Health Deteriorated on Meridia

“I am very angry and scared. I may not be out of the woods.”

 

Dear Ann Blake-Tracy,

I am a 62-year old mother of three grown sons. I have been exceptionally healthy all of my life. On 9/4/99, my birthday, I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “Jane, you would never have gotten those lines over your lip if you had never smoked.” I then started on my campaign to stop smoking and I did just that. When I grew up, all the movie stars smoked, it was glamorous, my parents smoked. But, I made a decision and this time I would make it. I DID!!! Only to have this devastating thing happen to me. I didn’t have any illness from smoking and decided I wasn’t going to.

But when I stopped smoking I gained 22 lbs. So, on my yearly visit to my gynecologist, I told him about the weight gain and he put me on Meridia. I had never heard of this drug, but had high hopes for results. I am a dancer and (vain about my looks) and this 22 lbs. seemed just too much. I breezed through the menopause and was a little heavier than my younger days but still an attractive, well proportioned, active lady. I was raised to think “Wellness”. My mother was a nurse and my Irish father thought eating right was the answer, and that young women should not be too thin. So, I think I had a very healthy outlook and just tried to reject illness. Besides having healthy genes, and youthful genes, I look at least 20 years younger than I am. I was so fortunate!!!

Shortly after starting Meridia, my right heal began to hurt, shooting pain near the Achilles tendon. I started walking on breaks at work, so I attributed it to that. My balance also seemed a little off. Also, there was a drastic change in my vision, but, being me, I told myself that I was finally going to need reading glasses.

Still thinking “Wellness” but trying to admit that I was getting older. I visited an eye doctor and he asked if I was a diabetic. I am not and have never been. So, he said to go get checked for diabetes, since he had never heard of going from a -150 to -275 so quickly, and if I was diabetic, maybe when I was on medication, my vision would return to normal.

All the diabetic tests were normal. My gynecologist ran the test. At that point, I mentioned to the doctor’s nurse that I was getting suspicious of the Meridia. And she snapped at me, “Then you must be one of the one’s that can’t take this drug.” I was furious, but kept my mouth shut. I have since confirmed to her my suspicions and asked that she tell the doctor and not to prescribe this drug to anyone else. Now, she has humbled a little.

Other symptoms: Broken bones in my feet. Confirmed stress fractures in right foot and I am being checked on the left foot this week. Dizzy spells, loosing my balance, staff infection right hand, from a slight stick to palm which did not even bleed. A rash on my nipples that is driving me crazy. After taking augmentin for the staff infection, and getting a big dose of something in my butt, an antibiotic, I got something else, the exterior areas of my vagina became bright, maroonish, red and burned. This has gone away.

There are some other symptoms but I have taken up enough of your time. I am really scared and this is why. As healthy as I am, with only the one doctor, the gynecologist, until this all occurred, I have been in touch with a legal firm out of Arizona and the young, legal asst., college student, pre-law, has told me that I may be experiencing decalcification of the bones. They have several people who have contacted them and have done a lot of research.

Well, that’s most of the story. I am very angry and scared. I may not be out of the woods. The law firm has not accepted my case yet although they represent a 29-year old girl, who is a vegetable, she admitted she took more Meridia than she should have. Her husband has to do everything for her and their young children. They are supposedly are suing for $25,000,000.

I also have done a lot of research but, have not been to a medical library and just simply don’t understand the serotonin connection. I am very intelligent and perceptive, and thanks to my intuition, I only took this KILLER drug for 2 months and was off of it for a week when I took the Augmentin. I had three 10 mg. pills left and took them but, as mentioned above, (not all three at once). I decided not to get the third refill. I guess I am one of the lucky ones.

I may never be able to dance again (could out dance any 25 year old). And, I may never regain my good vision. I am really worried about these stress fractures. I am calling to order your book tomorrow so that I can understand the serotonin connection to these side effects.

Thank you so much for taking time to read this long email. You must be a very nice lady to care so much. Doctor, the FDA was warned by their own experts not to release this Meridia and it got on the market anyway. Knoll waged a major PR and exhaustive marketing program to fool the American people again. I consider these people criminals and I plan to expose them if it’s the last thing I ever do.

