Iíve just accepted a position in Riyadh, and now Iíve heard that bipolar disorder will make it impossible to get a work visa. Great timing.

So, if I happened to be a bipolar US citizen (and I only mention the US as a point of reference. I don't know whether it makes a difference in this conversation)Ö

Assume that the bipolar disorder is under control (meaning that I would be completely asymptomatic) with Lamictal. Note that Lamictal is prescribed for both bipolar disorder and epilepsy. If epilepsy doesn't preclude me getting a visa, I'd be happy to have it instead:

-Would bipolar disorder keep me from getting a work visa?

-Is Lamictal or its generic version (Lamotrigine) available over-the-counter in Riyadh? If so, where? Any idea on cost?

-Is it possible to receive mail-order drugs (limited to Lamictal) in the KSA? What if my wife sent me a six-month supply via mail, FedEx, UPS, etc?

-Once in the country, would one be able to be treated by a Saudi doctor for bipolar disorder without the threat of deportation, or worse?

-Iíve got a three-month supply Iíd like to bring with me. Is there going to be a problem at the airport? Note that I'll be in Riyadh for at least a year, so that three month supply won't help in the long run.

-And now the real stupid question... what if one didn't note bipolar disorder on one's visa application, but then arrived in Riyadh with a three-month supply of Lamictal?

Iím in a spot. Itís been a long slog to negotiate salary and benefits, and the arrangement weíve come to is close to perfect. Iím an expert in my field and my future employer pulled-out the stops to get me. However, I donít want to be on an airplane back to the states or in jail because I made a stupid decision. Iíd be so grateful if someone could give me some info. I sincerely apologize for the length and narrow nature of this post, but I'm panicked.

One last gem: although I could stop Lamictal and deal with being bipolar, it's problematic because there's danger in stopping this drug and starting it again when I return home. The consequences include death, and that tends to focus the mind. Note that nothing has worked for me as well as Lamictal, but I'm open to other avenues.


did you try asking the embassy your questions? dont give your name, obviously.

people at the airport dont know anything about perscription drugs, they don't generally open your suitcase but your baggage does go through xray.  however, the xray guy is generally asleep.

as for medicine, i dont think you HAVE to have a perscription.

I wouldn't worry about bringing it in, but I seriously doubt you'll be able to buy it here, even with a prescription (Saudi's don't believe in mental disorders).

^^ have to agree with allie cat..
gettign meds like that here might be a bit difficult.

Any doctors it he forum who can help this chap out?

Thanks for the help so far. Much appreciated.

Alliecat :

(Saudi's don't believe in mental disorders).

I'm sorry Allie, this is a bit confusing to me :unsure what kind of saudies are you dealing with exactly? :huh:

The kind who don't believe in mental health disorders, the kind who believe that what you need to do is pray more and all will be well. 

I think this is the common attitude?

Not the common attitude. Its the fact that they just dont understand these various disorders.

RedGoblin :

Not the common attitude. Its the fact that they just dont understand these various disorders.

It's because they don't understand these disorders that it is the common attitude.  Comprende?

Yes Ma'am.. :D :D

aah well..
best of luck bipolar mate..

Thanks much for the input folks.

I'm in the same boat now as you were lawboy. I've got a few offers on the table. I'm thinking about not mentioning bipolar on the visa paperwork. Wondering how I could get Lithium. How'd it go for you in Saudi I wonder.

Hi mudkip - please note that this thread is a bit old :)

The post is from four years ago and there was no response, but I'm writing in hopes someone has an answer since I would also like to know if possible to get Lamictal here.

I've been told by 3 pharmacists that it's only available at a hospital, but I don't want to associate myself with bi-polar.  (I'm not bi-polar;  a lot of off-label use for depression -- but also don't want to be associated with that even thought my use would be as a preventative.) 

It's not possible for me to get a year's supply (What country...Do tell!) or order online.

Happy to take similar med, so if you have advice about this, please share.


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