Meridia Stole My Health

“…the FDA was warned by their own experts not to release this Meridia and it got on the market anyway.”

 

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.

I stopped smoking but 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 to 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.

This is getting much to long, doctor. 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 the 19 year old boy, brilliant, has 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 under 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 (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 and maybe the serotonin connection might make a little sense to me.

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 P.R. 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.

 

4/5/2000

This is Survivor Story number 26.

Total number of stories in current database is 96

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My 18-Year Old’s Bizarre Behavior on Prozac

“At no time …did any one mention Prozac’s side effects.”

My 18 year old son has been on Prozac for the last year and a half.
Initially, I brought him to a counselor for some mild anxiety he was experiencing (shyness in social situations, etc.) The counselor (a licensed MSW) prescribed Prozac, saying that it would greatly reduce Jeff’s anxiety. Indeed, after two weeks Jeff reported feeling better, being more relaxed in school and in social situations. Over the next 6 months or so, however, I began to notice some disturbing symptoms (excessive sleepiness at times and at other times extreme agitation along with an inability to concentrate on schoolwork).I told his family doctor, who suggested cutting his dose of Prozac, from 20 mg. to 10 mg. Shortly after this time, Jeff began to develop a severe drinking problem. He frequently came home so intoxicated that he could not stand and remembered nothing the next morning. His grades in school also started plummeting: during his senior year in high school, his grades went from B+ to failing. He was extremely agitated, anxious, unable to sit still or focus. At this point his counselors recommended that his Prozac be upped from 10 to 20 mg.

Things went from bad to worse-his drinking increased, he barely graduated from high school (he was on home study because he was exhibiting bizarre, sometimes threatening behavior in school, and was suspended).At no time during this period did any one mention Prozac’s side effects or the possibility that Jeff was having a serious reaction to this drug.

Finally, towards the end of summer ’99, when he picked up his prescription from the pharmacy, he read the label and noticed some of the possible side effects, pointing out to my husband and myself that these were the same things he’d been experiencing. We made a family decision to stop the Prozac, not realizing that the fun was just beginning. About a week after stopping the Prozac, Jeff began to have panic attacks (something he’d never experienced before).Along with the shaking, irregular heartbeat and anxiety, he experienced strange sensations in his head and a buzzing sound in his ears. We went to see his doctor, who didn’t make the connection-he sent him to a psychologist to treat the panic attacks, not suspecting that the problem might be Prozac withdrawal (nor did I). For the past 2 months, his symptoms have grown steadily worse: he’s been in the emergency room for severe headaches, has seen a neurologist, had many expensive tests, and been diagnosed with Migraine.

No one made the connection between his symptoms and the fact that he had stopped the Prozac abruptly (all doctors knew of his decision). It wasn’t until I saw Dr. Tracy on the Leeza show recently that I started to suspect that this might be the problem. Since then I’ve been researching Prozac on the internet and am amazed at the information I’m finding! I’ve spoken to Jeff’s doctor who was as surprised as I about these complications (I printed and mailed him lots of info.)I will order your book, as I want to know what I can do to help my son at this point apologize at the length of this e-mail, but I had to tell this story to someone.
Thank you.

Followup Letter to Dr. Tracy:
Dear Dr. Tracy,
Thank you for your kind response to my e-mail. It’s obvious that this is an issue very close to your heart. It’ s easy for me to see how frustrating this battle can be: the more information that I find on this topic, the more appalled I become that the medical and psychiatric professions are allowing this to happen to unsuspecting and trusting patients. Amazingly, Jeff seems to be doing much better. Just within the past week, his headaches have all but disappeared, and his anxiety level is greatly diminished. It’s been about 2 1/2 months since he stopped taking the Prozac- from what I’ve read however there can be delayed withdrawal reactions, so I’m not sure we’re out of the woods yet. I’ve been very busy printing information that I find on the internet and sending Jeff’s doctor and counselors letters and packets of information. My hope is that they will at least begin to question these drugs and do some research on their own. I’d like to show you an excerpt from the letter I wrote to the psychologist Jeff was referred to for the panic attacks he experienced shortly after discontinuing the Prozac. I am particularly annoyed with this doctor because he told me that Jeff’ panic attacks were the manifestations of OCD and that he needed to be on medication. From letter to Dr. Robbins: Coincidentally, now that Jeff’s withdrawal symptoms seem to have abated, he is much more like the son I once knew. He’s more relaxed, he’s stopped drinking, his sense of humor is back, and he’s actually able to focus on schoolwork ( he got an A on a recent College Comp. paper.)What does this say about Prozac? Basically, I feel that this drug took my son away from me for two years! I have also written a letter to the Rochester editorial page; a Speaking Outessay. I’ll let you know if they print it. If there’s any way I can help you with this cause, please let me know .I feel very strongly about it: this drug took my 16 year old son, who had been identified as gifted, was well-liked by his peers, and had a great sense of humor, and reduced him to a barely functioning shell of a person. I am thankful to you and God for rescuing us from this terrible shadow that hung over our lives.

