My Side Effects from Prozac (Prescribed for Unipolor Depression)

“… more than 10 minutes passed and she whipped out her prescription pad…”

 

Hello,

I’ve just visited your website and have taken advantage of the “email me with your story” area. Thought I should, anyway.

I was on Prozac for unipolar depression in 1994. I stayed on it only for 6 months and weaned myself off it. My brother-in-law is a pharmacist and so I was able to understand the correct way to get off this drug.

I went off it because of what I perceive to be side-effects. Granted, it did perhaps obscure my depression. It didn’t disappear but, it enabled me to stand back and re-evaluate how to tackle it. So in that light, not having a mind that was very negative, I was able to opt for alternative help and a different approach to my depression. Presently, it is very well under control and I’m more cognitive about it than I ever was pre-Prozac.

Having said that, I must report my perceived side-effects. After about 2 weeks on 20 milligrams once a day, I began to feel awfully hyper. I talked a blue streak at work and remember people getting up and sitting elsewhere during breaks. Also, I would just say whatever came into my mind without really evaluating it before speaking as most people do.. (or some, anyhow 🙂 Also, my eyes were weird. I had episodes when my eyes would kind of shake, if you will. Like it does when one watches a home movie and the video shakes. Except they were faster. This happened frequently. I would also salivate a lot, having to swallow often.

To my credit, I realized this was the drug. Also, what made me quite suspicious was the fact that after struggling with depression – rather realizing that was what was wrong with me for about 20 years of my life, I swallowed hard and sought help, insisting to my MD that I WAS actually depressed and that I NEED to see a shrink. I waited for that appointment for approximately 2 months. I went to see her. Upon arriving in her office and giving her a brief profile of myself – no more than 10 minutes passed and she whipped out her prescription pad and wrote me an order for Prozac. I was terribly suspicious. She wasn’t the slightest bit interested in listening to what I had to say or why I felt I should talk to her. That was my red flag.

There you have it.

Kathy Garner

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 90.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

473 total views, no views today

Klonopin, Paxil and Depakote prescribed for Stress and Anxiety

“…there seemed to be some kind of psychological wall in my mind, and I couldn’t get any words past it.”

 

After 2-1/2 years of severe long-term overwork, I passed out at work one day in late Fall 1993. My doctor ran tests on me and determined that I was not ill in any way, I was simply suffering from stress and overwork. I began seeing an MFCC, who in March advised that my doctor prescribe Klonopin for anxiety. I was started out at 1.5 mg per day. Despite specifically asking about side effects etc, my doctor failed to inform me either that it was addictive, or that it would interfere with my memory and attention span. I would never have gone on it if I had known. Those effects, of course, impaired my ability to do my job and made things worse instead of better.

Over the next four months, as my condition deteriorated, the dosage was increased, I deteriorated faster, and so on until I suffered a total breakdown in mid-July, by which time I was on 3.5 mg per day. At or about this time, my therapist suggested I should go on Paxil. I declined, insisting I wasn’t depressed, I was exhausted and over stressed. A week or two later she tried a different tack, and persuaded me to try it by telling me it would give me more energy. I was so utterly drained and exhausted that I was willing to try anything. The initial dosage was 20mg per day. The Klonopin dosage was maintained.

I felt even more lethargic on Paxil, and stopped taking it after a week. My therapist told me that I hadn’t given it time to start working, and persuaded me to go back on. I began to experience personality changes, and became withdrawn and verbally aggressive. At the beginning of September, I suffered my first severe dissociative episode. I took a 10-mile late-night stroll across the Santa Clara Valley, barefoot, wearing only cotton slacks and a T-shirt. After apparently walking several miles up the middle of US 101, I eventually wandered into a hotel lobby in Milpitas, where I collapsed from exposure. The hotel called paramedics, who took me to hospital, where I was sedated, treated for hypothermia, and discharged.

My therapist, in response to this, doubled my dosage to 40mg. On the higher dosage I began to display severe personality changes, and began to suffer acute paranoia, uncontrollable mood swings, severe agitation and akathisia, intermittent hysteria, asthenia, continuous tremors, and frequent agonizing “ice-pick” headaches (my former wife’s term). I began to spend more and more of my time in dissociated, depersonalized states, and had great difficulty sleeping. When I finally did get to sleep, it took me hours to muster the strength to get out of bed when I woke up. I moved into a separate room from my wife. After some rather alarming behavior on my part, we agreed to remove all of our firearms from the house and leave them with a friend for safe keeping, and we also agreed that I would not know which friend. (I was still rational some of the time.)

