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Ok so at some points in our lives we all get down, for some of us this seems to be a reoccurring part of our lives and we get so low we need help (a lot of need help not necessarily what Iím talking about here!!) I have suffered from a number of chronic depression episodes from the age of 13 and as I grew older they became more frequent, worse and each bout lasted a lot longer. After having several nasty thoughts (and a few attempts) at self-harm I decided that I really needed help so dragged myself down to the doctors to explain. Now I have been on a different type of anti depressant before called cipramil but the side effects were to numerous to mention and my depression got worse-so you can see why I was sceptical about going back to the doctors again. The doctor recommended I try a new product called Cipralex (escitroprolam). This is my review of the medicine that helped me regain my confidence!
WHAT IS CIPRALEX? Cipralex is available in 5mg, 10mg, 15mg and 20mg. My doctor put me on a dose of 10mg. For those of you who have taken anti-depressants youíll be thinking 10mg isnít a lot, but it is when this medicine has the same effect as taking 40mg of cipramil! 20 mg is the maximum dose allowed and this is often used to treat panic disorder as opposed to depression. The tablets are a small mg. My doctor put me on a dose of 10mg. For those of you who have taken anti-depressants youíll be thinking 10mg isnít a lot, but it is when this medicine has the same effect as taking 40mg of cipramil! 20 mg is the maximum dose allowed and this is often used to treat panic disorder as opposed to depression. The tablets are small, oval, white films coated tablets, and one box of cipralex contains 28 tablets-your months supply of happy pills!
SO THEN HOW DOES IT WORK Now for the science bit, this medicine belongs to a group
of medicines known as SSRI-Selective Seritone Reuptake Inhibitor, allowing the medicine to normalize levels of sertonin in the brain, as itís the hormone seritonin that causes the development of depression and related disorders when there are disturbances in the normal levels of the hormone.
WHAT DOES CIPRALEX TREAT? Duh! Itís an anti depressant but has some surprising other uses in todayís fast moving medical world. It can also be used to treat panic disorder. I have seen that some other similar medicines to this are used to treat bulimia-but not this one.
TAKING PRECAUTIONS Hang on I thought this review was about anti depressants not contraception! But you still have to be very careful when taking any medicines like these you are told to tell the doctor if you have any medical problems such as diabetes or severe liver disease as you have to take a reduced dose. If you develop seizures, fits or epilepsy or a current disease gets worse then you must inform your doctor-I am thankful to say that I have never fitted when on my anti-depressants! Now this is something that has always affected me when on medication-these tablets can cause episodes of mania, where by I had exaggerated moods, and generally just when completely hyper! I found this settled within a week of taking the tablet. Unfortunately this medicine may make you bruise more easily-especially if you have a pre-existing condition but this has never affected me.
CAN I TAKE IT WITH OTHER MEDICINES? There are a certain number of medicines that you canít take this with such as Lithium-used in treatment of manic-depressive disorder Selegline-used to treat Parkinsonís disease Imiprane and desipramine-another drug to treat depression Sumatriptan and similar medicines used to treat migraines So if you were someone who suffers from frequent migraines or severe pain you would probably not be suitable to take this medicine. Cimetidine-used to treat stomach ulcers St Johns Wart-natures natural anti depressant, if taken with cipralex this will increase the chances of getting side effects from the medicine. Oral anti coagulants. This list seems quite long but I decided to include in case anyone who has these conditions had heard about this medicine and had thought about asking their Dr for it.
Now this is the great thing with this medicine, cipralex has not been found to interact with alcohol-they still donít recommend that you drink, but being me as I got some of my confidence back I decided it was time to go down the pub and have a few-I have done this several times now-once getting really trashed and have not had any problems-nor do I seem to get drunk more quickly (shame.)
This product (as most medicines) are not suitable for pregnant or those breast feeding as the medicine will get passed down into the milk. The tablets do not cause any drowsiness like other anti-depressants I have taken.
MY MEDICINE AND ME I have to remember to take my 10mg tablet everyday, which is swallowed whole, they recommend you drink water with it but I never have any time to get a glass of water in the morning and If I took it in the evening I would forget! Most anti depressants actually heighten the depression during the first few weeks of treatment but I found that for once this medication did not make me any worse and it only took about 1 week to actually start making me feel better which is really fast for an anti-depressant.
SIDE EFFECTS Side effects are always possible with any medication nowadays-even paracetamol. My doctor recommended these tablets to me due to the fact not a lot of people suffer from any really bad side effects with this medicine. Hereís all the crazy stuff you could get! -Nausea -Sinusitis -Decreased appetite -Difficulties sleeping -Dizziness -Yawning -Diarrhoea -Constipation -Increased sweating -Sexual disturbances -Fatigue -Fever These are the most common side effects but what you have to realise is that most of these Ďside effectí you may already have due to your depression. I already had a lot on this list so I didnít notice nay difference and my problems actually started to go away after taking 2 weeks of the tablets. There are a number of very rare side effects that could happen (such as the mania phase-which unfortunately I did suffer from, but I liked it because for a while I had a great deal of energy!)
COMING OFF THE MEDICINE This is where I have a problem-I did try a break from them but when I did I found that the rarer side effects of the medicine kicked in when I stopped taking the medicine. I got really dizzy when I stood up from low blood pressure, involuntary movement of my muscles-mainly my arm muscles but occasionally all my muscles would spasm and I couldnít control it very well (I looked like something out of a horror film) I also didnít feel like any thing was real anymore and wasnít sure what I was doing-not to mention not having any sense of which way I was moving-these have got to be the weirdest side effects I have ever encountered with a medicine! After a short break (that I shouldnít of had) I went back on them again.
DID THEY WORK? God yes, my feeling of normality and being part of this world returned quite quickly I thought, and I became to feel part of a society again, slowly I gained back my confidence-sure we all have knock backs in life sometime but I am now determined not to let depression get a hold of me again. If you have a headache you take an aspirin, if I have depression I pop a happy pill!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read, I am due to stop taking these tablets completely at the end of the month and will let you know how I get on. Nikki x