Nexium and Anxiety / Depression
I'm just posting this here to help anyone that might be searching for info on this issue.
I have quite a stressful lifestyle but it’s something that is under control. There have been maybe 1 or 2 instances in my life where I have been unable to control my anxiety or it has interfered with my life and then it was only for a day or two. Mostly though I am fine. However several months ago I went through a rather stressful period where I was quite unhappy and feeling a lot of anxiety and stress. I had a period of anxiety which lasted about a week. But I got through that and started to feel better, and believed it was under control. I was still quite stressed however and the result was that I developed an ulcerated oesophagus due to gastric reflux. I was in a lot of pain and was basically unable to eat at all, which was very concerning, so the doctors put me on a high dosage of Nexium to help heal the ulcer – I was on 80mg a day – 40mg in the morning and 40mg at night.
At first when the anxiety returned I assumed it was because I hadn’t sufficiently dealt with the issues that had caused the initial bout of anxiety – that I just had to work through what was bothering me and initiate action to remedy the issues. This had aleviated any anxiety I had in the past. However the anxiety grew and grew no matter how much I worked through it. I would work through it and feel that it was settled, then the anxiety would come raging back. It just got worse and worse. I also developed depression, I cried non-stop – even at work, and all weekend. I couldn’t cope with other people, or with work, I couldn’t cope with anything. I would have raging panic attacks that made me feel like the world was ending. By week 2 I was convinced I was having some sort of nervous breakdown. By the end of week 3 I thought I was losing my mind and was on the verge of checking myself into a mental institution. I was worried that if the situation continued I could become a danger to myself. It was completely out of character – I just couldn’t understand it and neither could the people around me. That’s when I tried to figure out if it could possibly be an external influence rather than just me. I realised almost immediately that the anxiety and depression had begun after I had started taking Nexium – it was the only new thing in my life.
The drug packet doesn’t include any info on possible side effects and my doctors hadn't mentioned any so I had to get on the net to find out. There were no sites linking Nexium to the onset of anxiety or depression. Then finally I found a site that had full pharmacological info on Nexium and right at the end of a long list of rare possible side effects was a note that said it could worsen anxiety or worsen depression. I went off the Nexium straight away (though I was worried that the ulcer would return it was less frightening that the thought of the anxiety and depression continuing). Within a week my anxiety and depression had almost disappeared, and within 2 weeks I was back to normal. I couldn’t believe that the Nexium had had such a profound effect on my mental state – after 3 weeks on the drug I had gone from being a bit stressed out to being on the verge of checking myself into a mental institution.
I’m just posting this here so hopefully the next time someone searches for info on Nexium and anxiety and depression, this post will pop up and maybe help them. I couldn’t believe there was no other info on this side effect – though possibly it is very rare and I was just unlucky. Even so, considering that this is a drug that is prescribed to people with stomach ulcers, often caused by stress or anxiety, I feel this side effect should be more widely publicised, especially considering the extremity of the reaction that can occur.