Zantac Lawsuit

Researching drug company and regulatory malfeasance for over 16 years
Humanist, humorist

Friday, July 10, 2015

Seroxat Withdrawal Diary (Guest Post)

I do love it when people contact me with their Seroxat stories. Although they are harrowing to read I do feel somewhat privileged to spread these accounts via my blog, if only to warn others and/or offer guidance to those who are suffering Seroxat addiction.

This guest poster wishes to remain anonymous, his story is familiar. His story is a classic example of what is not being done to help people suffering Seroxat addiction.

I don't necessarily agree with some of the methods used by Anonymous but he did what he had to do because, as I have said many times, there is no help whatsoever for people who have become hooked on Seroxat.

The British drug regulator, the MHRA, read accounts like this all the time. They sit in their ivory towers, shrug their shoulders and continue to ignore the Seroxat withdrawal problem. GSK don't wish to help those suffering either, by doing so they would have to admit there was a problem with withdrawal - and if they admitted there was a problem they would pretty much lose any withdrawal cases against them through the courts.

I think that when anyone forms associations with GSK, be they Channel 5, Jenson Button or Dame Kelly Holmes, they should all sit down and read stories like the one you are about to read, it's just one of many hundreds - others can be found here, here and here

People or companies in privileged positions should be speaking out against GSK and not supporting them.

Upon reading them maybe then, the aforementioned, should head on over to YouTube to play the song GSK chose to play to their reps at various Seroxat presentations in the US. (Here) - There's an alternative version of the song here.

Bob Fiddaman.

"If ‘discontinuation reactions’ occur in patients stopping [Seroxat], the majority will experience symptoms that are mild to moderate in intensity, and are usually limited to two weeks."
Mary Anne Rhyne, GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson - 2005

Seroxat Withdrawal Diary

I was prescribed 20mg Seroxat at aged 17 (Feb 1998), my Dr diagnosed depressive symptoms following major knee surgery ( I snapped my cruciate ligaments playing football), I went from being extremely sporty and fit to being unable to play football or any other sports for years to come. I have no recollection of life pre Seroxat as I was only 17 I do not know if my personality now is as a result of the drug or whether or not it will change when I come off of it.

I attempted to withdraw from the drug at least three times over the years in the 2000’s however this was done as a take one tablet one day, then miss a day routine which has since been recognised as ineffective.  My attempts to withdraw from the drug only every lasted a week at most  as I would become almost suicidal and suffer extreme physical withdrawal, fainting feeling’s sapping feelings, nausea and extreme flu like symptoms I would also became aggressive and emotional.

There never appeared to be a good time to attempt to come off this drug for a prolonged period as I was at university then full time employment, now 17 years later I have developed endocrine problems which to be fair I may have had all along  and may always have been as a result of Seroxat, I believe it can have an effect on prolactin levels which in turn cancels out testosterone and causes erectile dysfunction and loss of libido, I now attend an endocrinologist for this and receive a depot injection of nebido (testosterone) every three months, historically I was prescribed Viagra over the years also but this ceased about 7 years ago due to NHS criteria changes for prescribing the drug.

On 08/08/14 my first child was born, and that along with other reasons prompted me to seriously get off Seroxat as I was more educated and aware that there was now a liquid tapering method which can be successful.

Here is my withdrawal account for the last six months attended G.P in Jan feeling terrible and dose increased to 30mg, spoke to my endocrinologist 3 days later and discovered the medicine may be causing some of my problems. I attended my G.P again who agreed on reduction of Seroxat / withdrawal.

06.01.15 approx. - prescribed liquid paroxetine and was on 15ml to start (30mg), tapered down 1ml per week to 10ml (20mg) by 14.02.15) during this time experienced anxiety, mood swings stomach cramps, faecal incontinence due to irritable bowel) - prescribed quetiapine 25mg to assist with anxiety, could not tolerate it and so stopped after a few doses.

It was becoming more difficult for me and so I was referred to a psychiatrist and cpn to help with the withdrawal stage from 20mg (10ml) was prescribed trazadone 50mg to help with anxiety again made me too drowsy and made my body ache so only too a few doses.

Agreed on a 1ml every two weeks tapering regime with psychiatrist, was prescribed buscopan for stomach cramps and mebrevine for irritable bowel / incontinence.

14.02.15 - 10ml (20mg)
28.02.15 - 9ml (18mg)
14.03.15 - 8ml (16mg)
28.03.15 - 7ml (14mg)
11.04.15 - 6ml (12mg)
25.04.15 - 5ml (10mg)
09.05.15 - 4ml (8mg)
23.05.15 - 3ml (6mg)

My physical symptoms got significantly worse throughout this period and on top of this the frequency of my mental health symptoms increased from irritability a few times per week too 24/7  extreme mood swings agitation, crying uncontrollably, insomnia, out of body feelings and feeling like I was going to die.

