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.”

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Years 2000 and Prior

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

451 total views, no views today

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

561 total views, 1 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

547 total views, no views today

Consumed by the Black Hole of Serotonin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Percetta Speight

6/10/1999

This is Survivor Story number 29.

Total number of stories in current database is 96

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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

570 total views, 1 views today

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

471 total views, 1 views today

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

511 total views, 1 views today

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

1,109 total views, 16 views today