Medication Side Effects At All Stages Archive

Doctor Thinks Little and Does Less

Posted April 8, 2012 By kmarrs

I have a hard decision I have to face.  What would be cut and dry with any other doctor is complicated by the fact that my current doctor works for the same company as my mom and that company has a really great reputation.  However, he is riding on their shirt tails.  I’ve seen the best of their best, my children’s pediatrician for starters, and it looks like I’m seeing the sub par now.

It started great.  He spoke English natively.  I’m not going to lie, that is huge.  He recognized my husband’s health wasn’t fully caused by his weight, but in fact his weight was a byproduct of his health.  That is amazing.  Unique, and amazing.  He himself is no tiny dancer so he gets it isn’t always easy.

I/we have spent 9 years trying to find a general practice doctor that we were willing to return to time and time again.  We/I really thought he was the one.

This whole beta blocker thing has be questioning that, though.  And it’s dragging up things from a year ago.

I was given every possible reason that I gained so much weight so fast but he refused to even entertain the idea it was the med he put me on right before my weight began to rise.  He blamed my already born baby, but it couldn’t be the beta blocker.  It was my diet, that had improved drastically.  He was so fast to draw my labs because surely they explained my weight gain.


I got my labs today.  They are perfect.  Phenomenal.  Obscenely beautiful.  People are going “Hot damn how the hell does a fat girl have labs like that?!?!”  Be jealous, bitches, my blood work is beautiful.  And strangely, does not hold the secrets to sudden 10 pound weight gain.  In fact, they might even explain sudden 10 pound weight loss, if that were the case.  Jealous yet?

And my lovely friend Luna, in all of 5 minutes with her amazing access to uncharted documents was able to pull up and send me 4 amazing scientific research studies, some dating back to 1990, all agreeing without a shadow of a doubt that oh hey, beta blockers cause weight gain.

Her words summarizing the studies:

“According to the 1990 study in the British Medical Journal, patients on propranolol gained an average of 2 to 3 pounds compared to control patients. This figure of 2 to 3 pounds is the 95% confidence interval. These researchers are 95% certain that weight gain of this magnitude did occur, due to the effects of propranolol.

The more recent 2005 study in the Journal of Headache Pain found that while fewer patients on propranolol gained weight than on some other beta blockers, the weight gain seen was of a greater magnitude when it occurred, up to 13 pounds in their sample.”

So was I left wondering what did I want to do with this knowledge?  Is my immature need to have the last word and be proven right going to drive me to losing a “great doctor”.

My views of last summer are changing.  Where I was obscenely pregnant.  In the most pain I had ever been in.  And faced with the decision of trying to work through that pain or admit I couldn’t, and go one leave without any sort of pay since Sciatica isn’t means for short term disability.

I get that last part.  I really do.  But with my well and carefully established for his records history of BPD, depression, and hospital admittance due to suicidal idealization, desire, and intents…  It wasn’t just my life in danger last June, it was the life of my Sammy as well.  I flat out said things were turning south.  I had a clear short term disability out due to my depression I was in.  I didn’t have gun/knife/razor/pills in hand but it was clear where things were headed.  No?

I mean my psychiatrists within 30 seconds of talking to me, over the phone not even in person, was ready to do what she had to do to get me on medical leave.  And the doctor who I sat in front of wasn’t willing to consider signing the paper in hand.

Ok, I had a psychiatrist.  My life, Sammy’s life wasn’t in his hands.  Thank God, because he expressed doubt my meds doctor would even be willing to sign the papers.

Seems he is not an overly well informed doctor.

And flat out?  I’m stable right now.  We are cutting back on my therapy and meds appointment visits because I’m stable. I refer to it as remission.

But not unlike remission for cancer, there are no guarantees this is gone for good.  I may spend years stable.  I may spend the rest of my life stable.  Or things may go to hell in a hand basket in a few years and I won’t be able to get in as quickly as needed with my psyche team and my life may very well be in his hands.

Am I’m no longer convinced those are capable hands.

