Be Nice To Yourself and Don’t Buy Supplements Online

Buying supplements online seems like a good idea, a cheap way to get supplements we want or can’t get in our country. I’m Canadian and some stuff just isn’t available here. I admit, I used to be a bit of a diet pill junky, or collector. I’d buy the stupid things and take a couple, get sick, and throw them all out when I got busted by my mom. I did that for 8 years. I wasted a lot of money. I admit, I still scour the Internet for diet pills. Bad habit. I don’t use them anymore, but I find them interesting.

simpsons

I am a very pro-treatment and pro-medication kind of gal. I’ve never found that naturopaths or homeopaths have worked for me, but I know those they’ve worked very well for. I’ve tried over the counter stuff for my bipolar disorder and it hasn’t worked. If it’s worked for you, great. Feel free to share experiences. I won’t deny that over the counter stuff works, it has helped me with other problems (pain, PMS, cramps. I hate painkillers, for example). I also won’t deny that it isn’t as tightly regulated as it should be, and that it can be dangerous. People need to see their doctors before taking it and follow precautions, especially if they mix it with meds. These are medications, too, just not as tightly regulated.

People are wary of prescription drugs. In the US, in one year, they spent $26.7 billion(1) on non-prescription supplements. I’m making a guess at this, but there is less guilt in taking something over the counter, less embarrassment than asking your doctor? It seems the world is split, some avoid prescription meds, and some overuse them. The happy medium isn’t big enough!

The FDA and a subsection (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act DSHEA) have found:
– Some supplements found in stores and online can cause heart, kidney and liver problems with no warnings.
– There is little to no quality control and toxic substances such as pesticides, heavy metals or (for some strange reason) even prescription drugs are being sold with no knowledge to the customer.
– China is a major supplier of raw ingredients, which are often contaminated, have never had their factories inspected by the FDA.
Many products also exaggerate their claims, meaning, they say the supplement can prevent, treat or cure a disease. This is harmful advice, and this is illegal.
Consumers of the products often have no idea
A lot of the users of the supplements don’t know what they’re getting. It’s like a surprise, but it can hurt or kill you! A lot of vitamins and supplements purchased online contain very little nutritional value and can kill you, your kids or your pet. Seriously, if they get into them. There are a few reasons why buying online is a bad idea(2).

counterfeit

1. A medication can be “counterfeit” and dangerous. (I’m picturing a pill in fake Adidas with an Ak-47)
2. The product has probably expired, if it is real, and the seller has repackaged it for resale.
And for the best one 3. It’s stolen. No quality control.

If you can’t get it at home, don’t order it online. This includes even Amazon.

Counterfeit?
Counterfeit basically means “fake”, or “ripped off”. This is different from medications where there is a brand name and a generic, because the generic actually has real ingredients in it. A counterfeit mediction just looks real. It doesn’t act real. It’s never going to have as much active ingredient as it claims, and if you check out the link to where I’m getting this info, you’re literally paying a lot for a little bit of sawdust, according to the FDA.

roundup

Note: The criminals rarely get charged because it’s too hard to figure out who to charge, where it began and so on. Sad. This is costing a lot of money, $600 billion, to be, well, estimated, which is almost as much as terrorism costs. Cheap is so tempting, but it’s not legit.

Expired
All medications expire and can do weird things after they do. They can become more potent, less potent, or make you change colours and see things (or make you see yourself change colour?) It’s a bad idea to take that expired cough syrup. You’ll probably cough it back up into the toilet, for example, if you’re lucky. Generally a medication or supplement is good for 6-12 months after being filled at the pharmacy. Sometimes longer. Selling an expired product is illegal, its dangerous, because the product may or may not work, it could make you sick, and all the criminal has to do is slap a new date on the package.

expired

They can get any amount of $ they want. The pills aren’t counterfeit. If someone complains it doesn’t work, the “seller” and throw them a few good pills, or ignore it. Nobody knows exactly how effective this stuff is anyways. It’s a dangerous game when you buy online. Here’s a link on expired medications: http://www.rxlist.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=87599

As for stolen, well, that’s self explanatory. You could get a good product once, a bad product another time. Hit or miss.

When In Doubt
If you’re going to use supplements:
1. Don’t buy them online. Go to a local health food store.
2. See your doctor and pharmacist. Check for interactions. Get that physical every year, or every other year. Some doctors are very open to supplements. I know many that have a few concoctions for PMS and cramps!
3. Don’t take anything for weight loss, sexual ehancement or building muscle.
4. If it’s from the US, or you’re living in the US, it has a “USP Verified”(3) mark on the bottle. Their website is linked below with everything they verify.
5. You CAN overdose. More is not better.
6. If something feels wrong, tell your doctor. If it’s really wrong, go to an emergency clinic, or the ER.

