Geodon

Oh Geodon, what have you done to me?

The Depression Train was coming for me. It was. I want it to veer off, but it won’t and I can’t move off the tracks. It not only does it run you down, but it grasps you and takes you for a ride. Flinging you into a pit of despair when it’s done with you.

Geodon has slowed the train for me.  It’s still there, the blaring headlight blinding me into submission, the great black steel body intimidating me into compliance.  And it will catch up.  I know it will.  It’s smokey tendrils have already grabbed a hold of my ankle and are trying to knock me off balance.

But can this powerful drug save me? Not completely, not at 40mg, it seems.  And there are other trade offs as well.

Pros:

1) Geodon appears to work.

2) It has not caused any weight gain.

3) Blood sugar levels remain within normal range.

Cons:

1) It makes me dizzy/sleepy so that I have to go to bed within a couple of hours.

2) It has to be taken with a full meal.  (minimum 500 calories)

3) It works best taken twice a day because its half-life is 7 hours.

4) Low levels of Geodon cause anxiety.

Taking it twice a day is impossible because of con #1, 2, & 4.  Let’s start with con #1 –  I need to be a functional individual.  I took 80mg the second night (as prescribed) and I could not move for 14 hours! (2 half-lifes!) So now I take 40mg at night.  Sounds like a good plan, right?  Except that by mid-afternoon, I am a total ADD/manic-depressed nutcase.  No, seriously.  This stuff doesn’t just cause anxiety, this creates mayhem!  So by my rough calculations, this means that there is approximately 10mg of medication in my system leading us to #4.  The problem with #2 is that the only time I eat a total and complete meal is at dinner.  I rarely have more than 200 calories for breakfast.  The other problem is that if I have to travel for work (conferences, etc.) I can’t control when I am able to eat.  It might be 6pm or 9pm, then I would have to be up by 6am the next morning.  And I only get ~2hrs (sometimes 3) between taking the pill and getting knocked off my ass with side effects.  How is that going to work if I have to wine & dine a colleague?

So what’s a girl to do?  All the anti-psychotics cause weight gain and/or blood sugar issues.  Most docs would say, well, I’ll just give you some Metformin and be on our way.  No.  I did not work for a year to lose 40lbs and bring my glucose under control just to take a medication that will kill off more pancreatic cells.  I would rather be crazy.

Plan of Action:  I am going to try to take 80mg at night until I see my p-doc on Monday.  (Don’t worry, this plan is doctor approved.)  Hopefully, this will give me enough data points to draw a conclusion regarding the tapering off.  Can I wake up after 6-7 hours of sleep and be functional?  Does it keep that damn locomotive at bay later in the day?  Otherwise, what’s left for me?  Abilify, with a 30% chance of weight gain at $10 a pill, or lithium.

By the way, has anyone out there ever taken lithium?  Would you be willing to share your experience?

Update: I have found that higher doses of Geodon help so that I am not running into the really low does at the end of the day. Klonopin also seems to help with the anxiety.

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5 thoughts on “Geodon

  1. What’s the worst side effect? I’m going to guess it’s the sleepiness. What is the chance that is going to wear off? I remember being in a brain-dead stupor when I started Lamictal. I was a mother of a 7 month old and going to college at the same time. I mean, I had to write everything down because I couldn’t remember one moment to the next. But in two months, it mostly wore off. I have trouble rememberring things like my students names and I drop words occasionally. If it has a chance to wear off AND keep symptoms in check, then maybe you could work it out?

    I don’t recommend Abilify. My sister gained 120 lbs on it. She’s had to work really hard to get 60 of that off just in the last year. Topamax makes you stupid and may not work. Tried Lamictal? I was able to stay on it for a year without additional meds. I actually lost weight on that.

    Go to google and type in bipolar medicine comparison. I can’t remember what site it is, but a doctor actually put up the pros and cons of each medicine typically prescribed. That’s how I decided on Lamictal in the first place.

  2. Pingback: Which One Do I Choose? | A Canvas Of The Minds

  3. I’ve been on Lamictal since 2004. I thought I was stable but after reviewing some of my journal entries and memories, I realized that I have had several relapses since then. A major relapse in 2006, a minor one in 2008, and significant prolonged anxiety and stress during 2010 which has led to my current unstable state. Sadly, I have to admit that Lamictal alone is not enough to keep me sane.

    The worst side effect is the dizziness/sleepiness. I suspect this might wear off in time. If it does, then I can stay on the Geodon (so long as I can afford it). I did a lot of research before we settled on Geodon (see my Land of Antipsychotics post on Canvas) and basically it is my only option other than lithium. (We were a little uncertain about Abilify – some sources said no weight gain, others said yes.) Part of the reason we had to narrow the choices to things like Geodon is because other medications either interact with things I am already taking for other conditions or I have tried previously and didn’t work.

    I used three primary sources in my research: Medscape, the book Psychosis and Schizophrenia: Thinking It Through, and the respective manufacturer’s prescribing information. It didn’t occur to me to search for a comparison website, so I really appreciate the link. 🙂

  4. Late to the party, but here’s my two (without reading your next entry).

    Geodon won’t do much for your depression, it’s more for manic symptoms. Lamictal won’t do anything for mania or hypomania, it is actually no longer considered by the FDA to be a mood stabilizer, just great for bipolar depression.

    Abilify was totally weight neutral for me, but of course you know that doesn’t mean it will be for you (I was also hyperthyroid such that it could have killed me during part of my treatment with Abilify, so I’m sure that staved off some of the possible weight gain).

    Geodon I stopped because my hair was falling out (like in clumps) and I wasn’t very happy with that. Can’t imagine why.

    Lithium I was on and I had edema and problems driving. I don’t have my binder handy so I can’t at the moment tell you what else it did to/for me, remind me in an email and I will tell you if there’s more. Also, there’s a very high likelihood that your thyroid will be destroyed by it if you take it long term, this is a matter of personal choice, as I have a friend who will have to take thyroid supplementation for the rest of her life, but swears she would not have a life now if not for the lithium. It’s also the only drug which is FDA certified to prevent suicide.

    Another good website is the National Institute of Mental Health. I check out all of my meds there. NIMH · Home

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