Around the 3ml point I was prescribed 2mg diazepam to help with this, they were not effective and this was increased to 10mg daily of diazepam, I was also taking 30/5000mg of co co-codamol up to 8 times per day for migraines i was suffering.

After prolonged discussions and by taking advice from the protocol by Dr David Healy it was agreed that I would move to a halve and halve approach, i.e take halve your dose of Seroxat ie 1.5ml and the equivalent dose of Prozac - 0.80ml think thinking being the longer half life of Prozac will help with withdrawals and I should stay on this dose of Prozac whilst completing my withdrawal from Seroxat I have now been taking the following regime which I started yesterday -

(As an aside I was warned that there was the possibility of serotonin syndrome with this approach which can cause all the symptoms I am currently having as well as convulsions fever and ultimately death, I was also warned that taking 2 x SSRIs simultaneously had a magnifying effect which could cause heart problems and so I am booked in for an ECG today. I was also warned to expect increased irritability during the first week of taking Prozac, so may need to continue taking 10mg of diazepam daily, im now worried about withdrawal from this and the codeine I have been taking.)

01/06/15 - 1.5ml (3mg) Seroxat & 0.80ml 3mg approx of Prozac
08/06/15 - 1ml (2mg) Seroxat & 0.80ml 3mg approx of Prozac
15/06/15 - 0.5ml (1mg) Seroxat & 0.80ml 3mg approx of Prozac
22/06/15 - 0 Seroxat & 0.80ml 3mg approx of Prozac

If I make it too that point my plan is too come off Prozac as follows,  I have been told I can do It rapidly given its longer half life

23/06/15 - 0.60ml of Prozac
24/06/15 - 0.40ml of Prozac
25/06/15 - 0.20ml of Prozac
26/06/15 - finished

I then plan to see how I react as the Prozac should theoretically be out my system by 02/07/15 and I want to recover for a few weeks before returning to work to ensure I am physically and mentally well enough.

I realise this most recent plan may not work but this is my care plan agreed with my psychiatrist.

Update 21/06/15

The last three weeks have been extremely difficult but the use of halve Prozac and a tapering dose of 0.5ml Seroxat every week as advised by Dr Healy has to an extent been successful. I doubt I would have managed to do it without using this method and if I had been given the option six months ago when I first met with my G.P /Psychiatrist I would have used this method right from the start.

Essentially I reduced from 3mg or 6ml of Seroxat onto start on  01/06/15 - 1.5ml (3mg) Seroxat & 0.80ml 3mg approx of Prozac. I stuck to the plan above and reduced the Seroxat by 0.5ml or 1mg (weekly) whilst maintaining the 0.80 or 3mg dose of Prozac throughout. I administered my last 0.5ml dose of Seroxat today along with my maintenance dose of Prozac 0.80ml and as far as I am concerned that is the last time I will ever take Seroxat.

I plan to reduce the Prozac by 0.20ml increments over the course of four days starting tomorrow and by that point be SSRI free aside from the residue SSRI chemicals that remain in my system and store in my fat cells.

The last 21 days have been very difficult both mentally and physically and I have been monitored weekly by my CPN. All the before mentioned physical symptoms have became worse with more frequent diarrhoea, the aggression has reduced but this has been replaced by 24/7 anxiety, panic attacks, complete and utter distress, palpitations, sweating etc, this is the symptom I find most difficult to deal with ( I feel like im going into an exam magnified by 1000x or have just had a near car crash) I realise it is my body's fight or flight system kicking in but it is constant and for no good reason apart from withdrawals. I have had to suffer these symptoms during the day however I have joined a gym which I now attend 3 times per week in an attempt to reduce the extreme adrenaline / anxiety feeling, boost my mood and also try to destroy the reaming Seroxat living in my fat cells. The Gym has helped slightly during the day but at night my mind is thinking about three different subjects at once and I am in a constant state of panic. I have been prescribed 10mg diazepam which I have been taking nightly for the last 21 days to enable me to shut down and sleep.

"The other symptom which has continued but increased in its severity is the feeling of unreality." 

I have also been having very vivid dreams which ultimately are negative in nature and terrifying , for some reason they are mostly set around when I was 17 and commenced Seroxat, I feel my memories may be regressing to when I started it now that I am almost off it. I have continued to have emotions swinging wildly however the aggression is no longer present.

