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Avatar universal

Giving up on AD meds...

For some reason, I can't seem to tolerate AD meds.

I've tried Paxil, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Celexa and others, but always seem to suffer with some pretty bad side effects on all of them.

With the Paxil, I had insomnia, really bad night sweats and GI problems.

With the Effexor, I had really bad insomnia, heart palpitations and anxiety.

With the Wellbutrin, I actually got more depressed and even had a "road rage" incident while on it.

And the Celexa reacted badly with my blood pressure meds causing on-going PVC attacks and bouts of a-fib.

So, I've pretty much given up on them at this point.

The doctor also gave me Xanax (PRN), but I have been taking one (1) tablet on a daily basis, and it seems to be helping more than the previously mentioned meds without the side effects (other than some really weird dreams).

The only issue is that my doctor calls Xanax a "high", and doesn't believe it should be taken daily.

However, it has been working for me, so when I go to him this Friday for a follow up on the Paxil, I am going to tell him that I want to be put on Xanax as a daily dose and that I really don't want to be put on the AD meds anymore.
41 Responses
480448 tn?1426948538
No doubt the initial side effects can be a real b*tch!  Like Bubulous has said,,the sleep WILL indeed come.

Please be careful with the Xanax, as it is habit forming.  The best way to take Xanax is either only "as needed" (here and there, not daily) when anxiety is at its worst, or for short term periods of time, a few weeks to a month or less if possible.  The longer you take it every day, you will have to deal with tolerance (where you will need a higher dose to maintain the same level of efficacy), and dependency, where you would experience w/ds if stopped abruptly.

Benzodiazepines are great meds for anxiety, but there are some considerations.  Definitely ask your doc the best way to proceed.  Worst case scenario, if you end uop needing the Xanax until you get used to the Effexor (which is probably a good idea), you'll just have to be slowly tapered off.

Is your doctor a psychiatrist?

Let us know how it's going!
1551327 tn?1514045867
I don't understand.  It is ok for him to warn you that it is abused by a lot of people and that it is addictive but it is prescribed for a reason and if you need to take it everyday, I don't see what the problem is.  Doctors crack me up these days.

That being said it is an addictive drug and you should be careful with it.  It does give people a buzz but for those that it helps, it is not about the buzz.  Advocate for yourself and don't let anyone make you feel like a drug seeker.  Is this a psych dr or a medical dr?
Avatar universal
No need to get cracked up about doctors advice since there is potential for dependence.
From wikipedia "The potential for abuse among those taking it for medical reasons is controversial with some expert reviews stating that the risk is low and similar to that of other benzodiazepine drugs[3] and others stating that there is a substantial risk of abuse and dependence in both patients and non-medical users of alprazolam and that the pharmacological properties of alprazolam, high affinity binding, high potency, having a short elimination half-life as well as a rapid onset of action increase the abuse potential of alprazolam."
Avatar universal
How long did you take each of the medications? Most side effects go away with continued usage.
1551327 tn?1514045867
No worries,

I am an addict myself.  I have seen both sides of it but I have a lot of friends that benefit greatly from it.  Not taking sides that is why I stated the positive and negative.

Anyway, thanks for your concern.

480448 tn?1426948538
Sorry to hear you can't seem to find a med that works for you.

In addition to the info you've already received, let me just say that, for the MOST optimal efficacy, try very hard to ONLY take the Xanax when you really really need it.  Taking it reguarly every day will only be effective for so long, as your tolerance will build, and you will require a higher dose to maintain the same level of effectiveness, and also of course, taking it regularly will lead to physical dependency, where you will have to be carefully weaned off.

"I've tried Paxil, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Celexa and others, but always seem to suffer with some pretty bad side effects on all of them. "

Have you ever tried any other meds, like one of the older tricyclic antidepressants (like Elavil)?  Or a beta blocker (like Inderal)?  I'll be honest, your medication resume includes just about all of the meds that are historically more difficult to tolerate and/or come off of.  Just my opinion, but there are a lot of other meds I would have recommended trying first before those ones.  If you have it in you for one more try, perhaps you could give Zoloft a shot?  It's the most prescribed SSRI antidepressant for anxiety disorders, because it has a great track record of not only being effective, but also easy to tolerate.  Or, like I said, you could try a med in a completely different class.

I'm assuming you've been managing this with a psychiatrist?  If not, I highly recommend doing so.  They are much more knowledgeable about meds than a GP.

