Cushing’s Syndrome on Prozac–A Nurse’s Story

” (I) thought it was saving my life, while all the time it was insidiously and slowly killing me.”

 

I started having bad reactions in Oct. ’96. I found Prozac to be causing joint and muscle pain itself. I also became concerned that I was developing signs of Cushing’s Syndrome. I was very pro-Prozac until last October and wouldn’t have listened to anything said against it until I got problems (thought it was saving my life, while all the time it was insidiously and slowly killing me!) When I first heard about your book (Prozac: Panacea or Pandora?) on the Internet I was interested but quite skeptical. However, since reading it and having suffered so many problems with Prozac, I have come to the conclusion that the book is brilliant, and a life-line as far as I am concerned. I tried to fault the research and reasoning, but could not and still can’t. I would like to extend my thanks to you for your heroic stance on this enormously important issue. I have tremendous respect and admiration for your hard work, determination and courage in pursuing this subject so vigorously, against so much powerful opposition for the benefit of people like me. Your integrity puts many, if not most doctors and psychiatrists to shame. It is reassuring to find that there are a few people in the world who are prepared to fight for the truth for the benefit of mankind.

A.S., A British Nurse

 

9/1/1997

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 37.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

420 total views, 1 views today

Heart Problems from Four Years on Prozac

“I was a very well person prior to taking the Prozac and am now exhausted all the time.”

 

I caught the last part of your presentation on Radio Station KEX, Portland, while flipping through the dial last night. I was flabbergasted to hear you speak of the horrible potential side effects from Prozac , which I have been taking for approximately four years, particularly since I have been diagnosed recently with cardiomyalgia, severe artery disease, congestive heart failure and also Fibromyalgia.

I don’t know if there could be a correlation, however, it is certainly worth investigation. (I was a very well person prior to taking the Prozac and am now exhausted all the time, with horrible aching joints and considerable pain and a massive heart problem. Did you mention that a class action lawsuit was underway against the Prozac manufacturers? If you have additional info in this regard,

I’d be deeply appreciative if you could let me know.

J

 

8/25/1997

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 38.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

350 total views, no views today

All Hell Broke Loose When I Quit Cold Turkey

‘I began thinking and doing things that I normally would abhor. I became unable to feel spiritual feelings.’

Dear Ann,

I just bought your book the other day and I will have to tell you that I am impressed. There aren’t that many people out there who have the guts to go out and defy popular thinking and to research and speak out against these legalized drug pushers. I know your book is true and the personal experiences by your patients and colleagues is true because I have been there. I just can’t understand how people who are supposed to be helping us get healed are thrusting these poisons upon us the way they do.

Let me briefly summarize what has happened to me—
I am active duty Air Force. Around July of ’97 I went into the clinic because I just hadn’t been “feeling well” for a long time. (By the way, I have learned just recently that I have severe allergies, which can mock depression symptoms.) I am not one to just run to the doctor’s office every time I have a symptom, but I just couldn’t cope anymore on my own.

When I went there, within a few minutes the PA who I was visiting had written me out a prescription for Zoloft. He wasn’t sure what it was, but he thought he would run a few blood tests and put me on Zoloft as a clinical experiment to see if it was depression.

Well I was on Zoloft for 7 weeks and every time I went back I dreaded talking to him because he just wouldn’t listen to my symptoms – which according to their handout, didn’t fit depression.
I took the drug blindly, not knowing what it was or what it did. I guess I just thought that if I had an adverse reaction, I could just quit taking it and it would subside.

Zoloft didn’t work, in fact it actually caused me to become depressed. That’s when I was referred to Mental Health, where the psychiatrist prescribed me Prozac the very first visit. He didn’t think it was depression I was dealing with, however he prescribed it anyway saying, “this drug works wonders for a lot of people!” I was off Zoloft and on Prozac that very day.

