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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 08-16-2002, 10:20 PM
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Zoloft anyone?

I congratulate all of you on your success in conquering/controlling
your mental health disorders. There is, however, another side to this coin. This is a decision that should not be entered into lightly as there can be side effects from any medication that may make it not worth the risk.

I took Paxil (in the same family as zoloft) for anxiety for about 3 years and quit taking it about 5 years ago. I gained about 50+ pounds while on it, had no sex drive, and after I'd gotten off of it, I realized that I hadn't been happy or joyous for a long time either.
When I went off it (gradually under a doctor's supervision) I went through about a week of symptoms that made me unable to function: dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, and something that those of us who have been through it call 'brain-zaps'. Within 6 months I lost 20 pounds without dieting, and then another 10-15 with dieting. (I can't seem to lose the last 20 - maybe 'cause I'm now 47 yo.) I admit that Paxil did help the anxiety for a little while, but it was not worth the price. If I had known about the side effects, and the difficult withdrawal I don't think I would have taken the medication - or at least I would have been better informed.

My experience is not an unusual one. In fact I think I may have had it easier than most. Both Paxil and Zoloft have had class action law suits filed against them for non-disclosure of the withdrawal difficulties; as well as some civil suits for extreme behavior that people have exhibited while on the meds. (remember Prozac?) Some people have won settlements from these civil suits. The literature says that they are non-addictive, (I'm not sure if the legal definition of non-addictive is the same as the commonly accepted one) and as a result many doctors are not aware of how difficult it is to get off of them. I have included a web-site where you can get more info about Zoloft in particular, or you can just search for 'Zoloft side-effects' or 'Zoloft withdrawal'.
http://www.zoloft-side-effects-lawyer.com/default.htm

I am not against all medications. I know that some of these meds are life-savers for people. I know that sometimes the side-effects are the lesser of two evils. But I absolutely believe you need to really think about this before taking that step. If all you're having is menopause symptoms, maybe there is a better choice out there - maybe something in the health food line (did I read somewhere that soy is good for that?) Or maybe some lifestyle changes, or even counseling. There is no quick-fix, miracle cure out there - no matter what the commercials and ads say.

Whatever you decide - be informed first. Good luck and God Bless You!
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Old 08-16-2002, 10:32 PM
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I have bipolar too. And I don't unerstand why the establishment is surprised to see it in young people. It is an inherited disease - as in genetic - so you are born with it! It can manifast itself at any age. And there are usually minor symptoms of it alll your life but it doesn't usually become full blown until some crisis/stressful event, etc. I take Zoloft now and it is fine. Now Prozac, while great for some, is poison for me. I become severely suicidal on it.

As for affording it, zoloft can be obtained through what is called a MAP - this is what the free drug programs sponsored by the drug companies are called. If your doctor does not have one, you can write or call the maker of zoloft and request a form for their indigent program. Don't let the word indigent keep you from calling. Some of the income allowances are very generous on these programs. You then fill out the form yourself, take it to your doctor to sign off on and to include a prescription. The company will usually send you a 3-month supply. Give the doctor a SASE addressed to the drug company to encourage him to finish the application and send it in. Be sure to follow instructions carefully on these forms.

Go to www.phrma.org They have a complete list of the drug companies - addresses, phones, contacts - aa\nd which drugs they provide.

Good Luck.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 08-16-2002, 11:17 PM
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Zoloft

About 11 years ago I was diagnosed with depression. It was a scary time because I was stressing out all over my children. Thank goodness I got family intervention and was directed to my doctor. I was prescribed Zoloft and after two weeks of taking it my family and friends around me said they noticed a significant change in how I handled life. I could feel it too. Instead of going to extremes in emotions I could see things on an even keel. It saved my life.
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Old 08-17-2002, 12:51 AM
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Hi everyone! I've been on Zoloft for quite some time now and expect to take it or something like it for the rest of my life -- depression is part of my genetic code. I fought it on my own and thought I was doing ok until my father died.

Suddenly my sister and I were "orphans" and I became the "elder" in our large extended family (I'm 61). Settling Dad's estate was pure hell, legally and emotionally, and I fell apart. My doc put me on Zoloft and it made all the difference. My only regret is waiting so long.

Yes, at first a few people treated me like I'd shamefully failed some kind of moral test. Seems to me the failure would be to pray for God's help and then ignore His blessings -- like Zoloft!

Re: expense -- the suggestion about manufacturers' "indigent" programs is a good one; don't overlook that opportunity. Also, Zoloft is available as a generic in Canada and there are several good Canadian pharmacies that do mail orders to the US. Ethical pharmacies will require a new, original prescription. Some will also need a limited power of attorney allowing their courier to bring your medication through customs to mail in the US -- saves a bundle in postage! My last refill was a hundred capsules for $105. Compare that to $86 for 30 capsules at my neighborhood national-chain pharmacy!

