Welcome to Crazy Meds, where you can learn what’s good, what’s bad, what’s interesting, and what’s plain weird and funny about the medications used to treat depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, epilepsy, migraines, anxiety, neuropathic pain, or whatever psychiatric and/or neurological condition you might have. The information on this site is to help you work with your doctor(s) to find the right treatment options. Too many of us get nothing more than 15-minute appointments with overworked doctors or nurse-practitioners, so we need all the help we can get. We need to talk to our prescribers about the best medication1 to treat our conditions, and not the most profitable ones, or the cheapest ones2.
OK, in reality “best” usually translates to “least bad.” If you know the name of the medication(s) you’re looking for, you’ll probably want our list of drugs by name. There’s also our much larger list of all the meds we know about to treat various conditions, including all the brand/trade names we can find for every med in every country in which each is available. We also have the drugs sorted into broad categories with lots of overlapping memberships:
- Antidepressants, like Celexa and Effexor, for the treatment of depression (duh), anxiety, and other conditions.
- Mood Stabilizers, such as Lamictal and Seroquel, for the treatment of bipolar disorder3.
- Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), also known as anticonvulsants, which are used to treat one or more of epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and migraines. Depakote and Stavzor even have FDA approval to treat all three.
- Antipsychotics, such as Invega and Abilify, to treat schizophrenia, bipolar, and depression.
- Anxiolytics - in English: drugs to treat anxiety and the alphabet soup of anxiety-spectrum disorders like GAD, PTSD and OCD. These are mostly SSRIs like Lexapro, benzodiazepines, and a few specifically non-benzodiazepine anxiolytic drugs like BuSpar.
- Benzodiazepines like Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam), which are used to treat anxiety, epilepsy, sleep disorders and more.
- Medications for Headaches and Neuropathic Pain, which are primarily AEDs like Topamax and Neurontin, and some antidepressants, like Cymbalta. “Headache” usually, but does not always mean “migraine.” Like every condition discussed on this site, officially or unofficially, headaches are a spectrum disorder. Neuropathic pain is a catch-all term for specific conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia (sometimes misdiagnosed as migraines) to “chronic idiopathic pain” - which is doctorese for, “it may or may not be psychological in origin, but the pain is obviously real even if we don’t have a clue as to what’s causing it.”
- Medications for Adult ADD/ADHD. Mostly stimulants like Adderall, but also non-stimulant medications like Strattera.
- Medications for Sleep Disorders include stimulants, benzodiazepines, and non-benzodiazepine hypnotics like Ambien.
- Stimulants, such as Adderall and Provigil (modafinil), to treat adult ADD/ADHD, sleep disorders like narcolepsy, and other conditions.
Crazy Meds is the site for the obsessed and depressed, the manic and the panicked, the schizophrenic and epileptic, the migraineurs and bipolar, those with GAD, SAD, OCD, PTSD, in pain or have an otherwise non-standard brain4. If you have any specific questions about a drug that wasn’t answered on its page, couldn’t find the drug you’re interested in, or want some help in figuring out which medication is the right one for you, then visit Crazy Meds Talk: Our forum for the mentally interesting. We aren’t doctors or anything, and we don’t diagnose, but we have more experience than we ever wanted when it comes to brain cooties and the crazy meds used to treat them. We’re all about helping each other know what the drugs can and cannot do, what they are likely to do for us and to us, and work with our doctors to make the best, or least bad, choice in medication(s) as quickly as possible.
If you’re unsure if you should be taking drugs to treat your condition(s) in the first place, see our all-purpose are you messed-up enough to need medication test.
If you do need to take medication the math is really simple: which sucks less? Taking an imperfect medication that controls the symptoms of a condition that puts your life somewhere in the spectrum of “barely tolerable” to “dear God please kill me now;” or trying to get through life with that same condition which will keep getting worse the longer you go without treating it. A lot of these meds suck donkey dong, but you know what? When you’re mentally ill, and/or have some neurological problem like epilepsy or migraines, and you’re not taking any medications, or not taking the right medications, it sucks syphilitic donkey dong while a red-hot poker is being jammed up your ass.