You have my permission to use me as an example and to write about me. I will consult with you and you can contact me anytime. I don’t want this to happen to others.

My sincere thanks for your time.

Jane Flanagan

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 65.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

 

388 total views, no views today

My Husband Just Lost His Life on Meridia.

“I don’t want anyone else going through the pain I have been through.”

 

I am trying to find all the information I can about Meridia. I want to share my story so that others may be able to avoid a similar situation through this knowledge.

My husband was given a prescription for this new diet pill in conjunction with a weight loss program. He had already been on the weight loss program for approximately 6 weeks and was losing weight at a fairly rapid rate. Eleven weeks after starting this medication, he died. He was buried one month after his 43rd birthday. The medical examiner listed “dilated cardiomyopathy” as the cause of death.

No one else was home when it happened; but from all the signs, he must have felt short of breath as he was found with his belt and pants undone. He fell over face first and his arms were down at his sides, so no attempt to break his fall was made. I was told that he probably was dead when he fell.

Approximately one to two hours before his death, friends had stopped by. They have commented on how upbeat and healthy he seemed to be. He was just finishing mowing the lawn and did not appear to be out of breath or physically stressed at that point.

I am having a gut instinct that something is wrong here. If he had a prior heart condition, he should not have been put on Meridia according to all the information I have read so far. And if there was a prior heart condition it should have been detected by the doctor managing the weight loss program (an EKG was done I am told).

I am very concerned that there may be a lot of “guinea pigs” testing out this diet pill and I don’t want anyone else going through the pain I have been through. I have heard that a couple of hospitals in our area have taken all patients off of it and that doctors are not to prescribe it, but I can’t get any hard facts.

Any help or information would be greatly appreciated. And I would very much like to hear from anyone with ANY bad experiences with Meridia. Thank you for caring.

Cheryl Steiner, Chelsea, Michigan
cheryl@provide.net

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 64.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

359 total views, no views today

Marge’s Story–Her Fateful Experience on Paxil and Effexor

“…this stuff has to come off the market.”

 

An Introduction by Ann Blake-Tracy

This is Marge’s story – a follow up story to the months and months of trauma brought on by three weeks of Paxil and a dose of Robitussin. (The combination produces Serotonin Syndrome.) For Marge this produced a movement disorder and caused her hands to swell to the point she could no longer work. She was subsequently given a diagnosis of Scleraderma. She never recovered from this toxic serotonin reaction – the first injury. After many months of suffering she was told she had to have a breast removed.

In this letter she takes the story from there to tell of the horrors of a second SSRI drug-induced injury that in the end cost her life this time.

Marge passed away several months after this letter was written leaving her husband and two daughters. She was a wonderful and incredible woman who had a brilliant sense of humor that shines through her story. Marge wanted her experience to be a lesson for others. Please heed her warning.

She would ask now as I continue to ask, “HOW MANY MORE HAVE TO DIE?”

Dr. Tracy

Dear Ann,

I hope that you are well. I am so grateful to you for all that you have done.

I would like to brief you on the past 3 months because I think that it is so important for you to know. Perhaps the only reason I was placed here on this earth was to screw up with antidepressant medications so as to add more fuel to your fire. I promise to be as brief as possible, though this is a good one.

As of this past spring, the psychiatrist I was working with prescribed Effexor and lorazipam. I just could not recover from the last medication reaction and my depression was the worst it had ever been. I had been working with this very compassionate psychiatrist for almost a year, and although we hadn’t found any medication that worked, none of them seemed to be making me ill. I tolerated Effexor at low doses (37mg) and seemed to be responding so he raised it to almost 200mg by July. I developed a cough. Strange! I had never had a morning cough before. But at 200mg of Effexor + Lorazipam, who cared? 🙂 The cough became severe rather quickly, along with substernum chest pain. The bottoms of my lungs felt heavy and full. I kept remarking to the psychiatrist that I couldn’t sneeze because I couldn’t take in enough air. He reminded me that I didn’t like medications, so this was probably my imagination. He encouraged me to go to my family physician if I wasn’t feeling well, but I knew that this would just result in a prescription for Robitussin and I wasn’t about to play that game again. I was too drugged to think straight anyway, so I just slept the entire summer away. Even sent my family to California without me so that I could sleep in peace.