I mean, if he can’t even admit that maybe, just maybe, a medication known for causing weight gain could have caused me to gain 10-20 pounds (the exact number is up for debate) in 2 months, or sign a stupid paper saying I’m currently a danger to myself and unborn child, then how can he face the bigger task of damage control, I’m on the path to taking my own life and I don’t have a psychiatrist on ready back-up?

After all, I was on that path last summer and he did nothing.

Maybe not having my meds doc at my beck and call will make a difference.  But can I count on that?

Because sciatica was not life threatening to me or the baby.  Yes, sir, I understand that.  However, what it was doing to my mental health very much was.

2 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Love You Guys

Posted April 7, 2012 By kmarrs

A commenter on One Thousand Percent has mentioned they have access to Harvard’s medical databases and they like a challenge.

If just once before I die someday, I can say the following words to a medical doctor, I’ll die happy.

Well according to the Harvard medical database, which I’m sure you have access to, (right?) xxxx has been known to cause xxxx in a significant number of patients.  About xx percent of them, actually.  But that’s according to the most recent documented study.

I think this could be the time.  With this med.  And this doctor.

And to think, I was simply debating the pros and cons of sending a fax of the side effects listed on the bag from the pharmacy.  Sadly, that would involve the work fax machine and that’s probably misuse.

1 Comment. Join the Conversation

One Thousand Percent

Posted April 5, 2012 By kmarrs

Look, I know you have to take what you read on the internet with a grain of salt.  I also know, after years of taking various meds and years of internet journeys, when to start putting belief in what the internet says.  What sites.  How many testimonials at what percent all saying the same damn thing.  Plus, I have offline sources of info.  Like a nurses guide to medication.  And a pharmacy.

So I went in to the doctor’s appointment yesterday hoping to request a blood pressure med that would A) be more effective and B) wouldn’t cause me to gain 5-10 pounds a week.

I was instead greeted with the knowledge my blood pressure has risen 10 points and the doctoral insistence that it is “1000% impossible for a beta blocker like Propranolol to cause weight gain”.  Really?  1000%?  That seems a tad excessive even if it were accurate.  I mean, I myself usually choose to stop at 150% that way if and when I’m proven wrong, I’m only 150% moronic and not 1000%.  That’s a percentage of wrong that’s hard to recover from.

You just need to work on diet.
I’ve cut out pop and way the back on sweets.  I’m eating 10 times more veggies than I ever have, enough fruits for the nutrients but not so much to get fat off them and a lot more quality meats verses the crap I usually consume.

You did just had a baby 7 months ago, your body is evening out.
Pretty sure once the baby is out of the womb the body evens out by losing weight not gaining almost more than it did in the entire 9 months of pregnancy.

Some people are just predisposed to be heavy.
Did you seriously just go there?  I mean really?

Yes well this med has been around as long as I have and beta blockers don’t cause weight gain.
Alright then, let’s get me off it anyway, it isn’t helping my headaches and my blood pressure is rising.

Well you shouldn’t worry about the fact your blood pressure is up.
Yes but aren’t I on this med to lower my blood pressure to reduce headaches?

Well how many migraines are you having?
A few migraines a month and tension/stress headache after tension/stress headache.

Well, nothing is going to do anything about the tension headaches…
We. Put. Me. On. This. With. The. Mutual. Understanding. That. It’s. The Tension. Headaches. I. Need. To. Treat.  It even helped for 2 weeks straight of glorious headache free life immediately after I started it.

Yes, well nothing will help with those.
Actually, lying with a full can of pop under the base of my skull helps quite a bit for awhile.

I thought you gave up pop?
I did.  That’s why I’m using cans of pop as pillows instead of as a beverage…

Well nothing else will help tension headaches…
Yes so then we agree to get me off the med that isn’t helping my BP and is causing me to balloon up…

It is impossible for the beta blocker to be doing that…  It’s psyche meds that do that…
Yes, well I’m not ON any psyche meds and now let’s get me off this med.

Well, you can’t just stop it, you have to taper down.
Yes.  Actually, my psychiatrist was very careful to tell me the dangers of missing a dose of the med you put me on.

