Should I go back on Fluoxetine/prozac?

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I was on prozac for 4 years and it made me have no anxiety issues when I was on it, I stopped it because when I was on it I noticed I had sexual difficulties with a woman, but when I was off it the severe anxiety returned, I then tried nearly every other ssri over the last few years but they all caused sexual troubles, the only other two anti depressants I really tried before I quit after a few weeks because of the sexual side effects were lexapro and venlafaxine, I was on lexapro for roughly a year and even though it helped my anxiety slightly it didn't help it anywhere near as much as prozac. The only other anti depressant I took for longer than a few weeks was venlafaxine which I took for 2 months and felt terrible the entire time I took it. The last 2 years I haven't been taking anything to help this anxiety and depression and it is getting to the point I am so anxious I can't leave the house and am getting so depressed I feel suicidal. The idea of going back on prozac and not having mental health problems does sound very appealing, but on the other hand I don't want sexual side effects? Another thing that worries me about prozac is if I get a job while I am on it its as if I will have to take it forever because if I quit the prozac the mental health problems return and are just unbearable. It also worries me that I have heard ssri anti depressant's damage the brain if taking for a very long time?

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26 Replies

  • Posted

    What dose Prozac were you taking ? And how many weeks we're on it until it got rid of ur anxoety

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    • Posted

      I was on 20mg for 4 years, I can't remember when the anxiety disapeared but I remember I just didn't have anxiety issues what so ever the 4 years I was on it, Nothing seemed to bother me and I always felt in a good mood when I was on it. Now I am an anxious wreck who constantly worries about everything have have severe depression.

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    • Posted

      If you are not on anything now can I suggest you look up saffron. I read a study on saffron and they compared it to Prozac. People had same results. I had really bad anxiety and am on Prozac now. 40 mg. The doc wanted me to go up bc I still had it on 40 s. I started taking the saffron now for two weeks and I have hardly any anxiety left.
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    • Posted

      No sorry hope81 I haven't tried saffron but I tried something similar turmeric and it didn't do anything for me. I was maybe thinking about looking in to 5htp? I don't know if you know anything about that?

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  • Posted

    Williamm,

    dear sir I am currently on my journey back from 30 years of Prozac, 10 years of Xanax and 10 years of other benzodiazepines for sleep. All of these prescribed by my primary care physicians. I am hopeful that my brain will return to normal someday even though it's not there yet I took the last of the Prozac in April of this year. I'm taking nothing at this time. I have very high anxiety at times. I have gained 20 pounds because my only pleasure in life is eating. It is tough not to let my circumstances control my actions but they do. I have a friend who goes through similar issues currently and talked with her and we support each other. I wish you the best sir God bless

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    • Posted

      Hi Pamela I am very sorry to hear about the very difficult time you're going through. I live in the UK and benzo's are generally only prescribed in serious cirumstances like if you lose a partner or something serious like that and they're usually only prescribed for short periods of time like a week or 2 weeks max, this is because doctors became aware of how addictive benzodizapine drugs are, as far as I am aware they're one of the most addictive substances on the planet, even worse than heroin. Benzo's cause one of the worst and most dangerous withdrawals when discontinued, so it makes sense that these drugs should only be giving out in extreme cases and for very very short periods of time. As for ssri anti depressants such as prozac they don't seem to have time limits on how long they're prescribed in the UK or world wide for that matter. The ssri's are a tricky one because I got a lot of relief from anxiety and mental health issues from prozac and people tend to be able to feel good on these drugs for a long time as long as 10, 20 years. But the science is suggesting that these drugs permanently rewire and damage the brain especially the longer people are on them. I don't know that ssri anti depressant's are maybe ok to take for short periods of time, so maybe 6 months to a year and then slowly weaned off them, but ssri's seem to have a profile that you can be on them for life, but research and evidence is proving this isn't safe. There is a temptation for me to go on prozac for maybe a year maximum and then slowly wean off it because I know how much relief I got from bad mental health the 4 years I was on it, but on the other hand I know these type of drugs are not 100% safe especially the longer you take them and I also do not want the sexual side effects. So I am stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment, because I am fairly confident If I went back on prozac for a few months my mental health issues would basically be cured, but I also know the negative sides of the drug. I wish I could improve my mental health on my own, I have tried supplements, eating healthy and lots of exercise but nothing seems to be working.

