Antidepressants or not for Fibro?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by fibrobutterfly, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. I listened to my dr. who suggested antidepressants for fibro due to the low seratonin we have. BUT I am wondering if this is a mistake. How many take it FOR FIBRO, not for depression otherwise?
  2. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    I take Elavil. I was doubtful when the dr. first suggested it. But I have found that it helps with my sleep, just as he said it would.

    It did take some time to find the right dose, but instead of waking up every 45 min. and wandering the house trying to find a comfortable place to rest(as I was at the worst time) I'm now only waking once or twice during the night and am usually able to go right back to sleep.

    A huge improvement. And I haven't found any "anti-depressant" qualities to it at the dose I'm using (and I wasn't depressed to begin with!), although I have experienced the dreaded weight-gain side-effect.

    Best wishes,

    [This Message was Edited on 10/14/2005]
  3. jbennett2

    jbennett2 New Member

    I take an elavil/librium combination. I could never sleep at night without this drug. It has also helped to calm the tingles.
  4. cjsmommy

    cjsmommy New Member

    My dr. has prescribed Nortriptylene which is a "old" antidepressant (meaning not one of the SSRI's like Celexa or Paxil) for pain. I was taking Elavil intially after being diagnosed but it made me so sleepy I wouldn't be able to get going until 4pm. I had relatively little pain while on it though. With the Nortriptylene I still have some pain, but its very manageable most of the time. I also find that it and the Klonopin (.5mg total a day, sometimes more if I need it..I take it half a pill at a time in the morning and evening) REALLY helps me with my irritability issues. I say give it a shot..if it doesn't work then you move on. All I know I now have some sort of quality of life because I take it when before I could barely get off the sofa or out of bed to care for my son.
  5. ellie5320

    ellie5320 New Member

    I am on amitrypataline not for depression as I am not, frustrated yes my dr said it helps the muscles to relax (sure it does----not ) and to help me sleep that is also debatable I am unsue whether to take them or not as my pain at nite is so bad I cannot even pull the doona up again ( hot flushes )after I throw it off
  6. elsa

    elsa New Member

    Alot of CFS and Fibro patients take AD's to treat their fibro symptoms and not for treating depression.

    They are usually rx'ed SSRI's or Tricyclic AD's. The theory is that the neurotransmitter serotonin has a positive effect on pain and relaxation/sleep. These two types of AD's effect the re-uptake of serotonin ... It's the doctor's hope that with that action the patient will feel better.

    There are alot of side effects that are associated with SSRI's and TriAD's. Elavil is very commonly rx'ed and one of it's nasty little side effect is weight gain. They both have sexual side effects and can add to the day time "sleepies".

    Of 'course, like all drugs that we CFS/FM'ers take, what causes a side effect for one won't necessarily cause that same side effect for another. We are a unique group of patients that way.

    I don't take AD's for CFS/FM. I have had AD-happy OB/GYN's in the past that really pushed AD's for PMS. ..And like a good little patient, I tried everyone they shoved my way. LOL ... Didn't want to appear uncooperative. I have learned to say "NO". LOL I cannot stand the side effects of them.

    On the other hand, I have seen people get much, much better in regards to depression while taking AD's. These drugs definately have their place.

    If you want to raise serotonin levels in general to fight fibro pain , then you can take 5-HTP and get the job done without side effects.

    5-HTP taken at bedtime is also very effective for helping CFS/FM patients with sleep. The dose for this is generally 100mgs on an empty stomach.

    5-HTP is an amino acid that leads to production of serotonin. It has been studied repeatedly and been found to be just as effective in treating depression as SSRI's are. Germany, among other countries, rx'es 5-HTP for this purpose. Dose for depression is 100mgs 3xd .. with the patient building up to that amount. Most people take 100mgs 2xd for treatment of CFS/FM.

    I used it a while back for sleep, but have since found that it isn't a good idea for my particular sleep disorder, so I stopped. It was absolutely great in fighting fibro headaches.

