The Paxil/Seroxat user experience – the truth

Here are a few comments from readers of Seroxat Secrets about the wonderful drug we know as Paxil or Seroxat or Aropax… I must stress this is a small selection from the hundreds of comments I have received over the last two years.

Are you listening Glaxo? Are you listening at the MHRA? Are you listening at the FDA?

It’s about time these voices were heard – a lot of people need help:

I just found this site and am very concerned. I am 48 and have been on Paxil for 12 years. I’ve attempted to get off 3 times and my doctor at the time told me that typically if you couldn’t get off by a 3rd attempt – you will never be able to get off. That was my 3rd attempt. Even weaning down – I was left with the most incredible headaches and was prescribed pain meds. It was so bad at one point my Doctor met me in the Neurologist office where they were going to do a spinal tap to figure out why my pain was so great. Then, instead, they decided it was the paxil withdrawl.

The drinking. I am so happy I found this website today. My drinking has been incredible and now I see it IS related to paxil. That and the insomnia, which I take Ambien for.

I need to get off this and quickly. I’m not getting any younger and I’m concerned about getting older with these issues. I’m going to try to find a Doctor to assist – but don’t know how to find one – I’ll just start looking.

Any suggestions would be great.

I am 24 and have been on paxil for 9 months now, like all of you i started at a low dose for anxiety attacks which run in the family. Then i moved up to 20mg, then 30mg which i am at now and is slowly becoming not enough.
Paxil has ruined my life, i feel so tired all the time, cant function, cant care for my child and feel down.
i would advise for anyone to take it but when you have those attacks, you’ll take anything. i would not wish those attacks on my worse enemy! on the 30 mg it was working great except the side effects, then maybe every other day my heart starts to race, start breathing deep and have weird pains due to the effect it takes on your brain.
so i can just imagine my dose will be going up, i always said to myself i would not take anything addictive but here i am on this horrible pill that is slowly ruining my life and those around me.
I feel for all of you because i know what every one of you is talking about and i wish to give you all hope and keep your sanity during this crazy ride!

I was prescribed the junk for PTSD, depression, and anxiety. I was on celexa prior to that for a period of six months. The problem I had with that is I got tired of being completely sedated and never being able to get myself off the courch or stay awake for more than an hour, so I switched to paxil, and it’s worse than crack… It feels good for about an hour and then come the cravings for more as it rushes out of your system. This state of rollerlcoster withdrawal leaves you bent, jaw welded shut, teeth grinding, anxious as all hell, vivid nightmares, completely lost vocabulary, and no short term memory at all.

Doctors of course would not listen, would not prescribe anything for the massive anxiety and I had no access to weed, or money for it if I did, hence a strong urge to drink which I’ve never experienced in my life. I had noticed while having the rare beer that I’d suddenly feel relaxed and more functional or balanced. Of course I couldnt’ afford to drink like a fish and also realized that was a problem I didn’t want either, so I avoided it and just kept with the side effects. The doctor’s answer was always the same=double the dose.

As I sat in the doctors office barely able to put a simple sentence together anymore, but managed to say “I think I need to be taking less”, only to hear “more is definately the answer for you”, I went off it cold turkey.

It’s been two years now and there are still lingering side effects. These drugs are an epidemic worse than cancer, and that includes the lies told to get us and keep us taking them, giving them to our kids and our pets.. it’s criminal.

Part of me is now thinking if I should go back on the tablets and wean myself off them very slowly, but another part is wondering if that will solve anything at all. After reading the direction leaflet that came with the pills it said that “MOST PEOPLE FIND THAT ANY SYMPTOMS ON STOPPING SEROXAT ARE MILD AND GO AWAY ON THEIR OWN WITHIN TWO WEEKS. FOR SOME PEOPLE, THESE SYMPTOMS MAY BE MORE SEVERE,OR GO ON FOR LONGER” so basically it’s a Russian Roulette situation, you just cannot tell whether or not you will get the best or worst of the symptoms that come during withdrawal of the drug!!

Hi all, it is a bit of a relief reading some of your posts but also really scary. I was on Seroxat (only 30mg) for about 7 years for OCD/depression. I had several attempts at coming off it and finally did at the beginning of this year. I was so pleased with myself. Since then I have plummeted and have this overwhelming feeling as if I have just ‘woken up’. I have done some awful things whilst on the drug and had wondered if it could have been due to it?! Reading these posts has made me think it’s possible. I don’t know what to think. I’ve been put on Prozac 20mg but it’s doing nothing for my anxiety. Do you think 30mg seroxat could have had effects where I ‘didn’t really know what I was doing’? Sorry to babble on so.

