Anti depressant help please guys

For those of you on anti depressants, when you first started on them, did you get side effects, what were they and how long did they last? I have now tried prothiaden (dosulepin) for 5 days at just one third of a 25mg pill. Encouraged the first two days by two afternoons of clarity (no dizziness no headache, felt normal) but then the morning neuralgia at the back of the head (some sort of inflammation left from years of really bad migraines) is appearing every morning (usually turns into migraine). I want to persevere but have got a dentists appointment coming up in two weeks which I need to go to. So, the headaches are getting worse. Maybe I should increase to half of the 25mg pill? What would you do?



Hi Christine,

I’m a Prothiaden-er. Back on it again after around 10 months without. I’m into roughly week two, on 25mg. I’m getting nightmares again (nasty!) but as yet no hallucinations (last time I had weeks/months of morning spiders crawling on the walls). In my experience the side effects do settle down and I had really good results on it last time. Those good results do take quite a while to kick in, and they are gradual.

If you find the side effects bearable I would stick with it.


Thanks, a bit of encouragement goes a long way :slight_smile: so I went up to half a capsule last night. Have woken with a pretty bad migraine at the back of my head, but I can stick this, if the vertigo kicks in, it will be a different story.

Tina, I am glad it worked well for you, when you say first few weeks, how many would that be, one, two, three? Looks like I might as well forget Christmas then :shock: Did you come off it because you were better?

Thanks Victoria, it was your success with prothiaden that inspired me to give it another go. Luckily, no nightmares or hallucinations (I did have a bad dream about painting a room and the ceiling was really bad to paint, does that count :lol: )
Just read your other post, sorry you are getting the muffled ears (I get that too sometimes, but it doesnt usually last more than a day at at time). Hope its gone off for you by now.


Hi Christine,

All of the ADs I’ve been on all gave me increased headache activity for the first week or so and the ones I stayed on, the headaches continued except for Paxil. Cipramil was a big offender. Most of them charge me up as well although Cipramil didn’t do that; instead, I felt all tripped out in the mornings on it for a week. It definitely blunted my emotions and made me feel quite robotic. It also increased dizziness for about 3 weeks.


Tina, what were your visual disturbances? After this migrainy head all day my vision has gone blurred this evening, I have had this before but it has never lasted so long, quite frightening. Also getting sweats and cramps in my legs. This is not looking good.

Scott, you and me are hopeless cases. Like you, cipramil, tried twice, instant migraine both times, seroxat, continuous full blown migraine for 3 days, amitryptiline, hangover heads every day, I tried the cipramil drops and had the flashing lights zig zags then continuous migraine. Just looked back in my notes and I even tried lorifipramine 70 mg and had dizziness and headaches and sweating, nortriptyline for 3 weeks gave me a rash and lumps and dizzy heads and sweating and imipramine total insomnia (awake nearly all night every night) for 3 weeks, prozac, flashing light migraine again and Trazadone, dizzy, hungover and migraine. The SNRI Cymbalta nearly crucified me (you too, if I remember). Yet I managed to tolerate the prothiaden 150 mg years ago, but couldnt manage it at 25 mg when tried again a few months ago. These are just the ADs that I have tried :roll:

In the book Kelly (Rockysmum) recommended by Martin Jensen, he gives his patients 2 or 3 different pills to try trying one for 3 to 5 days but discontinue if an adverse reaction occurs. He says the best results occur typically within a day. He says that trialling 5 days or less helps identify superior matches. He has one washout day in between. I think, maybe with the extreme reactions you and I get, that ADs are maybe not for us. I couldnt understand why I tolerated prothiaden well all those years ago, but Martin Jensens book is all about brain chemical imbalance and I guess that can change over the years.


Hi Christine,

Everything you described is about the same nightmare I go through on these meds. And yes Cymbalta was shocking stuff for me. You must be my MAV sister. :lol: If something makes you feel rotten I can almost guarantee it’s therefore a write off for me too.

What about Paxil? Have you tried that? Maybe you’ll be able to handle it like I can. The caveat here is I cannot take any more than 2.5 mg. Any higher and the shit starts hitting the fan.