Bless all of you for sharing --

Gramz
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Old 08-17-2002, 01:39 AM
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I refuse to a victim of those whose mentalities equate mental illnesses such as depression/bipolar as something shameful and embarrassing. My bipolarity is not who I am. It is only a small part of me. I take pride that I recognize and understand it. And I take steps to control it instead of it controling me. It is no more shameful than having any other hereditary disease such as diabetes, heart problems, etc. I'm not saying that you have to flaunt it - "Hello, I'm Lynn and I'm bipolar." But that you should not be ashamed. Some of the most famous, brilliant, and creative people in this world have suffered from depression and bipolar.
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Old 08-17-2002, 07:02 AM
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Just wanted to add a couple of things to the discussion:

1. I've tried almost all of the anti-depressants and had sexual side-effects with all of them. I'm on effexor now and it does ok, but I think I might have some of the weight gain from that.

2. The gal whose husband couldn't figure out why she needed anti-depressants while being a SAHM needs to be shot! Go to counseling with him so someone can tell him about life. You must remember- guys are dense by nature- we have to inform them, sometimes daily, about life.

3. My hubby had a major breakdown a few years ago, with absolutely no warning, and is now on 300mg of zoloft daily. He is a new man. He does have some sexual side-effects, but thanks to viagra I am reaping the benefits of that!

How old are all you peri-menopausal people? I started having whacked out periods and emotions when I was 34. They are still not normal, though every doctor I talk to says that everything about me is normal! I have gained 30 pds since then and am having extreme trouble getting it off. Are any others of you feeling like the medical profession needs to start studying us?!
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Old 08-17-2002, 08:02 AM
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Puprun, God bless you for not being ashamed or defensive about having bi-polar, and more power to you. You're an inspiration -- thank you!

Jujubelle, I was in my late 30's when I first started having to actively cope with depression. I was also having perimenopausal symptoms but my docs all thought I was "too young" -- as if they expected me to be fine one day and the next day wake up in the middle of menopause!

Finally a blood test (instead of a cervical smear) showed that the stress that triggered depression had also compromised my body's ability to produce estrogen!

I was so furious I shopped around until I found a younger female doc with a supportive attitude and up-to-date training.

Gramz
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Old 08-17-2002, 01:48 PM
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I was one of the ones writing in on the "old" discussion about Paxil and weight gain. Paxil does usually cause weight gain. BUT there is now a new Paxil CR. It is a continued release form and it doesn't seem to have the same weight gain side effect. And also, I don't seem to have the constant urge to eat like I did on the "old" Paxil. My doctor mentioned that I could try the Celexa if I wanted to cause it isn't supposed to make you gain weight but he also said if the new Paxil CR was working for me, I could choose which one I wanted to do.

I know what you all mean about "labels" but I have finally come to the conclusion that that is their problem if they can't handle it, not mine. I have enough to worry about without taking on that too!! I've been depressed for over 20 years, some of it severely so maybe I've become "hardened" to labels. In my relation, there have been a lot of suicide attempts, 2 of them successful, one of them being my son. So I am definitely no stranger to depression. It's nice to have other people who "understand" what it is like. No matter how you describe it to someone else, if they haven't gone thru it, they just don't truly understand. Kathy
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Old 08-18-2002, 09:01 PM
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Hi Everyone,

I would like to thank all of you for sharing your experiences, for all of your support and positive influences. You have really been a bigger help than I could have imagined. I will certainly keep you up to date on my progresses as I continue to read your stories.

Thanks a MILLION.

I consider all of you my new friends and family because you really do care.

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Old 08-18-2002, 09:05 PM
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Kathy, I am so sorry about the loss of your son. He must have been in terrible emotional pain. I truly believe that he has found some much needed peace in Heaven.

Since there is some history with depression in my family I am very concerned with the possibility my children might have to deal with that. I think I know what to look for but it's scary. I don't let myself think about it very much. I show them I love them, I will do my best to help them build great self-esteem and just try to be there for them...other than that I am not sure that there is anything to do if it's in the genes. If you have any advice about this, it would be greatly appreciated.

Question to all: Do you think it's important to discuss your depression/anxiety with your children? If so, when and to what extent? Although I think it's a good idea at some point, I certainly don't want my children to dwell on it and wonder "Is it going to happen to me?". On the other hand a child who is secretly dealing with feelings of depression might benefit from knowing certain things about their parent's personal experience.

Several years ago, I can say that I felt I was down to the low of the low. I wanted out - not of this life - but of that dark, dark depression and nothing seemed to help. Thank goodness I hung in there until the medication kicked in - I think it was about 6 weeks, maybe more - but the road to wellness is a very long and hard one. I am not at all surprised that some can find no relief other than ending their life. I feel so much for these people since there was a while where I thought that might be the only way out.

The thing is when I was first dealing with depression/anxiety, I couldn't understand why I couldn't make myself feel better. Even once I did feel better it took me years to accept that this is an illness like any other from a medical standpoint, even though society in general is lacking much education and compassion in this area. One of my lifetime goals is to make a difference in that area but I'm not sure how I'm going to go about it yet.

Thank you so much for posting Kathy. I was starting to wonder if I'd just imagined that Paxil thread. Do you know where it went ? There was great info on there. As for you, I hope your depression is in "remission" - as I like to call it- and that you are well despite your life's challenges.

To anyone who's suffering out there, just know there IS a light at the end of the tunnel - it just takes time before seeing it again sometimes.
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