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Hello!!

This is an issue that I have been concerned about since I started taking medication about two and a half weeks ago. I have read and been told that anti-depressants, over a long period of time, affect your internal organs in a bad way. I do not know what to make of this. Do they have a noticeable effect on your organs over time? What can happen? Can an organ fail as a result?

I want to remain healthy inside, but I also want to become healthy mentally. I would prefer to come off medication if it will have a bad effect and take a more natural route over a longer period. I don't even want them to have an un-noticeable effect. All drugs have an effect on your organs, of course, but I don't want to damage any of my organs, even a little bit.

Thanks.

Take care!!

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The short answer? Bullshit.

Alternative View? I'd rather be dead a long time from now from internal issues than dead next week from suicide.

Now: Many if not most drugs are cleared thru the liver. It is possible for various drugs to affect the liver, however this is rare. Fortunately, any GP or Pdoc can order simple blood tests to check the liver, and if changes start to show up, it is a simple matter to change meds.

Take your meds, and concentrate on getting well, and thinking good thoughts.

regards,

a.m.

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Everything AirMarshall said!

I started anti-depressants at 40 years of age and will be taking them for the rest of my life, which sucks, but as A.M. pointed out, the alternative of suicide is worse. Major depression is fatal 15% to 20% of the time, and not from anything to do with meds, unless you want to consider the effects of not taking them, or not taking the right ones in sufficient quantity.

I'm now 47 and recently had a full liver panel done as part of some other blood work done with a regular physical. Everything checked out just fine.

There are plenty of people and websites who will tell you that you can "just snap out of it" or all you need is some St. John's Wort, or exercise and vitamins, but if you have a serious mood disorder like bipolar or major depression, none of those things will work in the long term. Find a good pdoc and work with them.

All drugs for any disease, not just mental illnesses, have side effects. Very few do long term organ damage. Drinking alcohol will damage your liver more than taking meds will.

Untreated mood disorders will physically alter your brain structure for the worse. I'd rather take meds and deal with some minor side effects and an extremely rare chance of long term damage. Good luck to you in getting the correct diagnosis and treatment.

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Your biggest concern about the healthiness and safety of the ADs should be liver interactions (check pharmacokinetic data and a drugs interaction website, such as aidsmeds.com, to see if there are any issues here).

Cymbalta, for example, is heavy on the liver.

But look at the bright side, here's icing on the cake: There's been research all around (too lazy to cite) showing that soaking your neurons in serotonin and norepinephrine may have long-term neuroprotective effects. Also, some ADs act as NMDA antagonists, which is good if you're over-NMDA-ing (the things that plug into NMDA receptors are extremely excitotoxic if you get too much), again protecting from neuronal damage. Honestly, though, I have no idea how to tell if you're over-NMDAing =P

NMDA-antagonized,

--herrfous

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well, it seems to me that they're doing something already to your head, which is good. I say this because, if you've got enough mental capability to think about your health instead of moaning around being depressed it must be making you feel better. or, I personally can only focus on the shit when I'm depressed, certainly not the future or the idea that something I'm doing now could be damaging.

this makes me think that you've maybe forgotten how shitty it feels to be depressed, and you're maybe willing to stop the antidepressants if someone says that they could hurt you. (again, this is totally just my own experience.) I tend to forget how bad the depression gets until I do something like go off the meds -- and then I remember pretty fast while I'm holding the blade to my arm.

so, basically, the good feelings you get from being on them most definitely outweigh that suicidal mindfuck called depression.

and, besides that, I don't think many antidepressants hurt any organs very much. you can do research to find the ones that can really mess up your liver. (Lithium is the only one coming to mind right now, and that's not technically an antidepressant anyway...) and let your doctor know you're uncomfortable taking them. and speaking of your doctor, you mind want to mention your concerns to him. if your doctor's any good, s/he will listen, and most definitely know more about organ-med interactions than me.

mostly a restate of what the others said, but I've seen myself go down this route (granted, in a slightly different manner) and it tends to end up badly. and, forgive me if I've made incorrect assumptions. my dealings with depression are different than yours and that may be significant. just, throw something virtual at me and I'll shut up. ;)

take care of yourself.

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Hello!!

Thanks for responding to me, everyone.

I will continue to take them. I have an appointment with the psychiatrist on Tuesday. I'll ask her more about the specifics of each medication whilst I'm talking to her.

I don't really feel better since I started taking Sertraline. I feel a lot more tired. Maybe it hasn't got into my system yet, I'm not sure. I'm just concerned that one day all these thoughts and feelings may be a distant past, yet I'll have damaged some of my internal organs and possibly need treatment. My sister has had incredible kidney trouble during her life. I don't want to have to experience that (though I wish I had experienced it instead of her).

Also, maybe I'm looking for an excuse to stop taking it. I hate it ;) I will continue with the medication for now though.....

Thanks all!! Take care!!

