Social Audit   Ltd
P O Box 111 London NW1 8XG
Telephone/Fax 44 (0) 207 586 7771
mail@socialaudit.org.uk     http://www.socialaudit.org.uk

 

                                                                20 July 2002

Dear Doctor,

Yellow Card reports: antidepressant withdrawal reactions

Over the past decade, the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) has received unprecedented numbers of reports from doctors and patients about withdrawal and dependence-related problems with paroxetine (Seroxat), venlafaxine (Efexor) and similar anti-depressants. A review of the ADROIT database, requested by Social Audit (July 2002), shows that SSRI and similar anti-depressants account for five of the top six drugs for which such reactions have been reported. See CSM/MCA Guidance on Interpretation.

Drug substance

Number of UK reports of
withdrawal reactions

PAROXETINE

1281

VENLAFAXINE

272

TRAMADOL

117

FLUOXETINE

91

SERTRALINE

81

CITALOPRAM

49

ZOPICLONE

44

LORAZEPAM

38

FENFLURAMINE

28

DIAZEPAM

24

NITRAZEPAM

21

BUPRENORPHINE

19

BUPROPION

18

CIMETIDINE

18

CLOMIPRAMINE

18

AMITRIPTYLINE

15

BACLOFEN

15

TRIFLUOPERAZINE

14

CLOZAPINE

13

FLUVOXAMINE

13

MIRTAZAPINE

13

These reports tally closely with reports on the WHO database of withdrawal and dependence-related adverse reactions, compiled from over 60 countries, the UK among them.   See http://www.socialaudit.org.uk/5016-SKB.htm#DRUGS

The CSM will shortly be reviewing this matter and would surely welcome any observations from you, based on your clinical experience with such drugs. We urge you to report any concerns you may have – via email to info@mca.gsi.gov.uk or to CSM FREEPOST, London SW8 5BR - and specifically to advise on the following:

1. Do you consider it appropriate that the officially approved Patient Information Leaflet for paroxetine (Seroxat) should continue to advise users that, "These tablets are not addictive" … "remember that you cannot become addicted to ‘Seroxat’", and that the withdrawal symptoms some people experience when stopping paroxetine "are not common and (they) are not a sign of addiction"? If not, what warning would you suggest?

2. Would you think it appropriate now to include a prominent warning in the prescribing advice for professionals, drawing attention to the likelihood of confusing withdrawal symptoms with ‘relapse’ or recurrence of an underlying condition?

3. Is it in your view appropriate that, under European regulations, fluoxetine (Prozac) should be exempt from the recommendation to avoid abrupt withdrawal, and that the advice on prescribing all such drugs should state that the available evidence "does not suggest that SSRIs cause dependence"?

In its forthcoming review, the CSM will be considering for the first time the significance of withdrawal/dependence-related problems from patients, many thousands of which can be found on a variety of Internet sites. A selection of such reports relating to user experience with paroxetine may be seen at http://www.socialaudit.org.uk/43800045.htm and for your convenience is attached. It would no doubt help the Committee in assessing the relevance of such reports to take account of your own clinical experience. Many thanks for your consideration.

Yours faithfully,

 

Charles Medawar

REGISTERED No: 1042193 ENGLAND - A NON PROFIT COMPANY
REGISTERED OFFICE: 18 VICTORIA PARK SQUARE, LONDON E2
CHAIRMAN: CHRISTOPHER ZEALLEY DIRECTORS: LORD PHILLIPS OF SUDBURY
MAURICE FRANKEL ELAINE RASSABY ANTHONY SAMPSON SECRETARY & CEO: CHARLES MEDAWAR

 

       

Selection of comments from users of paroxetine (Seroxat, Paxil, Aropax) posted to
discussion boards (1999-2002) at http://www.socialaudit.org.uk  

Date Responder

Quote

21 Jan 1999 Anonymous

"I was on Paxil 20mg once per day X's 4 months. Not very long. I stopped taking the medication abruptly because I was not told any different. The warning label on the medication was not significant enough to alarm me. The withdrawl symptoms I experienced were terrifying. Dizziness, chills, very vivid awful nightmares, nausea, anorexia, headache, and diarrhea."

