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chels31: Immediate adverse reaction to sertraline and duloxetine


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Hello everyone, 

After reading through some similar stories on here I thought I may make a post to find some hope or comfort through a time which feels so distressing. 

 

I started taking sertraline a couple of months ago, and on the second dosage, had a very bad reaction of full body shaking, tremors and a strange heavy / rushing feeling as if I was going to faint. I went to A and E and they said many of my symptoms looked like serotonin syndrome. 

 

Annoyingly, a week later I began taking duloxetine instead as I thought it was just maybe sertraline I didn’t agree with. On the fourth day I had the most awful symptoms. I got extreme muscle rigidity, my limbs were moving in sort of “cogwheel movements” twitching in all my muscles, extreme tiredness, felt like I had a fever , shaking and breathlessness. I discontinued this however symptoms worsened for that week. The tremors got worse, the rigidity got worse and I became so weak that I could not walk properly. I started getting nerve pain everywhere, tingling and burning in all my limbs and even my face. My doctor prescribed me gabapentin to help the nerve pain , however 10 days into taking this I woke again with even worse rigidity. My body felt like a lead weight as if my limbs had 100kg weights attached to them. Since then, I have had terrible waves of symptoms, I feel too weak to walk, my legs will shake, my arms burn at holding my phone up and I can’t type properly. I feel completely dissociated and detached from everything. I get the strange feeling that is like a rush that I’ll faint. Along with lots of muscle twitching that doesn’t seem to stop, rigidity, aching, weakness, strange cogwheel like movements in my muscles , strange visual vibrations and I’m sure many more which I’ve missed. I had a neurological examination which found clonus and very brisk reflexes which may be linked to this reaction. Some days are better than others but most days I’m bed bound. I’m struggling so much so if anyone can provide comfort or similar experiences I would be grateful ❤️

- adverse reaction two days into taking sertraline 

- adverse reaction again 4 days into duloxetine 

 

symptoms such as muscle rigidity, cogwheel rigidity, extreme muscle weakness, struggling with walking, jaw shaking, tremors, body shaking, temperature regulation issues, panic and fear, derealisarion , nerve pain and tingling, twitches 

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  • LotusRising changed the title to chels31: Immediate adverse reaction to sertraline and duloxetine
  • Moderator

Hi @chels31,

 

Welcome to SA, 

 

I'm sorry this happened to you. It sounds like you've likely had an adverse reaction to the drugs. I had similar symptoms on start up of two medications as well. Ideally, your doctor should be reporting this. I think it's 'yellow card', or something like that. I'll see if I can find a link. 

 

Unfortunately, adding more drugs, like gabapentin, is often not the best option, unless of course the pain is severe and you're feeling unsafe. Are you still taking the gabapentin?

 

Symptoms of adverse reactions typically follow the same pattern as those of us that are tapering. See The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

I've posted some links below that might be helpful. We also have a lot of resources for non-pharmacological ways for coping with symptoms. If you navigate to our home page, you'll find the link there, as well as other links for the most frequently asked questions. 

 

It would be helpful if you could also create signature, so others can quickly see your drug history when trying to help. See How to Create a Signature

 

 

2003-2009 on and off various SSRI's for short periods, Ativan prn

2010-2011 Ativan, up to 1.5mg/day - tapered off without issue

2013-2021 ativan 1-1.5mg 10-12x/month, daily starting Oct 21 to help with buspar WD

2016 - Effexor 75mg, short-term

2021 Mar -Jun Buspar ADR at high dose, tapered 3 months

2021 Aug Wellbutrin 150mg for 5 days (ADR), then MIrtazapine 7.5mg for 7 days (ADR)

Oct 22/21 - Direct switch ativan to clonazepam (don't do this)

Tapered clonaz Oct/21 - Apr/23  - 0mg!

