BiPolar II, Limotrigine & TTC

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BokkieNYC's picture
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BiPolar II, Limotrigine & TTC

(Apologies if I have posted this before)
Bit of background: I am 29 years old and was put on Limotrigine in Aug 2011 for possible Bipolar II. I suffered from insane mood swings and mania, but no depression. It has helped a lot so far, but now I am tired of waiting to TTC and my DH is finally on the same page as me.

I have decided to taper off the meds because I can't risk the birth defects, no matter how small the chance. That decision however puts me at risk of relapsing into the horrendous mood swings and mania that I was experiencing previously.

I would lik to hear from you regarding experiences with TTC/having babies while having Bipolar II, or while being on Limotrigine:

  • Did you choose to stay on the meds?
  • What led you to your decision?
  • If you decided to go off the meds: how was your pregnancy? How were you after delivery?

My sincerest thanks in advance for sharing your stories.

tink9702's picture
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I have no experience with what you are going through, but wanted to wish you luck with TTC! Have you had this discussion with your doctor? Seems to me that you shouldn't taper off meds without discussing with your physician. Just my two cents.

mama_to_peanut's picture
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My Experience ( PG and Child Mentioned)

Hi! I read your post the other day, but didn't have time to respond until now! Here goes nothing!

I was diagnosed with depression when I was 17. I just turned 26 a few weeks ago. For years I tried different medications. About a year before I became pregnant, my psychiatrist and I found a great combination of meds that work really well for me, better than anything else I had ever tried before. This combination included 50mg of Limotrigine (or lamictal) and Lexapro. Together with my psychiatrist, ob/gyn, and a fetal-maternal specialist, my husband and I decided that it would be best that I continued on my med during my pregnancy. We felt that the benefits far outweighed the risks for us. We had a meeting with a genetic counselor and discussed the possible effects on the baby. I also had several early ultrasounds to check on the little one. Our son was not born with any birth defects nor did he suffer from withdrawal from the meds after he was born. We are hoping to TTC within the next year and I plan on continuing my meds through my next pregnancy(God willing) as well.

I hope that this has been helpful! Wishing you the best of luck. Feel free to PM me if you want!

hopin2bpreggermeggers's picture
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Hey!

I was on Lamictal as well for epilepsy and possible Bipolar II (more likely related to epilepsy) b\c I too only had manic moments. I decided to go off the medicine because of the potential for birth defects. Being that I do not have tonic clonic seizures, I thought the risk to babies outweighed the risk to me.

About two months ago, they came out with a study regarding the potential birth defects of Lamictal. THey found that the most common BD is bilateral cleft, but that is seen only a tad bit higher than the average non-medicated population. More importantly, they found that there were no verbal and/or developmental defects associated with it. The average IQ of a baby on Lamictal is that of the average IQ of the mom. As such, I decided to go back on it bc the potential for bilateral cleft was over (~10-12 weeks).

As for my moods during pregnancy, they have never been better. Whatever hormones or issues I had, pregnancy essentially fixed. THat being said, many women with mood disorders get worse during pregnancy. SO I would really consult with the MFM and the psych to see what is best for you! GOod luck!

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HI Ladies

Thank you for your support & for sharing your stories. It's wonderful to hear someone else's experience.

"tink9702" wrote:

I have no experience with what you are going through, but wanted to wish you luck with TTC! Have you had this discussion with your doctor? Seems to me that you shouldn't taper off meds without discussing with your physician.

Hi Mel, thanks, I will definitely only be tapering off with the guidance of my psychiatrist Smile Thanks for sharing your support here. Your LO's are beautiful!

"mama_to_peanut" wrote:

...my psychiatrist and I found a great combination of meds that work really well for me, better than anything else I had ever tried before. This combination included 50mg of Limotrigine (or lamictal) and Lexapro. ... We felt that the benefits far outweighed the risks for us. ... Our son was not born with any birth defects nor did he suffer from withdrawal from the meds after he was born.

Hi Natalie, thank you for sharing this with me! Your LO is too cute Biggrin I'm not sure what the potential risks are for Lexapro, but I'm on a dose of 200mg Limotrigine and I feel nervous about being on such a high dose when we TTC. My DH is very against TTCing on the meds - he feels the risks outweigh the benefits and has said he will handle me if I turn into the B*#@^ I used to be Wink I am so thrilled to hear that your son had no effects at all.

"hopin2bpreggermeggers" wrote:

...I decided to go back on it bc the potential for bilateral cleft was over (~10-12 weeks). ... As for my moods during pregnancy, they have never been better. Whatever hormones or issues I had, pregnancy essentially fixed.

Hi Meg, that was the other suggestion from my psych: going back on the meds when it's safe. I'm still uneasy about being on the meds in the first place so I'm hoping that I won't need to go back on them :-? I'm terrified that my moods are going to be out of control; I'm glad that yours weren't.

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"BokkieNYC" wrote:

but I'm on a dose of 200mg Limotrigine and I feel nervous about being on such a high dose when we TTC.

Just be aware that b\c pregnancy hormones interact with Lamictal, they typically place you on double what you were prior to pregnancy (although the effects would be the same as the lower dosage).

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"hopin2bpreggermeggers" wrote:

Just be aware that b\c pregnancy hormones interact with Lamictal, they typically place you on double what you were prior to pregnancy (although the effects would be the same as the lower dosage).

Thanks Meg, I was totally not aware of that... supports my initial decision to go off.

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"BokkieNYC" wrote:

Thanks Meg, I was totally not aware of that... supports my initial decision to go off.

Understandable, but just so I'm clear - your body thinks its the same "dosage".