Friday, June 15, 2007

Why I decided to Stop my Bipolar Meds for the FIrst Trimester

I've discovered that planning for a pregnancy can be difficult for anyone, but being bipolar and on medication presents an extra level of challenges. Since 2003, when I had a severe manic episode, I've been stable. In part because I was on medication. In part because I learned to take care of myself.

Years ago I asked my psychiatrist about having kids, and he suggested I should adopt. Now he is working with me on a plan to go off Lamictal for the first trimester. It's a little scary to think that I will be medication free for months -- it is a risk. I hope I am prepared for the challenge.

Some people in my life have questioned my decision to stop medication for part of the pregnancy and then go back on. I realize that it is a chance some people aren't willing to take -- and there is little concrete data to really guide someone.

So why did I decide to quit meds? Lamictal is a Class C drug during Pregnancy. This really means they don't know if it is safe or not. Of the various pregnancy registries that tracks Lamictal exposure only one has shown an increase in birth defects -- particularly Cleft palate. Exposure to that type of birth defect is only in the first trimesester. Some researchers actually think it is not true due to the sample size. Statisically the latest report from the lamictal registry shown the risk of birth defects at 3% -- the baseline risk across the board is 3% - so it is entirely possible that it is completely safe. However I wanted to minimize the small risk anyway.

Click here to learn more about Lamictal and cleft palate
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