Saturday, November 26, 2005

and we're on so many drugs with the radio on and the curtains drawn

again, kind of linked back to someone else's blog post, i'd like to take the time to talk about the anti-depressant (or, as i like to call it, craaaazyhead tablets) citalopram.

i've been taking it since july 2004. i started off on 10 mg/day, went to 20 after a couple of weeks and up to 30 after an unbearable january this year. i'm starting to come off them at the moment, gone down to 20, down to 10 next month and then hopefully nothing.

i've had quite severe episodes of depression since about the age of fourteen. i've found life like this almost too hard to cope with. it took me until july last year to properly ask for help from my gp (the only other time i came close was when i had crazy insomnia a few years ago and hadn't slept for about 2 days.. asked my gp if i could get any kind of single sleeping tablet and was told to instead keep a sleep diary for a month.. am undecided as to whether or not that was a good thing).

i'm still not sure as to whether my enjoying life *since* starting them is because of them or simply because of the stuff i'm doing and the people i love. i know that normally this january gone, i'd be far worse than i actually *was*.. and i'm feeling myself (no innuendo intended) enough to venture back to un-medicated society.

but i'm rambling.

the intent of this post was the side effects of citalopram. before i started taking it, i googled a fair bit to find other users' experiences and feedback of it. it all seemed ok. then, in the leaflet that comes with the tablets, i found that the listed side effects included:
"involuntary production of milk" (in both males and females)
"panic attacks"
"feelings of detachment"
"changes in mental status including confusion, irritability and extreme agitation which may lead to delerium and coma"
"extreme happiness"
"increased sex drive"
"generally feeling unwell"
"increased sweating"
"general weakness"
"inability to concentrate"
"strange dreams"
"lack of interest"
"suicide attempt"
"abnormal vision"
"severe tiredness"

some of them sound more fun than others.

however, i'm very thankful that i'm not canadian. their side effects (of, i believe, the same drug) include "Rare: Peripheral edema, sudden death, traumatic injury. "


Blogger *shattered star said...

I used to be on citalopram about 3-4 years ago, but it was having no effect whatsoever (good or bad). I'm on to my third different drug, and all of them had listed in their info leaflets the same potential side-effects-- which were pretty scary, but the prospect of going without the drug was scarier for me. The only side-effect I've ever had was tremors.

The pharmaceutical industry is a shady one that should always be viewed with a critical eye.


3:34 pm  
Blogger zoe said...

hmmm.. i've had tremors, really dry mouth, strange dreams and sweating like a beast.
i suspect that my
inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, lack of interest and confusion have always been there anyhow. liking the extreme happiness i'm getting at the mo, but i think it's medication-unrelated :)
the *worst* thing has been the times that i've been crap and just not taken them for a few days in a row (reasons ranging from complete disorganisation/muppet-ness to being too skint to pick up a prescription in the week before payday)... that's left me feeling spaced out, wide eyed and *exactly* how i always imagined what taking speed would feel like (which, incidentally, i got completely wrong). kind of caffeine overdose territory.


5:44 pm  
Blogger drphunk said...


Citalopram does seem to work pretty well in most people and the side-effects aren't as bad as old-fashioned anti-depressants.

Lots of people get depressed and sometimes they need something to help them see that life isn't as shit as it seems.

Hope it works out

6:41 pm  
Blogger *shattered star said...

Yeah..tremors were the only discernable side-effect that I can directly attribute to the drugs...many of the others tend to be symptomatic of the depression itself. so, I dunno, chicken or egg. weird. :) and I definitely get that 'spaced out' thing if I go without 'em for a while!

On another, totally random, note-- I don't know whether to go out tonight. it's cold. and time is marching on...


7:25 pm  
Blogger zoe said...

re random note: what do you got planned if you do go out?
i'm forsaking socialising for a night in with soulseek, chocolate, my cats and two heaters on at once.
have a good one whatever you get up to

7:32 pm  
Blogger zoe said...

fuck. insomnia seems to be becoming a regular thing at the moment...

4:00 am  
Blogger drphunk said...

That's when the sleep diary comes in. Also read a bit about sleep hygiene. It does work.

7:39 pm  
Blogger *shattered star said...

Your night in sounded good (apart from the insomnia). I went to a couple pubs, then we thought we'd take advantage of the new licensing laws and go to the club that stays open the longest (which was playing latin-style, future-jazz stuff)...but my mate's boyfriend got too drunk so we had to take him home early. :(

As for 'sleep hygiene' *can*, rather than does, work. But definitely worth a go as it's generally good practice. Good luck sleeping tonight...I, however, will be wide awake writing an essay!


6:33 pm  
Blogger zoe said...

thanks - managed to get more or less back to normal on sunday, last night was spent catching up with an old friend until the wee small hours so i'll see how i go tonight..
bloody drunken boys! tsk!
i shall check out sleep hygeine stuff - good luck with essay writing!


5:32 pm  
Blogger zoe said...

and thankyou funky for your comments too.
i trust your advice (you're a doctor, right?)

5:15 pm  
Blogger drphunk said...

yeah. sadly enough

5:25 pm  
Blogger zoe said...

why sadly?
it's a good thing to be doing.

best of luck with it.

10:09 pm  
Blogger drphunk said...

it's a good job but it does eat up your life. i can't imagine doing anything else but I know other stuff is more fun with less hassle. not enough time to read books, go to gigs, watch tv, etc. lots of responsibility too and mistakes have serious consequences. there are good poitns too obviously.

12:06 am  

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