My mood swings continued to become more rapid, more erratic, more powerful, and more uncontrollable. I was aware at some level inside that I was on a roller-coaster ride through Hell that I didn’t have any desire to be on, but I didn’t seem able to communicate that fact or do anything to try to escape it. I also didn’t yet know that it was the drugs doing it. In mid-October I suffered a catatonic episode that lasted about eight hours; I was unable to speak for about three or four days afterward. I am sure the physiological equipment worked, but there seemed to be some kind of psychological wall in my mind, and I couldn’t get any words past it. I had to communicate by hand signs and written notes.

My therapist’s response was to conclude that I had spontaneously developed bipolar disorder. She called in a psychiatrist from Walnut Creek, who – on the basis of a 20-minute interview with me and 20 minutes with my wife – decided that she was right, and prescribed Depakote IN ADDITION to all the other medications. I don’t remember the dosage. I spent the next three weeks in a kind of haze; I can remember almost nothing about it. The mood swings didn’t stop, but now I was kind of disconnected from them. Disconnected from pretty much everything, as a matter of fact. I think if anything, things were still getting worse, only now I didn’t seem to care, because it wasn’t happening to me, it was happening to some nebulous other person who lived in my body.

On November 11, some time in the early hours of the morning, I took a massive overdose of everything I had on hand at the time, which was around 30 tablets of Depakote, 60 of Paxil, and close to 100 Klonopin. I also made several cuts in my left arm with a Samurai sword. Alerted by our cats, my wife found me and took me to O’Connor Hospital, where I was detoxed and confined for California’s mandatory 72-hour hold after any apparent suicide attempt. I was then transferred to the inpatient therapeutic community at Good Samaritan Hospital. I was given no medications at all for the first week or so, except for a sleeping pill (Dolman, I think) after I was unable to sleep for the first 3 consecutive nights and was experiencing severe symptoms of sleep deprivation. After about a week, the consulting psychiatrist in charge of my treatment recommended I resume a low dosage of Klonopin. I did so, but at this time I was beginning to finally find out some substantive information about the drugs I had been on, and at Thanksgiving I discontinued the Klonopin altogether. I was transferred to the outpatient program around the beginning of December, and discharged altogether on December 15. My behavior was still frequently irrational, and apparently emotionally abusive, though I was mostly unaware that I was acting irrationally. My wife and I sought marital counseling in January, in April, we separated, and my wife asked me to move out. I remained living in a separate room until I was able to move out of the house in July.

In the intervening 19 months, I have avoided any medications at all, except for the past few months. About two months ago I came down with a bad cold, in treatment for which I used a cough syrup and a nasal decongestant (generic Sudafed). I experienced an overdose-like reaction to the Sudafed, and immediately stopped using both the Sudafed and the cough syrup. I still experience occasional tremors, occasional brief anxiety attacks, brief attacks of akathisia, and difficulty sleeping. My circadian clock appears to be completely out of whack. My memory is very unreliable, though slowly improving. It seems that most of the actual information is still there, but many of the pointers are hopelessly scrambled, making me unable to get at the memories. I have a lot of trouble with what I call “dyslexic fingers” – my typing has slowed down considerably, because I make large numbers of errors in which my fingers type all the right letters, but in the wrong order, and occasionally I look at the screen to find I’ve typed complete gibberish and have no idea how I managed to do it. (I catch and correct almost all of my errors, but I never used to make those kinds of errors at all.) My co-ordination does not seem to be affected otherwise. I also still suffer from occasional (though thankfully, less frequent) flashbacks, which can still reduce me more or less instantly to complete hysteria. I am being treated (by a DIFFERENT therapist) for post traumatic stress disorder, though we seem to have made comparatively little, if any, progress lately. I have an agreement with both my new doctor and my new therapist that any kind of medication is out of the question.

Well, that’s the history, to date. (And I’m feeling proud of myself, because for once I managed to tell the whole story without getting hysterical.)

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 83.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

719 total views, 1 views today

Klonopin…The Nightmare That Never Ends

“My fantasy is that there is a cure. I want my brain and my life back.”

