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My sad, stupid Emsam story
  1. #1
    Paul G. is offline New Member
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    Default My sad, stupid Emsam story

    I'll start my little story by prefacing that this is MY individual experience with Emsam which will not necessarily be anyone else's experience. Everyone's body reacts to drugs in different ways. This is my experience and its aftermath.

    I'm a 49 year old male that has battled depression all of my adult life. Over the years I've sought a wide variety of sources of treatment ranging from counseling to medications and alternatives such as neurofeedback and acupuncture. Homeopathic supplements, meditation, prayer, exercise, etc. have never really worked very well. I've been on the antidepressant roller coaster for decades. Each prescription only resulted in side effects and then withdrawal symptoms when switching to yet another med. Combinations and add-ons were tried as well but no benefit. Most of these antidepressants were of the SSRI family. My newest doctor decided to try the Emsam patch because I had never tried an MAOI inhibitor before. I was placed on the lowest dosage patch first (6mg). After about 8 weeks there was absolutely no effect, side effect or otherwise. The doctor decided to place me on the 12mg patch—the maximum dosage. There are dietary restrictions on this dosage but I was willing to work around them and turned out not to be much of a problem. Unfortunately the problems began about 4 days into the higher dosage. As a veteran of taking antidepressants, I am well familiar with coping with side effects and letting them run their course. I had no reason to feel Emsam's side effects should be treated any differently so I chose to ride them out just like all the previous meds. These side effects included slight dizziness, dull headaches, dry mouth and the main character of the story—head rushes.

    On December 18, just days before Christmas, I stopped at a gas station on my way to work. I was leaning back first against my SUV (as I always do) as I waited for the gas pump to finish. At that moment an intense head rush came over me. I could see white splotches of light, dizziness, etc. I put my head back and closed my eyes to ride it out.

    Mistake.

    I blacked out, rolled to my left and plunged off the end of the vehicle to the greasy concrete—chin first. The impact immediately awoke me as I realized what had happened. I got up quickly while spitting out pieces of teeth. There was nobody else around so nobody came to my aid. I replaced the gas nozzle and jumped in the vehicle. I reached for the pile of napkins I keep in my glove box and covered my mouth trying to minimize the bloody mess.

    Dazed and shaken, I managed to get myself to a nearby emergency room. An x-ray revealed a fractured right jaw bone. I took three stitches to the chin. My front lower teeth were all extremely loose and two top teeth were broken. It was apparently a sudden blood pressure plunge that made me lose consciousness. Ironically the dietary restrictions on this drug are meant to prevent sudden blood pressure spikes. Now I'm on a different diet of soft foods only for 4 to 6 weeks since I cannot bite or chew. An oral surgeon had to grind the tops of the bottom teeth down so they wouldn't hit the top teeth when I closed my mouth and also bonded a wire to them to keep them stable. Further x-rays revealed another fracture in the lower jaw beneath those bottom teeth. Fortunately for now he felt my jaw would heal on its own without wiring me shut provided I don't bite or chew. If the jaw doesn't heal properly it will have to be rebroken and consequently wired shut for an additional 6 weeks. On top of everything else, ten days after the accident I began experiencing dizziness and vertigo. Yet another doctor said it may be an inner ear disturbance caused by the head injury.

    This was all due to a side effect of the Emsam patch.

    As I struggle with depression and anxiety, I am now facing a long haul of doctor, dental and oral surgeon appointments. The vertigo is still present but not as intense. I have been referred to an ear/nose/throat doctor to address this issue.

    I managed to get through the holidays with a broken jaw and a limited menu of soft and liquid foods. I have sworn off all antidepressants and any other drug. I'm not even taking anything for pain anymore. As I look back on my long experience with antidepressants I have come to realize that they have never ever helped me out of this darkness. As a matter of fact, with their accompanying side effects, withdrawal symptoms, cost, dashed high hopes, and this unfortunate Emam induced accident, they have pushed me further into despair. A literal kick in the teeth.

