Luvox withdrawal

“About a week or two after I had quit, I finally cried again. I knew then I was on the right track–I could feel again! “


After being on Luvox for two years, I took myself off of it “cold turkey.” (I had read that either way you go, “cold turkey,” or gradually reducing the dosage didn’t matter that much). Why did I decide to quit taking it? Because I just could not stand the side effects any longer. The side effects were terrible nightmares, severe constipation, and sleepiness, inability to think clearly, discomfort and discharge from my eyes, and an overall feeling of ill-health, plus I couldn’t cry. The drug was not “buying” me enough relief from depression to justify taking it. The only “good” things it did for me was allow me to sleep, and provide the initial relief from depression (may have been more related to the “placebo” effect of finally addressing the problem!). I think my problems could have been addressed more intelligently through counseling, group therapy, and a sleep aid, exercise, etc.

I have been off of Luvox for about two months. The withdrawal symptoms were/are frightening. The scariest symptom was dizziness. I thought I was going to have a stroke, or than I had a brain tumor. I went to see my doctor because I was so frightened by the dizziness, and a weird sensation in my head. He didn’t attribute that to going off of the Luvox, but thought my neck arteries may have been clogged, so he listened to those with a stethoscope.
About a week or two after I had quit, I finally cried again. I knew then I was on the right track–I could feel again! And I notice that although I still have the weird dreams, they are getting more “normal” now. (By the way, the nurse practitioner had told me that it was my psyche that was causing the “bad” dreams, and she also added that these SSRI’s don’t have significant side effects!).

I still have some dizziness, but it is getting better. Oh I forgot to mention the awful muscle pain I had the first few weeks I was off of the drug. It was frightening also. I thought I had some terrible muscle disease.

I am sharing this to help others. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I found out about this web site! Today, is the first day I have known that this dizziness was a part of the withdrawal! Imagine how worried I have been!

Please share my e-address; I would be happy to e-mail with another Luvox survivor, and hear from anyone who wants to talk about that drug.
Thank you so much!

Dorothy Wilson



This is Survivor Story number 10.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

Victims File Lawsuit over Severe Withdrawal Reactions from the Antidepressant–PaxilFirst Class Action of its Kind Against an Antidepressant Maker

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo 12100 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 950 Los Angeles, CA 90025

Contact: Robin McCall, Media Relations Day: (800) 827-0087 or (310) 207-3233 Night: (818) 558-5964 Email:

35 people who have suffered from severe withdrawal reactions as a result of taking the antidepressant Paxil, filed a class action complaint today in California Superior Court, LA County, against Glaxo Smithkline Corporation (GSK), formerly known as SmithKline Beecham.

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation


Victims File Lawsuit over Severe Withdrawal Reactions from the Antidepressant–PaxilFirst Class Action of its Kind Against an Antidepressant Maker

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo 12100 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 950 Los Angeles, CA 90025

Contact: Robin McCall, Media Relations Day: (800) 827-0087 or (310) 207-3233 Night: (818) 558-5964 Email:

The lawsuit against the makers of Paxil for the potentially disabling and deadly withdrawal effects associated with Paxil has now been officially filed. This is clearly a suit that should be filed against the makers of all of these serotonergic antidepressants and DEFINITELY one that should have been filed against the makers of the serotonergic diet pills, Fen-Phen and Redux. What a crime it was to drop all of those Fen-Phen and Redux users off “cold turkey” when they were withdrawn forcing so many onto the serotonergic antidepressants creating additional damage and leading them into an additional serotonin nightmare. Why were patients not allowed to withdraw gradually?

All of these companies who put these extremely addictive drugs on the market with no warning of the addictive properties should be held accountable for the results of that lack of warning. The withdrawal from these serotonergic antidepressants, according to the World Health Organization, appears to be even worse than the benzodiazaphines – which already have one of the worst reputations for serious withdrawal. [Use the search engine to find our report on the World Health Organization’s statement that came out this spring.]