 

Supplements: omega-3, mag-glycinate

 

"Believe that your tragedies, your losses, your sorrows, your hurt, happened for you, not to you. And I bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open, because the world needs you open" - Rebecca Campbell

 

*** Disclaimer: Please note, my suggestions/comments are based on my own personal experiences. Please consult a knowledgeable practitioner to discuss decisions regarding your medical care *** 

 

                                                             *** Please do not send me PM's ***

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Hello @LotusRising

Thank you so much for your response. I’m new here so I hope that I’ve replied to this okay haha. I’m so sorry to hear you had a similar experience - was yours too short term? Have you managed to get to a better place now? Thank you so much for the links and tips. I appreciate that so much. Sadly I think the gabapentin contributed to the worsening of symptoms. I’m so upset with myself I even went on them. It definitely is following the windows and waves, some days I am sort of okay for a couple of days and then it’s like I’m right back to where I was.  I’m so worried this won’t get better as I’m just currently bed bound and it even hurts my arms to type this :( 

If I may also add too - Are there any supplements which helped you too? I’ve got B complex, omega 3 and magnesium but I’ve heard about ashwaganda and valerian root, have you tried these at all?

- adverse reaction two days into taking sertraline 

- adverse reaction again 4 days into duloxetine 

 

symptoms such as muscle rigidity, cogwheel rigidity, extreme muscle weakness, struggling with walking, jaw shaking, tremors, body shaking, temperature regulation issues, panic and fear, derealisarion , nerve pain and tingling, twitches 

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  • Moderator

@chels31

Yes, you've responded in the right place.

 

Mine was not quite like yours. I was taking medication for a number of months while titrating up, and then hit a dose where I started getting full body numbness and other symptoms. It resulted in a cascade of other events. Anyway, there are definitely others on the site that have had similar reactions with just a few doses.

 

3 hours ago, chels31 said:

I’m so upset with myself I even went on them.

You're certainly not alone in this feeling, but try not to be too hard on yourself. I would hazard a guess that most everyone on this site has felt this way at some point.

 

3 hours ago, chels31 said:

I’m so worried this won’t get better as I’m just currently bed bound and it even hurts my arms to type this

It's really good that you're seeing windows and waves - the symptoms will slowly get better. Everyone improves with time! 

 

We don't recommend many supplements on this site. Magnesium and omega 3 mostly. If you try anything, please just one at a time. Some people become more sensitive to supplements once they're nervous system has become destabilized. Not everyone, but some. 

 

I'm certain there's a way to search for others who've had similar reactions. @Emonda do you know how to do this? Hopefully you'll be able to connect with others who've had similar reactions. But as I mentioned, it will get better with time ❤️

 

Let me know if you need any other resources, but also have a look around the site.

2003-2009 on and off various SSRI's for short periods, Ativan prn

2010-2011 Ativan, up to 1.5mg/day - tapered off without issue

2013-2021 ativan 1-1.5mg 10-12x/month, daily starting Oct 21 to help with buspar WD

2016 - Effexor 75mg, short-term

2021 Mar -Jun Buspar ADR at high dose, tapered 3 months

2021 Aug Wellbutrin 150mg for 5 days (ADR), then MIrtazapine 7.5mg for 7 days (ADR)

Oct 22/21 - Direct switch ativan to clonazepam (don't do this)

Tapered clonaz Oct/21 - Apr/23  - 0mg!

 

Supplements: omega-3, mag-glycinate

 

"Believe that your tragedies, your losses, your sorrows, your hurt, happened for you, not to you. And I bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open, because the world needs you open" - Rebecca Campbell

 

*** Disclaimer: Please note, my suggestions/comments are based on my own personal experiences. Please consult a knowledgeable practitioner to discuss decisions regarding your medical care *** 

 

                                                             *** Please do not send me PM's ***

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  • Administrator
5 hours ago, LotusRising said:

I'm certain there's a way to search for others who've had similar reactions. @Emonda do you know how to do this?

 

Dear @chels31

I'm sorry to hear about your experience.

