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weird side effects with zoloft...??

Rebreb

Well-Known Member
#1
So I've been on Zoloft for about a month because I started having severe panic attacks and 24/7 anxiety along with suicidal ideations.

I started at 25mg and was told to go up to 50mg after a week but I haven't yet, and I was given Lorazepam for when it's extremely bad.

The first couple of weeks were some of the worst I've experienced in my life - insomnia, mania, increased anxiety and panic, the scariest nightmares I've ever had, weird pulsing in my body, a constant feeling of vibrating, etc..

Those things have mostly cleared up. I started taking it in the morning instead of the evening which helped with the insomnia and the other things mostly went away. The anxiety is still high but has been reduced some.

I developed tinnitus also, which hasn't gone away.

The weirdest thing is this pressure in my ears.... It's as if something is pushing on my ears, just next to the canal. It's a constant feeling. It's distracting and unnerving. Anyone else have weirdo side effects from Zoloft and what do you do about it?

My doctor told me to stop taking it when I mentioned all the side effects but said that any other option would also have side effects. I didn't stop because I didn't think I would survive the anxiety otherwise. (I stopped for one day and I was right back to where I started.)
 
#2
My doctor told me to stop taking it when I mentioned all the side effects but said that any other option would also have side effects
You might want to clarify this with your doctor. Does the doctor know that you are still taking it? What the doctor said could either mean "don't take it, it's bad especially bad for you, though the other meds have side effects too", or "take your pick, they all have side effects"
 

Rebreb

Well-Known Member
#3
You might want to clarify this with your doctor. Does the doctor know that you are still taking it? What the doctor said could either mean "don't take it, it's bad especially bad for you, though the other meds have side effects too", or "take your pick, they all have side effects"
He meant the latter. Part of the problem is that he's not my regular doctor because I don't have one yet - it was at a walk-in clinic. So he just said "Oh, if it's that bad you should stop taking them." And when I asked for an alternative he said, "Well they all have side effects so there's not much I can suggest. Zoloft is a good medication."

I told him I would take it for another week and see how it went. After suffering through the first two weeks I didn't want that experience to be a waste, and the full effects won't happen till five weeks apparently.

The ear thing I thought at first was from wearing earbuds a lot but now I'm realizing it's not. It's kind of freaking me out. I don't know if I can handle not being on something though.

Seems like a trip to the doctors is probably the best idea anyway.
 

Harmony

Well-Known Member
SF Supporter
#4
Hi Rebreb sorry to hear about your horrible experience with Zoloft. I am no specialist, but have had some clinical experience in the field of psychiatric nursing. I don't feel a doctor from a walk-in clinic is in any way qualified to prescribe psychotropic meds as they don't know your history nor do they specialize in this area of med management. I'm hoping you will seek someone more qualified in the area, whether it be a psychiatrist or psychiatric APRN, as soon as possible.

The first couple of weeks were some of the worst I've experienced in my life - insomnia, mania, increased anxiety and panic, the scariest nightmares I've ever had, weird pulsing in my body, a constant feeling of vibrating, etc..
What stands out to me here, is that being on an SSRI such as Zoloft without the addition of a mood stabilizer can cause this to happen, specifically the mania and quite possibly the other symptoms to an extent. I urge you to not wait 3 more weeks for the "full effect of the medication" as you already seem to be having some extreme adverse reactions.

I made the mistake of "waiting it out" with Lexapro and experienced the symptoms of tinnitus you described with little to no improvement in my symptoms of depression or anxiety. In hindsight, I should have titrated off this med well before the five week mark and saved myself a lot of agony. Best of luck to you and hope you find relief soon! xoxo
 

Rebreb

Well-Known Member
#5
Hi Rebreb sorry to hear about your horrible experience with Zoloft. I am no specialist, but have had some clinical experience in the field of psychiatric nursing. I don't feel a doctor from a walk-in clinic is in any way qualified to prescribe psychotropic meds as they don't know your history nor do they specialize in this area of med management. I'm hoping you will seek someone more qualified in the area, whether it be a psychiatrist or psychiatric APRN, as soon as possible.



What stands out to me here, is that being on an SSRI such as Zoloft without the addition of a mood stabilizer can cause this to happen, specifically the mania and quite possibly the other symptoms to an extent. I urge you to not wait 3 more weeks for the "full effect of the medication" as you already seem to be having some extreme adverse reactions.

I made the mistake of "waiting it out" with Lexapro and experienced the symptoms of tinnitus you described with little to no improvement in my symptoms of depression or anxiety. In hindsight, I should have titrated off this med well before the five week mark and saved myself a lot of agony. Best of luck to you and hope you find relief soon! xoxo
Thanks @Harmony2 - I know they aren't qualified, I was just in a super desperate way and so far haven't been able to see a psychiatrist. I'm working on it though.

It's now been 4 weeks. The mania is gone but the tinnitus and weird ear pressure persists. It's just that my anxiety is so debilitating along with crushing depression that I'm worried about not being on something at all.

I take your advice seriously however and will try to remedy it this week. Maybe I'll skip a day again and see if things are still as bad as they were.
 