Yes, I would like my e-mail (the original and this reply) posted on your website. You may include my first name and e-mail address. I would also like to remind people who’ve had negative experiences with Prozac or another anti-depressant to send a med-watch complaint to the FDA. The number for your local FDA is in the Federal organization section of the phone book. There is also a link from this ICFDA web site.] The more complaints they get the more likely it is they’ll investigate (I hope, unless they’re in this with the drug companies- but that’s a whole different topic)

Patti582@aol.com

2/27/2000

This is Survivor Story number 27.

Total number of stories in current database is 96

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1/9/2000 – The Legal Drugging Of America

The Legal Drugging Of America

Here is a recent article from Arianna Huffington. – Mark M.
———-

The Legal Drugging Of America: A Status Report
Filed December 23, 1999
by Arianna Huffington

Two reports out this month highlight the continuing trend toward the
legal drugging of America.

The Surgeon General’s report on the state of the nation’s mental health
found that 22 percent of the population has a diagnosable mental
disorder.” At the same time, a study by the National Institute of
Mental Health concluded that we are under-medicating our children and
that for those diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder,
drugs — specifically Ritalin — are more effective than therapy.

The big drugmakers will no doubt use these studies as additional
weapons in their ongoing war to make mood-altering drugs the solution
to all life’s problems. Our magazines are already stuffed with ads
portraying pharmaceutical giants as noble enterprises, engaged in
nothing but the pursuit of pure science and the public good. And our
television screens are filled with commercials for drugs to cure
shyness and so-called “social phobias.”

The Food and Drug Administration has recently approved Effexor XR, a
drug for “generalized anxiety disorder” — the garden-variety
free-floating anxiety that has plagued humanity since the expulsion
from Eden. Mark Twain summed it up this way: “I am an old man, and
have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

These days, the assumption seems to be that drugs can take care of
everything unpleasant in the human condition. “At Pfizer,” one ad
boasts, “we look to the future with the knowledge that the only thing
incurable is our passion.” What the ad doesn’t mention is that drug
company profits (Pfizer’s last year were $3.35 billion) are often spent
not on finding cures for serious diseases but for “lifestyle”
maladies — baldness, toenail fungus, and of course any interruption to
a perpetually sunny mood. Not one major drug company in the United
States has an in-house research program on malaria, for example, but
sales of pharmaceutical drugs for pets are approaching $1 billion
annually.

The major flaw of the Surgeon General’s report is the lumping together
of dramatically disparate conditions. According to Surgeon General
David Satcher himself, “tragic and devastating disorders such a
schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease,
the mental and behavioral disorders suffered by children, and a range
of other mental disorders affect nearly one in five Americans in any
year.” This is a classic example of pseudo-scientific sleight of hand:
linking schizophrenia to childhood behavioral problems as though they
are in any meaningful sense on the same continuum.
It is this mind-set that has led to the Ritalin epidemic — with the
number of kids taking the powerful drug skyrocketing from 1 million in
1990 to 4 million today. And now along comes a study that says the
answer to those many instances where Ritalin has proved ineffective is
to simply up the dosage. As Dr. Peter Jensen from the National
Institute of Mental Health put it, “You find the dose that achieves
the absolute possible total benefit for this child … That’s the dose
you want, not the lowest possible dose that you can get by on.” It’s
ingenius, if Ritalin isn’t working, try more Ritalin. As they used to
say in the ’60s, “Why do you think they call it dope?”

It’s doubly tragic that these reports have arrived at a time when we’re
facing a crisis in managed health care. Because a diagnosis of a mental
disorder will almost always prompt managed care companies to take the
cheap way out — drugs rather than therapy, no matter how potentially
dangerous the long-term side effects, especially on children’s growing
brains.