You don’t think it’s that bad? That’s because you’re reading this site, which is on the Internet. Which means you have access to the resources needed to read it. Have you ever been homeless and crazy? I have. Twice. Have you ever been in the lock ward of a psychiatric hospital? I have. Before Medicare Part D-for-Defraud existed, which was also when all the meds I took were available only as brand, I ran up so much credit-card debt paying for them I had to sell my house. But I was lucky, because:
- I had a house to sell. Most of the mentally interesting don’t.
- I also had credit cards, as do many of my fellow bipolar types do. And we often run them to the limit. At least I didn’t buy anything stupid.5
- I sold it in 2004, so I got out of the real estate pyramid scheme before it all came crashing down on everybody.
And my experiences were nothing compared with the lives of people I saw around me. I’m a fucking poseur when it comes to the syphilitic donkey dong and red-hot poker meeting each other in my stomach. I may no longer be able to hold down a job, a relationship, or be moderately functional more than a few hours a day a few days a week (at best), but I don’t live in a constant state of fear inside of a cardboard box.
So, if you really need meds and aren’t taking them, or taking them sporadically, or if you’re taking completely inappropriate medications, then you had better get ready. Falling into the abyss happens faster than you can imagine.
And it’s no picnic if you’re taking neurological / psychiatric medications when you shouldn’t be taking any at all.
Things like mental illness, crippling neuropathy, epilepsy, and frequent, blinding migraines can’t be dealt with by gentle hugs, prayer and pretty angels, or the fad diet of the week with a basket full of overpriced supplements. Like a lot of aspects of life where you have to make a decision between two options, your only choice is to figure out which one is going to suck less.
Once upon a time these conditions were totally invisible and everyone thought we were making it up as an excuse to avoid whatever we had to do. Now they are visible, more-or-less, on MRIs, CT, SPECT and PET scans, and various flavors of EEGs. Eventually there will be accurate and affordable genetic tests, although that could do as much harm as good. There are also measurable differences in the brains of people who have various conditions vs. those who have none. They are the most obvious in those with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. We’re almost at the point of being able to identify with really good certainty that someone has bipolar or schizophrenia (but usually cannot distinguish between them) based upon the physical characteristics of their brain while they’re still alive. Although there will always be people6 who think we’re faking it, or that we can simply “get over it.” If it were as simple as spraying WD-40 up our noses, wrapping our heads in duct tape instead of tinfoil, and walking it off, don’t they think we’d try that7?
To resurrect my old analogy, these are physical conditions like a broken leg. The above tests are like x-rays, although currently they are extremely expensive aren’t always worth the cost. Regardless, you get your diagnosis and your meds are your cast and crutches. If your leg is totally hosed, your meds are like a cane and the pins they need to implant, both of which you’ll probably need to have for a very long time, if not permanently. And just as you need to explain the cane you need to help you walk and the pins when you go through metal detectors or get an MRI, so too must you explain your condition and meds at certain times in your life.
We deal with the cerebral equivalent of broken legs. Physical conditions, not purely psychological ones, that are treated with physical methods: drugs, surgery, or electromagnetism.
We recognize that there are legitimate, and highly successful ways to treat serious neurological and psychiatric conditions that don’t involve medication. Lifestyle changes can do wonders for preventing migraines. Talk therapy is one of the best ways to handle depression. Specific types of prescription iron supplements are all some people need for restless leg syndrome (RLS). These and other non-medication, but still non-placebo treatments are all a lot of people need. If you think they might work for you, that’s great. Crazy Meds is by and for people whose conditions respond only, or primarily to prescription medications.
2 Although sometimes the latest and most profitable drug is the one you need, and it can be a fight with the insurance company to pay for it. And sometimes something old a cheap will work best for you, and not the new and shiny med your doctor suggests because the pharm rep just left a cabinet full of samples.
3 AKA Bi-polar, or bi polar, or bi-polor for those who are still in denial about having it, or how bad it can get. Severity and presentation are spectra of the condition, but it has one spelling: bipolar. You can attach the official "affective disorder" to the end of it, or pair it with any of disorder, spectrum disorder (my favorite), illness, condition, disease (annoying), syndrome (more annoying), or the various flavors of 1 through however many whichever document you've read has - along with NOS - in Arabic or Roman numerals, but it is one. fucking. unhyphenated. word. The abbreviation BP is used because lots of medical abbreviations work by syllables. LTG for LamoTriGine. GBP for GaBaPentin. There's also BD for bipolar disorder (but not BPD, as that's Borderline Personality Disorder) and BPAD for the the condition's official name: Bipolar Affective Disorder.