    I hope this helps. I am not against rx medication ... HA! Far from it. I just don't like how AD's effect me. I also have my doubts as to why doctors grab the AD's right off in treating CFS/FM.

    I mean, there are plenty of medications that were created specifically for sleep and pain. Why don't the doctors use those? It bothers me ... LOL

    Take care,


  7. maripat

    maripat New Member

    I am taking 20mg of Prozac a day for Fibro. When I took Prozac for depression (prior to fibro) my dose was 40mg per day.
  8. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    I was on Celexa, and it worked fabulously to help me sleep and also helped pain levels that were caused by lack of sleep. However, I began having unrelenting migraine and the doctor changed me to Cymbalta. That really has stopped the migraines! I also take Neurontin and Ultracet. The regimen has been a Godsend for me. I recommend whatever helps. I doubt that I would be able to work if it weren't for the three medications that I take specifically for the FMS.

    Hope this helps you.

    Warm wishes, Jeannette
  9. RENA0909

    RENA0909 New Member

    When my doc first suggested ADs I was angry.
    I thought he was nuts cos I was not depressed I was in severe pain.But in the end I gave in cos there was nothing working to help me through my life and I even thought of suicide one time!

    I am ok on them and I feel better with my moods (which could be horrendous at times due to pain).
    I have noticed that if I run out of them my mood changes very quickly and the pain comes on fast!
    So I have resigned myself to staying on them cos I could not live any kind of life without them now.
    I feel like they keep me on an even keel.

    Happy Days to you all.

  10. nataliedawn

    nataliedawn New Member

    i am taking amitriptyline for fibromyalgia, i have just increased from 10mg to 20mg per day, as my pain is increasing. i have a list of herbal etc tablets and remidies supposed to help fibromyalgia,from research and books i've read up on FM. I'm working my way through the list, but not sure if its doing more harm than good!
  11. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I only take two drops of Doxepin Elixir and it is working well with the Klonopin to help me get good sleep. Doxepin is a tricyclic AD. The first med my old doc put me on was Elavil and I gained 20 pounds almost overnight. I stopped taking it. He gave me Flexeril, which is a muscle relaxant in the same family as Elavil, and I again gained weight.

    Dr. Cheney has written an article on SSRI's, SNRI's, and stimulants. He believes they increase the seizure activity in our brains and, therefore, should not be used to treat FMS/CFIDS. Of course, treating depression is a different situation. It is the slight state of seizure that many of us have which can cause RLS, sensory overload, muscle spasms, tinnitus, racing brain, and anxiety/panic attacks. Seizure activity is an overlap symptom which affects both FMS and CFIDS. He prefers using Klonopin to stop the seizure activity. Prolonged exposure to the seizure activity can cause premature death of neurons in the brain, according to Cheney.

    I'll go get his article from the Library here.

    Love, Mikie

    Paul Cheney, M.D., on SSRIs and Stimulants for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Frying the Brain?


    By Carol Sieverling
    Editor’s Note: This information is based on tapes of Carol Sieverling’s October 2000 patient visit with Dr. Cheney. He gave permission to share this information, but has not reviewed or edited it.

    Dr. Cheney recently came across some information regarding the dangers of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil, and stimulants like Ritalin and Provigil. During office visits, Dr. Cheney shows patients the book Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Other Antidepressants by Joseph Glenmullen, M.D., a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School. It includes endorsements from other Ivy League psychiatrists. Cheney calls the implications of this book "staggering."

    When talking with patients, Cheney usually opens the book to a picture of a monkey's brain before and after it received a very potent SSRI. The "before" photo shows a dark background filled with fine white lines and white blobs, healthy neurons. The "after" photo is very dark, only a few white lines and blobs remain. Most of the brain cells had been "fried."