I am going “Cold Turkey” and this is my 5th week. It is a living nightmare, I cant discribe what hell i am going through. I have tried to take my own life is the very worst thing I have tried to do. My hubby and our 2 kids are also going through hell living with me and my manic mood swings, one monent i am ok the next i have an over whelming urge to sob, next i am just so so mad and aggresive it is just sheer hell on us all. I am dying of the heat one sec then freezin the next, i cant think stright i can just bring my self to eat, and me head is in bits, i have always got this swishy feeling going on ……….. After telling this to my doctor she then priscribed Valium and sleeping tablets!! I will not take those as i DO NOT want to get addicted to another drug to get of seroxat!! I fell like its just me , what can I do?

ive been on it for 3 weeks…
stopped cold turkey and ive been freaking out on my loved ones…
this stuff is poison… dont take it

Hi i am 32 year old and been on seroxat for the last 2 years, and ive been cutting the dosage down on the liquid seroxat which makes it easier to come off, or so the doctors say.. i stopped it after 2 bottles, i feel like death, constant crying, shouting at my husband and two children that i love so much. my kids have seen me beeting my self with what ever ive got in my hand at the time, i hate the way i feel, i am so bloody scared. I dont want to loose my family. I feel so sorry for the ppl that have been on it much longer than me. Its so bloody cruel for me and my family 2 go through this.

I’m a user of 10 yrs…… this drug has ruled my life after being prescribed it like smarties when i was 19. Great at first. Solved all my problems. Now!!!….. the moment i miss a dose, my mood changes. The longer i leave it. SWEATS. SHORT TEMPER. ELECTRIC SHOCKS, in my head and tongue. FEEL SICK. TIRED. FEEL LIKE IM NOT REALLY HERE> like a computer game. ANGER at anything. doesn’t matter. just small stuff. NIGHTMARES. I live with it cause i’ve decided i’ll never come off it, but so long as i take my 40mg dose every 2 days. I’m OK. A fucking slave to GSK. I’ve recently self harmed. THats a new step. 10 yrs now, nearly 11. I’m 30. It scares me what i might do one day. I try control it best i can, and do a pretty good job, but now and then, i slip. Thank you GSK. Thank you doctors. for all your fucking help in making me BETTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am trying to wean off Paxil. I have noticed that my craving for alcohol disappears….like COMPLETELY with the continuing decrease in dosage. Last night I missed the half dose (down to 10 mg) that I have been taking by cutting the pills in half. Today, after work, I truly did not want to come home and drink, which has been my habit now for several years while on Paxil. Prior to taking Paxil, I was relatively indifferent to alcohol, could take it or leave it, but my dependence on drinking has become a lifestyle since the Paxil. I’ve also gained an enormous amt of weight.
I would like to be free of Paxil completely, but when I try to go off it completely, I become ill and dizzy. So, I’m doing it slowly. I’m glad I found this discussion group where others have expressed the same problem with alcohol. It sure was nice this evening to come home and NOT want to drink…kind of like a miracle!

I had a similar experience when I tried reducing the dose of seroxat form 30mg to 20mg. I am a psychiatrist and I thought that I knew a fair amount about the drug. This was back in 1998. When I unsuccessfully tried to reduce the dose again, I discussed the strange sensations that I was experiencing with a professor I knew. I was told that there was no evidence that withdrawl from seroxat might cause problems. The strange senasations were, “all in the mind”. Of course they were….but not in the pejorative interpretation of that platitude. I heard from plenty of other people that were experiencing similar symptoms upon their attempts to discontinue the drug, similar symptoms and similar contempt for theiran complaints about such because “SSRI’s are not addictive”. So implied the literature. I read much and tried to find out as much as I could in my lowly position as a (then) junior psychiatrist. My self-esteem fell as I was met with colleagues who were happy to accept the drug companies ‘facts’ about the drug….and their largesse. I began to use any other SSRI when prescribing for my patients, fearful that they too might have such unexplainable and unpleasant adverse effects from seroxat, despite the apparent lack of evidence. Vindication would come sweet, I told myself; surely so many people’s experience cannot be ignored.
I am glad that you, whoever you are, have set up this blog. I found it through my frequent recent trips to a blog that I have a lot of admiration and respect for – the sidebar links in that blog have been very, very interesting. I look forward to more here. I have become increasingly cynical, sceptical and ultimately dismissive of ‘evidence’ offered from researchers. I cannot now even look at a scientific paper without wondering what is missing. I may just about be able to spot some methodological flaws in a paper, but it is incredibly difficult in a busy life to spend hours dissecting every paper that I come across. I am so sad that the profession that I struggled to enter, that I held in naiive and idealistic esteem as an adolescent, that I had such hopes for has let me down so badly over the years.