Let us know how you're doing, okay?
Avatar universal
How long did you take each of the medications? Most side effects go away with continued usage. If you only tried each of them for a month that is when the side effects are the strongest.
Avatar universal
I was on the Wellbutrin for about a week, stopped taking it after the road rage incident.

I tried Effexor twice, same problem both times. Was on them a few weeks.

Only used the Celexa for a few days as I found out there was an interaction with my HBP med (the doctor never mentioned the interaction either).

And Paxil, the most recent, I gave up on after a few days as I've just grown tired of all of the side effects from the other meds and really wanted to get some sleep and didn't want to wake up every 30 minutes soaked in sweat. Plus the GI problems were really bad as well (cramps, diarrhea). Not something I wanted to deal with for a few weeks to see if they wore off.

Been on Elavil, but that always made me horribly groggy the next day. I was given that to help me sleep, though. Was on Ambien as well. Can't remember if I've tried any of the other tri-cyclics though.

I am already on a beta blocker (metoprolol) for HBP.

And all of this has been from my GP. I haven't seen a psychiatrist. They really aren't much different, though. They just throw meds at you too until something sticks.

However, my other half is seeing a psychiatrist, and he as her on an AD med PLUS three 0.5 mg Klonipin a day (she suffers from severe anxiety and depression). She's been on 1.5 mg of Klonipin for some time and hasn't had to increase her dose.

I just want something to work. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. :(
1551327 tn?1514045867
Like birdie said, the side effects go away after a while.  You are right psych drs are going to give you meds as well but you have to be willing to give the meds a try.  Xanax and Klonipin are not really prescribed for depression, mostly anxiety.  Drs are not trying to torture you with the side effects.  It is their job to decide if the therapeutic effect of the medicine is worth the side effects and sometimes it is.  You have to give something a chance or you will never find one that works.

Don't base what your treatment should be like on what your other half (or anyone else) is taking.  We are all different and our treatments are all different.  

I know it is frustrating but you have to be patient.  Depression doesn't go away over night and there is no med that is going to just fix it by itself.  Every time you skip a med and don't give it time to work, you don't get to scratch it off the list so you might as well have never tried it.  Please be patient and work with your dr.  I have been through it before and I have been on a  lot of meds but I finally found some that work and they have greatly improved the quality of my life.
480448 tn?1426948538
Great post from Bubulous!!  Read and re-read that a few times!

Let me also say that it would help you if you try to have a little bit of a pocitive attitude.  Believe me, I understand you're frustrated and fed up and don't FEEL like being positive...but it WILL help.  You're making your mind up about things before giving them a fair chance.

Just like your post about psychiatrists.  You have a very negative view of them.  You're right in that their job is typically to find the right medication regimen to help people.  Yes, they don't always have the best bedside manner...but they can and WILL help you...but you have to TRY too.

I'm not suggesting that you stay on meds that are giving you unbearable side effects, but from what you've written, I don't think you gave all of them a fair shake.  Also, like I said before...all of the meds you mentioned (minus the Celexa) are notorious for being hard to tolerate.  It's like you somehow managed to try the very worst, when there were probably better options.  So, for that reason alone, it's not fair to say you are giving uop on meds.  

This is where its important to have a psychiatrist who can help you navigate through this.  If you start a med and have side effects, you communicate with the doctor and figure out a game plan, not just throw in the towel.

Finding the right med to treat things like depression and anxiety IS basically trial and error.  It's not an easy process sometimes...I know that...been there, done that..but you have to give a  little.  It's absolutely worth a couple of weeks of some side effects, when you finally realize that you've found something that really helps.  Each med you try is going to take time.  To be fair..you should give these meds 6-8 weeks (longer if you're started out on a low dose and tapered up).  Are you seeking meds primarily for depression or anxiety?  Which issue is a bigger problem for you? That should be what you're seeking the med for.  Sometimes...people seek treatment for the lesser of the two issues, and then the "right" meds are not tried first.  A lot of the meds treat both, but it's important to recognize which disorder is the primary one.  Like for me, depression is secondary to the anxiety...so it would make more sense to try an SSRI over an SNRI, which are more appropriate for depression, and can actually make anxiety worse.

How about therapy?  Have you had any experience with that?  That's a must...whether meds are involved or not.

Take the first step...ask for a referral to a psychiatrist..and go in with an open mind...be willing to listen to the recommendations and be wiling to give a med a fair chance.  Try not to let all of these past "failures" affect your attitude too much.  Some people do sincerely just have a history of not beibng able to tolerate meds..I don't think you can fairly say that.  I think you threw in the towel prematurely in some of the cases, instead of trying to deal with what was going on.

