Antidepressant Hypersensativity

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by adam79, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. adam79

    adam79 New Member

    I've had chronic fatigue syndrome for about two years now. I seemed to manage alright the first year and a half, but recently have found myself overwhelmed by depression. The doctors have tried a number of ssri's like zoloft, paxil, celexa, and cymbalta (snri). But I find that I am hypersensative too them, experiencing bad side effects like trouble sleeping or difficulty with memory and concentration at very low doses (1-3mg).

    I'm wondering if anyone with CFS has experienced a similar sensativity to antidepressants, and if so, has anything been successful. My doctor, who I trust, has encouraged me to stick with the current med (Paxil--been on it for three weeks) with the hope that the side effects will lessen and I can slowly increase the dose.

    Thank You,

  2. abcanada

    abcanada New Member

    I'm not 100% sure exactly what I suffer from yet, as far as diagnosis is concerned. One thing for sure is that I have chronic daily migraines. I'm not depressed, but have been put on alot of low dose antidepressants as a preventative for migraines. They didn't do anything for the migraines, and I too had alot of unusual side effects. Edema in face, hands, knees & feet; unable to sleep; I did feel the 'euphoric' feeling an antidepressant would give you, even on very low dose(even though docs claimed there was no way....) I've recently learned through talking with other family members that drug sensitivity runs in the family. I hope you find something that works for you, Laura
  3. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    Gosh, this is a tough one.

    But I think I understand what you mean. I wouldn't even be able to take anti-depressants myself.

    What worked for me for helping me sleep, at one point, was to take 5-HTP, which is a seretonin precursor. Instead of messing with the way your brain uses seretonin, you can just give it more.

    There is a book about it that is good to read called "5-HTP" by Michael Murray, ND.

    What I did was to chop up the 5-HTP pill into tiny pieces or even powder, until I got a small enough dose.

    But I wasn't having trouble from depression, so hopefully someone with more experience in that area will answer you.

    Good luck!
  4. kat2002

    kat2002 New Member

    Just a thought, but have your doctors tried any of the older antidepressants? The ones you mention are all relatively newer drugs. Maybe you would do better on an older one?

    Just a guess, hope it helps,
  5. wish_to_be_healthy

    wish_to_be_healthy New Member

    I can't tell you how many times I have reacted to the tiniest dose of AD or any kind of med: prescrpition, O/C, supplements, herbs...

    I've written about the lovely side affects I've had on various meds on other posts.

    5HTP has been working for me, w/clonazapam at night...

    I think you need to titrate up very slowly if you are sensitive...I don't know if this is because we metabolize meds we need less, and our bodies are overwhemed with a "normal" dose.

    Hope you have a good reponse to Paxil...It's hard getting it just right, sometimes.

  6. NancyMystic

    NancyMystic New Member

    I'm so sorry you're feeling depressed and haven't found any relief.

    You don't mention your doctor having any answers or suggestions as to why you're not being helped by these drugs. He just keeps having you try another drug?

    A drug can be a great tool... but it's only one tool in the arsenal. And if a drug are not working for you, it can make you feel worse.

    Paxil, in particular, has some miserable side-effects, including withdrawal symptoms even when you are simply a few hours late with your daily dose. I also found Paxil to make my CFS symptoms worse. And it is horrible to withdraw from once you give up on it for good.

    There are many non-pharmaceutical tools out there that can fight depression. Cognitive Therapy; EMDR Therapy; amino acids like the 5HTP that Forbearance mentioned; essential fatty acids (EFAs); other supplements; accupressure massage, etc - there are all kinds of treatments for the various causes of depression, depending on what's causing your depression.

    Putting your finger on what's causing your depression is the key:

    Is your depression situational? Because of the struggles that come with having a chronic illness like ours? (I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,too, like you.)

    Have you been diagnosed with Depression before, even before you got CFS? Ever been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Ever been diagnosed BiPolar? (Paxil,Effexor,Cymbalta are definitely not good drugs for that)

    Is it old crap coming up now because of the stressors of getting sick?

    Is it chemical i.e. dysfunctional brain neurotransmitters? The drugs your doctor keeps prescribing helps to "jump start" treatment of biological depression. But so do amino acids and other supplements.

    The action of any pharmaceutical drug is complex - it varies depending on the individual taking it. For example: are you very young; are you taking other drugs; do you have multiple chemical sensitivities to other substances; do you drink alcohol; are you BiPolar; etc.

    I hope you'll talk to a good psychiatrist/psychologist about this in order to find a better treatment depending on the cause of your depression.

    There really are lots of things out there that can help you feel better!


  7. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Try 5-htp as some others have suggested. It helps your brain produce more serotonin, without the unpleasant side effects of SSRI's. But don't take 5-htp at the same time as an SSRI as you may develop serotonin syndrome (too much serotonin), which can be dangerous.

  8. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    I'm not a fan of the SSRi's. They are "dirty" drugs with an awfully lot of side effects, even for people without CFS.

