20mg Fluoxetine for Fatigue, 4 weeks and not looking good.

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Hello, my situation seems like quite a funny and unusual one so i'm hoping there is someone out there that might be able to offer some advice. I have been experiencing fatigue for the past year or so after a short but intense bout of anxiety. My doctor sees me as not a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patient and thinks that, combined with excercise, that fluoxetine will give me a boost in energy. My auntie went through something very similar when she was my age (21) and fluoxetine and excercise got her healthy in 6 months with no side effects. Both my mum and now ex-girlfriend thought the medication would be good for me.

I was very hopeful about the fluoxetine, and was happy that I was finally getting some help/aid in the battle against this exhaustion. The first 10 days I experienced some mild side effects of less appetite, poor sleep and odd headaches, but my energy was looking good and the excercise was going very well, cycling and light weights everyday. But after 10 or so days, the diziness/blurred vision problems arrised along with increased anxiety/body tense and shaky. The dizzyness kind of stemmed into vertigo whenever I shut my eyes or lay down. After 4 weeks, still having problems with vision, focusing and diziness and generally energy pretty low with a lot of yawning. Vertigo is quite mild now. Appetite and sleep does seem to be slowly coming back.

I called my doctor and he didn't know what was best, he said I could either lower the dose to 10mg (every other day taking) or try a different med. I have no idea what to do because I hear lots of good things about this med, and that it worked for my auntie, but then again she had no side effects. I'm tempted to keep riding this medication on and persist through the side effects, but i'm also thinking that the dizziness might never go away and it's just the wrong drug for me.

I'm currently not working, I graduated in July (my whole final year of uni was with this horrible fatigue!!) so now I'm resting, helping my family out, doing artwork, and trying to get my health back. I have just landed a dream volunteering role at Manchester's Central Library running creative software classes, due to start in 2 weeks. I'd like to not feel dizzy, tired and rubbish! I know this is kind of long and a bit complicated but any advice would be amazing, i'm struggling to see the right direction here! Thank you smile

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Hey hello AlexL, my advice on reading your post is to persevere with the fluoxetine unless any side effect becomes too much to handle, most people seem to tolerate the side effects quite well, just the occasional individual that has side effects so extreme the only solution is a change of medication. By the sound of it on the whole you are doing pretty well AlexL, apart from the dizziness vertigo type thing, well as it happens I myself suffered that as a side effect and my doctor eventually prescribed an anti histamine which when taken regular gets rid of 95% of the strange dizzy feelings. It's called Cinnarizine, and you can actually buy it without prescription, I was prescribed two 15mg tablets up to three times dailly,and for maximum benefit that's what I take, I tried stopping them after a week but the dizzy symotoms came back within 24 hours so I'm taking them regular now, hope that is of some help to you AlexL. Good luck in your dream job and best wishes in your recovery smile
    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply David, how long have you been taking fluoxetine now? I'm sorry to hear you are still having problems with the dizziness, I hope you're able to come off the Cinnarizine soon, but if it's doing trick in getting rid then that is great! Did you find the dizziness affected your vision much? I find it hard to describe, but it definitely is affected my vision, everything just seems a bit blurry and hard to focus on. Keeping eye contact with someone is so difficult!

      I have another appointment with my GP in two weeks so I think i'll lessen the dose until then to see if there are any changes/improvements, then bump it back up to 20mg when i feel ready!

    • Posted

      I took 20mgs of Fluoxetine for 8 weeks then my improvement stalled and very slightly went backwards so my gp decided to put me on 40mgs which I've taken for 3 weeks and touch wood it's looking very positive, not 100% every day but great improvements on pre treatment general health and mind set. I do still have a slight blurry vision which is more noticable when I'm reading for instance or just trying to see the clock on the wall, I wear glasses for driving, distance type thing, never needed them in the house except for television. But I live with it! The not making or holding eye contact could just be a self concious thing Alex, the fact that you have this illness and also the fact that there is still an unsaid stigma attached to it causing both yourself and the person you're chatting with to avoid eye contact for fear of saying the wrong thing perhaps? Just a theory, my own sister has avoided me since I told her I was having treatment for "depression" families huh!
  • Posted

    Just thought i'd update. This thread is for people suffering with CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME and who's doctors may be unsure whether the cause is depression/anxiety related and if fluoextine would benefit.

    The original post above was after 4 weeks straight onto 20mg fluoxetine, and obviously I was very worse for wear and medication was a having a strong negative effect on me. I dropped to 10mg for 2 weeks and saw a slight reduction in side effects but still absolutely no positive benefit on the exhaustion or symptoms of CFS. So after 6 weeks on the med and seeing zero benefits, and just a load of side effects, the doctors told me to stop. A big mistake! After 4-5 days of stopping I lost all control of my mind and feelings. I'd feel crying with happiness/releif one hour, then feeling dead and suicidal the next hour. It was a scary and traumatic time. This eased off after a week.

    It's been 2 months since being completely off fluoxetine and I just feel the drug has left a dent in my health and has hindered my recovery/coping with CFS. In some ways I feel the drug has left some persisting psychological issues and my mental health is much worse off since being on this drug. Before the fluoxetine I always felt well mentally, just suffering with exhaustion. Whereas now I feel unstable mentally and still the same exhaustion.

    Please, please be very careful when using this med for CFS. Start on a low dose, ease off very slowly even if it's not working. And question your doctor. I was desperate and trusted my doctor and it's left me very low in health.

    If you are confused, and feel like nothing but a diagnosis of CFS fits, don't let doctors fool you that depression, stress or anxiety is the cause, they have been doing this for too long. Stay strong.


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