At first I felt like it might be working — for a few days. Then I felt my personality vanish. Before I knew what happened I had become the type of bland person that I despised. I began thinking and doing things that I normally would abhor. Although I am very religious and active in my church, I became unable to feel spiritual feelings.
Within a couple of weeks I started having tremors, mild at first, but then more pronounced. The psychiatrist first denied that Prozac could cause those and dismissed it as “psychosomatic” and told me to stop shaking like that.

I went to another doctor for the pains in my neck and I told him about the tremors and he said that Prozac causes them and recommended that I quit the drug.

I ended up in the emergency room for major tremors before I could get back to my psychiatrist. I had a phone consultation with him and he said he had done some research and found that it was an adverse reaction and he told me to quit taking it because it was a failed attempt anyway.
So I quit — cold turkey, just like he said. That’s when all hell broke loose. I went into what they called “pseudo-seizures”(because the EEG was “normal” and I didn’t lose full consciousness) and I had major cognitive dysfunction.

At work I was forced to take an evaluation and was decertified from my job and put on permanent “training” status (they couldn’t come up with anything better than “training deficiency”).

Well, to make a long story short, it’s been about a year of hell for me and my family (and we have a big one). Things have not significantly improved. I don’t have anymore “pseudo-seizures” now and I can drive sometimes and I am slowly picking up some of the things I used to do before Prozac or Zoloft, but I still have tremors and slowed cognitive functioning and difficulty learning.

The major problem is that these doctors here on base have been bought and paid for by the big drug companies and they are denying all along that Prozac or Zoloft had any lasting effects upon me. I went to the Inspector General about the mishandling of my medical case and they allowed me to go off-base for treatment, but it’s still slow in coming.
Thanks to your book and information at your website I was able to amass the tangible evidence needed to prove my case. Just knowing that there are other people out there who had almost the same exact reactions is evidence enough, but you really brought a lot of other important things to light.

D.D.

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 41.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

 

540 total views, no views today

A Cipramil [Celexa] Survivor

“I have lost all contact with my body.”

 

Dear Ann Blake-Tracy and The International Coalition for Drug Awareness

I write to you from Norway, Europe. I am a 52 year old woman, and I want to tell my story about severe adverse reactions to a SSRI drug called Cipramil (Celexa) manufactured in Denmark by a company called Lundbeck.

On the 15th of April 1997 I took my first Cipramil (Celexa) pill. Six days later I had to quit (in agreement with my doctor). During these days I experienced the most terrible kind of “electric surges” throughout my body. It was as if my head was going to blow away. I also got huge bruises on my arms.

After I stopped taking the pills I thought that my body would return to its normal state. BUT IT DID NOT. The “electric surges” continued during the days, weeks and months to come, and soon I am going to celebrate their 1st anniversary. The surges have changed somewhat in character. The center has always been (and still is) in Solar Plexus. Now the sensations are mostly in the stomach region and resembles that of “scratching, burning knives”. These sensations are always there, 24 hours every day, 60 minutes every hour, 60 seconds every minute. My whole body feels “electrified” and “dead”. It feels like the nervous center in Solar Plexus has DIED OUT. There is no more “aliveness” in there. It is transformed into a dead crater. Do you have any idea of how it feels living in this torture? Do you have any idea of what has happened to my nervous system?

I have lost all contact with my body. I can no longer feel hunger. I can stop eating for weeks if I want, and my body give no signals about being hungry. On the contrary, if I want to, I can eat and eat and eat the whole day. My body never gives a sign that my stomach is full and satisfied. Also I no longer have the normal ability to get tired and sleepy. My body has only one way of behaving: the “electrified, dead” way. Day and night. It is as if I walk around like an “electric cable”.

My skin feels “dead”. It has no “human” feeling. I cannot feel the human dimension of a hug, only the technical touch. I have lost the personal smell of my body, the smell that was ME.

But the worst thing (actually it is only another dimension of the complex I have described above) is that I HAVE LOST ALL MY HUMAN EMOTIONAL LIFE. I have no ability to experience any human feeling at all. I cannot be happy, not sad, not angry, not irritated, not interested, not ashamed. Name any human emotion you can: I cannot experience them.

