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katiekate 03-04-2003 07:59 PM

SSRI's and brain damage??
I've recently been described 12.5 mg of Paxil CR a day for anxiety and depression. My anxiety has gotten so bad that it's really affecting my lifestyle, and I've been sick for a while. One of my biggest worries is doing bad in school......I heard SSRI's cause brain damage and inhibit thinking so I'm naturally too afraid to take my medicine. Can anyone answer if this is a myth or factual??


nervousdave 03-04-2003 08:02 PM

given that i've spent nearly 10 years in college (3 degrees), i can tell you that you stand a greater chance of getting brain damage in school. :eek:

katiekate 03-04-2003 08:19 PM

So it hasn't slowed your thinking at all?? --Just out of curiousity........what did you get degrees in??

nervousdave 03-04-2003 09:58 PM

BA in Humanities, MA in Japan History, BS in Computer Science

the drugs slowed me down a bit at first, but all is functional at the moment.


hry33 03-05-2003 12:13 PM

the SSRI's have been in use all over the world for years and are safe, theres no proof at all of them causing brain damage

Rion4578 03-06-2003 07:42 AM

The research I've seen that claimed that SSRIs can fry your brain is one in which mice were given 10-100 times the normal dose of the meds for 4 days and ended up with some complications. LOL No kidding... I'm sure if I was taking 5000 mg a day I'd have some serious problems too! :)

Just-A-Boy 03-07-2003 02:45 AM


SSRI's could cause brain damage, like loss of brain cells!

Joseph Glenmullen, MD at Hardvard University, he wrote a book called Prozac Backlash, and which I read.

I learned that SSRI can cause silent brain damage, and some people who took SSRI's developed tics, that wouldnt even go away, even when the drugs were stopped.

How do SSRI's lead to neurotoxicity?

Well you see, Serotonin, its easily oxidised in the body. When the Sending neurons sends out a burst of serotonin to a receving serotonin, there is little bit of serotonin left between the gaps of sending and receiving neurons, so the sending neuron will vaccuum that up. Drugs like SSRI, block that... So your body starts to think, this neuron is not working properly, and its over firing, so your body destroys the sending, and receiving neuron!

Its sad... I reduced my anxiety, but saying to my self, IF I wont beat this anxiety, I will have brain damages... 60% of my anxiety is down, and I am living my life. I am proud of my self! MY heart doesnt beat 200 beats per min!

If you wanna try Wellbutrin SR, its a stimulant, it will still fry your brain cells!

Just-A-Boy 03-07-2003 02:48 AM


Written by Carol Sieverling, our groupís facilitator, this information is based on tapes of her October 2000 visit to Dr. Cheney. He gave permission to share
this information, but has not reviewed or edited it.

Dr. Cheney recently came across some information regarding the dangers of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIís), such as Prozac, Zoloft and
Paxil, and stimulants like Ritalin and Provigil. During office visits, Dr. Cheney shows patients the book Prozac Backlash: Overcoming the Dangers of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Other Antidepressants by Joseph Glenmullen, M.D., a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School. It includes endorsements from other Ivy League psychiatrists. Cheney calls the implications of this book "staggering".

When talking with patients, Cheney usually opens the book to a picture of a monkey's brain before and after it received a very potent SSRI. The "before" photo shows a dark background filled with fine white lines and white blobs Ė healthy neurons. The "after" photo is very dark Ė only a few white lines and blobs remain. Most of the brain cells had been "fried".

SSRIís and stimulants work by increasing the firing of neurons. While this often has great benefits in the short term, doctors are now realizing that long term use "fries" brain cells. The body views any neuron that fires excessively over time as damaged, and destroys it.

SSRIís and stimulants, taken over a period of 10 years or so, can lead to a loss of brain cells, causing neurodegenerative disorders. Many doctors have recently seen a sudden increase in patients with neurological symptoms, and most have been on Prozac, or a similar drug, for about 10 years. Cheney is seeing this in his own practice.