When we know that Ecstasy withdrawal can plunge users into the depths of depression we should not be the least bit surprised to learn that any of its chemical cohorts can do the same in withdrawal. All are serotonergic agents -Ecstasy, Prozac, LSD, Zoloft, PCP, Paxil, etc. – with similar effects due to the increase of serotonin and decrease of serotonin metabolism that they produce.

When one understands the steroid effect brought on by an increase in serotonin [one 30mg dose of Prozac DOUBLES cortisol levels!], it is not difficult to see that the initiation of use of these drugs should be very gradual as should the discontinuation be a very gradual process.

Contact information for the attorneys and links to additional information on the lawsuit is all listed in the press release that follows.

Ann Blake-TracyExecutive Director, International Coalition For Drug AwarenessAuthor of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare ()

To learn more, go to

35 people who have suffered from severe withdrawal reactions as a result of taking the antidepressant Paxil, filed a class action complaint today in California Superior Court, LA County, against Glaxo Smithkline Corporation (GSK), formerly known as SmithKline Beecham. This group represents thousands of Paxil users who have allegedly suffered from withdrawal reactions and dependency/withdrawal syndrome. They come from all walks of life (e.g., Lt. Col in the U.S. Air Force; former star athlete; web-designer; children; bank fraud investigator and many more) and reside throughout the United States. Each has experienced similar withdrawal reactions and problems such as: jolting electric “zaps,” dizziness, light-headedness, vertigo, in-coordination, gait disturbances, sweating, extreme nausea, vomiting, high fever, abdominal discomfort, flu symptoms, anorexia, diarrhea, agitation, tremulousness, irritability, aggression, sleep disturbance, nightmares, tremor, confusion, memory and concentration difficulties, lethargy, malaise, weakness, fatigue, paraesthesias, ataxia, and/or myalgia.

Paxil was introduced into the U.S. market on December 29, 1992, and is a well known antidepressant medication in the same class as Zoloft and Prozac (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or “SSRI’s”). Paxil is approved for marketing in the United States for conditions such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and “social anxiety disorder.”

Complaint Allegations: 1) The complaint alleges Paxil can cause some people who take it to experience serious and unexpected withdrawal reactions. Neither the patients nor the physicians expect these withdrawal reactions because, according to the complaint, the manufacturer has deliberately failed to warn of their potential occurrence. Both physician and patient unwittingly commit to Paxil without knowing the drug’s addictive traits. None of the named plaintiffs were ever informed before starting Paxil that it was addictive, induced dependency, or created withdrawal reactions when dosage was reduced or terminated.

2) Paxil creates both physical and psychological dependency because GSK has suppressed the information about the severe withdrawal reactions of its drug, many patients and their physicians are fooled into thinking that the withdrawal reactions are caused by another condition (such as relapse), thus prompting further incorrect and unnecessary medical treatment, including increased dosages of Paxil. 3) GSK has known for years the distinct characteristics of Paxil which make it prone to cause withdrawal reactions when discontinued. While the medical community has acknowledged the potential for all SSRI’s to cause dependency/withdrawal syndrome, Paxil is, by far, the worst. According to World Health Organization (“WHO”) data obtained by the plaintiff class members, Paxil has the highest incidence rate of withdrawal adverse experiences of any antidepressant drug in the world. “Even despite our clients’ extreme difficulties caused by this drug, some remain on Paxil today because they are “hooked” and fear they cannot get off the drug,” says attorney Mary Schiavo.

The complaint charges include fraud and deceit, negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty and implied warranty which can be seen on the complaint.

The lawsuit was filed by Karen Barth (in association with Mary Schiavo) of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo in Los Angeles and Donald Farber of San Rafael, California.

The attorneys have stated, “The scariest part about this is that there are people out there trying to get off this drug who are experiencing these horrible withdrawal reactions. They think its because of something wrong with them, when it’s really the Paxil – – and then they take even more and further exacerbate the problem!”