By September I knew that I was in trouble. The cough was now terribly frightening to my family and constant. It was spasmodic, and came from my toes. I couldn’t sneeze at all and felt generally lousy. So, I started to take myself off of the medication, but slowly, because my psychiatrist was very much against this and I was as frightened of rebound depression as anything else.

September 29th I was scheduled for implant surgery. This, I was told, was a simple surgery. One night in the hospital and one week to recover. My chest was still not anywhere near right, though it had improved. I was now on only 37mg. of Effexor once again, and the situation was correcting itself, though slowly. I was walking regularly in an effort to clean out my lungs. By now, I had also personally investigated the side effects of this drug, which of course include frequent coughing, substernum chest pain and congestive heart failure. But, as the doctors have told me over and over again in the past 3 months, “They never see this.” – There are none so blind as those we call M.D.

So I went in for surgery, September 29th, and was not doing well after the operation. An hour after being sent home by a hospital that routinely dismissed me, I was raced back to our local hospital because I couldn’t breathe. Congestive heart failure. Into ICU I went where 15 pounds of excess fluid was pumped out of my body. (I am only 5’1″ tall). Everything began to return to normal, oxygen levels, etc., but the nasty cough continued and the pulmonologist saw some strange lines on my x-rays that bothered him. So he sent me for a CATSCAN. POW! The next day, my family physician calls the hospital to inform my husband that I had lung cancer in the lower lobes of both lungs, inoperable, and that I had a tumor in my spine. My husband tearfully delivered the news to me. My children arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter and we all cried the tears of impending doom.

After being stuck in ICU for a week, due to a weekend where no doctors were available and difficulties in scheduling my tests, I demanded to go home. A week of solitary confinement, sitting on this kind of news, fresh out of a surgery which was painful, was enough for me. We immediately scheduled an appointment with the recommended oncologist, who told me I had a 70/30 chance to live and he wanted an immediate biopsy of my spine. By now I had taken myself off of the drugs completely, but of course I was still in shock and just following instructions. Fine, a biopsy of my spine, just tell me when and I’ll be there.

With this, we left for a weekend in Boston so that my daughter could look at colleges. I was in a stupor and still fighting with a miserable cough and a sore breast implant.

Upon my return, I received two calls. One call was from the radiologist at the hospital. Apparently, this “tumor” in my spine was way too tiny for him to biopsy. I don’t even think that you can really say it is a tumor. Maybe a lesion. Who knows? I have since had a bone scan and there is no bone cancer. Major misdiagnosis. I also received a call from my original breast surgeon, who was enraged with all of this. He told me the breast cancer that I had does not do this and that whatever was in my lungs was most likely not cancer. He named several other things that it could be and for the first time, we learned that cancer cannot be diagnosed from a CATSCAN. You mean, I might not be dying?? What a novel idea.

With this, I went to my cosmetic surgeon for a checkup. To her great dismay, she discovered that the implant was trying to escape – a very unusual occurrence. I knew that I had been steadily coughing it out, but of course, nobody listens to me. Nevertheless, I was told to lie flat on my back until we could determine if the implant could be saved. All further oncologist appointments were postponed. For almost 2 months I lay here on my back, thinking that I was probably dying while coughing my brains out, in an effort to save an implant that wasn’t going to do me much good if, indeed, I had bilateral lung cancer. Ann, please stop me at any point and help me to make sense out of this. Are these guys entirely insane?

So, the weeks are going by and I am getting better and better. Even lying on my back, with the help of acupuncture and my naturopathic physician, the cough was clearing up. This, I strongly suspected, was not the pattern for lung cancer. Still, nobody would listen to me (except the naturopathic community), and nobody would acknowledge the written side effects of the drug I had been taking. The new oncologist that I was now seeing (how could the other oncologist have given me a 70/30 chance to live when he didn’t even know if I had cancer and if I did have cancer, what type of cancer did I have?) only wanted a lung biopsy. Apparently the CATSCAN was pretty ugly. This new and improved oncologist admitted that he had no idea what was in my lungs, but whatever was there, there was a lot of it and he wanted it biopsied. I begged to differ. The bottoms of both of my lungs had been under water all summer. Most likely there were stalactites and stalagmites growing in there. The point is that I was getting better, had just experienced a surgery gone wrong and a week in ICU. There was no way anybody was going to touch this body again! If my lungs were filled with that much cancer, I should be exhibiting some signs of illness, and other than a disappearing cough, I was fine. Nobody was listening to me and I was called a “naughty girl” for having an opinion.

