Discussion in 'General Health & Wellness' started by Louisa, Aug 3, 2002.

  1. Louisa

    Louisa New Member

    Hi there.
    I have a serious question to ask of you all. Has anyone here ever had ECT? My doctor (psychiatrist) recommended it for me a couple of days ago-- yet again, for my depression. I have been on so many depression medicines over the past three years; at least 20 (seriously). I'm sure that's why she "pulled that folder out of her desk, yet, once again"....
    Well, here I am lost as ever, trying to make a decision greater than trying to change out of my pajamas before my husband gets home from work. If anyone here has had this treatment, or has an opinion on the treatment, I'd be quite receptive to hear it. I'd gone to a "mental health chat room" earlier and the people there were so flipant and perhaps over-dramatic about it. So far, I've only read horror stories about memory loss, etc.
    Any help is appreciated from my desperate heart.

  2. Holly_RN

    Holly_RN New Member

    Hi Louisa,
    I am a Psych Nurse, and have been one for 20 years. While I too struggle with depression, I have never had ECT's. I know that people are very afraid of them. I can only speak to you personally, on what I have seen in my practice.
    While medication (and there are so many new things out there to try)is something we always try first, I have seen ECT's do wonderful things. While there are those who have bad experiences with them, there are just as many, who have good ones. Of the ones I have treated, I would have to say 85-90% of the patients we have treated with ECT, have benifited. Are there side effects? Yes there are. But there are also tons of side effects from medicaiton, as I'm sure you know. Often, if a patient is very sensitive to meds, or can't take them for whatever reason, ECT is a good alternative.
    Be very open about your concerns with your physician. I'm sure she/he may be able to relieve your fears.
    I read the post about the medication Protriptyline/Vivactil. As you can see, it also has numerous side effects. Actually, it is a very old medicaiton, that was in use when I started nursing 20 years ago. That is also something to consider. Some of these older meds help too, but often have more side effects.
    Ect's may or maynot trigger a flare with your Fibro. It may increase the brain fog. I don't know. I think that you may find that much of what you are experiencing isn't so much brain fog as it is depression. Once that has lifted, you might just feel a whole lot better. Keep your options open, and don't disregard ECT's just because they have such a bad rap. They DO work, and it is done in an extremely humane way. (Under anesthesia) I have assisted with them, so I know. :0)
    With Friendship,
    Tricyclic Antidepressants

    Protriptyline (Vivactil)

    Protriptyline is used to treat:


    Bipolar Disorder

    How it works:

    Protriptyline works by restoring certain neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and serotonin, to normal levels, thereby relieving the symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder.

    Possible side effects of Protriptyline:

    The following list may not contain all of the side effects associated with this medication:

    Most common side effects rash, hives, swelling of face or tongue, weight gain
    Infrequent side effects anxiety/nervousness, blurry vision, diarrhea, headache, insomnia, nausea, sexual difficulties, tremors, weakness
    Rare side effects/Risks Confusion, aggravation of paranoid psychoses and schizophrenia, seizures, bone marrow, depression, irregular heart rhythm, delusions, hallucinations

    Before taking this medication, consult your doctor:

    If you will have surgery within 2 month, including dental surgery, using general anesthesia.
    If you have an enlarged prostate or glaucoma.
    If you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
    If you have stomach or intestinal problems.
    If you have asthma, history of seizures, hyperthyroidism, or urinary retention.
    If you have liver disease.

    Possible drug interactions:

    Remember, always follow your physician's recommendations on how to take your medication. Also, if you are taking any herbal remedies, vitamins, and/or over-the-counter medications, be sure to tell your physician. The following section offers some, but not necessarily all, of the possible drug interactions.

    Do NOT take Protriptyline if you are taking MAO Inhibitors or have taken a MAO Inhibitor in the past 14 days; serious, even fatal, interactions can occur when these medications are taken together.

    Protriptyline may increase the effects of:

    Atropinelike drugs
    Epinephrine (Adrenalin)
    Phenytoin (Dilantin)

    Protriptyline may decrease the effects of:

    Clonidine (Catapres)
    Guanethidine (Ismelin)
    Carbamazepine (Tegretol) may increase risk of toxicity and decrease the effects of Protriptyline when taken together. Venlafaxine (Effexor) may result in drug toxicity when taken with Protriptyline.

    Disulfiram (Antabuse) may cause acute dementia: confusion, disorientation, and hallucinations.

    Thyroid medications may impair heart rhythm and function.

    Tramadol (Ultram) may increase seizure risk.

    Warfarin (Coumadin) may increase the anticoagulation effects of the drug when taken with Protriptyline.

    The following drugs increase the effects of Protriptyline:

    Cimetidine (Tagamet)
    Conjugated Estrogens (Premarin)
    Fluoxetine (Prozac)
    Methylphendiate (Ritalin)
    Birth Control Pills
    Quinidine (Quinaglute)
    Ranitidine (Zantac)
    Sertraline (Zoloft)

    AVOID Alcohol completely; Protriptyline can significantly increase the intoxicating effects of alcohol and accentuate its depressant effects on brain functioning. Smoking may hasten the elimination of Protriptyline from the body. Marijuana increases the heart rate when taken with Protriptyline more than either drug alone.


    Symptoms of Protriptyline overdose include: hallucinations, urinary retention, agitation, confusion, drowsiness, seizures, and low blood pressure.
    If you think you may have taken an overdose of Protriptyline, go to the emergency room or seek other medical attention immediately!


    Keep this drug in a cool dry area away from extreme heat or moisture.

    Other important information:

    If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the potential risks of this or any medication with your doctor.

    This medication may cause photosensitivity and may also inhibit sweating and impair the body's adaptation to hot environments, increasing the rate of heatstroke. Saunas and other hot environments should be avoided.

    Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous tasks. Protriptyline may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Therefore, avoid alcohol when taking this medication due to increased effects of sedation.

    There may be withdrawal side effects if Protriptyline is stopped abruptly after long-term use, thus discontinuation of this drug should occur gradually.


    Keep this and all other medications out of the reach of children
    Never share your medications with others
    Only use this medication as your doctor has prescribed


    Arky, R. M.D. (1998). Physicians' Desk Reference. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Data Production Company.
    Cahill, M. ed. (1997). Nursing 97 Drug Handbook.Springhouse, PA: Springhouse Corporation.
    Rybacki, J. & Long, J. (1998). The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs. New York, NY: HarperPerennial.
    Sifton, D. W. (1997). The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

  3. Kim

    Kim New Member

    I had ECT and it worked! I have since relapsed but I went for two years nearly depression free. I had some short-term memory problems but my concentration improved dramatically and my brain fog left!!!!! The brain fog was from the depression, not CF.
  4. annabanana

    annabanana New Member

    5 HTP is a safe, natural anti depressant,that works to cure depression, unlike all those countless chemical meds with their damaging side efects. Hold off on the ECT's - which did nothing beneficial for my brother in law and mother in law - at least until you read the book 5 HTP by Micheal Murray.
  5. J.K.

    J.K. New Member

    I realize this is a late reply & you may have already made your decision, but I had ECT's & wanted to share my experience. I think they did help briefly for sleep & for general improvement to the point where my doctor thought I would soon be able to go back to work. That didn't happen, though. I had considerable short-term memory loss which made it difficult to even handle my bills & I have never regained all of my memory. The improvement was short-lived, so for me it was not a useful treatment. I think there are better ways to handle depression. A friend who is a yoga instructor is going to show me some ways to handle it without meds.
    I hope by now you are feeling better & have found some help. I have found relief by taking St. John's Wort.
    Hang in there!

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