Fact Sheet is available on the web along with the complaint at

Withdrawal from Paxil

“Please get this message out…”


After trying several different antidepressants my doctor put me on Paxil. I stayed on it for about eight months but just didn’t like the way it made me feel. I felt like I wasn’t really living, just existing and I was extremely tired. I would fall asleep at nine at night and have trouble waking in the morning.

I decided to go off it VERY SLOWLY and without much help at all from my doctor. This is when my nightmare began. I experienced all kinds of symptoms- depression, uncontrolled bouts of crying, unable to get out of bed, dizziness, my head swimming and what I can only describe as brain attacks. I felt like I had some kind of brain damage . My doctor was completely unable to help me so I took Xanax to help counter the withdrawal symptoms. It helped a little. I even felt suicidal for the first time in my life. I thought I would never wake from this nightmare. Two months later I was still not completely off Paxil and the symptoms were still awful. I finally called a doctor in another state I had gone to in college and he told me there were several things I could have done to ease all this but since my dosage was now so small he told me to just stick it out and within about ten days of stopping completely I should start to feel better.

Well it took about another six weeks after stopping completely to feel normal again. Now another two months later I feel that I have recuperated from a serious illness. I can’t describe how wonderful it is to be off this drug completely. I am angry at my doctor for not telling me there are withdrawal symptoms from Paxil. None of the literature from the manufacturer mentions this. I would have never taken this drug had I known. The only thing that kept me going was reading the internet and knowing so many people were experiencing the same thing. PLEASE GET THE MESSAGE OUT TO PEOPLE THAT STOPPING IS POSSIBLE. There are so many others who just give up and stay on the drug to avoid the withdrawal symptoms.

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 73.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

5/24/2000 – Falling Off Prozac

This appears today on the ABC News website at

Falling Off Prozac

Doctors and Patients Unaware of Withdrawal Side Effects

By Robin Eisner

N E W Y O R K, May 24 — Tara Calhoun wanted to kill herself.

The then-48-year-old mother of two from Norman, Okla., had
forgotten to take her small dose of Paxil, an antidepressant
prescription medication.

But her suicidal feelings were not a return to symptoms of
depression, her doctor said. Rather, they were withdrawal
symptoms from seven months on a drug that had altered her
brain chemistry.

Calhoun’s reaction to ending her treatment with a serotonin
booster — drugs that increase the neurotransmitter serotonin in
the brain to treat depression, panic disorder and compulsive
behavior — was extreme but not unique.

Up to 85 percent of patients who take these kinds of drugs may
have some type of symptom when they stop, studies say.
Symptoms include balance problems, nausea, flu-like
symptoms, tingling and electric shock sensations, vivid dreams,
nervousness and melancholy.

The problem, doctors now are saying, is that patients and even
other doctors may not be aware that stopping these drugs, which
are among the top 10 best-selling pills in the United States, may
be causing the symptoms. Patients, they say, may unnecessarily
continue taking the drugs after they try to stop because the
symptoms of withdrawal may scare them into thinking they are
still suffering from the bad feelings they had — such as
depression — when they first started taking the drug.

Many doctors and patients also may not know that to end
treatment, levels of the drug should be tapered off while under a
doctor’s care.

The Way to Stop
According to recent research in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,
as many as 70 percent of general practitioners and 30 percent of
psychiatrists do not know about the side effects of ending
serotonin-boosting drugs. Of those who do know, only 20
percent of psychiatrists and 17 percent of general practitioners
caution their patients about the proper way to slowly lower the
levels of these drugs to come off them.

“Getting off these drugs properly is an issue that is
underappreciated,” says Dr. Alexander Bodkin, director of the
clinical psychopharmacology research program at McLean
Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School located in
Belmont, Mass. “These drugs are being prescribed without the
full knowledge of how they should be monitored.”