My husband was prescribed Seroxat for mild depression and was on them for about four years. Initially, within first three weeks they appeared to help him but then his behaviour changed. He became irritable, aggressive, and violent. His judgement and response to minor problems became exaggerated. All in all he was frightening to live with. Once he stopped taking the medication he became more calm. I have never liked this drug even before I had heard of doubts over its efficacy.

seroxat has devastated my mind,body and soul.I have been off it, after 6 years usage, 29 long months and i am still suffering the damage caused,in way of; agitation,headaches,vision problems,severe tinnatus,breathing problems,heart irregularities,anxiety,depression,derealisation,aches and pains,apathy,mood swings,anger,gastric problems,dizziness,nausea,tingling/numbness in extremities,sorry the list is endless.
These symptoms vary from day to day,its like a box of chocolates(forrest gump) you never know what you are going to get next.
My life is on hold as i cannot plan ahead as i never know which of these debilatating symptoms is going to be present.
So for me Seroxat is a prison sentance,only difference is with seroxat you never know when your time is done,if you will ever fully recover.
So is it dangerous? oh hell yes !!!!!

I will just say i have had almost 9 years of my life ruined by this poison,6 years on it,an attempted cold turkey off it which almost cost me my life,i was obsessed with suicide(never had been in my life before),and then 29 months of severe protracted withdrawal,and also a 9 month taper which i did alternate days as advised by my doctor!!!.
This has been one hell of a journey ,for which i had no choice, as side effects/withdrawal effects were never mentioned upon being prescribed this defective drug.
I think that this is a very high price to pay when my origional complaints were nausea,weepiness and a whole range of gyne problems.It took a doctor 2 minutes to prescribe a mind altering drug and 2 years to send me to a gyne to have my true problems looked at,i wonder which big pharma rep my doctor had seen in his office that week!!!!

I am just at the start of my fourth withdrawal – some four weeks in – and I am determined for this withdrawal to be my last. I am planning this withdrawal over two years and reducing using the liquid form of Seroxat, coming down from 30mg to nil. I’ve been on this drug for 11 years, since I was 19, and I have almost killed myself on each of the three previous attempts at withdrawal.
I am writing to wish all those who are attempting to withdraw the best of luck and my support. I encourage everyone to inform themselves as much as possible about withdrawal – there are lots of sources of info out there now.
I’m hoping that this very protracted withdrawal will assist in enabling me to finally be free of this drug, which ultimately, has ‘kept me on hold’ for all of my adult life and prevented me from ever getting to know the real me.
Although I’m scared of what the future might hold being off the drug, because I feel so addicted to it, I want to know myself away from Seroxat and be given the chance to live in whichever way I choose.
I admire all those who are committed to withdrawing from this drug.

I have just figured this alcohol and seroxat thing out for myself. Having been on seroxat for some 3 years now, my doctor said I was to start to cut down my dosage. I have been worrying so much about my alcohol consumption since being on the drug and had tried on a few occasions to stop drinking…….up to a bottle of wine every night…….with no lasting success. I had such strong cravings for alcohol and could not stop myself even though I knew this was bad for me. I also put on lots of weight after having been slim all my life. I also had the feeling of being out of control. Luckily I confided in a few family members but we never put it together that the seroxat was causing these problems. Anyway, after just 2 weeks of cutting down my dosage I have no cravings for alcohol. I can think about having a drink, but don;t have to have one. I feel in control again. I am hoping that as my dosage gets lower I will be much more in control of my whole life. The drug helped me get my life back at a time when I wasn’t functioning and sleeping most of the day but it took me to extremes. Today having realised that I wasn’t needing to have a drink it occurred to me that the only thing that had recently changed in my life was lowering my dosage on Seroxat. I can’t tell you how thankful and pleased I am not to have to drink. I am also feeling lighter in myself, and no horrible side effects yet, but I realise its early days. I wish everyone on here the best of luck with their struggle and remember its the seroxat that keeps you drinking!!

