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Immediate adverse reactions to SSRIs? How long for recovery?

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Cookson

Adverse Reaction to a Medication or Drug - Verywell Health

 

 
Sep 24, 2018 - An adverse reaction is an unwanted or unexpected negative reaction to a medication or treatment that is used in an approved manner.

 

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I am interested in anyone personal accounts or knowledge of anyone who experienced a negative experience from taking an ssri with their symptoms persisting and not down to general nervous system instability from tapering or withdrawal.

 

Basically, If you experienced initial negative symptoms as a result of taking ssri's, (as opposed to experiencing them through tapering or withdrawal) Could any correlations be drawn of effecting the length/severity of withdrawal of these symptoms?

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added definition of adverse reaction

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dunerbug

Interesting....I know some people can take an antidepressant and immediately feel better. 

 

For me, I have the bad start up anxiety. In fact it was in the first week of taking prozac that I had, what I believe to be, my first panic attack.

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Altostrata

People who have immediate adverse reactions to serotonergics often have severe symptoms for quite a while -- symptoms very much like withdrawal syndrome -- and take a long time to recover.

 

If they've been kept on the drugs for a long time, often with the aid of a benzo, their nervous systems are quite distressed.

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Cookson

Was this the case with you Alto?

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Cookson

With me personally the immediate adverse reaction to Citalopram manifested itself as brain fog resulting in cognitive difficulties-which persists now but to a much lesser extent as before  

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theelt712

I personally adversely reacted to Zoloft back about 7 months ago- anhedonic within 13 days. I'm still affected by it, not nearly as much [i have some sort of libido now, I care more, I have moments of genuine like and crushes for people, moments of feeling mild love/attraction], but immediate adverse reactions tend to, on average, take years to recover. Somewhere within the mid-to higher end of the 1-7 year range. This is coming from anecdotal reports.

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GiaK

wow...not sure why I never put this **** together...

 

the first SSRI I ever took was Prozac...and it shot me through the roof with insane PANIC...in fact much like what we deal with in withdrawal...stayed on it no more than 48 hours...

 

anyway...later trials of SSRIs were accompanied with massive doses of benzos...

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Cookson

theelt712, I would highly doubt It would take you that long to recover fully purely down to the fact you have age on your side. 

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theelt712

How old are you, Cookson? I am 15..

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Cookson

19 im only a youg buck

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Ellen042

I had extreme anxiety and my first panic attack when put on Celexa, 40mg.  It took me three days to figure out what might be causing the panic.  Once Celexa occured to me, I immediately stopped it.  The next day the panic was gone.  Upon talking with my doctor about it, I learned that that can sometimes be a manifestation of serotonin syndrome.  I had no withdrawal symptoms going from 40mg to 0mg in a single day, but keep in mind that I was only on the pill for three days, and everyone's body reacts differently. 

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Barbarannamated

I didn't think Zoloft (or any SS/NRIs) were effecting me positively or negatively for a few years. I *coincidentally* discovered that i clench and grind my teeth (bruxism) shortly after beginning Zoloft. Developed SEVERE TMJ, neck and head pain that required extensive PT, orthodontia, and many drugs, including Klonopin for bruxism and, eventually, opiates for the pain.

 

I learned (about 5 years later) that SSRIs cause bruxism and were likely part of the cause of my pain and permanent disability. I'm off of the SS/NRIs after 15+ years, but still on Klonopin that was used for bruxism caused by SSRIs. May have been partially responsible for the connective tissue neck injury that was attributed to work injury.

 

It's hard to untangle it all now, but the bruxism definitely began after initiation of Zoloft.

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Laura1981

Did anyone find any scientific literature for those immediate adverse reactions?

 

  • Peter Breggin mentions the here.  "Severe Adverse Effects After One or Two Doses"
  • David Healy mentions them here under "Catastrophic effects" - Link does not work

 

But I couldn't find any scientific papers or case reports on the subject.