    SSRIs and stimulants work by increasing the firing of neurons. While this often has great benefits in the short term, doctors are now realizing that long term use "fries" brain cells. The body views any neuron that fires excessively over time as damaged, and destroys it.

    SSRIs and stimulants, taken over a period of 10 years or so, can lead to a loss of brain cells, causing neurodegenerative disorders. Many doctors have recently seen a sudden increase in patients with neurological symptoms, and most have been on Prozac, or a similar drug, for about 10 years. Cheney is seeing this in his own practice.

    During office visits, Cheney also shows patients a copy of the May 22, 2000 issue of Newsweek with Michael J. Fox on the cover. It has an excellent article on Parkinson's Disease, a condition that involves a loss of neurons in the area associated with motor control. Parkinson's drugs stimulate the remaining neurons to "perform heroically," firing excessively. However, the article notes that while benefits are seen initially, neurological symptoms get much worse at the three to five-year point. Patients experience wild involuntary movements, etc. These drugs, though helpful in the short term, actually speed up the degenerative process.

    What mechanisms are at work causing neurons to be "fried?" SSRIs are often prescribed for depression, which involves a lack of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a chemical messenger. One neuron releases a burst of it into the intersynaptic cleft, (the gap between neurons). The serotonin is then taken up by special receptors in the adjacent neuron. Thus a message is sent from one neuron to another, with serotonin carrying the message across the gap. Excess serotonin is cleared away before a new message is sent. A "reuptake channel" in one neuron vacuums up the left over serotonin.

    SSRIs are designed to address a lack of serotonin by blocking the reuptake channel from vacuuming up excess serotonin. While this allows more serotonin to connect with the receptors, often too much is left floating in the intersynaptic cleft. The only way the body can get rid of this excess serotonin is to oxidize it. Unfortunately, this turns it into a toxic compound that, over time, kills both the sending and receiving neurons.

    Cheney stated, "What starts out as an attempt to increase serotonin and reduce symptoms ends up with the destruction of the serotonergic system itself. It takes about a decade, more in some, less in others.

    Now when the serotonergic nerves are dead, you start getting these motor neuron problems, which is what we're seeing." Cheney commented, "You know what a lot of doctors (who do not understand CFIDS) are doing? They're saying 'Well, let's just give them an antidepressant'. And they are frying their (patients') brains and they don't even know it. In fact, a CFIDS patient on one of these drugs fries their brain even faster than a non-CFIDS person." (See the article on Klonopin for an explanation.)

    Cheney went on to say, "The other way some people with CFIDS are going is stimulating the brain, using drugs like Ritalin or Provigil. They do the same thing - they fry the brain. They cause neurons to fire at lower stimulus by lowering the firing threshold. All stimulants are dangerous, especially over the long haul. I'm not saying that you might not find them useful in the short-term. But over the long term, the physiology demands that neurons that fire excessively be killed."

    Cheney strongly urges anyone taking antidepressants or stimulants to read Glenmullen's book, which lists safe alternatives to SSRIs.

    © 2002 Carol Sieverling. Reprinted with permission.

    Related Cheney Article:
    Dr. Paul Cheney Discusses the Benefits of Klonopin

    [This Message was Edited on 10/15/2005]
  12. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Dr. Paul Cheney Discusses the Benefits of Klonopin
    by Carol Sieverling


    Editor’s Note: The following is based on a recent interview conducted by Carol Sieverling with Dr. Paul R. Cheney, M.D., Ph.D., and the article "CFIDS Treatment: The Cheney Clinic’s Strategic Approach" (CFIDS Chronicle, Spring 1995). Dr. Cheney gave permission to share this information, but has not reviewed or edited it.

    Many CFIDS specialists prescribe the drug Klonopin. In the October 1999 issue of The Fibromyalgia Network, nine CFS/FM specialists summarized their most effective treatments, and six included Klonopin. Interestingly, the three who did not are primarily FM specialists.

