Things You Should Know Before Taking Latuda For OCD
You may have heard the term “OCD” many times in your life, however, most people do not know the real definition of it. For some, the term “OCD” is used to describe someone who is extremely neat and organized or a person who has a type A personality. While this may be true for some people with an obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD, that in and of itself is not a reason to label people who like orderliness as “OCD.” Sometimes, the term “OCD” is thrown around like a weapon during an argument or disagreement, and sometimes, it is used to describe someone that a person does not like. Those associations are always true or completely accurate definitions of what it means to have OCD.
First, it is important to understand that OCD is not a catchphrase, personality type, or verbal weapon, it is a real, diagnosable mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. While it is a common mental health condition, it is just as debilitating as other mental health conditions, like bipolar disorder, depression, generalized anxiety (GA), social anxiety, phobias, panic disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). OCD can strip a person of their free will. More specifically, OCD takes control of a person’s life, rendering them a passenger rather than a driver in their life.
OCD is so powerful that it can damage a person’s life in many ways, such as relationships, friendships, work opportunities, production, and quality, academic success, self-esteem and self-confidence and so much more! Thus, having OCD is not a joke. It is a serious condition that deserves respect, compassion, support, and treatment. The most common way to treat OCD is with psychotherapy, specifically cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure-response and prevention (ERP) therapy, a form of CBT, and possibly other therapies, such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), addiction counseling, family therapy, trauma counseling, CBT group therapy, etc.
When therapy alone is unsuccessful (i.e., treatment-resistant OCD), the next step is usually medication. While the most common psychotherapy for OCD is ERP therapy, the most common medications are SSRI antidepressants. However, other medications, like antipsychotics, may be used to combat the obsessions and/or compulsions that define OCD. One antipsychotic that is often prescribed for OCD is Latuda. Understand, however, that while Latuda has shown some promise in the treatment of OCD, it may not work for all OCD sufferers, so it is important to discuss the pros and cons of taking this drug for your condition with your doctor. This blog will educate you on Latuda (i.e., side effects, warnings, effectiveness, etc.), so you can decide if it may be right for your type of OCD.
What is Latuda?
Latuda (lurasidone) is an atypical antipsychotic designed to “balance” or “regulate” the amount of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is a hormone/neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating your emotions and behaviors. Serotonin also plays an important role in your internal reward system, and your ability to get sound sleep, and function at an optimal level.
Moreover, serotonin can trigger happiness, relief, and joy, so if you experience a certain positive reaction, such as relief, pleasure, or satisfaction, your mind tells your body to keep performing the actions (for the “reward”). This is called a compulsion. Researchers suggest that people who suffer from certain mental illnesses, like OCD, have lower than normal serotonin levels, which is a serotonin deficiency. The goal of Latuda is to restore the lost serotonin in the brain. Thus, the goal of Latuda is to change, regulate, and balance chemicals in the brain.
What Does Latuda Treat?
Latuda is FDA-approved to treat schizophrenia in adults and children (over the age of 12). It is also FDA-approved to treat bipolar depression in adults and children (over the age of 9). However, it is also used “off-label” to treat other conditions, such as OCD.
What Should You Know Before Taking Latuda for OCD?
There are some things you should know before taking Latuda for OCD, such as:
- If you are allergic to lurasidone, you should not use Latuda.
- Certain prescription, OTC medications, and herbal supplements can interact with Latuda, leading to serious side effects or complications. Do not use this medication if you take or plan to take the following medications or supplements: antifungals (ketoconazole or voriconazole), antibiotics (clarithromycin or rifampin), an antiviral (ritonavir), herbal supplements (i.eSt. John’s wort, Ginseng, etc.), or seizure medications (carbamazepine or phenytoin).
- Latuda is not FDA-approved for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis. This medication can also be fatal in older adults with dementia-related psychosis, although this is rare.
