The 12th Invest in ME Conference, Part 1
OverTheHills presents the first article in a series of three about the recent 12th Invest In ME international Conference (IIMEC12) in London.
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Prozac / Fluoxetine

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by Derekthecat, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. Derekthecat

    Derekthecat

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    I've been prescribed Prozac to combat the mental side effects of CFS (like many people the hopelessness has led to depression) but I'm too scared to take it!
    I've read so many bad things about taking Prozac in conjunction with CfS- has my doctor made a mistake? I haven't started taking it yet and am really wary given the info I've read, especially that from Doctor Myhill's site.
    My CFS is fairly recent onset (18 months) and I am reasonably mild in symptoms compared to what I read from others on here- I'm not bed bound. Yet!
    Thanks all x
     
    merylg likes this.
  2. lgibson2017

    lgibson2017

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    I've been on Prozac for....3 years? Maybe 4? And my CFS started almost 1.5-2 years ago. I've noticed no interaction between Prozac and CFS.

    For me, it's been fine. They don't interact or affect each other at all. In fact, we believed that Prozac was the cause of my CFS and that was thoroughly ruled out . My psych. explained it and it made sense but I honestly can't remember.

    If I were you, I'd take it. I doubt it would cause any irreversible damage, and for me, it's helped tons.

    I do have one warning, though, that many doctor either don't know about or overlook: be VERY CAREFUL of what over the counter medications you take!! With antidepressants, watch your antihistamines!!!!!!!! While it's not too common, there are many, many stories of antidepressants interacting with allergy meds and causing intense psychiatric distress/really bad suicidal thoughts. That's what happened to me; I was prescribed an antidepressant and was taking a daily antihistamine for seasonal allergies and I went off the deep end and had *crazy* intense suicidal thoughts/urges.

    TL;DR: it worked fine for me, but watch for potential interactions with other meds

    Good luck!

    Lauren
     
  3. I am on Prozac and started with a very low dose, which I would also rec'd doing. I believe I started at 5mg and went up to 20mg. It did nothing for the M.E. but it did help ease slightly depression/anxiety of being chronically ill. I noticed when I went off and stayed off, thinking it wasnt' doing anything, my sleep got worse and anxiety heightened. By no means has it cured my ME, but for me, I find it a helpful tool for coping with chronic illness.
    ps - It usually takes 4-6 weeks to be effective, and side effects on low dose is low and usually subsides.
    Good luck!
     
  4. Keela Too

    Keela Too Sally Burch

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    I was offered fluoxetine at one point to "treat" ME.

    As I was fortunate to not be suffering depression I decided not to take it. I have a suspicion that my GP was of the view that it would be impossible to be as ill as I was describing without being depressed, and that part of my disability was therefore caused by the depression she was convinced I must be experiencing... and therefore in her mind I needed to take it.

    I doubt fluoxetine would have helped ME. Had I been suffering from depression, I would have considered it. Tough call.
     
  5. SSRIs ripped absolute hell out of me, ugh! :(

    Instead I found gabapentin took edge of both depression and M.E. nerve pain
    but, each of us reacts very differently to medicines even when healthy
    what helps one may harm another

    I'd regard SSRIs extremely cautiously
     
    Hugo likes this.
  6. TedBakerBoy

    TedBakerBoy

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    PROZAC IS HELL IN A PILL AVOID AVOID AVOID!!!
     
    Alvin2 likes this.
  7. maybe some day

    maybe some day Senior Member

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    Good god..i tried prozac at 5mg a day. NEVER again. EVER. Elavil and wellbutrin worked far better for me. It kept me from emotionally sinking..kept head above water type of thing.
     
    chickpea likes this.
  8. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge plodder

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    I had been on fluoxetine for 10 years for mild ongoing depression when I was diagnosed with CFS 18 months ago.

    After my mum died a year ago having had severe dementia for 15 years I no longer had mild depression (due to prolonged grief). And have since gradually come off fluoxetine. Luckily for me I tolerated it and no issues withdrawing very gradually on advice from others rather than GP who suggested 6-8 weeks. I took 6 months

    Unless someone has depression as a result of Impact of me/Cfs on them I don't see why they would be prescribed anti depressants. If ifluoxetine did anything for Cfs itself I would think someone like me already taking it wouldn't get Cfs.
     
