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Sertraline playing me up

(46 Posts)
HazelnutMilk1 Tue 09-Jul-13 16:30:41

Hi there I know there are lots of threads about side effects of ads but my question is different. I want to ask people who have got past the side effects of sertraline how it is for you.

1) is it consistent - could you rely on it? Sertraline seems to have very variable effects - some days I'm anxious, sometimes happy, sometimes sleepy, sometimes awake.

2) does it last? i titrated up very slowly and each time it gave me a lift which then disappeared and I had to take more.

3) is your head clear? I took fluoxetine before I was pregnant and that made my memory much better. Sertraline has made me really forgetful.

4) do you feel happy on it? I feel numb rather than happy, which has its pros. But on fluoxetine I felt actually happy.

I know it's all deeply personal - no one size fits all AD. I really want sertraline to work for me cause I'm breast feeding, so any positive stories would be good.

I'm on 50mg and have been titrating up to that for about 4 months, been on 50mg for about 10 days. It does seem better but today is a bit of a rubbish day for no reason - that never happened with fluoxetine, it made me really level.

Notsoblonde Wed 10-Jul-13 11:12:59

I am on week 3 of sertraline 50 mg, didnt titrate it just started at 50, was very anxious about taking it but have researched it and it does seem to have a lot of success with anxiety so I am hoping it is the one for me.

1) I have been anxious, happy, sleepy (very sleepy at the start) but when I am happy I feel happier than I have for a long time.

2) not been on it long enough to work this out, from what I can gather it takes up to 6 weeks to gain full effect from the medication once it's started.

3) I feel I am thinking a bit clearer since starting it with regards to making decisions but still get a bit of a fog when I forget what I went to do.

4) my mood is definately a bit better

I hope you find this helpful and I will watch with interest as to what others reply smile

Ragusa Wed 10-Jul-13 14:16:48

1) My anxiety completely goes on sertraline. It increases when titrating down or up, though. Generally, though, I think I notice a constant effect.

2) Does it last? Well, personally I haven't had any significant relapses at all while on it. It's never 'stopped working' for me and I've never felt the need to have the dose increased.

50 mg is a pretty small dose - the lowest usually prescribed I think, for people with normal liver/ kidney function? It may be that you aren't actually getting therapeutic benefit from it yet.

3) I am a bit more forgetful these days, but I am not at all sure that it's the sertraline. I would probably ascribe it more to having two small children. Certainly when I was BF my kids (and also taking sertraline) I was in a permanently foggy brain state!

4) IT also makes me slightly numb, and ultimately this is why I am coming off it now. It's all a bit ....not grey, exactly - but flat. There are definite advantages to this (for me at least) but I've decided to try life without for a bit. Not encouraging anyone else to do this of course. Just in answer to your q abotu this.

If you're not content, I'd definitely go back to the doctors and see if they can refer you on. Do you have a psych or are you treated by GP only?

HazelnutMilk1 Thu 11-Jul-13 20:16:48

Thanks so much ragusa and notsoblond that's exactly what I was looking for.

I definitely felt a bit happier and energetic and clearer-headed today - more ssri-y.

Will still love to hear from others about their sertraline experience.

EauRouge Wed 17-Jul-13 08:04:07

I was on it for a month and never got over the side effects. I know some people that have got on really well with it. I gave it a month and it was still awful, so I stopped. There are others that you can take when BF, if sertraline doesn't work out for you then try calling the Breastfeeding Network to get a list of alternatives.

HazelnutMilk1 Thu 18-Jul-13 22:51:18

Hi there thanks for replies.

I'm definitely feeling happy now. Also have tonnes more energy. It's just the memory. In a way my memory is better - I'm able to think more clearly and therefore manage my memory. But the auto-memory is not good. I seem to be very clumsy too.

I also have very little to say for myself - would rather listen - which is unlike me. Seem to want to browse online shops constantly rather than listen to ted lectures as I did on fluoxetine. So feel dumber. Maybe this is just the post natal zone.

However, I'm full of beans and un-anxious and feel I can tackle whatever life throws at me rather than cowering in fear. Am communicating genuine (well, medicated) joy to my children and partner.

