How Prozac Shattered My Life.

“I believe that any innocence that I held before these events occurred has now been dashed but I am never without hope.”

 

I have “hummed and hawed” for the last three days about writing to this address – people who have experienced a negative reaction to Prozac are perhaps understandably reticent about publicizing their experience, in the belief that what they will say will be treated with some skepticism, if not disbelief. These preparatory remarks are perhaps my response to the professional incredulity the medical fraternity, rightly or wrongly, give to their patients when anecdotal evidence is offered that contradicts their expected prognosis.

I had great faith in my doctor, in the treatment of what was a reactive depression brought about by work-related stress. I still have that faith, although it is not blind as it was before thanks to your pages on the WWW.

I am prompted to write because of “Patty’s” description of her husband’s course of treatment. The similarities to my own situation, after having spent some two years on Prozac, are remarkably similar. The devastation that has been wrought by my illness is now past, and I am now a sadder but wiser person. I have little to gain by writing other than to add to the growing list of patients who have had an adverse reaction to Prozac. But perhaps by writing others may persist and recognize that Prozac and the serotonergic syndrome are not figments of the patient’s imagination, but worthy of protracted study and explanation. I seek not to apportion blame, but to understand and be understood.

Without going into gross details, I had been taking Prozac with little positive effect for some 8 months from June 1994 until mid-way through 1995 before recognizing the possibility that there was something not quite right with my response to the medication. My agitation had gradually increased from the start of the prescription. It was a slow but steady rise in my tolerance of others, a deepening insomnia and above all the nightmares; nightmares that took me back to events that had happened when I had been a police officer nearly 15 years previously. I would jerk awake or my sleep would be interrupted by hyperreflexia. For some three months my average sleep was no more than one hour per night. The thought of sleep itself began to horrify me. The most obvious signs now as I look back were a feeling of electricity pumping through my body, the feeling that my limbs were charged and tingling.

I had been experiencing a tightness in the chest and was eventually taken into hospital, where blood tests showed that I had had a heart attack. Further tests eliminated this and it was put down to stress.

Sadly, I did not tell my doctor of these events, as I felt these were signs of my continuing decline into a deeper depression. My public life was no different, but my private life deteriorated rapidly as I struggled with the lack of sleep. I was prone to fits of crying and started to inexplicably want to harm myself. I banged my head against walls until I bled, tore shirts from my body, pleaded for help from my partner. My physical rage was barely controllable, but luckily for my partner, directed solely at myself. Verbal abuse at this stage became my only outlet. Anxiety became a single factor in all that I did. Whatever I thought I was about to accomplish in terms of work, I saw was imperfect. I became fearful of the most innocuous of social situations and work-related situations, although my work performance was unaffected. I hid this from all except my partner who tolerated everything believing that I would “come right”. My fear was simple – I was losing grip on reality and madness was not far away. A reluctance to communicate these events was eventually my undoing. The dosage of Prozac was increased as I related only those events that affected me physiologically.

Following some further work-related disagreements, I did not sleep for some seven or eight days. My internal rage became intolerable. I resigned from work and promptly collapsed mentally and was placed in a private hospital for sleep. Lithium was prescribed and the dosage of Prozac increased. I spent two days crying and did not sleep one bit, the nightmares returning almost the moment that I dropped of to sleep. My body sang with pain and I remember crawling into the corner of my private room crying. I saw myself spending Xmas on the streets, begging for food. I begged to be released from hospital and was. All I wanted was to go home, but my home life was now shattered irretrievably.

I felt cut off, entirely isolated from those that I loved and cared about and so three months later I left after another argument, more alone than alone. There was of course no change in my medication. Somehow I managed to obtain another job and hid my fear in work, but my private life and mental well-being was slipping beyond my grasp. Suicide was not an option that I had considered in all seriousness, but now it became a logical way out of the intense flailing that I gave to myself. I weighed up all the options and decided to take my life. It was the only way out; the only rational act that I could follow.

