Unsure what to do about Mirtazapine

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I was put on mirtazapine in May 2013 after I was attacked by my brother a few months before. I was low, anxious and agoraphobic. I was desperate. I couldn't eat and didn't sleep for 6 months. I weighed around 6 stone and felt ill. I am so against meds but gave in and took them but I said I'd only take 7.5mg. It helped, I felt calmer, I worked on the agoraphobia, I slept and ate well. I gained a stone and felt really well. Then at the end of 2013 my family got intouch causing me intense fear and anxiety and I was forced to attend my mums wedding. My anxiety got too much for me having to see my brother there and I started feeling full of anxiety and intrusive thoughts. My GP suggested increasing to 15mg. I agreed so in December 2013 I increased. I have been on 15mg since.

I have always worried mirt didn't help me that much since being on the 15mg but I am much calmer and although I still have anxiety and agoraphobia on and off life is calmer and I cope better if family get intouch. I sleep so well and I love food. 

I became ill last summer with chronic fatigue and I was sure mirtazapine was a big reason, I feel tired all the time no matter what time I take it the night before, i suffer from unreality feelings and zombie feeling every day. My GP said it sounded like CFS and I have now been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. I have been very unwell with the thyroid but i have wondered if mirt was a big fatigue cause. 

I also have high cholesterol (6.9) GP not worried as I am young and healthy diet but I know mirtazapine raises cholesterol. Should I be concerned about mirtazapine doing this? 

I have gained a lot of weight on the drug but i was always a painful 6 stone, max 90lbs. Now I am 8 stone 10lbs (122lbs) at 5ft tall and can't seem to lose any on mirtazapine. My GP says I don't need to diet as I am a health weight.

I just worry has mirtazapine caused any of my health issues, the fatigue, high cholesterol? and can it have an effect on health the longer you're on it. I have been on it 3 years now and very worried that I shouldn't be on it so long or can you take it long term?

I spoke to my GP and he doesn't think right now is the right time to withdraw. I have had a tough year when my thyroid ill health hit I became anxious again. I overcame alot of my anxiety and life was better than last year I became ill physically due to my thyroid failing. I have been bed ridden at times, I have 3 children to care for, no support other than my husband as I have no family and it has been really tough on us. Finally I think thyroxine is helping and I am feeling a little better in myself but it's been a very hard year getting the correct dose and back on my feet. My GP said right now I need to concentrate on getting over the ill health and the chronic fatigue it's caused. With it it brought back my anxiety and agoraphobia so I have gone back to therapy to get back on top of them again. I know the ill health has set me back as I was doing very well. 

So I know my GP is right, I just worry it will be harder to wean off when I am ready and the fact it obviously hasn't helped my anxiety this time round makes me wonder why I bother taking it now. I do sleep, eat and am a stronger person for being on it but I still struggle with social anxiety and agoraphobia, well since this setback the last year.

I have also read some scary withdrawal stories online so i worry I will always be too scared to come off it.

I just needed to post, I have been really worried about all of this.

Thanks

J

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Also a kind lady here invited me to a Facebook group that helps with withdrawal, I left Facebook for a while and now can't find the group or the lady that invited me. If anyone knows please inbox me. Thanks.

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    • Posted

      I also have an underactive thyroid gland, I am just coming off Mirt, this time I haven't been on it long, It doesn't agree with me, or any other AD for that matter, as i have always said it affects my thyroid, Doctors won't have it, even though she has seen I am getting better without them, and twice as bad on them... Doctors never seem to look at the bigger picture..... I totaly agree with Calmer, when you come to cut down, cut down by 10%, very small amounts.....

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Hilary,

      I am sorry to hear you've been struggling with your thyroid too.

      I think Mirtazapine had it's place 3 years ago when I was crippled by anxiety and fear. I had lost my Nan suddenly, attacked by my brother and my family turned their backs on me. I had to rebuild my whole life. I didn't sleep a wink for 6 months nor could I eat and I was a tiny 6 stone in weight. Now I eat, sleep and I feel over the family issues that destroyed me. So I do think Mirt helped when I felt my life was over and in bits. My recent anxiety has been due to this thyroid issue, for a year I've had anxiety again and agoraphobia, developed some fears I never had before like having a blood test... I daily despite now being on 50mg thyroxine, feel so fatigued, every morning I feel heavy and drugged up and so terribly fatigued I can't face the day but I have to being a mum to 3 children. My GP says this is my thyroid and also blames 'mood' I don't have depression, I have been low at times but as my GP has said its always situational. It's crippling faitgue, feeling like I am walking on a boat giddiness and a general lethargy all day. I really do think Mirtazapine is a big cause, but the first 2 years I'd feel tired the next day but this is much worse so maybe the thyroid can make you feel chronically fatigued. 

