Physically sick from the meds . . . what to do . . . what to do

Leslie writes in with a question . . .

I have been taking Lamictal for a short period of time. My doctor added Abilify 10 days ago and I have had a low grade fever ever since. She says it’s flu but I now am certain it is the medication. The fever has also made me too nausious to function normally. I’ve also had a huge appitite and sweating. I think I should stick with lamictal and wellbutrin.
Any thoughts?

The sort of symptoms that you describe are unusual.  While you do not go into depth, I am assuming that in addition to the low grade fever, you have some muscle aches, upper respiratory symptoms and the “generally feeling crappy” feeling that goes along with the flu.  If you have all of those symptoms . . . maybe you have the flu . . . but the flu generally does not last for 10 days and generally is WORSE than what you describe.  I mean, really . . . anytime I have the flu, I feel like I’m gonna DIE.  I am afraid that this sounds a bit like medication side effect more than the flu (tho’ some of these side effects are really wierd).

So . . . what to do . . . what to do . . .

If you have the time and patience, I would (as always, in consultation with your shrink), taper off the Abilify, establish a new baseline, and then re-challenge with the Abilify.  If the same side effects occur, then it was because of the Abilify.  If not . . . guess you had the flu!  You don’t go into detail about your symptoms so I don’t know if the Abilify was for mood stabilization or to augment the benefits of the antidepressant.  That would, of course, determine the next step if the Abilify is not tolerated.

–Dan Hartman, MD

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