So it looks like I will spend the rest of my life chewing on Paxil, Valium, and Aspro Clear combined with a serious effort to stay on the migraine lifestyle wagon. I fell off last weekend quite badly (champagne, chocolate, cheese, loud bars) and haven’t been right since. Looks like it’ll be a 2-3 week recovery. Yawn.


Hi Bruv! I wondered what my dad was doing on all those trips abroad in the RAF :shock: The Aspro clear sounds good (my stomach cant take aspro for long or I would be on that), so think I will be sticking to my tiny amounts of painkillers and the odd stemetil and strict diet etc. too. Sounds like you were celebrating something good last weekend. Shame we pay such a high price, at least you are suffering after something good, my last punishment of 4 days of migraine and vertigo was from painting (such excitement!)

Tina, the blurriness and not being able to focus is exactly what I had last night. The sweating with these ADs seems to be a normal continuous side effect. I have a friend who has been on Cipramil for 3 years and she has the sweats all the time with it. In your case, hormones could play a part.


Stemetil, I believe, has dopamine properties to it where it lessens dopamine. It is in a class called “phenothiazine”. It antagonizes dopamine, as does phenergan, which I have found to be really good for me. There is a med called Abilify, here in the states, and it works with dopamine…agonizes in some places, antagonizes in others. It is an antypical antipsychotic, and has gotten good results. Dr. Jensen really likes this med…its like a thermos…keeps the hot hot and the cold cold…so to speak…
I would look into it since you do well with the stemetil.
Food for thought…

Hey Cmoc, the blurred vision you describe is most likely an anticholinergic side effect of the prothiaden. Common wth all the tricyclics.
I personally have found Prothiaden to be quite mild on side effects compared to some other TCA’s, though i have not tried Nortryp, or amitryp (prothiaden is a thioanalogue of Ami). Though the higher you go, the more side effects obviously. I have moved in 25mg increments with not too many problems. I was on it for sleep prior to getting unwell. The highest dose i ever went with Prothiaden was 175mg. I had constant blurred vision and urinary retention which was frustrating, but again, normal for the TCA’s.
Hope you can find one your body can agree with soon!

— Begin quote from “~tina~”

Vic, funnily those spider crawling hallucinations have only been happening to me the past few months! Ill be sitting watching TV or whatever and out the corner of my eye i swear there is something crawling on the wall/floors. I hope the SE bugger off soon too xx

— End quote

We are not the only ones to get the spider hallucinations from Prothiaden, a couple of other forum have mentioned it too. Yet, nowhere amongst the kajillion other side effects on the official leaflet is ‘spider hallucinations’ listed. Weird!

I also sometimes get the spider hallucinations even though I’m not taking any medication at all. I’d kind of assumed it was just one of those things some (all?) people get from time to time, and didn’t really take much notice of it. But now I am wondering if I am nuts :lol:

Christine - to go back to your original question I’ve tended to find that most tablets take a week to two weeks for the side effects to settle down in me, but generally if I can get through that period everything sorts itself out.

Hi Christine
Now taking 70mg Prothiaden after many months of trial & error! I feel better than I have all year and wish I’d known about this drug at the beginning of my MAV episode and how to tritrate it up so that I didn’t feel so ill when increasing the dose. I started taking Nortriptyline 10mg in April 2011 after 6 months of migraines & dizziness (asked my doc for a script having read the Heal Your Headache book ) & slowly went up over 3 months to 50mg. Was still dizzy & ‘foggy headed’ so (after trawling this site) I asked my Neurologist if I could try Prothiaden. As I was already on 50mg Nori I was able to make the switch OK in August (both are tricyclites). However, trying to up this dose by cutting a 25mg capsule in half made me feel really bad so I stuck at 50mg for another couple of months. Saw Dr Granot in Sydney in Nov & he advised staying on the Prothiaden & gave me a script for a compounding chemist to make up some 10mg caps & to increase the dose to 75mg very slowly. Fortunately, my private health cover brought the price down. I found being able to use the lower dose reduced the symptoms I got when I increased too fast (started by cutting a capsule in half!)
My visit to Dr Granot was fantastic - so glad I went and will be posting info of my visit soon.
Today went to granddaughter’s Navitity play & survived the overhead fans, spotlights, & sitting up in the ‘gods’. My first real outing in a year - yeah!!