    Dr. Cheney prescribes Klonopin to address a condition associated with CFIDS called "excitatory neurotoxicity." To explain this condition to patients, he draws a line with "seizure" on the far left and "coma" on the far right. A big dot in the middle represents where healthy people are when awake. A dot somewhat to the right of the middle indicates where healthy people are when asleep – slightly shifted toward coma. He highlights in red the left portion of the line, from seizure to the middle, and labels it "Neurotoxic State" (damaging to the brain). He highlights in blue the right portion of the line, from coma to the middle, and labels it "Healing State."

    In CFIDS, an ongoing injury to the brain shifts patients toward seizure. A dot to the left of the middle, marked "injury," represents the position of CFIDS patients. This puts us in the red "Neurotoxic" zone. When we shift toward seizure, we often experience "sensory overload." It’s as if our brain’s "radar" is too sensitive. Our neurons (nerve cells) are sensing stimuli and firing when they should not. This causes amplification of sensory input. Light, noise, motion and pain are all magnified. At the beginning of their illness, many patients report feeling exhausted, yet also strangely "wired." The "wired" feeling is the slight shift towards seizure that occurs as a result of the excitatory neurotoxicity.

    Cheney frequently uses the term "threshold potential" when discussing excitatory neurotoxicity. (Think of the threshold - bottom - of a doorway. The lower it is, the more accessible it is. When it is at floor level, everything can enter. When it is raised, access is restricted to taller people. If it is too high, no one can enter.) Threshold potential refers to how much stimulus it takes to make neurons fire. If the threshold potential is too low, even slight stimulation is "allowed to enter" and is detected by the neurons. This causes the neurons to fire, resulting in sensory overload. If the threshold is dropped to nothing, all stimuli get through and the neurons fire continuously, resulting in a seizure. If the threshold is raised, only stronger stimuli can make neurons fire. A healthy person’s threshold potential naturally rises at bedtime, promoting sleep. If the threshold potential is too high, you feel drugged or drowsy. If the threshold potential is raised extremely high, coma results.

    Two receptors in the brain, NMDA and GABA, determine the threshold potential. During the waking hours of a healthy person, NMDA and GABA should be equally active. This balances the person in the middle of the seizure/coma continuum. NMDA stimulates, and GABA inhibits. If NMDA increases, one moves toward seizure. If GABA increases, one moves toward coma.

    In CFIDS, NMDA is more activated than GABA, lowering the threshold potential. This causes neurons to fire with very little stimulation, resulting in sensory overload. This condition of excitatory neurotoxicity is dangerous. Dr. Cheney emphasizes that in an attempt to protect itself, the body will eventually kill neurons that fire excessively. He states that brain cell loss can result if this condition isn’t addressed.

    How can the brain be protected against excitatory neurotoxicity? Klonopin. This long acting benzodiazepine has been Dr. Cheney’s most effective drug for CFIDS over the years. He believes that Klonopin and the supplement magnesium may be two of the most important treatments for CFIDS patients because of their neuroprotective qualities. He recommends two or more 0.5 mg tablets of Klonopin at night. Paradoxically, very small doses (usually a quarter to a half a tablet) in the morning and mid-afternoon improve cognitive function and energy. If the daytime dose is low enough, you’ll experience greater clarity and think better. If the daytime dose is too high, you’ll become drowsy. Adjust your dose for maximum benefit, taking as much as possible without drowsiness. Adjust the morning dose first, then take the same amount mid-afternoon if needed, then take three to four times the morning dose at bedtime. Dr. Cheney recommends doubling the dose during severe relapses.

    Dr. Cheney most frequently prescribes the combination of Klonopin and Doxepin, along with the supplement "Magnesium Glycinate Forte." Magnesium Glycinate alone is a good choice for the more budget minded( sells it as "Magnesium Plus".) A common dosage of magnesium is 200 mgs at bedtime. Too much magnesium can cause diarrhea, though glycinate is usually the best tolerated form.