I don't know why, but for some reason people who cannot come to terms with being really batshit crazy, having a condition that is, at the genetic level, nearly indistinguishable from schizophrenia, and facing what could be a life sentence of taking medications that aren't as bad as everyone makes them out to be, need to break a seven-letter word into two smaller, bite-sized, often misspelled (polor? WTF? rhymes with color?) pieces. If you need to, go to some bi polar support group for a bunch of tea and sympathy and learn how every med affects everybody differently, so there's no point in asking what any drug will do. Stay here if and when you're ready to man (or lady) up and realize that all meds suck less than getting arrested for jumping up on a conference table after smashing all the planters and threatening your boss with a projector because his PowerPoint presentation was the pinnacle of his mindless, soul-crushing incompetence and you had to free your fellow wage-slaves from his idiocy. At least that's what one of my fellow residents in the locked ward of a psychiatric hospital thought after a couple days into his timeout from polite society.
4 Or anything else treated with the medications covered on this site, e.g. plumbing problems like IBS, ED, PE, and incontinence. If you don't know what the first three stand for it would be TMI in any event. So JFGI if you really must know.
5 Unless you consider meds with slim-to-none odds of working stupid. But Mouse was quickly running out of options, and slim-to-none was better than giving up. About twenty years before that, and soon before I was diagnosed as bipolar, I bought fifty acres of undeveloped land in Australia. Take it from me, that sort of thing won't save a shaky marriage.
6 All too often they're family members or employers.
7 Please don't try that. The combination of WD-40 and duct tape can fix a lot of things, but not brain cooties.
Finding the Treatment Options That Suck Less by Jerod Poore is copyright © 2010 Jerod Poore
Author: Jerod Poore. Date created: 15 September 2010 Last edited by: Jerod Poore on June 17, 2013, at 04:41 PM
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Almost all of the material on this site is by Jerod Poore and is copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 Jerod Poore. Except, of course, the PI sheets - those are the property of the drug companies who developed the drugs the sheets are about - and any documents that are written by other people which may be posted to this site will remain the property of the original authors. You cannot reproduce this page or any other material on this site outside of the boundaries of fair use copying without the express permission of the copyright holder. That’s usually me, so just ask first. That means if want to print out a few pages to take to your doctor, therapist, counselor, support group, non-understanding family members or something like that - then that’s OK to just do. Go for it! Please. As long as you include this copyright notice and the following disclaimer, I’m usually cool with it.
All rights reserved. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. If you still have questions about a medication or condition that were not answered on any of the pages you read, please ask them on the Crazy Meds Forum.
The information on Crazy Meds pertains to and is intended for adults. While some information about children and adolescents is occasionally presented (e.g. US FDA approvals), pediatric-specific data such as dosages, side effects, off-label applications, etc. are rarely included in the articles on drugs or discussed on the forum. If you are looking for information regarding meds for children you’ll have to go somewhere else.
Know your sources!
Nobody on this site is a doctor, a therapist, or a pharmacist. We don’t portray them either here or on TV. Only doctors can diagnose and treat an illness. While it’s not as bad as it used to be, some doctors still get pissed off by patients who know too much about medications, so tread lightly when and where appropriate. Diagnosing yourself from a website is like defending yourself in court, you suddenly have a fool for a doctor. Don’t be a cyberchondriac, thinking you have every disease you see a website about, or that you’ll get every side effect from every medication1. Self-prescribing is as dangerous as buying meds from fraudulent online pharmacies that promise you medications without prescriptions.
All information on this site has been obtained through our personal experience and the experiences family, friends, what people have reported on various reputable sites all over teh intergoogles, the medications’ product information / summary of product characteristic (PI/SPC) sheets, and from sources that are referenced throughout the site. As such the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for real medical advice from your real doctor, just a compliment to it. You should never, ever, replace what a real doctor tells you with something from a website on the Internet. The farthest you should ever take it is getting a second opinion from another real doctor. Educate yourself - always read the PI/SPC sheet or patient information leaflet (PIL) that comes with your medications and never ever throw them away.
