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Old 12-01-2004, 12:36 AM   #1
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SSRIs, long term use?

Is there anyone that can say they have used one of these meds, same brand, successfully for many years? I am recently off benzos and considering SSRI therapy to get functional. But I cannot think of a story i have read of someone that used one of these meds for a long time with no problems. It is either that the med never worked or made them worse, did work but quit working eventually, or claims that it works but these have been on it fairly short term. And of course there are the withdrawal horror stories, tapering agony, etc. that gives me second thoughts. Thanks for any replies.

Last edited by howard678; 12-01-2004 at 12:38 AM.

 
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Old 12-01-2004, 07:58 AM   #2
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Re: SSRIs, long term use?

I have been on zoloft, 50mg's, for 10 years this January. I went off (cold turkey) for 10 months during my pregnancy. I was fine during my pg, but my post partum was awful. Zoloft has definitely saved my life, and I hope you find the therapy that works best for you, too!

 
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Old 12-01-2004, 12:03 PM   #3
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Re: SSRIs, long term use?

I've only been on an SSRI for about 6 months, but I know two people who have been on them 5+ years and are doing well still. The reason you don't hear many good stories is not that many people who have felt good on an SSRI for 10 years will come on the internet and post about it

Jeff

 
Old 12-01-2004, 12:39 PM   #4
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Re: SSRIs, long term use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffster
I've only been on an SSRI for about 6 months, but I know two people who have been on them 5+ years and are doing well still. The reason you don't hear many good stories is not that many people who have felt good on an SSRI for 10 years will come on the internet and post about it

Jeff
Good point.

 
Old 12-01-2004, 03:52 PM   #5
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Re: SSRIs, long term use?

people often stay on them for a few years then stop to see whether the old anxiety problems retuen, sometimes they do sometimes they dont

no point in taking them if no longer needed, IMO

 
Old 12-01-2004, 07:57 PM   #6
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Re: SSRIs, long term use?

To those of you who have been on Zoloft or other SSRIs for any amount of time: Did your side effects include jaw and other muscle clenching, and did you have an increased amount of muscle twitching when falling asleep?

 
Old 12-02-2004, 08:17 AM   #7
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Re: SSRIs, long term use?

I had a short period in my experience w/restless leg syndrome prior to falling asleep (legs twitching)..and I am currently experiencing muscle twitches..however, it is hard to determine if any effects you're having is a result of the drug or the stress itself!

 
Old 12-02-2004, 09:21 AM   #8
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Re: SSRIs, long term use?

I had seven good years on Zoloft before it stopped working for me. After being off of it for a year and 1/2, it is working well again.

I think Jeff was absolutely right that, for the most part, people who are doing well on their medication aren't here on Healthboards - they're off enjoying their lives.

PS. Seriousperson, when my doc started me back on Zoloft, she had me advance my dose more quickly than I could tolerate. At that time, I did have trouble with muscular pain/rigidity which went away when we lowered the dose. I had trouble for awhile convincing her that the dose was too high; she wanted me to increase the dose even more. We eventually got it worked out.

Last edited by index.html; 12-02-2004 at 09:24 AM. Reason: add PS

 
Old 12-02-2004, 09:22 AM   #9
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Re: SSRIs, long term use?

I actually had the jaw clenching thing when I started Paxil, but it lasted for a short period of time. It wasn't that bothersome to me. I also had yawing, which is a really weird side effect that also went away after a while. I was on Paxil for 5 years and it helped alot. I even did a term abroad in Italy while I was on it. I don't think I could have been able to do it without the meds.

 
Old 12-02-2004, 11:26 AM   #10
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Re: SSRIs, long term use?

I actually posted something about the twitching while falling asleep a little while ago. It seems to have stopped, but it went on for awhile. A couple of times I even knocked things right off my nightstand! Also, about the jaw clenching, I noticed this as well, but it seems to have got better over time. I'm on Effexor XR by the way.

Jeff

 
Old 12-08-2004, 12:38 PM   #11
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Re: SSRIs, long term use?

The long term effects of SSRI's is not measurable as those of us taking them are literally the lab rats who will determine that. SSRI's are a farily new class of drugs, being introduced in the early 1980's - so studies are not yet even at the 25 year mark. Newer SSRI's such as Celexa were introduced in 1998 and Lexapro in 2002 - thus the long term effects of these medications is an ongoing mystery.

