance” with bi-polar patients (in my experience) and he is lucky to have someone who is concerned for his well-being. Good luck, and keep me posted!

  14. I, too, have had a pretty good experience with Latuda. I take the 3 L’s: Lithium, Lamictil, Latuda. However, I am not as excited about it. There are some definite draw backs. I like the “up” in my mood, but I have developed insomnia and my personality is different. I am more intense than my usual self. If people have questions, I would be happy to write more. This blog does seem like a drug company website. I love the new feeling of not being depressed. But, I know this is a new drug and the data is very limited —only 6 week followup. It’s concering and worth taking into consideration.

    • Hi, Lucy –

      I’m so sorry this seems like a “drug company” website! I promise I am in NO WAY affiliated with any pharmaceutical or drug companies in any way! (I would hope that a drug company blog would be a little better written……) I have been on so many drugs in the past twenty years that I thought I could help by sharing some of my experiences, hoping to learn if I’m the only one having successes or failures with particular drugs. And my blog certainly is not just about the medications I’ve been taking. In fact, only a 1/2 dozen or so of my nearly 90 posts have been drug-related! I’m just so happy to have found something that works for me, that I wanted to pass the word along since it’s fairly new to the market. I hope you’ll maybe read a few of my other posts so you can feel assured that I’m not writing on behalf of any company or anyone but myself and anybody I think my crazy input might help.

      In regards to Latuda, I do not think it’s a miracle drug. But it has helped me more than any of the others. I mentioned to another reader that I’d had bad luck with Lamictal, developing a scary allergy pretty quickly. And I took Lithium alone for years. The Latuda, I noticed, did give me insomnia initially because when I first take it, I feel a little bit of a buzz. So I started taking it with Lorazapam/Ativan because that combination helps me relax and sleep. Insomnia was actually a huge problem for me for years, and I started self-medicating just to get some rest, which turned out to be a bad idea. One thing I’ve also done is cut out all caffeine after lunchtime, because I’ve noticed that it has a stronger effect on my sleep as I get older. Have you ever taken an anti-anxiety mixed with these other medications? I have an 11-year old daughter who takes an anti-depressant, but she also takes something for anxiety because we noticed that after starting the anti-depressant, she was also a little more intense, definitely taking things a little more seriously and having a bit of a shorter temper. She takes Lexapro every morning, a very small dose, and we noticed a big difference in her intensity. Maybe ask your doctor what would be making you feel intense?

      I have been told that Latuda is for “bipolar depression”, which means I don’t have any clinical data as to whether or not it actually helps with mania or not. But I’ve been on it for over a year and I definitely am less depressed (although it doesn’t do anything for what I call “situational depression” which I have simply as a result of some of the rotten things going on in my life currently). But I wake up feeling pretty happy and ready for the day. Yes, Latuda is a very new drug and there is very little data that I can find that supports long-term use. But it’s working for me, for now, and the point of these few entries regarding my meds is to provide readers with some background on my experience, just in case they have reached desperation mode with what they’re on now and want to try something new.

      I hope you find success with your medications, Lucy. I realize it’s hard to find the right combination to take, and that the time of day and the dosage and the combinations are really tough to mess with until you are able to get the right one.

      If any one else has questions that perhaps Lucy could answer based on her experience, her email address is listed in the post above and it sounds like she’s welcoming input and questions. Lucy, thanks again for replying. I hope you find the combination that is just right for you. I’m not sure that what I’m doing is “just right” for me, but it certainly is an improvement on my former self. Good luck, and I really hope to hear from you again to update me on your progress.

    • I’m so glad to hear it, Sherry. Keep up the good work! And remember, if Latuda ends up not working for you in the long run, there are other options out there. As long as you’re taking medication under the care of a doctor, you are on the right track. But I do hope Latuda continues to be a success. I’m still doing very well on it, also, and it’s been nearly 18 months. Thank you for reading!

  15. Hi there…I just picked up my latuda from the pharmacy. I’ve been reading as much I can about it. I am a little nervous about it. I have been on so many medications…some were okay for awhile then they would stop working. I’ve been on a cocktail of many meds for 2 years now cymbalta, trileptal, seroquel, and then there’s the other meds for high blood pressure, water pill, thyroid and last but not least suboxone and well that’s for being an addict…I have a lot of pain from RA and lupus and I was put on pain meds but because of my past and present addiction I couldn’t just take one. So I decided yup get help and was put on suboxone (which I plan to come off in the future) now regarding my mental meds it’s been such a battle..I’m so tired of the ups and downs being angry and the anxiety. So my doc said let’s try latuda..I tried abilify and I had a bad reaction…I wanted to kill myself and I tried. I’m nervous and scared. I have also lost 54lbs and I’m afraid with these antipsychotics I will gain weight and I’m doing so well to lose it. From what I’ve read from your experience that you are happy with latuda I just hope I can get the same benefits any comments or suggestions are welcome. I plan on taking it tomorrow after a high protein breakfast…..just very nervous..I also know I want know anything till I try it.
    Thank you very much

    • Hi, Kristin –

      First of all, I apologize for my delayed reply. I usually get back to people pretty quickly, but I somehow missed your comments and I am sorry it’s taken me so long to respond.

      I’m curious to know how you are doing with the Latuda, as it looks like you may have been on it now for a month? I do not have any experience with trileptal or suboxone, but I have taken Seroquel (it made me gain weight and I felt very anxious while on it). I am still on Latuda and continue to have success, although I do not feel it does as great a job as it did after the first few months of taking it. Perhaps my body has gotten too used to it, or perhaps it loses some degree of effectiveness after taking it for so long (I experienced that with Lithium), but it does still work and I feel pretty good.

      I have been assured that Latuda is “weight neutral”, which means it does not have the side effect of making you gain weight. Hopefully that has been your experience so far. The only problem I’ve really had with it is that if I take it in the morning, I feel a little anxious (nervous, racing heart) for about half an hour after taking it, even if I take it with food. So instead, I take it at night with my Ativan, which I take to help me sleep. That seems to cancel out the nervousness I feel when taking it alone. I typically don’t eat when I take the Latuda, but I have heard that it can be beneficial to take it with protein.

      In regards to your pain meds, have you ever tried Lyrica? My doctor thought I had fibromyalgia because for quite a while I had all-over body aches whenever I was lying down, and it really helped to relive the aching. I no longer take it (my aches and pains turned out to be as a result of severe depression…..), but it worked while I needed it.

      I did not do well on Abilify, either. Again, it helped me gain weight, and I too am trying hard to stay where I am on the scale.

      Will you please reply with how you are doing, if you are still taking the Latuda? I’d like to know how you are feeling. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Clearly, I’m no expert, but I’ve found it helpful to discuss the Latuda with other people taking it because it’s such a new drug that I feel not very many others have experience with it yet.

      I hope you’re feeling well, and I hope to hear back from you soon.

  16. Actually, I did a lot of research. For example, Lamictal is effective in treating bipolar disorder, but it has not been approved for use SPECIFICALLY for that disease by the FDA. But doctors continue to prescribe because it does work for some people. Please feel free to refer to the following column I found for more information regarding “official” and “non-official” drugs used to treat bipolar disorder: http://www.healthline.com/health-blogs/bipolar-bites/why-do-doctors-prescribe-medications-not-approved-bipolar-label#2

    Additionally, I appreciate your reply, but I am not “spreading harmful misinformation”. I would hope that nobody goes out and uses a medication simply because a person read about it from a random blogger. That is a private decision to be made between patient and doctor. If I have made an error, I apologize, but I was using information obtained from my doctor and from articles like the one listed above for reference.

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

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