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HPA axis reboot?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Questus, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    Right, mirtazapine lowers cortisol. I think we can not say anything in general about our diurnal cortisol. Some have low (flat) throughout the day and night, whereas other others might have a skewed rhythm, with too low in morning and too high at night. Mine was flat all the way both times I tested. Strangely though, I had a lot of (physical) energy on mirtazapine, although mentally it felt like I was lobotimized. Perhaps because it enhances NE release.
    heapsreal likes this.
  2. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    "Studies demonstrate that the neurotransmitter serotonin acts as a stimulant of the hypothalmo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis (Fuller 1981), thereby producing excesses of body steroids. Serotonin, if not the specific substance, is apparently one of those substances in the brain that stimulates the adrenals.

    Elevated levels of CRF, cortisol and ACTH are evidence of both stress and depression, yet animal studies with SSRIs showed that they increased the levels of ACTH, cortisol and prolactin (Stark et al. 1985; Lesieur et al. 1985 & Jones, Hillhouse and Burden in Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, Vol. 4).

    Studies also demonstrate that serotonin levels correspond with the daily rise and fall pattern of corticosteroid secretion. One single dose of 30mg of Prozac doubles cortisol levels (Petraglia et al. 1984)."

    If the adrenals are weak due to primary adrenal insufficiency or an autoimmune attack, eventually they will no longer be able to respond to the demand for increased cortisol by the antidepressant. And then everything really starts to fall apart.

    Ema
  3. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    This is incorrect.

    Here's an example of a clinical trial in which an SSRI lowered cortisol output:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20808146

    As I said, it depends on the baseline level before the treatment. SSRIs will not "deplete the adrenals". This is just nonsense.
  4. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    But perhaps I was wrong about PTSD. In this study, cortisol was again decreased by SSRIs:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16891570
  5. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    Another example of an SSRI calming down an hyperactive HPA axis:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15179544
  6. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    Since when are studies nonsense?

    The study you posted refers to patients with an elevated cortisol level to start. Eventually those using SSRIs with adrenal insufficiency or HPA axis dysfunction will have LOW cortisol and continuing to use SSRIs can cause a terrible crash or possibly even an adrenal crisis.

    You have to understand and differentiate between the populations.

    Ema
  7. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    This study further proves my point. Thanks for posting it!

    It clearly states that antidepressants increase cortisol at first and then can cause low cortisol when used chronically.

    Ema
  8. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    Excuse me, I must have missed the reference to the claim that SSRIs can cause an adrenal crises? Which studies were you referring to? I haven't seen any.

    I am not talking about treating Addison's with SSRIs. Someone asked about the effects of antidepressants on cortisol levels, and I have tried to answer that. I am not recommending any treatment.
  9. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    You misinterpret the results. As I said, acutely serotonin will stimulate cortisol release, but as the receptors start to become tolerant, less cortisol is released. This has got nothing to do with adrenals being depleted, or having an adrenal crisis. This all goes back to the belief in "adrenal fatigue", and that the adrenals can somehow be worn out. But I am going to stop debating this with you, clearly there is no point. Everyone can make up their own minds from the data.
  10. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    Unfortunately many people with Addison's and HPA axis dysfunction are treated with SSRI antidepressants and often as a first line treatment. This can be devastating. Low cortisol can progress to an adrenal crisis which is well documented and can be deadly.

    SSRIs increase serotonin which increases cortisol and eventually leads to lower overall levels in those with adrenal insufficiency and HPA dysfunction.

    This includes quite a few members of the ME/CFS population as well as endocrine dysfunction is typically encountered in our disease.

    Those who don't know their adrenal status should exercise extreme caution when using antidepressants of this and related classes and be aware of the risks that may not be apparent until after used for some period of time. This may also be the reason people feel that antidepressants "poop out" after a while and stop working...the adrenals simply can't be stimulated any longer.

    Ema

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