Hang in there...we're all here for you!!!  Hope to hear that you made an appointment!
Avatar universal
I had frustrating yawns non-stop for the first 5 or so weeks on Celexa but then one day it just stopped and I was on it for 6 more months, so one day or 2 of usage like you did doesn't even count. The med builds in your system and sort of rewires the part of your brain that is depressed or anxious, so until 6 weeks is up you can't know its full positive effects either.
It takes the body a while to stop "rebelling" at this newcomer med, so you can't expect to get an immediate good effect but have no side effects.
The fact your doc incorrectly prescribed a med that had bad known interactions with another is just a medical error, and not to be confused with your worry that meds don't agree with you.
Avatar universal
I believe a few weeks is enough time to see if side effects will subside.

I talked to the doctor about the Effexor and not being able to sleep for several days. He said he would have taken me off them based on that anyway. Furthermore, as I mentioned, I tried Effexor in the past with the same results.

The Wellbutrin, as I mentioned, caused me to have a road-rage incident and also made me more depressed. I believe staying on them would have been detrimental.

And, as also mentioned, the Celexa reacted with my metoprolol. I ended up having PVC's/palps for about an hour after taking it.

The Paxil was just basically the last straw with waking up every 30 minutes covered in sweat and having bad cramps, shakes and diarrhea. Not something I really felt like dealing with for two weeks or however long it took to shake them, IF I were to be able to shake them.

I have GI issues (GERD, possible IBS, food allergies, etc., but have never "officially" been diagnosed with anything), so that may be exasperating the side effects or may be the reason my body has a hard time dealing with them.

I am going to the doctor for a follow up tomorrow, so I am just going to stick with the Xanax for now and have him give me a referral to go see a GI doctor to find out whats going on with my stomach and/or intestines and go from there.

I guess I'm just tired of having problems for years and not getting anywhere with doctors, other than to have them tell me "Try this medication and see if it works!" every time I visit them.

I want solutions, not band-aids. :/
Avatar universal
Your premise is that you believe several weeks is enough, however that is not the reality that clinical testing has proven. Your health professional has experience dealing with the meds so it would be helpful to discuss this issue with them.
Some of the meds you used were only 1 or 2 times so that isn't even time for a side effect to occur in lots of people. It is possible that you are confusing a bad day with the way you were feeling since you did not try them very long.
Bubulous said it best - "Every time you skip a med and don't give it time to work, you don't get to scratch it off the list so you might as well have never tried it"
Avatar universal
After talking with the doctor, I am going to try the Effexor again since that's the one I can tolerate the most, but this time he put me on the XR so it doesn't all hit my body at once.

However, I took my first dose yesterday and did not sleep at all last night. Been up for more than 24 hours now. I am yawning like I am tired, but if I try to lay down and go to sleep, I can't. It seems like my body is tired, but my brain isn't.
1551327 tn?1514045867
I have definitely been there before.  Let me know how long it goes on.  I usually do it when I am in a mixed state.  I wake up and yawn for a long time but I am not tired.  Even if you can't go to sleep I would recommend lying down and letting your body rest.  Sleep will come eventually.  That being said if this seems to get out of control, call your dr.  It can lead into some pretty bad depression if you stay up too long.
Avatar universal
I would fill my script at a 24 hour pharmacy for support when I took meds.
Avatar universal
Finally got exhausted around 8:30 PM tonight (34+ hours with no sleep) and went to bed. But, then I woke up about 10:00 PM with SEVERE heartburn, abdominal pain, my heart was racing (~100 BPM) and my blood pressure was through the roof (180/105). I felt like I was going to die.

I took a Pepcid Complete and drank some water to dilute the acid. That helped to bring my BP down.

When I talked to my doctor, I got a referral for a Gastroenterologist. Honestly, I think my issues of depression and anxiety have to do with my GI issues more than anything. I tried to explain to my PCP that I've had GI issues my whole life (as did my mother and grandfather), but he didn't want to seem to listen. That's one of the reasons I got the referral.

I still have heartburn and slight abdominal pain, but it's not as bad, and my BP and heart rate are much better. Can't get back to sleep, though.

All this from one pill. Like I said, I can't seem to tolerate AD meds.