I AM SURE: The Cipramil (Celexa) pills (even if they were only 6) have caused a terrible chemical disaster in my brain and my nervous system. They have destroyed my ability to experience human emotions. They have destroyed the HUMAN part of my life. They have taken away all “ALIVENESS” from my life. I feel totally dead inside me. The physical precondition for my emotional life is destroyed. Will it ever come back? I doubt it. I have no longer a human personality, a human psychic life. I have no longer a SOUL.

As you understand, I exist (I will not use the word LIVE) in terrible torture, physical and psychological. It is impossible to stand it. It is impossible to escape it. What shall I do? I have never been a candidate for suicide, but now I can see no other way out. (I have no problem understanding that an adverse effect of these pills is suicidal tendencies.)

The motor part of the nervous system is intact. The autonomic part of the nervous system is intact. The part of the nervous system that governs the intellectual life is intact. The part of the nervous system that governs the human emotional life is PARALYZED, DEAD. It is in this part the medical/chemical attack has taken place.

The adverse effect that I have experienced is the total paralyzing of my soul. The soul is as important to a human being as the body. The paralyzing of the soul therefore is as serious as if it has occurred to the body. It is impossible for me to act in human life with NO INNER HUMAN “ALIVENESS”.

I used to be an active person. I had husband and children. I liked my job. I traveled around the world as a photographer. Now I am transformed into a human wreck with a totally “dead” life. I lie on a mattress, staring up into the ceiling, trying to think of nothing.

I have no contact with my children. I can no longer live with my husband. It is impossible to be with the people I loved the most and be totally dead inside. I can no longer travel anywhere, I can no longer take my pictures, I can no longer go for a vacation. I cannot visit my friends or go to the movies or theatre. I cannot do anything because I cannot EXPERIENCE anything. I AM NO LONGER A PARTICIPANT IN THE HUMAN LIFE.

So, Ann Blake Tracy, this is my story. Have you heard of anything like this before, or am I the only person in the world experiencing this? (very unlikely, I suppose) Do you think there is any hope? Is there anything I can do? Or am I going to spend the rest of my life in Hell? If so, the SSRI drugs can add another suicide to its adverse list.

I am desperately in need of help, but see no hope.

Note: Because it is important to know that there is hope of getting better you need to know that Bjorg is doing much better now. She flew to America to meet with Dr. Tracy and left with many ideas for alternative treatments she could use. She used many natural alternative treatments and began to feel better right away which gave her hope again and courage to keep working at feeling even better.

Bjorg Johnsen; bjorg.johnsen@dagbladet.no

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 68.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

503 total views, no views today

The Macula’s Story

“We need to let people know what is going on with these drugs before more lives are destroyed.”

 

I credit reading Ann Blake-Tracy’s book with saving my husband’s life. I have talked to her by phone and by e-mail. Here is my story and what happened to us in the past two years: In December of 1995 our house burned down. For the next 4 months we fought with the town to get it rebuilt (it was a duplex owned and lived in by two separate families). The Zoning laws changed and the town would not let us rebuild it as a two family home. We subsequently had to buy the other owner’s interest. Then we had to go through the battle with our insurance company to get the money needed to rebuild the home.

It was a very stressful time in our lives, we were living in a trailer on our property during all this. It was hard but we were doing okay and helping our kids get through it as well. In April 1996 my husband went to his Primary Care Doctor for a refill of his Blood Pressure Medication. While he was there his doctor asked, “How are you doing?” My husband said “.. A little down over all of this.” The Doctor said “I have just the thing for you.” My husband came home with free samples of Prozac and a prescription for more. I recall looking at him and saying that people kill people and go nuts on that stuff. And then I laughed it off. Little did I know how true we were about to discover that to be in a short four months!

In August of 1996, I started seeing a change in my husband of 20 years. He had always been the type of person who liked to work in his yard and home and keep everything neat and manicured. Now I began finding him in front of the TV just staring at it. I would be yelling at one of the children about something and I would get no reaction at all from him. By September there were other signs, like not sleeping at night and not eating. Although it did not register with me at the time, I can look back now and recall noticing them.

