Seroxat Caused my Movement Disorder

“I get involuntary movements and muscle spasms. I also still get electric shocks.”

Six years ago I had been taking Seroxat (Paroxetine) for about 2 weeks, I’d noticed that my hands and arms were twitching and moving -involuntary movements. I told the consultant, he told me it was a side effect of the drug but he still increased the dose by 10mg.within a short time of taking it I became very ill. my whole arms were moving and jerking, my legs moving, feet curling, back arching, neck twisting, head bobbing around, tongue twisting in my mouth it felt swollen, slurred speech.

I was writhing around, I couldn’t stand up, it effected my walking and balance, my eyes kept clamping shut so that I couldn’t open them. I was admitted to hospital. they filled in a yellow card. I was told I’d had a very rare adverse reaction to Seroxat and the Dr’s stopped the drug immediately, I now know it is not recommended to come off Seroxat abruptly but at the time I was too ill to question this.

A neurologist told me that Seroxat had called a condition called Dystonia, I’d never heard of it. I get involuntary movements and muscle spasms. I also still get electric shocks. I have had anemia, bad dreams, worsening of mood etc.

I am still effected by this movement disorder, I still get fizzy sensations in my legs, feet etc, I have problems with too much stimulation – feeling over loaded, sound, vibration, flashing lights etc can all trigger the movements off. When this first happened I couldn’t even hold a cup, I used straws.

I have had great support from my husband. My GP and psychiatrist are both convinced that Seroxat has caused my condition. Both the hospital and my GP have filled in the yellow card. I am a member of a on line support group which has helped me a lot.

cheryl farrelly


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Bad Effexor Trip Almost Killed Me

“I strongly believe Effexor should be yanked off the market IMMEDIATELY.”

Hi. I wanted to share my nightmarish experience with Effexor XR. I was put on Effexor XR in the year 2000 for what was believed to be major depression. This med is highly dangerous and I am pretty sure it can cause permanent brain damage, just like its illegal cousins.

When I was a rebel teenager, I used strong LSD, Speed, X-tasy and PCP, unfortunately. So I knew what those drugs did and felt like. Of course I quit a long time ago – it was just a teenage phase. Little did I know that I would “trip” again years later, but this time on a legal medication…

After a week on Effexor at 150mg a day, I started to feel unusually “high”. Felt like I was on some sort of stimulant or speed. I couldn’t sleep, I felt stoned, my thoughts raced and anxiety went up. I was told it was all normal. But as days passed, I began to feel like if I had used a potent hallucinogenic drug! I saw tracers (trails), doors bent and moved, walls gently caved in and out, colours were funny and I had a weird field of vision very similar to LSD but it didn’t feel cool or good at all. I was sweating profusely, had the shakes, was agitated and my pupils were dilated. My heart raced, my legs felt like Jello, I had a terrible headache, very weird thoughts and digestion problems. I knew that this was definitely not normal!

I began to become paranoid and started freaking out. My experience was nothing else than a full-blown chemical drug bad trip. And god knows those are extremely dangerous – some people don’t come back… I knew, I instinctively knew Effexor was the cause so I quit abruptly, refusing my treatment in the hospital. I accepted the other meds such as tranquilizers though. This is when it got really ugly.

A few hours after skipping my dose, I began to get electric shocks in my head and urges to move about. My head felt like it was in a huge vice, my vision was blurred and cloudy, my hearing was altered, I saw spots. I felt I was stuck in between dream and reality, on another planet. Physically, I was just exhausted but couldn’t sleep even on strong tranquilizers. And my stomach felt like I had eaten a slab of lead! But I bit wood and told myself that I would rather die than take another dose.

I got really scared – did a month of Effexor use fry my brain FOREVER? I tried to imagine what my brain would have felt like if I had used LSD or PCP for a month every single day… It would be gone, burnt, finished, deep fried! I came to the conclusion that Effexor destroyed my neurons for good and that I would be a vegetable for the rest of my life. This is when I tried to commit suicide to escape the pain that was just too horrible to describe in words.

After a nearly successful attempt (real close one), I was hospitalized again and put on Depakote. I told the doc that if they put me back on antidepressants like Effexor, I would kill myself with the first sharp thing I’d find. So I got things my way.