Safely Buying Supplements
1. Buy from the manufacturer or a reputable operation in your own country. Try not to cross borders. Do not import things illegal in your country. (For example, ephedra, easy to get OTC in Canada, is illegal in most USA States)
2. Reputable companies supply a lot more information, ingredients, quality control info, and websites with more info, and even have phone numbers.
3. Avoid really cheap stuff.
4. Avoid sites like ebay and amazon, this is your health!

1. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/05/dangerous-supplements/index.htm
2.http://www.garyshealthtips.com/why-you-should-never-buy-supplements-on-amazon-or-ebay-a-must-read-by-former-fda-special-agent-gary-collins/wn

3. http://www.usp.org/usp-verification-services/usp-verified-dietary-supplements

Lithium Orotate – Consult a Doctor First

Consult a doctor

Consult a doctor

Just a quick response to my lithium orotate article.
Lithium orotate is lithium. Simple as that, it is just a different chemical formation. I have been called all sorts of names, a liar, an advocate for “Big Pharma” and so on. Lithium carbonate is probably the same price – it’s an inexpensive drug and it’s monitored by pharmacies, labs and you can’t buy it easily online and you know what you’re getting (in an ideal world, at least, you should know). Levels should be checked.

Lithium is dangerous to the kidneys in any formula, yes. However, lithium orotate is more dangerous. It is an over the counter supplement. This does not mean “safe”. Tylenol is deadly to the liver, for example, and is sold anywhere. Take enough, and you’ll need a new liver. What a crap example, I know.

Lithium has to be at a certain level in the blood to be therapeutic for the patient. I’m in a country (Canada) with socialized healthcare. I get blood tests for free, I get my meds cheap, yes, I have that advantage. (I can’t take lithium, but it did help for many years, I did end up with mild kidney disease called “diabetes insipidous”) It’s not the safest drug, I know that from experience. It has shitty side effects. It hasn’t changed much over the years. But it works.

Lithium orotate is dangerous simply because anyone can get it. Online supplements are more dangerous because you don’t know what you’re getting. People tend to abuse something advertised as “natural”, because “natural” sounds safe. Look at things like diet pills from GNC, a year later, they get banned because people end up with heart problems. The “healthy living store”.

I’m not saying all natural supplements are bad. But they all say to take with the advice of a doctor. Self prescribing anything is a bad idea. Especially for a psychiatric illness as serious as bipolar disorder. Especially with something like lithium. Blood levels are generally reduced to every 6 months, sometimes less once a dose is established.

A few things to remember.
Natural is NOT always safe.
Always consult a doctor, whether it be a GP or psychiatrist, before taking any over the counter medication or supplement. It could interact with something you already take, or even eat.

Be cautious if you order something online. The dose might not be accurate. It could contain something you don’t know of. It could contain something you’re allergic to. It could contain something that could come up on a physical or blood test as a false negative or positive.

A health food store doesn’t exactly have the most qualified people to give medical advice. This is medicine we’re talking about. Your mind and body. Again, see a doctor.

If you experience any weird side effects STOP.

Be cautious. Nothing works the same way for two people.

This is all my opinion. I do not have any links for you.

Scary Side Effects Part 3 – Antidepressant Induced Mania?

In the 1980’s, bipolar disorder was called manic depression and was a feared word. It was changed to bipolar (two poles) later in the 1980’s and diagnosed more and more. But often, the patient will present with depression symptoms, and get prescribed an antidepressant, which can cause horrible hypomanic, mixed, and even full blown manic episodes. This can be because we go to the doctor when we feel down, not up. After years and years of being bipolar, I know when to see a doctor for mania. (Also called “insight”)

 Mania can feel great, but it can also be dangerous. Impulsivity, people giving away all their money. Then comes the inevitable crash. Many bipolar suicides are accidental during a mixed or manic state. Some may say that antidepressant induced mania is just a side effect, it isn’t indicative of bipolar disorder. There are a lot of controversies about it.

 Some people put on antidepressants are bipolar, but it can have the same effect on somebody who isn’t bipolar. Their moods start cycling(1) and they start showing clinical features and meeting the diagnostic criteria of bipolar disorder. Is this a lasting effect? It can be. The criteria for bipolar disorder is one manic episode, although most have several.

 The findings of this study confirm that treatment-induced mania is a clinical phenomenon that belongs within the bipolar spectrum rather than a coincidental treatment complication, and that it should be placed under ‘bipolar disorders’ in future classification systems.” (1)

Statistics

Thirty-five percent of the patients had a manic episode rated as likely to have been antidepressant-induced. No variable was a predictor of vulnerability to antidepressant-induced mania. Cycle acceleration was likely to be associated with antidepressant treatment in 26% of the patients assessed. Younger age at first treatment was a predictor of vulnerability to antidepressant-induced cycle acceleration. Forty-six percent of patients with antidepressant-induced mania, but only 14% of those without, also showed antidepressant-induced cycle acceleration at some point in their illness. (2)

 Antidepressants can be devastating to someone with bipolar disorder. It can send the patient into a mixed or manic state. Some people are able to tolerate antidepressants such as tricyclics, MAOI’s, or Wellbutrin, but SSRI’s and SNRI’s have a tendency to push you over the edge. However, this may not be true at all!