    I'll be pursuing drug-free solutions for depression from now on. Comes a time when one must put it all in perspective. Some swear by antidepressants but I can no longer endure them. Again, I want to emphasize this was MY experience of a freak chain of events that was sparked by Emsam. It won't happen to you.

    I'll post updates as they develop.
    Last edited by Anonymous; 01-11-2010 at 01:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Cats Meow is offline Platinum Member
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    Default

    Thanks for sharing your story Paul. AD's are so over prescribed and rarely work and then all the side effects on top of it, I have no idea why they're so popular, the loss of libido alone seems to me to be enough of a side effect to send anyone into depression. What's interesting to me is, through time, up until the last 25 years or so there were no AD's and most people were able to cope, and got over it, and its like today as soon as somebody has a bout of sadness or whatever the first line of defense or therapy is AD's, to me it seems like it just makes people not care, not feel better or happier. IMHO they are not all what they're cracked up to be, when one doesn't work the doctors cycle you through the whole gamut of them, then more drugs to counter the side effects, pharma's sure are thriving off of them.
    Cats

  3. #3
    Jordanbg70 is offline New Member
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    Default hey buddy, hang in there

    Hey, I just wanted to say I know depression and the likes and it sucks, didn't use to even believe in it. And like you i've tried all the AD's. IMHO SSRI's are overrated. All the research I've found on antidepressants doesn't make me want to try them again. I'm not sober I'm on subs, klon, caffeine and nicotine. If you're a smoker or drink a lot of caffeine you might wanna try cutting em out, I know I felt better without them. But, I just wanted to say the only thing that made me feel good when sober was weight lifting. Might wanna give that a try, low reps sets of 5 raises your testosterone naturally which is a good antidepressant in itself. 5x5 is a popular program. I've also heard good things about cutting refined sugar out of your diet and even limiting natural sugar intake a bit. I'm only 24 so I do lack wisdom, but I feel for you man. I hope things get better for you. I just want to offer my support. Also, I've heard really good things about the book "potatoes not prozac" another is "the mood cure" both are anti-drug. Keep looking man.
    Last edited by Anonymous; 01-11-2010 at 04:58 PM.

  4. #4
    Anonymous Guest

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    paul, i know nothing about the pills you are on.
    but i have broken my jaw, in a car wreck, few years back. ouch.
    mine got wired up for 4 weeks, not fun.

    im just hopin you feel better soon, and scuse the pun, but keep ya chin up bro.

    cheeky

  5. #5
    Paul G. is offline New Member
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    Default Update 1

    Five weeks later the jaw is healing slowly. Was just told by the oral surgeon I should continue on the soft food regiment for another four weeks. That will make it over two months living on mush. Probably won't be completely healed for another eight weeks. Was referred to a physical therapist to deal with the vertigo. It's better now but still not 100%. Amazing how a blow to the head can have so many long lasting ramifications. I did not need this. Thanks for the supportive posts. Means a lot.

  6. #6
    Anonymous Guest

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    oh man, i can relate to living on mush for weeks. had to buy a blender for everythin, blended potatoes, blended sausages, blended frikkin everythin, so mate i know how that sucks. is your jaw still wired. bummer if it is. i know that one. talkin thru ya teeth. sucks.
    glad its healing tho.
    yep, one little moment in time can change a lot of things ay.

    keep posting pal. and take it easy.
    cheeky

  7. #7
    Paul G. is offline New Member
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    Luckily I dodged the wiring altogether as the doctor felt confident it would heal on its own. He said it was a slight fracture. I'd hate to live through a major fracture. Wiring the jaw shut requires a liquid diet. What could be worse?

  8. #8
    newyorkgal is offline Advanced Member
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    Paul, I'm really sorry about all the stuff youre having to deal with now. I, too, have at one time or another tried every antidepressant there is. They either made me extremely nervous as a side effect or they had absolutely no effect at all. Interestingly, just the other day I read an article about a study published in the American Journal of Medicine (I believe, short term memory first thing to go lol, can't remember where I read it either but I did) stating that antidepressants and placebo works about equally well. It's odd because I do know people who swear Prozac made them feel so much better but nothing every did for me. Exercise makes a lot of sense because it gets the endorphins flowing. In fact, runners who have to stop report depression. It's true, 30 years ago, people dealt. The pharmacutical companies have a vested interest in keeping the millions who take antidepressants on them.