Gradually I got better as my brain VERY SLOWLY recovered. All in all, I was on Effexor a month and it took me 3-4 months for my brain to BEGIN functioning normally. A few years have past since then and I’d say my brain almost fully recovered. I was lucky. Some people say their brain stayed fried.

I strongly believe Effexor should be yanked off the market IMMEDIATELY. I have no idea how this got passed the FDA. Makes you wonder who works for who. It should be like totally illegal because way too dangerous! If your doctor wants to put you on Effexor because you are depressed, tell him you’d rather be depressed than risk killing your brain cells with an evil drug!

I now take Depakote, Seroquel and some Trazadone for my condition (Bipolar II) at medium-low doses and it works fine with no serious side effects. Not all meds are bad, some really help. Others can be deadly though. Psychiatry is not an accurate science, its about doctors too often acting like the sorcerer’s apprentice.

Martin M. (25 yo male with Bipolar disorder type II)

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The Tunnel of Horrors-An Account of My Effexor Withdrawal

“This is a diary I kept of my Effexor withdrawl over a year ago. I finally feel ready to share it with people. The experience was agony, agony, wholesale agony.”


This is a diary I kept of my Effexor withdrawal over a year ago. I finally feel ready to share it with people. The experience was agony, agony, and wholesale agony. While I was on the drug, I felt so sleepy all the time I was almost non-functioning, was constipated, and had wildly violent hypnologic jerks as I was falling asleep. It was the fatigue that made me begin cutting back, and when the savage withdrawal symptoms appeared, I knew the drug was evil and I had to get off of it immediately. I never fully recovered from the effects of the drug and am still struggling with its implications, which I describe at the end.

Wednesday, 12/13/00 Evening

I had decided to try cutting back on my dose to see if I could restore any of my energy while not compromising the therapeutic effect of the Effexor. I was only taking 75 mg. a day anyway; I wasn’t even sure what effect, if any, such a small dose was having, besides helping me sleep. It was making me sleep too much; all I ever wanted to do was sleep; that was my problem. My energy level was so low I couldn’t even get out and exercise any more, and I was gaining weight. Every day I had to take a long nap, often as long as three hours. I had become a caffeine addict in an attempt to counteract the sedative effect of the drug, yet still slept excessively. So this night I cut my pill in half and took a 37.5 mg. dose.

Thursday, 12/14//00

I began to have withdrawal effects, even though I had only cut back on, not stopped, my dose. I felt somewhat nauseated and experienced the electric shocks in my head. This seemed really ominous, a sign that this substance was really poisonous. There was clearly something WRONG with this medication, and I decided to go off it cold turkey.

Friday, 12/15/00

The withdrawal horror began this day. I was repulsively nauseated, had increasingly frequent and violent electric shocks in the head, felt bouts of dizziness, felt overall sick, in pain, and drained. I slept a lot. I also became alarmingly bloated. My breasts became enormous and incredibly tender. They felt like they were going to explode. Also my anus was, inexplicably, incredibly sore. What was there that didn’t hurt? Jim wanted me to stay with him as long as the withdrawal lasted so that he could “keep an eye on” me. He felt it was unsafe for me to be alone because this withdrawal was turning out to be so volatile. The one positive sign was that I immediately began to have normal bowel movements. The Effexor had always given me mild constipation and strange, hard, ball-like stools that were hard to pass.

Saturday, 12/17/00

The withdrawal symptoms became even more violent today. I had dry heaves, especially in the morning. The electric shocks were truly horrible, sometimes causing me to lose my balance momentarily and/or my vision to blur. The smell of Jim’s body and clothing was repulsive to me. I couldn’t concentrate sufficiently to read. So assaulting was this withdrawal it completely drained me. I slept a lot and when I was awake wished I was asleep because the pain was so horrible. I also decided to give up coffee today because as long as I was suffering this much I might as well rid myself of all addictions at once, rather than save some pain for later on. This was all so horrible Jim suggested I go back on the Effexor and try this again another time, but I replied that there was no way I was going to go through this again. It had to be now, no matter how awful. At Mass Jim situated me near the hallway so that if I needed to run to the bathroom with dry heaves I could. I did.