So now it is almost Christmas. My breast continues to heal around the implant though at a painfully slow pace. We are waiting for fresh new skin that is strong enough to hold this water bag in place. I am still bandaged and haven’t had a shower since September. This whole experience has been so (pardon me) depressing, all because of an antidepressant drug that I shouldn’t have been on in the first place and should certainly not have been permitted to have surgery while taking. Can you say “drug interaction?” Jerks! I did submit to the bone scan, eventually, and all is well there. But my lungs continue to heal, I walk regularly, I am physically doing well and still they torment me with wanting a biopsy which I simply will not permit. It holds a risk of a collapsed lung – no big deal to them, but I think that I’ve had enough. I have only a small cough left, though I know that my lungs were injured by the Effexor and am waiting patiently for them to heal as best they can.

The effects of the original medication reaction are quite minimal at this point. I can take a walk, though I know that my muscles and ligaments are not normal and I have to watch not to overdo. They get sore. This is the first year, since the original reaction, that I can tolerate long sleeves. Up to this point, I couldn’t wear anything on my arms. They were extremely sensitive. My hands are permanently damaged, though fully functional. They are full of scar tissue from having been swollen for so long, and that renders them uncomfortable. My fingers have a bend to them and I can’t make a full fist. Otherwise, you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong. At a glance, they almost look normal. But they will never feel normal again, and that is unfortunate.

At this point, I am hoping to return to work in January – just 8 hours per week, but it’s a start. I am on no medication and never will be again. My psychiatrist refuses to inform the Drug Company that all of this happened. Without a biopsy, he refuses to draw any conclusions and I guess he assumes that this was all just a major coincidence. What a disappointment I will be to all of them when I get well.

Ann, this stuff has to come off the market. Humanity is not any more ready for this than it is for atomic weapons. I have now been victimized twice, not because of the medication itself (which is bad enough), but because the doctors refuse to acknowledge the side effects of the drugs even when they are tap-dancing in front of their own eyes. Personally, I have no idea how I will ever return to the care of any allopathic physician. For now, they appear to be the enemy.

Please keep me in your prayers and I will do the same for you.

Marge

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 62.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

395 total views, no views today

A Nurse’s Story: On Paxil, I Lost Interest in Everything.

“Never again, Paxil. Never again.”

 

My story may be of some interest. I am a very active person (golf, tennis, bike rider, walk long distances, roller blade and roller skate). However, starting around Feb. of this year everything changed. I lost interest in everything. I explained to my primary doctor that I have to push my self to do everything even get out of bed (usually and early riser). I had been on medication for diabetes (newly diagnosed), 3-hypertension meds daily, estrogen replacement, eye drops for glaucoma (recently diagnosed) and suddenly I could not function.

I was placed on PAXIL 20-mg daily. Was out of work for 10 weeks, It was recommended that go in to therapy, which I did, my primary doctor along with my therapist stated it was work related, however I was not totally convinced. After listening to them for seven weeks I decided to take things into my own hands, (forgot to mention I am a nurse making nearly $ 60,000 yearly). I decided to stop ALL medication.

Of course, I consulted with my doctor, who never told me the side effects of all these medications as a nurse, when your the patient your the PATIENT, I suffered for three weeks with severe headaches, DIZZINESS, and stomach discomfort, but it was all worth it. I feel wonderful, watching my diet, exciting and enjoying it back to getting up early, back to work enjoying it.

My main point is important to check side effects of medication, so many cause depression and are not compatible, believe the doctor don’t know and the pharmaceutical companies were of little or no help. My plan is start holistic meds along with proper diet, monitor blood sugars, and exercise. NEVER AGAIN PAXIL, NEVER AGAIN, I GOT MY SELF BACK AND I FEEL BRAND NEW THANKS FOR LISTENING

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 58.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

548 total views, no views today

A Living Hell Coming Off Paxil

“There needs to be so much more information available to a patient.”

