Depression Medicine & Antidepressant Dangers
Medicine For Depression :
The Dangers Of Antidepressants
When it comes to depression medicine, the antidepressant dangers can be all too real for some people. This page explores this topic further, but it's important to remember that antidepressants (depression medicine) are highly effective for millions of people worldwide.
Here's more about the antidepressant dangers that you should know about...
Antidepressants (depression medicine ) are used by millions of people worldwide, but many are unaware that some of these antidepressants (SSRI-type depression medicines) have been linked to suicidal thoughts, nightmares and violence.
In fact, did you know that if you take an SSRI antidepressant (depression medicine ), and if it is not right for you, it could actually make your depression worse?
SSRI Antidepressant Depression Medicines
If you are a ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia sufferer, you may experience depression as a symptom of your illness.
Click here for more on possible ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms...
In fact, you may well have been prescribed a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI ) antidepressant (depression medicine ) such as:
- Seroxat (known as Paxil in the USA)
For millions of people, including CFS and Fibro sufferers, these antidepressant pills (SSRIs - depression medicine ) have helped them tremendously. They can lift depression but can also promote sleep and alleviate fatigue - which can be great for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FMS) sufferers.
... for a small number of people, these SSRIs may cause them severe problems. For a select few, the antidepressant dangers of some depression medicine can be very real:
“(...) it has been reported that a small sub-group of patients [who take SSRIs] may be susceptible to severe withdrawal symptoms and sometimes even intense agitation leading to suicidal thoughts.”
-- Panorama, BBC, 2002 --
Pharmaceutical companies deny these claims and continue to insist that the SSRIs (depression medicine ) are safe and effective.
What Are SSRIs?
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs - depression medicine ) were introduced in the 1980s as ‘the non-addictive alternative to valium’.
Generally, they stabilise your mood, which makes you feel less depressed, less prone to mood swings, and generally happier.
This is because the SSRI antidepressant (depression medicine ) keeps your seratonin levels (the chemical most commonly associated with happy and positive moods) floating around your brain for longer by blocking the seratonin’s re-absorption into the brain.
But some SSRI (depression medicine ) users have a far from ‘happy’ experience with SSRI antidepressants …
Paxil / Seroxat - A Suicidal Nightmare?
Seroxat (known in the US as Paxil ) is part of the SSRI family of antidepressants (depression medicine ) and is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.
Seroxat / Paxil (depression medicine ) has received a lot of media attention in the past few years. And that has largely centered around the Donal Schell case back in 2001...
In 2001, GlaxoSmithKline was sued by Toby Tobin after this father-in-law Donald Schell killed himself, his wife and his grand daughter in Gillette, Wyoming, USA, after being on Paxil (Seroxat ) for only two days.
“I felt that something had almost turned him into a monster (…) and the Don that I knew wasn’t that type of person. The only thing that had changed was the medicine he was taking, the Paxil [the US brand name for Seroxat].”
-- Tim Tobin, Panorama, BBC, 2002 --
Donald Schell had apparently been depressed for the previous ten years - but not suicidal. He had taken just two Paxil (Seroxat ) tablets (depression medicine ) in two days, before he killed his family. The jury found GlaxoSmithKline to be negligent and awarded more than $6mn (£3.8m) in compensation.
Since then Seroxat / Paxil has received a lot of media attention. For a timeline of significant news coverage of Seroxat / Paxil and Panorama, click here...
The Sinister Side Of Paxil / Seroxat ...
Dr David Healy’s testimony played a major role in the Donald Schell Paxil / Seroxat case. Dr Healy was allowed access to the GlaxoSmithKline confidential Seroxat HEALTHY volunteer archives.
“It seemed clear that some people that went on the drugs had no major problems, but equally clear that others who went on the drug [Paxil / Seroxat] ended up more restless, in a state of mental turmoil, complaining about dreams, nightmares, and a range of things like this. These don’t seem to have been explored further in any great detail.”
-- Dr David Healy, Panorama, BBC, 2002 --
In fact, Dr David Healy discovered that around one in four of the healthy volunteers in these clinical trials for Seroxat / Paxil (depression medicine ) suffered from this type of mental unrest when taking normal doses of Seroxat / Paxil (depression medicine ) - even when they had been taking it for a few days. [Source: Panorama, BBC, 2002]
According to Dr Healy, there had also been a suicide in the program.
In one healthy volunteer study, Paxil / Seroxat (depression medicine ) was linked with withdrawal effects in around 85% of the subjects. [Source: Panorama, BBC, 2002]
“It was clear (…) that Seroxat [Paxil ] caused agitation in around 25% of takers, that it made things worse when the dose of the drug was increased and problems cleared up when the drug was stopped only to re-emerge when it was restarted.”
-- Dr David Healy, Panorama, BBC, 2002 --
However there are millions of people out there for which Seroxat has worked well, and Seroxat manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline maintain that Seroxat is a safe and effective drug.
"Seroxat / Paxil Has Most Complaints"
Maudsley Hospital in London (United Kingdom) runs a national information service for people taking psychiatric medicines such as SSRIs (e.g. Prozac, Seroxat, Cipramil, Lustral, Faverin - all depression medicine ). It says that the most common complaint by far is from callers who are experiencing trouble coming off Seroxat (Paxil ).
"Severe Withdrawal Reactions Seen In Some People"
According to Dr David Healy, it is known that Seroxat / Paxil can cause withdrawl symptoms when you stop taking it suddenly. Thankfully, these symptoms are not serious for most people, but some may unfortunately experience more severe and sinister reactions.
David Taylor, chief pharmacist at Maudsley Hospital, London says:
“If a patient is to stop taking Seroxat [Paxil] suddenly, usually they would quite soon become quite anxious. They may feel very dizzy and unsteady on their feet. Often people experience electric shock sensations. They may also have a fever and feel generally unwell, and they also may experience mood changes or very vivid nightmares for example.”
-- David Taylor, Chief Pharmacist, Maudsley Hospital, Panorama, BBC, 2002 --
Many health professionals recommend that you do not stop taking Seroxat / Paxil (depression medicine ) before consulting with your doctor.
Coming Off Seroxat / Paxil
BBC Panorama interviewed Helen Kelsall, who was prescribed Seroxat / Paxil (depression medicine ) as a teenager after suffering from panic attacks during her A-level studies. Helen suffered terrible side effects when she tried to stop taking Seroxat / Paxil (depression medicine ), including:
- muscle pains
- sweating and trembling
- electric shock sensations which threw her off balance.
Other users have experienced nightmares, suicidal thoughts, self-mutilation, and violence.
To Take Or Not To Take An SSRI Antidepressant ... That Is The Question
Clearly, deciding whether you should take SSRI antidepressants is not a decision you should take lightly. For a small group of people there can be some antidepressant dangers. However, SSRIs do work for millions of people worldwide (including Seroxat / Paxil depression medicine ).
It's always best to talk it over with your doctor before or while taking an SSRI anti-depressant, if you do have any concerns. Health professionals recommend that you do not stop taking Seroxat / Paxil (depression medicine ) before consulting with your doctor.
And if you do decide to take an SSRI depression medicine , just be aware of the antidepressant dangers and keep an eye on how it’s affecting you.
Remember, healthy volunteers in clinical trials experienced problems as early as within the first few days of taking Seroxat / Paxil (depression medicine ), so be on your guard. If you notice anything, don’t hesitate to tell your doctor immediately.
Where can you get help or more information about these antidepressant drugs for depression?
For natural depression medicine alternatives, check out 5HTP or St Johns Wort.
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