Making this growing emphasis on drugs especially troubling is the
conclusion by federal investigators that the FDA has “no quality
control system” to track adverse drug reactions. Currently, doctors
and hospitals are not even legally required to report patients’ drug
side effects to the FDA. As a result, in one year, from the beginning
of June 1997 to the end of May 1998, the agency got only 13,825 such
reports even though in hospitals alone approximately 180,000 patients
die every year from drug reactions.

Even if the FDA moves from a voluntary to a mandatory reporting system,
the agency has only 80 employees to monitor more than 3,000
prescription drugs. Over the past year and a half, the agency has
banned only five drugs that it previously had approved but now deems
dangerous. But every year 2 million Americans are hospitalized due to
drug side effects.

“Most errors are not caused by stupidity, incompetence or neglect, but
by system failures that allow them to occur,” said David Lawrence,
head of Kaiser Permanente, suggesting that the safety tests done by
drug companies are not enough, and that the companies fail to educate
physicians and hospital workers on the proper administration of their
drugs.

As drugs, and the conditions treatable by drugs multiply, can we
continue to tolerate such slipshod oversight of a powerful industry
that so affects our lives — and our deaths? Or continue to rely on
reports tainted by the drug industry’s assumption that millions of
Americans are suffering from mental disorders whose cure is just a pill
pop away? Oh, the infinite possibilities of an America where everyone
has finally admitted to a mental disorder, and everyone is blissed-out
on appropriately high doses of the newest wonder drugs.

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A Teenager’s Journey into Prozac Hell

“He was on Zoloft about 5 days when he told me that he now could not distinguish between dreams and reality.”

 

My 17 yr. old son was prescribed Prozac after being diagnosed with mild clinical depression. We were told the side effects could be headache, stomach upset and anxiety for a few days. When I voiced concerns about this drug, stating that I heard it caused violent behavior etc. I was told that these were “fairy stories” and that Prozac was an excellent drug. He started Prozac and we hoped for the best.

He had been sleeping excessively, and after one day on Prozac, he woke up and said that he had woken up a few times during that first night. I figured the drug was starting to work. About a week later he announced that he had talked back to a teacher at school. ( very unlike him) I told him never to do that again. A week after that he came home from being out with friends, and he seemed very agitated. I asked him what was going on and he told me that he felt like a bully and had almost gotten into many fights at school. He said he didn’t care about anything, and if someone died, he wouldn’t even care. He said he felt his friends were becoming afraid of him. This was after about 3 weeks on Prozac.
I immediately called the doctor and told them I wanted him OFF this drug. He was becoming a different person and it wasn’t good. She asked me a few questions and said maybe we should try another drug. She never told us to taper him off this drug. She said to keep him off of it a week and then start on a small dose of Zoloft.

When he went off Prozac He was a wreck. He was shaking, had headaches, felt anxious, and kept telling me he needed some kind of medicine. It was as though he was craving some kind of drug. He then started on Zoloft.

He was on Zoloft about 5 days when he told me that he now could not distinguish between dreams and reality. The doctor now told me to take him off Zoloft. Again, we were never told to taper him off. He just stopped. We now know that going off of these drugs cold-turkey is the worst thing that you can do.

Then the hell started. Total change in him. He was hardly sleeping, and when he did sleep, he had horrid, violent dreams. He could not concentrate on anything, and his short term memory was shot. He said and did things that were totally unlike him. It should be noted that he had NEVER HAD ANY OF THIS HAPPEN BEFORE HE WAS ON PROZAC. He saw a therapist who suggested that he was bipolar, and he would have none of her. He asked me if he was going crazy, and told me he felt “criminally insane” in his mind. He said his thoughts were horrible.

At this point, I got on the internet and discovered Dr. Tracy’s web page. Everything my son had been going through was there in black and white. I sent for her book, and discussed it with our pediatrician. His advice was to let my son “dry out.” We told our son what we thought was happening, and hoped for the best. However, twice during the next month he became hypomanic, and wanted us to take him to the emergency room. We knew that they would only pump him full of more drugs, so we decided to wait out the episodes. The morning after each episode he seemed much better. However, his mood now became very unpredictable: it swung up and down from day to day. He also suffered tremendous weight loss during this period.

I then sought out any help I could find. We went to an acupuncturist, who told us that he had heard of such reactions to Prozac. He believed that he could help my son, whereas every traditional medical practitioner who we visited had not heard of such reactions, and discounted the idea that Prozac could have been the cause of such behavior. After a few months of acupuncture the violent thoughts and dreams subsided. However, his concentration and memory were still greatly affected. This had a huge impact on his school work. After a few more months of acupuncture, he seemed better, but still had an up-and-down mood.