 

I want to let you know that I have been in a living hell since I started to get off of Paxil two weeks ago. I have had emotional symptoms of rage, uncontrollable crying, frustration, and edginess. I also have flu like symptoms of achiness, sweating, migraines, low-grade fever, hot and cold, nausea, and exhaustion. I finally had to go to the medical doctor today to get professional help to titrate off of this horrifying drug properly. I want to do anything that I can to help others understand what they are getting into when they opt to take this type of medication. I think that there could have been a better route to take now that I have come this far with this. Maybe they should have tried diet, exercise, and therapy. I would love to do anything in my power to get some type of law stating that this type of information be made known to a patient before he or she starts taking any off the SSRI’s. I was told here take this and you will feel better. There needs to be so much more information available to a patient. You do have permission to publish this on the Internet or contact me via e-mail.

April Fountain
Apriltorm@yahoo.com

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 57.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

562 total views, no views today

Prozac, Effexor, Klonopin, Serzone, Zyprexa, Neurontin, and now Celexa-and Hospitalized Seven Times.

“I sometimes am so sorry I started him on this medication journey,”

 

I have had thoughts that maybe my son’s suicide attempts were related to the Prozac and other medications that he had been taking, and now after reading correspondence from others regarding the same behaviors, I am more convinced that there was a relationship between the taking of the drug and his actions.

My son who is now 26 years old has had problems with depression probably since he was l3. He got through high school but did very poorly, and became very depressed when he graduated because he felt he had no future. At that time, I took him to see a psychiatrist who put him on Prozac, but it did not seem to help him that much. I think she tried him on Zoloft also which did not seem to help him either.

He obtained a job at a shoe store working for a very nice family who liked him and who he enjoyed working for. He stopped the drugs and seeing the psychiatrist who said my son was an enigma. He worked at the store for 5 years, but one day abruptly quit. He then worked as a security guard for approximately a year and quit that job also. He decided to go to dog grooming school, and I’ll never forget his face the day he came home from school so proud and happy that he found something to do that he liked.

He did very well at the school, but started to have panic attacks. I took him to a psychiatrist again and she put him on Prozac and Xanax. He seemed to come alive, extremely talkative, and he finally met a girl and fell deeply in love. He then seemed to have problems with his mood lowering and becoming more depressed and anxious, so the psychiatrist increased the Prozac. I noticed at this time that his behavior was worrisome. Well the girl broke up with him and he tried to kill himself.

In the hospital they changed his meds to Effexor and Klonopin, he got out of the hospital and thought the girl might come back, but when he realized two weeks later that she wasn’t, He left in the middle of the night again, and eventually checked himself into the hospital after overdosing. He was sent to another facility after this and they put him back on Prozac. He attempted suicide again by overdosing. Altogether, he was hospitalized approximately 7 different times, with four of those being for suicide attempts. The last one being a year ago. Since then he has been on Serzone, Zyprexa, Neurontin, and within the last few months Celexa was added to this. He does seem to be somewhat better, but very flat, little conversation, rarely smiling. I sometimes am so sorry I started him on this medication journey.

I wonder if he would have been better off trying to cope with his low-grade depression, and maybe just taking an anti-anxiety medication for the panic attacks. I wonder.

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 54.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

451 total views, no views today

07/19/1999 – My antidepressant made me do it! – Hartman estate says

The following article makes its first appearance today (7/19/99) on
salon.com:

My antidepressant made me do it!
The Hartman estate says Zoloft was to blame for a murder-suicide.
By Rob Waters

(http://www.salon.com/health/feature/1999/07/19/zoloft/index.html)

My antidepressant made me do it!

The Hartman estate says Zoloft was
to blame for a murder-suicide.

– – – – – – – – – – – –
By Rob Waters

July 19, 1999 | It was May 1998, and comedian Phil Hartman and his wife, Brynn, were planning a party. Their son, Sean, was soon turning 10 and they wanted to make it special with a bash at Planet Hollywood. Brynn was inviting her son’s friends, including some of his classmates from his school in Encino.

