View Full Version : Today's ?: The Drugging of the Lupies, Antidepressants

11-22-2008, 07:19 AM
OK, here is todays question for my new lupie friends. I've noticed a common theme here when it comes to Doctors and Lupus. It appears as though when the Lupies go to their doctor, they come away with antidepressants. When I read what drugs are being taken, antidepressants are prominantly on the list. I personally take offense when they offer me these. I'm a great believer in taking medicine that help make something better, but not necessarily for covering up the symptoms. Don't get me wrong, I was a psych major and I realize that there are times and cases where this is, in fact, needed. But when these were offered to me when they didn't know what was wrong with me, it felt very much like "there is nothing wrong with you, here are some drugs to help you with you hypochondria" or for "your stress". Hey doc, my stress is from feeling like crap and trying to get through my normal day. Help me get well and my stress load is much, much less.

On top of it, yes, when I go to the doctor, over and over again, I have a range of emotions. From worrying that they might not be able to find whats wrong with me and I'll be looking at another long period in between visits feeling like crap, to they will find something wrong with me that's not too happy, to they have to order more invasive, painful tests HOPING that they will find what's wrong. Add to it that several bad experiences with docs and their nurses, has left me nervous that I'll be judged and treated poorly. So, yes, when I'm there, I have a barrage of emotions that come out at that time. Sure, they peak from time to time as I bravely face each day, but not consuming me. I don't want to take something just because they can't figure out what's wrong with me. Does this make sense? Am I the only one that sees this? All I need is a list of new symptoms brought on from these antidepressants. I like my mind, I don't want anything messing with it! I suppose you should know I don't drink, have never gotten drunk or taken any illicit drugs. I generally don't take pain relievers unless it's so bad I'm losing my mind.

So, that's my question today. Thanks!

11-22-2008, 07:41 AM
Hi Larry,
I feel the way you do about the anti-depressant drugs. There has been a couple of times through the years that I was on an anti-depressant drug and that was due to the fact that I found out that my son had a bout with cancer. As soon as my son was better and my stress level dropped I got right off of the Prozac. I don't like any drugs that mess with my mind either. I like wise do not drink. I also try to stay away from the opiate pain medications. I do take Tramadol for severe pain, but believe me tha pain has to be very severe. I myself dislike a lot of medications. I have had the misfortune years ago of going to the doctor and them trying to put me on depression medications, because they did not believe that I had Lupus and they figured I was just stressing and worrying needlessly. It was terrible. I would look at them and say, naw ya blew it doc, bye and I would leave and find a different doctor. It was terrible to say the least. It was not until I was 36 and the Lupus started attacking my heart muscle and lungs big time that they done decided that hey this lady has something wrong with her, a duh. That is when it was decided that I needed to be tested for Lupus and every last one of the tests pointed to Lupus with overlapping Sjogrens. Go figure. I guess I went through a bout of Solumedrol and was put on Plaquenil and NSAID's to begin with to get me out of that severe flare. I finally ended up on Plaquenil, Sulindac and Imuran to treat the Lupus. In December when I see the Rheumatologist again, I will most likely end up gettting a steroid shot in my knees and wrists again and then be fine for a few months and the situation will be repeated. Man I hate this disease. You see you can go into a flare even on Plaquenil and the other drugs they use for Lupus. I know I kind of got off track here, but basically I try to not take anti-depressant drugs big time.


11-22-2008, 07:48 AM
Hey Larz77

I know there are alot of doctors out there who seem to push antidepressants. I have never had that experiance myself, but I know of others who have.

I do get depressed and have dark thoughts sometimes. I think that's normal in most people, let alone when we are in constant pain.

Yes there is a place for them. Some people truely do need them and they actually help.

We would all prefer to have answers and treatments that work. Between greed drug corporations and government stupidity we don't always get what we need.

Like you I am frustrated each time I see my rheumy. She aggrivates the hell out of me with her blank stares and lack of knowledge.

She does not seem to get the point that we need to work together for my benifit. She has the do as I say and don't question me attitude.

I'm on a waiting list for another rheumy, but untill one is found I'm stuck with her.