During office visits, Cheney also shows patients a copy of the May 22, 2000 issue of Newsweek with Michael J. Fox on the cover. It has an excellent article on Parkinson's Disease, a condition that involves a loss of neurons in the area associated with motor control. Parkinson's drugs stimulate the remaining neurons to "perform heroically", firing excessively. However, the article notes that while benefits are seen initially, neurological symptoms get much worse at the three to five-year point. Patients experience wild involuntary movements, etc. These drugs, though helpful in the short term, actually speed up the degenerative process.

What mechanisms are at work causing neurons to be "fried"? SSRIís are often prescribed for depression, which involves a lack of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter Ė a chemical messenger. One neuron releases a burst of it into the intersynaptic cleft, (the gap between neurons). The serotonin is then aken
up by special receptors in the adjacent neuron. Thus a message is sent from one neuron to another, with serotonin carrying the message across the gap. excess serotonin is cleared away before a new message is sent. A "reuptake channel" in one neuron vacuums up the left over serotonin.

SSRIís are designed to address a lack of serotonin by blocking the reuptake channel from vacuuming up excess serotonin. While this allows more serotonin to connect with the receptors, often too much is left floating in the intersynaptic cleft. The only way the body can get rid of this excess serotonin is to oxidize it. Unfortunately, this turns it into a toxic compound that, over time, kills both the sending and receiving neurons. Cheney stated, "What starts out as an attempt to increase serotonin and reduce symptoms ends up with the destruction of the serotonergic system itself. It takes about a decade - more in some, less in others.

Now when the serotonergic nerves are dead, you start getting these motor neuron problems, which is what we're seeing." Cheney commented, "You know what a lot of doctors (who donít understand CFIDS) are doing? They're saying 'Well, let's just give them an antidepressant.í And theyíre frying their patients') brains and they don't even know it. In fact, a CFIDS patient on one of these drugs fries their brain even faster than a non-CFIDS person." (See the article on Klonopin for an explanation.)

Cheney went on to say, "The other way some people with CFIDS are going is stimulating the brain, using drugs like Ritalin or Provigil. They do the same
thing - they fry the brain. They cause neurons to fire at lower stimulus by lowering the firing threshold. All stimulants are dangerous, especially over the long haul. I'm not saying that you might not find them useful in the short-term. But over the long term, the physiology demands that neurons that fire excessively be killed."

Cheney strongly urges anyone taking antidepressants or stimulants to read Glenmullenís book. It lists safe alternatives to SSRIís.

nervousdave 03-07-2003 05:37 AM

Some questions on the Cheny article.

1. What is a "potent" level of SSRI's? Just how high is it, and would our doctor's prescribe the same dosage to us? The point here is that a beer a day will not induce alcohol toxicity in the body as would drinking two or three gallons of vodka. I take one SSRI a day, not five handfuls.

2. We are born w/over 100 billion brain cells.

"With normal aging, the number of nerve cells in the brain decreases. Cell loss is minimal in some areas (eg, brain stem nuclei, supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei) but is as great as 10 to 60% in others (eg, hippocampus). Loss also varies within the cortex (eg, loss is 55% in the superior temporal gyrus but 10 to 35% in the tip of the temporal lobe).

From age 20 or 30 to age 90, brain weight declines about 10%, and the area of the cerebral ventricles relative to the entire brain (as seen on cross section in the coronal view) may increase three to four times. The clinical effects of these changes are difficult to determine because brain weight and ventricular size may not correlate with intelligence; indeed, severe dementia may occur in persons who have normal ventricular size for their age."
- Merk Manual of Geriatrics

My question is how do these SSRI claims take into account normal aging and its effects on brain cell loss?


Just-A-Boy 03-08-2003 09:20 AM

We dont know much about this drugs, and they might be neurotoxic, and from what I read, they do sound neurotoxic.

It could take up to 50 years, to see if this drugs were neurotoxic.

We are messing the way brain cells work. Each individuals persons brain works different. But when this drugs come in, and artificially change the way the brain works, its sometimes can be BAD!

Only time will tell!

Just-A-Boy 03-08-2003 09:24 AM

Back in the days!!!!

Cocaine Elixirs, were miracle drugs, until their horrible side effects showed up!

nervousdave 03-08-2003 03:11 PM

well if it may take up to fifty years then i don't really care. i don't expect to be alive fifty years from now. moreover, i don't expect to be taking these meds fifty years either.