 

There are certainly others that have had a similar experience and recovered.

 

Have a read of this success story to give you a little boost:

 

 

 

Please don't send me PMs. I am not a doctor. My comments are based on my personal experience with ADs and tapering. Consult your doctor about your own medical decisions.

Start of taper: Jan ’22 Vortioxetine 15mg, 

End year 1: 4.5mg, 

End year 2: 2.38mg, 

Year 3: 19 Jan 2.33mg, 26 Jan 2.28mg, 2 Feb 2.24mg, 8 Feb 2.19mg, 29 Feb 2.15mg, 7 Mar 2.10mg, 14 Mar 2.06mg, 21 Mar 1.99mg, 10 Apr 1.95mg, 17 Apr 1.91mg, 24 Apr 1.87mg, 1 May 1.83mg, 23 May 1.80mg, 30 May 1.76mg, 8 Jun 1.72mg, 13 Jun 1.66mg, 3 Jul 1.62mg, 10 Jul 1.58mg, 17 Jul 1.54mg

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Hey

 @LotusRising

Thank you again for your responses, I currently just feel so hopeless. I have gone from being such an active person to now being bed bound, Im in so much pain and can’t walk properly, my muscles are so rigid and shaky and I feel so detached from reality. Is this what it was like for you? How long did it take you to fully recover? It’s so hard reading stories where it’s taken people months or years to recover 😭

Thank you for your advice 

- adverse reaction two days into taking sertraline 

- adverse reaction again 4 days into duloxetine 

 

symptoms such as muscle rigidity, cogwheel rigidity, extreme muscle weakness, struggling with walking, jaw shaking, tremors, body shaking, temperature regulation issues, panic and fear, derealisarion , nerve pain and tingling, twitches 

Link to comment

Hey @Emonda

Thank you for your response, I’ll definitely have a read through 

- adverse reaction two days into taking sertraline 

- adverse reaction again 4 days into duloxetine 

 

symptoms such as muscle rigidity, cogwheel rigidity, extreme muscle weakness, struggling with walking, jaw shaking, tremors, body shaking, temperature regulation issues, panic and fear, derealisarion , nerve pain and tingling, twitches 

Link to comment
  • Moderator
2 hours ago, chels31 said:

I have gone from being such an active person to now being bed bound, Im in so much pain and can’t walk properly, my muscles are so rigid and shaky and I feel so detached from reality. Is this what it was like for you?

Yes, I hear you. I was very active too, lifting weights, hiking, backpacking, all the things.

 

Muscle weakness, pain and tension are my most predominant symptoms remaining, but I've seen slow, steady improvement over time. Try not to focus, or compare your situation to others. We are all so unique and your story is your story. It's also in your favour that you were on for such a short period of time, so you have every reason to expect a full recovery.

 

I lived in epsom salt baths and had a heating pad at the ready at all times early on. You might try that to get some relief. Also, to prevent further muscle issues, I suggest making a concerted effort to do some light stretching or yoga every day to keep up your range of motion and strength. I know this can be tough when you're feeling really terrible, but I promise you it's very important. I take magnesium as well, which seems to help a little bit. 

2003-2009 on and off various SSRI's for short periods, Ativan prn

2010-2011 Ativan, up to 1.5mg/day - tapered off without issue

2013-2021 ativan 1-1.5mg 10-12x/month, daily starting Oct 21 to help with buspar WD

2016 - Effexor 75mg, short-term

2021 Mar -Jun Buspar ADR at high dose, tapered 3 months

2021 Aug Wellbutrin 150mg for 5 days (ADR), then MIrtazapine 7.5mg for 7 days (ADR)

Oct 22/21 - Direct switch ativan to clonazepam (don't do this)

Tapered clonaz Oct/21 - Apr/23  - 0mg!

