Ulcerative Colitis and Anti-depressants

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 11/7/2008 6:13 PM (GMT -6)   
So I've been doing well with tapering off of the prednisone. I took my last 5 mg. today and tomorrow I take none. I'm nervous but glad I've made it this far without any physical issues. However, I believe I'm depressed and I know that that is a side effect of prednisone. The doctor prescribed anxiety medication for me while on the prednisone but now I'm worrying about the long term. My flares have seemed to sprouted from stress.... and I am wondering if antidepressants and anxiety medication would be helpful in managing and keeping flares at bay. Do a lot of other UC patients benefit from antidepressants?

The 20 days in the hospital and the slow recovery I've been having at home is enough to give anyone the blues but I find myself tired and emotionally drained. Sad overall. Plus I've been doing a lot of reading on UC and I think sometimes what I read scares me and makes things worse. My family wants me to talk to my doctor and tell him the way I've been feeling emotionally and see what he says. They're convinced that everything is linked - colon, brain, and emotions- and they're in agreement that some "help" might be necessary. Do gastrointerologists prescribe antidepressants?

Just want some feedback.

Age 25
Diagnosed UC March 2008
2 Lialda
NO prednisone as of tomorrow
Remicade every 6 wks.
Os Cal
B-12 supplement

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 11/7/2008 6:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Katie, it's not at all uncommon for anyone with a chronic disease to be depressed and to take antidepressant medication. Many of us, including me, have taken antidepressants at one time or another. Mine were prescribed by my primary care doctor, and I also saw a counselor for a while. It's hard enough to deal with this DD without fighting depression at the same time.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from Entocort.
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
"My life is an ongoing medical adventure"
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 11/7/2008 7:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Your GI might prescribe antidepressants but I doubt it since the drugs aren't GI related; he might just refer you to someone. You're probably better off going to a primary care physician. It took me a long time to get up the nerve to make an appointment to ask for them, but I was so relieved when I did. My PCP was very understanding and she didn't make me feel bad about it at all, she completely agreed that it seemed necessary and she gave me a prescription for Lexapro. I've been on it for a year or so now and I really feel that it has helped me. I was suffering from depression as well as social anxiety, both which I believed were exacerbated by the UC, and I feel much happier and outgoing now which is great. It's also been easier for me to cope with things and might have even helped the disease, as I always felt when I got anxious or stressed my stomach would instantly hurt. I definitely believe it's all connected.

Female, 23, Ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) since 1999; GERD; gastritis; osteopenia in femur head & lumbar spine from long term prednisone use...

Current Meds:
Lexapro 10mg, Sulfasalizine 3000mg/day, Azasan 100mg


Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 56
   Posted 11/7/2008 7:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Zoloft is amazing, I get it from my primary care... she said anythign that helps the flares stay away she is allllll for :)
22 years old
Diagnosed with UC June 2005 at age 19
Just graduated from Virginia Tech

Have taken:
Cortifoam, Sulfasalazine, Cipro, Flagyl, Codine, Hydrocodone, Roxicodone, Canasa, Aloe Vera Juice, Prednisone

Asacol, Dicyclomine,Zoloft, Probiotics, Flintstones Vitamins with Iron

Never have had a colonoscopy just one sig flex over 3 years ago. Dont really have a GI because No insurance :(

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 619
   Posted 11/8/2008 6:40 AM (GMT -6)   
My GI prescribed Lexipro. At the time I was the only one in the family NOT taking antidepressants and I was all, "I don't need those, I know WHY I am depressed, I can deal with it." But he told me that your brain actually rewires itself for depression, and even if it is a situational depression, it's important to deal with it. I took the Lexipro for almost a year, a lot of my stressors resolved themselves in the mean time, I began to feel physically better, and weaned off of them. The Lexipro effects were pretty subtle. I would say it's best for mild depression, I just stopped wanting to cry all the time, I didn't feel all "joyful" just less sad and depressed.

Off in about an hour for my Remicade infusion, gotta pack my "things to keep me busy" bag.

