Started Fluoxetine this week, having side effects and could really use some advice..

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Hi everyone,

I have just started on fluoxetine and propanolol for severe anxiety symptoms which were intially thought to have been caused by a serious episode of caffeine sensitivity and has seemed to have triggered a nervous breakdown of sorts which in hindsight has probably been a long time coming.

I'm 24 years old in my final year at uni and generally a huge worrier and stresshead with very low self-esteem and confidence so its probably no surprise to my friends and family that I eventually snapped the weekend before starting my busiest and most important trimester of uni :S

Anyway, my doctor informed me of the side effects that I might feel over the next 5 days and there on. So far I feel like I'm in a drunken haze like the morning after a big night of partying, so far I can only manage a half day in uni because I'm feeling so agitated and paranoid which is totally out of character for me. I feel like I have no energy, I don't want to do anything, zero motivation to complete my coursework that's due very soon, I can't stop crying, feel dizzy and cant sleep properly. I either have insomnia like symptoms or when I close my eyes, my brain is in overdrive making no sense and its so vivid I wake up terrified that I'm losing my mind. 

This is only day 6.. In 2 weeks time I'm meant to start a very demanding 7 week placement with assignments coming out of my ears. Right now because I feel so unlike myself and scared and out of control of my own mind, theres no way I'm going to be feeling better in 2 weeks time and might have to consider taking a year out from uni as the only option at this stage in my programme sad

I've got an appointment on wednesday with my GP and I've been considering maybe coming off them and sticking to propanalol and my psychotherapy sessions which I'm already attending. Any suggestions??

Sorry for my long rant! I promise my replies won't be as long smile

1 like, 7 replies


7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi rozi

    I m no expert and still need support myself so here's my thoughts:

    You are very early days!.have you started on a low dose, as that may help..

    You need to persevere a bit longer as the bad side effects could ease off enough for you to tolerate them..

    Would propanalol be enough on it's own?

    Don't be hard on yourself, this is one hell of a thing to live with..

    I fear you may of left it a little late for meds to help you much in 2 weeks time..

    I put off going to docs for months!!

    I m all for not giving in but sometimes enough is enough!!. Maybe a year out will have to be!.

    Sorry if none of this is positive, I guess I m being realistic as I m in a bad patch and hate it if people just say you ll be fine!!..

    There are some good people here so come back!.. Take care x

    • Posted

      Thanks for your honesty Helen,

      Yes I was started on 20mgs of Fluoxetine and my GP said he would review me in a week to see how I was getting on. 

      I'm really not sure if propanalol would be enough to be honest. This whole episode has literally came out of the blue for me. I was actually feeling really good, going along just minding my own business leading up to this episode. I was going to the gym a lot, spending time with my friends and boyfriend, just enjoying my 4 weeks off uni the best I could then all of a sudden, the next day everything changed and I haven't been the same person since then... literally overnight my life totally transformed and I'm absolutely terrified ;-(

      I felt in control up till that point and I didn't realise I would need anymore help other than some initial support from the student counsellor and an impending psychology appointment that had been made months ago to help with stress management.

      Were you living with symptoms of anxiety/depression before you chose to go on medication or did you experience an episode like myself where it became one of your only choices at the time?


  • Posted

    I have lived with it most of my life!.. That's not to say you will!!.. God knows why this happens and sometimes so suddenly but as you say,you're coming up to a busy important time!.. Sod's law but understandable really!!!.

    this is why I say don't be hard on yourself,I ve lived with it and not the sort to give up but sometimes you have to bend or you ll break!!..

    if you come off the drugs you ll be in the same position as before, I know you re probably feeling worse now but it seems to be the nature of these drugs,worse before better!.. Best wishes...keep in contact x

  • Posted

    hey hi Rozi,

    my goodness poor lass you really are in the thick of it are'nt you!! I fear that time is.not on your side with the fluoxetine due to it's taking so long to get to maximum efficiency, though it varies slighly from person to person average would be 8-12 weeks to even start feeling it's full benefits. So by the time of your assignments roughly 3 weeks is all you will have, I fear this is'nt enough, sorry. I would have a frank discussion with your doctor when next you see them, perhaps there is a short term alternative that can see you through this very stressful times? Taking a year out is always an option, but after all this hard work do you really want that? Your health is of course the most important thing Rozi, you will undoubtably get sound advice both on here and from your family, friends, doctor etc, best wishes whatever route you choose cheesygrin

    • Posted

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your reply and sound advice. I went to see my doctor today and explained the horrible side effects I've been having. Although it was very early days, I have a history of being sensitive to many medications. Last summer for example, I had to be taken off Benadryl for hayfever as my mentor on placement thought I was drunk!! So I've been wary of how I'd react to Fluoxetine, especially as it comes with a list of possible side effects the length of my arm. 

      Anyway, yesterday I just took my propanolol without Fluoxetine 20mgs and felt great. My b/f said he'd got the old me back and I slept right through the night. Because I have pretty big decisions to make and not a lot of time to titrate, my doctor has agreed to take me off fluoxetine and prescribed 40mg propanalol twice daily and agreed to meet at the end of this week to see how I'm getting on. 

      I'm feeling more positive as I have a sense of control back and I still have psychotherapy sessions to look forward to so fingers crossed I won't go backwards! 

      Thanks again :-D

  • Posted

    Hi rozi

    Sorry to hear you're having such a hard time, sounds like it hit fast. I suffered for a while before dr diagnosed my syptoms as depression/ anxiety.

    You really are at the very beginning of your journey im afraid, I know thats not what you want to hear. Google timetable for recovery on fluoxetine, theres a very good post on a different forum that has generalised peoples experiences - its a real eye opener. Also try reading "depressive illness - the curse of the strong" it describes the illness ans recovery really well.

    Some people breeze through it bit it seems most get worse before they get better, foe me 6-8 wks before major improvement. You need to decide whether youd face your placement much better n get higher grades if you take time out to get better first. Maybe give it another week or two before you decide, see how you feel.

    Recovery can be a long hard road with lots of ups n downs. You are likely to need a lot of patience. But you can get better. It just takes time. Be kind to yourself and take it day by day.

    Wish you all the best n hope yours is a speedy recovery.

    Take care


  • Posted

    Hi! I just wanted to tell you my experience with fluoxetine the first time I took it. I was a complete mess after having a miscarriage at 5 1/2 months. I thought I would never get better and was in my last semester of Dental hygiene school. In that program you cannot take any semesters off and complete it later. I started fluoxetine and I don't remember the side effects because I also took Xanax and was a complete mess anyways. Anyways in 3 1/2 weeks I had completely forgot everything that had happened and was on my life feeling better. I don't know how it happened but I just woke up one day feeling great and I look back and didn't even realize it had happened. I stayed on it 2 months and then stopped and had been healed. Fast forward a year and half later and another miscarriage and I'm in the same boat again but when I tried to restart the fluoxetine I've had the worse side effects rolleyes I hope that your doing better. I just wouldn't take off school. You need it to keep you busy and your mind off everything. When I was in school I knew I had to get up and keep going.

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