How many of you took Psych meds before FMS or CFS?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Ceceliaskye, Jul 17, 2003.

  1. Ceceliaskye

    Ceceliaskye New Member

    Curious to see how many here had taken psych meds before FMS or CFS symptoms started. Whether the symptoms started while still on meds or after discontinuing them. By psych meds I mean: Anti Depressants (ssri's or otherwise), Anti anxiety meds, anti psychotic meds. or any others. I am wondering if there is a correlation. My first FMS symptoms began after attempting to discontinue an anti depressant. That was a few years ago. Every time I would go back on an SSRI the symptoms would get a bit better, but when I attempt to discontinue (tapering or not) the symptoms always get worse. I think these drugs cause more harm than good, and I believe they could very well be responsible for these conditions in the first place. Any thoughts on this?
  2. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    Heres a good article for you to read on SSRI's. As for myself, no I have never taken any SSRI's.

    Shalom, Shirl


    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
  3. shazz

    shazz New Member

    I don't think they caused my problems though.
    For me it was a hysterectomy that did me in with the FM.
    I am sure of it.
    I have tried going back on them since being dx'd but they do not make me feel any better at all, so I quit taking them again.
    I am very wary of them however, I think they are way overprescribed, and will stay away from them at all costs now.
  4. Ceceliaskye

    Ceceliaskye New Member

    Thanks Shirl.. That's an eye opening article. I am going to check out the book. Thanks!!
  5. elaine_p

    elaine_p New Member

    I got sick. Though now I'm not sure exactly when I got sick. I always thought it was July 16, 1997, but now realize that's merely my disability date since I had fatigue the December before that. I started Effexor in July '96, but was on Zoloft and Prozac each for a year before that.

    And prior to October 1996 (when I started drinking filtered water) I was sick every 2 months *for years*--even before the antidepressants.
  6. lovemy3

    lovemy3 New Member

    I actually was coming off Celexa (stupidly cold turkey) and in doing that I began my nightmare. 2 weeks of electric zaps and muscle twitching restless legs etc. I lost 20lbs and my white blood count dropped and my spleen became enlarged. Now 1 year later I have tingly feet with slight neuropathy in both. Back pain and terrible fatigue at times. Recently stomach problems too. I am doing better but not the same as I used to be. I have been tested literally from head to toe and the only thing that I still have is slightly enlarged spleen. I don't know if going off anti dep is what triggered all of this maybe the timing in just coincidental. For myself, I now refuse to take anti depressants and anxiety medicine. It was just such a horrible scary experience I don't want to ever do that again. I truly learned my lesson about weaning off medicine.

  7. MiahRoo

    MiahRoo New Member

    In my teens they started me on Effexor, then Paxil, then Lexapro (sp?). I had/have such severe anxiety that they were pretty helpful but I took myself off of the medication after having so many problems with my doctors assuming I was just depressed and all the pain and other symptoms were in my head.

    The thing that concerns me is that I was on antibiotics every single day, twice a day for 10 years of my childhood. That HAD to mess up my body in a major way. I've been so ill for so long I can't even remember when my first symptoms began. I think about a year after I stopped the antibiotics, which my doctor was very very upset about. Idiot. I haven't had a single problem with the urinary tract infections since I stopped the meds. Anybody else go through the antibiotic game?
  8. Donna39

    Donna39 New Member

    I do not know if there is any connection or not.But I do know that from the very first doctor visit(years ago)till recently,doctors were all too eager to give me a script for xanax,valium and anti-depressants.At first I would try them because I didn't know what was wrong with me.But I was taken these meds(I hated) and was still having the same symptoms,only it was worst now because I had to deal with the side-effects from the meds.I would go back and forth to my DR.,and I would even try new DR's.I would explain that the meds aren't helping,they would write new scripts for stronger ones each time.I knew that I wasn't crazy,afterall its my body and I know when something just ain't right.They just keep preaching its STRESS and ANXIETY!!I knew by now that it wasn't caused by that,so I quit taking all that stuff and believe me it was no fun trying to come off xanax and anti-depressants.I believe they are great meds for people who need them,but I never want to go through that again.Did anyone else go through the same thing at the beginning,when you didn't know what was wrong with you?
    [This Message was Edited on 07/19/2003]
  9. Annie3