 

Supplements: omega-3, mag-glycinate

 

"Believe that your tragedies, your losses, your sorrows, your hurt, happened for you, not to you. And I bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open, because the world needs you open" - Rebecca Campbell

 

*** Disclaimer: Please note, my suggestions/comments are based on my own personal experiences. Please consult a knowledgeable practitioner to discuss decisions regarding your medical care *** 

 

                                                             *** Please do not send me PM's ***

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Posted (edited)

 

hi everyone, a couple of months ago, i began taking sertraline , had an adverse reaction, duloxetine, had another adverse reaction and then gabapentin and had yet another adverse reaction involving lots of muscle rigidity, tremors, nerve pain and many other symptoms. i’m about 2.5 weeks off now from the gabapentin and have developed severe dpdr and akathesia over the past week. i am at a complete loss for what to do, due to my muscle rigidity and pain i can’t even walk it off and i am suffering so so badly with inner restlessness.

 

i’ve tried diazepam a few times to try help but it doesn’t seem to along with propanolol but i’ve heard taking more drugs can make things worse when it’s been from an adverse reaction. i’m also trying B3 supplements but at this rate i’m not sure whether to just stay off it. i am at a total loss for what to do and feel horrendous. i’m so distressed and the inner restlessness and terror is absolutely unbearable. i cant go out anywhere as my limbs feel so detached from my body and the derealisation is so severe i cant handle being in a public space, it’s terrifying to me.

 

has anyone else had an experience in either an adverse reaction or withdrawal where this symptom has appeared later on and has anyone found any relief with it? i cant bear another day of this and i’m terrified this will only get worse. i cant enjoy anything at all, i haven’t felt enjoyment in anything for a good few days as everything is just fear and i feel so spaced out. i cant go out or leave the house because stimulations are so much. i cant hold a conversation properly from the agitation or restlessness. i don’t even get relief from moving my legs or arms and shaking but my body wants to do it. it’s impossible to concentrate on anything. i cant sit and watch a tv show or do anything like crochet because i’m so restless and agitated i cant focus and just feel inner terror. if anyone can please please reassure me this will pass . im so scared the fact it’s a new symptom and i cant understand why even though i’ve been off the medication for a good couple of weeks that new symptoms that are more debilitating are appearing.

 

im sorry for the rant but i appreciate anyone’s support on here. it’s almost like this weird faint/ adrenaline rush though my body that makes me feel nauseous. looking at certain things scares me or having to even go out in public or interacting with someone terrifies me due to how weird i feel. i don’t know how much longer i can handle of this. i see people say they experienced akathisia for weeks or months and i don’t know how to handle that.  one positive thing however, is that my original muscle rigidity has slightly improved - could this mean i am improving and i just need to ride out these next symptoms  i may get? thank you for anyone who listens to me

Edited by Erimus
Added paragraphs

- adverse reaction two days into taking sertraline 

- adverse reaction again 4 days into duloxetine 

 

symptoms such as muscle rigidity, cogwheel rigidity, extreme muscle weakness, struggling with walking, jaw shaking, tremors, body shaking, temperature regulation issues, panic and fear, derealisarion , nerve pain and tingling, twitches 

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  • Moderator
3 hours ago, chels31 said:

one positive thing however, is that my original muscle rigidity has slightly improved - could this mean i am improving and i just need to ride out these next symptoms  i may get?

I'm sorry, I know it's really hard, but this does sound like a positive! The nature of The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization can be frustrating. But eventually, the windows will get longer and more frequent. I wish I could tell you when that will happen for you, but everyone is different.

 

I know it feels like you should be doing something, but what your body really needs right now is time. I would try to support it as best you can with diet and lifestyle strategies - hydrate, eat a clean diet, try to get in daily movement like yoga, avoid alcohol, or any other stimulants and get morning light. 