My fear of being found out – that I was mad – was such that I still did not report what was actually happening in my mind. Having decided on a course of action – my car with a pipe attached to the exhaust – I set about convincing myself that I could do it. Somewhere inside I could not muster the courage and broke down in tears. A call to a crisis center brought temporary relief. I still continued working, and those hours when I could deal sanely with people, were ones that held hope.

I took up sport again and played competitively, until I damaged my ribs and was prescribed a anti-inflammatory drug.

My sleep prior to this period was still plagued by nightmares and this incredible jerking of my limbs. Again, I put this down to the extreme personal stress that I was under. What other explanation could there have been? And the dosage of Prozac was evidence that I was not responding well enough.

Two days after I took the anti-inflammatories, I prepared for sleep. I felt a growing agitation and the electricity beginning to spark through my limbs. I began to tremble uncontrollably and I wanted to run and run this pain out of my system. I got to the stage where I considered jumping out of the window of the third floor flat in which I was staying. I have no recollection of anything from that night other than the fear that I felt. In desperation an ambulance was called. I struggled to keep my mind in place as the tremors increased. I kept saying, “I’m going to jump! No, I won’t. I won’t!” My heart raced, my mind raced and I saw everything that I wanted in life slipping away.

Taken to the emergency section of a major hospital, I was placed in a priority queue, strapped onto a gurney. The humiliation still rankles. I was not seen for another three hours, by which time the “panic attack” as it was described, had subsided. I told the doctor of my medication, and my suspicions that it was the combination of Prozac with the anti-inflammatories that might have been the problem. The response was luke warm, as I explained my medical history. I was told that a report would be forwarded to my doctor and I was released in the early hours of the morning, on my own recognizance”.

It was only at this stage that I began to question the use of Prozac. But who was I to correct the knowledge of the medical profession? My dose was increased. Again, because of certain delays in seeing my doctor, I gained confidence again, and submitted myself to the further dosage.

It is now some 18 months since these events, and following acupuncture treatment from my GP for the continuing “pain”, I began to seek another explanation for my continuing moroseness. Gradually (and wrongly!) I tried cold-turkey and eventually a change in psychiatrist last December, 1997. This brought a change in medication and with it a gradual return to normality.

At no stage (and this is current) has it ever been discussed that Prozac may have been a contributing cause to my continuing illness. Indeed, that it may have masked what appears to be a particularly traumatic set of events, has never been canvassed.

I now live with hope, an intuitive hope that I believe that Prozac may have been in some way a contributing cause to what on the face of it was a work-related stress problem, that had become far worse as a result. Of course, I have no empirical reason to believe that this unconfirming data is of any consequence to the scientific community.

Since being off Prozac there have been no bouts of anxiety (other than the more healthy kind), my sleeping has gradually increased to five hours per night, my nightmares have all but disappeared and above all there is a relative sense of a return to who I was.

Throughout this period of time, I have continued to work, hiding my private fears through enforced isolation from those that I care deeply about. There is a cost of course – an immense emotional cost. I am only troubled now by a search for truth, a truth for which, I may of course, never find an answer. Mental illness carried with it a stigma; a stigma about whether what we have become has any rational cause. Any self-knowledge that can be gained through the horrors of what I have gone through, from the absolute despair of confusion and loss of those that we care about the most, is tinged with intellectual and emotional frustration. It requires a faith and trust in those around us. I believe that any innocence that I held before these events occurred has now been dashed but I am never without hope.

I do not know whether these words will be of use, or my experience in anyway enlightening. I know that your work is important to a future generation, a future generation that may be educated to question more extensively than I myself have done.

Thank you for your time. May your work continue and prosper.

Two Years After Prozac: An Update

“It has been some time since this was written and you may be interested in a follow-up that reveals perhaps the more insidious side of the “idiosyncratic drug reactions” that are so often innocently missed.”

I am the “AG” who appears on the “Survivor’s Links” under the title “How Prozac Shattered My Life” on your web site.