Going to stick with the Xanax for now. It works. And I CERTAINLY don't want a repeat of the last 40 hours again. This will be the second time this happened to me in the past month from AD meds. Last time I landed in the ER.

Hopefully I can get somewhere with the Gastroenterologist.
Avatar universal
Yes stomach problems are painful and can make you feel sick and anxious. Read this thread.
Avatar universal
Ran across this page which is quite insightful.

Apparently I'm not drinking enough water as I should be which could be the cause of both my HBP and my reflux issues.


Avatar universal
I have no idea who this guy is, so can't comment. If he is not a doctor but just a theorist, beware, because he may be incorrect.

All my comments on that other thread I supplied about how to do a bland diet to deal with gastritis including the sipping water to dilute stomach acid is mainstream medicine, and you can find them on the internet.
Avatar universal
At this point, the doctors aren't doing much better unfortunately. All they seemingly want to do is throw pills at me. I have yet to have any sort of test,  MRI, X-ray or anything like that, other than a colonoscopy about six years ago when I was finding large amounts of blood in my toilet after going to the bathroom.

Heck, I can't even remember the last time I had a blood test (although they did take my blood at the ER a few weeks ago, but neither I nor my doctor got the results of the tests).
Avatar universal
You keep going into the same loop, saying pills bother you and you have tried lots and doctors don't have anything to offer and have failed you, but as Bubulous and mursegirl pointed out, you really haven't tried any - just kind of a sniff of them here and a sniff there.
None of the meds you did could possibly help you after the day or 2 you tried each one, but you claim you have a special theory that it only takes a day or so for a med to work and for side effects to disappear. Meds have gone through blinded trials with many participants whereas the guy you quote has probably just hypothesized something that was never tested.

There are probably 9,999 unsuccessful drugs that didn't make it through trials for every one that succeeds, because 9,999 theories (from researchers who spent years working out the details) didn't stand up when tried on humans in a trial - so even experts theories are just maybes until proven.
Avatar universal
I never claimed that I have a theory that it only takes a few days. I've tried them, and they are OBVIOUSLY making me sick. What, am I supposed to do, "deal" without sleeping for days, live with very high blood pressure, intense heartburn, severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea, horrid night sweats and other problems for several weeks just to see if they subside?? I'm sorry, but I'd rater be depressed than go through that for a week or more. I would, literally, go nuts if I had to deal with all of that for more than a few days. I've been missing work because I am sick, because these drugs are making me sick, and - luckily - they haven't fired me yet.

And about them throwing pills at me, I am TIRED of pills. Like I said, they've never tested me for anything, not even blood tests. They aren't listening to what I am telling them, all they are doing is saying "Here, try this pill" and if that doesn't work, it's another pill, then another, then another. No matter what my problem is...reflux/heartburn, depression, pain, whatever, they never order tests, they just talk to me for five minutes, make an assumption based on what I tell them, then tell me to take a pill.

You would think by this point the doctor would be saying "Hmmm...I wonder why these pills are making you sick?". But, no. He just throws another pill at me.

And you know what else? When I talked to the doctor to get a referral for the Gastroenterologist, do you know what he said "Oh, all he's going to do is tell you to take pro-biotics and fiber pills". Gee. More pills.

I don't want pills. I want to find out why I have GI problems. I want to find out why every AD pill I take makes me sick. I want to find out why everything I eat or drink gives me acid reflux. I want to find out why certain foods affect me so much. I want to find out if I am allergic to certain foods. I want to find out if it's what I'm eating, how I'm eating, when I'm eating.  But no one ever orders tests, they just say "Here, take these pills!".

Pills don't fix the problem, they only mask the symptoms.
Avatar universal
I will point out a few inconsistencies in your attitude toward meds.

4 posts ago you said "I still have heartburn and slight abdominal pain,..." - All this from one pill.
However I doubt Effexor did that to you since you have a problem with heartburn already.

On Feb 7 you said "I believe a few weeks is enough time to see if side effects will subside."
That is just your theory, and you never took any meds for a few weeks anyway, just a few days to 1 week, so that is why I posted as I did earlier today.

Meds for anti-anxiety gradually build in your system and take up to 8 weeks to get the full effect. Possibly that point hasn't been made on this thread. I don't think on Med Help you will find any information from people that goes against the medical profession. For anxiety the only things that MH people think work are finding a way to relax, therapy or if the anxiety is severe, meds.
I will not post to this thread anymore but wish you good luck because anxiety is  awful. Here is one guy's story on CNN this week.
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