Thursday, October 30, 2008

Very Real Dangers of Taking Ambien

I wanted to let you know the very real dangers of taking Ambien. I recently have been having a hard time sleeping .. my sleep has been disturbed because of my daughter teething and I couldn't get back on track. And I started to become hypomanic.

So I found out that Ambien is compatible with breastfeeding according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. So I took a pill the other night.

I apparently proceeded to Sleep walk, sleep eat, sleep fall (my knee still hurts) and sleep email. Yes, sleep email. (which may seem very funny) All of which I have no recollection of. I only discovered this happened when I was complaining to my husband that my knee hurt and he said ... must be because of when you fell last night. And I said what are you talking about? And he said I woke him up telling him that our baby needed a blanket and then proceeded to go to the kitchen and eat something. I was very wobbly due to the ambien and apparently fell.

I discovered the sleep emailing because I went to email my doctor in the morning about a flu shot and discovered that I had logged onto the secure messaging site and sleep emailed the night before.

I remember years ago hearing about sleep driving on ambien and thought it was an excuse for getting out of a ticket. Apparently it is very real.

Read about it here or here

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ambien Safe During Breastfeeding!

Sleep and me need each other. Badly. Lack of sleep throws me into hypomania. Hence the feelings I have now.

Last night while not sleeping I discovered that the American Academy of Pediatrics considers Ambien compatible with breastfeeding! I was so happy to hear that.

You know I have been so afraid to take ANYTHING while breastfeeding except for my Lamictal which I take religiously.

So last night I took 1 Ambien. And I slept for 4 hours straight. Yippee! Tonight I will take another Ambien and hope to sleep for 6 hours or so.

I discovered this about Ambien on my favorite breastfeeding site: KellyMom

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mood Swings Post-Partum

I was so happy when the depression lifted and things could get back to normal. And I was fortunate to have several good weeks ... and now things are on the upswing.

As usual the problem started with sleep. On Wednesday I got a stomach bug or food poisoning of some sort. And I didn't sleep all night ... because I was glued to the toilet. Yes, I know too much information.

I am not a good daytime napper. So I was basically up for 36 hours. Not good for me at all. Then on Thursday my baby was restless all night because of a new tooth coming in. So there are two really bad days of sleep.

And now I feel hypomanic. I only slept for 3.5 hours last night. Why? Because I couldn't turn my mind off. I was worrying about the financial crisis (I am one of those people with two houses because one has not sold), the upcoming election (I am very worried about who will be elected), the future of my consulting business (due to the economic climate I have lost two big clients in the last two months) and the state of my marriage (which is mostly strong however I am extremely irritable due to lack of sleep and the hypomania and I've begun resenting that my husband gets to sleep in and do this and that).

And now once again I feel like a failure. I promised myself that I would stay mentally stable for my daughter. I don't want her to have memories of a "crazy" mother. And now after having a few nights of bad sleep I'm getting sick. And the sad part is some of me is happy because at least I have energy to get things done -- which I have lacked the last few months because of the depression.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Medication During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

The most frequent emails that I get from readers are about being on bipolar medication during pregnancy and if they can breastfeed. I have to say that it really is shocking that more information isn't available on the topic.

A few women I've been emailing have been really afraid to take ANYTHING during their pregnancy. I know that I myself wished I could have a drug free pregnancy. However, I know that realistically that would be dangerous for myself and would have been for my baby.

I personally was off my bipolar meds during the first trimester. Prior to getting pregnant I tapered off my all drugs except Lamictal. And I lowered my dose from 400mg of Lamictal to 150mg. Once I had a positive pregnancy test I went from 150 to 0 in 5 days. And remained off of the medication until week 14. When I went back on I did the starter pack all over again starting at 25mg and going to 150mg over several weeks.

An interesting thing happened during week 7 of my pregnancy. I got VERY sick. It was not normal morning sickness. I was throwing up more than 10 times a day. The day before I saw my OB/GYN at the beginning of week 8 I threw up 12 times in one day. Needless to say I was dehydrated and very weak. I lost 5 pounds in one week and had ketones in my urine (which is not good during pregnancy since it means you are burning stored fat). My doctor diagnosed Hyperemesis. And put me on zofran - a strong nausea medicine originally developed for patients undergoing chemotherapy. I would not have been able to continue my pregnancy had I not been on zofran. I would have certainly lost the baby and put myself in dire straights since I was not able to keep even water down.

There is one positive thing about having to go on zofran -- it made it easier to accept that I was going to go back on Lamictal. It helped me to realize that sometimes medication is REALLY a good thing. And that the benefits of many meds outweighs the potential risks.

Some moms have questioned the fact that I am on Lamictal while breastfeeding since it does pass into breastmilk. However, both my psychiatrist and my baby's pediatrician felt the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the risks associated. I've talked about this is past posts -- but I wanted to mention it again. Pretty much ALL medications pass into breastmilk -- as does environmental toxins like dioxin. The question is really how does a baby respond. If you are considering taking medication while breastfeeding I highly recommend the book Medications and Mother's Milk by Thomas Hale. I also recommend reading KellyMom's article about breastfeeding and medications.

Feel free to email me.