In mid-May she called Kathryn Alice, the mother of one of Sean’s friends, to get her address. Sean and Calvin, Kathryn’s son, played together and had visited each other’s homes. Through their sons, the moms had gotten to know each other, too. They chatted on the phone, and Brynn confided that things were tough. “She said she was barely hanging on by a thread,” Alice recalls. “I told her things will get better, but she said ‘I don’t know.'”

The invitation soon arrived in the mail, but the birthday party never happened. On May 28, at about 2:30 a.m., Brynn Hartman returned home from a night out with a female friend. As Sean and his sister, Birgen, slept in their rooms, Brynn entered the master bedroom and shot her sleeping husband three times. Four hours later, with police in the house and friends listening outside, Brynn lay down on the bed next to Phil’s body and pulled the trigger once more, killing herself.

How could this happen? Why did a woman who was, by all accounts, a devoted and protective mother, deprive her children of their parents? In the days after the killings, the tabloids and mainstream press ruminated over the problems in the couple’s often stormy relationship, speculating that Phil was preparing to leave her, or that she had relapsed into an old cocaine addiction. People magazine reported that she had recently started drinking again after 10 years of near-sobriety and had checked into an Arizona rehab clinic earlier in the year. Indeed, toxicology reports cited in press accounts indicate that at the time she died, Brynn Hartman had both cocaine and alcohol in her system.

But the couple’s family and their lawyers have another answer: Zoloft made her do it.

In late May 1999, one year after the deaths, attorneys for the Hartmans’ estate and children filed a lawsuit against Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that makes Zoloft, a new-generation antidepressant similar to Prozac. The suit contends that Brynn Hartman’s violent outburst was caused by a rare but previously documented side effect of the medication that left her agitated, jittery and “out of touch with reality.” It is one of more than 170 wrongful death lawsuits filed against the makers of these new antidepressants since Prozac first hit the market 12 years ago.

The Hartman suit also charges that Arthur Sorosky, the psychiatrist that supplied Brynn Hartman with Zoloft, was not really her doctor and never conducted an evaluation. Sorosky, the complaint alleges, was actually her son Sean’s doctor and gave Brynn medication samples — the kind doled out to physicians by drug company salesmen — “without the benefit of a history and physical examination [or] diagnosis.”

Sorosky’s attorney, Joel Douglas, told Salon Health that his client and Brynn Hartman had “a doctor-patient relationship” and that Sorosky had prescribed the Zoloft in a proper and appropriate way. “From what I understand,” he added, “with cocaine and alcohol in her system, you don’t need to look for Zoloft to understand what happened.”

Original report on murder/suicide: http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/TV/9805/28/hartman/

878 total views, no views today

Consumed by the Black Hole of Serotonin

“…when I looked in the mirror I couldn’t see anything. There was nothing there.”

I am (was) a Professional Bowler that bowled on the National Tour which takes the lady bowlers across many states here in the U.S. to compete against one another. This is a sport I have loved for almost all my entire life; so, when I became burned out in my regular job, I retired and conditioned myself to bowl as an athletic competitor of the sport, practicing 50-100 games per week. When I was out on the tour we would bowl anywhere from 40-60 games in 4 days and then travel 3 days only to arrive at the next destination to start the same cycle again. Needless, to say you must be in good physical condition for competition. Which I was. I participated in my last professional tournament in the Summer of 1996. Just as I thought I would see one of my dreams accomplished a dark spot began to appear on the horizon.
It showed up slowly at first before it began to gain momentum. It showed up in my consciousness as a depression of some magnitude. I had been ducking and dodging before then personal and financial problems that somehow at this point in time caught up with me and behind the awareness of my having to deal with those issues . . . the Black Hole (deep depression) appeared in its full enormity.
When it hit I was put under psychiatric care and the first doctor I saw put me on Nortriptyline’s generic Pamelor 10 mgs. starting with 1 pill and steadily increasing the daily dosage to 5 pills to be taken at bedtime. (So, that comes to 5 pills @10 mg ea. day for 7 days = 350mgs. per week x 4 weeks = 1400 mgs. per month.) I was supposed to see her in a couple of weeks. By the time I went back to the doctor I was feeling bad with what I called a toxic allergic reaction to the med. My tongue had started to get sore and become coated and so did my throat. She told me I must have a bug and to see my family doctor which I did. He gave me some antifungal medicine to take because of my tongue and throat problem. (Just treating the symptoms.) Meanwhile this same psychiatrist doesn’t bother to stop this medication. She increases it instead to 3 pills @ 25mgs ea. day at bedtime, so, this boils down to 75mgs per night x 7 nights = 525mgs. per week x 4 weeks = 2100mgs. per month. Well I did not have to worry I didn’t get any further than the end of the week and I was taken into ER that Saturday with blood pressure: 225/212 and Pulse: 96 and rising. After the physician got my vitals under control he told me to discontinue taking Pamelor. So, the drug was discontinued COLD TURKEY!!

