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My name is Tom, I'm a 27 year old male, HIV positive (on treatment), and with a long history of on-going health problems dating back several years, including anxiety and depression / mood disturbances.
I was recently prescribed 15mg of Mirtazapine and took my first dose on Friday night just before bed. Within 20 minutes I felt a serious drug affect - extremely tired and out of it. Just before falling asleep I started experiencing really bad restless leg and arm on my right side - a sore squeezing pain / discomfort, which compels you to stretch your muscles in order to relieve it. I have had this before, but never quite this bad. I eventually fell asleep as the sedative affect was so strong.
Upon waking I still felt completely knocked out and could barely move. It took me ages to finally pull myself out of bed. I felt like I was in a thick fog the whole morning, and my muscles felt extremely weak. I was clumsy, off-balance, and slow in my body and mind. My mood did feel slightly improved already, however this was short lived.
I attempted to cook breakfast but felt so tired and weak I just could not do it. I started feeling extremely frustrated and angry at the slightest thing. After finally eating something I felt even worst, and slipped further and further into what I can only describe as a foggy dissociative psychosis. Every single sound felt turned up by a hundred, my parents voices felt extremely irritating, and I felt extremely anxious. Everything seemed strange and odd. Nothing felt real,and I was just overwhelmed by a sense of impending doom and darkness. My thoughts were muddled and I couldn't think straight at all. In addition, the aches and pains got worse and it felt like I had a really bad flu. I spent most of the day drifting in and out of sleep and my dreams were lucid and surreal. At one stage I was struggling to distinguish between dream and reality. By evening things had slightly improved but I still felt like I had been hit by a bus. My mood was terrible and I just felt rage and anger all the time. I refused to take a second dose last night and I'm so glad I didn't, because this morning I woke up feeling almost as bad.
Has anyone else had or heard of a severe reaction like this before? It felt like I was being poisoned, although I didn't have the classic symptoms of an allergic reaction.
My doctors assured me that although interactions with my HIV meds hadn't been studied, it was safe to take. Although there was a risk that one of my HIV drugs could increase the affect of Mirtazapine, because it is a booster. Perhaps this contributed to how I felt?
Just to say, most of these symptoms I had felt before, to varying degrees. For years I have experienced muscle weakness and pain, difficulties walking and using my hands, clumsiness and balance problems, vision and hearing difficulties, problems with cognition and memory, severe brain fog, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, sinus problems, exercise intolerance etc.
But there was a clear exasperation of some of these symptoms since taking the Mirtazapine. I experienced the same thing upon starting my HIV medication. Despite this, I have been told by countless GPs, and 3 neurologists that what I am experiencing is psychosomatic / anxiety related. The last neurologist I saw ruled out any HIV-associated neurological complications. Hence why I have been prescribed Mirtazapine.
I have been seeing a naturopathic doctor for several years now and she believes I have damaged my body - predominantly my brain and nervous system, through using recreational drugs, and therefore maintains that there is physiological basis to my symptoms. Could it also be that I have a severe sensitivity to pharmaceutical medications? She strongly advised me against taking any antidepressants, but because I was so desperate I ended up going against her advice.
If anyone has experienced anything similar or has any thoughts it would be really great to hear from you.
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