On Oct. 4, 1996, I got a call from his work. They told me that he had passed out and been sent to the hospital by ambulance. When I got to the hospital they told me they would keep him there overnight for observation. When I picked him up the next day and he was in total confusion, having anxiety and panic attacks, and admitted he had been having severe nightmares about dying during the past few weeks. He went out for a walk on the third day after being released from the hospital and my brother found him walking on a busy street in a total daze. He couldn’t remember where he had been.

Over the next few weeks he went down hill rapidly. He tried to return to work but he couldn’t focus–he would just get up and leave, not telling anyone where he was going. I kept calling his doctor for help telling him there was something wrong. So of course the doctor continued to add more and more drugs. Klonopin, Buspar, and more.

He became like a zombie. He couldn’t function at all. Finally we took him off all meds except for the Prozac. In the next months he stared consuming large amounts of alcohol. He started suicide attempts, (walking in the middle of a busy road, walking on railroad tracks waiting for the train to run him down, slitting his wrists, electrocuting himself and overdosing on the prescription drugs, and also mixing them with alcohol.

He was now complaining of electric shocks running through his body and a rapid heartbeat. All he knew was that he wanted to die, even though loved his family and me very much. He was a wonderful person and we had always enjoyed each others company and had a good life with our kids. We were looking forward to moving into the new house and having it all to ourselves.

At this point the Doctor sent him to a neurologist who did a complete work up and ordered a MRI. He found nothing out of the ordinary and told him to up his Prozac to 40 mgs. Finally I convinced my husband to go to a psychiatrist. Of course, you have to use a doctor that belongs to your insurance group, and there wasn’t a Psychiatrist in our area at this time. So he ended up at a psychologist. Well he went to this Doctor and tried to explain what was wrong and that he thought it might be the Prozac. But the psychologist just said, ‘Oh no–no Prozac doesn’t do that!’ and gave him a relaxation tape that taught him to squeeze his butt cheeks as one of the exercises. He also told us to contact our primary care physician and add Xanax and something else.

We did not go back to him for treatment. By this time my husband was totally out of control he was starting to see a girl after work, leaving work to meet her, leaving home to meet her, and still attempting suicide. He would look fine one minute and the next minute his eyes would glaze over and his pupils would start flicking back and forth and he would start having something like little seizures. In the meantime I was still calling the doctor asking him what I should do. Finally my husband said, “I have to get off this Prozac or I am going to die.”

By January he was totally manic. He was having an affair with the woman he had been meeting. Still not sleeping at night, he would spend all night sitting in a chair staring into space and then go to work in the morning. I was terrified of him and for him. Finally I had to call the police to have him committed to the Psych ward at the hospital.

About this time his sister in doing some research on Prozac on the Internet, came up with some excerpts from Dr. Tracy’s book. We showed them to the hospital psychiatrist who said ‘Oh no–no Prozac doesn’t do that.’ So the hospital psychiatrist added more drugs: Effexor (SSRI anti-depressant), Serentil (anti-psychotic) and Anafranil (anti-obsessive). Four days later he came home and had to go to suicide and depression classes at the hospital for two weeks. Ten days after coming out of the hospital he tried to kill himself again and he went back to the Psych ward. This time he was there for 11 days. All of his meds were increased. He came home like a zombie again. His anxiety or panic attacks were gone, but he still had the sensation of electric shocks, and body seizures where he would jump and swing his arms in his sleep. He was also screaming out in his sleep and sweating badly. He was still unable to work or focus.

This continued on all Spring and Summer of 1997. By now he was seeing a psychiatrist (insurance company finally had one in our area). The Doctor kept increasing the doses of the meds. He also would add meds and change meds. By August he was a basket case! He was crying about what he had done to his family and that he just couldn’t go on after what he’d done.

