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

 2,002 total views

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

 1,361 total views

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

 

 1,627 total views

A Cipramil [Celexa] Survivor

“I have lost all contact with my body.”

 

Dear Ann Blake-Tracy and The International Coalition for Drug Awareness

I write to you from Norway, Europe. I am a 52 year old woman, and I want to tell my story about severe adverse reactions to a SSRI drug called Cipramil (Celexa) manufactured in Denmark by a company called Lundbeck.

On the 15th of April 1997 I took my first Cipramil (Celexa) pill. Six days later I had to quit (in agreement with my doctor). During these days I experienced the most terrible kind of “electric surges” throughout my body. It was as if my head was going to blow away. I also got huge bruises on my arms.

After I stopped taking the pills I thought that my body would return to its normal state. BUT IT DID NOT. The “electric surges” continued during the days, weeks and months to come, and soon I am going to celebrate their 1st anniversary. The surges have changed somewhat in character. The center has always been (and still is) in Solar Plexus. Now the sensations are mostly in the stomach region and resembles that of “scratching, burning knives”. These sensations are always there, 24 hours every day, 60 minutes every hour, 60 seconds every minute. My whole body feels “electrified” and “dead”. It feels like the nervous center in Solar Plexus has DIED OUT. There is no more “aliveness” in there. It is transformed into a dead crater. Do you have any idea of how it feels living in this torture? Do you have any idea of what has happened to my nervous system?

I have lost all contact with my body. I can no longer feel hunger. I can stop eating for weeks if I want, and my body give no signals about being hungry. On the contrary, if I want to, I can eat and eat and eat the whole day. My body never gives a sign that my stomach is full and satisfied. Also I no longer have the normal ability to get tired and sleepy. My body has only one way of behaving: the “electrified, dead” way. Day and night. It is as if I walk around like an “electric cable”.

My skin feels “dead”. It has no “human” feeling. I cannot feel the human dimension of a hug, only the technical touch. I have lost the personal smell of my body, the smell that was ME.

But the worst thing (actually it is only another dimension of the complex I have described above) is that I HAVE LOST ALL MY HUMAN EMOTIONAL LIFE. I have no ability to experience any human feeling at all. I cannot be happy, not sad, not angry, not irritated, not interested, not ashamed. Name any human emotion you can: I cannot experience them.

I AM SURE: The Cipramil (Celexa) pills (even if they were only 6) have caused a terrible chemical disaster in my brain and my nervous system. They have destroyed my ability to experience human emotions. They have destroyed the HUMAN part of my life. They have taken away all “ALIVENESS” from my life. I feel totally dead inside me. The physical precondition for my emotional life is destroyed. Will it ever come back? I doubt it. I have no longer a human personality, a human psychic life. I have no longer a SOUL.

As you understand, I exist (I will not use the word LIVE) in terrible torture, physical and psychological. It is impossible to stand it. It is impossible to escape it. What shall I do? I have never been a candidate for suicide, but now I can see no other way out. (I have no problem understanding that an adverse effect of these pills is suicidal tendencies.)

The motor part of the nervous system is intact. The autonomic part of the nervous system is intact. The part of the nervous system that governs the intellectual life is intact. The part of the nervous system that governs the human emotional life is PARALYZED, DEAD. It is in this part the medical/chemical attack has taken place.

The adverse effect that I have experienced is the total paralyzing of my soul. The soul is as important to a human being as the body. The paralyzing of the soul therefore is as serious as if it has occurred to the body. It is impossible for me to act in human life with NO INNER HUMAN “ALIVENESS”.

I used to be an active person. I had husband and children. I liked my job. I traveled around the world as a photographer. Now I am transformed into a human wreck with a totally “dead” life. I lie on a mattress, staring up into the ceiling, trying to think of nothing.

I have no contact with my children. I can no longer live with my husband. It is impossible to be with the people I loved the most and be totally dead inside. I can no longer travel anywhere, I can no longer take my pictures, I can no longer go for a vacation. I cannot visit my friends or go to the movies or theatre. I cannot do anything because I cannot EXPERIENCE anything. I AM NO LONGER A PARTICIPANT IN THE HUMAN LIFE.

So, Ann Blake Tracy, this is my story. Have you heard of anything like this before, or am I the only person in the world experiencing this? (very unlikely, I suppose) Do you think there is any hope? Is there anything I can do? Or am I going to spend the rest of my life in Hell? If so, the SSRI drugs can add another suicide to its adverse list.

I am desperately in need of help, but see no hope.

Note: Because it is important to know that there is hope of getting better you need to know that Bjorg is doing much better now. She flew to America to meet with Dr. Tracy and left with many ideas for alternative treatments she could use. She used many natural alternative treatments and began to feel better right away which gave her hope again and courage to keep working at feeling even better.

