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Everything posted by Teril

  1. I was on Wellbutrin for 15 years. I didn't know until after I went on disability due to severe anxiety that one of the possible side effects of Wellbutrin is anxiety. I had been treated for depression for many years but did not develop severe anxiety that caused "morning terrors" meaning when I woke each morning my body was literally shaking with fear. It took about three hours to go away, thus causing me to lose a lot of time from work. When I told my p-doc, he then put me on 5 mg of Klonopin (clonazepam - same family of meds as diazepam/Valium) without telling me it was extremely addictive and should only be taken for short periods of time. I am seeing another Dr. now who was shocked at the amount of Klonopin I was placed on. I've now weaned down to 0.5 mg Klonopin to be taken 1-2x/day as needed and weaned off Wellbutrin. From my experience, I warn people about Wellbutrin. I'll be on Klonopin the rest of my life because my body is so addicted to even that small amount that if I miss even three days I begin having very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that have landed me in the ER several times.
  2. I was on Wellbutrin 300XL then lowered to Wellbutrin 150SR for approximately 15 years. Shortly after being put on Wellbutrin I developed extreme "morning terrors" then continual anxiety. The pdoc put me on 5 mg Klonopin to treat the anxiety without telling me it is extremely addictive and only to be taken for short periods of time - no more than two weeks. When I felt well enough to research Klonopin, my body was already addicted. I began seeing a new Dr. about five years ago, initially to treat my Hashimotos (autoimmune thyroid disease), then fired my pdoc and new Dr. began prescribing all my meds. In the meantime, I did more research on Wellbutrin and discovered that one of its main side effects is anxiety!!!! I read testimony after testimony that mirrored my experience ie. after going on Wellbutrin, a person developed anxiety and was then prescribed Klonopin or another benzo. Current Dr. weaned me off Wellbutrin and down to 0.5 mg Klonopin from the original 5 mg I was placed on. She put me on 30 mg Cymbalta but it does raise my BP so we have discussed my going off it as well.
  3. Hi Batty, I discourage Wellbutrin/Bupropion when people ask based on my own experience, the warnings that come with the product, and the experiences of hundreds of others I've encountered over the years. My story: I was diagnosed with Major Depression/Recurring over 30 years ago and treated by a psychiatrist recommended to me by the therapist I was seeing. 15 years ago the anti-depressant I was on at the time quit working and my psych. put me on 300 mg XL Bupropion. (He was big on placing patients on high levels of medications.) Approximately a month later, I began waking up in the morning with horrific anxiety and my body literally shaking as if I'd just heard the worst possible news. When I could finally pry myself out of bed, it took approximately three hours for the anxiety to subside. Due to this, I began having to call out of work a lot which wasn't good. When I reported this to my psych. he prescribed 5 mg of Clonazepam (Klonopin), telling me absolutely nothing (and I ALWAYS ask) about potential side effects, just that "It will make you feel better." I was in such bad shape due to almost constant anxiety by that time that I did not do the research I usually do before taking any newly prescribed medication. Therefore, I didn't know that Clonazepam (or any of the benzodiazepine family of drugs) is EXTREMELY addictive and ONLY to be taken for short periods of time, no longer than two weeks continuously, which is stated on the Clonazepam insert. I didn't find out about this until probably six months later when the anxiety was under control IF I took the med daily and by that time, my body was addicted. What does this have to do with Bupropion? One of the most common side effects of this med is anxiety. This info is on the manufacturer's package insert plus any site with info re: Bupropion such as this one that lists anxiety as the first common potential side effect: https://www.drugs.com/sfx/wellbutrin-side-effects.html If any anxiety-provoking situation occurred, my anxiety went off the scale, even taking Clonazepam. Psych. recommended I go on short-term disability from work, which eventually resulted in my having to go on disability (SSDI), greatly impacting the quality of my life, not to mention financially, being embarrassed, etc. It wasn't until I began seeing posts by others stating similar stories ie. never having an issue with major anxiety until after they began taking Bupropion that I began digging into research and found countless stories exactly like mine. Even more frightening, I found information that said weaning off a benzo is as difficult as cocaine or heroin!!! I am now part of a support site (not sure if we're allowed to post names of other sites on this forum) for people who are trying to wean off any type of benzo. In a majority of the "Introduce Yourself" posts on the forum, many/most people report the same pattern over and over ie. Dr. prescribed Bupropion (generally when another anti-depressant quit working) - then begins experiencing anxiety with no situational basis - Dr. places them on one of the benzos (Xanax, Klonopin, Atavan, Restoril (a sleep aid), Valium (one of the oldest benzos), etc.) - Dr. does not advise of its addictive properties and keeps the person on it instead of prescribing for short term use with the end result being addiction to the med. The Dr. I go to now is an M.D. but prefers using natural supplements as much as possible instead of or to support the use of pharmaceuticals. Over the last 5ish years he has weaned me off the two anti-depressants the psych. had me on, including Bupropion, and placed me on one of the newer anti-depressants that has many fewer side effects than what I was taking. I had to be weaned off Bupropion slowly; if not, one can become very ill. I was also slowly weaned down from 5 mg Clonazepam/Klonopin to 0.5 mg to be taken 1-2x daily as needed. This seems to be the amount at which further weaning becomes extremely difficult as the proper method (due to entire books written on the topic, a woman in England who specializes in weaning off benzos, etc.) literally includes shaving a teeeeeeny part of the pill off with a razor blade, staying at that level sometimes for months and still going through some uncomfortable withdrawal before shaving off a tiny bit more. Even at the relatively small amount I'm taking, if I miss more than two days, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms set in. At one point I ran out of the med several days early due to life circumstances, literally was pacing the floor and could not function and landed in the ER. When given just 1 mg of clonazepam, the hideous withdrawal symptoms completely disappeared. That's when my Dr. upped my monthly amount from 30 pills to 60 a month so I'd have that buffer. Re: trying to wean completely off, Dr. said based on my age (66) and the amount of time I was on a very high dose of Klonopin (over 15 years), it was too hard on my body to try to wean off completely. I also take a supplement regimen for overall health, to boost my immune system, protect my heart and, since I have a family history of Alzheimers, my mother being our family's most recent victim of this disease, supplements that also protect my brain. I've lost 35 lbs. and feel better than I have in years. So, I don't have an answer re: taking Bupropion with heart issues but, due to my personal experience in taking it for many years that caused major anxiety leading to the prescription of a med that left me addicted to a legal drug when I NEVER took illegal drugs nor even drank, nor smoked, and caused me to go on disability that deprived me of the profession I enjoyed, and am now dependent on government assistance financially, I advise people considering Bupropion to at least research the connection between it and anxiety. There are many other anti-depressant options and, unfortunately, too many doctors who prescribe Bupropion knowing full well its risks. The term "Big Pharma" exists for a reason. I am not "anti-meds" as they have been a life-saver for me and many others; I just really advise researching before taking Bupropion as well as making sure one knows the risks of taking benzos for an extended period of time.