It has been some time since this was written and you may be interested in a follow-up that reveals perhaps the more insidious side of the “idiosyncratic drug reactions” that are so often innocently missed. I have now been “off” Prozac for almost two years and, although almost back to normal, I was recently diagnosed with Left Ventricle Hypertrophy (an enlarged heart) and Hypertension in April 1999. I am currently on medication to reduce my blood pressure (which has been very successful) and lucky enough to be treated by a heart specialist who is specializing in serotonin and its relationship to high blood pressure.

I have no scientific reason to believe that there is any connection between my taking of Prozac and my heart problems, although my heart specialist (for whom I purchased and gave a copy of Ann Tracy’s book) is currently wading through the literature to see whether a link can be established. There is no family history of hypertension to the best of my knowledge, but I had left out an important medical fact from my original story.

I was briefly hospitalized for a “Heart attack” in 1995 some nine months or so after I had started taking Prozac (1994) (NB I believe that the date in my original story should read 1994 not 1995 – my fault I am afraid but the chronology is important.). Blood tests had shown that I had had a “heart attack”, but an angiogram confirmed that there had been no damage to my heart, and the tightness in my chest was put down to stress, and was dismissed as unimportant. I say “unimportant” simply because the threat (which it might have been) was dismissed, because there was no “damage” seen. My blood pressure at that stage was moderately high, but did not, at that stage require medication, as it was within the bounds of “high normal”.

In November 1998, I was referred to a sleep disorder clinic in order to sort out problems I had with sleeping, and following tests I was referred to a heart specialist as my blood pressure was high. In February 1999, I was diagnosed with Left Ventricle Hypertrophy and Hypertension following a cardiogram which identified the enlargement.

I am currently a very physically fit 46 year old and I am pleased to say well on the mend mentally. The mental scars remain and I write first to relate that recovery is slow, but it is recovery nonetheless. That four letter word “hope” is so important. Often it has been a real test of personal perseverance and a little courage. I do not believe that any of what I have achieved in the past eighteen months would have been possible without Ann Tracy’s indomitable attitude towards making us all aware of the lack of information about the long term effects of SSRIs. Again, I owe her much.

Once again my thanks to you for the life-saving work that you are doing.

Alastair Gumley

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 80.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

554 total views, no views today

09/18/1999 – Robert Kirkwood, ICFDA Director, Speaks Out

Mr. Robert Kirkwood of Lebanon, Tennessee, lost his family to
antidepressants. He now serves as an area director in Tennesse, and
only weeks after his loss, he is courageously trying to educate others
to the dangers these drugs pose. This article appeared recently in the
Smithville Review. It’s entitled–

Grieving father warns of drug dangers: Wife, mother who took lives of
their two young children was under treatment.

http://smithvillereview.edge.net/index.ez?viewStory=474

666 total views, 0 views today

09/16/1999 – ABC News Transcript 9/15/99–SSRI Effectiveness

Thanks to one of our ICFDA Directors for obtaining the following for us:

The following message is a transcript of last night’s ABC News with
Peter Jennings: a message about the SSRIs. Tonight Peter Jennings will
discuss the “side-effects” of the SSRIs.
———————————————————————–
Peter Jennings ABC News: September 15, 1999

Peter Jennings: “Just when is the drug actually making a difference?
Antidepressants are very popular these days: sales are up 17% from just
last year. Millions and millions of prescriptions now are being
written to
battle depression and mood swings. Tonight, are these drugs really
doing
everything that people think they are? Here’s ABC’s Deborah Amos ”

Deborah Amos: “These depression fighting pills are 60 – 70% effective in
bringing relief according to the medical literature. But Thomas Moore,
who
studies drugs at George Washington University, says the numbers are
misleading”

Thomas Moore: “Millions of Americans believe that the benefits of these
drugs are much greater than they are”

Deborah Amos: “To investigate, Moore analyzed all drug company tests on
five major drugs submitted to the FDA prior to market approval: for
Paxil,
Zoloft, Effexor, Serzone and Prozac. The effectiveness of the drug was
measured against a placebo or sugar pill.”

Thomas Moore: “The effect of antidepressants drugs on depression is
only
very little different than the effect of a completely inactive placebo.”