    If you're going to try an anti-depressant, I'd suggest Wellbutrin.

    Lamictal (a drug used commonly for bipolar) has some success with treating straight depression too (especially if you have a history of bipolar in your family).

    Otherwise the amino acids DLPA or 5-HTP may be helpful. St. Johns Wort too. SAM-e is expensive but another possibility.

    My favorite anti-depressant is called Moclobomide. It's not available in the U.S., but you can get it mail-order from Canada if your doctor will write you a prescription.

    Read up on the above and/or (if your doctor is knowledgeable about such things) ask him or her about them.

    I think the best anti-depressant for CFS sufferers can be sleep. Try to get as much as you can and see if that in itself makes you feel better, if you're not doing so already. Only if that doesn't work would I move on to other alternatives.
  9. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    I totally agree on how much we people with CFS need sleep and Omega 3s like in fish oil! You can't get too much of those things.
  10. adam79

    adam79 New Member

    Thanks for all who took the time to respond to this thread.

    I'm going to try the fish oil....there is a formula manufactured by Country Life called "Omega 3 Mood," which contains 500 mg of EPA and 75 mg of DHA per softgel, two softgels a day. I have previously tried 5HTP, and didn't notice too much of a difference aside from more vivid dreams, something that has often happened with the ssris.

    As for the older meds, I take a low dose (5mg) of doxepine (sinnequane) in the evening, but it is mostly given for sleep. I take either Klonopin, Lunesta, or Ambien if I feel I won't otherwise get a solid night of sleep.

    I'm 27 and had an episode of depression in college, and opted to work through my difficulties at the time through psychotherapy, rather than try pharmaceuticals that a health services psychiatrist offered to prescribe. I am fortunate enough to have access to counselling, and so try to work on more levels than just pharmaceutical or supplements, but the depression became so overwhelming that I went ahead and tried prescription meds this year, something I did not think I would ever do. There is a history of depression in my family. I'll take a look at Miclobomide....seems like it has really helped you, Lisa.

    Nancy asked about causes of depression...I've never had diagnosis of PTSD or bipolar. With me, there is just still a lot of shock about being a young guy in the middle of his early career and feeling blindsided by an illness that has been both disabling and not terribly well understood. All are issues that have asked me to be more accepting, something that has been difficult for someone who is a bit Type A.

    I will say that some of initial responses to the meds were very good....I just couldn't stay on them because the side effects were unmanageable. Cymbalta, in particular, gave me more energy and seemed to address the biochemical aspect of my depression. I just couldn't sleep on the stuff.

    Thanks again,


  11. SusanEU

    SusanEU New Member

    Hi Adam

    I tried several of them, but couldn't stay on any for more than a few days.

    Finally, I got so ill that I started taking the effexor the doctor gave me. Well.....I was in bed literally for 2 weeks and kept calling her and she kept telling me keep taking for the whole 2 weeks.

    Sure enough I got up one day and felt like a new woman. However, it is similar to Cymbalta and did nothing for my sleep. A new doc has put me on a very low dose of Elavil/Amitriptylene to take at night as well and it is helping me a lot with the sleep.

    For someone determined to not take any ADs, I sure have a line up of them, but, they have saved my life.

    Good Luck with whatever you decide, we are all so different and react differently to all the meds.

    Sue in Ontario
  12. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    I wanted to add a bit more.

    Fish oil raises a person's dopamine levels, which is great for depression, but it may take a lot more than the recommended dosage on the bottle to get this effect.

    It's best to work up to larger doses gradually, to give your digestive sytstem time to get used to it. Otherwise, it can give you the runs.

    Have you ever had your testosterone level checked? It may sound bizarre, for a young person, but CFS is known to affect reproductive hormone levels. And surprisingly, those hormones can have a big effect on mood.

  13. cherylsue

    cherylsue Member

    Try Pure Encapsulations brand St. John's Wort available online. Good stuff. Takes the edge off things. However, you shouldn't take it while you are on any anti-depressants. Studies in Germany compared this with Prozac.

  14. shell

    shell New Member

    I think this is normal with CFS. I have tried 3 anti-depressants... one kept me up all night, and the other two well let's just say I had to go off of them after a bit over a month on each one. I am also allergic to another kind of medication that i took before CFS with no problem. Now my hands fall asleep for weeks!! I really want to try another anti-depressant - hoping it will help with anxiety... but I haven't got the courage up to try again yet.

    Good luck - post if you find one that doesn't have too many effects maybe it will work for the rest of us!!
  15. nodiagnosis

    nodiagnosis New Member

    They are touted as necessary by all physicians who reall have no idea how many of us can not tolerate the smallest dose of most drugs-tylenol/paracetomol taken in the afternoon keeps me up all night!
    amm feeling really down these days that I contemplate trying an ssri.I had hair loss,weight gain,rapid heart rate,constipation and crocodile skin on Amytriptylin although I really felt great and almost symptom free for seven months,I can not stand the side effects It is safer to use the supplements

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