Putting up with side effects
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Putting up with side effects?

Q: I am 46 years old and have been diagnosed as ADHD and Bi-Polar for 5 years. I take 150 mg of Effexor twice daily and 1200 mg of LIthium after dinner. These seem to do the trick for me. However my sex life has been completely destroyed, I break out all over my body in acne, especially on my face and I have un controllable scalp sebehorric dermatitis which my dermatologist says is caused by the lithium. My Psychiatrist just says, "well, these things just go with the territory." Are there other meds I can take? I my clothes look like it's been snowing and my wife is really lonely if you know what I mean? I am thinking about changing doctors. HELP!

Dear Doug --
What would you doc' do if you announced you were going to another doc' unless she/he changes the meds?  You might try that first, but if the answer's not satisfactory, shop on (here's a guide).  Before you go, have a read over the treatment section of my bipolar II site, where I just re-organized the review of alternative medications (see the "treatment details" section).  There are lots of alternatives, though none without some trickiness to be handled, so you need a doc' who'll work with you to get "100% symptom control, 0% side effects" -- if you're willing to do a lot of tinkering, and take a lot of different medications, many people can achieve this goal. 

Dr. Phelps

Published December, 2000

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