Going to keep taking it as ideal really for now, when I don't have to work or be sharp.

HazelnutMilk1 Fri 19-Jul-13 08:19:18

Sorry that was an awful post last night. I was tired after a long day in the sun.

Thanks eaurouge. What did you find that worked for you?

Ragusa Fri 19-Jul-13 11:27:08

It's good you're feeling happier. And being in the sun can only help smile

Do you have any psych input or are you in the care of your GP only?

peachypips Fri 19-Jul-13 11:39:05

No time to answer the questions but just wanted to say that you will only notice a difference after being on 50mg Sertraline for 12+ days. It will grad get better and is wonderful for anxiety. Glad you are already discovering this!

HazelnutMilk1 Sun 21-Jul-13 13:10:40

Just wanted to say 2 things.

First, Thanks for your kind wishes and positive thoughts.

Second, still having ups and downs. I've been having ssri-y enthusiams eg avidly researching the perfect home pedicure (I find my grooming improves loads on fluoxetine).

but again I felt terrible last night and all this morning. No wish to do a pedicure - feet all dirty and they could go hang. I didnt know if it was the sertraline making me anxious, ie doing its thing, or pooping out and my depression breaking through. Ie was the sertraline working, or not working?

now at 1pm mood is lifting. Pedicure enthusiasm back, so I think it was The sertraline working. Thank god. I think sertraline is tricksy like this. I think its more discussed than any other ad on these talk boards.

I sort of hope this will help other people trying to get started on it.

NanaNina Sun 21-Jul-13 19:00:43

I think one of the problems with ADs is that they act differently on different people (just to cause us a bit more confusion!) and none of us know how someone else's depression feels. We only know how we feel. I think fluctuations in our mood when we have a depressive illness is the "nature of the beast" to be honest, and we can think that the meds have stopped working, or not working as well, when our "ups and downs" are related to the illness rather than the meds, if that makes any sense.

I worry about posters telling others that they will feel better on a particular AD because they can only say how it worked for them, and this may not be the case for you. Then we can start worrying about why one person is getting better on a particular AD and we aren't. Having said all this I am pretty bad at comparing myself to another friend who has depression and yet seems to be able to go about her daily life without much problem, whereas on my bad days I can't face the world at all.

Sorry I've just re-read your OP and you do say that you know it's not a "one-size-fits all" with depression. You mention your mood lifting around 1.00 pm but feeling really bad this morning. I think it's quite common to experience the worst of depression in the mornings (this certainly happens with me) but find that our mood lifts through the day. Although I gather some people have their bad times in the evening. OH damn this mentioned feeling anxious and that really means fear which is what anxiety is, and for me I am afraid of the way I'm feeling sometimes, so "fear of fear" and that of course only exacerbates the situation.

peachypips Mon 22-Jul-13 10:22:08

I think the best thing would be to stick out the 50mg dose for at least 6 weeks and see how it works. If by two months it is not working then think about changing. I assume you know that though as you have been sensible in your upward titration!

Clarella Thu 25-Jul-13 12:21:37

just watching thread with interest (and written much more eloquently than my attempt at a post!)

Clarella Thu 25-Jul-13 12:24:08

hazelnut have you had your thyroid checked?

mental fog is the reason I don't want to be on an ad but I'm not sure now that I've actually tried them with a very well controlled thyroid. so is it possible you need to check that's ok?

Clarella Thu 25-Jul-13 12:25:12

how old is your lo?

Clarella Thu 25-Jul-13 12:27:59

sorry I don't want to hijack your thread hazel smile

HazelnutMilk1 Fri 26-Jul-13 10:00:44

Hi clarella

Thanks for reading the thread - I've read yours and thyroid isn't something I know about but will look into it.

I can tell you about sertraline - I think its still getting stronger and my mood is improving. It's not great for memory or enterprise which is why I might go back to fluoxetine eventually. But as nana nina says its highly individual. Also with two kids maybe that's the reason for my memory and lack of dynamism, Sert is very calming but gives me energy and makes me feel relaxed and positive. It also makes me cope on less sleep which is good.

Peachy pips is right that it sort of gets better and better.

