Could Beginning Prozac Have Adverse effects?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by joeb7th, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. joeb7th

    joeb7th New Member

    Can Prozac ever make someone react with physical stress inside? Are certain people kind of reactive to this drug this way?

    I've been so much worse since I started taking this.

    I've been taking Prozac for the first time. I started 5 days ago. Starting about the 2nd day my body seems more stressed than ever. Inside and physically I mean.

    I didn't feel anything emotionally except a little heavy headedness.

    But my tendonitis is worse as well as many other weird feelings. Odd pains, just stresses. Everywhere.

    I always have a hard time describing these but I often say it's like some gland or hormone is going totally out of whack.

    It feels like something is circulating through my system and making every feel not-right and stressed.

    Also, I have the worst gas and stools. These are semi-loose and light tan and smell like a "sick" skunk. Not even a healthy one. The smell makes everyone gag including myself.

    I mention this in all innocence. I walk many dogs. You can tell when a dog isn't eating right or is sick. His ir her's stools tell you so much. I've been trying to tell my docs for months that my stools are sick smelling.

    Also my fungus rashes ncrease in redness and itchiness during all of this.

    I have this permanent kind of "pre-shock" feeling. Like these stresses are so straining things inside of me and my body shakes and I feel weak, sweaty and kind of sick all at the same time.

    Also like I am one number away from a total body meltdown.

    Please, do not read nothing but emotional issues into this. I have been through that angle for over 3 years now. Of course their are emotional issues involved, but my big battle for years is to keep doctors who can't pin the physical down then absolving their non-findings with...Oh , it's exaggerated from your anxiety.

    No, my anxiety is exaggerated becuase of these nightmare symptoms...which I never had for 54 years until all this started!
  2. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Here are some side effects:
    Side effects may include:
    Abnormal dreams, abnormal ejaculation, abnormal vision, anxiety, diarrhea, diminished sex drive, dizziness, dry mouth, flu-like symptoms, flushing, gas, headache, impotence, insomnia, itching, loss of appetite, nausea, nervousness, rash, sex-drive changes, sinusitis, sleepiness, sore throat, sweating, tremors, upset stomach, vomiting, weakness, yawning

    listed on

    I'd stop it if I were you. Many people (including myself) cannot tolerate prescription anti-depressants. Read about it and trust your body. Some people do well on it but many don't. It can make some people suicidal. There's a black box warning on the package insert about the use of prozac for children and young adults. I think the warning actually should apply to anyone taking it, to be aware of the potential for increased suicide risk.

    Why did your doctor prescribe it? If it's for depression, there are lots of natural alternatives - fish oil (many people need increased omega 3's and these have a direct effects on your mental health and general physical well-being), 5-htp, sam-e.

    Also, have you tried a naturopath or integrative medicine doctor? They generally will look at everything - your diet, food allergies etc. etc., so many things that regular docs don't. If you have fungus rashes, sounds like candida which should be addressed. All these things should be looked at by someone knowledgable.

    Take care -

  3. joeb7th

    joeb7th New Member

    Yes, I have candida.

    I'll keep taking this prozac ( as scary as these increased symptoms are ) for another week or so. I see my therapist this Tuesday. If I stop this now I believe she will just think I am a non-compliant patient. And I just started with her and I need to see one.

    She thinks I need neurontin as well.

    And she thinks that I dwell too much on my stresses.

    Let me tell you, for the first 54 years of my life I never did. But, I have so many scary stresses that are powerful going on inside of me all at once...I feel I deserve a medal for not going completely whacky with all these.

    As it is I do what I can throughout the day despite these total body symptoms.

    The docs just think my mind is exaggerating them and I keep trying to tell them I am not, that they are just that powerful and effecting. We've gone back and forth for two years with this argument.
  4. SnooZQ

    SnooZQ New Member

    Sorry, JoeB. The standard medical litany is that "this too shall pass." In other words, your body is just making an adjustment to the med. After a while, they say, the side effects go away. Or you don't care about the side effects anymore. Or you are brainwashed into believing it's part of the price you pay for mental health.

    Perhaps you could ask for a lower dose, or to try a different SSRI, if you want to stay w/conventional med.

    It's important to understand that the vast majority of MDs in the USA have primarily Big Pharma fixes in their toolkits.

    If you're interested in an approach that combines alternative med with conventional psychiatry, look into the Amen Clinics (several of them around the country).

    I highly recommend the book, Healing Anxiety and Depression, by Daniel Amen, M.D.

