Giving Zoloft a whirl

I went to see a new neurologist today and he decided I should give Zoloft a try. The ENT had told me there was a problem with my left ear (he called it vestibular hypofunction) but didn’t think that was the real cause of my dizzies told me to suck it up and do VRT. The spine docs don’t think it’s the spine, and the jaw doc does’nt think it’s the jaw, the headache doc gave me propranolol… So the doc today told me that indeed something was/is going on and that he thinks I’ve gone too far into panic, fear and depression mode to be able to get over the dizzies until that’s taken care of, so enter Zoloft.

What do you all think? I do wonder how much of this is being driven by fear and anxiety. I have to admit that I’m letting this get to me, almost daily I can come up with a new reason for the dizzies seeing that the docs don’t. The propranoolol seems to be helping some, fewer headaches less intense but still there. The worse the headaches the worse the dizzies so I still think MAV is the culprit and something is driving that, so I decided fruit-cake pill it is. Being a fruit is nowhere near as bad as being a dizzy!!

I’ve seen others on this board have had success with it so I’ll give it a whirl!

Hi Tammy, I think it is definitely worth a shot. That will be my next try if Topamax doesn’t work for me. Others here have had good success with it and similar SSRIs. Go slow and steady and keep us posted. Good luck! Ben

HI Tammy,
I’m really glad you are adding zoloft. A lot of docs use it as first line treatment for MAV. What dose are you starting at?
Did your doc say that he was using the zoloft for your anxiety only?
Keep us posted.

Tammy - I can’t blame you for feeling anxious. This illness causes much anxiety and depression, Just curious - did your doc prescribe the zoloft for anxiety or for MAV? Was he familiar with MAV? I sure hope so. You deserve some relief. I, though, don’t think the zoloft can harm you in anyway, and if anything will at least help your emotional state.

— Begin quote from “TammyM”

… so I decided fruit-cake pill it is. Being a fruit is nowhere near as bad as being a dizzy!!

— End quote

Hi Tammy,

You really gave me a chuckle this morning with that comment! :lol: You’re very right about the anxiety and depression. With this junk, it fuels it in a way that I don’t think anyone really fully understands but the science literature shows that as long as depression and/or anxiety is hanging around accompanying this, the likelihood of pulling out is low. Older papers in the literature call it chronic subjective dizziness (CSD) or CSD with psychological symptoms. I think the vast majority of people in those studies were simply depressed or anxious people with MAV. And guess what meds made an impact on this? Fruit-cake pills! So start eating some fruit-cake! Zoloft is a good first choice. Most seem to handle it well and there is good evidence – both anecdotal and scientific that it is a MAV killer.

Best … Scott 8)

Scott - you raise an excellent point. Just wondering, if the zoloft helps w/ the anxiety/depression, do you believe that we also need another migraine preventive to deal w/ the migraines in combo with the zoloft? Or, perhaps, the zoloft also directly helps the migraine. I’m sure there are no answers, but I can’t stop trying to solve this MAV enigma.

Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for all the well wishes! That alone is spirit lifter! As far as dosage I told him I usually take baby doses of meds so he has me starting out on a dose of 25mg that I should up to 50mg in a week. He never mentioned MAV though, he prescribed it mostly to see if anxiety and stress are what’s keeping me from compensating (I sure know they make it worse) and he said it should also help with headaches, so like Lisa said it should improve my emotional state. I’m also staying on the propranolol so between the two maybe I can get out of this mess some. I took my first dose today at noon and I didn’t notice anything stranger than normal going on so I’m thinking I’ll be able to tolerate it, guess I’ll know in a few days or so.

Lisa, I noticed that it seems that a lot of the people that were able to beat this were taking 2 meds (one traditionally for migraines and the second for depression) so when he suggested it I said why not, trying to get over this med free is just not working.

Scott, thanks for that info. I have been very reluctant to try an antidepressant but knew I had to do something, now I’m thinking I could be on the right track.

Tammy the fruit

Hi Lisa,

Here’s what I think happens:

  1. SSRIs can wipe out MAV because they kill depression and anxiety and, in the process, reduce the hyper-excited state of the brain.

  2. They modulate serotonin levels in the brain which somehow stops migraine activity – it drives a wedge into the “cycle”.

  3. There is likely some other sort of unknown action by specific SSRIs. As was stated in that paper reporting on Paxil, they said that it had an effect on migraine that was not explained entirely by its anti-anxiety effects.

  4. I think by just taking these meds and having a mood lift probably has a big effect on “thinking” you are getting better because you feel like you’re out of the funk. There’s probably an added placebo effect here as well.

  5. Finally, I have a hunch that because MAV involves the vestibular system and the way balance messages are processed in the brain, SSRIs may work above and beyond as they do for classic migraine (the litertaure mostly suggests that they have only a limited effect for classic migraine).


Tammy - lots of luck on the meds. It is a great thing that you are tolerating it well.

Scott - thanks for the explanation. makes a lot of sense.