Edited by ChessieCat
Added note re link not working

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Hopefull

Hopefully someone on this forum finds this information useful. I had a bad reaction to Zoloft after 3 tablets, ( 25mg ). I have experienced wd symptoms from Zoloft. I am on the mend.

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sillylady

I had a very bad reaction to Paxil. I was on it for about 3 months and my psychiatrist at the time kept upping my dose. I was in the hospital on the psych ward and was yelling obscenities at the nurses. After I got out of the hospital I was staying with my parents and just stood in their bathroom and screemed due to the fact I was experiencing brain zaps for the first time. I had no idea what was happening to me. They proceeded to take me home and leave me alone while going through this. I came off them cold-turkey as I just didn't want to continue going through this for an extended period of time. Due to this I can never have a SSRI again as they just sent me wacko.

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Laura1981

Ouch... sorry you had to go through so much! Did the doctors in the hospital recognize that it was an adverse reaction? How long did it take you to get better after the CT?

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oskcajga

There are at least two success stories for adverse effects that I found and posted in the link you can find in my siganture.  I remember reading a LOT more of these anecdotal reports on the now defunct website paxilprogress.org.

 

 

It might feel lonely to have an adverse reaction, but we're not alone out there.

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Laura1981

Yep, that's what they mean when they write in the leaflet "The discontinuation symptoms are usually mild and short lived but in rare cases can last 2-3 months or more"

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oskcajga

The most frustrating part of my experience with this condition is that it can be exacerbated and made like 3X worse than the original condition by the use of alcohol, drugs, or supplements.  I can imagine that something like something as common as general anesthesia for surgery would do the same thing.

 

I didn't read too many stories of exacerbation on the internet, so I try to share my own experience with this lesser acknowledged fact as much as I can with people - maybe I'll convince them to stay on the straight and narrow and not experiment with drugs for relief.

 

One might wonder:  why would anyone dare experiment with drugs?  Well - when everyone around you is doing that sort of thing, it's hard not to try drinking alchol or doing some mild recreational substances with them.  Not everyone who has this condition has the lifestyle luxury of a middle aged person who lives in a nice house and has occasional social engagements with their church going-middle/upper middle class buddies.  Some of us are struggling to make ends meet, in competitive environments where lots of young college aged people hang out and do what college aged-people do - stay up late, drink a lot, do some recreational substances, and get back at it the next day. 

 

That was also back when I was in serious denial of the severity of the symptoms - I was like "nahhhh I'm still functional mostly, I'm no where near as bad as those poor blokes on the internet" - well unfortunately as I discovered even a mild case of adverse reaction/withdrawal can be MADE into a VERY SERIOUS one overnight with a careless or unfortunate exposure to the incorrect substance. 

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Tskigz21

I also had a adverse reaction are u guys doing better is there a group of people that over came this

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Laura1981

I would say I'm recovering, but at glacial speed. It's very individual though. I haven't read a recovery story of anyone with a catastrophic reaction anywhere so far.

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Christian

I would say I'm recovering, but at glacial speed. It's very individual though. I haven't read a recovery story of anyone with a catastrophic reaction anywhere so far.

I would like to know what an adverse reaction is. When I started Lexapro 15 years ago, I only got tired. Since I have had to reinstate, and the other times I attempted, I have gotten headaches, dizziness, brain fog, increased anxiety..... and this current time insomnia. But I also am in protracted WD, so I have had those symptoms for weeks including prior to reinstatement. Its tough to tell which one I'm experiencing. After 12 days of reinstatement, I feel a little less anxiety but feel like someone hit me in the head with a shovel, not to mention the 4 hours of sleep I have had on average since mid December. Sorry for venting, just hoping this reinstatement takes or its back to the drawing board.         

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Laura1981

From what I've experienced and heard from others I would say this:

An adverse reaction makes you immediately feel like you've poisoned yourself. People may experience akathisia, incredible anxiety, sweating, shaking, burning in the brain, urinary retention or incontinence, twitches, in my case I started bleeding heavily. These reactions occur already after very few doses of the medication. Many of the symptoms persist after stopping the medication. Withdrawal symptoms are added to the symptoms of the adverse reactions. 

