Friday, December 31, 2010

Meds I Still Need: Provigil (I know for sure)

I've been trying to reduce my meds, my dosages. I'm trying to see how little I can take. Of course I do it slowly, carefully. And if it doesn't work, I go back on it. So far I am off of Ambien, Abilify, and Wellbutrin. But still on quite a bit.

I've been taking 200mg of Provigil 2x/day. I wanted to go on it for my ADD- the conventional stimulants give me tachycardia, so they are now out. And I feel like the Provigil has changed my life. Plus it helps with my depression.

Of course, my insurance company would not pay for it. And, at the dose I take, it costs more than my rent. Buying it in America is not even an option, unless I want to live in my car. So I buy an unapproved generic from India. I've been doing this for a while with no problems. Well, this fall I waited until the last minute to order it- and then it never came. I waited and waited... and they said it was backorderred. And I didn't know where else to get it from.

So I got a prescription from my psychiatrist for 10 pills with a few refills, to fill here, until it came. And then I went to the hospital pharmacy to fill it, hoping that with my employee discount it wouldn't be so bad. But when they told me it would be 259 dollars for 5 days worth, I just couldn't do it. I walked away.

OK, I thought, I can do this some other way. I bought ginseng and ginko and choline and various brain-promoting nutrients. I allowed myself a second cup of coffee in the afternoon. And I have to say, these things did help some with my attention. Not like the provigil, but maybe 50 percent. But I had forgotten that Provigil also has an antidepressant effect on me. And within a week I was so depressed that I had decided that my life was over and was plotting my death.

I had just enough energy to drag myself to the pharmacy and fill the prescription. Within an hour I started feeling better. No, not all better, but some. It has taken me about 2 weeks to get reasonably back to normal.

Meanwhile, I had decided to try Nuvigil. My doctor thought it would be easier to try to get my insurance to approve this one, because the drug company is trying to get everyone on Nuvigil before Provigil goes generic, and they are giving insurance company lots of incentives. And even if I got denied, it would still be cheaper, plus hopefully I would only have to take it once a day.

Of course I got denied for Nuvigil. But then the Provigil came in the mail. I feel like ordering my next 3 months worth already, so that I will never run out again.

I got so depressed so quickly- it was really bad. Of course, I really don't know to what it extent it was a withdrawal effect, but I doubt it all was- I went off of the stimulants cold turkey a number of times without much trouble except a little fatigue and tremendous hunger for about a week.

The other drugs I know I need for my mental health are my Effexor (high dose), my thyroid hormone (and it has to be Cytomel, not Synthroid), and the birth control pill. My Zyprexa I've finally gotten down to 2.5mg, and I'm just too scared to try to go down further. I've never been manic since I started taking it. And as for my Zonegran- well, I suppose I should be on a mood stabilizer, especially if I ever want to get off of the Zyprexa. It is the one I have tolerated best, least side effects, and it even helps with appetite and depression. But if I do stay on the Zyprexa, maybe I don't need the Zonegran?

I am really the least medicated I have been in years. And having the least sedation/side effects. I am taking a ton of supplements- more about that later. So lots of pills to swallow still. But increasingly, fewer and fewer of them are conventional drugs.

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