Stage 1-Prozac

My introduction to the world of psychiatric medications came in 1993. I was experiencing difficulty with anxiety in social situations and went to see a psychiatrist for help with my problem. After about half an hour with the psychiatrist, I was handed a prescription for Prozac. This drug in conjunction with therapy was supposed to help me with my anxiety. The doctor was right. After a few weeks on the drug I was no longer terrified of social situations. I no longer felt the fear that had been there before. The problem was I didn’t FEEL much of anything else either. The drug made me fearless, emotionless and numb. After a few months on the drug I became anorexic and started drinking alcohol to enhance the effects of the drug. This behavior was not typical of me at all. I felt out of touch and kind of crazy. I couldn’t see straight or think straight. I started to not care about anything at all…especially my life. After several months on the drug, completely emaciated and out of touch I had a sudden urge to end my life. And it was that matter of fact. I went home, had a brief conversation with my roommate and then went into the bedroom and overdosed on painkillers. As crazy as this sounds…the Prozac told me to do it. I wasn’t hearing voices literally…but there was just this urge to take all those pills and my mind kept saying, “just do it, just do it.” I don’t think I really wanted to die, I just didn’t care if I lived. For me, Prozac just lowered my inhibitions TOO much.

Stage 2-Paxil

I recovered from this ordeal and also got some help with my eating disorder, but I still had the social anxiety. I desperately wanted to go back to college, but feared the classroom setting. I was then switched to Paxil. I was on and off Paxil for a few years. It did help with the anxiety, but much like the Prozac it caused me to lose feelings and become numb (both physically and emotionally). Sex was out of the question because I couldn’t feel anything. The dose had to be increased every few months because the drug would start to lose it effectiveness and my anxiety would increase. It was like riding a roller coaster. The drug also made me feel spaced out and out of focus. The world had a haze around it. I hated being on this medication and I especially hated having to take it every day (as you must to maintain the drug level in your blood). The problem was if I skipped a couple of days, I would go into drug withdrawal so I had to stay on it or pay the price. I withdrew from Paxil several times. It was not fun and usually lasted a few weeks. Mostly it was a feeling of being out of my body, an inability to focus, incredible itching and feeling like I was in a dream. It was frightening, but always went away eventually. I finally had it with this drug and asked my psychiatrist to give me a medication I could “take as needed.” Enter Klonopin.

Stage 3- Klonopin…The Nightmare That Never Ends

My doctor did as I requested and prescribed the benzodiazepine/tranquilizer/anti-convulsant drug Klonopin. To this day I cannot believe I was on an ANTI-CONVULSANT!!! I went on .5 mg of Klonopin in September of 1996. By March of 1997, I was having difficulty with speech, could not focus my eyes, felt crazy inside, overly emotional, frequent urination and completely out of it. I knew it was the drugs and I knew this could not go any longer. It was time for me to put an end to all of this. I tapered off the Klonopin over a one or two week period and immediately went into severe withdrawal within days of stopping the drug. My body became completely numb…I couldn’t even feel myself going to the bathroom. My ears were ringing like there was a loud tea kettle constantly going off in my head. I could not focus my eyes at all. It was impossible to read or even watch TV. I was itching like crazy and it felt like bugs were crawling all over my body. I could not tolerate light or noise. I could not taste my food. I felt exhausted, but had terrible insomnia. It was the most frightening, horrific experience of my life and it lasted one month. Then I thought it was getting better, but my anxiety had turned to paranoia. I still had a lot of symptoms and now it was topped with a feeling that everybody knew and I was not even comfortable walking down the street. So the doc gave me Paxil again. This really did not help so a month later I took myself off of that. What I did not know at the time was that I had protracted withdrawal syndrome from benzodiazepines. The increased anxiety and paranoia was a symptom of this. Unfortunately, there is no happy ending to this story. I got myself off the Klonopin, but never got better from the physical symptoms the drug caused. Today (2 and a half years later) I live with ringing in my ears, muscle pain and weakness, burning feet, sensitivity to light, noise, and scents, inability to focus my eyes, clogged feeling in my ears, extreme fatigue, memory loss, tingling in my hands and arms, weakness in my left arm and more. The sad thing is I could deal with all of this if my worst symptom would go away. My worst symptom is a loss of cognitive abilities. I feel drugged all the time. It’s like I am in a dream 24 hours a day. I do not perceive my environment clearly. I can barely read or drive. I cannot think logically/organized. People say I “seem” fine, but I feel the loss in my abilities and it is devastating to me. I long for the day when I get to have ME back. I can’t wait until I can enjoy going for a drive again or going to a movie and being able to see the screen clearly and understand what is going on. I can’t wait until I can have a sharp mind again and remember events clearly again. I have missed so much this past two and a half years. I’m only 26 and I have wished to die so many times rather than go through another day in fog. I have been unable to get any help from doctors. I’ve been tested for everything under the sun…from MS to Lyme Disease. All tests are negative. The doctor who gave me the drug long since abandoned me and there are no doctors who know anything about long term withdrawal from benzodiazepines. My only help has come from others who were affected the same way by this class of drugs. They too have seen many doctors and have the found out too that they know nothing about this and cannot help. Most say it’s impossible to be affected so long after discontinuing the drug, but for those of us who have gone through it, we know it IS a reality. These drugs can have miserable consequences for a percentage of people who take them. I hope there is someone out there that can help. My fantasy is that there is a cure…something that will reverse the damage the drug caused…an antidote. For now, I wait and hope it isn’t permanent. I want my brain and my life BACK.