 

I've heard from people being deadly ill for years after taking only 1 pill of lexapro / sertraline / prozac / effexor. 

 

I'm not sure if these reactions are all forms of serotonin syndrome or if it's a different neurotoxic syndrome that hasn't been described in the literature. I guess the line is fluid between side effects, withdrawal symptoms and catastrophic adverse reactions, so it's hard to say in your case.

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oskcajga

 

I would say I'm recovering, but at glacial speed. It's very individual though. I haven't read a recovery story of anyone with a catastrophic reaction anywhere so far.

I would like to know what an adverse reaction is. When I started Lexapro 15 years ago, I only got tired. Since I have had to reinstate, and the other times I attempted, I have gotten headaches, dizziness, brain fog, increased anxiety..... and this current time insomnia. But I also am in protracted WD, so I have had those symptoms for weeks including prior to reinstatement. Its tough to tell which one I'm experiencing. After 12 days of reinstatement, I feel a little less anxiety but feel like someone hit me in the head with a shovel, not to mention the 4 hours of sleep I have had on average since mid December. Sorry for venting, just hoping this reinstatement takes or its back to the drawing board.         

 

 

I am personally against reinstatements under certain circumstances.  I think a reinstatement makes sense when someone has WAY too rapid of a taper, or just goes cold turkey - in that case a reinstatement is definitely warranted and very important (if the person catches it in time).  But there's a time frame for which reinstatements can help, and after which they can actually make things a great deal worse.  I don't think anyone here or anywhere has any idea what that time frame actually is - and therefore, reinstatements are generally recommended to be exceedingly small doses to avoid severe akathesia reactions or kindling reactions etc.

 

When I reinstated prozac, I developed severe neurotoxic symptoms and after 1 month I was in like 3X worse shape than I was before.  If I had not reinstated, I'd probably be living a full life again with a good job and a good career.

 

I think once people realize that the effects of these medications are actually TOXIC and not a simple "drug withdrawal" - this information may help change the ways that they approach subsequent actions.

 

I honestly wish someone had pointed out to me that I had likely suffered from an acute neuroxiticy and that from now and on my nervous system may not functional normally for a very long time.  Instead, I was told that it was just "withdrawal" just like alcohol or cocaine.  This stupidity, and in some ways denial of the seriousness of this "withdrawal" condition actually lead to me trivialize the whole thing and eventually made things much much worse.

 

I also think that when people see toxic, and neuropathy, etc, etc, written they jump to conclusions that it's a perminant condition.  This is foolishness.  People recover from neurotoxic reactions all the time, whether it be from psych meds or fulxies, or chemotherapthy, etc - people recover all the time - but it takes a long time, and requires a big alteration in lifestyle and career, etc.    It's a long process that requires a great deal of attention and care - but recovery does happen (if one stays off drugs and doesn't imbibe in other CNS altering chemicals, etc).

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Altostrata

oskcajga, we have many people here who've done well with reinstating a small amount months after going off. You cannot generalize from your own one-person-sample experience. There are many unknowns about withdrawal, and we always advise people to be cautious.

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Christian

Thanks, Altostrata. It's debatable if that's the case with me. I guess we will see in a few weeks it I improve. I don't have the unbearable anxiety I had from 12/24-1/1 but it's still there but a little less. Plus the insomnia and concentration challenges.

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Altostrata

Christian, we need to discuss this in more detail in your Intro topic, because your recent history is there.

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Christian

I understand that it's easy for medicine to disregard SSRI WD to a relapse or GAD condition. But it's a lot harder to ignore an adverse reaction. When I had mine after taking a 10 MG updose during my first reinstatement my head almost exploded. I took another the next day cause I read headaches are a common symptom. I didn't take another pill after that. the next day I crashed through my garage backing out I was so disoriented. Cost me $600 for my car and garage door. it reduced in intensity (plus more symptoms added) but now my 12 year old sons are smarter than me. I'm not kidding.