Sunday, 12/17/00

More of the same. Brutal withdrawal. A headache was added. I was totally incapacitated. It just went on.

Monday, 12/18/00

Jim and I went to the grocery store and I was so dizzy I nearly fell over several times. I had to go out to the car and wait for him.

Tuesday, 12/19/00

I woke up this day with a screeching, splitting horror headache. I took a lot of Ibuprofen and hoped for the best. It didn’t help much. Despite Jim’s protests, I went back to Pittsburg. The drive was very difficult. I almost fell asleep behind the wheel a few times, I was so exhausted. The withdrawal just continued. In the evening I felt it begin to let up just a little bit. Just a little, little bit. I got on the Internet, typed in “Effexor withdrawal” and discovered all the web sites, learned about what I was going through. It was helpful to know that others had experienced what I was going through and found it thoroughly UNACCEPTABLE! The medical establishment was wrong to allow this substance to be prescribed! I also discovered that my determination to “white knuckle” it, rather than go back on and try to eliminate it gradually was pretty brave.

Wednesday, 12/20/00

I woke up this day with even more piercing of a screeching, splitting, horror headache. Took lots of Ibuprofen, which didn’t help much. Yet, I began to feel a little better still. Not so many electric shocks. Not such profound nausea. There were waves of badness, but also periods of betterness. The bad dreams set in at this point, as some of the Internet community mentioned happened to them. In the evening the symptoms worsened again, like the way a cold worsens at night. I had some trouble sleeping at one point in the night.

Thursday, 12/21/00

Today, for the first time, I began to feel substantially better. The Light at the end of the tunnel of horrors came into view. The piercing headache was gone. Instead I felt that sort of congested, tight feeling in the head that feeling like your nerves and blood vessels are all congested and squeezed. The bloating and breast tenderness remained, as did the fatigue, but I didn’t need a nap today. There were still occasional electric shocks in the head, but they were infrequent and not so severe. Occasional, very mild waves of nausea, but nothing that bad. I still felt sick, but so much better than before. I was happy that there would eventually be an end to all this. It was only the next day, though, that I realized that had, on this day, entered into stage three of the withdrawal drama: the demented rage phase. I got an e-mail from my brother, then responded with one of my own which, I only realized later, was an insane rant. It was a tornado of inexplicable wrath. Later that evening, I called Jim, whom I was not mad at (yet) to rant at him about how furious I was with my siblings. I wouldn’t have even known that this was a withdrawal symptom had I not read about it first on the Internet. I would have thought it was a sign that my mental illness was returning!

Friday, 12/22/00

Today I actually realized that I was in the demented rage phase. The night before I even dreamed that I was enraged; Steve was the last person I spoke to before going to sleep and I dreamed that I was walking beside him as he made his way to Church and was screaming at him and hitting him. Jim called a few minutes after I woke up and everything he said made me so irritated and confused I just felt like exploding at him. I decided to cancel our plan that I come out and stay with him the weekend. I had to remove myself from the population until this phase had passed. The physical symptoms were letting up; the electric shocks, though still occurring, were infrequent and relatively mild. I felt tired and fragile, a bit headachy, but the only real nausea I felt was for a few moments now and then throughout the day. I even rode my bicycle to Mass, the first exercise I’ve gotten since the ordeal began. A lot of my energy to do this came from my wild, flailing rage. I took a two-hour nap. In the evening I felt some lightheadedness. I went on a food binge that lasted all afternoon, evening and night until half past midnight. I got a call from Jim about 10 p.m. and ended up getting into a quarrel with him, hollering at him and then crying uncontrollably. Had several large bowel movements throughout the day.

Saturday, 12/23/00

I didn’t sleep at all the previous night, nor did I feel tired at all this day. If anything, I was wired, to the point of being shaky sometimes. The electric shocks in the head continued, actually more frequently today than the day before, and more often my vision went slanted for a second as they happened. My intestines were tied up in crampy knots. To clean myself out, I began the Master Cleanser Fast (lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup in hot water; laxative herb tea; etc.). Like the day before, I had enormous bowel movements once every four or five hours. It’s like seventeen years worth of stuff backed up in there suddenly started coming out. In the evening I realized that attempting to fast on Christmas was a dorky idea, and decided to begin it the day after Christmas instead. The good thing is that in all this mania, I had a major creative breakthrough. That moment I always wait so long for, when all the disparate elements swimming through my mind that have no hub to pull them all together in an artful, purposeful way suddenly find it, and they coalesce, and it all makes sense, happened all at once in the early hours of the morning. The flash of enlightenment this time?