I continue to have Headache’s however I have reduced my use of co-codamol 30/500 from 8 per day to 2-4 per day. As mentioned I have had terrible Nausea (feeling like I have just woke up from a general anaesthetic ( I know this feeling as I have had 7 major operations) , Diarrhea which is very acidic (bile salts) and has led to me needing to use baby wipes, nappy sacks and bepanthan to prevent a breakdown of my skin integrity, not only is this painful but it is extremely degrading and embarrassing for a 35 year old man.

The other symptom which has continued but increased in its severity is the feeling of unreality, an example of this is when I walk around a supermarket in a dream like state oblivious to everyone around me, I feel like I have a haze over my eyes and the immediate world around me is not real for periods of time, I know there is a clinical term for this but I am unsure what it is.

Overall I feel rundown and exhausted, I am very anxious about being free of Seroxat after 18 years and worry about the symptoms persisting and for how long they will persist, as I am due to return to work in in one weeks time on a phased return. I am also concerned about coming off the diazepam now and I will need to discuss a tapering regime for this with my psychiatrist also.

Mentally I feel very alert (super alert due to the anxiety) so I would not say I was depressed or showing any need for future antidepressants, at this point in time and continue to believe that I do not have clinical depression and actually I strongly believe I never did and was miss diagnosed / prescribed this evil medication. I continue to have a lot of anger towards Glaxo Smith Kline and I will pursue legal action as far as I can against them.

As an aside I spent time tonight disposing of all my antidepressant tablets , I had boxes of them in a drawer which I did not want to be reminded of. I felt this was a useful exercise, and gave me some closure on what has been a very long journey.

I will update again in the coming week’s if and when I come off my remaining dose of Prozac on how I feel post Seroxat and Prozac back in the real world and at work after a six month absence.

Update 22/06/15

I have felt severely ill all day agitation and aggression is back, I smashed my laptop earlier today over a petty incident and spent the next three hours sobbing in remorse £75 mistake!. I have developed severe flu like symptoms and have a fever, I am due to meet my CPN tomorrow to discuss how I will cope throughout the next week.

Update 25/06/155

A week before my last dose of Seroxat I felt a dental abscess developing on a historical crown / bridge don 8 years+ ago. I went to the dentist’s and was prescribed a 5 day course of amoxycillin 150mg per day despite the leaflet that comes stating dental abscesses should be treated with a dose of 3g daily, I called back and questioned this but got no where. Finished the course around the time of my fever developing 22/06/15 temp between 37 – 39 degrees and only reducing with paracetamol, gum and tooth still sore so back to regular dentist who prescribed me metranidazol antibiotics 3 per day which I am due to finish tomorrow. However on top of that I developed a wheeze, I have asthma and a severe sore throat cough so I felt the infection had spread, seen an out of hours G.P at hospital after initially being fobbed off by NHS 24 and was diagnosed with upper respiratory tract infection and given yet another course of antibiotics, this time clarythromicin 7 day course 2 per day, these ones seem to be working but I need to take them on top of the last dental ones and I'm feeling sick and have a metallic taste.

The upshot of all of this going on is I am physically exhausted and so have no adrenaline problems at present, I do however feel very nauseous, can’t know if this is withdrawal or reaction to infection / antibiotics.

I spoke to my Psychiatrist today about how to manage any symptoms of anxiety should they return when I am in my work place. I asked about beta blockers as an alternative to diazepam and she agreed this was a good suggestion and licensed for anxiety but ruled it out due to the contraindications with asthma. Instead we have agreed that I will take a 5mg diazepam in the morning if anxious and a 5 at night and also add in zopiclone a sleeping tablet if I feel the 5mg diazepam does not put me too sleep.

I was also at the dentist today who took an x-ray and confirmed I will require root canal treatment over the coming months and also a surgical procedure in my upper jaw bone as the infection is has spread to my bone and so my gum has to be slit and a hole drilled in the bone to treat the infected area, this will all be done over the coming months in a dental hospital. He explained that I must be very run down for internal root infection which on a sealed tooth of over 8 years to trigger infection, it has been internal not external, i.e no cavity just bugs taking a chance to grow as my immune system is so low at present, I feel this is as a result of the last six months withdrawal.

Due to infection there has been no gym this week which I am disappointed about but hope to return 3 x times weekly asap.

I took my last dose of Prozac also this morning approx. 0.20ml again don’t know how im reacting to that with everything else going on. On the positive side the anxiety has massively reduced since infection started and I have slept the last 2 nights without the need of diazepam.