- Latuda can cause suicidal ideation in some people, especially teens and young adults. Therefore it is important to alert your doctor if you start to have suicidal thoughts. Also, report changes in your mood, behavior, or symptoms, especially if they persist or worsen.
- Alert your doctor if you have ever suffered from liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, heart rhythm problems, heart attacks or strokes, high cholesterol or triglycerides, low white blood cell (WBC) counts, seizures, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, swallowing difficulties, breast cancer, or suicidal thoughts or attempts. Latuda may not be right for you.
- Because some medications and supplements can interact with Latuda, they should not be taken at the same time. Thus, it is important that you tell your doctor and pharmacist about any medications (prescription and OTC) or supplements (vitamins, minerals, and herbs) that you are taking.
- Latuda can cause you to become hypersensitive to extreme temperatures, such as very hot or very cold conditions. Therefore, it is important that you avoid (if possible) getting too cold, or becoming overheated or dehydrated. Try to drink as much fluids as possible, especially during hot weather or after exercising. You can quickly become dehydrated when taking this medication for your OCD.
- Latuda can alter or impair your thought process and/or reactions. So, take caution when driving any type of machinery, including your vehicle, that requires alertness. To avoid dizziness, avoid standing up, sitting down, or lying down too quickly. Rather, get up slowly and take a few seconds to steady yourself so as to prevent you from falling.
- Alcohol can trigger or worsen Latuda side effects and complications. So, if you consume alcohol and experience the following symptoms: rigid or extremely stiff muscles, high fevers, profuse perspiration, mental confusion, an accelerated heart rate, faintness, and/or tremors, ticks, or twitching of your eyes, lips, tongue, face, arms, or legs – stop taking the medication can contact your doctor immediately.
What Does The Research Say About Latuda and OCD?
Studies are limited on the effectiveness of using Latuda for OCD symptoms, however, there was one notable study on this topic, and another one on anxiety and Latuda. Because OCD is considered an anxiety condition, the assumption is that it may also work for OCD.
According to a 2021 study, people, especially children and adolescents (ages 11-17), who have Tourette’s syndrome, and who exhibit obsessive symptoms, but have failed to get relief from two different antipsychotics, experienced significant improvement after combining Latuda with risperidone or aripiprazole (an antidepressant and anticonvulsant). As a result, researchers have concluded that because Latuda was effective for people with Tourette’s syndrome with obsessive features, it could also be effective for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
In a 2019 study, researchers found that people with treatment-resistant OCD experienced an improvement in their OCD symptoms by combining SSRI antidepressants with atypical antipsychotics like Latuda. Thus, Latuda has shown possible effectiveness for treatment-resistant OCD symptoms.
Researchers also suggest that while Latuda is not FDA-approved to treat anxiety, one study has found that this medication can help ease anxiety symptoms in people with major depressive disorder (MDD) and mild-to-severe anxiety. However, more research is needed to determine if Latuda is effective for anxiety conditions, like OCD.
What is the Best Way To Take Latuda for OCD?
The best way to take Latuda is exactly as prescribed by your doctor. It is also recommended that you read the medication informational and instructional guides and your prescription bottle label. This medication should be taken with food (aim for 350 calories). Understand that you will likely need weekly or monthly blood tests to ensure that the medication is not damaging your organs (i.e., kidneys or liver).
It may take 3-4 weeks before your OCD symptoms improve, so be patient. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve within a month, or if they appear to worsen while taking Latuda for your OCD. Do not, however, abruptly stop taking the medication without speaking to your doctor first. Suddenly stopping Latuda can lead to a host of serious problems (i.e., Latuda withdrawal symptoms).
Can You Take Latuda With Other Medications, Foods, or Supplements?
It depends on what the medication, food, or supplement is. If you are considering taking Latuda for your OCD symptoms, but are unsure if it will interfere with your other medications, foods, or supplements, contact your doctor for guidance.