Well, while you are here do you need a refill of the Ibuprofen?
To treat the headaches you said can’t be treated?  I’m good…


And then I got a tetanus shot and a blood draw to check my thyroid because clearly something is causing me to balloon up with all this water weight. If only we could figure out what that something is.  I mean, everyone else in the medical field will tell you beta blockers cause water weight.  But he is 1000% certain so he can’t possible be wrong.

“Coincidences” are an asshole.

And yet, still better than the doctor I walked out on mid exam a little over a year ago.

7 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Weighing Heavy

Posted April 2, 2012 By kmarrs

My body and I have a love/hate relationship.  I have never been a small girl.  Even as a child I wasn’t small.  It took me 27 years, but I finally got to where I could look at myself in the mirror and instead of seeing fat and sloth, I saw a body that held 3 babies and spent a decade pumped with mental health meds.

I’m not going to be skinny.

That said, my biggest fear going into my 3rd pregnancy, body wise, was based on the fact I finally had a full wardrobe that fit me, for the first time in my adult life, and I wasn’t ready to give that up.  I knew replacing it would be a long drawn out process.  So I was pleased to fit most of it, and all of it that mattered, within a month of birthing Sammy.

Let’s face it.  I struggled to gain much during my pregnancy and Cymbalta immediately after delivery killed my apatite and I went with it knowing I was safe to let it do it’s thing.

This pregnancy didn’t kill my, admittedly already ravaged, body.

So imagine my horror when 2 weeks ago I went to put on a skirt, I had worn at 9 months pregnant, and I was too fat for it to fit.  Out of the blue.

What the what?

Major changes in diet?  Not really?  My diet has never been awesome, but it certainly hasn’t been any worse and has maybe even better in many ways.

Major changes in exercise routine?  No…

Mental health meds?  I’m off them all.  Cymbalta wasn’t making me skinnier.  So this is the opposite of the expected change, one would think.

What the what?

Hey, I am taking a blood pressure med.  Would that?  But surely my doctor would let me know if weight gain is a common side effect.

Yeah.  See my psychiatrist is AMAZING in that she tells me every possible side effect of a med.  But then, my psychiatrist is also weird that she does that.  Most doctors, I find, don’t bother.  In fact, it was my psychiatrist that warned me what would happen if I just stopped taking the same BP med cold turkey.  And it was a fellow patient who warned me that BP meds can cause slight depression.

So, hello Google.

Yes, well, not only is weight gain a possible side effect of my new BP med, but MASSIVE and RAPID is how the internet describes it.  Yeah, you have to take the internet with a grain of salt.  But, I’ve also gained 20 pounds in the 2 months I’ve been on it.  Which is almost the exact amount I gained in the full 9 months of being pregnant with Sammy.

I’m already seeing my doctor Wednesday for a follow up anyway, so it looks like I’m going to have to request to be taken off this med.

But where do I go from here?

It was mostly helping with my headaches.  Do I request something different that won’t cause me to gain 10 pounds a month?  Or do I spend the rest of my life just riding out these headaches?

Be the first to comment

Just A Quick Meds Update

Posted October 25, 2011 By kmarrs

Before pregnancy, my anti-depressant was at 90mg of Cymbalta.  After Sammy was born, we started at 60 knowing we could up it at any time.  I’m officially put in the request for it to go back to the 90.  I’m not in bad shape, by any means, I just feel I could be doing better.  I’ll be fine a few days and then I’ll have a low.  It’s almost playing out like rapid-cycling bi-polar, though my lows and highs are way too close to baseline for it to be that.  That’s just the best way to explain it.  And when I’m up, I think I’m crazy for wanting that extra something.  But when I’m down I’m well aware that while yes, I’m still ok, I’m very capable of being better, and I’m also very capable of a sudden crash that these ups and downs are sometimes a prelude to.  So since, it’s a simple matter of increasing something that’s already in my system, back to my original dose, might as well.  And my mental health team agreed.