 

It will get better, but it can take a while sometimes ❤️

 

2003-2009 on and off various SSRI's for short periods, Ativan prn

2010-2011 Ativan, up to 1.5mg/day - tapered off without issue

2013-2021 ativan 1-1.5mg 10-12x/month, daily starting Oct 21 to help with buspar WD

2016 - Effexor 75mg, short-term

2021 Mar -Jun Buspar ADR at high dose, tapered 3 months

2021 Aug Wellbutrin 150mg for 5 days (ADR), then MIrtazapine 7.5mg for 7 days (ADR)

Oct 22/21 - Direct switch ativan to clonazepam (don't do this)

Tapered clonaz Oct/21 - Apr/23  - 0mg!

 

Supplements: omega-3, mag-glycinate

 

"Believe that your tragedies, your losses, your sorrows, your hurt, happened for you, not to you. And I bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open, because the world needs you open" - Rebecca Campbell

 

*** Disclaimer: Please note, my suggestions/comments are based on my own personal experiences. Please consult a knowledgeable practitioner to discuss decisions regarding your medical care *** 

 

                                                             *** Please do not send me PM's ***

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10 hours ago, chels31 said:

 

hi everyone, a couple of months ago, i began taking sertraline , had an adverse reaction, duloxetine, had another adverse reaction and then gabapentin and had yet another adverse reaction involving lots of muscle rigidity, tremors, nerve pain and many other symptoms. i’m about 2.5 weeks off now from the gabapentin and have developed severe dpdr and akathesia over the past week. i am at a complete loss for what to do, due to my muscle rigidity and pain i can’t even walk it off and i am suffering so so badly with inner restlessness.

 

i’ve tried diazepam a few times to try help but it doesn’t seem to along with propanolol but i’ve heard taking more drugs can make things worse when it’s been from an adverse reaction. i’m also trying B3 supplements but at this rate i’m not sure whether to just stay off it. i am at a total loss for what to do and feel horrendous. i’m so distressed and the inner restlessness and terror is absolutely unbearable. i cant go out anywhere as my limbs feel so detached from my body and the derealisation is so severe i cant handle being in a public space, it’s terrifying to me.

 

has anyone else had an experience in either an adverse reaction or withdrawal where this symptom has appeared later on and has anyone found any relief with it? i cant bear another day of this and i’m terrified this will only get worse. i cant enjoy anything at all, i haven’t felt enjoyment in anything for a good few days as everything is just fear and i feel so spaced out. i cant go out or leave the house because stimulations are so much. i cant hold a conversation properly from the agitation or restlessness. i don’t even get relief from moving my legs or arms and shaking but my body wants to do it. it’s impossible to concentrate on anything. i cant sit and watch a tv show or do anything like crochet because i’m so restless and agitated i cant focus and just feel inner terror. if anyone can please please reassure me this will pass . im so scared the fact it’s a new symptom and i cant understand why even though i’ve been off the medication for a good couple of weeks that new symptoms that are more debilitating are appearing.

 

im sorry for the rant but i appreciate anyone’s support on here. it’s almost like this weird faint/ adrenaline rush though my body that makes me feel nauseous. looking at certain things scares me or having to even go out in public or interacting with someone terrifies me due to how weird i feel. i don’t know how much longer i can handle of this. i see people say they experienced akathisia for weeks or months and i don’t know how to handle that.  one positive thing however, is that my original muscle rigidity has slightly improved - could this mean i am improving and i just need to ride out these next symptoms  i may get? thank you for anyone who listens to me

I cannot take B or any other vitamin. They are too activating for me.  Are your muscles in knots?  Does it help to push on them?  A massage gun helped me

Sertaline- tried 50 mg beginning of June 2023. Caused hyperreflexia.  So stopped after one dose. Tried several smaller doses that month.  Had burning and twitching so just stopped. 