 

Myth or Mania? Controversy

Sometimes the myth is just an incorrect use of language. Many people have detected a temporal association between the use of tricyclic antidepressants and mania in patients with bipolar disorder, but no mechanism is indicated. There is an assumption the association could extend to all antidepressants despite chemical and pharmacological transformations.(3) 

This association between mania and SSRI’s hasn’t been found. Studies find that the switch rate is no different than that of normal bipolar disorder when the patient is on an SSRI or SNRI.

 Revisiting the Controversy

Mania is likely to be antidepressant-induced and not attributable to the expected course of illness in one-third of treatment-refractory bipolar patients, and rapid cycling is induced in one-fourth. Antidepressant-induced mania may be a marker for increased vulnerability to antidepressant-induced cycle acceleration. Antidepressant-induced cycle acceleration (but not antidepressant- induced mania) is associated with younger age at first treatment and may be more likely to occur in women and in bipolar II patients.”(4)

 

Conclusion

Antidepessants can make a bipolar patient exhibit signs of mania. When the antidepressant is stopped, the mania generally goes away. Antidepressants are often prescribed for those that are bipolar, for the symptoms during depression. (I take Luvox for Pure-O OCD). However, a mood stabilizer with an antidepressant effect such as Lamictal or Lithium would be more effective than adding on antidepressants.

 

There are controversies, so keep that in mind. Also, with any medication and diagnosis: YMMV (your mileage may vary)

 

 

  1. http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/10/13/antidepressant-induced-mania-similar-to-bipolar-disorder/30300.html

  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7625459

  3. http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2005/07/do_antidepressants_induce_mani.html

  4. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleID=171161

Scary Side Effects Part 2 – Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome

I’m not writing this because I’m anti-medications or anything. I’m a big fan of being on my medications or I wouldn’t be functional at all. But when you introduce different chemicals into the body, it can affect more than what it’s meant to do. I took Seroquel for many, many years, and eventually switched to Zeldox (Geodon). I switched back to Seroquel, and at 400mg, I could hardly get out of bed to go to the washroom after I took my night dose. The highest dose I had been on was 900mg. 300Mg’s 3 times a day.

Then I noticed some weird side effects. I couldn’t swallow. Then I would start to panic, get up, drugged out, drink water, try to sleep, have to pee, wash rinse repeat. I also noticed fluttering in my chest, my heart kept beating “wrong”. Too fast, too slow. I would panic until I was eventually knocked out by the ‘quel but it took a while since I’m quite the insomniac. Upon hearing my symptoms, the Seroquel was discontinued and I heard of something called neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and it fit. I mostly had symptoms of dysautonomia.

 What is Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome?

NMS is a neurological disorder generally caused by some (not all, and very rarely) antipsychotics.(1) It is potentially deadly and starts in the first two or three weeks of antipsychotic use. It is a bit more common in the original antipsychotics (for example, Thorazine), and happens on the occasional atypical antispychotic, which is the new treatment for psychosis and mood stabilization.(2)

 What are the symptoms of NMS?

  • high fever, sweating, unstable blood pressure, stupor, muscle rigidity and dysautonomia(3).

  • Dysautonomia is a disease in itself. It is a medical term used for a group of conditions caused by the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Symptoms include:

  • — tachycardia (extremely fast heart rate)
    — bradycardia (slow heart rate), palpitations
    — chest pain
    — dangerously low blood pressure
    — wide swings/sudden drops in blood pressure
    — orthostatic intolerance (the inability to remain upright)
    — excessive  fatigue exercise intolerance
    — dizziness, fainting/near fainting
    — gastrointestinal problems
    — nausea, insomnia
    — shortness of breath
    –anxiety tremulousness
    — frequent urination
    — convulsions
    — cognitive impairment
    — visual blurring or tunneling
    — migraines

What causes NMS?

An adverse reaction to an antipsychotic or neuroleptic drug.

What is the treatment?

Immediate discontinuation of the medication, the symptoms are treated (mostly the fever) and a dopamine agonist can be useful. There is no diagnostic test.

What happens if it goes untreated?

It can be fatal.