Listed below are medications, foods, and supplements that may interact with Latuda:
- Abilify (Aripiprazole)
- Adderall (Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine)
- Cymbalta (Duloxetine)
- Klonopin (Clonazepam)
- Lamictal (Lamotrigine)
- Seroquel (Quetiapine)
- Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)
- Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine)
- Zoloft (Sertraline)
- Grapefruits or Grapefruit Juice
- Azo-Cranberry (Cranberry)
- Evening Primrose Oil (Evening Primrose)
- Valerian Root (Valerian)
- Ginkgo Biloba (Ginkgo)
- Sambucol (Elderberry)
- Ginger Root (Ginger)
- Venastat (Horse Chestnut)
- Ellura (Cranberry)
- TheraCran HP (Cranberry)
- OraMagic Rx (Aloe Vera)
- 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan)
Will You Experience Side Effects If You Choose To Take Latuda for Your OCD Symptoms?
As with most, if not all medications (prescription and over-the-counter), you may experience mild-to-severe side effects while taking Latuda for your OCD symptoms.
Common Side Effects
- Weight Gain
- Muscle Stiffness
- Reduced Mobility
- Restlessness/Inability to Sit Still
- Runny Nose
- Sleep Issues (i.e., Insomnia)
Rarer Side Effects
- New or Unusual Uncontrollable Muscle Movements
- Lightheadedness or Faintness
- Irregular Menstrual Periods (Females)
- Breast Changes (Females)
- Vaginal Changes (Females)
- Nipple Discharge (Females)
- Swollen Breasts (Males)
- Impotence (Males)
- Swallowing Difficulties
- Mania (i.e., Racing Thoughts, Increased Energy, Reduced Need For Sleep, Risky Behaviors, Agitation, or Talkativeness)
- Low White Blood Cells (i.e., Fevers, Chills, Mouth or Skin Sores, Sore Throat, Cough, or Respiratory Issues)
- Elevated Blood “Glucose” Sugar Levels (i.e., Increased Thirst, Urination, or Hunger, and Dry “Cotton” Mouth, or Fruity Breath)
- Nervous System Reactions (i.e., Rigid or Stiff Muscles, High Fevers, Excessive Sweating, Mental Confusion, Irregular Heartbeats, Tremors, or Faintness)
Severe Side Effects and Complications
Latuda can cause severe side effects and complications like changes in your mood or behavior, extreme anxiety, recurrent panic attacks, chronic insomnia or sleeplessness, impulsivity, irritability, agitation, hostility, aggression, restlessness, mental or physical hyperactivity, severe depression, self-harm, or suicidal ideation (suicidal thoughts or attempts).
Long-term use or high doses of Latuda can cause a serious irreversible movement disorder. Signs that you may be experiencing this disorder include involuntary facial muscle movements (i.e., lips, tongue, eyes, or face) and limb movements (i.e., arms or legs). Keep in mind that the longer you take Latuda for your OCD, the likelier you will develop this muscle movement disorder, especially if you are an older adult or female. If you experience any of these more severe side effects or complications, seek medical advice immediately.
What is it like to Take Latuda for OCD?
The best way to decide if Latuda is right for your condition is to help how it has affected others who have taken it for the same or similar condition. Listed below are reviews from people who are currently taking Latuda or those who have taken it in the past for an anxiety condition or OCD.
“I have borderline personality disorder, OCD, anxiety, and depression, and Latuda changed my world. It took 6 disconnected parts of me and made them one. I stopped living in fear and “what if” paralysis. Now, I live in the moment. Now, I can be the “me” that has been trying so hard to surface. I take Latuda at night, and then fall asleep hard. When I wake up, I feel like I am waking up to my life. I have been existing on autopilot, controlled by my emotions and delusional overthinking, my entire life. I am finally enjoying my life for the first time.”
“I have Bipolar 2, PTSD, anxiety, fibromyalgia, depression, and OCD. I was trying to find a medication that would “fix” most of my problems and finally found Latuda. It was like finding gold. My life has changed completely since I started to take this medication. I gained about 35 pounds, but it looks great on me because I was skinny. Keep in mind, however, that Latuda is very expensive (around $236 a month), but I live in Canada and the government pays 80% of my prescription.”