46 yr old female, dx'd UC April 27, 2006; mild arthritis in lower back, dx'd May 2008; Osteopenia dx'd 6/08 Finally achieved remission mid October 2008!!
10 Remicade infusions: 7/21/07; 8/18/07; 10/13/07; 12/15/97; 1/26/08; 3/8/08; 4/19/08; 5/24/08; 7/5/08; 8/15/08, 9/26/08; Current meds & supplements: Lialda, 4 tabs in the morning; Xanax as needed (rarely); Rowesa and/or Canasa; multivitamin w/folate; Culturelle; Fish oil capsules, calcium chews and/or Tums; Vitamin D;
Past meds: Prednisone 4/06-4/08; Entocourt EC; Asacol; Colazal; Venofer (iron) injections Dec '07; Imuran (extremely bad reaction 2/07); Protonix; Lexipro

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 11/8/2008 9:13 AM (GMT -6)   
The only time I was on an anti-depressant was for post-partum so I can't really help you there. I just wanted to say the my GI once asked me if I wanted him to write a scrip for an anti-depressant; so I do believe some GI's will write them.
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate Asacol, Rowasa or Canasa**~Year-round allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Spinal Stenosis(?)~Sacroiliitis-epidural injections~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~3 epidural injections-worked great!, Osteoarthritis
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 742
   Posted 11/8/2008 10:17 AM (GMT -6)   

I started taking Zoloft when the effects of UC became too much for me to handle mentally.  I was very short-tempered and very stressed out.  I don't know to what extent the Zoloft helped my symptoms, but it definitely helped me to mellow out a bit.  As I'm sure you already know, a calm mind keeps the body calm. 

I was just like Meesh, resisting taking antidepressants.  Sometimes you just have to do whatever it takes to make yourself feel better.  My doctor told me that only 5% of your seratonin is in your brain, and the other 95% is in your gut (who knew??); so it makes sense to take something to regulate the seratonin when you have gut issues.

And I just want to add, sometimes you've got to close the UC books and get off the internet (which can sometimes scare you more than help) and go read a funny book or watch a funny movie.  If I've learned anything over the past year of having UC, its that you can't let it run your life and invade your thoughts.  I know that sounds difficult when you're spending half the day in the bathroom, but sometimes you just have to shove it into the background to keep your sanity.

Good luck with your decision and let us know how it works out!!  :-)

Katie, 30.   Chicago 'burbs.
DX:  Pancolitis as of 9/08 (Proctitis as of 1/08)
Current Treament:  Asacol 1200 MG 2X daily, Iron 325 MG 2X daily, Zoloft 50 MG daily, Multivitamin.
Diet/Exercise:  Spinach/sunflower and low-residue.  Yoga, walking, cardio.
Previous Treatment:  Canasa suppositories, Cortifoam, Prednisone, Colazal, Symex DuoTabs, Rowasa, Bentyl, Cortenema.
Status:  Heading to remission???

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 11/8/2008 2:02 PM (GMT -6)   
My GI prescribed Zoloft and it really helped me until I started having nosebleeds.
This went on for a year and a half or so, and I ended up in the ER with the Mother of all nosebleeds--took 2 hrs to get it stopped.
After the dust settled my ENT doc said get off the asacol, being an anti-inflammatory
it was probably the culprit.  Well he was wrong, it's the combination of asacol and zoloft that can lead to upper GI bleeds or nosebleeds.
So be very careful combining any SSRI like zoloft with the 5 ASA drugs, it can lead to trouble.  My GI was surprised when I told him about it.  It's best to get stuff like that from somebody in that field.  Just be sure to research everything yourself.  It took some digging on my part to solve the problem.
That said, I'd sure like to find a good anti-anxiety or anti-depressant for myself. rolleyes
Good luck.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC, Dx 1991
Lialda 2 per day
Prednisone for flares. SCD recipe yogurt daily for probiotics.
Fish oil caps and Multivitamin and Bee Pollen
Prima. Reuteri. L Glutamine, and iron supplement

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 116
   Posted 11/8/2008 6:46 PM (GMT -6)   
I never took antidepressants, but I have spoken with a therapist. I found this extremely helpful in dealing with my UC. Sometimes I think we all try to spare those close to us of the details and repercussions (physical and mental), but with a therapist you can really pour your heart out and get great support if you find the right one. I am certainly not against antidepressants, but I would really recommend speaking with a therapist, it has been invaluable to me and has helped me to find a more positive outlook about my future. She also has helped me develop better coping skills to help me deal with UC.
-Lialda (4 pills/day), canasa, Align probiotic, kefir, multivitamin, calcium with vitamin d, iron

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 123
   Posted 11/10/2008 2:08 PM (GMT -6)   
I found it helpful to have both an antidepressant and a therapist. Your chances of successfully treating your depression increases 2 fold if you do both. I got lucky and found an really good therapist on my second try. (The first one was a jerk.)

I resisted both of these options for years and suffered needlessly. I urge you to go ahead and seek treatment.

I am taking the generic version of Celexa (citalopram). I am also taking Asacol with no problems so far.
49 - male - in North Carolina near Asheville
Asacol 9/day
Citalopram (anxiety/depression)
experimenting with fish oil and probiotics/ spinach and sunflower seeds

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