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Terrified about starting sertraline...

(29 Posts)
maldivemoment Fri 24-Jul-15 19:57:02

I was prescribed Sertraline a few weeks ago due to crippling, life limiting health anxiety I've been experiencing for 5+ months. I'm waiting on CBT starting but this could take 2/3 months and I can't go on like this for another 2, possibly 3 months. Hence I ended up in tears in GP's room asking for further help, which comes in the form of Sertraline. The GP highlighted the fact that I may feel worse before it gets better but I left the appointment feeling rather buoyant that I may actually begin to feel better.
Fast forward to that evening when I had actually read all the info in the included information sheet and, 1 week later I still haven't taken them. I am totally terrified of the side effects. They sound absolutely horrendous..

...so now I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. My current state of mind is so awful that I need help, but that help is also sounding so awful.

Anyone got any words of advice?

Thank you in advance.

ReallyTired Fri 24-Jul-15 20:05:03

Sertaline has horrible side affects for the first 3/4 days. Once your body is used to them the side affects should disappear. The side affects are bit like having a mild dose of flu. Ie. headache, stomach cramps, feeling a bit dizzy. When you eventually come of the tablet there will be some side affects again, which is why your GP will reduce the dose gradually. Generally most people start off with a low dose and up it gradually.

Give the tablets a week and if the affects are truely unbearable then talk to your GP. Ofcourse having galloping anxiety does not help you when reading the leaflet that comes with drugs.

Sunflower1985 Fri 24-Jul-15 20:08:22

Most people are fine with them, otherwise they wouldn't get prescribed. It does take a few weeks to settle down though. I found it didn't agree with me and in the end went on to citalopram, which suited me fine. So you may need to trial it for a few weeks but don't get down heartened if it doesn't suit.
Once I got settled it really took the edge off the anxiety.
Good luck and keep seeking help.

Itsbloodyraining Fri 24-Jul-15 21:10:00

If your anxiety is bad, they should really help, and you should notice them kick in quite quickly. The main side effects I noticed were bloating and slight stomach cramps with lots of farting, loss of sexdrive, and intense dreams. I'm off them now. I had to withdraw very slowly, but I did it!

tiggy2610 Fri 24-Jul-15 21:13:33

I've taken Setraline for the past 6 months due to anxiety and depression. I honestly had no side effects what so ever, and didn't experience any problems when I first started them. The difference
they've made has been amazing

toldmywrath Fri 24-Jul-15 21:16:28

I'm the opposite to Sunflower , I didn't get on with Citalopram, but I do take Sertraline & it is marvellous. If you can have someone to help you tlak through the first couple of weeks, I'm sure you'll find it helpful.
I honestly believe that this medicine has saved me, but it took a good while before I felt normal (for me) again.
flowers

toldmywrath Fri 24-Jul-15 21:16:51

talk not tlak!

Rachie1986 Fri 24-Jul-15 21:32:56

I'm on sertraline and can't remember any side effects xx

StopColouringInYourSister Fri 24-Jul-15 21:33:39

I was on sertraline for a long time years ago, had a long time off it, have now been back on it for about a year and a half. I've never experienced any nasty side effects from it. In fact, it's been a lifesaver. I know you feel afraid now, but it could be over nothing - you might be one of those, like me, who doesn't experience any side effects. The potential benefits will be worth parking your fears for. Good luck, I hope you feel better soon :-)

Ohbollocksandballs Fri 24-Jul-15 21:36:59

I took sertraline, didn't get on with it personally, but the side effects weren't horrendous. My mother takes it and has had no side effects at all. I do wish I'd have persevered.

306235388 Fri 24-Jul-15 21:39:50

I'm on it for PND and health anxiety.
Just bite the bullet and take it, be brave and don't let the anxiety win.

It has transformed my life, I can't express how much it's helped and I really, really didn't think it would.

You need to power through the first few days though and just repeat to yourself that its a means to an end.

This is really important, you can beat this but you have to really try and be strong and do this and just put your trust in your GP.

NanaNina Fri 24-Jul-15 23:26:44

The thing is the drug companies have to put in every possible side effect ever observed to cover themselves and this is true of any drug. It doesn't mean that you'll get them. As others have said it's all very much trial and error and what suits one doesn't suit another. I've been on Sertraline for 2 years and had no side effects at all..........so try them. Incidentally what do you mean by "life limiting" health anxiety - I'm assuming you mean health anxiety rather than a life limiting illness?

It isn't right for people to say anything definite about a drug e.g. "Sertraline has horrible side effects for 3/4 days" because that's just a personal experience, whereas everyone is different. You've probably only been prescribed 50mg dose which is very low but it is one of the ADs that is good for anxiety.

NotAJammyDodger Sat 25-Jul-15 00:54:14

Totally agree with Nana. The warnings are all about drug companies not being sued (the warning lists are even longer in the U.S. where litigation is much more prevalent).

I took Sertaline for about a year and didn't have any long term side effects. Everyone is different. I also have taken citalopram without any problems.

I think with any drug that you take there is probably always an small adjustment period. After all you are ingesting something new into your body.

Give it a decent trial period and see how you get on.

ReallyTired Sat 25-Jul-15 01:42:19

"Incidentally what do you mean by "life limiting" health anxiety - I'm assuming you mean health anxiety rather than a life limiting illness?"