I can tell you that I took Prozac for 5 years. I kept having my dose increased to keep up with the adjustments my body made to receiving it. I switched away at a whopping 40mg of Prozac. I have been taking Lexapro since its approval by the FDA. I am experiencing horrible physical problems with no apparent cause other than my medication. I take 20mg per my psychiatrist but have just read that studies show no noticeable improvements from taking the advised 10mg to the increased 20mg - other than making the liver and kidneys work overtime on filtering this substance from the body.

SSRI's are brain altering drugs. If that sounds scary it is only because it should. Science has no clue as to the effects of changing the bodies chemical messengers on a long term basis. Large doses in rats has caused brain damage and death. The liver is held responsible for carting this drug around for almost 90% of the dosage. Who knows what long term effects on the liver and kidney will be discovered.

The limbic system is complicated and intertwined. Though selective serotonin drugs are said to have minimal effects on dopamine and other neurotransmitters, this has not been proven conclusively on a long term basis to see how the body will compensate for such changes. Dopamine in high doses causes schitzophrenia and in low doses causes Parkinson's. Messing around with such chemical properties of the human brain seems a little dangerous if you ask me.

I am not an opponent of SSRI's, as I truly believe that originally Prozac changed my life for the better; however, though they are not chemically addictive, they are in fact the proverbial "quick fix." If any of you ever tried dropping acid in your younger years - recall how the first time was the best and it could never be recreated? SSRI's seem to be the same - they work at first and then they fizzle out. Doctors then try different ones on you or increase in the dosage - but the chances that we will ever recreate that initial wonderful feeling does not happen.

I believe because a lot of it is psychological. Drugs cannot help us cope with underlying issues that we face. Drugs cannot make us have more confidence or deal with past pain. Drugs cannot teach us new ways of thinking that would be beneficial to our well being - they only give us the release of chemicals that makes us feel good and that itself only seems to be short lived.

Endorphins do the same thing - and can be released through exercise and sex. Serotonin can be increased through healthy diet, exercise and pleasant thoughts.

In essence - through my trials and tribulations of almost a decade of SSRI's, I believe that the irony is that we already have these chemicals available in our own bodies and just need to figure out how to release them without a prescription. It is safer and certainly more cost effective. We need to learn how to find our own happiness and good health through the "long fix" - diet, exercise, healthy thinking and healthy relationships with others as well as ourselves.

Remember the old adage, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Or better yet in the case of SSRI's, "Nothing is ever free." We may end up paying a rather high price for our lack of initiation and always grabbing the "quick fix."

Please do not take this as anything more than a personal opionion. Discuss thoroughly with your doctor your concerns about taking SSRI's, and most importantly be honest and forthright about any and all symptoms you are having while on the medication. Do your own intensive research before commiting to any medication. Consider therapy in addition or in instead of SSRI's.

Best wishes to everyone.

Last edited by peanutgal; 12-08-2004 at 12:39 PM.

 
Old 12-08-2004, 02:27 PM   #12
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Re: SSRIs, long term use?

I am hoping to God that I didn't cause permanent damage using zoloft for 2 years. I tapered down to nothing for 10 months and was off about 4 months when I had the biggest prolonged anxiety attack of my life. I had never experienced anxiety before prior to zoloft. I lost 20 pounds. I had to go on lexapro just to be functional and currently at 7.5 mgs--it doesn't seem to be enough--i still have anxiety. I do not want to go up, I want to get off these drugs because I feel it is mucking up my brain and my body. Of course, I'm no doctor and can't prove anything. I ask my pdoc yesterday about something I read in Peter Breggin's book: After being on SSRIs for awhile the brain compensates by producing less seretonin receptors and when you go off--you are left with less seratonin that you had before you started the drugs. She said it could be possible-no one knows. She is the same doctor who put me on zoloft!!!! I am livid about this possibility and that doctors continue to prescribe these to people with mild depression and aren't suicidal.

Does anyone have any thoughts about this? I would love to have hope that I don't now have to be on SSRIs for the rest of my life because I altered my brain chemistry permanently.

 
Old 12-08-2004, 09:57 PM   #13
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Re: SSRIs, long term use?

I would have to stop and ponder this question for only a short time. Are the side effects of my MANY, MANY medications harming to the extent that maybe I shouldn't be taking them? Well, here would be the other question. Where would I be if I didn't take them? DEAD
I guess I will take my meds as prescribed and keep being monitored by my psych and psych-nurse.
Gail

 
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