Lexapro withdrawal anyone?

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vestabula
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Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 10/18/2009 5:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi...I usually post on the fibro forum but see some familiar faces here!  Anyway, about two years ago I was put on Lexapro for fibro pain and some anxiety issues I was having at the time.  I immediately noticed a drastic change in my vision...duked it out until I decided I wanted to be able to read a book without all the words being out of focus.  Went to the eye doctor and when I told him I was on Lexapro he told me not to come back for a year after I had gone off of it, as these drugs can cause vision problems and also do something to the retina of the eye.  So...went through a four month wean as it wasn't doing that much for my pain to begin with.  When I got down to 2.5 mgs I started getting the brain swishing sensations and zaps.  It has been three weeks off this drug and I am in agony.  I can't move my eyes or move my head without getting a jolt.  First of all, are SSRI's prescibed for pain?  When I told the doc about these withdrawals he told me to go back on it.  Not going to happen...I want to be able to read.  The headaches are unbearable...mainly behind my eyes and at the temple.  I can't even drive the car because I can't turn my head without getting zapped.  Does this sound familiar to anyone and if so...how long does this nightmarish Hell last?
 
Thanks
 
Donna
fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium


OnTheRocks
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 117
   Posted 10/18/2009 8:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Coming off SSRIs is one the worst withdrawals of any medicine. The side effects you're mentioning are very common and should subside every day and be completely gone within a week or so. Once you are off, you feel like a million bucks.
Dx: Supratrochlear nerve obstruction/compression & severe migraine.

Rx: Opana ER, Transdermal Scopolamine

PRN: Zofran, Opana IR, Actiq


Chutz
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 10/18/2009 9:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Donna!

Wow, I'm so sorry this is such a miserable time for you. You certainly do NOT need this misery added to everything else that goes with fibro pain.

First, yes SSRI's and other antidepressants are often prescribed for the pain of fibro. They increase the seratonin in the brain to help lessen the sensation of pain. It helps many people but doesn't ever make you pain free, of course. BUT...the side effects, as you have found, can be horrific for some people. Your head feels all messed up, groggy, achy...and just miserable. Then try to stop taking it and your head feels even worse than when you WERE taking it! I was on Lexapro for a long time and did fairly well. My body adjusted pretty easily which is strange because I'm usually extremely sensitive to that type of medication. Stick with your doctor's recommendations for the best way to get off.

Now for some better news... these med's are very helpful with fibro pain so it's nice if you are able to take them....yet some people just can't. One thing I learned from my doc is that most antidepressants work for about 2 years and then lose their effectiveness. Or you can try one brand or type with no results, try another and it works wonderfully. Either way usually if you are going to be taking antidepressants you will be changing from one to another every couple of years or even have to try several to fine one you can tolerate and that helps.

That said...there is a newer type on the market in the past couple of years. They are SNRI's...Here is a clip from the article and a link to a very good explanation of this medication and it's uses including fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain. What I take now is in this class and I don't have the side effects I had with some others. Hope some of this information helps...there is hope...really!

Warm hugs,
Chutzie


http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/41/5/30

"In 1997, however, a new class of antidepressants made its debut on the American market—the combined selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These drugs act on both serotonin and norepinephrine, as the tricylic antidepressants do, but without the latter's side effects."
Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.
Richard L. Evans

(\o/)Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
(/|\)


OnTheRocks
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 117
   Posted 10/18/2009 10:25 PM (GMT -7)   
I was on Cymbalta (a SSNRI) for about a year. I didn't notice it to be very beneficial and the side effects of it and older SSRI's are more or less identical. However, if you have a lot of neuropathy, SSNRIs are known to really keep that at bay.
Dx: Supratrochlear nerve obstruction/compression & severe migraine.

Rx: Opana ER, Transdermal Scopolamine

PRN: Zofran, Opana IR, Actiq


flower123
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 856
   Posted 10/19/2009 2:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi. I don't comment often, but I have to tell you that a close friend of mine went through it. She had awful brain zaps, abrupt mood swings, and felt AWFUL. She had a lot of difficulty concentrating too. It took about a month for the worst of it to subside, but about six weeks total. It was a horrible experience for her. She has vowed to never go on another SSRI ever again.

So since you are already three weeks in hopefully all of the withdrawal will end soon. I hope you feel better.

Flower

vestabula
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 10/19/2009 3:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much for your responses and confirmation.  I found an SSRI Withdrawal forum and there are 1.5 million members! I am really upset that I was not informed about how withdrawal could effect me when I went on this drug and how many doctors do not seem to know (or consider it) when they prescribe them.  I guess they assume you will be on them forever which only means you have to keep upping the dosage or switch to something else.  I read a post where someone said 'I am finally on the road to recovery from this poison...after 18 months of withdrawal I am only experiencing about ten zaps a day now!'  I just cried thinking this could last that long.  I feel like my head is full of water and it is swishing around whenever I move and I actually hear a 'swishing' sound.
 
Chutzie....thanks for the website.  I truly hope I don't have to go on anything else like this.  The damage to my vision is permanent and although this is a rare side effect, it is for real and it happened to me!  Being a writer by profession, this is NOT good as the words on the computer are one big blur. (the fibro fog doesn't help much either.)
 
Thank you again.  I've been eyeballing that Lexapro package for three days now and so far haven't given in.  I hope I have the strength to 'just say no!'
 
Oh, and I would also like to say I wrote to Dr. Rosenfeld on Fox News asking if there was anything I could take to help alleviate these disturbing symptoms.  He answered me immediately.  "Only time and patience.  Anyone who decides to start these drugs risks unpleasant withdrawals."  Hmmm....
 
Huggies
Donna



fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

Post Edited (vestabula) : 10/19/2009 5:19:41 AM (GMT-6)


stylistrgreat40
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 10/20/2009 2:33 AM (GMT -7)   

Lexapro is awful.  After taking it 10 years and trying to get off many times my psych doctor switched me to Cymbalta.  However, it has the same side effects when you are trying to go off of it.  My doctor pretty much has told me once you are on them you have to stay on them.  The withdrawls are awful and can last for months.

Hope this helped.

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