    Cheney prescribes Doxepin in the form of a commercial elixir (10mg/ml). At low doses, this tricyclic antidepressant acts as a very potent antihistamine and immune modulator. Doxepin acts synergistically with Klonopin to assist sleep, and may improve pain. Patients tend to be very sensitive to Doxepin, which can cause morning fog and fatigue if the dose is too high (5 to 10 mg or higher). He recommends starting at two drops a night and gradually increasing the dose until "morning fog" becomes a problem. Most patients can’t tolerate more than half a cc.

    On a handout entitled "Neuroprotection via Threshold Potentials," Cheney lists six substances that can protect the brain. Under the category "NMDA Blockers" Cheney lists:

    1. Parenteral magnesium and taurine (intramuscular injections of magnesium and taurine, usually given with procaine) 2. Histamine blockers (Doxepin Elixir) Under the category "GABA Agonists" (increases GABA) Cheney lists: 3. Klonopin 4. Neurontin 5. Kava Kava 6. Valerian Root

    Klonopin is taken "day and night"; Neurontin "night, or day and night"; kava kava “daytime only”; and valerian “nighttime only.” The first four are by prescription, the last two are herbs. In my limited experience, only certain patients are put on magnesium/taurine injections, and then only for a limited period before switching to oral supplements.

    Many myths abound concerning Klonopin. When asked about these myths, Dr. Cheney shared the following information.


    When the generic Clonazepam came on the market, many patients switched to it because it was less expensive than Klonopin. Cheney then began hearing that most patients had to take more Clonazepam to get the same effect. Generics aren’t exactly identical to the original products, and with most drugs the slight variations don’t matter. However, most CFIDS patients can tell the difference between Klonopin and its generic form, Clonazepam. Most find Klonopin to be more effective.


    Dr. Cheney was adamant that Klonopin is not addictive. In treating thousands of patients, he has never seen a patient become addicted to Klonopin. He reviewed the definition of addiction, stating that it involves: (1) psychosocial disruption, (2) accelerated use, (3) inappropriate use, and (4) drug seeking behavior.

    Dr. Cheney said a case might be made that Klonopin is habituating. It’s true that it can’t be stopped suddenly. You must taper off of it gradually. However, he was cautious about even calling it habituating. The process of tapering off a drug is not the same thing as withdrawal, a term that implies addiction.

    Dr. Cheney said to keep in mind that Klonopin is given for a physiological problem – excitatory neurotoxicity. It’s prescribed to adjust the threshold potential: to keep neurons from firing inappropriately and being destroyed. He stressed that Klonopin should never be given unless you intend to raise the threshold potential. He stated, "Problems arise when you begin to use benzodiazapines for reasons other than threshold manipulation." However, CFIDS patients have a "threshold potential aberration" and need Klonopin (or something similar) to avoid brain injury. Dr. Cheney has never seen a recovered patient have difficulty coming off Klonopin. He stated, "When you no longer need the drug, coming off it is very easy."

    On the other hand, trouble arises when someone who still has an injured brain tries to come off Klonopin. It’s like a thyroid patient stopping their thyroid medication. Dr. Cheney warned, "All hell breaks loose". However, it’s not because the drug is addicting, and it’s not withdrawal. The condition still exists, and the body lets you know it has a legitimate physical need for the drug. Cheney stated, "When a CFIDS patient who is still experiencing the underlying mechanisms of brain injury goes off Klonopin, there is a burst of excess neural firing and cell death. That’s the havoc we hear about that is mistakenly called withdrawal."


    Dr. Cheney said that he honestly doesn’t understand this concern. He believes Klonopin might disrupt the sleep of people who take it for conditions other than the threshold potential aberration found in CFIDS. He also acknowledged that if you are looking just for drugs to facilitate sleep, Klonopin is certainly not the first one to come to mind, nor should it be used to induce sleep in "ordinary" patients. It’s not a sleep drug per se. However, a large part of the sleep disorder of CFIDS is excitatory neurotoxicity and the resulting shift toward seizure. If you treat this condition with Klonopin, then you have treated a large part of the sleep disorder in CFIDS. Most importantly, he said he simply does not see stage 4 sleep disruption in his patients on Klonopin.