    Best wishes.
    [This Message was Edited on 08/16/2009]
  5. joeb7th

    joeb7th New Member

    I don't know about an adjustment. I could see mental ones...but I am always under physical stress and now it's so bad I feel like running to an ER, which I can't do anymore due to having only one hospital and too many visits there already. They call the psych ward every time I show up.

    I am trying to get out of this area for a "start-over" with EVERYTHING in my GI tract. We have only one GI group here and if one doctor there decides you have or don't have something the others in the group are not going to embarrass their co-doctor by going against what he has found.
  6. isiselixir

    isiselixir New Member

    I think it takes prozac like a month to kick in so to give it a fair trial for the positive effects you might want to wait it out. In the mean time write all your concerns and side effects down and talk to the doc about them. Good luck 2 ya.
  7. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    Is this therapist a psychiatrist or a psychologist or counselor? In other words, is she the one prescribing the meds, or is she just pushing you to listen to a dr who put you on them? Psychiatrists are pretty much just drug pushers these days. Counselors and psychologists SHOULD be getting to know their clients and working with them, not pushing meds on them, unless there is a true crisis situation. Many psychologists and counselors do believe that meds can help and they are trying to help when they recommend them, but if they know that you do not want to take them (or are having a bad reaction from them), they should not be "pushing" them, esp with a new client, whom they cannot possibly know that well yet....and with whom they obviously cannot have tried alternative methods first (methods like therapy - gee there's a thought - a therapist might actually try doing therapy before pushing meds)

    As someone with a background in the field, I would consider this a red flag and time to find a new therapist ( that is, if you have explained to her that you feel way worse on the meds and she still pushes them on you, and/or labels you as non-compliant. That is not the way to establish a good working relationship and it is not going to help you. If you have not explained this to her becasue you are too afraid of her reaction, then you should tell her. Besides you should not be seeing a therapist who you are afraid to share stuff with. That's not going to help either.) It is better to learn this early on and switch to someone else, if you need to, rather than waste time, money, and energy on someone who will not benefit you.

    If she thinks you dwell on your stresses too much, then she should be working with you on ways to help get your mind off them, and ways to cope. There are plenty of good therapeutic techniques that can do this, and if you are having a bad reaction to the meds, you will have a harder time getting anything out of the therapy anyway, bc your mind will not be able to focus on the therapy.

    Some people seem to find that meds help, but many people with ME/CFS and FM find that they make them feel much worse. There has also been research indicating that psych meds can damage the mitochondria (which have been shown to already be working very poorly in people with ME/CSF.....they are what generates energy at the cellular level. ) You know yourself better than anyone, regardless of their profession, and if your body is screaming at you that the meds are not good, then don't keep taking them just to appease someone else. And, it is important to know that the longer you are on SSRI's (and the same thing is true of most of the other psych meds), the harder it is to stop taking that extra week or so could hurt you more than you realize.
  8. dannybex

    dannybex Member

    ...I'm pretty sure it would be safe to just stop it -- BUT I would call the nurse or doc and ask them first.

    Most of us are intolerant to antidepressants, and if not so, then sometimes people have the exact 'aggitated' effects that you're having. That would suggest your body does not want that drug in it's system. And most docs have no clue how to properly treat and run the right tests for CFS so they throw antidepressants at us.

    But still, I'd call the nurse or doc and get their opinion. And maybe even get a second opinion if you need it.

    You'll probably feel a lot better when you stop it. My docs tried about 4-5 different AD's on me and I got worse and worse until I got off of them.

    Just my two cents,

  9. DavidJ.

    DavidJ. New Member

    abnormal ejaculation? what does that mean? sounds scary :)

    however, why dont you just take st.johns wort? its a recognized herbal antidepressant here in germany. i take it, it works and at least there are no side effects like abnormal ejaculation.
    [This Message was Edited on 08/17/2009]
  10. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    It sounds like you need to have a complete workup by a psychiatrist as they know best about ADs. It often takes a while for it to kick in. Psychiatrist do not give therapy anymore but are well trained in psychopharmacology.

    I have worked in the mental health field for decades. I have seen how ADs can really be helpful, myself included. I have also gotten people off of ADs. Unfortunately, a suicide by a student whose mother took him off his AD and went on St. John's Wort. He was severly depressed.

    Will Prozac be the one that helps you the best? I don't know as sometimes it is trial and error before you get the right one.

    ADs saved my life. Literally. Depression/extreme anxiety is a chemical imbalance, it is physical. I don't want to believe that a chemical imbalance can change the way you see the world, but it can. It will also help your pain.

