"Prolonged Seratonin Withdrawal Syndrome' anyone?

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vestabula
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Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 5/19/2010 8:15 AM (GMT -7)   
I weaned myself off Lexapro that was prescribed for me for fibromyalgia pain over the course of months.  Got down to 2.5 mgs and stopped last October.  It has been a Hellish Nightmare ever since.  My doctor told me I would not have withdrawals from such a small initial dosage...10mgs.  Uh, no.  Brain zaps, endless crying jags, mouth sores, dry mouth, shingles, heart palpations...NEVER had any of these symptoms before withdrawal so him telling me it is 'a return of anxiety and depression' is ridiculous, especially since I was never prescribed the drug for those things.
 
I talked to my pharamcist to see if there was something I could take for the brain zaps.  It seems she has been trying to wean off Lexapro for three years an can't do it because of the 'unbearable head sensations'.  Anyway, she has done her own research on these drugs and says she is pretty sure I have 'Prolonged Seratonin Withdrawal Syndrome' which has apparantley finally been recognized by the medical community as a real disorder.  Fortunatley, only 10 to 20% of people go through this and I must be one of them.
 
Anyone here experienced any of these symptoms for such a long time after going off an SSRI?  I am 64 years old and feel like I have wasted a year of my life going through this...the depression is unbearable.   Going on another drug is not an option as they blur my vision and I had stomach/intestinal bleeding from mixing NSAID's for fibro pain with Lexapro.  Funny, my rheumy didn't even know this until he read the paperwork that comes with the drug.  'NO NSAID's' in the contraindication section which I did not know because he gave me blister pack samples with no paper work.
 
I'm lucky the hubby hasn't left me.
 
Donna
fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: valium Advil


getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40567
   Posted 5/19/2010 12:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Donna,

I am so sorry that you are going through this. I think in time this will go away. Are you sure that you aren't some percentage of depression? Or do you think it is all comeing from going off of the drug? Either way is not good. It is hard living with all of these symptoms. Know that if it is from the withdrawal, it will go away soon. It shouldn't last more than a few weeks. Yikes, I just looked at your post again and it said you have been going through this since October. That is a bummer. I really don't know what to say. I never in my wildest dreams thought that it would go on for so long. Are you sure that you can't take another type of antidepressant? It might be the only way of getting rid of this. I would be talking to my doctor. There are supplements that you might be able to take to combat this such as hpt5. I believe that there are others maybe St Johnswort. I know that you are probably tired of taking things as I am. I take so many meds with fibro and depression. If you were taking the lexapro for depression, I could see it, but you were taking it for fibro, and now it sounds like depression. I am so sorry for what you are going through. I hope that you feel better soon.

Keep posting and keep us updated on how you are doing.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


vestabula
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Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 5/19/2010 1:56 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Karen...thanks for the reply.  I would agree with you that it might be a return of A/D symptoms except I never experienced any of this stuff until after I stopped the drug.  I can't try another drug unless I want to stop taking NSAID's for Fibro pain...the intestinal bleeding from mixing the two is not something I want to experience again.  I'm allergic to most narcotics so I have to stick to Advil alternated with Tylenol.  Since I posted this, my son called me.  He was on Lexapro for five days because of stress from work...made him barf the entire time...went off it and says he has some kind of seizure at work yesterday.  My doctor's response to all of this was that these drugs 'are a lifetime committment.'  I guess I'll just have to deal with it...The end!

Huggies

Donna


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


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40567
   Posted 5/19/2010 2:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Donna,

This just doesn't seem fair. I know that there probably isn't anything you can do about it. I just hope that these effects leave you.

I am sorry to hear that your son had a seizure. I hope that he is going to be okay. I wonder if this was caused from the drug.

I don't agree with your doctor. In her saying that this is a life time committment. I know that I will always have to be on antidepressants, but if you weren't depressed to begin with, you shouldn't have to be on them for the rest of your life. Maybe it is good that you can't take them with nsaids. I have never had that problem, but we are all different. I don't like them because of the stomach issues. I take celebrex on occasion. That is only if my pain meds aren't doing the trick. And it helps tremendously with my arthritis pain.

I really hope that you start to feel better soon. And hopefully somebody will come on with some answers. Take care, wishing you a painfree day.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
 
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies


THE HAPPY TURTLE
Elite Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 18742
   Posted 5/19/2010 6:42 PM (GMT -7)   
healings to you. i hope you feel better soon. with compassion, jamie.
YESTERDAY IS A BUTTERLY WITHOUT WINGS. (ME)
 
DX, MDD, SEVERE BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER.
 
REMEMBER TO LOVE YOU. BE YOU AND BE TRUE.