Crazy Meds is not responsible for the content of sites we provide links to. We like them, or they’re paid advertisements, or they’re something else we think you should read to help you make an informed decision about a particular med. Sometimes they’re more than one of those things. But what’s on those sites is their business, not ours.
All brand names of the drugs listed in this site are the trademarks of the companies named on the PI/SPC sheet associated with the medication, sometimes on the pages about the drugs, even though those companies may have been acquired by other companies who may or may not be listed in this site by the time you read this. Or the rights to the drug were sold to another company. And any or all of the companies involved may have changed their names.
Crazy Meds is optimized for the browser you’re not using on the platform you wish you had. Between you and me, it all looks a lot cleaner using Safari or Chrome, although more than half of the visitors to this site use either Safari or Internet Explorer, so I’m doing my best to make things look nice for IE as well. I’m using Firefox and running Windows 72. On a computer that sits on top of my desk. With a 23 inch monitor. Hey, at least you can make the text larger or smaller by clicking on the + or - buttons in the upper right hand corner. If you have Java enabled. Like 99% of the websites on the planet, Crazy Meds is hosted on domain running an open source operating system with a variety of open source applications, including the software used to display what you’ve been reading. As such Crazy Meds is not responsible for whatever weird shit your browser does or does not do when you read this site3.
No neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists or pharmacists were harmed in the production of this website. Use only as directed. Void where prohibited. Contains nuts. Certain restrictions may apply. All data are subject to availability. Not available on all mobile devices or in all dimensions of reality.
‘Everything is true, nothing is permitted.’ - Jerod Poore
1 While there are plenty of books to help you with hypochondria, for some reason there’s not much in the way of websites. Then again, staying off of the Internet is a large part of curing/managing the disorder.
2 Remember kids, Microsloth operating systems are like TOS Star Trek movies with in that every other one sucks way, way more. With TOS Star Trek movies you don’t want to bother watching the odd-numbered ones. With Microsloth OS you don’t want to buy and install the even-numbered ones. Anyone who remembers ME and Vista knows what I mean.
3 Have I mentioned how open source operating systems for commercial applications is one of the dumbest ideas in the history of dumb ideas?
[begin rant] I rent a dedicated server for Crazy Meds. It’s sitting on a rack somewhere in Southern California along with a bunch of other servers that other people have rented. The hardware is identical, but no two machines have exactly the same operating systems. I don’t even need to see what is on any of the others to know this. If somebody got their server at the exact same time, with the exact same features as I did, I’m confident that there would be noticeable differences in some aspects of the operating systems. So what does this mean? For one thing it means that no two computers in the same office of a single company have the same operating system, and the techs can spend hours figuring out what the fuck the problem could be based on that alone. It also means that application software like IP board that runs the forum here has to have so many fucking user-configurable bells and whistles that even when I read the manual I can’t find every setting, or every location that every flag needs to be set in order for a feature to run the way I want it to run. And in the real world it means you can get an MBA not only with an emphasis on resource planning, but with an emphasis on using SAP - a piece of software so complex there are now college programs on how to use it. You might think, “But don’t people learn how to use Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator in college?” Sure, in order to create stuff. And in a way you’re creating stuff with SAP. But do you get a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis on Photoshop?
Back in the Big Iron Age the operating systems were proprietary, and every computer that took up an entire room with a raised floor and HVAC system, and had less storage and processing power than an iPhone, had the same operating system as every other one, give or take a release level. But when a company bought application software like SAP, they also got the source code, which was usually documented and written in a way to make it easy to modify the hell out of it. Why? Because accounting principles may be the same the world over, and tax laws the same across each country and state, but no two companies have the same format for their reports, invoices, purchase orders and so forth. Standards existed and were universally ignored. If something went wrong it went wrong the same way for everyone, and was easy to track down. People didn’t need to take a college course to learn how to use a piece of software.
I’m not against the open source concept entirely. Back then all the programmers read the same magazines, so we all had the same homebrew utilities. We even had a forerunner of QR Code to scan the longer source code. Software vendors and computer manufacturers sponsored conventions so we could, among other things, swap recipes for such add-ons and utilities. While those things would make our lives easier, they had nothing to do with critical functions of the operating system. Unless badly implemented they would rarely cause key application software to crash and burn. Whereas today, with open source everything, who the hell knows what could be responsible some part of a system failing. [/end rant]