However, I’m currently enjoying a healthy, natural sex life with my husband that my meds usually kill all interest in.  I’m even, apparently, a cuddler atm.  Should this increase lead to any signs of that disappearing, well, I’d rather the enjoyment of my husband than the extra 30 of Cymbalta.  No second thoughts.


Anyway, still a long ways off of needing anything else.  This extra Cymbalta should do the trick, and if it doesn’t I’m at healthy enough of a place to just leave it be.  There really is a comfortable point of good enough, if you’ve given better an honest try and it simply doesn’t work out.

Be the first to comment

There are like 5 blog posts I need to write.  Like a week ago.  So I’ve decided at this point, I’m just going to combine them all into one post.  Seems to make more sense than spamming the net with 5 posts in one day, yes?

Current Mental Health State

My mental state is really good right now.  I’m actually very stable.  In a way I haven’t been in a long time, even with meds.  What’s more, I’m interacting with my husband and kids in a way that is rare for me.  I’m actually affectionate with my husband.  Like casual cuddling, hand holding, random kisses, saying sweet things, affectionate.  And I’m paying more and better attention to my boys.  Luke has dragged me up to his room a few times to just sit and watch him play.  Sometimes, depending on what he’s playing, I join in.  Other times, I just sit and watch and talk or applaud, or whatever is called for.

Meds Appointment

I had my first postpartum meds appointment about a week ago.The original plan was to get on Cymbalta asap after birth and the rest would quickly follow.  However, with me being this stable, she doesn’t want to put me on anything else yet.  We are both concerned for the postpartum depression that happens 6 months out, but we’ve decided we’ll prepare for that, closer to that.  In the meantime, I’m just riding the wave.  And so far, I’m doing really good.  Oh, and if I show signs of needing it sooner than the 6month point, I’ll go on it sooner.  But for now, the wave is good.

Also of IMPORTANT note, is that both my therapist and my meds doc got to meet Sammy.  This was very important to me.  Since my meds doc, and therapist to, pretty much kept her safe when she was inside me and I needed to stop working.

Headache Appointment

I had an appointment for my headache last Thursday.  I gave him a brief history.  He affirmed what I knew that they were tension headaches.  I brought up the sleep apnea.  He said it was hard to tell fatigue with me having a new baby and all.  I gave him a history of THAT as well.  He does agree with me that we can’t tell for sure either way without a sleep study, but it is definitely a possibility.  He is kind of actually hoping that is what it is, because it’s easier to treat.  So he’s getting me scheduled for that.  His first choice will get me in faster, but they may not take my insurance.  The other will for sure take it, but I’ll have a wait.  In the meantime I have Fioricet, to try to treat the headaches as they happen.  I haven’t taken it yet, so I don’t know if it works.  It’s a combo of Tylenol, caffeine and Butalbital.   I’ve never really heard of Butalbital and I don’t know anything about it.  So we’ll see, I guess.

Job Hunt

So hey, I’m job hunting!  Raise your hand if you’re surprised?

So basically, while I do indeed have a job to return to, (November 1st) I really don’t want to.  Nothing wrong with the job or company, that isn’t fixed by me no longer being pregnant.  I’m just bored with the job.  It isn’t mentally stimulating.  And it was never EVER meant to be a long term, for ever and ever thing.  When I took it, it was a good way to supplement my income while I continued at the camera store.  When I left the camera store, it was a good way of paying the bills until I found something better.  But let’s be honest, while I’m not full enough of myself to say “I’m too smart” for a job like this, I will say I’m too smart to not be bored by lack of mental stimulation.  Ok, that’s almost the same thing but not quite.  I’m not too good for it, I’m just too bored for it.

I’m mostly applying at banks and credit unions.  There have been a few other miscellaneous things here and there I’ve applied for that I’d be happy with, but banks are the focus.  They were the focus 9 months ago when I initially tried to job hunt.