At this point, he became extremely depressed, and we ended up seeing a psychiatrist. The doctor put my son on Depakote for rapid cycling mood disorder. He traded in his mood swings for constant depression. A small dose of Wellbutrin was then diagnosed to help this condition. After a couple weeks, he told me that he felt worse and wanted to quit taking all medication. He had once again begun to experience rage, and knew that the drugs were not good for him. He went off of all drugs, and began to feel better. at the same time, the acupuncturist started working on something new, and things started to get better.

I had been praying constantly throughout this ordeal, as had many friends and family members. I know that this has helped him, and all of us, get through these extremely hard times.

Since his attention and memory have been affected, his performance in school has dropped and his plans for a future education have been severely altered, at least for the time being. Our son has gone through an ordeal which no one his age should ever have to face. But with the support family members and his friends (who were kind enough to be there with him throughout the whole drawn- out incident, violent mood swings and all), we were all able to survive. It has been over a year since he has taken Prozac, and hopefully things will continue to improve.
This experience has taught us to rely on our instincts and to seek out as much information as possible on any drug prescribed to anyone in our family. I hope our story can help others in getting trough or averting similar situations.

Sincerely, a wiser, yet sadder, mother.

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 31.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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Girlfriend Self-Destructed on Prozac-A Police Officer’s Story

“Please let people who are out there know that Prozac is bad medicine.”

 

Please let people who are out there know that Prozac is bad medicine. I have recently lost my girlfriend after a year because of this most marvelous chemical composition. She is a psych-tech at a local hospital in my hometown. She has worked there for almost two years, and since I have known her she has been prescribed medications like Phen-Fen and Zoloft and most recently Prozac. Yes, she probably could stand to lose a few pounds, but who couldn’t? Since being prescribed Prozac (by a staff physician) she won’t even speak to me. She feels simply that I tried to intervene.

Yet, I am a police officer of almost 10 years and could not stand by and watch someone self-destruct. It seems to me like someone needs to be policing the MD’s who are actively handing out prescriptions to our younger generation. After all they are the future, aren’t they?
Also I would like to know if it is common practice for the head of psychiatric departments to become involved in treating employees of the hospital where they work? Seems to me this would be a direct conflict of interest and would require a referral to another MD.
Please use my e-mail address for those that want to correspond. Maybe someday soon, people will wake up and see what they’re doing to themselves. Thank you for writing back, it’s always comforting to know that someone knows how you feel.

JDuffjr410@aol.com

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 32.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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Two and a Half Years Later–Problems from Three Zoloft Tablets

“…I only want to resolve these problems so that we can return to our life prior to taking Zoloft.”

 

Two and one half years ago, I took one 50 mg. tablet of Zoloft for 3 days. On the third night, I woke up with severe flu like symptoms (nausea, diarrhea, shivering in chest area, paranoia, and extreme anxiety).

I was treated at the Emergency Room with Ativan. My blood pressure was also high. Since that night, I wake up every day with the same symptoms but to a lesser degree. Reading and writing makes me nauseated and shaky until later in the day. Occasionally I also have a fibrillating heart which I didn’t have prior to the use of Zoloft. I have had many tests, and none of them showed any problems. I was tested for Serotonin Syndrome which turned up negative. I have consulted with two psychopharmacologists, a heart specialist, an endocrinologist, an allergist, and a gastroenterologist. All without any help.

One of the psychopharmacologists suggested that there was a possibility that there might have been damage caused by the Zoloft. I am able to sleep usually until 6 am when the symptoms start again. I have been to many specialists and have tried many medications without any relief. My husband and I only want to resolve these problems so that we can return to our life prior to taking Zoloft.

You have my permission to publish it on the Internet, and you may edit the story. Please pass this communication to any of the doctors that are specializing in this field I would appreciate it if you would post my name and e-mail address on your site.

lingram01@sprynet.com

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 33.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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Five Weeks to Psychosis on Prozac

“It was close to 2 years before I could laugh again.”

 

My name is Amy. I started taking 20 mg. of Prozac in April, 1992. My doctor thought I was depressed due to empty nest syndrome and menopause.