  4. This is just my personal story - not medical advice. I have been on anti-depressants for over 30 years. When the one I was on about 16 years ago quit working my psych. put me on 300 mg Bupropion XL; can't recall if he began with 150 mg or not. I was on it for close to 15 years. I was a "worrier" by nature but never experienced anxiety over nothing. Shortly after starting the Bupropion, I began waking up with "morning terrors" - body shaking & extreme fear. It took at least three hours for the anxiety to go away & I began calling out a lot from work due to that, causing me to go through my paid time off days VERY quickly. Told psych. He put me on 5 mg (!!!!!!!) of Clonazepam (brand name Klonopin) - a benzodiazepine without telling me anything about it except that it "would make me feel better." When I finally felt well enough to research clonazepam (usually did so before ANY new med) I read that (1) it was ONLY to be prescribed for "short term use" of no more than 2 weeks AND (2) it is EXTREMELY addictive. By the time I read that, my body was already addicted to it. I left his practice & the doctors I saw over the next few years were shocked that I had been on such a high dose and left on it. My current Dr. has me weaned down to 0.25 mg Clonazepam 2x/day as needed. We've tried to go lower but I start having withdrawal symptoms. If I go one day without that small dose, I also start having withdrawal symptoms. Due to the original psych. being out of town unexpectedly with no one to cover for him, I was without it for 2 weeks at one time and ended up in the ER. Current Dr. said weaning off benzos is more difficult than weaning off cocaine or heroin!!!! I'm on another forum that is specifically for people who are weaning off benzos and one has to literally shave a sliver off with a razor blade and stay at that level for months before moving down to another shaved off sliver. Current Dr. said due to my age (66) and the length of time I was on Clonazepam, it is too hard on my body to try to wean down further. Here's the really bad part of my story - the anxiety became so horrific (remember - I was only being treated for depression for 15ish years before being put on Bupropion and out of the blue I developed severe anxiety) that my former psych. recommended I go on disability. At age 55 I had to quit working & income/lifestyle changed drastically. Why I'm telling you all this is that I didn't know the Bupropion/Wellbutrin and Clonazepam/Klonopin connection until recently. Do a search on "Can Bupropion cause anxiety." One of the possible side effects listed for Bupropion is anxiety. There are multitudes of people reporting they never had severe anxiety until they were put on Bupropion. My opinion is not to go on Bupropion. There are newer anti-depressants with far fewer side effects. I recommend telling your Dr. you are concerned that Bupropion may cause anxiety and can he recommend another med. My current Dr. has me on Duloxetine/Cymbalta because it has a dual effect of helping body pains which I have but there are many other anti-depressants. I've had no issues/side effects from Duloxetine at all. OTOH, I'll be stuck on Clonazepam for the rest of my life.