It’s a play!

I’ve been trying to see it cinematically (brainwashed on a lifetime of movies and TV), that’s why it couldn’t find itself. It’s a play, and with that understanding, it all makes sense. Scenes, people, dialogue are appearing where dark, blank spots were just yesterday

Sunday, 2/24/00

The night before this day, I slept twelve hours straight through. The electric shocks increased again, but they weren’t so strong as to really bother me. Some short bouts of nausea. I felt groggy and a little headachy all day.

Monday, 2/25/00, Christmas Day

Because of staying up for midnight Mass in Oakland with Jim, then not getting back to Colma until 2:30 a.m. and intending to go to 7:00 a.m. Mass back out in Pittsburg, which is about an hour drive, I just stayed awake the entire night again. There were a few, mild electric shocks, and I was a bit weak, but otherwise I felt remarkably well. Even Meghan remarked on how well I seemed. However, my feet were so swollen I could scarcely fit them into my dressy pumps, which normally fit very comfortably. Wearing them was agony and walking in them was a joke, but I grit my teeth and endured it. Jim’s bodily smell and breath smell I still found utterly offensive. It’s very hard to be near him at all. In the evening the electric shocks became more frequent but they weren’t particularly a discomfort. More of an interior audible experience.

Tuesday, 2/26/00

I felt even better today, almost back to normal. Better than normal actually, because I’m not weighed down by the fatigue the Effexor used to create, nor did I have to take a nap today. I slept well, overslept actually, and fully made up for the missed sleep of the night before. It used to be that I couldn’t sleep at all without a sedative or the Effexor. Today I started the Master Cleansing Fast, and other than a few bouts of mild nausea associated with an empty stomach (another withdrawal symptom, increased nausea when my stomach became empty), it went fine. I wasn’t even hungry (perhaps an effect of the maple syrup in the lemon-water drink). I was still immensely bloated, though; no change there. My breasts were still the size of dirigibles and shockingly tender.

Wednesday, 12/27 and Thursday, 12/28

My breasts were still so enormous and tender they felt like they were going to explode. Jim remarked that when he put his arm around me, I felt harder but not in a muscular way, rather like the bloat was filling me up, straining against me. Other than that I felt great. I had more energy than I’d had in ages and slept BETTER than when I was on the Effexor! I didn’t need to take a nap either of these two days. Halleluiah.

Friday, 12/29 through Monday, 1/1/ 01

Still tremendously bloated with a few mild electric shocks in the evenings. On Friday I became too famished and went off the fast. Began my period on Sunday. I generally felt pretty good, slept very well indeed, but became a bit impatient and crabby on Monday and a little depressed Monday evening.

Friday, 1/4/01

By this day the bloat was gone, flushed out along with the normal drop of water weight I get when my period finishes. At this point I was experiencing maybe one electric shock some time in each evening.

Tuesday, 1/8/01

Almost completely better. Still maybe one electric shock in the evening some time.

Saturday, 1/20/01

Checking in here after almost two weeks, I have no electric shocks and none of the other symptoms, except that though I’m exercising almost every day now – jogging or hour-long walks – and not eating more, my weight is climbing. Going off the drug seems to have confused my metabolism in some way. It’s like when I went off smoking many years ago and gained weight despite increasing my exercise. That weight came off by itself back then after about four months; I’m hoping that will be the case here.

Post Script 2/16/02

My weight has not returned to normal since I went off of the Effexor. It seems to have permanently deranged my metabolism and I have struggled incredibly to stop my weight from climbing. I’ve dieted and exercised, sometimes to the extreme, to little avail. Sometimes while falling asleep I hear/feel a strange “zapping” sound in my head. Sometimes I feel a burning sensation inside my cranium (a symptom too weird to be attributable to anything except the Effexor damage; my doctor had never even heard of it). It seems that Effexor either permanently damages your physiology, or else it accumulates in your cells and stays there, continuing to poison you.