I had always been a very open and trusting person, so I swallowed my first capsule without reading the insert in the bottle. I trusted my doctor. The first week I noticed I was sleeping less. I had been sleeping between 7 and 8 hours a night and now I was sleeping about 6 hours a night. But this did not concern me. I suddenly had a lot to ponder. I began ruminating on how people had done me wrong. . I first focused on my 3 cousins (whom I had not seen in years). I thought they were betraying me behind my back. To add to this worry, I began obsessing about incidents in history such as the destruction of Cambodia and Tibet by the Communists and the tragedy of the Holocaust. I sat at my kitchen table and cried for hours about this. At my part time job, I felt that the other employees were taking advantage of me. I had never felt this way before and it seemed like a revelation to me.

By the 4th week on Prozac, I was sleeping only 4 hours a night but it did not concern me because I had so many important things to think about. I would pick up a book to read and would think that there was some special message in there for me. I was sure of this when the printed matter on the page began jumping out at me. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. I began to make a special effort to act normal around people because suddenly these people would appear to me as being unreal. I became terrified that they were unreal but I must not let them know this. During the next several weeks I became confused in my driving and would lose my sense of direction. I thought that I could not concentrate on my driving because I was so terrified of what else was happening. I never once suspected that it was the Prozac.
My husband of 28 years became concerned about me but I kept saying I’ll be better as soon as this Prozac takes effect. I told him none of my symptoms. I felt that everything wrong in the world was my problem and I must solve it. At no time in my life had I ever thought of suicide. It wasn’t as though I had ever thought of suicide and then dismissed the idea. It was just that the thought of suicide had never occurred to me. By my 9th week on Prozac I felt suicidal. I went to my doctor and told him that I was going to kill myself because I could not endure this suffering. He immediately told me to discontinue the Prozac and he gave me some sleeping medication. I thought this meant that the Prozac had not worked for me and that I was having a nervous breakdown. The next day I began having visual hallucinations. I was so terrified that I went to my doctor in an incoherent state. He put me in the hospital and I was there for 3 weeks as an inpatient. My husband visited me every night after work. We both thought that I had a nervous breakdown. No doctor told us differently. I was given Thorazine and I began to sleep again. Then my health insurance ran out and I came back home. When I left the hospital, I was told to see a psychologist once a week. The psychologist and I discussed my childhood. One day, three months later, my husband said Do you think the Prozac could have contributed to your breakdown .No , I said, Prozac is a drug that helps mental disturbances. It would not cause mental disturbance.

My husband found the insert to my bottle of Prozac. We began to read it. We saw that hallucinations, depersonalization, paranoia and confusion were all listed as adverse reactions. I still could not believe it so I sent for my hospital record. I was amazed to see that on the fourth day of my hospitalization the physician had written Patient had psychotic reaction to Prozac. These symptoms started after use. We investigated this matter but were never given a satisfactory answer for why the doctors kept this a secret. The saddest part of this story is that it took so long for me to completely recover. It was close to 2 years before I could laugh again. It was almost 4 years before the idea of forgiveness even began to stir in my soul. Now, in my 6th year, I am completely recovered and enjoying life again, but I will never forget this trip through hell.

My husband, children and I are now dedicated to warning others about the dangers of Prozac.

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 34.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

625 total views, no views today

9/1/1998 • Prenatal Exposure to Fluoxetine (Prozac) Produces Site-Specific and Age-Dependent Alterations in Brain Serotonin Transporters in Rat Progeny: Evidence from Autoradiographic Studies

9/1/1998 • Prenatal Exposure to Fluoxetine (Prozac) Produces Site-Specific and Age-Dependent Alterations in Brain Serotonin Transporters in Rat Progeny: Evidence from Autoradiographic Studies

Theresa M. Cabrera-Vera2 and George Battaglia
Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Loyola University of Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Illinois

Pharmacology; Vol. 286 Issue 3, 1474-1481, September 1998

The age-dependent and site-specific alterations in the density of 5-HT transporters suggests that either 5-HT innervation and/or 5-HT neuron function in various forebrain regions may be altered by prenatal exposure to fluoxetine.

Prenatal Exposure to Fluoxetine (Prozac) Produces Site-Specific and Age-Dependent Alterations in Brain Serotonin Transporters in Rat Progeny: Evidence from Autoradiographic Studies

http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/cgi/content/full/286/3/1474

Theresa M. Cabrera-Vera2 and George Battaglia
Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Loyola University of Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Illinois

Pharmacology; Vol. 286 Issue 3, 1474-1481, September 1998

The age-dependent and site-specific alterations in the density of 5-HT transporters suggests that either 5-HT innervation and/or 5-HT neuron function in various forebrain regions may be altered by prenatal exposure to fluoxetine.

