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Thread: Been trying to manage without medication but is it time to give it a go?

  1. #1
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    Been trying to manage without medication but is it time to give it a go?

    Hello

    I suffered with health anxiety a few year ago and was successfully treated with Fluoxetine and CBT. I weaned off the medication and everything was fine for about 18 months.

    I felt the health anxiety creeping back about two years ago and went back to GP in Feb this year. I was referred for more CBT and prescribed Fluoxetine again. I had terrible side effects with it so stopped it after 6 days. I have to say I did get a lot of help and information from this forum at that time. I went back to GP and was prescribed Sertraline but I was to scared to take I because of the side effects I had experienced with the Fluoxetine.

    Here we are now five months later and due to the pandemic I am still on the waiting list for CBT.
    I have been managing with meditation, sometimes alcohol (not good I know) and Kalms tablets. I have been at home during the lockdown which I think has helped me manage. My health anxiety is still there and I now have more general anxiety well and feel anxious most of the time without any obvious reason. I seem to be incapable of making a simple decision and am stressing about every minor decision.

    Now that lockdown is easing I find my anxiety getting worse and I have to go back to work next week. The wait for CBT is long so I am considering taking the anti-depressants. I don't find my
    GP at all sympathetic and they just say take the anti depressant. I have the fluoxetine and the sertraline at home and keep getting the boxes out and looking at them and reading the leaflets.

    I don't feel my anxiety is quite as bad as it was in Feb so I think could cope with side effects better then when I tried the Fluoxetine 10MG and they worked well for me a few years ago so am tempted to try them again. Then I change my mind and remember how horrendous the side effects were in Feb and look again at the Sertraline 50m and think at taking 25mg for a week to see how I get on. I know I have to make the decision myself but would be grateful for your thoughts please.

  2. #2
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    Re: Been trying to manage without medication but is it time to give it a go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Penelope View Post
    I was referred for more CBT and prescribed Fluoxetine again. I had terrible side effects with it so stopped it after 6 days.
    Unfortunately, ADs can produce more severe, and/or different side-effects the second time. They may also be less effective requiring a higher dose to achieve the previous level of control.

    I have the fluoxetine and the sertraline at home and keep getting the boxes out and looking at them and reading the leaflets.
    If someone created an AD that worked by simply staring at the box they would corner the AD market, especially for anxiety as many of us have not only the primary disorder but also severe pill phobia. Ime, reading the leaflet increases the risk of both not taking the med and experiencing all the side-effects listed when we do.

    Then I change my mind and remember how horrendous the side effects were in Feb and look again at the Sertraline 50m and think at taking 25mg for a week to see how I get on. I know I have to make the decision myself but would be grateful for your thoughts please.
    Fluoxetine is generally more activating at the beginning which probably contributed to the side-effects severity, plus as per above, you were taking it for the second time. Given your fears I suggest you take only 12.5mg sertraline for the first week and increase the dose by 12.5mg every 7 days until you're on 50mg (you should get your GP's okay to do this). Psychology is at least as important as chemistry and biology when it comes to side-effects. Expect to suffer greatly and the anxious mind is very capable of producing our worst nightmares in wide-screen technicolour. Most pharmacies sell pill-cutters which make dividing tablets more precise and less bloody. I can't remember how big 50mg sertraline tablets are. If they are too small to quarter then ask your GP to prescribe a box of 25mg tablets to get you started.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Been trying to manage without medication but is it time to give it a go?

    Thank you for your comprehensive reply. Very informative. Going back to GP to get 25mg Sertraline and will try 12.5.

  4. #4
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    Re: Been trying to manage without medication but is it time to give it a go?