  5. NOTE: I am not a medical professional. The following information is based on my personal experience and research. Hi Jaysuekay, I don't know how long you were on Wellbutrin but if you quit taking it cold turkey you are most likely going through withdrawal symptoms. I was on Wellbutrin SR 300 mg/day for over 20 years. About 10 years ago my Dr. had to go out of town on an emergency basis & office staff said no one was available to renew my script so I had no Wellbutrin and began feeling like I had a terrible flu. After a week I spoke with my pharmacist and asked if there was anything I could get OTC that would help. The pharmacist looked a bit alarmed and said if I had not experienced anything "worse" by now, I should be ok but cold turkey was a "rough way" to go off Wellbutrin. Three years ago I began going to an integrative Dr. and fired my former Dr. I was weaned down to Wellbutrin SR 150 mg/day. Also taking Zoloft as all my doctors (and my research) indicated that an SSRI needs to be taken with Wellbutrin to protect against possible seizures. Three months ago my Dr. weaned me off the 150 mg over a two week period. I stayed on Zoloft and Dr. added Cymbalta as it has anti-anxiety properties. One of Wellbutrin's common side effects is anxiety. I was originally being treated for depression; Wellbutrin was prescribed to me when the anti-depressant I was on quit working. I then developed severe anxiety which led to me being prescribed Klonopin, a benzo, which is only to be taken short term and is EXTREMELY addictive. My former Dr. told me none of that. By the time I dug into research to figure out why I had such severe anxiety out of the blue, my body was already addicted to the benzo. I've spent the last 10ish years sllllooooooowwwly weaning off that hideous drug. Bottom line for your question: (1) Wellbutrin can cause anxiety which can make one feel very ill (2) going off Wellbutrin cold-turkey is NOT recommended due to seizures at worst and flu symptoms at best. (3) Try drinking Boost or any of the nutrient type drinks until you can eat. (4) There are natural supplements that help calm anxiety. Magnesium is one. At GNC I purchase a product called "Calm" that is a combination of magnesium & lavender that has REALLY helped me but plain magnesium works. Benadryl-type allergy meds also work. I buy the generic brand. Did you contact your prescribing physician when you wanted to go off Wellbutrin and/or contact him to tell him how you're feeling now? The good news is that you were on a low dose. I don't know how long you were on it but, in my case, I'd been on a high dose for 20 years and it took about a month for the withdrawal symptoms to end. I HIGHLY recommend you contact your prescribing physician. I do believe what you're going through is Wellbutrin withdrawal and I can testify that it makes one feel very ill. Hang in there...and again...do contact your prescribing Dr. God bless you from one whose been there, Teril
  6. Hi Irish...I've been through most of what you described, including menopause, and remember feeling like I was just existing. The good news is there is definitely hope. I just completed weaning off Wellbutrin SR 150. I'd been on SR 300 then down to 150 a total of 15 years. (Was first put on anti-depressants 30 years ago.) My Dr. put me on 30 mg Cymbalta as it lessens anxiety and I continue to take 100 mg Zoloft and 0.25 mg Klonopin 1-2x day as needed. You asked about alternatives - I have had fantastic success with CBD oil. My body is addicted to Klonopin from being on it so long to the point of beginning hideous withdrawal symptoms if I don't take it for as little as 3 days. CBD eases anxiety for me very well. I still take Klonopin but don't have to rely on it 100% now. I recommend researching CBD oil as there are different types. After trial & error I now take 2 types - full spectrum oil with less than the legal amount of THC for anxiety & isolate (only the CBD from hemp) for insomnia. CBD. Is an anti-inflammatory & I've experienced unexpected positives from it like totally clearing the monthly UTIs I got for years. I just turned 66 and feel better than I have for years! I hope this encourages you :)
  7. I've been on a combo of Wellbutrin + Zoloft for at least 15 years, asked the same question of my psychiatrist and was only told, "The Zoloft/SSRI boosts the Wellbutrin." I didn't find that helpful so I began to research. Two main reasons I have discovered over the years and ones that keep coming up in various articles and literature over and over are: 1. There is a potential danger of Wellbutrin causing seizures, especially at higher levels ie. 300+ mg. Adding an SSRI lessens that potential. (I've been on many meds over the years that include seizures as a potential side effect plus potential seizures if one goes cold turkey off Wellbutrin or Klonopin - both of which I've done (not by choice and I definitely advise against it) and never had seizures, but everyone is different.) 2. Here's the one that infuriates me, given my history: Wellbutrin can cause anxiety; adding an SSRI combats that. (My initial diagnosis 30ish years ago was Major Depression, Recurrent/Rapid Cycling. It took about a year to find the correct combo of meds in the correct dose for major depressive episodes to be kept at bay. I felt well for years, led an active life, including earning an M.A. in Mental Health Counseling and working in the field...until my psych. decided to add Wellbutrin. I can't recall now why. Very shortly afterwards I began experiencing anxiety that kept getting worse until I had a new diagnosis to add to the first one: Major Anxiety Disorder. I was put on Klonopin without being told it should ONLY be used short-term (no longer than 2 weeks) AND is EXTREMELY ADDICTIVE. To round out the entire fiasco - he placed me on an extremely high dose - 5 mg! By the time I felt well enough to research Klonopin, my body was already addicted. The end result was having to go on SSDI 10 years ago due to the anxiety being so severe it affected my work. Only recently have I begun to realize that the Wellbutrin likely triggered the anxiety then my psych got to put me on yet another med. Thankfully, after being turned over to one of my psychiatrist's P.A.'s when he began conducting "medical trials", the Klonopin was lowered. After a few years I quit going to that practice and my meds are now prescribed by my doctor who uses supplements if at all possible for various issues. I currently take 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 100 mg Zoloft 1xday, and 150 Wellbutrin SR 1x/day.)