My LO is 4 months and I've been bf on sert since birth. Am concerned about the effects on her - am on fairly low dose and she will hsve an incredibly slow taper as i wean her. Will prob start a thread on this at some point. But your LO will already be weaning so will get less. Allegedly most babies get virtually none through bf even when mum is on high doses.

Clarella Fri 26-Jul-13 15:13:28

thanks hazelnut. we're weaning but slowly and reluctantly both blw style and traditionally. he's just not that into it yet!

I'm really glad it seems to be helping you. I'm very wary of ads as I had a bad experience with seroxat many years ago and have managed anxiety and depression by keeping on top of my thyroid (always a trigger) and beta blockers. but I'm starting to think I finally need to tackle ongoing dips in mood and anxiety.

I'm not an expert but the thyroid can wobble after birth - I already had an underactive thyroid but it seems to have wobbled still (did a lot in pregnancy) and 4 months was about the time it crashed with me. it can affect cognition, memory and even word finding abilities.

thanks again fir your advice and experience smile

peachypips Sat 27-Jul-13 22:09:40

If it makes you feel any more confident about your LO I was on 200mg Sertraline, 45mg Mirtazapine and loads if tranquillisers when I was pregnant with DS2. I was extremely poorly so had no choice. Anyway, he is fine and a very normal happy nearly three year old!

HazelnutMilk1 Wed 31-Jul-13 15:01:18

Hi peachypips that is exactly what I want to know - thanks very much.

I want to report for clarella and anyone else interested that after going round the houses with the side effects I'm finally feeling chilled, energetic, happy, clear headed and the forgetfulness has receded. Also surprisingly cool in the face of adversity.

It's not been easy and seems to have taken a lot longer than fluoxetine but I'm finally feeling 'held up' by the sertraline.

Clarella Wed 31-Jul-13 17:45:09

that's good hazel smile

I'm actually getting v down and anxious about the decision!! just so wary of feeling worse and it never going away and ruining my last 4 weeks of maternity leave. I'll find out results of a thyroid blood test on Friday which might help the decision.

I like the term 'feeling ssriy' - I'd like to feel that. I do feel that when thyroid great, I'm well rested, work is going well etc but it never seems to last long.

did anyone get clenched jaw? I used to get that with prozac and seroxat.

Clarella Wed 31-Jul-13 17:45:44

how long has other taken hazel?

Clarella Wed 31-Jul-13 17:45:54


Clarella Wed 31-Jul-13 21:11:27

well, I have a prescription.

think the doc did handstands as I left as been trying to get me to take them for years! had an awful time with seroxat.

very scared about it.

peachypips Thu 01-Aug-13 20:40:29

Congrats Hazelnut - well done for persevering and getting better! It's not an easy path so pat yourself on the back.

Clarella - I get clenched jaw with Sertraline but only at night. It's worse when you start it then gets better. What has the doc given you? Don't be scared. Keep popping up here and checking in x

filee777 Thu 01-Aug-13 20:51:41

Hello I just started this today, I actually feel okay! Which is a damn site better than the mess I was on citalopram

Still only the first day, will have to see how we get on.

peachypips Thu 01-Aug-13 21:14:46

I couldn't tolerate citalopram either- I was bouncing of the walls and couldn't sit still!

filee777 Thu 01-Aug-13 21:28:47

Bloody awful stuff isn't it peachy

I took my sertraline about 5.5 hours ago and am just feeling a little bit yawny now which is perfect!

I have some Valium which I was going to use if I needed to sleep but I don't think I will need it tonight.

Clarella Thu 01-Aug-13 21:36:52

thanks peachy!

hi file777 that's great smile

oh me too on that stuff - wired to the moon! I only lasted 3 days it was so awful.

well first day on sertraline actually ok. I was a mess in anticipation this morning. it made me a bit dozy in the morning but I suppose that could be chronic sleep deprivation grin

slightly numb tongue and tense tummy but that's all. really hoping it doesn't wire me all night like citilporam (sp?!) I think I remember that happening pretty instantly.

Clarella Thu 01-Aug-13 21:37:24

sorry filee777!

filee777 Thu 01-Aug-13 21:55:08

Just call me fi

clara did you start today too? Cool we can conpare side effects smile

Clarella Thu 01-Aug-13 22:54:22

yes that would be very handy smile how are you doing? How old is/are you lo/s?

