I was lucky I got off Seroxat (Paxil) when I did. I was almost 4 years on it, and every minute of that four years was a minute too long for me. I can only imagine how horrible it must feel to be on Seroxat for ten years or more. In a recent Guardian article on SSRI’s, the long term use of SSRI drugs was examined, and some of the stories about Seroxat were very sad. These drugs are highly toxic and dangerous. Seroxat is hell in a pill. One poor guy has been taking Seroxat for 26 years. That is simply horrendous and his doctor should be ashamed.
The side effects are absolutely appalling on Seroxat and it is almost impossible to come off without experiencing extremely debilitating withdrawals.
My heart goes out to all these people trapped on SSRI’s. Long term usage of these drugs has not been studied and even very short term use can be dangerous.
Here are some examples of Seroxat horror stories from the Guardian article, however there must be many thousands more who can’t speak out though, that’s the bigger tragedy….
‘If I missed a dose, I’d get shocks down the side of my body’: Chris, 43; has been taking Seroxat for 26 years
“…I was originally prescribed Seroxat for mild anxiety about my GCSEs. It was 1991, about the time GlaxoSmithKline released Seroxat. I was one of the first people to be given it.
I was prescribed 20mg, the basic dose, to start with. It helped me: I got through school, I went to uni, I went to work. But I had side-effects from the off: profuse sweating, low libido. I’m quite a placid person, but I became aggressive. I never suffered, in the beginning, with the suicidal thoughts that people talk about now, but what I did notice was that if I missed a dose – especially after eight years of taking it – I’d get shocks down the side of my body. I’d be nauseous, my limbs would become weak. I’d be in a constant state of confusion and was very impatient. I couldn’t communicate well with people. I said this to the doctor, and he said, “We’ll up the dose to 40mg.” That was 1998.
The 10 years after that weren’t too bad. I managed to work, as a sales rep, for 18-20 years. But by 2012, by which time I was up to 60mg, I had tried on numerous occasions to withdraw. I tried to go back to 20mg, but my words became slurry, so the doctor put me back up to 60mg.
By the time I was 38, even that wasn’t enough. I tried to take my life. The doctor wouldn’t prescribe a higher dose. I couldn’t do my job, I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t drive. A psychiatrist once said to me that coming off Seroxat is harder than quitting heroin. That really hit home.
I have now been unable to work for four years. I’m still seeing a psychiatrist. I’ve also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia: constant tiredness, aches in the neck, and in the lower back and lower limbs. I’m 43 and still live with my mum and dad.
I also have no libido. Since the age of 30, I have had no feelings in that regard whatsoever. I have had relationships, but they’ve all failed. I haven’t been in a relationship for 10 years, which is a long time to go without sex, but I just don’t get the urge.
I don’t really have emotions, to tell you the truth. The drug takes your emotions away. I’m sort of existing, not living…”
“….I have been on seroxat since 1996, my dose has been 50mg daily for over a decade. I was prescribed it for depression, five years’ ago I was diagnosed with bipolar and told seroxat is not recommended as it can increase the likelihood of manic episodes. In about 1996 I was told I was neurotic because I reported that if I missed a few days’ meds I would get electric shocks deep inside my brain and inside my body. I have tried tapered reduction of my dose several times, mostly at the insistence of GPs (prior to my bipolar diagnosis) and once during my pregnancy in 2007. Those were the scariest periods in my life, I have never felt so physically and mentally ill.
In 2007 I found myself calculating the drop to hang myself and looking for a suitable spot in the house. It wasn’t at all like my ‘normal’ suicidal feeljngs, this was a strong compulsive urge, I can’t even explain it properly. Hanging is not a method I have ever contemplated during other periods of suicidal ideation. As far as I can see I need to take these meds for the rest of my life, trying to even reduce them is too terrifying to contemplate. Since taking them I have also become a severe bruxist and have destroyed most of my teeth through grinding and clenching. Whether this is a side effect of seroxat or not I don’t know but it is very tiresome and painful…”
“…I was on SSRIs for around 25 years continuously. After being on Seroxat for around 15 years my GP got concerned, and told me the long term effects of that drug were unknown, and that I should change to something else. I went on to Sertraline, which was equally effective against the dysthymia I suffered from. That is a relatively unknow variant of standard depression which is not as serious but is chronic, and it never lets up, which is why I was on the pills continuously for all that time.
I never once assumed the pills were any sort of cure – they aren’t. They are just a stop gap, a mental “sticking plaster” if you like. They can keep you functioning – sort of – so you can earn a living. But they leave you with little emotions and turn life in a sort of grey mush.
I tried out a whole variety of different therapies over the years, including standard psychodynamic counselling, gestalt, psychosynthesis, mindfulness, bodywork, hypnotherapy, and creative writing as well as keeping up an exercise programme. None of those things worked in the slightest for me – though I learnt a lot in the process and probably fixed a few other less pressing problems. I eventually came across spirit release therapy (google it) which did work.
Coming off the antidepressants once the depression was cured still took about 6 months. I tried a 4 week programme initially, but felt ill and just went back to my normal dose. A very slow withdrawal fixed it – which involved chopping up standard 50 and 100mg pills into smaller chunks with a stanley knife!…”
“…I only took Seroxat for 6 months, and coming off that was about half of that timescale. I didn’t like it, I have a gap in my memory of my time taking it, and it was horrible to come off. I’m glad I didn’t take it for very long. That was a number of years ago though. More recently I’ve had Citalopram (also not fun to cut down); Mirtazapine (easier to come off than SSRIs), and I’m currently taking Sertraline. A part of me wonders if any of them are helping me much. I was told by a Psyc nurse a few weeks ago that my moods should be more stable than they are, so it’s possible that I don’t have depression alone but something else.
What that may be is difficult to discover. Unfortunately getting anywhere with NHS mental health services is like wading through thick treacle in the dark while a force 9 gale is blowing at you. As others have said, antidepressants just deal with some of the symptoms, they don’t fix the problem….”
“…I have taken a few anti-depressants over the years and I have mostly positive things to say, except I wouldn’t touch Paxil (seen a few people have a tough time on that) and there was one which I forget the name of, but it made so ill the first night I took one, I would rather be depressed that feel that unwell, so I didn’t take one more! I have taken Prozac for 4 months – apart from killing my sex drive, it saved my life, like opening dark-room curtains to show a beautiful garden outside in sunlight, the effect was so dramatic. Don’t remember coming off being a problem, but it was 20+ years ago.
I took Wellbutrin to stop smoking and it worked amazingly well and I came off it after 2 months (haven’t smoked since) and still fondly remember the boost to my libido that first month (almost tempted to try again). Coming off wasn’t a problem. I do recall the constipation being incredible but managed it with prunes and extra water everyday! Seriously.
I took Citalopram for a year to deal with a bit of anxiety and high-stress, only 20mg and when I came off it suddenly, not tapered, I did get weird brain zaps but only for 2 weeks. I came off as I wanted to conceive and didn’t want to be on drugs…”
“…I was prescribed Seroxat for chronic melancholic depression, within a month I started to have suicidal thoughts, not good when I also take high doses of morphine…”
“…I wish I could take SSRIs, but the nightmares that come with them make it impossible. Three to five horrendous scenarios every night are just too much for me. My days are slightly better but my nights are hell….”