  8. Hi nojoy, Over the past 20 years I've taken generic Wellbutrin HCL (bupropion) in both SR & XL from 150 mg to 300 mg coupled with 100 mg generic Zoloft (sertraline). Currently taking Wellbutrin 150 SR + 100 mg Zoloft. I went to the same psychiatrist for 30 years, now prescribed the meds by a specialist I'm seeing for Hashimotos thyroiditis. (Sidenote: I was diagnosed with major depression/recurrent years prior to the Hashimotos (a thyroid autoimmune disease) diagnoses. In research I've done recently, I've discovered that thyroid conditions, especially Hashimotos, mimic depression. It is very possible I actually do not have clinical depression and as the Hashimotos is being brought under control as well as drastically changing my eating habits, I'm finding much less of a dependence on the meds.) I asked my former psychiatrist why an SSRI was always prescribed with Wellbutrin. The only answer I received was "The SSRI boosts the effects of Wellbutrin." Maybe partially true but I dug into this a bit deeper and discovered some interesting things: (1) Especially on higher doses ie. 300 mg, there is the potential for seizures; the SSRI is added to avoid that. I would recommend your own research on this because the word "seizure" is scary. It seems some people are more prone to this than others. Wellbutrin is also not to be stopped without tapering due to seizures as well but I went off cold-turkey twice, once due to a mess up on my p-doc's part; once because I thought I didn't need them anymore. I felt like I had a bad flu for about 10 days each time and, fortunately didn't know about the seizure connection then. (2) Wellbutrin is known to cause anxiety. Hmmm...now there's a kick in the pants!! Could be another reason for the SSRI and, coincidentally (?) I didn't have any anxiety issues until I was put on Wellbutrin; now I'm diagnosed with a major anxiety disorder and taking generic Klonopin (clonazepam) - a benzo to which my body is now addicted. From a lifetime of a variety of psych cocktails, beginning when I was first diagnosed with depression in my 30's, I've experienced a lot and researched a lot. Always ask your prescribing Dr. any questions/voice concerns re: meds but I highly recommend digging into research as well to see if it lines up with the info from your Dr. I discovered too late that my p-doc glossed over very serious effects of some drugs (especially Klonopin which is to be taken ONLY for 2 weeks at a time at most; he put me on an extremely high dose and left me there) and prescribing drugs was his "thing." Fortunately his P.A. took the dosage down and my current prescribing Dr. brought the other meds down and is supporting my body with supplements and dietary changes. Hope this helps.
  9. I've been on Wellbutrin for about 25 years and never heard about anti-inflammatory properties. Just did a search and these two articles are interesting: "Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of bupropion in animal models" - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4314873/ "Remission of Crohn's disease on bupropion" - https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(01)70021-2/fulltext I have Hashimotos Hypothyroid which is an autoimmune illness and am still battling high antibodies. No idea if they'd be worse off Wellbutrin. Interesting topic.
  10. I've been on (with some periods of off) bupropion for approximately 20 years; have been on a variety of meds since I was diagnosed with Major Depression Recurrent/Rapid Cycling 27 years ago and Major Anxiety Disorder added years later. The first time I went on bupropion (300 mg of SR) I had the weirdest sensations - one was feeling like my brain was free-floating in my skull. Can't think of another way to describe it. When I turned my head it felt like it took a few seconds for my brain to "catch up." I can't recall how long I stayed on it but eventually asked to be taken off. I went maybe a year without it (I was always on some "cocktail" of SSRIs+whatever) then requested to try it again. The second time I went on it I had no side effects. I have read that it can cause anxiety and I do think I was diagnosed with the anxiety disorder around the time I went on bupropion the first time. I stayed on a combo of 300 mg bupropion SR, 100 mg Zoloft, and at one time 5 mg Klonopin (arrgghh!). I saw the same psychiatrist, then later his P.A.'s until a year ago when I began going to a medical practice that uses supplements instead of/or to support medications for Hashimotos Hypothyroid. My P.A. then prescribed the Klonopin (over the years in working with my psychiatrist's P.A. I was taken down to 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day as needed) but didn't know they would also prescribe the other meds. I had been feeling well for years so decided to stop taking the bupropion/Zoloft. HUGE MISTAKE. I began a downward spiral beginning in May 2018 and hit bottom/was barely functional in November. I managed to get myself to my current P.A. appointment in December, told her what was going on, and she put me back on the meds except trying 150 mg bupropion SR and I am stable with that amount. That's my personal "bupropion story" and every person reacts differently but perhaps something in my experience will help. Re: resting heart rate - mine has always been high so taking bupropion did not affect it. It has gone down since I've been seeing my current Dr./P.A. who use natural thyroid meds instead of the synthetic. If you haven't yet, do tell your prescribing Dr. about the side effects you're having.
  11. Hi Shirl...great that you talked to your Dr. I've been on Wellbutrin for at least 20 years and have had no issues with it; just wanted to calm any "new med jitters."
  12. Hi Katrinasurvivor (I have a 14 yo cat that was a Hurricane Katrina rescue. I adopted her at the Orlando Humane Society - now part of Pet Alliance - she was chipped, declawed, spayed, and obviously had always been well-cared for. A chipped cat wouldn't be adopted out unless the owners surrendered her. I've often wondered what happened to her owners. Anyway...), I understand the panic of not having medication that works. I've been on a combo of Wellbutrin/bupropion and Zoloft/sertraline for 15 years; I'd been on Zoloft with other combinations another 15. I didn't realize Mylan wasn't making bupropion any longer. Just checked my bottle and I have Solco. No side effects thus far. I'm sorry you're going through this. Update - I still had the Wellbutrin bottle from my previous Dr. which was filled June 2, 2018. The manufacturer for it was Cipla. Same pharmacy. Waned to add that name since I don't think it's one you've tried.
  13. @Vega57 - Read my post above. I am now convinced Wellbutrin is what caused my anxiety which led to my having to go on disability 14 years ago.
