Friday, March 2, 2012

Switching Meds

Where the Green meets the Colorado River
Awhile after being on Celexa, I started having a bizarre twitches, especially in my legs. I started worrying after I saw a commercial suggesting to see your doctor if you experienced twitching, because it might become permanent. Awesome. My doctor suggested switching to Lexapro which has the exact same chemical composition, except the molecule is flipped and is supposedly a "purer" drug. The nasty bit about changing meds, is you have to go through the whole waiting period and hope the next drug works as well as the last. Luckily, I switched over pretty well and didn't have too many "bad" days. We decided after a month or so to switch back to Celexa to make sure the Celexa was causing the twitching (Celexa has a generic, Lexapro does not). Celexa again had the same twitching side effect and so I switched back again to Lexapro. After being on Lexapro for a few months and feeling mostly normal and able to get good sleep again, I was disappointed because I still felt very tired. I went back to the doctor and explained my fatigue and he ordered some blood tests which didn't show anything too abnormal and he gave me a sample of a drug used to treat narcolepsy. I was pretty uncomfortable about trying Nuvigil so I decided  not to take it and keep it on reserve. I suffered through the fatigue for awhile after that, just hoping it would go away. After visiting my OB a few months later she asked me why I wasn't doing therapy in addition to my drugs. I told her I didn't know who to go to and I had asked a couple of doctors for recommendations, but none had any to offer. I felt a little chastened because being in psychology I knew that studies had shown better results when both drugs and therapy are used in treatment. She had a recommendation, Wendy, and she was awesome! (more on that later) I went to Wendy and she suggested trying to add Wellbutrin in addition to the Lexapro, I noticed somewhat of an improvement, so we tried a higher dose. By the time we had tried all of these different combinations, Russ had been accepted to Duke and we moved.

Switching to new insurance, finding a doctor and getting a new appointment took forever. By this time I was horribly sick and tired of being so tired. I felt like a newborn with how much sleep I needed to function somewhat normally. Most of the time no matter how much I slept, what I ate, how much or little I exercised, I was still exhausted. I hated being so tired and physically not being able to take care of the household needs or be as good of a mom as I wanted. My kids watched entirely too much TV and I really hated myself for it. The next nine months were spent trying Prozac with Wellbutrin, Bu-spar all by itself and then finally Zoloft with Wellbutrin. Those nine months were absolute Hell. There were days or months when switching left me back in the horrible, dark hole of depression. I cried uncontrollably several times a day and worried about everything constantly. I couldn't fall asleep many nights and on top of it all I was finding no relief from the horrible fatigue.  Being on Bu-spar was the worst switch. I felt like I was back off of the medicine, which realistically I probably was. Bu-spar looks awesome on paper and has none of the usual side effects of SSRIs (like fatigue), but in practice does very little to actually help with anxiety. I was ready to try anything though, to get rid of this debilitating fatigue. In addition to the drug experimentation we also tried looking at blood tests again as well as a sleep study. Towards last April I tried Zoloft, which both helped my anxiety and depression and didn't leave me as crazily tired. So currently I am on both Zoloft and Wellbutrin. I still feel quite tired, but it's not as bad as when I was on Lexapro. I also got pregnant soon after starting on Zoloft, so I also don't know if the current fatigue is entirely pregnancy related.

Next: The Problem with Therapy

1 comment:

Stacy said...

I had no idea you were going through any of this; thank you for sharing your story (and thanks for tonight, I am so glad you came!).