    Well I sent a message via email to my GP and explained in great detail how I was feeling about taking Sertraline and requesting 25mg tablets instead of 50mg I order that I could break them in half and start on 12.5. Anyway the GP obviously did not read it through and just sent another prescription for 50mg so now have two prescriptions! I phoned the surgery and explained all to the receptionist who understood what I was saying. She said she would print off my email and speak to the doctor about it. She called me back the next day and said he won’t do it as there is no point starting on 12.5 and to cut the 50mg in half and start on 25mg. I feel very cross about this and can’t understand why he said no. Needless to say I am still debating whether to try this or not. I should say the tablets are very small and scored so easy to half but impossible to quarter. Shall I just go for the 25mg? Sorry to be such a dithering idiot!
    Last edited by Lady Penelope; 20-07-20 at 17:50.

  5. #5
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    Re: Been trying to manage without medication but is it time to give it a go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Penelope View Post
    he wonít do it as there is no point starting on 12.5 and to cut the 50mg in half and start on 25mg. I feel very cross about this and canít understand why he said no.
    Because he's a moron with all the empathy of a pet rock.

    I should say the tablets are very small and scored so easy to half but impossible to quarter. Shall I just go for the 25mg?
    You would probably do well starting on 25mg physically, but now that this has become an issue for you there is a risk of your mind increasing side-effects severity. Insist on 25mg tablets and tell him why. There are times we need to remind GPs of their true place in the scheme of things. They are not the minor gods some see themselves as, but the hired help who we pay directly, or indirectly through taxes.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Been trying to manage without medication but is it time to give it a go?

    Thank you (empathy of a pet rock! Made me ��).
    i have very carefully cut the tablet into 2 and halved it again. I took what looked like a quarter yesterday and again today. I will probably do that for a few days and then up to 25mg.
    i really could not face going back to GP again. I have had this prescription since February and been worrying about it since then and debating whether to take it or not. Once I had decided to give it a go I did not want to wait any longer.

    I am on the waiting list for CBT and found the combination of anti depressants and CBT worked very well for me a few years ago. I feel now at least I am doing something to try and help myself while I wait for the CBT.
    Thanks for all your help panic_down_under - it really does make a difference to get a reply from someone who has knowledge and is willing to share it.

  7. #7
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    Re: Been trying to manage without medication but is it time to give it a go?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Penelope View Post
    i have very carefully cut the tablet into 2 and halved it again. I took what looked like a quarter yesterday and again today. I will probably do that for a few days and then up to 25mg.
    Pill-cutters available from most pharmacies make cutting pills much easier and much less bloody, ime.

    i really could not face going back to GP again. I have had this prescription since February and been worrying about it since then and debating whether to take it or not. Once I had decided to give it a go I did not want to wait any longer.

    I am on the waiting list for CBT and found the combination of anti depressants and CBT worked very well for me a few years ago. I feel now at least I am doing something to try and help myself while I wait for the CBT.
    A good plan, imho. The sooner these disorders are treated the better.
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    The opinions expressed above are based on my observations and, where applicable, interpretation of cited data and are general in nature. Consult your physician before acting on anything stated.

  8. #8
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    Re: Been trying to manage without medication but is it time to give it a go?

    Thank you. I do have a pill cutter which definitely helps. Itís great cutting in half as the tablet is scored - not so good on the second cut as the tablet is small but I will do for a few days. I will go to 25mg on Monday all being well.

  9. #9
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    Re: Been trying to manage without medication but is it time to give it a go?

    I have now taken 12.5mg for two nights and plan to continue for 7 before increasing to 25mg. Feeling ok so far. I have been talked into throwing a birthday party for my son on Friday - what’s the deal with Sertraline and alcohol? I must admit to be drinking most days since lockdown -probably about half a bottle of wine every night but have not had any since I started Sertraline. Will I be ok to have a glass or two if wine or should I abstain completely? My family are not aware of my anxiety problem and don’t know I am on antidepressants . Any advice please?

  10. #10
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    Re: Been trying to manage without medication but is it time to give it a go?

    Personally, I wouldn't have any alcohol until you find a stable dose of your AD and make sure it's working for you. Then try a small glass of wine if you wish. Alcohol mixed with AD's can magnify the side effects of them.
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    1. We did the hard months in lockdown abiding by rules for you to get here.
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    You're in quarantine for fourteen days ...obey the rules.

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