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    • Posted

      William I am tempted daily to go back on the Prozac. I've gained a lot of weight being off of it and that in itself is depressing for me. I do feel that some parts of me were permanently damaged the nerves being the main thing. I I'll be praying for you William whatever your decision. God bless and Godspeed.

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  • Posted

    I can recommend a natural over the counter meds called 5-HTP which is apparently a natrual SSRI.  It needs to be taken with l-tyrosine.  I came off meds last year and have been taking these ever since with great success.  There are no side effects like you get with Prozac, though some people are a little more sensitive than others.

    If anyone thinks of taking this you must first discuss with your doctor and never stop taking your meds without his knowledge.  5-HTP must never be taken with prescribed SSRI's either.

    SSRI's don't damage the brain.  All medicine has its side effects.

    I'll also message you with a weblink - something I've passed on to many others.

    K x

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    • Posted

      I had thought about trying 5htp before, maybe it would be worth a go? I would of never stopped taking prozac if it wasn't for the sexual side effects. The 2 things that worry me with it are sexual side effects and if there is any chance it could damage the brain. But the extent how much better I felt on prozac is unbelievable, so that is why it is very temping to go back on it.

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    • Posted

      I've certainly found it successful - bought a great book, read up on it loads and then spent a year withdrawing before starting them.  Had a flat period for a while but I've been on them nearly a year now and still feel great.

      Yes I felt amazing on SSRI's and wouldn't hesitate to go back on them if I ever felt the need to ..... I became curious if I could cope without meds.

      If you're already off meds its certainly worth trying 5-HTP.  They work within a few weeks, have no start up side effects and you don't need to withdraw either.

      I've private messaged you.

      K x

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    • Posted

      Kate and William, I have been taking 100mg 5 HTP twice daily since April and it helps alot with mood and anxiety as well as sleep. I also take a high dose of a Vitamin B Complex and it too seems to be helpful. THE B6 vitamin helps grow (re-grow) healthy brain tissue which is damaged by drugs prescription and street drugs, alcohol, etc.
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    • Posted

      Yes B6 =14pxhelps the body make several neurotransmitters, is needed for normal brain development and function, and helps the body make the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine.  A good vitamin to take.

      I still don't think SSRI's damage the brain ... but who knows.  I took them for 16 years and haven't had any after effects ...... though I'm sure my family think differently haha biggrin

      How have you been taking the 5-HTP?  I'm finding it great.  You do need to take l-tyrosine with it though too.

       

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    • Posted

      Mmmmm not sure why my text was changed to =14px ???  That was meant to say 'it'.  rolleyes

      Strange ......

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    • Posted

      Ah that's good it incorporates it into one tablet then.  How are you getting on with the meds?  I'm like them and find them easy to take.

       

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    • Posted

      I am off all prescription meds except for blood pressure. And to think that just 6 months ago I was on Prozac, Xanax, Flurazapam and Gabapentin! My doctors had me on all those addictive drugs and now I am drug free. So happy about that!
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    • Posted

      Gosh that's a lot of medication.  So happy you've been able to come off them and have found something that suits you.

      I only ever took the one medication which helped me so much and get my life back together, then after many years on them (and feeling happy) curiosity got the better of me and I decided to see how I felt by lowering which also worked.  I went further and further down in doses, searched for an alternative and switched over last year.  So am also off prescription meds now.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Kate

      I wanted to ask you more about 5 HTP (and I-tyrosine). I was on fluoxetine for over a year until I had to quit cold turkey due to pregnancy ( my psychiatrist wasn’t the most helpful when it came to tapering off). I suffered some withdrawal symptoms but was ok after a while.  I still had some anxious thoughts accompanied by emotional dips by overall, I coped well. 