August 31, 1997 I woke up at 3:00 am to find him gone! I found him in his car with a hose from his tailpipe to his car window. He said the pain was too much. So it was back to the hospital again. Pamelor (anti-depressant) was added to his daily regimen, Effexor was stopped, Melarill (an anti psychotic) was added, and Serentil was stopped. By that time he was on the maximum dosage allowed for Anafranil. He came home a Zombie again. He was unable to work for a month.

Finally I decided to order Ann Blake-Tracy’s book. In reading it, I found it described my husband and his ordeal to a “T.” Other people on Prozac and other SSRI anti-depressants were going through the same exact adverse reactions. It made me cry to think those doctors for the past 1 1/2 years were killing my husband with these drugs. They turned a normal human being into a manic-depressive, psychotic, basket case that almost destroyed his family and himself.

On October 31, against Ann Blake-Tracy’s warnings, he took himself off all meds. He went through horrific withdrawals: pain, crying spells, rebound depression. He wanted to lay down and sleep forever. Finally about 3 weeks later I saw a change. I saw my old husband starting to return. He had energy, he was happy, all suicidal thoughts were out of his head. He couldn’t believe that he had tried to kill himself.

It has now been four months off meds and he is working full time again. He is talking to people at work about the dangers of these drugs. We have been on the Geraldo show. And we have begun to find many others who have gone through this same “Hell” we have. We have found that we are surrounded by others having similar experiences and are trying to help them in every way we can. We need to let the people know what is going on with these drugs before more lives are destroyed.

Thanks for reading my story,

(Patty and her Husband recently taped an episode of the Geraldo Show. We will notify of the airdate on our Public Appearances page when it is scheduled to be broadcast.)

Patty

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 61.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

395 total views, no views today

A Doctor’s Life Destroyed

“…Prozac destroyed my life.”

I am (was) a physician and a Prozac survivor, although it is only recently that I have become convinced that it (Prozac) destroyed my life, and even now continues to affect my ability to regain and restore my “sanity”. I am still its victim even though I have not taken it since 1990/1991.

In 1984-89 I was a successful family physician with my own private practice. I had one of the most prestigious practices and a new beautiful building. In 1989 I paid taxes on an income of $l60, 000 and a gross of over $400,000. I owned a country estate worth over $350,000 on the most beautiful lake in the county and had accumulated a business inventory of over $500,000 including equity in my medical office building. I had a family including three lovely children. I enjoyed hobbies of game, fishing, hunting, travel, and antique acquisitions.

In 1989 I became extremely depressed due to job burn out, marital discord, mid-life crisis, and identity crisis. I sought professional “help” and in the course of counseling and treatment was prescribed Prozac. Everything in my life dissolved within the next 9 months. I ended up abusing alcohol, then drugs (I had been vehemently against drugs all my life until then).

The Prozac led me to the quest of suicide and drug addiction, and I lost my sanity and all my self-discipline in a binge of irrational behaviors I never dreamed I might be capable of. Consequently my life has been a nightmare of psychiatric and alcohol-drug treatment centers, various (incorrect?) diagnoses of chronic depression vs. obsessive-compulsive disorder vs. manic-depression vs. mid-life crisis and professional burnout vs. alcoholism- drug abuse etc. etc. I have been to AA, NA, SSA, groups, half-way houses, physician recovery houses, various physician self-help plans and on many different medications including more Prozac, Paxil, Wellbutrin (Zyban), Desyril, Lithium and other antidepressants in my search to regain what was taken from me by Prozac. I have battled to regain my self dignity and professional esteem with little (limited) permanent success since 1990.

At present I have lost my family, my house, my practice my office building, my medical reputation and all my financial resources including retirement plans cashed out to pay medical expenses. I have intermittently practiced my profession, punctuated by periods of relapse into melancholy, suicide ideations, deep depression and manic or hypomanic behavior leading to alcohol and drug abuse. I have spent a large fortune to save myself from this other irrational “being” that was “born” when I was placed on Prozac in 1989-1990 –this “Mr. Hyde”: who refuses to even now completely go away.