The present study provides the first autoradiographic evidence of age-dependent regional changes in the density of serotonin (5-HT) transporters in offspring following prenatal exposure to fluoxetine. Pregnant rats received either saline or fluoxetine (10 mg/kg, s.c.) daily from gestational day 13 through 20. The density of [3H]citalopram-labeled 5-HT transporters was determined in forebrain regions and in midbrain raphe nuclei of prepubescent and adult male offspring. Brain regions representing integral components of the limbic system were particularly sensitive to the prenatal treatment. For example, prenatal fluoxetine exposure significantly altered the density of 5-HT transporters in subregions of the hypothalamus (dorsomedial nucleus, 21%; lateral hypothalamus, +21%), hippocampus (CA2, +47%; CA3, +38%), and amygdala (basolateral nucleus, +32%; medial nucleus, +44%) in prepubescent offspring. However, 5-HT transporter density in the dorsal and median raphe was unaltered in this same group of offspring. In adult offspring, 5-HT transporter densities, in all brain regions examined, were not significantly altered by prenatal exposure to fluoxetine. The present study also identifies significant age-related differences in 5-HT transporter densities between prepubescent and adult control offspring. For example, in adult control offspring, densities of 5-HT transporters were significantly greater in the cingulate cortex (+33%), basolateral amygdala (+58%), and CA1 area of the hippocampus (+78%); but significantly lower in the temporal cortex (65%) and median raphe (25%).

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My Trip through Hell on Prozac

“By my 9th week on Prozac I felt suicidal.”

 

My name is Amy. I started taking 20 mg. of Prozac in April, 1992. My doctor thought I was depressed due to “empty nest syndrome” and menopause. I had always been a very open and trusting person, so I swallowed my first capsule without reading the insert in the bottle. I trusted my doctor.

The first week I noticed I was sleeping less. I had been sleeping between 7 and 8 hours a night and now I was sleeping about 6 hours a night. But this did not concern me. I suddenly had a lot to ponder. I began ruminating on how “people had done me wrong.”. I first focused on my 3 cousins (whom I had not seen in years). I thought they were betraying me behind my back. To add to this worry, I began obsessing about incidents in history such as the destruction of Cambodia and Tibet by the Communists and the tragedy of the Holocaust. I sat at my kitchen table and cried for hours about this.

At my part time job, I felt that the other employees were taking advantage of me. I had never felt this way before and it seemed like a revelation to me. By the 4th week on Prozac, I was sleeping only 4 hours a night but it did not concern me because I had so many important things to think about.

I would pick up a book to read and would think that there was some special message in there for me. I was sure of this when the printed matter on the page began jumping out at me. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. I began to make a special effort to act normal around people because suddenly these people would appear to me as being unreal. I became terrified that they were unreal but I must not let them know this.

During the next several weeks I became confused in my driving and would lose my sense of direction. I thought that I could not concentrate on my driving because I was so terrified of what else was happening. I never once suspected that it was the Prozac.

My husband of 28 years became concerned about me but I kept saying “I’ll be better as soon as this Prozac takes effect”. I told him none of my symptoms. I felt that everything wrong in the world was my problem and I must solve it.

At no time in my life had I ever thought of suicide. It wasn’t as though I had ever thought of suicide and then dismissed the idea. It was just that the thought of suicide had never occurred to me. By my 9th week on Prozac I felt suicidal. I went to my doctor and told him that I was going to kill myself because I could not endure this suffering. He immediately told me to discontinue the Prozac and he gave me some sleeping medication. I thought this meant that the Prozac had not worked for me and that I was having a nervous breakdown.

The next day I began having visual hallucinations. I was so terrified that I went to my doctor in an incoherent state. He put me in the hospital and I was there for 3 weeks as an inpatient. My husband visited me every night after work. We both thought that I had a nervous breakdown. No doctor told us differently. I was given Thorazine and I began to sleep again. Then my health insurance ran out and I came back home.
When I left the hospital, I was told to see a psychologist once a week. The psychologist and I discussed my childhood.

One day, three months later, my husband said ” Do you think the Prozac could have contributed to your breakdown”. “No”, I said, “Prozac is a drug that helps mental disturbances. It would not cause mental disturbance.

“My husband found the insert to my bottle of Prozac. We began to read it. We saw that hallucinations, depersonalization, paranoia and confusion were all listed as adverse reactions. I still could not believe it so I sent for my hospital record.