I have only been on Celexa and Lexapro. I started both very very low – roughly 10% of a normal dose, then went upward slowly.

Celexa gave me nausea, jittery, headache, yawning – for about 3-4 days. Then I went through about a week of not feeling any effects except my sex drive was dwindling. After 3 weeks, I started to feel better and notice that I was a lot less dizzy. I was on it for a month and then went off when I got a rash that I figured was caused by it (now I am not so sure).

I switched to Lexapro which was more activating that Celexa. I had mild headaches and slightly better sexual function than on Celexa. After 2-3 days the headaches were gone. After six weeks I noticed that my jaw hurt, and I woke up clenching my teeth.

I am now back to to Celexa!

There is no way around it – you have to go through the side effects. But you can take comfort knowing this: no matter how bad it gets, these medicines will not kill you or drive you crazy or damage you seriously – they have a major affect on your mood and other aspects of brain/nervous system, but they are not inherently dangerous. So your best bet is to stick it out. I know how hard that can be, in fact I stared at the bottle of Celexa for a week before taking a fourth of a pill, but you just have to dive in. You will find one that works.

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— Begin quote from “Barb”

My visit to Dr Granot was fantastic - so glad I went and will be posting info of my visit soon.

— End quote

I look forward to reading that Barb, I know Scott also thinks very highly of Dr Granot. I have a referral to see him and if I’m not satisfied with how the Prothiaden goes this time I will use it. My recent consult with Dr Halmagyi was useful from a diagnostic perspective (don’t have Meniere’s) but he didn’t offer anything new in terms of treatment (I’d already re-started the Prothiaden myself) and basically said “What do you want me to do?” with a shrug of his shoulders. And with all due respect to Dr H, I know others have had the same experience - a script for Prothiaden and hope it goes away.


Kelley, Dr. Jensen sounds so genned up and trying new stuff. This Abilify sounds good but I cant imagine my GP giving it to me. He would say, “well its not licenced for migraine” like he did “verapamil”. Never mind the fact that I had been given verapamil years ago for migraine. If I got referred back to the specialist, I might get it, after 10 years with him, he was willing to give me most things I wanted to try. I think I tried the Phenergan (I cant remember the results on that, perhaps I need to give it another go). Yes, stemetil has always helped me over the years, not with the severe attacks, but if I feel very off balance it will normalize me within the hour, I might get a slight headache later on in the day and get tired but its worth it when you feel that dizzy. I have written down the Abilify and will suggest it when I next go to the GPs. Worth a try!

Taavinen, I am glad you were able to tolerate the prothiaden. I made it up to 150 mg no problem, years ago. I just seem not to be able to tolerate the meds nowadays. I think, after trying so many years ago I dont feel I want to write off big chunks of my life anymore.

Barb, not sure if I am understanding this. Are you saying, that cutting a 25mg prothiaden in half (giving you 12 and half mg gave you side effects, but 10mg didnt). That seems a very small difference. I took one third (approx 8mg) for a week then took 12 and half mg and it floored me. Maybe these pills are far stronger than we think. Glad you enjoyed the “Nativity Play” its great when we manage to do something and feel well through it.

Longshort, thanks for the words of encouragement, I just dont seem to have that “belief” to stick it out anymore. After trying over 20 preventatives over the years, I sort of wonder about this “getting worse before getting better” idea. But it seems to be what is happening to everyone, its just that I never got better on the ones I tried, just worse and worse, generally, migraines so severe that I couldnt stick it. :frowning: Glad they have worked for you.

Oh well, back to the painkillers. Thanks for the input guys, we soldier on :slight_smile:


What about Celexa… anyone have any good or bad experiences with this one?