  14. Hi Kate and welcome! I really feel for you. My story: I was diagnosed with "Major Depression Recurrent-Rapid Cycling" over 30 years ago by a psychiatrist. I was initially put on a combo of two psych meds and was stabilized for many years, lived a normal life, etc. until they quit working, at which point one of the meds was switched out for Wellbutrin. It was one of the weirdest psych meds I'd ever taken and in over 30 years I've taken a lot of different meds. The main issue with the Wellbutrin was that it made my brain feel "detached" from my skull. There's no other way I can describe it. When I turned my head, even very slowly, it felt like it took a few seconds for my "free-floating" brain to catch up. There were some other issues but eventually they evened out and the depressive symptoms vanished. I considered Wellbutrin a wonder drug; however, within about six months I developed a new mental illness - severe anxiety and I mean SEVERE! My p-doc then added Klonopin, an anti-anxiety med to the mix and kept increasing it until I was on 5 (that's FIVE) mg!!! I was such an anxious mess at the time (including pacing the floors) that I didn't do my usual research and didn't find out until way down the road that Klonopin (or any of the benzos) is for SHORT TERM treatment only and "short term" is defined as "no more than two weeks." This guy put me on an astronomical dosage and...left me on it. Eventually I had to go on disability due to the extreme anxiety, even taking Klonopin. Another thing about Klonopin, it is EXTREMELY hard to wean off of - some research says it is harder to wean off than illegal drugs. So what does this have to do with Wellbutrin? Eventually my p-doc, whose staff/office had grown from just him, a counselor, and one office manager to multiple psychiatrists, P.A.s, therapists, behavioral specialists, and a large office staff with the customer service attitude of the Gestapo. My Dr. got into "medication trials" (probably very lucrative) and I saw one of his P.A.s. who was mortified at the amount of Klonopin I was on and began decreasing it. Unfortunately she left and the next P.A.had the same personality/empathy as the office staff. This practice had turned into a "pill factory" - 15 minute appointments, hand the patient the med scripts, "see you in three months." The cancellation policy changed as well (with no notice) as I discovered six months ago when I was ill the day of my appointment, called the office to reschedule my appointment, and was told I wouldn't be rescheduled until I'd paid for the missed one. (Over the years and many moves, I now lived 2 hours one way from the office.) WHOA! Previously they had a $50 charge if one didn't cancel within 48 hours so I figured I'd have to pay that. It was time for a refill on all my meds so I said I'd send the check but could the P.A. please call in at least a one-week supply of the Wellbutrin and Klonopin, both of which are extremely dangerous to go off cold turkey. Nope! I was FRANTIC and and told the Gestapo staff to make a note in my file that the P.A. was endangering my health and possibly my life. So, to pull this all together - I began digging for research into Wellbutrin to see if there was some supplement or anything I could do to get me through withdrawal. I had some of each med left, but not much and figured I'd have to go to the ER within the week. Here's what I found out that was a true "light bulb" moment for me - research indicated that the reason another anti-depressant is prescribed with Wellbutrin is because .... wait for it ... Wellbutrin causes anxiety! That explains why I "only" had depressive symptoms prior to Wellbutrin but "out of the blue" developed major anxiety - to the point that I eventually had to go on disability for the anxiety - after being put on it. I got back into a medical practice that specializes in thyroid disorders (I also have Hashimotos Hypothyroid - an autoimmune illness) that I'd gone to years ago and, thankfully, they are working with me to wean me off the Klonopin. I had some rough days going off Wellbutrin but got through it. I have a family history of mental illness and, due to that plus my own struggle with depression and (I'm now convinced) Wellbutrin-induced anxiety, I earned a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling and was working in the field until I went on disability...from the anxiety. My point is that I am definitely NOT a "no meds" person but if I'd done the digging re: Wellbutrin I did recently, I never would have gone on it NOR Klonopin.
  15. Adding my recent experience after some background: I've seen the same pdoc for approximately 30 years. Back then it was just the pdoc, office manager, and one therapist. Now he has several more pdocs on staff, plus many P.A.'s, and therapists as well as being involved in medication "research" which is almost like another new business for him. Ten years ago I moved to another town one hour from my pdoc. I had just applied for disability so did not want to break the continuity of treatment at the time since this doctor had my entire case history. After my disability was approved I began trying to find a new pdoc. Mine said he didn't know anyone in my area, my family Dr. is a D.O. and doesn't prescribe the meds I'm on; I saw a therapist who was also a nurse and could prescribe two of my meds but not the "controlled substance" (Klonopin/clonazepam). Since I only saw my pdoc 4x/year (every 3 months), I decided to stay with him until I could find another Dr. Fast forward to the present - my pdoc farmed me out to one of his P.A.'s who doesn't take Medicare and uses his office manager as a shield when I've asked to speak to him, keeping in mind the length of time I've been seeing him. So I continued to drive 2 hours total for a 15 min. appointment to just get handed my three scripts: Wellbutrin, Zoloft, and Klonopin. The cost kept going up and is currently $135.00 for 15 min. I don't have the money so a family member has been paying for my appointments. The practice charges $50.00 if an appt. is not cancelled/rescheduled at least 48 hours in advance. Since I only go 4x/year this hasn't been an issue but there have been times I have been ill the morning of the appointment and had to cancel and pay the $50. Recent experience: My current appt. was for last Thursday at 11:15 a.m. I woke up ill and very shaky so I knew I wasn't up to driving two hours in heavy traffic. I cancelled my appt., said I understood I would owe the late cancellation fee and would call to reschedule. When I did so Friday morning I was hit with a new policy that I've never heard before...never have seen posted anywhere, etc. The policy is that if one has three late cancellations, they have to first pay the office visit amount BEFORE they will reschedule. Apparently the three cancellations can go back several years as this was the first one for this year and before that two years ago. I was dumbfounded!! I told the receptionist that I was an hour away and out of my meds, particularly Klonopin, and by the time I could get a check in the mail to them I would be going through Klonopin withdrawals and be very ill. Didn't matter. I then asked if my P.A. could call in a small supply of Klonopin so I could mail the check (which I'd have to get from my family member) THEN make the appointment and no telling how long of a wait that would be. The receptionist checked with my P.A. who said I couldn't make an appt. until I paid the $135.00. Ironically, at my last appointment I told my P.A. that if I'd know how addictive Klonopin was when the pdoc put me on it about 15 years ago I would have refused. She nodded and said since I'd been on it so long, it would take years to wean off. (I am prescribed 0.5 mg. - take 1 or 2 daily as needed) so she knows full well the dangers of stopping cold turkey. I told the receptionist to please document in my file that the P.A. was putting my health in danger. WOW!!! 30 years, always compliant on my meds (and this pdoc LOVES to prescribe meds - he had me on SEVEN psych meds at one point, a couple of them addressing the same issue; I had to be firm over the years to just get down to three) and now I'm thrown into withdrawal from Klonopin due to not calling 48 hours in advance! I know this has to be unethical behavior. I have no idea where to go now. Withdrawal symptoms are already setting in. We have walk-in clinics but I'm not sure what to say - my Dr. won't see me? Explaining the reason sounds like I'm making it up. There is a county mental health clinic in town that I had planned to check out but that will likely take at least a few days, if not more, to qualify and get an appointment. ARRGGGGGHHH!! Thank you to whoever read all this.