      Can I ask did you develop an underactive thyroid on Mirtazapine or did you have the issue before?

      Can I ask also how you are withdrawing, with a pill cutter or liquid? How are you finding the withdrawal? I really want to wean off but I am afraid after having an awful Christmas last year when my health issues began I really want this year to go well, so I fear weaning off before Christmas incase my anxiety rockets doing it. 

      THank you for replying to me, I appreciate it.

      Julie

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    • Posted

      Hi jingyd36

      It was 1996 when i was diognosed an underactive thyroid, but all my life every doctor i saw always thought i had thyroid problem, right from being 16 years old, were the ENT even thought i looked thyroid, so for a long time they had me on Valium, which hid the fact I did have a thyroid problem, as of 1992 i came off Valium, and not long after I fell very ill they thought i had MS, but it wasn't it was long term untreated thyroid, so if not treated it can make you very tired depressed and anxous,... by the way when you first go on thyroxine, it can take up to a year to level out..... i went 20 years and didn't need any kind of AD's, but last year all i wanted was counseling for delayed grieving, and because there ids a hugh waiting list, the GP gave Sertraline, that was really bad for me, then it was Mirtazapine, that was for 7.5 weeks, think I came off it too quick, but i was never good on it, then i went 6 weeks without, but because I came off it too quick, had bad withdrawals, so the GP then gave me Fluxotine, I was on that 10.5 weeks, but not good on that either, was shaking all the time, so all in all AD's have not bee god for me, .... just reasently I went into a private hopital thinking I would get better help, how wrong was I, they put me back on Mirtazapine, saying, last year I wasn't on strong enough, I came out of that hospital even worse, no counseling like they promised, and thousands of pounds less money, I cut right down right away on the Mirtazapine, so wasn't on them long this time, so hoping I won't feel as bad this time, didn't have any last night, I am useing liquid, which i got from the private hospital..... I still think in my case AD's don't go with thyroxine,,,

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  • Posted

    You're right, Mirt' does come with fatigue as a side effect, especially at the lower doses (7.5 mg more so than 15 mg).  It can also mess with your thyroid - I think there may be advice on the leaflet (or maybe I read it online) to have regular thyroid checks at the doctors.  And yes also to high cholestrol ... Mirt has 58 listed side effecgts and then some more.

    Don't go worrying about tapering, I've been doing a slow taper and can 100% say I have had very little discontinuation symptoms, just need to go very slow, when ever you might be ready.

    You have had a terrible fright and PTSD, that is a terrible thing to happen to anyone.  I would imagine that Mirt' would be a great support for you whilst seeking professional therapy to help you, I hope one day you will be able to conquer the demons that must haunt you, one thing is for sure ~ you musn't let this take total control over you, I wish you strength to push forward away from that darkness.

    Best wishes Jingy

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    • Posted

      Hi Calmer,.

      I think Mirtazapine had it's place 3 years ago when I was crippled by anxiety and fear. I had lost my Nan suddenly, attacked by my brother and my family turned their backs on me. I had to rebuild my whole life. I didn't sleep a wink for 6 months nor could I eat and I was a tiny 6 stone in weight. Now I eat, sleep and I feel over the family issues that destroyed me. So I do think Mirt helped when I felt my life was over and in bits. My recent anxiety has been due to this thyroid issue, for a year I've had anxiety again and agoraphobia, developed some fears I never had before like having a blood test... I daily despite now being on 50mg thyroxine, feel so fatigued, every morning I feel heavy and drugged up and so terribly fatigued I can't face the day but I have to being a mum to 3 children. My GP says this is my thyroid and also blames 'mood' I don't have depression, I have been low at times but as my GP has said its always situational. It's crippling faitgue, feeling like I am walking on a boat giddiness and a general lethargy all day. I really do think Mirtazapine is a big cause, but the first 2 years I'd feel tired the next day but this is much worse so maybe the thyroid can make you feel chronically fatigued. 

      I read the leaflet this morning and no mention of thyroid or cholesterol but my GP has even said it can raise cholesterol, they really should put that on the leaflet.