I changed doctors after that episode and the next psychiatrist put me on 10mgs. of Prozac to be taken once daily, but when I told him about the above recurring symptoms he immediately took me off Prozac, COLD TURKEY, and wouldn’t put me on any more drugs. I checked with the pharmacist at that point to see, what was a common chemical between the 2 drugs. I was told serotonin was the common chemical. When I informed the psychiatrist of this he acknowledged that he had never had any patient that had had a problem with this med. But he took me off and told me I would have towing it from then on with the therapist. I wish I could say this was the end. But it wasn’t. The Black Hole began to consume my very being until I felt as though I was a non-entity. I lost any reason for being. I lost my self-esteem; and all of a sudden when I looked in the mirror I couldn’t see anything. There was nothing there. No image of anything recognizable. I knew then I was out-of-control. This proved itself when I had an episode in the therapist office when I locked myself in the bathroom and would not come out. I remember feeling if I didn’t come out, maybe everyone would just go away. Just vanish!! Poof!! And they would be gone. However, to this day I cannot remember what set it off. I think I must have felt that was an escape, but I don’t know what caused the episode. My reactions went from that to two attempts of suicide stopped by my husband who just happened to get there in a timely manner. Now I knew I was a part of the Black Hole and the Black Hole was a part of me. I lost my spirit. Now that I had lost my spirit, I could no longer feel myself as a person. I could no longer feel. Sometimes, I would sit staring for hours. Staring at nothing. I remember that it felt good to just sit there and stare at nothing. Everything seemed to fit in. I felt like I belonged.

My husband saw this and would take me out and make me practice bowling, or to a movie, or to a mall. But, it wouldn’t help. All I would do was cry because I didn’t want to be out there. My blood pressure went completely out of control and nothing the family physician did would bring it within normal range. Things continued this way through 1997. My husband got kidney cancer and had to have his left kidney removed. We all heaved a big sigh of relief when his health appeared good and the cancer appeared gone. I had to try to push the fog back to help him. It was hard. I remember being so afraid because each day that went by I knew I was on the edge. However, March 1998 I was back in ER again with extraordinarily high blood pressure and pulse readings. I was in there because the family doctor had become so frustrated over my condition and the fact that he couldn’t fix it that he had accidentally overdosed me with other medications to the extent that you could fill a large freezer bag full of the different medications I was on. When the cardiologist saw this after having brought my blood pressure and pulse back within normal ranges and after testing me. He put me on 3 meds to be taken once a day. I began to come back while I was still in the hospital. I began to feel like my old self. When I got out of the hospital the cardiologist put me into a monitored exercise program that the medical center has for cardiac patients and I really began to feel good. My stamina came back. My head was beginning to clear. I appeared to be moving in the right direction. I was supposed to see the doctor in 2 weeks after I left. When I saw him he put me on an additional medication Paxil @ 10mgs. one daily in the morning.