    Towards the end of this discussion on Klonopin, Cheney smiled, and remarked, "But suppose I’m wrong about the brain injury and the threshold potential aberration and the shift toward seizure? What if I’m wrong about your need for Klonopin? I’m absolutely sure I’m right, but what’s the worst case scenario? Do you know what long-term studies on Klonopin have shown? Reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s Disease is a complicated and convoluted way of knocking out your neurons, and Klonopin protects your neurons. Now it’s believed that Klonopin didn’t actually stop Alzheimer’s. It just delayed its onset so long that everyone died of something else before they ever got it - which is to say you won’t get Alzheimer’s. You’ll die of something else first."

    The last question Cheney addressed concerned the dose: what happens if the dose is too high? He said the only down side was that if you took a little too much (we are not talking overdose here) it would shift you toward coma on the continuum. It would shut your brain down to some degree, and thus impact your ability to function. This is inconvenient, but it’s not harmful. In fact, it shifts you into the "healing state" on the continuum. You may feel like a zombie, but your brain is protected and your neurons are not getting fried. However, not being able to function isn’t an option for most of us, so we need to find the maximum dose that doesn’t make us drowsy.

    Dr. Cheney emphasized that Klonopin, Doxepin, and magnesium are very, very good at protecting the brain from cell death due to excess firing. However, they can’t stop the underlying mechanisms of CFIDS that are injuring the brain in the first place.

    Though it can’t stop the underlying mechanisms causing the injury, Klonopin can protect your brain and keep your neurons from being destroyed. Then, as Cheney put it, "When you come out on the other side of this, you’ll have more of your brain left."

  13. this is what worries me being on effexor xr, a fried brain later on.
  14. hdbubblehead

    hdbubblehead New Member

    i've been on anti's for depression (death of my 2 sister's and my husband)
    and also for chronic pain, and all the other DD's that I have been diagnosed with.

    it your okay about trying anti's, then ask for low dose.
    i take 20mg of celexa now. i don't know if it helps.
    i can't tell any difference cause I have chronic pain and
    i take methadone for that. i am very strange with medications cause I don't respond to the way the effects of most say they will work.
    like right now, I have been awake for over 24 hrs again.
    I go through this times all the time. it's not good for Fibro or fatigue symtoms, wrecks the day too.

    But, anti depressants do help fibro and other.
    the phamplet tells you it's used for whatever your doctor prescribes for: some are to help with siesures, etc.
    i have tried a few....
    (paxil, trazadone(deseryl)again, low doses to try at first and they take awhile to show any help. it has to get into your system. always read the phamplets or talk with pharmacist.
    do not try when alone the first week or two...
    not if ya have small children, unless someone is there with you to help in case you can't "get going" easily.

    I take anti- to help with both reasons.
    also, I like Ambien for sleep. I dont wake up stoned.
    and usually sleep nicely without nightmares.

    PS. (don't try sinaquin)I was awake for days and told to "hang in there" it takes awhile to get into system. I nearly ......well, its bad news.

    take care..........
    [This Message was Edited on 10/15/2005]
  15. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    That no one knows what will happen with decades of using drugs which alter brain chemistry and that includes Klonopin. Lately, I've heard docs expressing their concerns on TV about this issue.

    About all we can do is weigh the potential risks and the potential benefits and make our decisions individually. I do consider Klonopin a "heavy hitter" med, but I simply cannot function with a racing brain, anxiety/panic attacks, tinnitus, muscle spasms, sensory overload, and clenching my jaw all night long. I can only hope Cheney is right and that the Klonopin is protecting my brain and will not cause problems in 10 or 20 years. Hmmmmmmm, by then, I may be in "the home" and won't know the difference :)

    Love, Mikie
  16. alot of fibro people are on antidepressants though. If they really think there is a problem than why do they give it to us. If I ask my dr. he will say don't take it if you don't want to DUH!
  17. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I take antidepressants for the fibro. Cymbalta.