17 Oct 1999 Anonymous

"two weeks ago I stopped taking them. I was fine for the first 5 days other than I began to feel extremely fatigued. On the sixth day, however, I began to feel sick and for the next 8 days experienced the most weird and disstressing physical symptoms I have ever had the misfortune to suffer. These included dizziness, sweating acute nausea, gait instability-like being drunk or walking on the deck of a ship. Also jolts/rushes to the head like being in a lift decending rapidly. There were lots of other insidious symptoms ie visual disturbances etc and to begin with I did not associate these symptoms with seroxate withdrwal, I suspected that there may be a link but after reading the manufactures leflet which accompanied the tablets I dismissed the idea thinking I must be suffering from something much more serious. I made an appointment with the doctor to find out what serious condition I could be suffering from that would cause these very disstressing symptoms and it is at this point I discover through the internet that I am indeed suffering from Paroxetine withdrawal reactions. Having gone through 8 day of withdrawal I have no intention of going back on seroxate to eleviate my present condition in the hope that the worst is over and I will soon be "back to normal" pysically. I would not like to predjudice any ones use of seroxate with my experience, no doubt it can and does help some people but I think the manufacturer is guilty of not stating more clearly how bad it can be actually comming off the drug-after all I was only on a low dose for a very short time!"

27 Oct 1999 Kim Andrews

"I have been taking Seroxat for 10 months…I also tried to come off it like so many of you. I can only say it scared me to death. I am now on a half dose but I am experiencing tingling, numbness, ear ache, muscular pains and memory loss. My skin is also very itchy. I feel so mad that I was not warned by the makers of this drug"

31 Oct 1999 Anonymous

"I was on Seroxat (40mg) for 1 year when I decided the time was right to start decreasing my dose…I slowly decreased the tablets, this took place over 4 months, not because anyone advised me to withdraw slowly but because I was frightened of spiralling back into depression. Once I was on 10mg (half a 20mg tablet) per day I was advised to take 1 tablet every other day. On my first day without a tablet by 16.00 I started feeling ill - dizziness, sickness, headache etc. This deteriorated until I physically could not get out of bed. I had no idea what was happening. My husband thought I should take a tablet, just in case, and within 3 hours I was starting to recover. Despite this experience I wasn't totally convinced it was the tablets to blame for those symptoms - so I tried again and again. Eventually I returned to my doctor for help. I was told in no uncertain terms it is impossible to be addicted to Seroxat and that 'it was all in my mind'. I was sent away to try again. I tried as many ways as I could to reduce the dose further but I could not decrease my dose below 10mg."

18 Nov 1999 "ppitz"

"I have been taking seroxat for about 9 months. I stopped taking it 14days ago. I feel angry my dr. never told me of the horrific withdrawl symptoms. I have had such a variety of weird symptoms it would be hard to list all of them. The worst has been this tinny electrical swooshing feeling between my ears. It's aweful. Also like going down a lift too fast. I couldn't sleep but felt too bad to do anything. Now 14days later it is 3:30am and I still have insomnia. Sometimes my feet feel incredibly cold and last night they felt really hot and itchy. My legs ache something fierce. The latest is for the last 24 hours I have had the strangest still neck. After 2 weeks I am distressed I still feel the swooshing electrical feeling in my head."

23 Nov 1999 Anoymous

"I have taken the seroxat for 10 months…2 months ago i started to come off "it". Almost immediately i had withdrawal symptons, the worst being these "electric shock"/dizziness/disturbances of vision that alot of people above seem to have experienced. I also had nausea, itchiness(several times i combed my hair for nits!!)sweatiness muzziness etc etc…is it naive of me to expect the drug companies to have researched this??"

16 Dec 1999 "Catherine"

"How long does the withdrawl take? Does anyone have an idea? I feel worse now then when I was prescribed Seroxat. I left a happy little message a couple of mths ago 'how nice to smile...the way to re-find myself' lies all lies if I knew then what I know now. I will never again touch anti-depression drugs and if anyone ever asks my advice I'll suggest they get their doctor to try some before they go prescribing these personality sapping horrible things. I want my body to be rid of these chemicals. I want me back. I want to be in control of my emotions. I don't want to be this irrational and sick to the bottom of my stomach. Please can anyone give me an estimate ??? I've been taking 2omg for 6mths now and i'm trying to push my body as far as I can to rid this drug, while still attempting to live a 'normal' life … I can't believe I'm here trying wean myself off these drugs."