I was on Paxil a week before I realized that I was getting some of the same symptoms I had gotten before. Except this time I couldn’t get up out of the bed in the mornings to go to my exercise class. I became totally bedridden. If I tried to walk I could just barely make it back to the house before collapsing. When I talked to the pharmacist and discovered this too, was serotonin based I tried to inform the cardiologist of this problem and received the same responses I had from all the other doctors, except he went one step further. He flat out informed me there was no way that it could be the serotonin because serotonin was stored in our brains and therefore because it was a part of the body how could I be having a problem. I tried to tell him nicely that so was the heart a part of the body, but that people did have heart attacks, etc. It was finally months later before I was able to convince him to test me for 5-HIAA. By that time I was having some of the following symptoms: Swollen, coated, ulcerated tongue, diarrhea, panic attacks, anxiety to the point I felt like I was going to die, fluctuating blood pressure and pulse, tremors and coldness in the extremities. This last reaction was what sent me to ER again and since the doctor there just did not know what serotonin was, diagnosed me with hypokalemia and sent me home to take potassium 10mgs. 3 times daily.

After the Cardiologist could not find any results from the test that he took, he, too, gave up on the situation and suggested in an offhanded manner that either I was a hypochondriac or delusioned. At least that was my interpretation of an example he gave me when he told me of another patient that he had who was in her 50’s that thought she was 72. I got the distinct impression that I was being put into the same category as this other woman. So, since April 1998 I have been free of all serotonin drugs. I have even tried to stay away from foods that might increase the level of serotonin in my body. But, I was not to escape!!

I began to experience severe gastrointestinal problems. So I went to a gastroenterologist and he first of all did an endoscopy to check the upper stomach. He found ulceritis of the stomach and a sliding hiatal hernia. I wish I could have said I was surprised, but by this time I had discovered after doing some research that serotonin does reside in the stomach also. You may be asking where do I stand now. The only thing that I can tell you is the depression has left. I cannot tell you when I left the Black Hole or when it left me, but it’s gone. Meanwhile, the family doctor will be sending me to an endocrinologist for the serotonin issue. I will be going back to the gastroenterologist to get a Colonoscopy to determine why my bowels stopped functioning and my stomach remains distended and when I do get my bowels to function with laxatives I go from diarrhea to constipation to diarrhea.

When my eyesight became blurred I had my prescription changed. The skin rash I suffered on my arms and thighs went away. It did create a minor gingivitis situation with my gums that I will have to have fixed in May. I have a vaginal infection that I am currently seeing a gynecologist about. I had some hair loss on the crown of my head. The scalp would itch, but there was no dandruff and I would wash my hair a lot and treat it with sulfur based hair conditioners.

I have approx. 20 lbs. of weight gain that did not occur from abusive eating, sweets, or alcohol. And, I do not smoke. I am living one day at a time. Dr. Tracy’s book has now come across my path so I have already ordered it. I have to believe that one day I will stop going around and around this vicious cycle that I feel has been set up in my body by these mood altering drugs. I am looking forward to the day when it all stops for good and I can really go back to being normal.

Percetta Speight

6/10/1999

This is Survivor Story number 29.

Total number of stories in current database is 96

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Severe Reaction to Z-Pak

“I hope this story will help remind people of the serious nature of medication…”

 

In May of this year (1999), I went to a minor emergency clinic for a sore throat. The Nurse-Practitioner gave me a Rx for a Z-Pak which I filled at the nearest pharmacy. At the time I was taking 400mg of Lamictal per day. It may have been the combination, but the day after I took the first dose of the Z-Pak, I was taken to the hospital with a Stephen-Johnson’s reaction. I was having problems breathing and swallowing, so I could take nothing by mouth for the first two days (not even water). I was, also ordered to complete bed rest. I did manage to talk them into a potty chair so I didn’t have to use a bed pan, but complete bed rest is the pits.

I had severe burns, like chemical burns over much of my body. My face and neck were so bad I was hard to recognize. I looked like a photo negative almost.

The burns attacked the linings in my lungs which did not help my Asthma, but the breathing treatments helped. The insides of my mouth and throat were burned as well. I was in the hospital for 7 days, and lost 40 lbs. I was on IVs but could not eat for a while.

My eyes came out OK except I must take eyedrops for diminished tear production.

I have a residual light rash, and some discoloration in places. The dark spots will probably be permanent. But I am still alive.

I hope this story will help remind people of the serious nature of medication, even for common items like antibiotics. If you need more information, please contact me. Thank you.

Ron Cole
RSCole1@prodigy.net

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 93.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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