    Prozac was the first AD, around 1989, so they know the effects of using it long term, if needed.

    I would strongly advise you not to take St. John's wort. It has been shown to help only very mild depression and that is all. Just because it is "natural" does not mean it does not have side effects.

    This is your choice. But thought I would put my two cents in. Keep us updated and good luck.


    ETA You should never mix an AD with St. John's Wort.[This Message was Edited on 08/17/2009]
  11. hermitlady

    hermitlady Member

    Since I've been on Prozac for so long, I have had various side effects. It can be a stimulating type effect at first, can cause diarrhea, headache, upset stomach among other things. For me, the majority of side effects went away after the first 2 wks or so.

    Maybe you should have started on a lower dose, Prozac also comes in 10mgs. Less is often better for some folks. I found this out after experiencing horrible side effects from several meds I've tried for FM and depression over the yrs.

    A baby dose is all I need sometimes, drs often don't know this. I always start w the lowest dose possible, and then at least cut it in half. I titrate doses up much more slowly than Joe Normal, it is much easier for my body to adjust that way.

    Maybe you should call your doc and mention how you feel. Prozac has such a long half life that you can actually skip a day here and there without any ill effects. Sometimes I alternate doses up and down every other day when my depr worsens (per drs orders of course). Maybe you need to start on 10mg instead.

    If you feel these physical symptoms, you really should call your dr. That's what they get paid the big buck for! I'm sure they've heard about every side effect imaginable, they want to know!

    I can tell after about 5 days if my change of dose is helping me, I all of a sudden notice that my negative thoughts have lessened and I'm not crying all the time. Prozac has been a life saver, literally, for me.

    The waiting and adjustment periods for ADs is long and difficult to go thru. Hang in there, you may have to try more than one AD before you find the right one for your body.

    Hope you start to feel better, call that doctor!

    xoxoxo Hermit
  12. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    You wrote:
    "It sounds like you need to have a complete workup by a psychiatrist as they know best about ADs. It often takes a while for it to kick in. Psychiatrist do not give therapy anymore but are well trained in psychopharmacology."

    I'm afraid I don't agree. Some Psychiatrists have a specialty in psychopharmacology but some are totally clueless. Some who have a specialty in psychopharmacology are totally clueless. It's a very scary time to be depressed.

    The psychiatrist who prescribed SSRIs for me admitted to knowing virtually nothing about psychoparmacology when we hit SSRI #3. It must be said that I requested we try them for my fatigue - neither of us thought I was depressed, because I wasn't... before SSRIs.

    She then sent me to a friend of hers who was a specialist is psychopharmacology who simply put me on SSRI #4. I continued to spiral into hell with the assistance of the specialists. The strange, atypical, nature of my depression caused them to suspect I had developed bipolar illness and pressure was put on me to take lithium. I left both specialists, took myself, very slowly and with the help of LCFAs, off the SSRI and return to myself - a person who does not suffer from any kind of depressive illness.

    I know you've read my story before but I feel an obligation to tell it when this topic is discussed. I'm sure SSRIs have been a huge help to many depressed people but I'm equally certain that they have done as much damage as they have done good.

    Messing with serotonin is tricky business. If changing available serotonin can completely fix profound clinical depression, it's potent stuff and must be used with caution. I don't get why doctors don't seem to get this! Oh yeah, drug rep.s!

    If it's what you actually need, it seems it can be very helpful. If it's not what you actually need... I think the insulin analogy is helpful here.

    Sorry for all the debate, Joe. Maybe, if you wish to continue on this medication, ask your doc. to explain why he/she feels serotonin is your problem. They should be able to explain which of your symptoms indicate you have a problem with available serotonin and how Prozac functions in the brain to address that specific problem. If they can't, I'd want to speak to someone who could.

    Best of luck to you,
    And to dear Gappers, too,

    ETA Joe, with the gut issues, I hope you've read the post about probiotics and anxiety. Perhaps your psych. is treating anxiety with Prozac. Oym!

    I'll bump it if it's not on the first page.

    [This Message was Edited on 08/17/2009]
  13. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    You make some very good points.

    I was on SSNI, twice, ten years apart, not realizing the second time I was on the same medication and each time became suicidal. Fortunately, the second psychiatrist knew what was happening. The first did not and was a substitute from another hospital as my doctor had moved.

    I have been very lucky that because of my profession I have some inside access as far as which doctors would be a good fit for me.

    I can take SSRI's and I think I have also told this story, and they have given me back a quality of life I did not think I would see again. This was before my DD. Depression runs in my family so I was especially aware of the signs.