After my last relapse in Feb. 96 I have been unable to work and, if not for a few close friends, I would be homeless. I am presently near the end of my ability to cope with all that has happened and have minimal hope that the future will bring any permanent relief from the mental afflictions which Prozac unleashed on me 6 years or so ago. Parts of my life are just Blanks, spaces of horror I loathe to even remember.

I was discarding my medical papers when I came across your letter of July 1995 detailing the Lilly cover-up [in the Wesbecker case in Louisville, KY]. I never pursued my plans to sue Eli Lilly in 1991-92 after the FDA and the courts gave Prozac the legal “cover” they needed to discourage any future lawsuits. I approached lawyers who refused any contingency fee legal actions after the FDA came to their [Eli Lilly’s] rescue and the civil suits were “dismissed”. (They estimated $50,000 to start action.).

Your letter and accompanying information in Judge Potter’s petition to the Kentucky Court of Appeals and Lilly’s secret settlements are indeed an “eye opener” for me as a former practicing physician and myself a victim of Prozac. I still consider suicide as an escape from this pain and anguish, this mental and physical hell I’ve gone through, but maybe “revenge” (legal) would be more appropriate. Is there any hope??

I would be happy to share my story with any other victims or to the public, TV. Or press if it might keep anyone else from suffering this horrible fate and oblivion that Prozac has caused in my life; (what’s left of it). Maybe one day the truth will be known and there will be some justice for all of us.

Hoping for a better future, and for truth and justice–

Thank you for listening,

(name withheld by request)

 

1/10/1996

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 39.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

528 total views, no views today

I survived Zoloft, but I lost a good friend.

“I will do anything I can do to get these drugs off of the market.”

 

Hi, my name is Laura. In January of 1996 I went totally manic on Zoloft after taking it for three weeks, (25 mg.). I thought I was supposed to feel this good after being depressed, I thought this was the way I was supposed to feel, gooooood, toooo good for awhile. The more days that went by the more manic I became due to the fact that I could not sleep! It caused insomnia so bad, who wouldn’t go manic. Well, I went to see a lawyer about suing as I had lost a lot of money and felt that the company should have compensated me some how. The lawyer advised me that ” . . . it wasn’t a class action suit, so forget about it . . .” and I did, believe me. July 15th 1998 not even 3 weeks from this post, it all came back to me.

My best friend’s husband Daryl, who was a very nice guy and the best father I ever met, found out something that upset him very much and he went to the Doctor, the same Doctor that I went to, and that Doctor gave him 25 mg. of ZOLOFT. It wasn’t a week and Daryl started getting weird. By the 2nd week he was beating his wife. I don’t know how my friend ever survived those 3 1/2 weeks but she did.

3 1/2 weeks after Daryl started taking the 25 mg of Zoloft, he beat his wife bad and almost got the 3 kids, but they got away from him and fled for their lives. To make a sad story short, Daryl was found 3 days later in his truck in his own garage in 103-degree heat. He had been there dead for 3 days!

I cannot tell you how upset I am, and how I remember the mania from my own experience and can relate to what Daryl must have been going through. I just can’t believe it is true, it is so unreal, so unlike him. I just found the bottle a few days ago and took it to the Dr. and determined that he had been taking them right up to the night that he died. I remember how Zoloft amplified EVERYTHING. And the paranoia and the grinding of teeth. The insomnia was the very worst as it brought on the agitation.

I am posting this not for only myself but for Daryl too. I miss him deeply, we were all good friends, I cry a lot, and I go over to that garage and just cry because I know, I know what he went through. And if only someone would have told me he was on Zoloft I could have saved his life!

Not even his wife knew!

Please pray for her, she has 3 children and she is now with her parent’s way across town, so I feel as I have lost the entire family.

I will do anything I can do to get these drugs off of the market. It is like a cocaine; amphetamine, LSD high and you can’t get off. I just thank God everyday that I am alive and that my family is alive.