Glaxo admits Seroxat/Paxil has withdrawal problems…

So, a couple more once-secret Glaxo documents about Seroxat/Paxil marketing have made it into the cold light day. Christopher Lane has made public two new documents – here.

For me the most interesting detail is to found on page 3 of the Forward by Paul N Jenner – it reads:

Section 3: Issues Management
This section will provide a synthesis of key facts and data which can be adapted locally for handling potential product issues. Topics covered in this first edition are:
• Managing the Discontinuation issue – flexibility and control
• Sexual dysfunction – putting the issue in context

I hope that one day we’ll be able to read Section 3 in full, but for now what we can be certain of is that (from at least 1998 – the publication date of this document) Glaxo has known that Seroxat/Paxil has a ‘Discontinuation issue’ that needs to be ‘managed’.

When Glaxo talks about ‘managing the discontinuation issue’ it does not mean helping patients who are suffering because of their drug, rather what they are talking about is hiding the truth so as to ensure it did not have a negative effect on sales levels.

This merely confirms what many of us have known for years – you can become addicted to Seroxat/Paxil and you can experience withdrawal problems if you try to stop taking the drug.

Very interesting that as long ago as 1998, Glaxo had identified that Seroxat/Paxil had a particular problem that set it aside from other SSRIs – withdrawal.

And the other issue to be ‘managed’…’Sexual dysfunction’? I am looking forward to seeing how they spun that one!!

Nemeroff, Keller – the list goes on… now take a bow Joe Biederman

This from Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look. It’s all about another lying, cheating son-of -a-bitch ‘Key Opinion Leader’ – this time, Joe Biederman.

Psychiatrist Joe “Short Fuse” Biederman of Harvard University is really in hot water now. The sordid details can be seen in a fantastic article by Gardiner Harris of the New York Times. Here’s just one snippet:

In a November 1999 e-mail message, John Bruins, a Johnson & Johnson marketing executive, begs his supervisors to approve a $3,000 check to Dr. Biederman as payment for a lecture he gave at the University of Connecticut. “Dr. Biederman is not someone to jerk around,” Mr. Bruins wrote. “He is a very proud national figure in child psych and has a very short fuse.” Mr. Bruins wrote that Dr. Biederman was furious after Johnson & Johnson rejected a request that Dr. Biederman had made for a $280,000 research grant. “I have never seen someone so angry,” Mr. Bruins wrote. “Since that time, our business became non-existant (sic) within his area of control.”

Mr. Bruins concluded that unless Dr. Biederman received a check soon, “I am truly afraid of the consequences.”

A series of documents described the goals behind establishing the Johnson & Johnson Center for the study of pediatric psychopathology, where Dr. Biederman serves as chief. A 2002 annual report for the center said its research must satisfy three criteria: improve psychiatric care for children, have high standards and “move forward the commercial goals of J.& J.,” court documents said.

And from Bloomberg,

Biederman “approached Janssen multiple times to propose the creation of a Janssen-MGH center,” according to an e-mail from a J&J executive. The center would “generate and disseminate data supporting the use” of Risperdal in children, the e-mail said. Pediatric use was approved by U.S. regulators in August 2007.

Wow. And the plot sickens, er, thickens from there. Normally, being caught with one’s hands this deep into the cookie jar would lead me to write a much more blistering piece, but the day job shows no signs of abating in its workload. Fortunately, Philip Dawdy is rolling with the story at Furious Seasons (1, 2).

Let’s see if Biederman’s defenders can defend him in another op-ed as they did a few months ago. Or maybe we can leave Joe to defend himself. Here’s what he said a few months ago when facing criticism:

Biederman dismisses most critics, saying that they cannot match his scientific credentials as co author of 30 scientific papers a year and director of a major research program at the psychiatry department that is top-ranked in the “US News & World Report” ratings.

“The critics ‘are not on the same level. We are not debating as to whether [a critic] likes brownies and I like hot dogs. In medicine and science, not all opinions are created equal,’ said Biederman, a native of Czechoslovakia who came to Mass. General in 1979 after medical training in Argentina and Israel.

Nope, most of his critics cannot match his credentials of apparently shaking down hundreds of thousands of dollars from Johnson & Johnson. But maybe I just like brownies and he likes hot dogs. Another key opinion leader whose reputation is deservedly shot to shreds. Nemeroff, Biederman, and the list goes on.

If you want to find out more about Nemeroff, Keller or Biederman and how they play their (expensive) part in marketing drugs for pharma companies, then just use the search box on the left of this page.

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