Bjorg Johnsen; bjorg.johnsen@dagbladet.no

Years 2000 and Prior

This is Survivor Story number 68.
Total number of stories in current database is 96

 1,725 total views

2/17/1997 • Correlated reductions in cerebrospinal fluid 5-HIAA and MHPG concentrations after treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

2/17/1997 • Correlated reductions in cerebrospinal fluid 5-HIAA and MHPG concentrations after treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Sheline Y, Bardgett ME, Csernansky JG
Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St.
Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.

J Clin Psychopharmacol 1997 Feb 17 1 11-4

Drug treatment, overall, was associated with significant decreases in 5-HIAA and MHPG and a trend toward a reduction in HVA levels. Levels of 5-HIAA, MHPG, and HVA were reduced by 57%, 48%, and 17%, respectively.

Correlated reductions in cerebrospinal fluid 5-HIAA and MHPG concentrations after treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbinpost/Entrez/query?uid=9004051&form=6&db=m&Dopt=b

Sheline Y, Bardgett ME, Csernansky JG
Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St.
Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.

J Clin Psychopharmacol 1997 Feb 17 1 11-4

Drug treatment, overall, was associated with significant decreases in 5-HIAA and MHPG and a trend toward a reduction in HVA levels. Levels of 5-HIAA, MHPG, and HVA were reduced by 57%, 48%, and 17%, respectively.

We sought to determine whether fluvoxamine and fluoxetine, two different antidepressants with in vitro selectivity for the serotonin uptake transporter also demonstrated similar selectivity in vivo. To accomplish this, we measured cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG), and homovanillic acid (HVA) before and after 6 weeks of treatment with these two drugs. Twenty-four subjects who had major depression according to DSM-III-R criteria gave written, informed consent for the collection of CSF during a double-blind comparative treatment trial of fluvoxamine (50-150 mg/day) and fluoxetine (20-80 mg/day). The symptoms of subjects were assessed clinically on a weekly basis throughout the treatment trial. CSF samples were obtained after a 7- to 14-day washout period before treatment and again at the end of treatment. CSF samples were analyzed for 5-HIAA, HVA, and MHPG using high-pressure liquid chromatography coupled to electrochemical detection. Fluvoxamine- and fluoxetine-treated patients did not differ in clinical outcome or in the CSF concentrations of monoamine metabolite levels before or after treatment. Therefore, the CSF data were pooled. Drug treatment, overall, was associated with significant decreases in 5-HIAA and MHPG and a trend toward a reduction in HVA levels. Levels of 5-HIAA, MHPG, and HVA were reduced by 57%, 48%, and 17%, respectively. In addition, the magnitude of the decreases in 5-HIAA and MHPG appeared to be correlated (r = 0.83) across the subjects, although a Spearman rank correlation indicated that outlying values had an undue effect on this relationship. These results suggest that treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are selective for serotonin uptake in vitro, does not show a similarly selective effect on serotonin in vivo during treatment of patients.
Publication Types:
Clinical trial PMID: 9004051, UI: 97157772

 3,156 total views

1996 – Mutant Mice May Hold Key To Human Violence – An Excess Of Serotonin.

http://articles.latimes.com/1996-06-06/local/me-12113_1_male-mice

SCIENCE FILE
Of Mice and Mayhem

The Fierce Tempers of Mutant Rodents Born With Their Brains Awash in the Chemical Serotonin May Provide a Clue to Violent Behavior Among Humans

June 06, 1996|TERENCE MONMANEY | TIMES MEDICAL WRITER

The scientist grabs Mutant #9 by the tail, lifts the mouse out of its shoebox-size cage, and lowers it gently into another, identical container, the reeking, sawdust-floored home of Mutant #4.
Blind and jittery, the mice are freaks of nature, products of a genetic engineering experiment that did not go exactly as planned. But, oddly, their encounter in this fifth-floor laboratory at the USC School of Pharmacy may reveal something vital about human nature.

They square off, sniffing furiously, then inch closer. Within seconds, #9 corners #4. And then they dive at each another–a rolling, squeaking, clawing gray blur. Sawdust and fur fly.

Jean Chen Shih, a USC biochemist and promoter of this unlikely murine bout, jumps back, startled by the attack even though she was expecting it. “Normal mice fight also, but not so rapidly as these,” Shih says.

By any measure, the mice, called Tg8, are among the most aggressive in captivity.

This odd little spectacle is part of the quest for answers to the violence clawing at American’s soul. A Tg8 is born with its brain awash in an excess of serotonin, a neurotransmitter chemical that helps regulate mood and mental health, and Shih and her co-workers believe that that excess greatly contributes to the mouse’s fierce temper.