  9. #9
    Paul G. is offline New Member
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    Default From ESAM to TMS therapy

    As I heal from my jaw incident and deal with the residual dental repair issues, my doctor has suggested I try Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) which is a treatment that involves electromagnetic stimulation of the part of the brain that controls mood and emotions. It was recently approved by the FDA and luckily my insurance company is willing to pick up some of the cost. Supposedly it has a fairly good track record with antidepressant resistant depression. It's non invasive, has little to no side effects and is said to be safe. Since it's a drug free treatment I'm willing to give it a try. I don't want to get my hopes too high because NOTHING has worked in the past. I would start a new topic about this but it's not a drug so there's no appropriate place to post on this board. I'll keep updating this thread from time to time for those that might care. Wish me luck.

  10. #10
    Paul G. is offline New Member
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    I realize my story has strayed from the subject of drugs but I want to conclude with my latest failed attempt to overcome lifelong depression. I was authorized by my insurance company for four weeks of TMS treatment. I was told that after the two-week mark I would most likely feel a benefit as that was the average report from most patients. The two weeks came and went with no change. Week three saw the same thing. Week four—same. Was authorized for one more week. Still no results. I was told the maximum treatment averaged six weeks and I might be a "late responder" and could experience results by the sixth week. Unfortunately the insurance company said no more since I wasn't responding. Though I was covered, the copays cost me $500 not including the cost of gas for the 45 minute drive up and back to the facility 5 days a week. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. My hopes were high but I was on guard as nothing in my 30+ year battle with depression has ever helped. I feel a numbing devastation now and have nowhere to turn. TMS has helped others but it doesn't help everyone. Pray for me please.

  11. #11
    getnovrit is offline Member
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    Paul,

    If you are a Christian then I would hand over your problems to God and understand we are all in situations at this very moment because God has us here and this is where we are supposed to be. Sadly, some situations that we are in are not very good and others are good. That is the hand we are dealt and we must put our trust in him that he will guide us and take care of us.

    Good luck to ya and I will be praying for you.

    Getnovrit from MS

  12. #12
    Paul G. is offline New Member
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    Though I appreciate your post, I am NOT a christian. I don't subscribe to that "put things in God's hands and you'll live happily ever after" garbage. God isn't going to do anything for me aside from providing oxygen, food, water and a planet to live on. The rest is MY problem. I've prayed to Him for 30+ years to no avail. Maybe he'll answer your prayers for me on your behalf but He's never answered my heartfelt pleas for help. Never. I appreciate your support and prayers but please take your sermons elsewhere. Now I'm depressed AND angry.

  13. #13
    Paul G. is offline New Member
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    Even though I swore off antidepressants, I found that I was in tears almost everyday with out them. It angers me that my "normalcy" is utter sadness. Now I'm on THREE different drugs: Lexapro, Remeron and Ritalin. They have taken the edge off the sadness but I'm far from the pit of depression. No drug or drug combination has ever brought my head above water. I'm now resigned to the reality that these meds will probably always be a part of my life. It's a depressing thought in and of itself.

  14. #14
    wdowrey is offline New Member
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    Sorry you had such a poor experience with Emsam. I'm fairly new to it. My psycho-pharm suggested it when, like you, the SSRI's were all crapping out on me - as they have a tendency to do for many people. He had me on the 6mg dose of Emsam for about 3 weeks and specifically told me 6mg was a non-theraputic dose, its only utility was in seeing if I had any reactions to it and to get my body accustomed to having it in my system. But he specifically told me not to expect any positive reaction to my depression. Now that I'm on the next step up - 9mg, I'm seeing a positive change. I wish you well in your healing process and your pursuit in finding something that helps you.

  15. #15
    Dar Hoshanna is offline New Member
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    Nothing works for depression,get kolonipin for sleep and call it a dayat least you will be able to sleep and kolonipin are not addictive but try to stay away from xanax.

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