I was amazed to see that on the fourth day of my hospitalization the physician had written “Patient had psychotic reaction to Prozac. These symptoms started after use” We investigated this matter but were never given a satisfactory answer for why the doctors kept this a secret.
The saddest part of this story is that it took so long for me to completely recover. It was close to 2 years before I could laugh again. It was almost 4 years before the idea of forgiveness even began to stir in my soul.
Now, in my 6th year, I am completely recovered and enjoying life again, but I will never forget this trip through hell. My husband, children and I are now dedicated to warning others about the dangers of Prozac.

Amy Lend
amylend@yahoo.com

 

5/20/1998 –

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 35.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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My Zoloft and Serzone Nightmare

“I have a Zoloft problem, and I am prepared to tell anyone that this stuff is deadly.”

 

In March of 1998, I was assaulted during a robbery at work. I didn’t think much of the situation except that I was sore all over and had a back injury. I returned to work within three days. After two weeks I noticed that I was having trouble accepting the situation. I could not resolve the problem that this person may never be found and punished for what they had done. The company offered to send me for counseling, so I went. The trouble is that I never received the type of counseling that I required to resolve my problem. My problems were growing worse. I was putting in more and more time at work, but having more trouble getting things done. My concentration levels began to drop and I started having trouble sleeping, including reliving the assault over and over.

By the middle of July I was dead tired and couldn’t go on any further. I had developed an ulcer. The psychologist that I was seeing kept encouraging me to talk to my doctor about medication. My doctor knew that I hating taking any drugs let alone something for my anxiety and depression. He prescribed Zoloft, 25 mg twice a day, increasing it to 50mg twice a day after 10 days. I was also started on Cimetidine for my ulcer. I felt okay at first, but within a few days I started having problems. I had nausea, headaches, anxiety, disassociation, sexual dysfunction, shaking, sleep problems ( getting to sleep, waking up, sleep paralysis, weird dreams, and not being able to always distinguish being asleep and being awake). As a result the doctor gave me Ativan .5 mg to use whenever I needed it, (which was a lot). I had gone from a person with a problem to a loonytune.

By the time October came I was having so much anxiety that I couldn’t take it anymore. the doctor then changed my medication to Serzone while still using the Cimetidine and the Ativan. I started with 25mg two times a day working towards 200mg twice a day. I never got that far. I started having troubles which my vision and balance. I would experience a real buzz after sleeping or closing me eyes for a short time. Everything had 2 to 3 shadows following it, so when I moved or looked around it had a kind of strobe effect. I dealt with it by taking time out to “enjoy” this daily buzz. The only thing that got better was my sexual dysfunction.

All the time a had continued to see the psychologist. Let me point out that before I started taking all this stuff, I have never had any mental of emotional problems before. I was brought up in a loving family and never experienced abuse of any kind. I had never tired to commit suicide before. I have been a Christian for many years, and have a deep faith in God. I do not drink, smoke, or use drugs. I have always been physically fit, I have no health problems, I am happily married, I have no kids (our choice), we live in the country on an acreage, and I have a good job.

On November 4, I saw my physiologist for an appointment. I was very distraught. She was concerned about my safety and contacted a community response team. I was met by the psychologist, a nurse and 2 cops. I was told I had to go to the hospital. I did. I was committed for 72 hours and put under the care of a psychiatrist. During the first couple of days I was completely out of touch with myself. My medication was changed again. I was put back on the Zoloft but 200 mg a day. The Ativan was changed to Clonazepam .25 mg when needed to a maximum of 2 mg per day. The Cimetidine was changed to Losec 20 mg two times a day. I started to feel better again but was having a lot of anxiety. I remained in hospital after my 72 hours on my own because I felt it was helping me to be there. I was receiving excellent counseling from the psychiatrist and support from my doctor. I was allowed a day pass to spend with my husband seven days after being committed. We made plans for the day together at home on the farm and then going to a movie with friends. By 6:00 pm I had to return to the hospital because I was experiencing so much anxiety. My psychiatrist happened to come in that evening and my husband told her what was happening. She came and talked to me and I settled down, but then I was informed that I would have to change rooms. For some reason that blew me away. Since my 72 hours were up I decided I was going to leave. I was acting very strange and irrational but I couldn’t stop doing or thinking the way I was. My psychiatrist and my husband would not let me leave and I was committed again. That did it I was leaving. Security was called but I asked to talk to my psychiatrist, which I did. Again she was able to talk me down. I stayed in hospital until November 28th. By then I was feeling good again, although I still had nausea, headaches, anxiety, disassociation, sexual dysfunction, shaking, sleep problems. But everything was under control and I was released. The only good part is that I had lost 20 lbs that I had put on before going into hospital.