Lexapro

June of 2023' 2.5 mg for two weeks 

July of 2023 5 mg for two weeks

July of 2023 7.5 mg for 2 weeks

August to mid September 10 mg

Mid September reduced to 7.5

October to October 15 reduced to 5

October 15 to October 30 reduced to 2.5 

October 30-off

 

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Hello @LotusRising

Thank you so much for your response. It’s so awful when symptoms feel so unbearable. The akathisia is probably the worst thing i’ve ever experienced in my life and it’s terrifying, my family are probably thinking i’m going mad. I appreciate your response it’s so hard when it feels like you’re not getting better 😢😢

- adverse reaction two days into taking sertraline 

- adverse reaction again 4 days into duloxetine 

 

symptoms such as muscle rigidity, cogwheel rigidity, extreme muscle weakness, struggling with walking, jaw shaking, tremors, body shaking, temperature regulation issues, panic and fear, derealisarion , nerve pain and tingling, twitches 

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hey @Farm24

its more so that they’re very rigid and very wobbly, it’s very tough to explain. i cant stand for a while or walk because it’s like my muscles turn to stone no matter how much I move or stretch them. i do have a massage cushion however sadly it doesn’t help :(

- adverse reaction two days into taking sertraline 

- adverse reaction again 4 days into duloxetine 

 

symptoms such as muscle rigidity, cogwheel rigidity, extreme muscle weakness, struggling with walking, jaw shaking, tremors, body shaking, temperature regulation issues, panic and fear, derealisarion , nerve pain and tingling, twitches 

Link to comment

just a bit of an update to everyone, things within the last week got extremely bad and i developed really severe akathisia, sadly these symptoms don’t yet seem to be improving and only worsening. my symptoms are much more internal and i’ve pretty much been bedbound sat in the dark just crying and groaning in the fetal position! it’s been awful. my physical symptoms seemed to have settled however now have gone downhill again and my tremors and cogwheel like movements in my limbs have worsened again along with limb weakness and tremors. an ambulance was called due to the severity of the akathisia and i was given diazepam however had an adverse reaction to which i’ve usually tolerated it before and had a panic attack. i’m also getting brain burning and pressure. i’ve only just been able to type this out now as i haven’t been functioning. my only slight relief i’ve had from the akathisia is nytol/benadryl however it seems to make my physical symptoms worse. i wish i’d never have gone near these anti depressants :( 

- adverse reaction two days into taking sertraline 

- adverse reaction again 4 days into duloxetine 

 

symptoms such as muscle rigidity, cogwheel rigidity, extreme muscle weakness, struggling with walking, jaw shaking, tremors, body shaking, temperature regulation issues, panic and fear, derealisarion , nerve pain and tingling, twitches 

Link to comment
  • Moderator

@chels31

 

I'm so sorry to hear this. I really am. I know this is very scary, but from what I've seen here, everyone improves with time. Have you checked out the waves and windows link on the homepage? 

 

It sounds like your nervous system is really destabilized, especially with that reaction to diazepam. Were you taken to hospital, or? 

 

I recommend reading through the success stories. They got me through some really dark times. Have you got a good support system?

2003-2009 on and off various SSRI's for short periods, Ativan prn

2010-2011 Ativan, up to 1.5mg/day - tapered off without issue

2013-2021 ativan 1-1.5mg 10-12x/month, daily starting Oct 21 to help with buspar WD

2016 - Effexor 75mg, short-term

2021 Mar -Jun Buspar ADR at high dose, tapered 3 months

2021 Aug Wellbutrin 150mg for 5 days (ADR), then MIrtazapine 7.5mg for 7 days (ADR)

Oct 22/21 - Direct switch ativan to clonazepam (don't do this)

Tapered clonaz Oct/21 - Apr/23  - 0mg!

 

Supplements: omega-3, mag-glycinate

 

"Believe that your tragedies, your losses, your sorrows, your hurt, happened for you, not to you. And I bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open, because the world needs you open" - Rebecca Campbell

 

*** Disclaimer: Please note, my suggestions/comments are based on my own personal experiences. Please consult a knowledgeable practitioner to discuss decisions regarding your medical care *** 

 

                                                             *** Please do not send me PM's ***

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