Just-A-Boy 03-09-2003 06:51 AM

I dont know how long you been taking this drugs, but down the road in the next 10 years, there is a chance, we will develop, neurological problems, due this drugs, but no one knows!

Just Barb 03-21-2003 01:26 AM

To Just-a-Boy,
I must admit that your info is unnerving. I have taken 20mg of Prozac and generic Prozac for 14 years now. Every time I felt a need to discontinue and went off it, generally cold turkey, I had problems such as brain lag, almost like being lightly stone. Very unpleasant. Then the crying would set in and the Doc would put me back on stating depression was setting back in. I must admit that in the beginning it was very good for me. My husband said that if insurance ever quit paying he would pay for it himself. After about five years the Doc said I'd be on for life. A few years later with no break I began to feel a kind of tension set in. Also increase tinnitis. Have tried switching to other drugs but the withdrawel from Prozac would set in again even though no symptoms were supposed to happen ("Nothing reported to indicate such side affects") I knew it was not "all in my head". I became worried wanted change but nothing worked.

This last year I have had much stress in new job, mostly too many deadlines, not enough help. I had increased trouble sleeping,fibromyalgia symptoms increased. Sent to Rheumotologist (Nothing-Just Fibromyalgia, Possibly Shogrens Syndrom)and also perscribed low dose Xanax(generic). Would sleep 6hrs then wake up. Stress not better; complaints from boss about being 'snappy' with others and possibly get counseling for stress. Did so then went to Doc to ask for permission to be put back on Branded Prozac instead of generic. He decided that Prozac was losing effectiveness and asked if I would consider getting off. Worried about withdrawel again and went to the Web seeking info on long term usage of Prozac.

This is the second big item I have seen about problems. Have been off Prozac for about eight weeks but am now taking Lexapro. Some problems but smoother than any other switch. Determined not to go back on Prozac but am now second guessing that decision as am having more depression than usual. However new Doc says to start taking it at night, increase to 30mg, and has added Buspirone 15mg 2x day this week because he believes am some serious anxiety from work stress. I worry that since I can't keep up the gruelling pace, I am a candidate for getting fired although have been assured that it is not my problem and am a good worker.

Sorry this is so long for first entry, but am truely concerned for my health and wish I could be drug free but have been told by many doctors that it is not an option, that my meds just need to be adjusted until the right fit is found. Has recently caused loss of work because I crumble easily some days for no reason except uncontrollable mood swings. (Side affect of adjusting meds??) Am also taking Levoxyl for hypothyroid and Hydrochloroquine for pain.

Any thoughts to all of this? I hate the brain fog, fatigue, and moodiness. Should I just give up and go back on Prozac and take something to seep at night. Lots of drug interactions with Prozac and over the counter meds especially any cold remedies - can kiss off sleeping at night then - the buzz is just unreal. Very tense - can't get down into deep sleep. Okay, I'll shut up. This is just another example of how anxious I have become.

Just-A-Boy 03-21-2003 10:06 AM


My teacher she took Zoloft for 10 years now, and Zoloft stopped working for her. She become depressed, and she tried this drugs:

Effexor XR

None of them helped, seemed like her brain totally made a tolerance againts SSRI's... So she was give Wellbutrin SR, and she is doing great she says... Her depression has improved!!!

Try to talk to your doctor about Wellbutrin SR its an
Norepenphrine/Dopamine Re-Uptake Inhibitor. I dont know if you tried it or not.

But your case sounds like you have developed tolerance to SSRI's...

I read some where, that if you have very horrible anxiety disorder, and panic disorder dont try wellbutrin SR... but ya could always give a try.

Also... Serzone could help too, its different than Effexor XR.

Effexor XR I believe it raises Serotonin/Norepenphrine...

And Serzone does the same, but its kinda different.

I found information how Serzone is different:

Antagonists (catchers glove cloggers)
There is another class of drug called an Antagonists. These make it harder for the catcher to catch the ball by clogging it up a little. Subsequently, the ball bounces into the space between the pitcher and catcher and then bounces around a bit. Examples of drugs that do this with serotonin are called Serzone and Desyrel.

[This message has been edited by Just-A-Boy (edited 03-21-2003).]

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