26 Dec 1999 Anonymous

"This is my final withdrawal ( I was weaned off)and I definately feel that shaky vision, dizziness, nausea, way irritability and worse- slow, tortuous gray."

28 Jan 2000 Anonymous

"I have been taking Paxil for about 7 years. I just keep getting refills and nothing else. I have tried several times to wing myself, but no luck. When I decrease the paxil I immediately have horrible headaches, nausia, and dizziness."

30 Mar 2000 "Kristin"

"Went OFF the Paxil 2 months later. It's been 10 days, and it's also been a living hell. Someone here compared the feeling in the head to being dropped in an elevator... EXACTLY.... extreme mood swings, amazing rage and anger … nausea. The worst side-effect is definitely that strange floaty head-thing. Feel like I'm going crazy…Not until I began looking around at sites like these (thank goodness for them) did I feel that people out there understood how I was feeling and that Paxil was definitely the culprit."

20 April 2000 Roger Bradley

"I've been taking Seroxat for 5 years. I started out taking 20mg/day which was reduced to 10. My GP wrote to me three weeks ago asking me to go and see him regarding my continuing use of Seroxat. When I saw him I described the results of a previous attempt to stop, vertigo, mood swings etc. He stated he had never heard of any withdrawal effects related to this drug!!!…I'm now taking 2.5mls/day. Yet the symptoms of withdrawal are if anything worse than they were before if, as I did the other day, I miss a dose. Within 24hrs of missing the 2.5ml dose I was feeling suicidal, aggressive, sick, dizzy and exhausted. I don't know where to go to get advice on how long these effects are likely to last. My GP is the last person I can turn to. Does anyone know where I can get the help I need? I don't ever want to feel the way I felt a couple of days ago again."

2 May 2000 Susan Smith

"After a year and a half I am now coming off seroxat. I took my last tablet - 20mg - about a week ago. My GP (doctor) advised me that there should be no adverse symptoms if I tailed off gradually, which I did. Two days ago I experienced disorientation and dizziness, and nausea. I am also experiencing extremely vivid dreams and cannot sleep, and these symptoms continue. I was relieved to read on this site that I am not alone..."

1 June 2000 Sean Moore

"Oh my God, I cannot believe how many others are/have experienced the hellish withdrawl effects of coming off Paxil!?! I have been going through a personal hell the past 5 days as I have discontinued my Paxil addiction…I feel like I am going insane and have no one to turn to for help. No one can understand the horrendous effects of coming off Paxil unless they themselves have experienced it. Over the past 5 years of taking 10-30 Mg of Paxil, I have failed 3 times at coming off it. I am not going back this time, despite having every withdrawl symptom described by others. My life is hell right now and I am gathering every ounce of strength I can muster to get through this on my own. Work is impossible- I just sit at my desk. I can barely walk, never mind partake in my usual physical activities!! I am alone and need help, yet there is none. I HATE EVERY SINGLE PERSON INVOLVED IN DEVELOPING AND PRESCRIBING PAXIL AND I HOPE THIS HORRIBLE ADDICTIVE DRUG IS TAKEN OFF THE MARKET ASAP!!!"

7 June 2000 Anonymous

" have been taking Paxil for three years now - 20-30mg - and would like to get off it. I have already tried to taper the dose on a number of occasions and had horrible side-effects within days."

 

 

 

14 June 2000 "Sally"

"After three or four failed attempts to come off - and plunging into terrible depression/anxiety again - it has now taken me from June 1998 to the present to reduce from 20mg - 7.5mg. I'm having to do this last bit even slower. Recently dropped to 5mg - felt crap - returned to 7.5mg. I'm furious about the whole thing and feel my life has been messed up big time over the last 6 years by this drug. Still I try to keep optimistic and think I'm better off on 7.5 than 20mg. I'm determined to beat this drug - but like you often lose hope. I also wonder can the withdrawal be "sat out". It usually hits me big time about two months after stopping - and then becomes unbearable again. I suppose I'd rather feel ok (and very angry) on it than totally shitty off it. I'm treating it like Valium (ie mega small reductions)- but there doesn't seem to be anyone around to help advise on this (or who's willing to admit it's addictive or just take what the patient is saying as a good indication of what's going on)."