Pharmaceutical companies place the responsibility of proper
prescribing on the doctor. “The decision about how long a
patient should be on treatment and how treatment should be
stopped is a highly individual one between the physician and
patient,” says Brian Jones, a spokesman for SmithKline
Beecham of Philadelphia, the manufacturer of Paxil.

Lifesavers, But Also Overprescribed
While these serotonin boosters can be life-savers for people
who suffer from severe depression, panic disorder and
obsessive-compulsive illnesses, and could offer help to
thousands of others on a long-term basis, psychiatrists and
doctors acknowledge that not everyone taking them should
necessarily be on them and that stopping might be a problem.

The numbers tell the story. Prozac, manufactured by Eli Lilly &
Co., of Indianapolis, Ind., has been on the market since 1988
and is the third best-selling drug in the country, according to IMS
Healthcare, a healthcare information company in Plymouth
Meeting, Mass. Zoloft, made by Pfizer Inc., of New York City, was
introduced in 1992 and is seventh. Paxil, available since 1993, is

But the down side of these popular drugs has only recently been
addressed.”We are only beginning to see concerns about these
drugs like what inevitably happened with other so-called miracle
drugs over time,” says Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, a clinical
instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge,
Mass., and author of the recently published book Prozac

“People during last century have wanted to take drugs that will
make them feel better, such as Valium, amphetamines and
cocaine elixirs, but it takes time to see the side effects of these
quick cures,” he says.

Glenmullen says today the serotonin boosters are being
prescribed for more and more moderate conditions, but that they
should be reserved for people who are truly debilitated by their
mental illness.

Once Taken, Forever Stuck?
And once on a drug, Glenmullen says, many people who don’t
really need it for the long haul have trouble getting off. When the
dosage is lowered, he says, it can be difficult to determine
whether it’s the symptoms of the disorder returning or the side
effects of withdrawal.

“If a doctor is unaware of these withdrawal symptoms, they
might put the patient back on the drug or another one and this
can go on for years,” Glenmullen says. Doctors also sometimes
switch patients to other serotonin drugs when these
discontinuation effects occur.

Calhoun’s story about stopping Paxil is cautionary. At the time
she forgot her medication, she had been trying to get off the drug
for six months, after being hospitalized from what she calls the
side effects of the drug — inability to sleep, constant suicidal
thoughts and chemical sensitivity.

Her general practitioner had prescribed Paxil when Calhoun had
told him she was feeling anxious upon losing a job. She worried
about supporting her two children. She says her doctor had not
told her about potential adverse effects of the drug. Nor did he
tell her the appropriate way to stop taking the medication.

Eventually, another doctor, who agreed she was suffering from
serious side and withdrawal effects, gradually lowered her

Today, Calhoun has been off the drug for a year and a half, has
two jobs and counsels people getting weaned from serotonin
boosters. “When I felt the suicidal feelings that day I forgot the
drug, I realized that it was not me that was crazy, but…the
changing level of the drug inside my brain,” Calhoun says.

Stopping Serotonin Boosters
Each person will respond differently to stopping serotonin
boosters, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI),
doctors say.

While many people experience no problem stopping the drug,
some people will have side effects from lowering the dosage,
since the brain has become used to certain levels of serotonin.

Medical research indicates that it is easier to get off Prozac than
Paxil. That’s because Prozac lasts longer in the body. So when
dosages are cut back, withdrawal effects are minimized.

Doctors caution no one should stop taking their drug cold turkey
and that use should be tapered off.

“A doctor should communicate with a patient at least once a
month when they are on these drugs,” says Dr. Bruce Bagley,
president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

“I tell patients that they may need to be on these drugs for at
least six months to see an improvement, but you must talk to
them to see if conditions in their life have changed to warrant
considering ending the drug treatment.”

SSRIs act by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter
serotonin available to the brain. Exactly how they work to treat all
the disorders for which they are prescribed is unknown, but
serotonin is a chemical that allows neurons in the brain to
communicate with each other. Over time, the drug changes the
way the neurons respond, according to Jerrold Rosenbaum, a
psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School.