I'm in Canada, and there have been times when my family doctor's hands are tied with what tests she can send me for, because some government pencil pusher has decided that a good way to cut medical costs is to limit the types of tests a GP can order.

You have to go to a specialist in order to get a scan done. Good luck trying to get in to see a specialist.

11-22-2008, 08:31 AM
Again, I don't want to make anyone who does take antidepressants feel awkward. I think it's different when the patient feels they need them or when a doctor asks if you feel you need them because of what you are dealing with. I'm limiting my comments to the docs who push the drugs because they don't believe you. In their defense, I'm sure there are people with anxiety issues that manifest itself into physical symptoms. I'm sure there is. But if a doctor knew your personality and seen you during good times, and then jump to the antidepressants, I feel they are not giving the patient any confidence. It's even worse when the doctor doesn't know the patient.

But dealing with a chronic illness is depressing and I know it can get overwhelming. As long as the doctor is treating the patient too, helping them on the road to discovery of what's wrong, then I know they they are trying to help, not trying to brush you off.


11-22-2008, 08:48 AM

Some times anti-depressants are prescribed for improving sleep and part of a regime to control pain also. Elavil (amitriptyline) is a trycyclic antideppressant which is one. Other tricyclics include desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), amoxapine (Asendin), and nortriptyline (Pamelor, Aventyl.

A common combination is Mobic, Flexeril, Lyrica and Lortab they can be a very successful regime...or with other NSAIDS or a partial combo.

That recipe did me wonders, took me out of the cycle of insomnia and pain. Was the insomnia causing the pain, or the pain causing the insomnia? Leading to anxiety, depression. Either scenario...it worked and I discontinued the dosing...

I felt so much better physically and mentally...


11-22-2008, 09:08 AM
Hello Larry,

I always found it rather odd to have an M.D. prescribe anti-depressants. It would seem that a Psychiatrist should be doing that. Or at the very least the M.D. should only offer it after a Psychologist/counselor suggests it could help. Many people do have excellent results. But I was prescribed Prozac many years ago during a rather difficult time in my life, and it was a nightmare for me. That stuff made me into someone who is not me. It really caused some frightening personality changes and obsessive thoughts for me. I'll never take another anti-depressant, ever. That was a case where the cure was far worse than the illness.

This is only my personal experience though, and I know people who have had really great results from taking the stuff. After reading many of your comments Larry, I can see that you have a deep seated mistrust of Doctors, and those in the health care industry. I can't blame you one bit. I've had some really terrible experiences with them myself. In fact, my last rheumotologist wanted to try to un-diagnose me. I was diagnosed with SLE in 2004 by 3 private Dr/Rheumos, and by two Dr's for the Social Security Administration in order to be approved for full disability benefits. They all came to the same exact conclusion-I have SLE, no if's, and's, or but's.

To see a new Rheumo and have him ask me why I think I have Lupus, set me off. Uh, gee, the fact that I was diagnosed with it by 5 different medical professionals has something to do with it. And oh yeah, the constant rollercoaster flare I've been in for five years now might have something to do with it as well. I fired this guy, in a very public way. I went off on him and the whole office and waiting room heard it. He was just one of the many incompetent pill pushing fools I've dealt with over the years. Now, whenever I see a new Rheumo or other specialist for Lupus related issues, I tell them immediately that I am here for treatment, not a diagnosis. If they don't like it, I leave. It sucks that it has to be this way. I understand your mistrust very well. Anyway, thanks for listening to me rant.


11-22-2008, 02:17 PM
I have had three bad reactions to three different drugs just because someone wanted to get me out of their office and not deal with what was it ailing me. I am prescribed amitryptilline for sleep but I dont take it daily. But it seems every time I go back they want to add a new one. I feel like you should be allowed a certain amount of time to greive for whatever your situation may be before they try to drug you up for it. I think it inteferes with what is supposed to be a natural process of greiving.

11-22-2008, 03:31 PM
Hey I dont think we've met. Im Kasey and I was diagnosed a year ago with lupus. Two months ago I was diagnosed with Fibro also have many of the secondary conditions that can go along with lupus. Glad you are here.