    Annie3 New Member

    I had a horrible time with Effexor both while on it and while tapering off. Withdrawal lasted for several months (and may even still be an issue now). The pain and fatigue started a coulpe of weeks after it was supposedly out of my system and have bothered me ever since.
  10. VWright64

    VWright64 New Member

    I was originally treated for depression and they were leaning towards bipolar. I used several different anti-depressants. I finally convinced a doctor to look further after repeatedly stating that the depression came from all the pain and fatigue I was having. When I was referred to a Rhumatologist I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I do not believe the FMS was caused by my previous medications. I do believe FMS and depression may be closely related. My Rhumatologist believes that there is a genetic disposition for both illnesses which run in the same gene. At this point that is just theory but in my family there seems to be both.
  11. bakron

    bakron New Member

    . . . have taken any medications that were psychotropics before having been diagnosed with FM.
  12. Chelz

    Chelz New Member

    Hello! I was on 4 different antidepresants BEFORE being diagnosed with FMS. I had trouble while on them, and the horrible after affects of these drugs after getting off of them. These drugs were given to me by doctors who didn't want to hear my problems, they all thought I was just a depressed female. I still and always will have FMS, unless they come up with a miracle cure, but these drugs didn't do anything for this condition, just made things worse. What a battle. Hugs, Chelz.
  13. mamafurr

    mamafurr New Member

    i do not believe that anti-depressants/psych meds are in anyway responsible for fm

    i started taking paxil AFTER i was diagnosed. the doc put me on them because there is a correlation between the seratonin levels and helping the pain and fm symptoms. also as an extra added benefit, these are "anti" depressants. which i was depressed, due to the fm. i have been on them for years. now take celexa. the only time i had a prob is when i switched from 1 to another, to fast. i felt like i was gonna crawl outta my skin.

    it may be a coincidence that your fm symptoms occured upon discontinuing the anti-depressants. or maybe they were warding off the very symptoms of fm? (that you had all along) maybe the pills are actually helping, especially if you seem to get worse when discontinuing. why would you think these pills are "dangerous"? i had my fm symptoms well before i was ever diagnosed w/fm. that's why i was put on them in the first place. any drug can be dangerous if not used properly. this is the old addage of which came first the chicken or the egg? that is the most important question.

  14. Aeryn

    Aeryn New Member

    I think the difference in answers in this thread and the one on causes points to the difference in means by which this syndrome manifests itself. These are interesting discussions!

    1. I was 10 when I first got sick, so nothing but ice cream and coke slurpees was affecting my brain.

    2. I am wary of the easy acceptance or rejection of these sorts of meds. They help some of us, and they have saved the lives of many mentally ill folks (my husband and many of my family members). But some doctors do hand them out as if they were a panecea, as if they do not have real effects on our bodies. We need doctors who understand the hard trade offs we need to make sometimes. Sometimes you need the big guns, but not all the time.

  15. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    You have expressed my beliefs very articulately and concisely.

    Just look at all the posts from people who were given antidepressants before being diagnosed. Where they diagnosed with bi-polar or clinical depression? Most likely they were diagnosed with nothing and the doc just wanted to write an Rx because he either wanted to do something for them or because he felt they were a bunch of depressed and hysterical people.

    Docs who are not really qualified to write these prescriptions in the first place hand our prescriptions for them as though they were candy. It is easier to do this than to take the time to try to find out what is wrong. Some docs believe there is nothing which can be done for FMS, so they just give out antidepressants to help people with their situational depression from being sick. Giving people relief from their symptoms would go a whole lot further than antidepressants in helping them with this kind of depression.

    My doc believes in relieving pain because he says that constant pain signals in the brain can cause depression. Antidepressants can just mask symptoms.

    I'm not toally against the use of antidepressants, but I do believe they are waaaaaay overprescribed and we have heard a lot of horror stories on this board about them.

    Love, Mikie