  9. Alvin2

    Alvin2 Senior Member

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    I would not take it, it may do nothing, it may help the depression, it could become impossible to withdraw from or occasionally cause permanent brain damage (rare but people have committed suicide because of torturous irreversible akathisia)

    To be honest if you must have a chemical upper (antidepressants don't fix anything, they are uppers just like any psychoactive drug) go for something safer such as alcohol, marijuana or similar. That said i don't recommend any drugs but if your going to take something don't take something that can be as dangerous as SSRIs.

    Of course you will come across those who think its a wonder drug, burying the pain is appealing but if your unlucky the side effects, addiction or brain damage can be far worse then the depression you took it for.

    If depression is defined as a lack of hope then a chemical escape can't fix that, it can only hide it between doses :(
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
    merylg and Thinktank like this.
  10. Hugo

    Hugo Senior Member

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    I tried a SNRI (cymbalta) the difference is that it also effects absorbation of norepinephrine not just serontine. The purpose for me for using it was against pain. It did not work, it did nothing to lessen my pain but it made me kind of jumpy and nearly a little paranoid. It was not hard for me to quit though after four months on.

    My recommendation would be to try LDN. Since that is a treatment for ME aswell it would not just be for your mood. And in my case (Im just two weeks in it) it works great for my mood. Im doing a very low dose right now and since I several years ago tried started on the higher end of the LDN dosage with bad result I would recommend starting with a low dose.
     
  11. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge plodder

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    Hi Alvn2. Just to disagree with recommending alcohol as safer than other options. Alcohol causes a great deal of harm to the body is addictive and can ruin your family life. Having had a parent who died from alcoholic liver disease I would encourage everyone to take it very seriously.

    Also a lot of people with ME are alcohol intolerant to quite a significant level and get flare up of symptoms from just one or two glasses.
     
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  12. Derekthecat

    Derekthecat

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    That's interesting. My doctor is definitely taking the view that it's a bit of both. I'm not sure what this is based on though as I can't see any evidence on line of anti-depressants helping with CFS, and I certainly wasn't depressed before I became ill.
     
  13. Derekthecat

    Derekthecat

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    Interestingly I have always found that a bit of alcohol makes my symptoms go away, to the point where it helps me function - which did make me wonder if my CFS was some type of alcohol withdrawal. (I used to drink a lot in my 20s)
    Therefore I have decided to go cold turkey and cut out drinking altogether which is a bit scary as it's so far the only crutch which gets me through this awful disease.
     
  14. Derekthecat

    Derekthecat

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    I'll look into this, it's not something I've heard of before!
     
    Hugo likes this.
  15. lgibson2017

    lgibson2017

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    I agree with SilverbladeTE on the gabapentin; that stuff helped me tons! Personally, I'm on Prozac AND Abilify and I do fine, but everyone's different :shrug:
     
    Hugo likes this.
  16. Hugo

    Hugo Senior Member

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    That is my next medicine on my list if not LDN will give me some relife for my pain. Did you have any sideeffects?
     
    SilverbladeTE likes this.
  17. Alvin2

    Alvin2 Senior Member

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    I completely agree with you, i don't believe in chemical crutches at all. What i am saying is that its idiotic that its safer and less likely to cause permanent brain damage then SSRIs. Both are addictive, and can destroy your life. I recommend people avoid all mind altering drugs, legal or not, but i'm in the minority with that view.
    I'm sorry for your loss and i apologize for using that as an example
     
  18. caledonia

    caledonia

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    SSRIs can be ok, or they can be problematic in a variety of ways. The problem is, you don't know if you're going to have a problem until you try it and it happens to you.

    The worst problem would be akathisia, which can happen any time you start, stop or change the dose of the drug. Akathisia is like drinking 1000 pots of coffee and never being able to feel calm or sleep - this goes on 24/7 until you can either reinstate the drug, or switch to something else that calms your nervous system.