      Can I ask also how you are withdrawing, with a pill cutter or liquid? How are you finding the withdrawal? I really want to wean off but I am afraid after having an awful Christmas last year when my health issues began I really want this year to go well, so I fear weaning off before Christmas incase my anxiety rockets doing it. I have always felt 15mg never suited me, I am much calmer on it I agree, I have very little anxiety physically now but mentally once on 15mg my intrusive thoughts ramped up, phobias i never had crept in... I do feel calmer so I am afraid to wean off but if it's effecting my health, making me feel this fatigued and sluggish daily I have to be brave and wean off. I have wanted to wean off it for over a year but been too scared as I read horror stories online so kind of assumed I'd never be able to do it :-(

      Thank you for your reply.

      Julie

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    • Posted

      Yes of course, I don't mind sharing my wd experience one bit.  I researched  for quite some time having, like you, read horror stories.  So I buddies up with a lady from this forum deciding to follow the 10% drop per month plan.  Then we did 5% drop every 2 weeks which was even gentler - yes I have the liquid, not always easy to get it as it is so much more expensive than tablets or Sol Tabs.  Next best thing is the Sol tabs .... its all well documented, no need to repeat, click on my name and follow the links there.

      I was taking 15 mg and my plan is slow, I have been tapering for a year (!!) which I can't quite believe, but I was determined to beat this.  The only time I have had a bad reaction was when I did two 7% drops one after another, which is the same as a 14% drop in 4 weeks if you like.  I had really bad brain zaps and waking terrified ... so that's when I slowed it down further.  I am at 1.8 mg now, and intend to go right down to 0.1 mg ... might sound crazy but I fear insomnia as that is what started my story in the beginning.  It lead to extreme anxiety and then depression - horrific time.

      You have situational depression, something everyone can understand and accept may cause fears and anxiety.  I do think there is a right time to live without the sedation that Mirt brings, or the calmness as you speak of.  Only you know when that is. But I would recommend the backup of a therapist as you have quite a heap on your plate.  Is your doctor supportive?  Hope so, wouuld you be able to get the liquid do you think?

      Wishing you well.

       

       

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  • Posted

    Im abt the same size n weight as u currently on sertrsline but think mirts would help me gain weight and help with sleep i only need it for anxiety would u recommend it?
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    • Posted

      HI Weenett

      I couldn't sleep at all for 6 months, I lost my nan and was attacked, I never slept or ate. I was 6 stone, so very painfully thin. Mirtazapine helped me gain weight and I sleep very well. It's why I've stayed on it. I do feel much calmer on it so I'd say it's been very helpful through a difficult time. I had no start up effects other than sedation and dizziness for about 10 days, then it eased off and started to work. I started at 7.5mg and worked up to 15mg slowly and that worked for me.

      I never would take SSRI drugs which sertreline is, as they can really ramp up anxiety before it gets better. I had a horrible reaction and that's why I can only take mirtazapine, I had little choice.

      Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Yes it really calmed me. Don't go over 15mg though, as higher the dose the more it can cause anxiety. Lower doses best.

      Good luck x 

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  • Posted

    I know it's easier said than done. you are a lot like me in the sense you sound like you worry bout the past present and future all at once. you can't change the past. you can't predict the future nd I definitely agree with your doc that now isn't a good time to stop the mirt. so I would go by wat ur doc thinks. just deal with the present. I don't think trying to taper your med would be helpful to u at the moment. idk if you take any anxiety med but it sounds like maybe klonopin or Xanax or some type of anxiety med at a small dose might be of some help but that is between u nd ur doc. I take klonopin at bedtime with mirt. it is a 12 hr acting med. I can take it during the day nd at night but I just take it at night. nd if there is a time wen ur ready to taper the mirt it can help with the taper as well. I worked as a medical assistant for a GP for 2 yrs nd an obgyn for a yr nd did clinical research at the same time nd then worked just under 5 yrs as a clinical research tech on psychiatric meds nd disorders. I left in 2005 but I also have been on med for bout 23 yrs now. so if u would like to ask anything else I will try 2 help the best I can. but I'm not a doc so always pls Chek withyour doc nd maybe consider an anxiety med. mirt helps with anxiety but it sounds like a specific anxiety med in itself added in withe mirt would be helpful. Journaling helps or counseling or both. hot relaxing baths nd some down time for ur self having 3 children or u nd hubby having a night out is well deserved at the moment. my best regards moma s

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