  16. My "cocktail" of meds is Bupropion (Wellbutrin) XL 300 mg; Sertraline (Zoloft) 100 mg; Clonazepam/Klonopin (.5 mg) and was diagnosed with Hashimotos Hypothyroidism (autoimmune disease) 30 years ago so I also take 175 mcg Synthroid daily. I've talked to my psychiatrist and various of his P.A.s as well as various doctors who have prescribed the Synthroid over the years and the common denominator is to take the meds at the same time daily. "First thing in the morning" is what doctors tell patients re: Synthroid because of the 1-hr. wait before eating and they're basing it on people who work a "normal" schedule. Not everyone works an 8-5 - some work 2nd and 3rd shifts and then there are people who are nocturnal (like my parents) so for them, "first thing in the morning" is around 4 pm. So, based on what I've been told, I choose a time that is convenient for me to take the Synthroid and then the other meds together at the same time. I was advised by one psychiatric P.A. to take the Zoloft right before bed as it would help with the morning terrors I was experiencing. My mother does that now and says it works really well for her. Back to Synthroid/Levothyroxine - for 30 years all my doctors have said, "It doesn't matter what time you take it, just make sure you take it at the same time daily and either 1 hr. before eating or approximately 4 hrs. after eating. Main thing is to take it on an empty stomach.
  17. Any time-release med, such as Bupropion/Wellbutrin XL should not even be cut in half, much less crushed, due to the med going into one's system slowly over time, which is what the XL means. If you took the crushed Bupropion at one time, you got the entire effect of the med immediately instead of how it was made to work.
  18. Isn't that a bizarre feeling? That's the best way I can describe it. I'm currently looking for a new pdoc closer to where I live and am going to ask them about taking Zoloft with Wellbutrin. I'd prefer to be on as few meds as possible.
  19. I've been taking the generic of Wellbutrin XL300 for at least 25 years. Never had a migraine. When I first began taking it I did have a very odd feeling in my head, like my brain was "free-floating." When I turned my head it felt like it took a few seconds for my brain to "catch up." Very hard to explain the sensation. I'm not sure how long I was on it the first time but I didn't like the weird sensation so my pdoc took me off. After trying a few other meds I said I'd be willing to try Wellbutrin again and that time I had no side effects at all. Are you on an SSRI as well? My pdoc said an SSRI was needed with Wellbutrin. Now I forget why. Since then I've asked two of his P.A.'s why it is necessary and now I can't recall their answers either but I think they said it boosted the Wellbutrin.
  20. I've been on generic Bupropion XL 300 mg for about 10 years. When I first went on it I had the strangest feeling in my head - like my brain was free-floating and if I turned my head it took a few seconds for my brain to catch up with it. Others indicated similar sensations. Finally went off of Bupropion and tried another "cocktail" but decided to give Bupropion another try later on and that time I didn't have any issues at all. Medications are strange animals.
  21. Hi Aramis :)

    Ok, I'm confused...errrr what does "knufel" mean?

  22. Hi, Guys! I think it's time for me to bow out of this thread. One reason is the information I provided on Klonopin is not *my* idea, but what I have gleaned from a multitude of professional sources plus my personal experience. Somehow this has been misconstrued that it is just me talking out of my hat. Taken in small amounts the way Bud is is one thing - my pdoc dumping a med on me that will likely take a good year to slowly wean off of is another. I agree if a med is helping that's one thing, but for me Klonopin isn't helping me get out into the world again and become a "normal" person. The ONLY thing it has done is cut down on the "morning terrors" I referred to previously. I still experience anxiety on a daily basis. So, I am feeling a little "ganged up" at present. (And being referred to in third person on Bud's latest post, further engendering the feeling of two guys talking around me.) I'll leave you guys to well, "guy talk." I'm in a very fragile place right now where men/dating/etc. is concerned and it's hard to know one of you is happily married and the other actively dating when I have been alone so long. And, if either of you knew the situation within my marriage of 18 years, your jaws would drop to the floor. Please know I'm not angry and have valued this discussion greatly and thank all of you who participated and the encouragement you provided. I'll always cherish that. One thing I have learned in my journey of living with depression is that one needs to protect themselves from things that are potentially hurtful. I wish you all - Kirby, Bud, FightingtheDog, Aramis - most well and trust we will all keep fighting the good fight to wellness. Teril
  23. Hi again Bud! I'm sorry you're going through a down time...it's my turn to be supportive. I heard a saying the other day, not sure if I posted it on this thread already but it was: Everyone is either getting ready to go into "stuff", is in stuff or coming out of stuff." That sounds pretty accurate. I also saw another one that said, "Be kind. Everyone is going through something. So all those people that seem like they have it all together are generally putting on their "game face" in public. I do need to clarify - I never took Klonopin to escape into sleep as it doesn't have that "immediate" effect. What I took in the past to escape was either Xanax or Restoril. It's true that different meds can affect people so differently. I recall you saying you had a tough time with the SSRIs. The only two I have taken were Prozac for a very short time and then Zoloft since 1992. I mentioned previously that many people report becoming extremely nauseous on Depakote and that's the other med I've taken since 1992 with no ill effect whatsoever. At least treatment for mental illness has progressed beyond locking people up in state hospitals and/or electroshock treatment. (As an aside, if you've never seen the movie "The Snake Pit," I highly recommend it. It is an old black and white movie and introduces "talk therapy" when that was generally considered useless. Olivia de havilland who played Melanie in "Gone With the Wind" stars in it.) Here's to us all having a good...or at least decent....weekend. And YES!!! Thank you to our moderator for allowing us to continue supporting each other in this thread. Winding down to head off to Teril
  24. Just thought of something else...besides the addictive/weaning off concerns with Klonopin, the other thing my pdoc told me as a possible effect of long-term usage there could be "fuzziness" of thoughts and memory. Ack! (Couldn't find an edit ability to my prior post...sorry about another one.) T.