    What does this mean? I think we need to research continuously, be our own advocates or have someone advocate for us about our health care. This can be extremely difficult if you are depressed or not feeling well. I always take a list of questions with me and have "interviewed" doctors. Sometimes I have taken a very close friend.

    I remember my psychiatrist said the only problem with me living along is that often the people around you may notice a change in behavior before you do. If you are depressed we sometimes isolate ourselves.

    There are no easy answers nor solutions.

    You added a helpful question about asking the doctor why he/she prescribes a certain medication and what options are available. This will help people who have questions why they are prescribed a certain medication.

    Also Prozac, Zoloft and Lexapro are the ADs that help with anxiety. There may be others which I am not familiar.

    Take care, both of you.


    [This Message was Edited on 08/17/2009]
  14. jasminetee

    jasminetee Member

    I've read that PWC have an excess of Seratonin already and that that's why many of us are intolerant to SSRI.

  15. DavidJ.

    DavidJ. New Member

    yes it helps with moderate depression , i think not severe depression. the german pharmacies sell st.johns wort and its pretty safe, i dont know about internet pharmacies and their sources for the plant.
    however , what really helps with mdd aussiewoman? i have never taken chemical antidepressants. i took 5-htp and it didnt work and tryptophan , but the use of tryptophan is pretty complicated and needs to be combined with sports for best results and thats not possible for cfs patients :(
    [This Message was Edited on 08/18/2009]
  16. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Very illuminating and thoughtful posts.

    I think the very fact that they do work for people suffering from clinical depression should be reason to show caution. If they have, sometimes profound, effects, they will have side effects.

    Anxiety has always been my thing, not depression. I think it's a different chemical or wiring mishap. Personally, I think it's tragic that Alprazolam, the med. that completely freed me from panic disorder, has been pushed aside to make markets for the now more profitable SSRIs and SNRIs.

    Study after study has shown Alprazolam to be a panic "blocker" which, when prescribed appropriately and in conjunction with desensitization, can quickly end the suffering of Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia. Study after study has shown it to not be addictive in this population. Some people experience a return of anxiety when they discontinue the med. In true, biologically based, Panic Disorder, the disorder remains so, of course, the symptoms return if the medication is discontinued.

    It's a little crazy, don't you think, that people are told they may have to take anti-depressants for the rest of their lives but are expected to take anti-anxiety med.s for only a short time. Why do we think serious, chronic anxiety disorders should vanish and depression linger. In fact, some types of clinical depression are self limiting and people will recover in about 3 years. And, some people with anxiety disorders can unlearn their fear response without medication. CBT can be helpful in both instances. Mindfulness also is a profoundly healing practice. Nevertheless, people with MDD and/or classic Panic Disorder usually benefit from some help from medication either for a short while or a long while.

    Before the advent of SSRIs - the fuse that lit the profit explosion for Big Pharma - benzo.s were very widely used for a very long time. If all the scare mongering were true, NA and Europe should be teeming with Benzo addicts. It stands to reason that any effective downer (alcohol, for instance) will be a problem for some people. And, people abusing stimulants are going to want effective downers so benzo.s are going to have a street value. (Alprazolam, for instance, only became the demon drug when Big Pharma grew a bigger GDP than Sub Saharan Africa courtesy of SSRIs.)

    People beginning treatment with SSRIs are told about the almost instantanious addictive nature of this class of med. But, for some reason, it's ok that it's so brutally difficult for almost everyone to discontinue SSRIs while it's a terrible problem that some people have to wean off, in precicely the same way, benzo.s. I just don't get it.

    Had I not had the dreadful experience I had on SSRIs I would not know the horror of serious depression. SSRIs gave me that experience and I am profoundly grateful that I could end it by ending the drugs and not by ending my life which I was sorely tempted to do. I now have enormous empathy for those who suffer from serious depression and I am so very glad that there are effective medications to treat this dreadful illness.

    I wish people could continue to be treated with effective drugs that are working well for them even when more profitable drugs come down the pipe. I wish Big Pharma would stop making "me too" drugs that are, basically, the same old/same old with one tiny, often insignificant, chemical alteration but very significant patent protection. I wish Big Pharma would stop pushing the most profitable drugs for every single condition there is! I wish Big Pharma would do more research on new antibiotics but they don't because drugs that people take for only 10 days are never as profitable as drugs they can be put on for years if not life.

    I'm sorry that I tend to let rip on this topic but this episode in my life was very nearly fatal and it's no secret that it has been fatal for some others.