17 June 2000 Nicole

"I was on 20mg Paxil for almost two years …for the last month I have tapered off and am now at 5mg every 2-3 days. Yes I get the whooshy feeling in my head, dizziness, and a lot of other withdrawal symptoms mentioned here."

20 July 2000 David Watson

"I am, at the present time, trying to come off Seroxat. I was originally on 40mg a day in 1994 but I have reduced this to 15mg one day and 10mg the next (using Seroxat liquid). I am experiencing major sleep problems at the moment, ie, very vivid and frightening nightmares and a feeling of extreme nausea which does not seem to clear until, perhaps, the afternoon. Whenever I have visited my local GP, he is under the impression that there are no withdrawal symptoms coming off Seroxat (Paroxetine). How wrong he is! This is about the third time I have tried to wean myself off these tablets - the two prevous times that I have attempted this have failed and I have had to up the dose to the previous level."

16 Oct 2000 "Jane"

"I've now been on paroxetine for 6 years with 3 failed attempts to get off (which I think is due to the withdrawal problems)… All I know is I wish I had known a better alternative, for me, when I started taking Paroxetine … I was previously on a tricylic and had no problems with this."

10 Feb 2001 Anonymous "I'm about 3 weeks out from my last seroxat... tapering down from 10 through 5 mg/s per day, to 5 every other day over 3 weeks. All the symptoms are there. I like the description of wooshes... like being totally decentred, and having your vision flickering in front of you to the pounding of pulses in your head … I'm still having all the other symptoms mentioned, but particularly the nausea at the moment..Yes I'd like to sue skb for all they’re worth and having had no joy or even remote concern from their phone helplines I'm feeling very cross."
16 March 2001 Martyn Guilbert

"Like most of you, I was told that this stuff does not lead to dependency. I have been on 20mg for a year … I reduced to 10mg for about a month, then quit completely 7 days ago. I am now experiencing the full range of withdrawal symptoms, diziness, light headed feeling, inability to concentrate, insomnia, sweating, mood swings, etc.etc … Reading the literature kindly supplied with our happy pills gives the user absolutely no warning that these withdrawal symptoms are likely - well not good for sales is it! It is certainly comforting to read this message board and know that my symptoms are not unusual. I hope there are lots of folks out there who have succeeded in weaning themselves off. Lets hope I am the same person when I get off the Seroxat carrousel."

20 April 2001 Sharon

"I am on my 9th day of withdrawal from seroxat. I was on (20mg) a day for 14 months after being diagnosed of post-natal depression after my second child, and have been reducing by taking (10mg) a day for the last month i feel extremely ill at the moment and i have experienced nearly every withdrawal on this site. I am getting that buzzing in my ears and electric shocks in my head as i call them as i type this out, i also feel very sick and extremely dizzy. Please tell me how many more days will i suffer … i don't even remember the depression being this bad."

 

 

8 May 2001 "Trudi"

"I am so glad I’m not the only one! After 4/5 years on seroxat, i decided enough was enough …This was fine for the first 2 days, then.... BANG! Every part of my body felt tingly, numb, like all my nerves were full of electric. Parts of my face/mouth keep going numb, I have chronic headaches, ringing in my ears, throat restriction, and the panics are returning with a vengeance!"

21 June 2001 "Tanya"

"I'm getting to the end of my tether with Seroxat and trying to come off it - been trying for nearly 6 years - including very gradual reduction. Prior to the Seroxat nightmare - I was previously on (seven years before) - prothiadin and had no problems coming off. If only I hadn't been seduced by my GP's promise of no side effects / no risk of addiction to Seroxat!! Can anyone help? Where is the professional help with this and acknowledgement that we all need detailed research and informed guidance to get off this shit!"