I'm not wired yet which is good. I fact I feel very balanced but I've been up, down and in the middle like a yoyo for weeks so that means nothing. I'm wondering; do some people ever get no side effects? probably only see the ones who do here grin

filee777 Fri 02-Aug-13 07:20:37

I'm 29 with two DS's and one little girl who didn't make it skin side, I tried citalopram and had to stop it after 2 because of the simply dreadful side effects,
Last night I did feel a little different I suppose but nothing major and I did have a tiny bit of trouble sleeping so I ended up taking 2 Valium to help me drop off.

I'm going to start taking them slightly earlier I think, so 3pm for the one today and see how we get on. The side effects seem much easier to deal with to be honest so I'm not too concerned

Clarella Fri 02-Aug-13 09:49:30

I'm sorry to hear about your lo fi thanks

didn't sleep much - ds was as usual pretty much every 2 hours. I think I managed 3. felt cosy though just couldn't sleep!

Clarella Fri 02-Aug-13 09:59:13

gah thyroid levels now too high, probably why I can't sleep!

filee777 Fri 02-Aug-13 16:37:24

Never had my thyroid checked, am going to research...

Clarella Fri 02-Aug-13 18:04:48

it's a tricky one as anxiety and depression have similar symptoms to thyroid problems. the big symptom for me is I get constipated blush ! (sorry tmi)

actually the doc thinks it's ok though I think I'm on a tad too much which normally I'd like but it's not so easy to nod off after 2 hourly wakes!

thinking this stuff makes me sleepy in the day. does anyone know if it will change?

filee777 Fri 02-Aug-13 18:07:37

Well I'm at work now on my second sertraline and I feel okay. Which is such a bonus

Clarella Fri 02-Aug-13 18:52:12

yeay! grin

peachypips Fri 02-Aug-13 19:38:50

Have you thought about taking your Sertraline in the morning? It is very common to not sleep on it.

Clarella Fri 02-Aug-13 19:54:16

I'm taking mine in the morning. managed to stay awake all day and feel nicely cosy now. interestingly I had a random an urge to watch the first IT Crowd confused hmm smile - I've not been watching anything. just dwelling, thinking and panicking. and just now I had an urge to read some silly stuff on mn instead of searching posts on sertraline and baby sleep.

can it work this quickly??

peachypips Fri 02-Aug-13 20:31:09

Who knows?! There is so much that they still don't know about how psychiatric drugs work. It could very well be helping a bit. I noticed a difference at two weeks then full capacity at 6.

Clarella Sat 03-Aug-13 10:27:37

gah. son v unsettled in night and I couldn't sleep beyond 1. feel low n arguing with dh sad

filee777 Sat 03-Aug-13 11:07:54

Sorry you had a rough night sad

Do you have a DH who can take the pressure off today and let you have a sleep?

Clarella Sat 03-Aug-13 16:25:51

thankssmile I perked up midday. think it's classic depressive/lack of sleep symptoms. no anxiety though or obsessive thoughts which is so lovely smile

when I'm down / anxious I get frustrated and angry with dhsad and then self destructive. he is trying his best bless him.I just keep thinking he's the enemy. (and get horribly angry) he's not always very responsive to lo when he's grizzly as lo is a surprisingly sunny baby so dh thinks grizzling is to be ignored whereas I know it's when something is wrong. so I feel very protective of lo and anti dh. but dh just hasn't a clue about babies so it's not his fault. one of 3 boys so not much sensitivity!

I'm hoping it's going to switch to perking me up more in the day and sleepy at night which doc reckoned it would do. must admit I'm coping with the sleepy feelings as usually if I'm tired I get very very stressed (years of struggling with thyroid stress) and that's when I implode or explode. but I'm just restful. plus my thoughts are calm.

hoping this drug keeps working.

filee777 Mon 05-Aug-13 19:45:52

I'm slowly moving the time I take it back to morning, I started in the late afternoon. I'll take tomorrows dose at 12 I feel a bit bergh today but and going to focus on getting to 12 days

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