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Farout

Just wanting to add my experience to the mix -

3 Pristiq tablets & 2 Ativan caused a massive adverse reaction. I went from a very happy (almost to the point of smug) mother who, at times, got sad and worried about her son's developmental delay to a psycho.

 

Immediately before I took the first dose (which a counsellor bullied me into after spending 15 minutes with me) I was having a laugh scooter racing with my children in the garden. Within an hour or so of the first Pristiq pill my heart was racing and I felt like my teeth were falling out. It continued - that evening I hallucinated that I had cut my breasts off and was standing in pools of blood. I dared not go near my children, I dared not do any sewing or craft (which I love), I dared not prepare food - all because of the knives and scissor. I was convinced I was a dangerous person - always had been. I became very agrophobic. I had very little recollection, at that time, of the real, gentle, laid back, me. I began seriously considering suicide as the only way to protect my children. My husband watch the decline in absolute horror.

 

Anyway, I stopped talk th the pills on the third day and the withdrawals will have been long going on for two years next week. The worst of it was in the first 5-6 months and again at about 18 months when I had a reaction to antibiotics.

 

While I am not quite fully recovered - I'm in a little wave now - I am a lot better. The waves are a drag, a real bummer, but they aren't all absorbing like they were. There are a majority of good times in each day even in a wave and you start to recognise the pattern and relax into them. Sometimes one throws you a loop by taking a different course but generally, when I get the twitching, sticky feeling in my left eye and neck pain, I realise that was what the jittery, anxiety, derealisation and dizziness was all about. I am also generally experiencing a lot of the peri-menopausal symptoms that some people have observed, even though I'm a bit young for that.

 

I don't have any recommendations other than time and being kind to yourself. It's a traumatic experience, which very few people understand. I'm available on PM if anyone wants to chat.

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Roxyrich

This thread scares me,as I had an adverse reaction to prozac.

The talk of years to recover ,drives my anxiety through the roof.

I've seen improvements in my symptoms and sleep, but then I read because I'm only 2 months out ,my symptoms will worsen at 6 months.

It's driving me crazy.

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Farout

Not necessarily Roxyrich. The first couple of months were by far and away the worst. Have you read about waves and windows? It's a pattern of recovery that seems the norm in these situations. https://npanth.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/waves-and-windows-in-ssri-withdrawal/

 

I have long periods of being entirely back to myself. The waves are a drag but not intense. Sometimes I don't realise that's what they are until afterwards. Which probably means that I forget about them in between.

 

Like this one - I have a new puppy who I adore. I have been fussing over him for weeks, treating him like a third child. This is week I've felt disconnected from him - like I don't recognise him - and couldn't understand it. Then I started feeling dizzy and slightly more anxious (but not debilitatingly so - just niggles) about other things, then I got the runs, slight neck ache and sticky feeling in my eye. It was only when the physical symptoms hit I had a lightbulb moment, realising it was another wave.

 

I've been at work though, planning a holiday, seeing my friends and enjoying it. I just feel tired now.

 

The first few months were almost unbearable. The rest is just disconcerting.

 

I would probably be completely out of the woods now if I hadn't floxed myself too.

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Farout

What I was trying to say is that -

- Severe adverse reactions can and do happen.

- Withdrawal and protracted withdrawal can happen after only a very few pills.

 

So, don't let anyone belittle your experience saying that it can't be withdrawal after a short time and don't beat yourself up, second-guessing what it is, if you are still having some symptoms after a year or more.

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Christian

This thread scares me,as I had an adverse reaction to prozac.

The talk of years to recover ,drives my anxiety through the roof.

I've seen improvements in my symptoms and sleep, but then I read because I'm only 2 months out ,my symptoms will worsen at 6 months.

It's driving me crazy.

There is a no way of knowing this. Read some of the good stories. There are many folks that have our symptoms for a couple of months and then they lessen. I have reached out to several folks that no longer update their threads and its because most are doing better. Think that way but I know its hard to. I am guilty of being scared too. We all are. But just remember that once folks get better they move on with their lives and are no longer on this site.            

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