25 July 2001 "Anna" "AT PRESENT I AM SUFFERING FROM THE WITHDRAWL SYMPTOMS OF SEROXAT (AS WELL AS MY FAMILY). I AM SO RELEIVED TO HAVE FOUND THIS WEBSITE SO THAT I CAN RELATE TO WHAT IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING TO ME. AS ONE OF MY SYMPTOMS IS INSOMMNIA I HAVE BEEN DOING A LOT OF RESEARCH LATE AT NIGHT. AT PRESENT I AM VERY ANGRY AT THE PHARMACUTECIAL COMPANY RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS DRUG FOR NOT PUBLISHING THE WITHDRAWL EFFECTS IN THEIR NOTES AND GUIDANCE FOR PATIENTS. I AM GOING TO GO FURTHER WITH ALL THE INFORMATION THAT I HAVE TO A LEGAL REPRESANTITVE AND LET THIS COMPANY KNOW THAT WHILE THEIR PROFITS AND SALARIES ARE SOARING MYSELF AND MY FAMILY ARE CRUMBLING ALL BECAUSE THEY FORGOT TO LET THE ORDINARY PERSON KNOW THAT THE WITHDRAWL SYMPTOMS ARE FAMILY-BREAKERS AND LEAVE PEOPLE WITH A MONSTER IN THEIR MIDST"
28 July 2001 Anonymous

"I am writing mid withdrawal from Seroxat after being on them for a year for depression and anxiety. Although I cut down gradually over a month from 20mg a day (on Doctors advice) I am still having quite awful symptoms: "electric shocks" in my head, "whooshing", dizziness, mood swings, uncontrollable crying, upset stomach, tremors, swelling of my face and incredibly vivid nightmares! It has been a week now since my last tablet and the withdrawal seemed to start 2-3 days after that. I just hope that these symptoms go soon. This site, and others like it, has been invaluable as the doctors and even psychiatrists that I know had never heard of Seroxat withdrawal and thought I had a virus! I was so scared of the weird feelings in my head that I decided to search the web and here I am feeling 100% better just from knowing that I am not going mad!"

9 Aug 2001 Anonymous

"I have been on Seroxat for 18 months and have tried on three failed occassions to come off. The first time I reduced my dosage very carefully over a two month period but the side effects/withdrawal just kept getting worse and worse. Elec shock sensations in my head, joints aching, very very depressed feeling of going to have a convulsion or stroke or something horrible. A very clear feeiling of death. I ended up in A&E ST Mary's London and was told by the Doctor to go back immediatley onto seroxat to help my problems...I did and within hours I was fine again. The second time I thought I'd give it another go and failed again due to the impossible strain of the side effects. The third time I knew what to expect and decided to go hell for leather and this time it was not going to beat me. The first three weeks without a single tablet was very hard similar to the other two occassions but the weeks following other symtons started to appear that hadn't before. Like my hand going numb in the night. My sleep felt so weird like I was going into unconciousness I was terrified of going to sleep in case I didn't wake up. I wasn't sure if this was the discontinuation of the tablets or was there something else wrong with me...it was very worrying. I went to see a private GP … He was very understanding but again I have been told to go back on Seroxat. In my hour of desperation on Monday gone I took a tablet and hey presto after seven weeks of going through hell my symptons all disapeared…How the hell can one get off these cursing tablets???? I have tried and tried in a number of different ways."

28 Aug 2001 Michael Thomas

"I have become unwittingly a Seroxat 'junkie', having been on it for over seven years. My dose was increased from 20 to 30mg daily in 1996. I was never told about dependency, yet I find now that it is the most addictive antidepressant. I get nasty dizzy spells and other symptoms when going over a day without it. I feel that I am now totally dependent on it for the rest of my life."

8 Sept 2001 Adrian "I took Seroxat for 6 months (20mg/day)…I tapered off of seroxat fairly gently (2 weeks of alternate 10mg/20mg, 2 weeks of 10mg, 1 week of alternate 10mg/0mg). About a week later I started getting the following symptoms:
-Vertigo
-Strange pulsing sensations, starting in the head and going round the body
-mood swings, unexplained feelings of wanting to sit and cry for no reason (but NOT like my old "black days" feeling)
-sharp headaches/migraine symptoms (light/sound sensitivity)
- lack of concentration/memory loss
- lack of coordination/clumsiness
- sudden irritability
- stomache cramps
- noises in my ears
- continuous belching
This has been going on for four weeks. I can hardly work, and cannot drive since my sense of distance is affected. I have no idea how long it may go on for.
"
9 Sept 2001 "Annie L"

"I have unwittingly become addicted to Seroxat - it no longer treats my depression but despite 2 attempts I have been unable to come off it as the withdrawals are so bad (panic attacks, complete and utter distress, palpitations, sweating etc). I am very angry and frightened."