  25. Hi Bud! It doesn't seem trite at all for you to say you're here for me. We're all here for each other and it is a relief to be able to discuss these issues with people who really *know* what we deal with. And thank you for the quick response. There was an interesting twist to this when I worked with Hospice. Many people who had terminal cancer and were in excruciating pain begged their doctors for pain meds but were told BY THE DOCTORS that they would not prescribe the med (usually some form of oxycontin) because it was ADDICTIVE. (caps just for emphasis) Now these were people who were dying and just wanted some comfort and cessation of the pain so in this case the possibility of addiction was truly a non-issue and infuriated those of us in Hospice care. (Note: these were patients who were still working with their doctors prior to going to Hospice.) Since Hospice is for those people who do not want to continue to treat the illness but rather live the rest of their lives as comfortable and pain-free as possible, these same patients *were* put on pain meds under Hospice care. The exact term for the type of medication treatment used by Hospice is "palliative care." I sat in workshops to understand how this all worked. I used this example to illustrate that it is interesting that many doctors refuse pain meds to their dying cancer patients by saying the patient would become addicted, but here we are talking about psychiatrists who knowingly prescribe addictive drugs to patients who just need a med/s to help stabilize the brain chemicals that are thought to cause depression and other mental illnesses! There is most definitely a difference between most anti-depressants and the benzos. There is a common misconception in the general population about anti-depressants and probably why some people who could benefit from anti-depressants are afraid to take them. I've heard comments like "I don't want to have my personality changed or feel sedated all the time." Anti-depressants are not sedatives or habit-forming. When working well, the person really doesn't "feel" anything other than not being depressed and is able to function again. This was my experience during the 15 years prior to my breakdown. I took my 2 meds daily and it was just a part of my routine. There is no craving for these drugs because there is no immediate gratification - the drugs just correct the chemical imbalance within the brain - much like insulin keeps blood sugar steady for diabetics or heart meds keep the heart pumping as it should. Apparently, there are some cases when a person just needs a short course of anti-depressants. Post-partum depression may be a good example. Within the DSM-IV (there may be a newer version out now, but this is the version I have from grad. school) - the manual that contains the criterion used to diagnose mental illnesses - there are sooooo many variations of depression that it makes my eyes glaze over. Some people apparently have "minor" (my terminology) depressions that maybe 6 months or so of anti-depressants somehow gets their brain chemicals back functioning correctly and they don't need to be on them long-term. In my case, I was first diagnosed with "Major Depression, Recurrent, Rapid-Cycling." Just the name of that dx alone says I will pretty much be on some anti-depressant for life. (Unless I find a natural alternative and believe me I will be seeking it.) I'm not sure what the main thinking of mental health professionals is currently on this topic, but when I first began Zoloft, the SSRI class of meds was very new and considered a tremendous improvement over its predecessors, the MAOI's and tricylcics; both had hideous side effects. I was told by both my therapist and pdoc that they (the early SSRIs) could be stopped cold turkey. NOTE: I AM DEFINITELY NOT ADVISING THIS! I, in fact, did that under my Dr's care several times when one med wasn't working and he switched me to another. Actually in those cases one med was just substituted for another with no time in between; however, the first med I was prescribed before I was referred to my pdoc was Prozac. After about 6 weeks the depression was not lifting so my therapist told me to stop it and I had no ill effects at all. It could have been I was on it a short time or was on a low dose, but I have never been concerned with ill effects from stopping the early SSRI's. However, Effexor sounds like a whole other story. I have never been on that one but my mother was on it for awhile and after experiencing bad side effects, she weaned herself off of it with the aid of a book written expressly for that med, following the directions explicitly. By comparison, many benzos, particularly Xanax, are fast acting and one can actually "feel" the sedative effects almost immediately which is likely why they are often sold as street drugs. Another benzo is Halcion. When I have major dental work done, my dentist prescribes two Halcion tablets (and ONLY two) which I take an hour before the appointment. My mother drives me to the dentist and I am practically asleep before I arrive. Many dentists advertise "sedation dentistry" and that's how it is done. Restoril, a sleeping aid, is another benzo. I will admit that during times I have been prescribed Xanax and/or Restoril, I used them more than prescribed mainly to "escape" the unhappiness depression caused me and "copped out" by just sleeping. However, my pdoc only prescribed small amounts of either of those, so I didn't get addicted long-term. I am just now researching Klonopin due to my personal situation with it. The first red flag I saw when I began researching was reading *everywhere* I looked that (paraphrased) "If prescribed for the treatment of anxiety, it should be used no longer than four weeks." Then I found a website online by a British Dr. who appears to have dedicated much of her professional life to the proper use of Klonopin and how to wean off safely. After more research and my own experience, the difference between Klonopin and other psych meds, speaking here particularly of anti-depressants, is the withdrawal issues. As I said in my previous post, I was watching an episode of "Nancy Grace" on TV the other night (there are currently several instances of small children going missing in my state which have gained national