I am on anti-depressants. Cymbalta 120mg and Wellbutrin300mg
The cymbalta is a part my pain meds as well as my mood. If I dont take it I am
so very depressed that family and my therapist are scared for me. I have in the past been suicidal. But then depression does run in my family and I had been on my anti-depressant b/4 lupus.

I am on the Wellbutrin to help me quit smoking and as an aid to the cymbalta.


11-22-2008, 03:35 PM
Hi all,
I hope that nobody was offended when I stated that I don't like anti-depressant medications. It is just for myself that I do not like them. I have had bad experiences with them. I realise that some people do need them and it works great for them. I hope that nobody is offended by my earlier post.


11-22-2008, 04:57 PM
Kathy, I'm sure nobody took offense. This wasn't really an attack on people who take antidepressants, it's for the doctors that hand them out and DON'T work with the patients. If they work with the patient and hand them out as part of the therapy, in my mind, that's different.

Rob, you said that I must have distrust with doctors...hmmm, I've noticed a rant or two from you as well on the topic (lol). Seriously, my thought here is that I don't blame the doctor for not being able to find this disease right away, to be frustrated by the choices in working with this disease, etc. I'm just happy that they try and that they are on the team. But don't go trying to turn this on me when you can't figure it out or when the test are not concrete. I've had too many that have and yes, there is some deep hurt that I can't seem to forgive. Take my appointment Monday. I feel like I'm walking into a bear trap with my GP. I'm sure my Rheumo has called him or at least sent a note to him. So, I'm anticipating some frustration from him when we see each other. I try not to dwell on it though. I'm simply going to say that "I'm glad you got to see how I am when things are going well for me, so that you know how I am when they are not.". Hopefully that will get him to thinking. Right now, I can't afford to lose my support group.

I'll needs some thoughts and prayers on Monday morning, for strength and resolve. It reminds me of the little item I have posted on my bulletin board at work. Perhaps it would help all of us to think of, so I'll share it. Three is this line of German Sheppards all sitting there. In front of them walks this cat. I'm guessing that it's some sort of police dog training exercise. Under is a caption, "Though I walk in the valley of death I fear no evil". We are that cat sometimes I guess...


11-22-2008, 05:05 PM
Hi Larry,
I will have you in my prayers for your visit to the doctor on Monday. I will pray that all goes well for you.


11-22-2008, 05:15 PM
Good luck with your appointment Larz,

I've got one coming in February :P I'm not looking foreward to it...as a matter of fact it feels like a waste of time to me. But I'll go anyway.

My problem is the feeling that she really doesn't give a damn about what's wrong with me. She just can't be bothered.

Hope my name moves up the list soon for a new rheumy.

11-22-2008, 08:08 PM
Hey there,

My thoughts will be with you on Monday Larry. I can tell you to take it easy, and not make too big a thing of it, but I know it's easy to say that, and sometimes much more difficult to actually do it. I just hope you get the answers you need, as soon as possible, and with the least amount of stress and fear. I sometimes forget how afraid I was when I was first diagnosed. It all seems so long ago, and like I was someone else.

But, I'm still here to talk about it. I think you'll find that after you get past some of these really stressful times, you'll look back, and it won't seem like that big of a deal, and you'll gain confidence from it to help you through whatever the next curveball is that life throws at you. When I was diagnosed with MS earlier this year, it was pretty bad at first, but after a couple of weeks, I just shrugged my shoulders and accepted it. After the hell of the initial Lupus puzzle, and eventual diagnosis, it just didn't affect me all that much. I'm one who can eat myself up with worry. I can lie awake and overthink myself to death. Losing sleep, dwelling on things. But I've learned to ease up a bit, and not get overly stressed for no reason. If a perpetual worry wart like me can learn not to get overly stressed out, you certainly can learn to as well. It just takes time I guess, and lots of talking.

Anyway, you'll have the good thoughts of a bunch of people here to give you the strength to get through Monday morning. Hope you have a good night. Talk to you later.