17 Oct 2001 "TB"

"Following three unsuccessful attempts to come off Seroxat, I have now been told by both my doctor and my psychotherapist that it would be best for me to stay on it as the withdrawal symptoms are too extreme. Despite the fact that I prescribed it for anxiety and not depression and have now dealt with the issues causing the anxiety attacks and no-one believes they will come back or that I need any medication to stop anxiety."

3 Nov 2001 "Kathy"

"I have also been on Paxel and have weened myself off. I have not been on it for 3 weeks now and still get the crazy sensations. Shocks, dizziness, grumpiness, etc. How long does it take for this to go away. My physician says this is not associated with Paxel. This is the only thing I have taken. I am now scheduled for a CT Scan. HELP!!! What to do? Can't stand this anymore"

28 Dec 2001 "Attilla- Bondi"

"I've just started coming off Aropax about 2 weeks ago. Dropping from 1 tablet; to half; to half every 3 day & now to none. (about 5 days ago)… No one ever told me the hell of the accompanying withdrawal symptoms. I was going to admit myself to hospital again today as I couldn't take the side-effects anymore. Then I went net surfing this morning to get more info in discontinuation & came across this site. Oh..., how exact some of you have described these dreadful symptoms … God, give those doctors and medical practitioners a good kick up the arse for their lack of assistance and support. If only they went through what we have had to endure. Thank you all for giving me hope in life once again."

31 Dec 2001 "Tad"

"I have been trying to get off Paxil for several months now. Even did 5 mg for 30 days before going to zero now for 3 weeks. I have extreme headaches, extreme nausea, tingling in my extremeities (when I don't have head aches only)… Taking 5 mg again helps but I desperately need to get past this and not getting any better."

1 Jan 2002 Susan Hucklesby

"I've been on seroxat for about 10 years, and have tried to come off of them on many occassions. Only to find myself back to my original dosage of 30mg because of the horrible withdrawals. Which i was assured when talked into taking anti-depressants in the first place were one of the mildest and non addictive so called "wonder-drug" in modern psychiatry."

3 Jan 2002 "Amber"

"I have been trying to get off of Paxil for about two years now. (I have been on it for 4.) This is by far the hardest thing I have ever been through. I thank God for you all who willingly share your stories, because I think it has kept many people from taking their own lives. At least your stories show us that we are not alone, and we will not go quietly. I have been having hallucinations, vertigo, "zaps", fear (debilitating), tingling in my tongue and limbs, sensitivity to noise, paranoia, and depression just to name a few. It is by far a crime what this company has put us through."

26 Jan 2002 Felicity Main

"I'm also a 2 year user of Seroxat and have been trying to come off it the last couple of weeks. Week one went from 30 to 20mg with headaches being the only problem, but week two when I actually missed it for a couple of days and then was taking 10mg a day was when the 'flashing', dizziness, flu symptoms etc started. And I thought the side effects on the drug were bad enough!! I'm…desperate to come off this so I can start a family. I'm positive that the side effects on the drug were causing more distress and depression and upset in my life than the original anxiety/depression ever did!!!! I think the drug company and GP's do have a lot to answer for and would like to see GP's looking at alternative ways of treating depression/anxiety than by prescribing pills straight away."

7 Feb 2002 "Bev"

"After taking paroxetine for 9 months i went to see my gp who told me how to cut my dosage (20mg a day) - i followed his instructions to the letter. After a month i am completely off the drug & have been experiencing horrible dizzy spells for the past week & a half. The headaches are pretty nasty too. felt sure i had a brain tumour so back i went to my 'helpful' gp who said (a) could be pregnant (b) could be a virus (c) could be the paroxetine withdrawal. After reading some of the comments on this site i am convinced its withdrawal. i am determined to stick with this because one of the solutions the doc gave me was to go back on the tabs & try a slower withdrawal. does this sound crazy or what? if i do that i think i'll NEVER get off these damn things. Oh yeah, this is after i was told that they are DEFINITELY not addictive."