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As everyone else has said, I'd rather take chances on any internal damage than suicide in the short run. As I was beginning to climb out of my latest depression, I started keeping a journal, basically detailing some of what I was going through. It's amazing how much you forget about your depression.

I understand your exhaustion, but I'd definitely advise (from my complete lack of knowledge) to give it some time. I initially had compelte exhaustion from my cocktail (taking hours of naps per day), but it's dramatically lessened over time. Not completely, mind you, but "livable". I can even get through days without a nap at all... sometimes... and I'm now only sleeping about 8 hours a night.

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Easy,

just following up...

Sertraline is known as Zoloft in the US.

Zopiclone is known as Imovane, a sleep hypnotic, not available in the US.

You mention that you have only been taking the meds for 2.5 weeks without much effect. Yes, unfortunately it is too soon to expect a significant change. Hopefully you will see some improvement week to week, but the true testing point is around 6 weeks. Your pdoc may chose to raise you dosage since you have tolerated the Sertraline, but aren't getting any relief yet. Of course the Zopiclone is only a sleep aid and wouldnt' be expected to affect your mood, other than being more rested.

Neither of these drugs is processed through the kidneys, so you have no worries there.

Good luck.

a.m.

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Sertraline is known as Zoloft in the US.

Zopiclone is known as Imovane, a sleep hypnotic, not available in the US.

I didn't know this ^^^ I need to change my signature ;)

I will continue with my medication. The advice in the leaflet in the packet said to talk to your doctor (psychiatrist in this case I guess) if it doesn't appear to be having an effect in 2-4 weeks. I will give it a few more weeks and then see. Alterations with medication are bound to happen.

I feel more at ease with taking them now I have heard all your experiences. I can always have blood tests in the future if I feel concerned to re-assure myself :)

Thanks all!!

Take care!!

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There is no evidence to suggest that SSRI anti-depressants are dangerous for use in the short or long term.

There have been other drugs that cause problems, eg serzone. But your basic prozac, zoloft, lexapro, celexa, luvox and paxil al have a strong reputation of being safe for long term use.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Of course every liver is different; however, having been a long term anti-depressant user (20 plus years, back to when tricyclics were IT)...and a very, very HEAVY street drug user for almost 30 years, my recent liver panel showed not just a normal liver but in my rheumatologist words "better than normal"...which cracked me up in a macabre sorta way. Made me think, "more human than human".

But for real, if it worries you, have them check it as often as your insurance will allow, though most of what everyone has said I would ring in with...the benefits outweigh the possible organ damage unless you have a unique sitch and it would be severe.

Good for you! You sound so much better since you first started coming around...

S9

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Of course every liver is different; however, having been a long term anti-depressant user (20 plus years, back to when tricyclics were IT)...and a very, very HEAVY street drug user for almost 30 years, my recent liver panel showed not just a normal liver but in my rheumatologist words "better than normal"...which cracked me up in a macabre sorta way. Made me think, "more human than human".

Remember that mileage always varies. After spending over 3 months as a downright alcoholic of >30 drinks/wk. (and I'm a small guy), my liver panel came out "unusually healthy". And I was/am on Cymbalta and several other meds atop that.

'Course you're also talking to the guy whose LDL and HDL levels are equal despite a vivid family of heart disease. Er don't ask...

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I'm jumping into the pond to say that I'd rather be dead when my internal organs fail due to my crazy meds than tomorrow due to suicide. Suicide is an all too real "feature" of being BP/MDD. Actually, ED has the highest death rate.

At any rate, I'm going to live now on my meds and keep taking them.

My blood work always comes back fine. I've been medicated for about 10 years now. That's long enough to see if there is any damage creeping up.

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If you're thinking about long term consequences of medication, you're starting to get better. Seriously.

A lot of people have the mistaken impression that ADs are going to make them happy and "high." In my experience, I haven't noticed ADs working. It's not until usually much later that I reflect and think "Hey! When did I get undepressed?!" Other people usually notice the effect long before I am aware of it.

Also, you may well be one of the people who only needs an AD for a limited period of time. I think that usually, they will want to keep you on it for at least 6 months. (someone correct me if that's wrong... I have to stay on them whenever I get cruddy only until I'm not cruddy anymore.. damned bipolar!) If the depression recurs, then you can take ADs again later, but if it stays away for a long time, you could just be a situational med taker.

In any case, your skin IS an organ, and if you're depressed and cutting, you can visibly see that you're damaging it! If it's side effects that are bothering you, talk to your pdoc about them. Things can be done to help.

Out of curiosity, is your depression typically marked by sleep impairment, oversleeping or no effect on sleep? If your sleep is impaired by depression.. either from being unable to fall asleep, not sleeping through the night or waking up too early, is it possible that your body is just trying to catch up now that it's actually able to sleep?

*not a doctor of any kind, but prone to thinking aloud*

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