Post-Script to “Tunnel of Horror” – 6/19/02

For the record, I am still experiencing lingering physiological problems from having taken the drug, with no apparent lessening. I wanted to add this post-script because there’s one thing I didn’t mention earlier because I was too ashamed. After taking the Effexor I developed, inexplicably, without precipitation, an eating disorder, specifically bingeing.

I’m mentioning it now because maybe other people are experiencing this too and haven’t related it to the drug, and/or are too ashamed to talk about it. I never had anything like this previously, and when a binge comes on it feels like a neurological short-circuiting in my brain and body. I lose all sense of reason, my mind functioning becomes tunnel-visioned, I lose a sense of reality and control.

This sounds suspiciously Effexoresque. Chronologically, the cause and effect relationship is pretty vivid. I’ve tried everything to cure it: counseling, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, O.A., the Geneen Roth method, every blood-sugar balancing, protein-boosting, sugar-addict-busting, blah blah diet out there, and prayed to every saint (including St. Maximilian, the patron saint of the eating disordered!) all to no avail. It causes me anguish I can hardly describe. It doesn’t seem to be psychologically-based at all.

Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon since being put on, or going off, the drug? I’d really appreciate hearing from anyone who has. Thanks.

Barbara Powell



This is Survivor Story number 41.
Total number of stories in current database is 48

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Plagued by Side Effects after Paxil, then Cipramil

“I will never ever take this form of medication again.”



I have a lovely wife and successful family, live in a beautiful home, have no financial worries, have lots of holidays, plenty of good friends, just ordered a new Mercedes saloon, in reasonably good health and everything was fine until all this happened, completely out of the blue.

I am a teacher in a secondary school and was under some stress, so went to the my GP. He said that I was stressed and depressed so he prescribed (Paxil) Paroxetine, which after taking tablets for five days, put me in hospital with a devastating panic attack which I thought was a heart attack, I had never had a panic attack before.

I refused to take the Paxil (Paroxetine) tablets in hospital but continued to experience the most awful side effects, whole body tingling especially severe on the face and head, palpitations, lost of appetite, horrific unrealistic fears such as having a brain tumour, CJD, going mad etc. This in turn made me think of ways of committing suicide because I did not want to burden my family with my imagined insanity or terminal illness.

In hospital my mental condition was giving cause for concern so they put me on Cipramil (citalopram).

Again, after I was released from hospital, the side effects of this medication began to plague me, tingling of head, ears, face, back, arms and hands, everywhere, absolutely frightening! involuntary yawning, clenching of teeth which caused my two capped teeth to loosen and had to be reset, electric shocks as if being prodded with an electric rod, which made going to sleep difficult because you would suddenly jump the moment you dozed off, (similar to falling out of your tree), uncontrollable twitching of arms and legs when lying in bed at night, urination problems, ejaculation failure (but pleasing for my lovely wife, could keep going for hours, I felt like a robot!), constipation, awful tintinitus, twenty four hours a day insomnia, increased anxiety and fear especially after going to the gym, palpitations, dry mouth, stuffy, blocked nose all the time, nightmare thoughts and dreams, head often felt like a balloon floating on my shoulders, development of cold sores, never had them before! always hungry then some days found it impossible to eat anything, dizziness pulsating frontal sharp migraine type headaches, flatulence, increased pulse rate, after a tingling episode palpitations, complete lethargy for approximately 15 hours but unable to sleep or rest, seemed to lose my personality, became disinterested, everything bland and dull, etc. etc. etc.

Some days were excellent and I often thought I was over the worst and wondered what the fuss was about but I was only kidding myself, started having panic attacks in the night when asleep, woke up terrified.

I have now decided to stop taking the Cipramil, reducing my intake from 20mg a day to 10mg and then gradually missing every other day over a period of two weeks.

I will never ever take this form of medication again.

I pray to God that this will work and I can just get on with life as it was before.

Brian, Liverpool



This is Survivor Story number 10.
Total number of stories in current database is 34

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