Ash600

Of dust and shadows
SF Creative
SF Supporter
#6
Hi Rebreb, just read your post. The brand "Zoloft" is not avaialable over here in England, but i just checked up and it seems to contain the active ingredient, "sertraline" which is widely used over here.
Now one of the side effects it can cause is tinnitus as well as ear pain. Also, it's quite common to experience the range of side effects which you've just mentioned during initiation of treatment. They normally do subside, but like many medicines, it really depends on the individual response.

Now, the only good thing your doctor has done has to correctly advise an increase in your dose over intervals of 1 week.
However, Rebreb, things do concern me:
1. Are you being reviewd/monitored by your doctor/health team on a regular basis? - This should be done during initiation of treatment until one is stabilised on a maintenance dose.
2. Your doc said "Oh, if it's that bad you should stop taking them." - That's shitty, advice, as stopping treatment abruptly can lead to withdrawal symptoms which can in some cases can be pretty damn nasty.
Discontinuation should be done by gradual dose reduction, generally over a period of 1-2 weeks so as to avoid the risk of withdrawal reactions. Again, close monitoring is requied.
3. The quote "Well they all have side effects so there's not much I can suggest. Zoloft is a good medication." by your doctor. - Suggests that either that doc is out of his depth or he's just rushing through his case load of patients which is what normally happens in walk in clinics.

Try and get yourself set up with a regular doctor if you can, or try to get referred to a specialist team from the walk-in clinic if you can.
But, you're right, the best idea is a trip to the doctors. But remember, withdrawal should really be carried out under medical supervision over a gradual dose tapering regime.

Hope this helps and good luck.
 

Rebreb

Well-Known Member
#7
Yes it's sertraline.

I know the initiation period can be quite intense.

There has been no review. Most importantly I need to get a doctor so I can be reviewed properly. This has been hard to achieve in my current state. I am going to ask my mom to help me figure this out as I've had no luck on my own. Too incapable.

I didn't increase the dosage because I didn't want the side effects to get worse especially the ear stuff. So if I went off of it, I wouldn't need to taper it. Which the doctor said also, I'm at the lowest dose apparently, 25 mgs.

Thanks again, I super appreciate it.
 

Ash600

Of dust and shadows
SF Creative
SF Supporter
#8
Ok, so you didn't increase the dosage, but even so, as I understand it, you've been on 25mg for about a month? That period of time, you might still need to taper it.
However, as @Harmony2 mentioned, you need to be seen by someone who's more qualified in this area, and that might include a safe, managed way of coming off sertraline because although you're on the lowest dose, withdrawal symptoms may still occur which is what I'm hoping you can avoid.

Again, best wishes
 

Rebreb

Well-Known Member
#9
How would I taper? Get a lower dose? Or take less frequently? I guess I should ask a doctor heh.

Yeah I don't want anything like what I experienced going on it. Thanks, Ash!
 

Ash600

Of dust and shadows
SF Creative
SF Supporter
#10
Zoloft is also available in liquid form, so it makes tapering easier and tailored made for the individual.
Normally done over 1-2 week period but really depends on the individual response. - That's why should really be done by a specialist or someone with experience in this field....not by a nob-jockey of a doctor at the walk in clinic!!!!

And no need to thank me, I'm just glad if this has been of some help.
 

Rebreb

Well-Known Member
#12
I agree with the others that you need to get this checked out asap. 1-2% of people taking antidepressants, experience ringing in the ears, and this article says it should be taken seriously because in some cases it could indicate an underlying problem with the ears themselves: http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/10/28/can-antidepressants-cause-tinnitus-ringing-in-the-ears/
I did come across that Clair. I'm going to investigate it with a doctor this week hopefully. Thanks.
 

Sunspots

Daydream Believer
Safety & Support
SF Supporter
#13
Hi Rebreb

I was put on sertraline a couple of years ago by a locum GP. The first month was horrendous, I couldn't stop shaking stopped sleeping and also had a weird pulsing in my ears. The only positive was I totally lost my appetite! I was a year out of active cancer treatment and when I mentioned to my oncologist what I was taking he made me switch to venlafaxine as sertraline wasn't a good mix with the cancer drugs I'm on, so I can't tell you if the side effects ever went.

I know it's not uncommon for people to try several anti depressants until they find the one that works for them. They're not all the same, what works well for one person may not work for another and we all experience side effects differently. Please see a different doctor, that one sounds like a twat x
 

Rebreb

Well-Known Member
#15
Hi Rebreb

I was put on sertraline a couple of years ago by a locum GP. The first month was horrendous, I couldn't stop shaking stopped sleeping and also had a weird pulsing in my ears. The only positive was I totally lost my appetite! I was a year out of active cancer treatment and when I mentioned to my oncologist what I was taking he made me switch to venlafaxine as sertraline wasn't a good mix with the cancer drugs I'm on, so I can't tell you if the side effects ever went.

I know it's not uncommon for people to try several anti depressants until they find the one that works for them. They're not all the same, what works well for one person may not work for another and we all experience side effects differently. Please see a different doctor, that one sounds like a twat x
I was on citalopram years ago and didn't have any side effects. I'll see if I can switch. Thanks. Sorry you had to suffer through that first month - what a nightmare!!
 

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