    Antidepressants have been proved to help all people who suffer with chronic pain.

    And normally, pain = depression.
  18. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    I have been taking Prozac for FMS since 1996, and am on 20 mg. When I first started it, I was on 10 mg. and I felt better within 6 hours on it. I also take Xanax to help relax my muscles.

    I take a few other meds for other problems, like diabetes, hypothyroidism, high cholesterol, bladder spasms.

  19. auntcon

    auntcon New Member

    what's the difference between a FRIED brain
    and a FIBRO FOG?

    I am very depressed... I have a dd (syndrome)
    My life has changed 180degrees why would I be sad?

    You know!
    Anyway it is scary. Especially taking the new wonder drug Cymbalta. (I am very drowsy but right now haven't slept in over 30 hrs... coffee at the football game last nite)

    AND talk about weight gain YUK

    I'm going to copy/paste your posts and read them when I can think. I'm going to have a sleep study first week in Nov... that might give me a chance to redo some meds.

    THANKS for the info Mikie
    Good post Fibrobutterfly
  20. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    It has been known for a long time that at lower doses, AD's can help with pain although they don't help everyone; nothing helps everyone. Some have had quite bad reactions to AD's.

    The tricyclic AD's were around before all these new SSRI's and SNRI's and docs prescribed them for sleep and pain. Rapid weight gain is one of the side effects.

    If ones reads the patient/doctor info which comes with the SSRI's and SNRI's, it always says that one should tell one's doc if one suffers from seizures. While most of us don't suffer full-blown seizures, we do have seizure activity in our brains. While the SSRI's and SNRI's may make us feel better, they can exacerbate this seizure activity. This usually means having to take something to stop the overfiring of the neurons at night so one can sleep.

    Most docs get their info on drugs from the pharmaceutical reps and the info which the pharmaceutical companies provide. Most of them are unaware that we even may have seizure acitivity in our brains. Most docs sincerely want to help their patients relieve their symptoms. AD's can do this but all meds have side effects. I do not believe we can depend on our docs, who depend on the pharmaceutical companies, to be fully informed. We need to go the extra step and perform due diligence on anything we decide to take. This isn't always easy, especially when something does help us in the short term.

    Dr. Cheney appears to be a very colorful character and he uses some colorful phrases. When he talks about a "fried brain," he is referring to someone who has been on drugs long enough to have had many of their neurons die prematurely. There is great debate over whether neurons can ever regenerate. It was always thought that once a neuron dies, it's a goner. New research is showing this may not be true. The brain can develop new pathways once neurons die to compensate, but if enough of them are dead, it becomes very difficult.

    Fibro Fog and cognitive problems we suffer seem to be a result of the inability of the brain to function but not because of neuron damage. When I started taking Guai, my Fibro Fog almost immediately cleared up. I still have cognitive problems when I am very tired, but there are days when my brain functions just fine. The fog and cognitive problems are transient as opposed to neuron death.

    If Cheney is correct, and he may not be, decades of seizure activity and premature neuron death are a serious problem. Unfortunately, by the time the problem becomes apparent, it may be too late. As we age, the ability of the brain to make new neural connections diminishes although studies in older patients is showing that they can still improve following damage to the brain.

    There is no right or wrong, only opinions. The regimen I have chosen may not be right for someone else. I present Cheney's articles here because he is not the only doc stating concerns about some of these meds. I hope and pray that the new research into our illnesses makes these meds and these discussions moot when a cure is found. I do believe one will be found. In the meantime, all we can do is our best with the knowledge we have.

    Love, Mikie

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