Untreated severe anxiety/ depression can be as every bit life limiting as cancer. Suicide/ poisoning is the most common form of death in 20 to 35 years old.

www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/mortality-statistics--deaths-registered-in-england-and-wales--series-dr-/2012/sty-causes-of-death.html

Technically speaking it's more accurate to describe anxiety as crippling rather than life limiting. However such nit picking does not help the OP.

maldivemoment Sat 25-Jul-15 08:20:11

Thank you all for your kind & gentle words of encouragement. They are very much appreciated

I used the term 'life limiting' quite literally as this state of anxiety is, in fact, limiting my ability to participate in/enjoy family life. Perhaps I should have used 'crippling' instead but I'm sure you all know what I was meaning.

Thank you once again.

Millie2013 Sat 25-Jul-15 20:02:24

I've been taking it (50mg) for 1.5 weeks and it's been ok. The only problems have been nausea and loss of appetite, which should get better as time goes on.

43mumof2 Sat 25-Jul-15 22:33:00

hi OP , i am so similar to you , iv suffered health anxiety for many years this year has been the worst , one thing after another iv been to the doctors most weeks , i to have felt stuck ...in a cycle of anxiety , so after crying to my doctor the other week iv taken the most bravest step and started some medication , i to read the leaflet and was in total panic , .... but im giving it a go im on day 5 , and seeing my doctor monday to see how im feeling , not sure this is help full or not , but i just wanted you to know you are not alone , and other lovely people on here will give you better advice than me im sure , keep posting if it helps ,or maybe make an appointment with your GP to discuss further if your still worried before taking them as im sure they will want to help you and put your mind at ease as much as possible .

be gentle on your self big hug x

NanFlanders Sat 25-Jul-15 22:40:58

Sertraline has massively, massively improved my life. No side effects at all. i was even advised there was no problem taking them while pregnant and breastfeeding. Wishing you all the best.

Rivercam Sat 25-Jul-15 22:48:29

All medicines have side-effects, even common painkillers such as paracetamol and aspirin. However, most of us don't bother reading the patient information leaflets for these medicines. If you did, you probably would be reluctant to take these also.

Chocolate can make you fat and give you spots, and too much alcohol can cause headaches. It doesn't stop us having them, though.

Hope,you feel better soon.

ReallyTired Sat 25-Jul-15 22:57:47

I think that taking psychiatric medication is scary because it changes who we are in quite a fundermental way. It is understandable why people feel nervous and might feel a sense of failure in needing a drug to change their thinking. Feeling apprehensive about taking sertaline is not health anxiety.

In my experience sertaline is not physically addictive, although it can be psychologically addictive.

Aquamarine70 Sun 26-Jul-15 09:29:41

Sertraline has been the best for me for the least side effects. I was always advised to break the tablet in 1/2 for the first 2 weeks & that lessens the side affects. You may feel a bit tired, slight headache, slight diarrhoea & no appetite. This passes after a week or so.

ladedah Wed 29-Jul-15 06:10:02

I started taking sertraline this week so hopefully my "live" experience will help. I was mostly worried about nausea so got an anti sickness tablet prescribed too. Assuming they're keeping any nausea at bay then I have had no other side effects at all and even think they might be starting work after 2-3 days!

I was going to start taking them when i had a couple of days off work so I could take it easy if needed, but in the end decided to just start when I was busy so it would keep my mind off things. I haven't felt aware I'm taking them apart from feeling happier, maybe placebo effect but I was on mertazapine before with zero improvement so just hoping sertraline is already making a positive difference.

Like a previous poster I have also been taking them in halves so far, one with breakfast and one with dinner as food should help lessen any stomach side effects.

Good luck OP!

Verso Wed 29-Jul-15 09:47:21

I've been on Sertraline since March, and it has really really helped me. I've tried other tablets in the past - I had severe PND with each of my daughters, and also have a disabled husband and am the sole breadwinner - so I've been on Prozac, Citalopram, Amitriptyline and Lofepramine at various points in my life.

I can honestly say that Sertraline has been the best for my anxiety by far. (Lofepramine was great when I had severe depression.)

My company has been going through huge transformations over the past four years and gradually my anxiety levels increased until I was having panic attacks (thought it was a heart attack on more than one occasion) and difficulty concentrating at work, let alone keeping things afloat at home. Given that I run a �37m part of our business I thought it was important I get some support! I've not looked back.

The first couple of weeks were weird - and the anxiety got worse before it got better. I also started getting some very intense dreams. I've also had some cycle issues and some water retention problems. But overall I just feel so so so much better. Like I can cope, no matter what gets thrown at me, and there's hope again. I don't have that horrible black feeling of dread all the time. I just feel "normal".

I will probably stay on them for the forseeable, given that I feel so much better.

Very best of luck, OP. I hope they work for you.

manchestermummy Wed 29-Jul-15 19:13:21

Reading with interest as I was prescribed sertraline this morning.

I've been on and off citalopram for six years. I tried taking them again recently but the side effects were so horrific on that occasion I couldn't cope.

I asked the GP if she would give me some anti sickness medication too but she refused (I am emetaphobic) and I feel so anxious about taking the sertraline tbh. But then my anxiety is dreadful atm and I'm torn. Mostly because I have plans this week/end including being a godparent at a christening this weekend.

I don't know what to do.

flowers to you op, it's so tough.

Shiraznowplease Wed 29-Jul-15 19:16:36

I have had no problems m at all with sertraline but felt dreadful on citalopram

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