“I started taking Latuda a year ago for bipolar type 1. I was so depressed that I was unable to do anything. I stopped working and had horrible social anxiety. I started with 20 mg and went as high as 60 mg. I am now stable with Latuda 40 mg and 10mg of Prozac. I feel myself again. I now have the energy to do anything, and my anxiety is gone. I can sleep, and genuinely feel happy.
The side effects I felt at first were restlessness, extremely fatigued, and subtle headaches. Now, I tend to get tired within 2 hours of taking it. I also sometimes experience panic attacks every 3 months or so. I have lost weight on the medication, and now I finally have the energy to exercise. I have lost about 30 pounds since taking the medicine. Overall, Latuda has worked for me.”
“I can’t tell you how much Latuda has screwed up my life. I started taking it in January 2019 for a mood disorder, and by February, I started getting severe akathisia that lasted for months. I could literally not sit still. I would get up at night and pace the floor, crying. My mom thought it was just anxiety, but I kept telling her that it was really severe. As night approached, I would get severe anxiety, and I still do now even though I am off of the medication.
In August 2019, I also developed tardive dyskinesia. Before I would go to sleep, I would uncontrollably make these weird faces. Sometimes, I would pull all-nighters and not take my meds because I didn’t want to take the medication. If I did I would just wake up at night, take a cold shower, and drink 8 cups of coffee, so I would stay awake. I recently got off of Latuda and feel a lot better, although my nightly anxiety kicks in here and there. I just wish I would have never taken this drug because it screwed up my mind. I do not recommend Latuda to anyone!”
As with any medication (prescription and OTC), it is important to research the medication before taking it. There are a host of OCD books, articles, and workbooks on the market that can help you better understand your condition. One good thing about Latuda is that you can use it with many alternative and self-help treatments, such as mindfulness meditation, hypnosis, CBD, and/or journaling. Online OCD recovery treatment programs, like Impulse Therapy, can also be used with Latuda during your journey toward healing.
This medication appears to be especially beneficial for people who are having a hard time finding a medication that works for them. So, while Latuda has not been FDA-approved for anxiety conditions, like OCD, it does appear to be effective for it. Many people with anxiety or OCD sufferers tout the benefits of taking Latuda to quell their angst. Because stress and anxiety are triggers for OCD, easing anxiety may prove beneficial for reducing obsessions and compulsions. As long as you are well-informed about Latuda and well-prepared for what comes with having OCD, you can make the best decision for you!
- Colizzi, M., Bortoletto, R., & Zoccante, L. (2021). The effectiveness of lurasidone add-on for residual aggressive behavior and obsessive symptoms in antipsychotic-treated children and adolescents with Tourette syndrome: Preliminary evidence from a case series. Children, 8(2), 121. https://doi.org/10.3390/children8020121
- Ishibashi, T., Horisawa, T., Tokuda, K., Ishiyama, T., Ogasa, M., Tagashira, R., Matsumoto, K., Nishikawa, H., Ueda, Y., Toma, S., Oki, H., Tanno, N., Saji, I., Ito, A., Ohno, Y., & Nakamura, M. (2010). Pharmacological profile of lurasidone, a novel antipsychotic agent with potent 5-hydroxytryptamine 7 (5-HT7) and 5-HT1A receptor activity. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 334(1), 171–181. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1124/jpet.110.167346
- Carmellini, P., Goracci, A., Cicco, G., Cini, E., Serro, V., Crapanzano, C., and Fagiolini, A. (2019). Treating obsessive-compulsive disorder: New possible role for lurasidone. Research Gate. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/350978830_Treating_obsessive_compulsive_disorder_new_possible_role_for_lurasidone
- Baumgarten, H. G., & Grozdanovic, Z. (1998). Role of serotonin in obsessive-compulsive disorder. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 35, 13–20. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9829022/