Laura

P.S. NOTE: I just want to state that I am back with the same Doctor who prescribed Zoloft because I do not think he is aware of the dangers, and how the statistics of going manic are a lot higher than he is aware of. I do not blame him in anyway, as I do not believe he knows how many people have gone manic on this drug. Also I believe in him as he in return believes in me. I believe now that he knows that the only thing that can make me go manic, is drugs. It can be cold medication, pain pills, steroids, decongestants, and even herb diet pills. I also know that he truly cares about his patients and also is a very qualified Doctor and that if I ever got sick, he is the only Doctor that I would want to be my MD General Practitioner. I highly recommend him to my friends and whoever asks me for a new Doctor, and I send people to him all the time.

Laura_Angel@msn.com

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 56.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

429 total views, no views today

My Reaction to Zyban and Wellbutrin

“When my husband came home from work, he found me on the bathroom floor unable to move my left side, babbling and drooling, having difficult breathing.”

 

I would like to relate my experiences with Zyban (Wellbutrin). In December, 1997 I decided to quit smoking. My doctor prescribed Zyban. Within 3 days of taking the drug, I began to notice changes in my personality. I became more agitated, anxious, angry, and nervous. At first I attributed it to the holiday season, my husband being away for work reasons, and the stressful job of renovating our home and other reasons. By day 6 I was violent, crying continuously, unable to concentrate, shaking violently, rocking, unable to remember a thing. Fortunately (how sad to say this), I had a friend who had had an allergic reaction to medication several years before and recognized what was happening to me. She stayed with me until all hours of the night and suggested my doctor put me on an anti-anxiety drug (Xanax). It took about 3 months, but the medication did help lessen most of the side effects. However, my memory and concentration never returned to what it was.

Throughout this, my doctor insisted that I had anxiety disorder and that there was no way the Zyban could continue to affect me months later. This diagnosis was due in part to Glaxo Wellcome’s insistence that the drug would be out of my system after 30 days with no remaining side effects. It was also decided that I stop my birth control (depopreva) in order to balance my system again. Besides a hormone test and complete blood work up, no other tests were ever done. The strain of my body trying to regulate itself was too much. In March, 1999 I had a complete relapse again. (Note: It takes 12-18 months for the body to re-adjust itself after depopreva shots end.) I contacted Glaxo and was told by the person on the other end of the phone, that they did not know how hormones would affect the use of the drug and that no tests were ever run concerning this. I have tried to find out if this was correct, but I find nothing but dead ends.

By this time I had a new doctor. Gratefully, he realized that something was wrong and sent me to a brain neurologist/psychiatrist. He, too, contacted Glaxo. Now since it was well over a year since I had stopped the Zyban, he was told the same thing as my first doctor. It couldn’t be the Zyban, it was something else. I had a blood test and he relied on hormone tests over 1 year old – taken the month I quit the shots. Since all tests showed nothing, I quote: “Since the symptoms are so much like manic depressiveness, let’s treat the symptoms and worry about the cause later.” I was placed on Depakote and nothing else was ever done. Depakote did not seem to work well, especially at times of ovulation and menstruation. He kept upping my dose. At 150 mg I had a reaction. I became extremely “high” by 10 am. When my husband came home from work, he found me on the bathroom floor unable to move my left side, babbling and drooling, having difficult breathing. I had been there nearly 45 minutes alone. He rushed me to the hospital. The emergency room doctor claimed I had a seizure, the neurologist (who never came to see me) said it was a manic high and to stay on the Depakote, just at a lower dosage. Needless to say, I fought that and stopped taking it.

My husband and I were never given a final diagnosis – I am waiting for the papers from the hospital to see what the final decision was. Since then, my problems have worsened. I now stammer quite often, am losing mobility in my left arm and hand. The doctor has even had to give me a shot of Valium to stop uncontrollable shaking and spasms of my entire body. I am continuously tired and weak, shake a lot, my memory is worse, my ability to form sentences at times impossible, my anxiety and anger heightened. There is fear now that the compounding of the drug reactions may have caused permanent neurological damage. Unfortunately it will be almost 4 months before I can seen at major medical university for testing. I have been given lorazepam to control any further shakes and spasms. The idea of being on a drug the rest of my life so I can walk and talk is not a pleasant one.

