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

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

 

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

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

JDuffjr410@aol.com

 

10/29/1998

Years 2000 and Prior

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

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My Trip through Hell on Prozac

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amy Lend
amylend@yahoo.com

 

5/20/1998 –

Years 2000 and Prior

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

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Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil Antidepressant Users vs Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline

Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil Antidepressant Users vs Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline

Commonly-Prescribed Antidepressants Are Extremely Dangerous for Some

ClassActionAmerican.com

Some 200 legal actions have been filed against Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers of Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and Paxil (paroxetine), respectively, to recover for suicides or homicides.
rozac, Zoloft, and Paxil Antidepressant Users v Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline

1/1/1998

Commonly-Prescribed Antidepressants Are Extremely Dangerous for Some

http://www.classactionamerica.com/cases/case.asp?cid=1087

ClassActionAmerican.com

Some 200 legal actions have been filed against Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturers of Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and Paxil (paroxetine), respectively, to recover for suicides or homicides–some completed, some only attempted–by patients in the first few days or weeks after they were prescribed one of these drugs. These three medications are in the same family, called SSRIs, for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. They are commonly prescribed for depression, and they work by increasing the amount of a chemical called serotonin in the brain.

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Paxil Nearly Killed Me.

“Nothing is as awful as life was on Paxil.”

 

In September 1997 I was feeling down. Since each day seemed to be worse from the previous, I called the local mental health agency asking for help. Within 3 weeks, I was given an appointment, and prescribed Paxil for depression (which I questioned because a friend of mine who was a neurosurgeon had been taking Paxil and killed himself 3 months earlier) and lorazepam for anxiety.

A few weeks passed and I was not feeling any better. I had quit going to do things outside my house and I knew there was something wrong. I told my therapist who said to wait a while because sometimes it takes a month or so for the Paxil to work. So, I waited for 2 more weeks, by this time I could not get out of bed at all. I did not shower or eat either. I called the doctor and then went to see him. I told him there was something very wrong. I wanted to die. I wondered if I needed more medication (I felt so rotten, I thought if I felt this bad on the medication, I thought I would be worse without it) He wrote a script for Trazadone. I took it and did not wake up for 23 hours. I called the clinic, there was no one there who could help and I was asked to call back the next day. The next day was Wednesday, I called again, no one called me back. Thursday I had an appointment with my therapist. I told her I was doing awful and had thrown the Trazadone away. I explained if one pill could knock me out for 23 hours, I did not need 30 of them in the house the way I was feeling. I told her something was very wrong and she said to talk to the doctor. He was unreachable. Friday I called again after no return phone calls. I got the nurses voice mail. I left a message. About 5:30 pm she called me back and I told her there was something very wrong with me. She said everyone was gone and she would have the doctor call me on Monday. I told her again there was something wrong with my meds and I needed help.

At about 7:00 pm I took 60 Lorazepam (although I had no idea what I was doing and have no memory of wanting to die) and cuddled down into my bed and went to sleep. (I don’t remember the next four days. The following is the pieces as told to me) At 11pm I called my sister in law and told her I took a bunch of pills She took me to the hospital where no one believed how much Lorazepam I had taken until they took a blood level. It was too late to pump my stomach so I had to drink Charcoal. The hospital released me about 2 hours later and said to continue my Paxil until Monday when the Doctor could talk to me.

I am told I stayed in bed all day Saturday and mostly slept. I tried to get up a few times but fell (and had huge bruises all over my body for the next 3 weeks). About 9pm I cut my wrist open and took another bottle of pills. And then sat down at the computer to write a suicide letter. 18 hours later I was found still typing on the computer by my mother.

I remember telling her what I had done and that there was something very wrong with me. She called my regular doctor to make an appointment. The next day, Monday, my mother got me up and helped me bathe. I got on the scale and saw I had lost 30lbs in the past 7 weeks while I was on Paxil. I was so weak I was unable to walk alone.

My mother took me to my regular MD. She said I had a Paxil induced psychosis and to quit taking it right away. She gave me Zoloft in case I crashed from going cold turkey. I never took any Zoloft. I was too afraid. These behaviors were not me. They were not things I would have done no matter how depressed I was.

It has been 8 months since all of this happened. I am not on any meds or feel like I need them. However, I have some shocking sensations but not as bad as the 2 months right after quitting the Paxil. My memory is terrible. I can’t remember what I did yesterday, or words when I start a sentence. I can’t juggle tasks. My problem solving ability is gone. And I am uncomfortable in large groups of people. It feels like everything is closing in.

I am psychologically fine. The only good things that came from this is that I know I am strong enough to fight anything. And depression is something I can handle on my own. Nothing is as awful as life was on Paxil.

Tammy
Liptonlips@aol.com

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 67.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

490 total views, 0 views today

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

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

 

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

A.S., A British Nurse

 

9/1/1997

Years 2000 and Prior

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

478 total views, no views today

Heart Problems from Four Years on Prozac

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

 

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

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

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

J

 

8/25/1997

Years 2000 and Prior

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

385 total views, no views today

All Hell Broke Loose When I Quit Cold Turkey

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

Dear Ann,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

D.D.

 

Years 2000 and Prior

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

 

595 total views, 0 views today

The Macula’s Story

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading my story,

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

Patty

 

Years 2000 and Prior

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

442 total views, 0 views today

A Doctor’s Life Destroyed

“…Prozac destroyed my life.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for listening,

(name withheld by request)

 

1/10/1996

Years 2000 and Prior

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

595 total views, 0 views today

My Reaction to Zyban and Wellbutrin

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I thank you for the opportunity to share my experience.

Debby Gincig Painter

 

Years 2000 and Prior

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

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