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Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)

Effexor XR, Lamictal and Memory lLoss

09/12/2008

Question:

I have just recently turned 18. I have had some unusual behaviors since I was quite young, but it began to change more dramatically when I was 12-13y/o. After being initially treated for depression, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type 2 at 15. I began taking Efexor XR at 14 and am currently taking 525mg/day. I am also taking 400mg/day of Lamictal and have done so for 2 years. Over the past 2 years I have had difficulty retaining new information; this has increased as time has passed - I now struggle considerably (and considering I feel extremely tired all the time, this is a big issue). I have read that Efexor XR can cause memory loss and that it will get worse the higher the dose and the longer you are on it. when I looked at more official site however, there was no mention of memory loss. Do either of these drugs cause memory loss?

Answer:

Most psychotropic medication at differing doses (some higher, some lower) are associated with cognitive impairment. These medications and at these higher doses can cause some difficulties. Bipolar disorder (depression) is also associated with some cogntive difficulties itself. I am unfamiliar with a "specialized" concern for memory loss with Effexor.

I recommend working with your Physician/Psychiatrist since alternatives exist and abrupt discontinuation is not advised with these agents, particulary at the doses that you are taking.

For more information:

Go to the Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents) health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Nicholas A Votolato, RPh BCPP Nicholas A Votolato, RPh BCPP
Formerly:
Introductory Clinicxal Psychopharamcology
Advanced Clinical Psychopharmacology
Clinical Pharmacokinetics
Clinical Therapetics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University