Deborah Amos: “The highlight of Moore’s finding is the case of Prozac
with
more than $2 billion dollars in U.S. Sales. About 90% of Prozac’s
overall
effectiveness is about the same as patients taking nothing stronger
than a
sugar pill. But the label for antidepressant drugs, the prescribing
detail
for doctors, usually do not spell out the small overall differences
between
the drug and the placebos.”

Thomas Moore: “At the very least the FDA product labeling should
include a
more balanced picture of all the information they have received about
the
drug, – about all the clinical trials.”

Deborah Amos: “”The FDA says it does not put that kind of detail on the
label because it is not helpful in predicting individual outcomes. So
what
does it all mean for patients, when a placebo can have almost the same
benefits as a dug, and particularly, when a drug can have unpleasant
side-effects , —- that feeling – jumpy to <sum><sum><sum><sum><sum>

(a psychologist from the University of Conn., who has teamed up with
Thomas
Moore.)

?: “It suggests that the frontline of treatment for depression should
be
psychological rather than chemical.”

Deborah Ames: “The problem is that good therapy is expensive and not
always available. Pills are cheaper and more easily available. Deborah
Ames, ABC News, New York.”

687 total views, 0 views today

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Years 2000 and Prior

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

536 total views, no views today

A Living Hell Coming Off Paxil

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

 

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

April Fountain
Apriltorm@yahoo.com

Years 2000 and Prior

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

605 total views, 0 views today

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

“Never again, Paxil. Never again.”

 

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

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

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

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

 

Years 2000 and Prior

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

603 total views, 0 views today

Consumed by the Black Hole of Serotonin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Percetta Speight

6/10/1999

This is Survivor Story number 29.

Total number of stories in current database is 96

722 total views, 0 views today

A Nine-Year Old’s Side Effects on Prozac

“I am disgusted that Prozac is so readily handed out to children.”

I am the mother of a 9 year old boy.

About four months ago, my son went through a change. He was experiencing a lot of physical growth and he was developing sexual awareness. Being OCD to a degree, my son centered on thoughts and obsessed and started acting in mildly inappropriate ways. Now, that became a real concern because it was more than thoughts but turning to actions that were being perpetuated; my husband and I became alarmed.

There was NO CAUSE for this sudden escalation except for a natural curiosity getting out of control (OCD reaction w/a boy who is emotionally immature but very intelligent &amp; spiritual).The guilt set in and no matter how we tried to help him forgive himself, he carried far too much guilt. It internalized into dropping self-esteem and finally that escalated into severe depression. Who was once a VERY happy, talkative, joyful, incredibly funny &amp; affectionate boy turned into a boy who wept daily, seldom smiled, and was becoming despondent.

We took him to a counselor, and later were referred to a psychiatrist. After an hour assessment, Dr.SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER prescribed Prozac for Rob.

His reaction included: MAJOR joint/muscle pain (from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head PAIN!), lack of appetite, increased seizure symptoms (Rob has a left partial complex seizure disorder we are NOT treating with drugs but naturally and that has gone very well), abdominal pain, increased lethargy, increased OCD behavior, increase in thoughts of suicide, heart pain, vomiting, and strange feelings in his mouth/tongue. I took Rob off Prozac after only 8 days because I was so alarmed with the side effects.

After taking him off the med, I did some research and was very saddened that I’d been pushed into allowing my son to be given Prozac! I was pressured by the psychiatrist, husband (on Prozac), brother-in-law (Dr. also on Prozac), and it was approved even by the pediatrician! My taking Rob off Prozac was MY decision against all but hubby (he was worried about the escalating effects of the drug, too).It took a full 7 days for the incredible pain to go away. Rob told me it hurt even to move his fingers, walk, anything.

Well, in closing, I am disgusted that Prozac is so readily handed out to children. From what I know currently, the FDA has not even approved this drug for children, and after researching it myself, I AM WORRIED ABOUT MY HUSBAND! He has been on it for two years.

 

2/3/1999

This is Survivor Story number 30. Total number of stories in current database is 96

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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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