I return to work on Monday 29/06/15 for a half day on a phased return so hope I am physically well enough to get out my bed and go otherwise I am going down to half pay. I have a full 8 week phased return to work after a six month absence organised, I’ve had to use accrued P/Hs and A/L for this which will leave me with no holiday’s for 4  months however I have accepted this and my manager has been very understanding and accommodating.

I am now officially SSRI free apart from the Prozac half life and Seroxat deposits in my fatty tissue cells, I aim to get rid of the latter by hammering the gym to destroy historical fat, only good things can from this. I have been T-total since Jan and I now avoid caffeine and drink plenty of water. I'm taking multi vitamins and eating well. I still have the diazepam and co-codamol issues to deal with but im sure I will just taper off them slowly as I get better. Only time will tell how I will deal with being SSRI free after 18 years but im positive that I have beat this drug addiction and hope to never take anything like it again, I truly believe I will be a stronger healthier person at the end of this journey and despite it being six months of hell it has been worth it.

Update 01/07/15

Still feeling a lot of anger towards GSK and I am being consumed with a need to seek justice for six months of physical and mental torture, and I am finding it difficult to understand why something is not bee done about this legally and by the NHS. I feel as though I am now going through a process similar to that of grieving, i.e anger, sadness etc, unfortunately I am stuck it seems at the anger stage. Physically I do still have a lot of anxiety and a racing mind, however I do not feel depressed (the whole basis of prescribing the drug in the first instance!). My physical symptoms have settled down and my chronic diarrhea has also settled down. I have attended a half day at work and coped fine and have another half day tomorrow.

I had root canal surgery yesterday and the dentist explained to me that filling which was inserted 8 years ago was done poorly and as a result it came out as a large black sludge of infection, which in turn has traveled to my Jaw bone and has been systemically poisoning me for the last 8 years and will continue to do so until I get the affected bone operated on and removed. So again it is difficult to tell physically whether I am feeling ill due to withdrawal or dental infection, another case of medical negligence, which has not been picked up until now despite numerous x rays of my mouth.

I am now taking extra strength omega, three 15ml per day which contains very high levels of EPA DHA, (seven seas extra high strength = 2300mg of EPA &DPA per 10ml) as a comparison most 100mg omega capsules contain approx 200 – 300mg of EPA & DPA so you would need to take 8-10 capsules instead of 2 x 5ml spoonful’s to get a dose effective enough to repair brain cell function, these chemicals are known to repair brain function as well as your immune system and a whole host of other things I can find no negative trials on this only positive ones.

I continue to take 10mg of diazepam to make me sleep, I tried the prescribed sleeping tablet but I woke very quickly after taking it as my mind was still racing, I have only stopped taking Seroxat about 10 days ago after taking it daily for almost 18 years! I also stopped taking Prozac approx 5 days ago so again due to its half life this should now be out of my system.

Update 5/07/15

For the last three days I have felt happiness and calmness that I have not felt for over six months, I am still slightly agitated and find it difficult to unwind at nigh time so continue to need 10mg of diazepam nightly to get to sleep, the sleeping pills are not effective for my particular needs. My aim is too stay on the diazepam during my phased return to work (next 7 weeks) and then see if I'm coping with being back at work full time before attempting a phased withdrawal from this drug also. My 30/500 co-codamol intake has also reduced from 8 per day to 2-4 per day max.


Most of my physical withdrawal or discontinuation symptoms have ceased, my bowel movements are normal and regular and I have much less headaches. I do still feel a bit anxious but no where near as much as I did during withdrawal and I feel this is improving every day. The sleeping tablets were not suitable for me a woke very quickly after taking them and even with 5mg of diazepam I only slept for a few hours. I continue to take 10mg of diazepam nightly and 15ml of cod liver oil daily. I have agreed with my psychiatrist that I will remain on a weekly dispense regime of 10mg nightly until I am back at work full time this will be another six weeks as I am now 2 weeks into my phased return to work, I have complete 4 half days over two weeks without issue, my first full day is tomorrow. I then intend to withdraw from the diazepam at a rate of 2.5 mg per week over the coming weeks and I am looking into Pal McKenna’s sleep hypnosis cd/ mp3 as an alternative as I feel a lot of my issues sleeping is to do with post-traumatic stress from discontinuation syndrome and a severe assault I suffered 2 years ago. Hopefully my limited use of co-codamol will also reduce further over this this period also however post-surgery pain from upcoming dental surgery my put a spanner in the works there.