    Tee, is there a reasonable way to test serotonin? If so, can you please share how it's done. It would make such a big difference. I'm sure I have enough serotonin and would not be surprised to find that I had an overabundance.

    I really wish that, at the end of the day, it was really about alleviating human suffering and not about money.

    Ok, I'll be good now.

    Peace and good mental health to all!
  17. SnooZQ

    SnooZQ New Member

    Lesperance F et al. The efficacy of eicosapentaenoic acid for major depression: Results of the OMEGA-3D trial. 9th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry: Abstract FC-25-005. Presented July 1, 2009.

    This study found EPA fish oil, at 1,050 mg/day, to be QUITE effective for MDD (major depressive disorder). It was found to be less effective for anxiety with depression.

    IME it's important to note that the "fish oil" used in the study wasn't just any old generic fish oil. It's the purified EPA fraction that seems most beneficial to mood issues.

    For an excellent overview on the importance of Omega 3 fatty acids in mental health, please see: Essential fatty acids and the brain M Haag - Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 2003

    Best wishes.
    [This Message was Edited on 08/18/2009]
  18. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I found LCFA (Omega 3) very helpful in getting off the SSRI. I titrated up on oil while titrating down on the drug and it worked beautifully. Later, I helped a friend do the same - with the blessings of his doc. who had been unable to get him off Paxil.

    The oil used in both case was specific brand name mixture of plant oils which I have found an extremely helpful substance.

    Given that the brain is, what, 80%, give or take, structural fat, it makes sense. I love it when things make sense.

    I would be very wary of taking recommended daily Omega 3 fatty acids while on an SSRI, however.

    Peace out,
  19. SnooZQ

    SnooZQ New Member

    I'm glad the LCFA helped you. It's been very useful in our family as well -- MUCH better than SSRIs.

    I think you're correct about the structure of the brain. Wish I could redo my pregs & give my kids better brains! I was so in the dark ...

    We do have a few family members who bleed easily. Their tolerable dose of any type of fish oil seems to be under 100 mg/day. They do have a genetic coag glitch, & to be fair, they even have to take care when eating salmon & steelhead fish.

    I haven't seen much research about SSRIs combined with fish oil. IME, the fish oil makes the brain generally quite sensitive to meds. I have seen a few studies of bipolar 1 individuals given high dose (8 - 10 gm/day) EPA fish oil along with a mood stabilizer, with good results & in many cases reduction of the stabilizer, in a few cases. I've also seen research suggesting that fish oil can predispose some people to hypomania. IMO the combinations aren't something to toy with on one's own, without knowledgeable medical supervision.

    Best wishes.
  20. joeb7th

    joeb7th New Member

    Thank you all for giving so much of your thoughtful time, experience and knowledge.

    Your caring and generosity is priceless.

    There is so much to absorb. You just take it in and try to file it and sort it out.

    The fish oil sounds promising, esp. the EPA one.

    I was not only hurting and agitated on this prozac, I felt extremely sick with it too.

    Not so much a stomach nausea ( although my appetite was gone ) but more like something was cursing through my body and making my entire body feel sick.

    Sweats too.

    So many times doctors try to describe how "you" feel when you mention the symptoms like the ones I have. They almost always use the words "feeling crappy."

    They want you to say this is how you feel.

    I always tell them " I know what 'crappy' feels like, and this is 'not' crappy."

    This is way beyond crappy!

    Everybody has felt "crappy" during their life. Like not sleeping and being under the weather.

    No, No, NO! This sick feeling I feel is WAY BEYOND crappy. It is so much more consuming and suffering and potent feeling. I say it feels almost like I have been poisoned with some bad food or something.

    So bad feeling at times you get a shutter of fear. Like your body is sending SOS feelings to your brain!

    Signals that are telling you this is much MUCH worse than feeling crappy. Something is wrong inside here...that is what these signals to your brain say.

    Saying what you feel is simply feeling "crappy" is an unethical injustice downplaying of your symptoms in my mind.

    I quit taking the prozac a day and a half ago. I have no idea if prozac made me feel so bad but today I am 25% better.

    I still have tremendous anxiety and still feel wiped out and my back is so tense and inbetwen my shoulders feels like a pinched nerve that drives my nuts.

    But I have had X'Rays back there and outside of a few normal degenerate disk movements, the ortho says it shouldn't cause me to feel stress back there. Again, who knows? So much of all this is just beyond understanding and words.

    But thanks again senders. You are the best and so appreciated. JB