To be sure, a brawl between blind mice in an ivory tower is a far cry from the mayhem and brutality perfected by such brainy animals as ourselves. But the work does appear to touch on human experience: The Tg8’s cardinal biochemical defect was originally discovered in numerous related Dutchmen who committed arson, attempted rape and assault.

The Tg8 mice are the first laboratory animals to share both the biochemical defect and the behavior observed in a pedigree of violent criminals. In that sense, the mice are an important new tool for probing the physiology of running amok. By studying the mice’s trigger-happy biology, researchers hope to understand aggression better and perhaps develop new drugs that control it.

But for every potential new use of such information, critics envision a new abuse. Steven Rose, a biologist at the Open University in England, is an outspoken critic of the idea that one’s genetic makeup determines behavior–a scientific premise he calls “neurogenetic determinism.”

Sociologist Dorothy Nelkin of New York University says that conservatives might seize on biological explanations of violence to “dismantle the welfare state,” because controlling aggression with drugs could well be much cheaper than rehabilitation programs.

She also fears that if certain biochemical signatures became associated with violence or criminal behavior, people with such a makeup could be wrongly implicated and stigmatized as potential threats to society–the physiological equivalent of a bad credit rating. The Tg8 research and similar studies, she says, “open up a whole set of problems that are worthy of careful consideration.”

No such heady dilemmas weighed upon scientists at the Pasteur Institute near Paris when they accidentally created the Tg8 mouse strain two years ago. Olivier Cases and colleagues were trying to develop a novel gene therapy by injecting a one-celled embryo of a special lab strain of blind mice with a shred of foreign DNA. But instead of resulting in a “new” mouse pup with a bolstered immune system, the experiment led to a strain of male mice with a really bad temper.

The first indicator of that ill nature was painfully obvious: The mice nipped the researchers’ fingers. When caged together, male Tg8s–the Tg is for “transgenic”–tore each other apart. And the researchers also found that when male and female mice mated, the males were especially quick, grabby and forceful, eliciting more female squeaks, on average, than other males did.

Those traits may be reminiscent of any number of men, but the French researchers were put in mind of certain Dutch males in one extended family described in the medical literature. Over four generations, a remarkable number of those males were accused or convicted of rape, assault and arson, leading local psychologists as well as law enforcement authorities to watch them very closely.

After much study, Dutch scientists reported a finding in 1993 that, they believed, helped explain the aggressive males’ behavior: They were missing an enzyme called monoamine oxidase A, or MAO-A, which breaks down a variety of neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Lacking the MAO-A enzyme, the affected males, who also had borderline mental retardation, had extra-high levels of several neurotransmitters, including serotonin.

The genetic defect found in the violent Dutchmen is probably very rare, researchers say, and certainly doesn’t account for what makes most aggressive people act that way. Still, the finding offers a unique window into how disruptions in brain chemistry can be correlated with a pattern of antisocial behavior.

Given the Dutch findings, then, it was logical for the sore-fingered French researchers to want to know if their mutant mice also lacked the MAO enzyme. That’s where Shih, a world expert on that family of enzymes, came in. Not long after she agreed to test the Tg8 mice for the enzyme, a shipment of the creatures arrived from France (having spent weeks in quarantine at Los Angeles International Airport).

It took Shih and her co-workers several months of painstaking lab work to establish that the male mice were indeed lacking the gene for the MAO-A enzyme–just like the affected Dutchmen. “When this gene is missing, the animals are very aggressive and hyperactive,” Shih says.

Her Tg8 study, says Randy Nelson, a behavioral psychologist at Johns Hopkins University, was “one of the first to show a biological mechanism for aggressive behavior in an animal.” Follow-up studies published this spring in the journal Neuron suggest that the neurotransmitter defect actually affects the structure of the Tg8’s brain, most likely by skewing growth and development in fetal and newborn mice.

Nelson says it’s no surprise that genes affect temperament. “Anybody who knows the difference between a pit bull and a Labrador retriever knows that aggressive behavior has a genetic basis,” he says.

Some researchers expect that the biochemical analysis of behavior will pay off. Dr. Frederick Moeller, a psychiatrist at the University of Texas in Houston, hopes that the missing-enzyme research leads to new drugs for treating criminals and other violent people who simply can’t control their aggression. “I treat individuals who . . . can’t keep from assaulting hospital staff even long enough to get out of the hospital,” he says.

“The goal isn’t to control everybody and make them less aggressive,” he says. “The goal is to work with real people who have a real problem with aggression.”

For her part, Shih is a little dismayed to find herself in the middle of such a hot controversy. “I like to avoid the political issues,” the biochemist says.