One really interesting ting came out of today’s meeting with my psychiatrist, I explained to her I had purchased a gadget called a Microsoft band which is a smart watch / exercises band but also measures sleep very accurately. It clearly shows that I am having very poor sleep at night waking on average 9 times per night and I am having very little quality sleep (REM sleep) mostly light sleep, the diazepam and withdrawal may be to blame for this as when I wake in the morning following a bad night’s sleep and I then go back to sleep for a power nap It is mostly REM sleep, in fact yesterday I had more REM sleep in a power nap of 2hrs than I did the night before during a 7.5 hr sleep.

My psychiatrist asked me if it tracked my resting pulse which it does and this is the bit I found really interesting. When I was at the height of my discontinuation syndrome distress I was sent for an ECG to monitor the risk of serotonin SSRI’s Seroxat and Prozac simultaneously, my heart beat at that point showed as 120 beats per minutes, very fast for a resting heart in fact classed as (tachycardic) however post withdrawal, or at least over the last week I have owned the band my heart beat has been between 70 and 80 – normal, this could probably not be used in a court of law but to me it does show a  physiological correlation between discontinuation syndrome and an increased heart rate probably associated with anxiety etc.

I have spoke to my GP and gave him a copy of this medical account for my G.P notes should the case every come to court and have requested that he completes a yellow card warning for me in relation to Seroxat after reading them, which he has agreed to do.

Overall I am feeling better by the day, I'm almost certain now that I do not have and have never had any underlying mental health condition and I am glad I came off the drug despite how hard it has been.

I will see my psychiatrist again in approx 12 weeks when I should be off the diazepam and continue to see my CPN fortnightly or as required.

Rational for my anger and mistrust

In the last 10+ years Panorama ran four different documentaries on the scandal involving this drug. There is evidence of (bribery), deliberately hiding negative medical evidence during trials in order to get the drug licensed and prescribed and denying any responsibility for a drug which they have created knowing it has severe side effects when attempting to withdraw from it as well as causing birth defects and unfortunately in the US it has been deemed to be responsible for suicide’s and homicides.

In the US GlaxoSmithKline have settled out of court with those unfortunate enough to have been prescribed this drug with the caveat of gagging orders so further legal action cannot be taken in countries such as ours , however to date not one penny in compensation has been paid to British victims of a drug which is their best seller I believe and also the most widely reported drug for side effects to the MHRA (medical regulatory body in Britain) above drugs such as diazepam etc.

I will personally seek legal advice on taking this matter moving forward, given that it is public record that GSK deliberately hid negative withdrawal clinical trial information from the regulatory bodies and I was also prescribed as a minor off licence again this has been banned since 2003. I will also perhaps start lobbying MSPs to take up this matter as I have read hundreds of cases similar to mine on the Seroxat users group and through the blog of Bob Fiddaman, we cannot continue to be dulled down and forgotten about with more pills from the physicians and pharmaceutical companies that created and prescribed this monster in the first place.

Further research has highlighted how deep rooted and endemically corrupt this situation is, as a starter the current CEO of the MHRA (the people who are supposed to protect NHS patients from faulty drugs is a Dr Ian Hudson, who coincidentally used to be the World Safety Officer for SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline), what hope do we have of justice when this is the situation we are faced with?

My feeling towards prescribers of mental health medication G.Ps and psychiatrists is that they inherently want to stabilise what they see as poor mental health and have very little knowledge when it comes to dealing with making your symptoms worse to make you better, i.e dealing with withdrawal from SSRIs in the correct manner.

They need to understand that there will be a large proportion of the population who for whatever reason were misdiagnosed and put on these drugs without having clinical depression either due to naive incompetence or more worryingly due to bribery and propaganda from pharmaceutical companies on GP’s, (evidence of this in Bob Fiddaman’s blog) or have recovered from reactionary depression but discontinuation symptoms are makings physicians think they are still depressed. This drug has been designed to mimic the symptoms of mental illness when withdrawing and so unless you have knowledge / conviction and the determination to be drug free, then the millions of patients in Britain who are on this drug will be caught up in the perpetual cycle of either continuing to take the drug (ideal situation for GSK financially and massive drain on NHS resources ) or be put onto alternative mental health medication as psychiatrists do not have the skill base to differentiate between withdrawal and actual mental illness.

My hope is that all G.Ps and psychiatrists start to recognise the real problem that is “discontinuation syndrome” from certain SSRI medications and that they use Dr Healys protocol or even better develop their own to challenge this problem instead of just resorting to swapping for another antidepressant which is the easy option for them. The drugs companies like GSK are having their cake and eating it due to this perceptual cycle of drug prescribing and I would not be surprised if this was their intention all along given the profits involved.

References see all 4 Panorama episodes about Seroxat on here - read the 86 comments / accounts

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