-Misunderstood-
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 5/22/2010 8:27 AM (GMT -7)   
It does sound like PSWS, I did quite a lot of research of serotonin syndrome because a doctor had my mother on somewhere between 4-6 different meds that increased level of serotonin production and retention. The common length of withdrawl from serotonin syndrome is around 2 weeks, normal, and has been known to extend longer. It is mostly due to ignorant "medical professionals" prescribing different new meds knowning almost as much about them as you do when he hands them to you. *This is a warning to everyone* Double check your meds and their interactions with others you are currently on, call other doctors and get opinions, check reliable internet sources. Many many many doctors will prescribe cocktails with very serious side effects, such as PSWS, and not even think twice. May God be with you and give you the strength to deal with this, I personally am an advocate of...holistic...methods and I think that there may be some relief (in moderation) therein. I wish you the best


C

Post Edited (-Misunderstood-) : 5/25/2010 6:53:51 PM (GMT-6)


vestabula
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 5/24/2010 7:37 AM (GMT -7)   

Misunderstood...you are soooo right.  I understand completely that for people suffering from chronic depression, these drugs are life savers.  In my case, I was prescribed Lexapro for a lingering Fibro Flare caused by the death of four immediate family members over a short period of time.  Anxiety, pain and depression is to be expected under these circumstances.  However, I did not intend to take the drug forever and told the doctor that when he prescribed it.  10 mgs...no problem.  Just stop.

There is a forum (I know I'm not allowed to mention the name) with 1.5 million  posts by people who have been dx'd with PSWS.  My hope for people on these drugs for temporary relief is that they do the research and know all the facts and risks before starting the drug.  I am 64 years old and from what I have researched, these drugs are not even recommeded for the elderly or for young people.

Too late now...I just hope the symptoms go away before the hubby retires!

Donna

 


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


-Misunderstood-
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 5/24/2010 11:46 AM (GMT -7)   
For sure, I can't count the number of times that I have heard doctors either lie to me, my mother, or close friends about the medications that they gladly distribute without a second thought. At this very moment my mom is taking 4 different drugs that either increase production or retention of serotonin. From all research I've done, medical reports and personal accounts from forums, if she stopped taking one of them there would be a very significant withdrawl. She ran out of her Klonopin last month for about a week and a half because she was taking them like candy that month for some reason. For the remainder of that month she was very easily upset, unhappy, and just very obvious general mood issues. She was practically pacing the house all morning on the day that the script was to be refilled, all she could think about was getting more klonopin. I've had a doctor give me Tramadol for my hernia pain (which is not normal for that kind of pain). I tried it and had almost no pain relief, probably similar to taking ibuprofen or tylenol, and it made me feel jittery, on edge, and kinda crazy feeling. Immediately upon feeling very odd I decided to research it fully from many online sources that are reputable and trustworthy. I came to find that not only did he give me a very poor med for general analgesic effect (being that it is a weak fake opiod, especially for the acute pain while waiting on a hernia surgery), but Tramadol has many other unwanted properties. It releases serotonin as well as inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine.

I checked source after source to find the same thing, forum posts from people saying that their doctors lied to them and now they are horribly addicted to tramadol (not just the fake opiod). When I was sure of the facts of the matter I became fairly upset. I had been feeling very very odd and unpleasantly jittery from the changes to my serotonin and norepinephrine levels, which I do believe are not necessary to change for a hernia surgery. Now I am in pain, feeling crazy, and angry with the doctor because I know that he gave me the Tramadol because I "look" far different than you might suppose from my posts. I wear a leather jacket because its awesomely comfortable and I have very long hair, so no matter how well spoken or sincere, many people just immediately take me as a druggie or degenerate. So after thinking all this, I finally get up to calling the doctor, I was at my wits end. At first when I called I only got a nurse, and even after asking for him I got the nurse again because he was busy...so I said no problem I don't mind waiting at all. After about 5 minutes he finally got on the phone. In short, to summarize our conversation, I presented the facts about Tramadol (found from the manufacturer and reliable medical sources) and he only seemed to become suddenly upset. It didn't click at that moment, but he was mad because I was bringing more facts to the table than he had about the medication that HE prescribed to me, and probably has to maaany other people with the same level of ignorance. I told him my side effects, jitters, feeling kinda crazy, little confused and blurry. He told me he had NEVER heard of someone with those side effects from Tramadol(any forum will say otherwise), and that I should just take tylenol.....for an inguinal hernia that is waiting to have surgery to close it. I went on to ask him specifically if Tramadol had any effect on serotonin or norepinephrine levels, twice I asked him this to be sure of his lie, and both times he said that there is no properties to Tramadol that do that. Then he went on, becoming quite angry at my insistence that it may, to tell me, and I quote, "I don't give a darn what you read on the internet! I don't care if its the Mayo Clinics website, but if your going to listen to them then just don't darken my doorstep." One could guess the conversation did not end well, I kept my cool somehow, but I contacted his superior afterwards about his behavior. Lol well long story...long, check your meds yourself, check multiple doctors in the same way that you would check multiple car mechanics before settling on one. You don't take your car to the first guy and believe every word he says, you are asking to be taken...but if 3 or 4 different mechanics say the same thing then you can be pretty sure of its legitimacy. Call doctors for quick opinions to see if they coincide with the others, check reliable online sources, read reviews and forum posts from people who have taken the medication in question. I've found that forums can be one of the best places to find the real scoop on a medication and its side effects. As sad as it may be, many people these days that get into the medical field do not do it because of a urge to care for people and heal, its for the big salary. Your body is much more important and difficult to find replacement parts for than your car, be at least as vigilant against bad doctors telling you lies or simply being ignorant.

