Do you think it is okay for my mother to take her Welbutrin 5 days on; 4 days off?

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My mother's SN decided to put her on Welbutrin for 5 days then have her go off for 4 days. She has been on this medication for 20 years. When I asked about it, I was told this is a CA law and needs to be done twice a year; the staff monitors mom's behavior to note any changes. When we came to visit my mother last Sunday my mother was having uncontrollable crying; it was her fourth day off of her medication. This is puzzling to our family; the doctor is out of town so we cannot ask him. Could I have someone from your nursing staff comment? As power of attorney do I have any authority in this matter? Thank you.

Answers 1 to 7 of 7
So many persons remain on the same meds year in and year out more out of habit than out of need. So a periodic trial off the drug makes some sense to me, in certain circumstances at least. I take it that your Mom is now back on the drug she obviously benefits from. Talk to her doctor as soon as you can. If that truly is a law, I certainly hope there are allowed exceptions, such as a doctor's waiver. It would be insane to make your mother go through that twice a year. But lawmakers are not necessarily high on logic and sanity. Yes, it is good to periodically verify the necessity of certain drugs. But it is bad to deprive people of drugs that are known to be important for their wellbeing.
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I don't know what an SN is, but she was wrong telling her to take it for 5 days and then go off of it for 4 days. It is an anti-depressant which takes about 4 weeks in your system to really work. I've been on that med for 10 years.

Which POA do you have? Durable or Medical or both? Medical POA would give you the most authority in this situation.
She was most likely suffering from withdrawl symptoms. To stop taking Welbutrin so abruptly is not a good idea at all and I would definitely recommend looking into the matter asap to prevent it from happening again.
It just doesn't sound like a good thing to do. I can accept the dr. reducing the dosage to see how she does and then weaning her off, but 5 days on and 4 off is very abrupt for someone who has been taking a drug that effects the brain the way an antidepressant drug does. It sounds like your mother is in a facility?? Maybe this is a policy of the insurance or the facility. Anyway I would get a second opinion on this asap.
I was not able to find anything on the alleged CA law about this -- maybe I'm just not dreaming up the right search words. After you talk to the doctor, I would be really interested in a follow-up on this topic, telling us what the deal is.

As cmagnum says, MANY drugs take weeks to build up in the system and weeks to get out of the system. Stopping them for a few day will tell you nothing. I know someone who just got off of Lexapro and the psychiatrist told her she won't know the full impact of going without the drug for six months!

I cannot imagine a law like the one the nurse described to you. So please do fill us in when you get to the bottom of it!
I agree with previous posts. Doesn't sound right with antidepressents for days on and off several days. Definitely talk to Dr. and possibly get second opinion. I was listening to Dr radio on psychiatry program one afternoon and I recall a woman who had taken antidepressant drug for a year; then would go off a year or so because her symptoms/depressive spells would go away and then she went back on -- and she wondered about "stopping cold turkey" and the program psychiatrist warned absolutely not and that she should talk to her prescribing physician about slowly weaning herself -- and as above posts said; it can take several weeks to clear some of the meds from the body/mind so care must be exercised.
IF this is the law, please watch her very carefully so nothing happens to her as this would be a time of extreme vulnerability for her and even if she is trying very hard, some stressors may become too hard for her to cope with. Watch her very carefully as she may not understand fully some of her decisions. Good or bad. Hang in there and find ways to write every thing that happens to her down so you have it if you need it legally on her behalf.

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