18 March 2002 Lorraine Love

"I have been taking the terrible drug for 4 years now and have tried many times to give up but because of the horrible withdrawel symptoms I experienced, I had to go straight back to them. Thank god for finding this site. I didn't understand any of the symptoms I was experiencing. When I went to my doctor she told me that it couldn't be the seroxat because they have no side-effect...after reading this I realise that is not the case at all."

30 March 2002 "Una OM"

"I've just come off Paroxetine 12 days ago. I have been on 40mg for over a year. Having stopped taking them gradually I've had all the totally weird symptoms described on this bulletin board- whooshing in my head, tingling. electric shocks, stomach problems, bizarely muddled thought processes. I can still just about function, although my job requires me to be pretty analytical and 'together'- two things I'm not feeling at the moment. Others out there might find this interesting- I've never suffered from depression, I was put on paroxetine for ME. But boy did I feel totally emotionally shatterd when I came off the medication- I've never felt so unable to cope in my life."

26 April 2002 "Vanessa – UK"

"I have been taking 20mg seroxat for 3 years - I have been trying to come off it for two years!!! My last attempt started 8 months ago and after a lot of pain and grief I am down to 2mg. I thought I was safe to stop it - how wrong I was! I started to feel confused, irrational and hopeless-as well as crying uncontrollably. I rang my doctor in tears and begged him to help me- he advised to take 2mg straightaway - I felt better almost immediately. I then went to see him - he wouldn't believe that it was the withdrawal- he tested me for underactive thyroid - tests normal! He has never heard of this problem and tells me it could be my depression coming back - I couldn't believe it - doctors need to be told! I am so angry - I sometimes feel I'll never be off it - thank God for this website!"

29 April 2002 "Libby"

"it seems to me there is a jarring difference between the academic research findings on withdrawal effects and people's lived experiences. If researchers had experienced some of the severe SSRI withdrawal symptoms themselves, they would not be discussing whether they are 'psychological', symptoms of depression being unmasked, or the result of having a 'dependent personality'. About five years ago, I suddenly stopped taking paroxetine, which I'd been on for a few months. I'd had no advice that I should taper them off and at that time I had not heard of withdrawal effects from SSRIs so when I started to get symptoms I did not relate them to stopping the drug. Within a few days I started to get an occassional sensation that the floor was rising up in a wave beneath me, coincinding with parasthesia over the top of my tongue...Over two or three days symptoms worsened until not only was the floor going up and down and my tongue constantly tingling but things around me also appeared in a state of flux moving in and out and I soon found myself cowering in the corner of the staircase at work, two unsteady to move. A particularly strange and disturbing symptom was that every time I moved my eyeballs there was a 'whooshing' noise *inside my brain*… Quite a bit later I read about withdrawal effects and recognised these symptoms for what they were."

8 May 2002 Joanne Dean

"I am now 2 weeks into withdrawal and since my last posting can honestly say that I feel worse. My head spins so fast sometimes that I am physically sick. Every morning I wake up thinking that today might be the day when I feel slightly better but so far that is not to be. I still can't believe that a drug that was prescribed to help depression can make you feel like this. I only wish that my doctor had been more honest with me. If it hadn't been for this web site then I would really think I was going mad."

9 May 2002 "Vivian"

"I am two weeks into Seroxat withdrawal, after having been on it for a year and a half. I tried six months ago to reduce the dose (20mg daily to every other day) and had to go back to the original dose after severe depression and horrible physical symptoms. This time I've gone cold turkey and am on a deeper level much more emotionally positive. On the surface though I have become a ratty, short tempered individual, although I think that this is due to the constant horrendous physical symptoms of withdrawal (I found giving up smoking after 10 years less physically traumatic). I have near constant dizziness, nausea, insomnia, jumpiness and extreme irritability."

 

Contents page
List of correspondence with MCA/CSM