attention and where drug usage on the part of the parents is involved) and heard a Dr. say that drugs like hydrocodone will leave a person's system in several days and then withdrawal symptoms occur which are "unpleasant" but not dangerous like the benzos where sudden withdrawal can cause convulsions. That in a nutshell is, in my opinion, the HUGE difference between taking an anti-depressant daily and a benzo like Klonopin long term. You asked if I craved Klonopin. I don't and probably the reason is that, unlike Xanax, I don't "feel" it working. It is more like an anti-depressant in that respect; it seems to have to build up a bit before it works and, except for not having the "morning terrors" when I take it, I really don't "feel" it in my system at all. Drugs that are craved apparently have instant gratification or some "feel good" effect. (Having never done illegal drugs, smoked, or drank alcohol to excess, my only personal comparison is Xanax.) Nicotine apparently has that "craving" effect and when a person then smokes, they become relaxed. That is why it is so puzzling to me that Klonopin has such a dangerous withdrawal effect and why I'm mad as all get-out I wasn't told about this by my pdoc. I don't know this for a fact, but due to its classification, I would warrant that over time, a person would need more Klonopin to get the same result. For example, in the future the amount of Klonopin I currently take may not help with the "morning terrors" and more would be needed for that. Given the amount of time I was off the Klonopin (about 2 1/2 weeks) I was *very* fortunate I did not experience anything worse than feeling awful, becoming extremely aggressive, anxious, and crying. I lost my temper at the drop of a hat. A day or so before I had my pdoc appointment, I was experiencing "the shakes." I attribute the reason I *didn't* go into convulsions to my also taking Depakote, which was originally manufactured for seizure disorders and was later found to be an excellent cross-over psych drug for some types of Bi-polar disorder. In my case it was prescribed due to my rapid-cycling depression. I know I'm sounding a bit "professorial" - but just trying to explain to the fullest extent of my knowledge and experience why taking an anti-depressant for life and Klonopin for life are two completely different things. Let's say, God forbid, a hurricane swept through here and I didn't have enough meds on hand until it was possible to get refills for whatever reason. With "most" anti-depressants, or at least the ones I've taken, going off cold turkey may be uncomfortable and depressive symptoms might return, but going cold turkey off Klonopin, again, at especially the level I was prescribed, could cause serious issues, including convulsions. At least I have taken the first step toward lessening the amount of this drug I am taking now. Concerning my pdoc: He is the only psychiatrist I have seen since he was referred to me by my therapist in 1992 so I have no method of comparison. I have watched his practice grow over the years from just him, to him and a therapist to his present practice of four or five psychiatrists on staff and a multitude of therapists. His office is always packed and he has an excellent reputation or I doubt he would have lasted this long. As my pharmaceutical sales rep. friend said long ago, he is a real gentleman and not arrogant and egotistical as most pdocs she calls on are. So I always felt that I was getting excellent care. I was going through grad. school during the time I've seen him and many times after the "medication management" part of my appointment was finished, he and I used to "talk shop." When I have a lot of issues I need to address with him in a short amount of time, I type it all out as an outline at home so I don't forget anything when I see him and just hand it to him as it takes less time for him to read that than me trying to explain several situations. He has said many times things such as "If you are this organized when ill, I can't imagine the things you could accomplish when well" and another time he said, "I wish you were my personal assistant," so I know he is aware of my intelligence, potential, and education. That is why this whole Klonopin thing further confuses me. During the time I was so very ill four years ago, my mother many times had to drive me to the appointment and my pdoc asked her in to the session to give her impression of how I was doing when I was too ill to really know. She and I have talked recently that he seems a bit different lately and conjecture that either he is so extremely busy now than when I first started seeing him that he is falling into the "prescribe and move on to the next patient" routine or that he may very well be getting ready to retire and earn income from owning the practice and not "on his full game" so to speak. I cannot at all fault him for the 15 years in which he initially diagnosed my illness and worked with me to find the meds that kept me stable for so long. At one point during the past four years I said something about being on so many meds and he replied that he was working hard to keep me out of the hospital. Now the three assistants he's had that I've dealt with over the years...they're another story, but then I have to remember that they are also under pressure from the Dr., having to deal with insurance companies (when I worked at a hospital psychiatric crisis line during school, one of my duties was to verify patient insurance and know how maddening that can be), and although we on this thread are among the group of psych patients who are compliant with our meds, etc. I bet there are many others who try every trick in the book to get more meds or something so perhaps they have to be tough. I just wish they could distinguish the patients who don't warrant the "gestapo" treatment. My goal now is to find a good therapist and then a local pdoc. It is definitely time for a change, even if I had not moved over an hour away from my current one. If you've read all this...you have my admiration and gratitude. I hope you are doing well and you know where to come for caring support when you want or need to. Hi Kirby!! and anyone else who may be reading this! Most gratefully and sincerely, Teril
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