Pixie, the contributor of the “Klonopin…The Nightmare That Never Ends” story suggests reading this additional information on: Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome.

Pixie
Pixie99105@aol.com

 

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 55.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

845 total views, 3 views today

4/15/1993 • Cerebrospinal fluid monoamine metabolites in fluoxetine-treated patients with major depression and in healthy volunteers.

4/15/1993 • Cerebrospinal fluid monoamine metabolites in fluoxetine-treated patients with major depression and in healthy volunteers.

De Bellis MD, Geracioti TD Jr, Altemus M, Kling MA
Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health,National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

Biol Psychiatry 1993 Apr 15-May 1; 33 (8-9); 636-41

CSF 5-HIAA and MHPG decreased significantly… following fluoxetine treatment.
Cerebrospinal fluid monoamine metabolites in fluoxetine-treated patients with major depression and in healthy volunteers.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=7687151&dopt=Abstract

De Bellis MD, Geracioti TD Jr, Altemus M, Kling MA
Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health,National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

Biol Psychiatry 1993 Apr 15-May 1; 33 (8-9); 636-41

CSF 5-HIAA and MHPG decreased significantly… following fluoxetine treatment.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of the monoamine metabolites 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG), and homovanillic acid (HVA) were measured in three groups: 46 healthy volunteers; 9 medication-free patients with DSM III-R major depressive disorder, recurrent; and these same 9 patients following at least 4 weeks of fluoxetine treatment at 20 mg/day. CSF monoamine metabolite levels in medication-free patients did not differ from healthy volunteers; however, CSF 5-HIAA and MHPG decreased significantly from 95.9 +/- 24.6 (all values +/- SD) to 64.2 +/- 26.1 pmol/ml and from 46.7 +/- 14.2 to 42.6 +/- 11.6 pmol/ml, respectively, following fluoxetine treatment. Fluoxetine also significantly decreased mean Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores from 23.2 +/- 6.5 to 17.4 +/- 5.0 and significantly increased the CSF HVA/5-HIAA ratio.
PMID: 7687151, UI: 93320172

754 total views, 2 views today

5/17/1975 • Fenfluramine in man: hypophagia associated with diminished serotonin turnover.

5/17/1975 • Fenfluramine in man: hypophagia associated with diminished serotonin turnover.

Shoulson I, Chase TN

Clin Pharmacol Ther 1975 May 17(5) 616-21

The results support the contention that the effect of fenfluramine on human dietary intake may be mediated by alterations in serotonergic rather than dopaminergic mechanisms.
Fenfluramine in man: hypophagia associated with diminished serotonin turnover.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1092516&dopt=Abstract

Shoulson I, Chase TN

Clin Pharmacol Ther 1975 May 17(5) 616-21

The results support the contention that the effect of fenfluramine on human dietary intake may be mediated by alterations in serotonergic rather than dopaminergic mechanisms.

A double-blind trial of orally administered fenfluramine was conducted in 7 non-obese adults with various neurological disorders. Caloric intake and body weight fell significantly after 8 days of treatment although there was no definite change in appetite ratings. Average central turnover of serotonin, as estimated by the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) accumulation of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) during probenecid loading, decreased by 66%. No significant change in homovanillic acid, the major dopamine product, was apparent.
Publication Types: Clinical trial Controlled clinical trial PMID: 1092516, UI: 75148833

865 total views, 2 views today