Mirtazpine - significantly detrimental side-effects?

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i was wondering if someone might be able to offer some advice or insight into the following.

My mum has struggled with depression for many many years and has been on and off pills for much of that time. She has taken mirtazpine for the past couple of years, initially at 15mg  but more recently 30mg and is currently taking 45mg. Personally I am very opposed to pharmaceuticals but I understand that she feels that they do support her. 

She has seen psychiatrists who have amongst other things prescribed her quetiapine (which she came off herself as she found it really unhelpful). Anyway she is basically incredibly anxious all the time, unable to sit still, concentrate, very low mood, repetitively repeating words, crying out, ruminating, chewing things (self soothing?), poor quality sleep. She is 70 years old has also lost several stone in weight i am very worried that she is having an adverse reaction to these pills and very worried about her inability to tolerate this dose given her weight loss.  Previously her depression has just made her a bit of a sad-sack and really negative but I have never seen her in a state like this and it has been going on for several months. Her GP encourages her to remain on this course of drugs. 

I would be really grateful if this rings any bells for anyone?



1 like, 17 replies

17 Replies

  • Posted

    Know a few people clare where this drug has actually caused them anxiety. They had never suffered with it until they started taking it. If the drug has turned on her it causes all sorts of problems. You should join the support group on Facebook just to see how badly this drug is affecting people and I'm one of them.

  • Posted

    Hi I'm so sorry about your mum it sounds awful and it must be for you seeing her like that. Usually mirtazapine put weight on I've been on them the 45mg but found them unhelpful and they seemed to be working against me after awhile so I stopped I don't like them.I think for some people they help but we're all different they are quite a strong drug your mum may have to be weaned of them as some people feel awful withdrawal from them if your mum seems to have gone worse on them I would if it was my mum get her off them it must be very hard for you but you know your mum better than the doctor xxxxxx

    • Posted

      thanks very much for the response Carol. It is very sad to see someone deteriorating particularly the effect that it is having on my dad who feels fairly ill-equipped to help her. I can appreciate how strong they are and how difficult it is when you are in a spiral of ill health to know what to do. Agreed that the weight loss is strange. She has now had two CT scans (god knows how much radiation that meant) because her anxiety has morphed into hypochondria because she just feels so odd and was convinced that she has cancer. The all clear hasn't done a lot to alleviate her worry however. 

    • Posted

      Hi Clare it's so very sad I just wondered if anyone is supporting you through all this it all sounds such a lot to face on your own xxxx

  • Posted

    Whatever you decide clare your mum needs to taper down very slowly. I made the mistake of listening to my doctor and am paying a heavy price now. Doctors do not recognise addiction or withdrawals from this drug either unless you find a good one.
    • Posted

      thanks very much for the response neilninja. She has previously reduced them from 45mg to 30mg but found this too difficult to manage i.e. she felt awful. ( I perceived to be the withdrawal effects, but she thought was evidence that she 'should' stay on them).

      As she is now so anxious she doesn't trust herself to know her own body and relies on the authority of the doctors. I'm not disputing that they're qualified medical practitioners but i think often their quantity of knowledge is privileged over their quality and they may not know what to do beyond offer more or different drugs. 

    • Posted

      Mo worries clare. My doctor took me off something I'd took for 20 years and thought it was OK to swap it for mirtazapine. Was a big mistake it was a new doctor and I trusted her. To say I am suffering since would be an understatement. Luckily I have found a new doctor who seems to know what he is talking about. The first doctor in 20 years that admitted to me they don't know how these drugs work. In your mums case it would have been the fast reduction of the mirt making her so unwell. Doctors just think you need to up the dose again and it will be fixed. It doesn't fix it it just puts you back how you were before. Plus going up and down is not good for the nervous system. This drug is a nightmare to get off some suffer with withdrawals and some don't. Please clare before you make any decisions off the doctor post back in here first then go from there. I'm only saying this as I'm suffering and would like to think we can make it easier for your mum.

    • Posted

      thanks Neilninja,

      Yes the GP just keeps telling her that she needs to remain on the dose (she's now back on 45mg) for longer for it to 'work'. Quite how they ethically justify the continuation of a drug supposedly designed to combat her anxiety which just appears to be compounding it is beyond me. Agreed that they would probably be pushed to accurately describe the mechanism of action beyond that these pills are what NICE prescribes. 

      I fear my somewhat anti-psychiatry stance is shining through!


    • Posted

      Did you know clare they actually give these drugs to cats as well. The safe reccomend action to taper is 2-5% every 2-4 weeks. I know some people taper at 10% but I can't due to amitryptyline withdrawal going on and being to harsh on My nervous system. . I have to make my own liquid as doctors refused me the liquid so I could get exact amounts. You can't get the right amounts by cutting pills up.

    • Posted

      Yes finding a new doctor for a second medical opinion is a good suggestion
  • Posted

    Maybe consider a second medical opinion - if you can ask your friend and neighbours 
  • Posted

    thanks Ally, my mother is loathe to talk to her friends about it but it's very true that unless you reach out to a wider community then you're susceptible to the beliefs of the GP and constrained by their constraints. 

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