      A few weeks ago, however, something happened and I now find myself in a disarray. By that, I mean I have had irrational thoughts leading to anxiety and depression.  I contacted my psychiatrist, hoping to go back on fluoxetine but he wasn’t accommodating, stating that he had not seen me for over a year so I should go to a general practitioner for a referral (it’s apparently the procedure, according to him). Anyway, I came across this discussion by chance and read your recommendation of 5-HTP with much interest. I have some questions which I have not been able to find answers to via Googling and I was hoping if you could be of help? 

      Thanks. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Saffron

      Oh sorry you've had those difficulties with wanting to restart Fluoxetine, but often that does happen if you've not taken them for a while and you've been 'discharged' by a specialist, and have to then go through the procedure starting again with your doctor.

      Yes I take 5-HTP and l-tyrosine which have been successful for me (so far) wink  It is worth trying before considering prescription meds, but always speak to your doctor too if you're having problems as there's always other treatments too i.e. CBT etc.

      Yes those irrational thoughts can creep back in, and often its due to underlying anxiety anyway (they're a side effect of anxiety).  The thoughts then produce more anxiety which starts off that cycle again.

      So yes - maybe I can help with what you've not been able to find?

      K x

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    • Posted

      Hi Kate

      Many thanks for the reply! 

      I did some reading on 5-HTP and I-tyrosine and some of the articles mentioned that they are only for short-term use. But I also read elsewhere some people saying that they’ve been taking 5-HTP for over a year with no problems at all. So, that’s rather confusing. Some others suggest cycling them in order to promote their ‘longevity’, such as giving yourself a 1-week break after 3 weeks of consumption. So, I’m wondering if you could share with me how it is for you. And is my understanding that I-tyrosine is taken in the morning and 5-HTP at night correct? 

      Thanks in advance! x

      P.S.: I’m not based in the UK or USA and mental health care where I am is provided by the Government, the doctors of which are pro-drugs and have little knowledge of alternative treatments. I underwent CBT with my doctor but it was so useless because he gave me some papers to read, and during our sessions, he literally read those same passages to me! He had admitted earlier on that CBT wasn’t his forte so I felt like he was just using me as a guinea pig. I am trying to secure an appointment with the only private practice here that deals with mental health / well-being. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Saffron

      Mmmmm yes there are reports saying 5-HTP is for short term use, but I’ve taken it for 18 months now and its still fine.

      So the longevity of it - apparently 5-HTP can lose its efectiveness after about a month with some people as the 5-HTP effects wear off.  The book I have about it quotes that research found that the levels of Serotonin had risen by taking the 5-HTP but the levels of other important monoamine neurotransmitters ie Dopamine and Norepinephrine (classed as catecholamines) had declined, and it was wondered if these levels could be adjusted - providing the body with an increased supply of raw materials known as precursors it needs to make them (as 5-HTP does with Serotonin).  It was found l-tyrosine was effective and giving people the catecholamine precursors tyrosine restored the effects of 5-HTP.

      So it could be that the reports about 5-HTP not being long lasting may not understand about the use of l-tyrosine being taken to counteract this.

      5-HTP is good taken at night as it helps with sleep - I used to take mine in the morning but since splitting the dose and taking half in the morning and the other at night, by sleep is much more rested, deep and I wake feeling refreshed.  I take l-tyrosine in the morning with the first half of 5-HTP and yes, the other half of 5-HTP at night.

      Oh I’m sorry you’ve had difficuluty with CBT with your doctor - each country is different of course and aren’t always the forerunners of particular treatments, though many do catch up.

      I’ll private message you with a book on 5-HTP which I found very helpful when I was looking for a natural alternative to SSRI medicines.  Can’t post the book details here as it’ll get deleted.

      5-HTP and l-tyrosine are a great alternative to SSRI’s and is someting to try if you’re off medicine and want to try something else before thinking of going back onto prescribed meds.  Anyone considering trying 5-HTP must always discuss it with their doctor and not just stop their prescription meds.  They must never be taken with SSRI’s of course as would be like overdosing on similar medicines.

      K x

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