    This happened to me when I tried to get off Zoloft with a supposedly correct taper from my doctor. I was screwed up for the better part of a year. I call it my "lost year". I'm currently re-tapering with a very gradual taper. It will take me a total of 9 years to get off this drug, which I was on at full dose for 12 years.

    My suggestion would be to try other alternatives first. Then if they're not helping, try psych meds. If you're getting so depressed that you want to kill yourself, a psych med is preferable in that case.

    Alternatives:

    1) Vitamin D3 - Vitamin D is like a hormone and it affects mood. You can get your vitamin D levels checked, then if they're low, supplement with D3. Many of us are low due to being shut in. I do 4000iu.

    2) Fish oil - Due to our modern food supply, many of us suffer from essential fatty acid deficiency. This can negatively affect your mood and other things in the body. The best is molecular distilled or pharmaceutical grade which filter out the mercury and PCBs in fish, especially if you're doing large doses. You might need quite a bit to get the desired effect. I also have dry eyes and mouth and the fish oil helps with that too. I increased my dose until my eyes were dry any more. I take 1.5 tsp of a pharmaceutical grade fish oil, which would be equivalent to 8 or more capsules of the less concentrated variety.

    3) Serotonin - serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood. SSRIs help increase the levels of serotonin and are prescribed for either anxiety or depression. 5htp is a precursor to serotonin. If you don't tolerate 5htp, then tryptophan is the precursor to that and may be tolerated better. Many of us are low in neurotransmitters in general.

    4) Counseling - I found this very helpful during my first few years of being sick. It's a huge psychological hit to having the rug pulled from underneath you as to what you thought your life was going to be like. Not the mention the idea that you're going to be stuck like this forever.

    5) Energy therapies - EFT (emotional freedom technique) or "tapping" is probably the best known one. It's free to learn at emofree.com.

    I have done or am doing all of these. There may be more things which are helpful. You may have to experiment some to see what works best for you.

    Plus, in general, just know that the state of research is the best it's ever been for this disease. Check out the videos from Ron Davis at the Open Medicine Foundation. Ron's son is very sick with ME. There couldn't be a more perfect person working on our disease. He has an allstar team put together; they've made much progress in a few short years.
     
    merylg likes this.
  19. Alvin2

    Alvin2 Senior Member

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    You are still accepting depression as a biochemical imbalance, it is not. If you have deficiencies that need fixing then fix them, but they are not cures for loss of hope.
    Hence I disagree with using psych meds at all. Depression is sadness, loss of hope and often loneliness. Using a chemical to fix this is ludicrous.
    ME/CFS is a perfect storm of hopelessness, we lose our present, we lose all our dreams for the future, we are miserable and brain damaged, we lose friends, we are disbelieved by scientists, family, doctors, society, many of us live alone and have no support and we are very lonely, even the human contact that we need to survive can be exhausting and even impossible.
    You can't fix this with drugs, only hide the pain at great cost. The drugs can cost more then the sadness they are prescribed for, yet we are not told this, the drugs are sold as miracle snake oil cures.
    We need hope, love and support. This is often what modern psychiatry misses, they push drugs and the talk therapy they believe in a modern rendition of Freudian analysis, CBT is basically a "philosophy" of ignore your problems and they will go away. Thats why it doesn't work, pretending loneliness and loss of hope doesn't exist won't make them disappear, and psychiatry uses that as a justification for more drugs, which is a lie that leads to burying pain with chemicals which can cause more problems then we started with. Even those who don't have adverse effects and consider anti depressants to be wonder drugs are doing the same thing, using societally sanctioned drugs to bury their pain.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
    merylg likes this.
  20. I have to use very low dosage, 2x100mg, four times a day, more makes me sick/affects the M.E.

    Also found I'm now have problems with alcohol and M.E., rarely ever drink, but thought I'd try a cider shandy as I loved that long time ago, but yeeeeeeeech! Set off headaches like heck now :(
    Cider shandy isn't very strong, I normally like Drambuie, Glayva, Sauterne wine etc so iust as well I don't drink now!
    Not to mention the cost for 18 year old McCallan!!! Urf!
     
    Hugo likes this.

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