I’m also having some success.  The hard part is that I started early expecting bad luck and it taking awhile, but I’m having good luck, and it’s still a little over a month before I’m ready to start anywhere.  Both within the realms of the regular 6 weeks, though I was hoping to take a bit longer to continue enjoying my family, but I also have a lot of really important appointments scattered through the next month.  And while I normally schedule those for my known days off, I haven’t had to do that for a few months now.  Also, some of them I was just given a day and time, with little choice.  The government can do that.  The other thing is, the training for most these jobs are a Monday-Friday thing, no ifs, ands or buts.  And while after that, fine I can have Wednesdays off, before that, not so much.

So for now, I guess, I’m putting a halt to the hunt for new applications to fill out, and just sitting back and following through with the ones I already have.  We’ll see what happens, I guess.


I don’t even know what to say here.  She is still the most perfect, beautiful, and magnificent thing to ever grace this Earth.  She is no longer sleeping 21 hours a day.  She has a 2 hour fussy period almost every day. (Not at the same time.)  She hates baths.  She loves cuddles.  She has a never ending appetite.  She is fun to dress up.  She attracts crowds.  Like flocks of seagulls to a french fry, really.  It’s scary.  lol

She is simply and complexly amazing.


I have been cleaning and organizing like crazy.  I mean, I know I said that in the month before Sammy was born, but I’ve gone crazy.  Er, crazier?  It’s like my mind told my body a month ago, “Right then, you’re useless, we’ll catch up again later for this cleaning fit.” and that later is now.  Which fine, the house looks awesome.  But holy cow!  I, of course, ever defensive have been arguing it’s not nesting, it’s spring cleaning.  Aggressively.  In the fall. I honestly think I’m mildly, and not dangerously, manic.  One of the things I do when manic is clean.  It’s also possible that a domestic instinct that knows I’m back to work before too long and won’t have time around the house, is kicking in and I’m just getting shit done while I can.  It’s not like I’m vacuuming the ceiling.  Everything I’ve done I’ve either wanted to do for awhile, or is at least of significant use.  So I’m going with it!

Pat’s Fatigue

I’m worried about crossing a line here, so I’ll tread lightly. Pat is on a new med.  Up until before Sammy was born, really, Pat was an insomniac.  A functional one, at that.  He’d sleep, on average, maybe 4 hours a night, never needed anymore, never napped, and you’d think he’d slept the full 8.  But something changed and now suddenly, he’s chronically fatigued.  He could sleep 12 hours and still need a nap a handful of hours after waking up.  He’s turned into me, is what I’m saying.

There are a few theories about this.  Mine is depression, but Pat says with the birth of his daughter he’s happier than he’s ever been.  Ever.  He is having a slight issue with his blood pressure.  He’s always been very low, but his most recent, about 2 weeks ago, trip to the doctor, had it reading remarkably high.  Now, since then it has come down a lot.  There are quite a few factors that can attribute to that.  But in the meantime, fatigue is a symptom of high blood pressure.  But if that’s the cause, shouldn’t it be getting better now that it’s within the realms of normal again?  One of the lowering of blood pressure factors, is that he’s on a very low dose of an anti-anxiety med.  It causes fatigue.  But he had the fatigue before he had the med.  So is it a combo of both?  We can’t really figure it out.  He had a complete and total 180 in his sleeping patterns over night and the only known changes aren’t seeming to explain it.  So then, what is it?

On the one hand, the fatigue is kind of annoying because it gives me limited help with the baby.  If I need help in the night, he can’t hear me call for him or text him.  And during the afternoon, when he’s comatose, I’m on my own no matter what I’m doing.

BUT I of all people understand the whole fatigue thing.  I of all people understand not having a choice but to nap.  You don’t want to, but you can’t avoid it.  I understand sleeping so soundly that you could sleep through the apocalypse.  I understand FULLY what he’s going through.  I’ve been through it most my adult life.  And it’s not like he’s enjoying it.  It’s happening against his wishes.  So I’m no way upset with him.

I just wish we could find a balance between the fatigue and insomnia.  I also, really would like to know why suddenly my husband can’t stay awake.  It’s alarming, at best.

I think that’s about everything.

3 Comments so far. Join the Conversation