I had not returned to work yet but a plan for my gradual return was made staring January 15. I was seeing my doctor on a regular basis as well as seeing the psychiatrist a couple of times. I had mentioned to my doctor that there was periods of time that I felt out of control and that I was afraid that I might hurt someone or something. I was given the reassurance that I was not that kind of person and not to worry.

On February 2 in the very early morning I woke up and sent an e-mail to my psychiatrist. I said that it was over and I couldn’t take anymore. I went back to bed. She called and talked to me and told me to talk to my husband. I said I would. I did talk to him, and he insisted that he stay home from work the next day. I insisted that he go to work and that I would be okay. Again I e- mailed my psychiatrist and told her that I was giving up. On February 3, I got a phone call from the nurse on the community response team. She was the one who had taken me to the hospital in November. I can’t remember much after February 1. Everything is either my surreal understanding or has been told to me by others since. I had taken a collection of medications during the day. Basically everything in had around. My husband was called home from work and the nurse met him and came to our house. I was then taken to hospital where I was treated for a drug overdose. I was committed to psychiatry again, but not before apparently acting out some strange behavior in the hospital. I apparently tired to leave and had to be restrained, medicated and put in lock up. I can’t remember much of what happened, and I remember things that I know could not have happened. For example I can remember being at the office building of my psychiatrist and meeting a friend I hadn’t seen in fourteen years, and who lives over 2000 miles away. I also went into the bathroom there and threw up. The problem is I was in the hospital when this happened, but I would swear to you it happened. I slept in lock up until Friday, when I was released into the custody of a close friend as my husband wouldn’t be home form work until that evening. I can’t remember much until Sunday morning. I had taken 1600mg of Zoloft among other things. When I went into the hospital I stopped all medications cold turkey. I wasn’t told to take anything when I left the hospital. On Saturday, my husband phoned the hospital because I could not sit still for more that 2 minutes at a time. I was literally climbing the walls, (actually I was climbing on furniture and the floor). I was told to take .5 mg of Clonazepam as needed, which helped a lot to calm me down. I have very little recall of what happened but I discovered by counting my remaining Zoloft pills that I was missing 2- 100mg capsules. I knew because I had just started a new prescription and I had counted the pills prior to taking a bunch of them. What discovered was that on February 1, I had mistakenly took 400mg of Zoloft. I remember that I had woke up early and took my Zoloft. Feeling tired I went back to bed. When I woke up around lunch time I took my Zoloft again. Very early the next morning is when everything went wrong. Now I have been off the Zoloft for 10 days. Absolutely no one can tell me, my husband, or my friend that Zoloft has no withdrawal symptoms. I have had every side effect in the book. I have never had night sweats before but within 4 days I started having night sweats so bad my husband had to towel me off. I have had to put another half sheet on our bed because the sheets would be soaked. I had terrible tremors, headaches etc.. But in spite of all that I feel like a new person again. I have had no sleep problems, and things are improving day by day. I can even type fast again.

In retrospect I can not be sure of anything that I think happened over the past 6 months. It’s like I was living in a constant dream state. I started to look on the Net for more information about Zoloft, and was surprised at what I had found. When I was in the hospital the first time my psychiatrist gave me a whole bunch of information about Zoloft. I read all the information including newsletters from the Zoloft support group, and watched the Zoloft infomercial from the company. I thought I was well informed until I read your stuff.

It is hard for me to accept what has happened. Most of all I am confused about my psychiatrist. I know that she would not willing hurt me, but I am angry at what has happened to me. I have an appointment to see her on Monday. I plan on talking to her about the situation, and I am going to tell her that I am filing a report with the FDA. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else, but I am not sure how to address the situation with her.

If you have any suggestions, I would really like to hear them. I am going into town to buy your book tomorrow, but I don’t offend my psychiatrist, I want her to listen to what I have to say. I am not someone with mental and emotional problems. I have a Zoloft problem, and I am prepared to tell anyone that this stuff is deadly. I have been on a six month high and I feel very fortunate that I never acted out or completed all the things that I wanted to do during that time. This drug is criminal.

Kindest Regards

Carol

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 77.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

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