During my struggle, I have become co-spokesperson/organizer for a growing group of people experiencing long-term side effects from either Wellbutrin or Zyban. Though the problems and their severity vary, we have found that we do share common lasting effects, mainly shakes, memory, and word-finding difficulties. We number over 30 with letters being received almost weekly. With so little information available to doctors, most cases are being misdiagnosed, if diagnosed at all, a few of us are working together to find our own answers. Though it is a slow process, occasionally we doing have encouraging findings.

For example, the patient information from a Walgreen Pharmacy in South Bend, Indiana says that the side effects MAY go away after stopping the drug. We hope that this is a partial admittance from the company that our problems are real and may be soon there will be answers to our problems. In the meantime, the search goes on. Though my experience is with Zyban, possibly compounded by my use of Depakote, many others are experiencing the similar problems with other medications. We are the guinea pigs for these =93new generation=94 drugs that seem to be put out on the market too quickly. The product information for doctors list 180+ side effects possible from Wellbutrin/Zyban, with many of these recognized AFTER the drug=92s release to the general public.

If the patient does not get this product information along with the drug, they are possibly aware of only 10 side effects. I know that many of the newer drugs are helpful, but too many are not. We need to bind together to stop the money-making machines that are jeopardizing our health, the health of our children, and possibly the health of the next generation. We need assurance of proper testing and results and that long-term problems are recognized prior to the drug=92s release, not after. Or, for that matter, that long-term problems even exist. If long-term problems have been discovered, follow-ups and treatment need to be available to those suffering them, no matter how small the percentage. With hopes, groups such as yours will bring more awareness to the general public and will make sure that future drugs will be released with more care and information.

I thank you for the opportunity to share my experience.

Debby Gincig Painter

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 95.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

345 total views, 1 views today

After 3 months on Paxil, my hell started.

“Anybody who is thinking about taking medication for depression should think again.”

 

Everything started about 8 – 9 years ago.

I was going trough menopause and was feeling horrible. My doctor prescribed me Paxil. I took it for 6 months. I was not feeling very good on it because my underling problem was menopause. I got off the drug very slowly. I was not feeling very bad by slowly discontinuing the medication. About 3 months lather my hell started. I was having electric shocks (my doctor said that I had pinched nerve), flue like symptoms, I was vomiting and could not sleep.

I was suicidal. All I wanted to do is die. My therapist sent me to psychiatrist. He put me on Depakote for manic depression. I was going trough hell on Depakote. I was having horrible depression. I do not know why or how I went to gynecologist. I was put on natural estrogen and progesterone prescribed by doctor (from companding pharmacy). Suddenly I got better. I decided to get off Depakote. But because I was afraid to get off the drug knowing what Paxil did to me I stayed on it for maybe 7 years.

After I decided to get off Depakote I went through another hell.

I believe that I got dependent on the drug because every single time I was getting off I had to go back on medication. I remember when I was asking my psychiatrist whether I would have to be able to get off the medication that he told me that 90% people have to stay on it for rest of their life’s. Now I know why. By that time I was reading a book from Peter Breggin “Your drug may be your problem.” I was determined to get off the medication no matter what.

I was able, by increasing my hormones. For 6 months I was feeling wonderful. After 6 months I was feeling miserable again. I could not increase my hormones because I was on relatively high dose, so I was prescribed Remeron. I have been on it only for 2 months 15 mg and I am trying to get off it again.

I am going trough hell again. It feels like somebody is cutting my whole body. The physical withdrawal symptoms are worst then mental. By using this relatively “safe” drugs I am going trough hell and I am suicidal. I developed chronic insomnia. I cannot eat or sleep. My only solution is suicide. Anybody who is thinking about taking medication for depression should think again

Viera

 

1995

Years 2000 and Prior

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

528 total views, no views today