  1. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/neuroleptic_syndrome/neuroleptic_syndrome.htm

  2. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/288482-overview

  3. http://www.uptodate.com/contents/neuroleptic-malignant-syndrome

  4. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/76785.php

Severe Side Effects Part 1 – Diabetes Insipidus

Sever and Rare Side Effects Part 1 – Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes insipidus has nothing to do with blood sugar. It is sometimes called “water diabetes”. You’re either born with it, or you get it from taking lithium. There is a 1/100,000 chance of getting this disease.

 

Well, I fucking got it.

 

I took lithium for eight years, it helped me incredibly. I went for a routine physical and they found protein in my urine. Further testing and an endocrinologist confirmed that it was, infact, diabetes insipidus. They were testing me for type 2 diabetes because of unexplained weight gain. I went from 120lbs to 160. I’m now in the 140’s, at the 51st percentile for someone my height, build and age.

 

They immediately told me to cold turkey discontinue the lithium. Lithium doesn’t necessarily have withdrawal or discontinuation symptoms, but it still sucks, because that was my main mood stabilizer. It was the only one that worked very well, and it was after my kidneys.

 

They suspected diabetes of some sort because diabetes means “thirst”. I could hardly go five minutes without sipping on something, and I never drink caffeinated beverages. Usually just water, juice, or light coloured pop. My endocrinologist fucked up on the type of diabetes I had, and got mad at me for not monitoring my blood sugar. Then he actually read my file, and gave me a blood work requisition form and told me to come back in 3 months, don’t take Lithium.

 

After 2 months, the symptoms were just as bad, so I called to move my appointment up, and in the end, fired the endocrinologist. I went to my GP for a referral to a kidney doctor, rather than a hormone doctor, and he told me “No, I referred you to an endocrinologist” and literally slammed the door in my face. He was in one of his “moods”. So I fired him, too, and got a new doctor who is fantastic.

 

I was diagnosed at the end of September and I’m taking a diuretic, Apo-Hydro, which means liquids are getting processed by my kidneys, and I’m not peeing out all the nutrients I’m taking in. Sounds kind of weird, that a diuetic has an opposite effect on someone with DI. After only a week, I’m seeing results. I’m not so thirsty, I’m not as dehydrated and I’m not going to the bathroom (literally) 20 times a day.

 

What causes diabetes insipidus?

Because this is a bipolar blog, I’m only going to cover the nephrogenic class of DI, because that is what lithium can rarely cause.

It is a defect in the kidneys that reabsorbs water back into the bloodstream.(1) It can be cause by genetics or certain medications, lithium being the big one.

 

Symptoms

The initial symptoms are the same as diabetes mellutis and that is why it is called “diabetes”. They are two completely different disorders, though. DI effects the kidneys, while diabetes mellutis effects the pancreas.

The main symptoms are: Excessive thirst (check!), which can be intense and uncontrollable (check!), craving ice water (check!) and excessive urine volume, as well as urinating way too much.

A urinalysis is used to diagnose this type of DI.

 

Depending on the severity of the condition, urine output can range from 2.6 quarts (about 2.5 liters) a day if you have mild diabetes insipidus to 16 quarts (about 15 liters) a day if the condition is severe and if you’re taking in a lot of fluids. In comparison, the average urine output for a healthy adult is in the range of 1.6 to 2.6 quarts (about 1.5 to 2.5 liters) a day.”(3)

 

Treatment

Stopping lithium has been said to control the diabetes insipidus and it takes a while. The disease will reverse itself and the kidneys will function normally again. Sometimes, after long term use of lithium, it becomes permanent. I just thought that lithium made you thirsty, so I drank a lot of water, and went to the bathrom a lot. Diuretics are the main medications used to treat nephrogenic DI.

 

Prognosis

If treated, diabetes insipidus does not cause severe problems or shorten your life.(2) If not treated, you can end up dehydrated or have an electrolyte imbalance.

 

Quick Facts(4)

  • Diabetes insipidus is not related to diabetes mellitus (type 1 and type 2 diabetes).

  • Diabetes insipidus is caused by problems related to the hormone antidiuretic hormone (ADH) or its receptor and causes frequent urination.

  • There are four types of diabetes insipidus; 1) central diabetes insipidus, 2) nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, 3) dipsogenic diabetes insipidus, and 4)gestational diabetes insipidus.

  • The most common symptom of diabetes insipidus is frequent urination.

  • The diagnosis for diabetes insipidus is based on a series of tests (for example,urinalysisand fluid deprivation test).

  • The treatment for diabetes insipidus depends on the type of diabetes insipidus.

  • Diabetes can lead to chronic kidney disease.

  • Diabetes is the most common cause ofkidney failurein the US.

So, in the end, I’m hoping that it will clear up over the next year or so, and I won’t have to take diueretics for the rest of my life!

 

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001415/

  2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000377.htm

  3. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-insipidus/DS00799/DSECTION=symptoms

  4. http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetes_insipidus/article.htm