Even though she is no sociologist, Shih believes that she can make a contribution to understanding human behavior by studying the Tg8’s biology.

That possibility is apparent to her whenever she returns the mice to their cages in the locked, windowless animal room across the hall from her office. Normal mice fare perfectly well living four to a cage. But the Tg8 males are held in solitary confinement, too hostile for mouse society.

______________________________________

08/11/1996 • Mutant Mice May Hold Key To Human Violence–An Excess Of Serotonin, A Chemical That Helps Regulate Mood And Mental Health, Causes Mayhem

Jean Chen Shih

Portland Press Herald

A Tg8 is born with its brain awash in an excess of serotonin, a neurotransmitter chemical that helps regulate mood and mental health, and [Jean Chen] Shih and her co-workers believe that that excess greatly contributes to the mouse’s fierce temper.

Mutant Mice May Hold Key To Human Violence–An Excess Of Serotonin, A Chemical That Helps Regulate Mood And Mental Health, Causes Mayhem

http://library.northernlight.com/PN20000204060229119.html?inid=fSkmPX9kaDkMdwNrex8GWAFSUEADERBDewp1EQFmBQ%3D%3D&cbx=0#doc

Jean Chen Shih

Portland Press Herald

A Tg8 is born with its brain awash in an excess of serotonin, a neurotransmitter chemical that helps regulate mood and mental health, and [Jean Chen] Shih and her co-workers believe that that excess greatly contributes to the mouse’s fierce temper.

The scientist grabs Mutant 9 by the tail, lifts the mouse out of its cage, and lowers it into another, identical container, the reeking, sawdust-floored home of Mutant 4. Blind and jittery, the mice are freaks of nature, products of a genetic engineering experiment that did not go exactly as planned. But, oddly, their encounter in this fifth-floor laboratory at the University of Southern California School of Pharmacy may reveal something vital about human nature. This odd little spectacle is part of the quest for answers to the violence clawing at America’s soul. A Tg8 is born with its brain awash in an excess of serotonin, a neurotransmitter chemical that helps regulate mood and mental health, and [Jean Chen] Shih and her co-workers believe that that excess greatly contributes to the mouse’s fierce temper.

 17,166 total views,  3 views today

7/23/1996 • Effect of acute and chronic fluoxetine on extracellular dopamine levels in the caudate-putamen and nucleus accumbens of rat.

7/23/1996 • Effect of acute and chronic fluoxetine on extracellular dopamine levels in the caudate-putamen and nucleus accumbens of rat.

Clark RN, Ashby CR Jr, Dewey SL, Ramachandran PV, Strecker RE
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, State University of New York at Stony Brook 11794, USA.

Synapse 1996; Jul; 23 (3); 125-31

Extracellular levels of the 5-HT metabolite 5HIAA were consistently decreased at all doses of fluoxetine in both structures.

Effect of acute and chronic fluoxetine on extracellular dopamine levels in the caudate-putamen and nucleus accumbens of rat.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbinpost/Entrez/query?uid=8807740&form=6&db=m&Dopt=b

Clark RN, Ashby CR Jr, Dewey SL, Ramachandran PV, Strecker RE
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, State University of New York at Stony Brook 11794, USA.

Synapse 1996; Jul; 23 (3); 125-31

Extracellular levels of the 5-HT metabolite 5HIAA were consistently decreased at all doses of fluoxetine in both structures.

Recent studies indicate that an increase in serotonergic (5-HT) activity in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) produces an increase in dopamine (DA) release, providing a possible mechanism for the involvement of DA in the therapeutic action of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. However, acutely administered fluoxetine (2.5, 5.0, or 10.0 mg/kg, i.p.) failed to elevate extracellular levels of DA, or its metabolites in the NAc or caudate-putamen (CP). In fact, the highest dose produced a small (20%) decrease in DA levels in the NAc. Extracellular levels of the 5-HT metabolite 5HIAA were consistently decreased at all doses of fluoxetine in both structures. Since SSRIs generally require several weeks of treatment to be effective clinically, a second experiment examined the effect of chronic administration of fluoxetine. Chronic (21 day) daily treatment with 5 mg/kg had no effect on NAc basal levels of DA, DA metabolites, or 5HIAA, relative to a saline-treated control group. Finally, pretreatment with fluoxetine appeared to slightly enhance the elevation of NAc DA induced by an injection of cocaine (10 mg/kg, i.p.), an effect that was not quite significant (P < .06). In conclusion, the 5-HT-induced facilitation of NAc DA neurotransmission described in the literature may not be relevant to the therapeutic action of fluoxetine. PMID: 8807740, UI: 96401364

 4,003 total views

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

 1,971 total views

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

 1,826 total views,  2 views today