Hehe this post ended up much longer than I originally intended, as usual. I will end it then with my hopes that you feel better Donna, I will pray for you. Also think possibly about the option of holistic methods to help alleviate anxiety, discomfort, the jitters, or possibly some depression. I hope to hear soon that you are doing much better, that must definitely be a difficult predicament to be in.


Christian

Post Edited (-Misunderstood-) : 5/24/2010 12:51:57 PM (GMT-6)


-Misunderstood-
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 5/25/2010 5:51 PM (GMT -7)   
(Just a slight continuance to just focus my point since my post ended up so long :\ sorry again) As much as doctors can, and for sure have the potential to help...there is just as much possibility of very serious and permanent harm when they are adjusting the levels of chemicals found and made in your brain. That has been one fact that has kept me from seeking pharmaceuticals as of yet, instead, first going inside myself to figure out why what is happening IS happening. If you can correctly identify juuuust that...you are unbelievably much further along to actually getting better than any medicine known to man could ever do. Be honest with yourself, forgive yourself, work with yourself, and look to Jesus Christ for strength and perseverance. When you are given pills from a doctor, which do help at times, make sure to double check with just free calls to a few other doctors for a quick question to verify, ask on here for a good example(if nothing else, since I'm not going anywhere I will do the research for you if you'd prefer), check google found forums with actual experiences from people who have used that medication or the combination of meds you've been given(make absolutely sure the site does not sell or advertise any medications other than holistic, if so the site is automatically bias). If you do these things before taking the medicine you will feel fully safe in taking it, and also you will understand what it IS actually doing and have real knowledge of what your ingesting. I wish you all good luck in each of your respective areas, and may God guide you to what you personally need to remedy it. Sometimes the answers are found right there with Him and are able to be found with his guidance.


Christian



P.S. lol btw all my posts end up edited by myself because I can't help but be a perfectionist and correct mistakes I find later or restate ideas in a better way. I'm never taking anything out.

Post Edited (-Misunderstood-) : 5/25/2010 6:55:17 PM (GMT-6)


Daisysmom
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 168
   Posted 5/26/2010 10:11 PM (GMT -7)   
I just wish the general public, the medical schools and doctors in general knew more about what is going on with SSRIs.

I had a very messed-up childhood and some really traumatic things happened to me in my teen years. I never received any professional help until many years later. So I guess I might be considered some sort of tough case, although I have never been an inpatient for mental health care, jailed or otherwise institutionalized. I have been self-supporting my entire adult life and able to function quite highly, thank you very much.

But I have just been surprised and really, amazed, that doctors and counselors have stated I "need" to be on SSRIs for the rest of my life, with one health professional comparing it to insulin for diabetes.

These drugs are very serious medicine. I know about the brain zaps, and I guess I feel fortunate now that I "only" had them for a few weeks when i went off the medicine.

I have other issues in my life these days. Physical health problems. And I was SO glad to find a doctor who expressed concern for my liver.... you know... all these drugs we take have to be processed by our bodies. There have to be priorities. I don't think we were meant to gobble handfuls of prescriptions.

Yes, I agree, there is a time and place for antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds. But for some people, dare I say MOST people, these drugs aren't needed FOREVER. Other avenues need to be considered.

Seriously, I agree with the person who said that these doctors know about as much as WE do when it comes to SSRIs.

--MK

-Misunderstood-
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 112
   Posted 5/27/2010 3:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Absolutely for sure daisysmom, even though a pill can be helpful, one must ALWAYS check and double check for themselves on the safety and reasons for taking them. One could make a parallel to the over prescribing of antibiotics in the general public. Medical "professionals", and i most certainly use the term loosely, give out substances that can have very dramatic and serious effects on the patient without much consideration. It's like the lazy way of a "doctor" dealing with a perceived problem by throwing medication at it. In addition to that faulty logic, they are throwing medications about that they don't even fully understand. Always take your health and well being into your own hands and consideration, applying suggestions and so on from doctors, but aaalways double checking for ones self.


Christian
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