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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I am posting because I have discovered a treatment for IBS that has worked amazingly well for me. My hope is that someone else can ease their ibs suffering by using the same treatment. I am a 23 year old student and have been dealing with IBS for a while now, but it has only been seriously affecting me for the past year or two. I tried: diets, probiotics, hypnotherapy, immodium, and clonazepam (this is a tranquilizer). None of them seemed to work enough. Because my IBS has been mainly associated with stress, anxiety, and panic attacks I used clonazepam and immodium for a while together to get me through anxiety provoking situations (teaching, making presentations, social events), but the side effects were bad. Recently though I decided to see a psychiatrist who prescribed me Effexor. I take a high dose (450mg). Effexor is an SNRI used for people who get panic attacks or have generalized anxiety disorder. I’ve been on effexor for about 3 weeks and have had almost no urgency or diarrhea! I honestly feel like my old self again. I leave the house without even thinking about ibs! I now have a bowel movement about every 2 days, and for the first time in probably a year I went 2 whole days without a bowel movement! I know that everyone’s ibs is different, so effexor obviously won’t help everyone. But, if even one person’s ibs suffering can be helped at all than it is worth posting this. If you have ibs associated with anxiety/panic attacks maybe this will work for you too. Admittedly I probably should have waited for a while to see if it keeps working but I will update ppl on any changes.
 

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Antidepressants are a common treatment for IBS (as the nerves in the gut that are misbehaving are using all the same stuff the nerves in the mood section of the brain use).Glad this worked for you. When they work they can work well, and glad you find the right one for you right off the bat.
 

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Haha, I got all excited when I read the headline and started reading the post until I saw Effexor mentioned. >.< I was on Effexor for years as a young teen (I'm 19 now) and it was honestly the most horrible pill I've ever been on. I was at a very, very high does (275 mg, I believe) because my doctor just kept upping the doses since I was still depressed. Anyway, it completely blocked all of my emotions and I turned into a zombie so I decided to get off of it. The weening process was complete hell. I was getting "brain zaps" which feels like an electric current is going from your brain and extending out to your whole body, fingertips included. It honest to God felt like I was getting shocked every two seconds by those prank toys and it went on for over a year! Effexor might help some people but please, let me warn you: Do not take a high dose and be very, very careful if/when you decided to ween off of it.My mom was also on it and had the same experience as I did so I know it wasn't just me. Be careful!!
 

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I am going to throw in my two cents. I have in the past been on Seroquel, amitriptyline and also Zyprexa, just not at the same time. I could not tolerate products like Cymbalta as they just made my diarrhea worse. Of the products I could take, I took the lowest doses and sometimes not everyday to control horrible attacks that left me down 30 percent in body weight. The products worked great. Problem is they can work almost too great. My primary diagnosis was IBS-D with SIBO. My gut transit time was under 10 minutes and these products really helped. However, in a very short amount of time, I went from being 120 lbs to 165 lbs and the weight does NOT come off once you stop taking the drug(s). Seroquel was a horror to come off and it was not just the weight gain. I started to have horrible cardiovascular side effects including very high blood pressure, water retention, constipation, veins bursting on my legs, severe acne, hair loss, no energy, trouble breathing and cognitive/judgment difficulties. It happened very, very slowly. I hated the withdrawal from this product and threw up and was nauseous daily for about three to four weeks. Amitriptyline also worked well to control the diarrhea and urgency. But even on the lowest dose, I could not wake up at all and would sleep all day. Zyprexa seemed to have the least side effects but the weight gain was ten fold. I was gaining about 10 lbs a week. At first, that seemed great since I was so thin. But after a while it was just ridiculous and the fatigue on this product was crushing. Also, withdrawal caused hot flashes, sweating and stomach cramps for nearly three months. The loose stools, of course, came back. On and off antibiotics with imodium, certain herbals, stress control/meditation and HUGE diet change have worked best for me. Not perfect, but acceptable.So, the good news is that these products do work great. The bad news is that for most people the side effects eventually mean having to stop. I truly do not know of anyone who has been able to stay on them for more than a few years. Often doctors will start to treat the side effects as symptoms and just Rx more drugs to control them. It becomes a vicious cycle. I am glad you are feeling so much better and I hope for you that it lasts and lasts. But I just have to give you a small warning as our disease is very hard to "cure" and treatments that seem to work one day don't always work forever.
 

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chazmonet so glad you have found relief. I too am now taking 75mg of effexor a day. This is split up by taking one in the morning and one at night. I also take generic bentyl before bed. Only take a 1/2 because it makes me so sleepy. Since the meds have kicked in I have had so much relief. I have ben fortunate with having no side effects (had them with stuff I have tried in the past). I have actually lost weight. I too worried about when and where the IBS would kick in. I would have panic attacks before going to work or going out w/friends or family. I was missing my kids plays and school events, games. I am not so anxious about everything. I have to eat more fiber in order to keep regular bowel movements. I still will have an episode around my period. Due to hormones being out of whack. But where I used to have from 1-3 epidsodes a week to now maybe 1-2 a month. That is huge. We are planning vacation and I am very excited. This time last year we flew to Texas. The day of flying home I spent my time in the bathroom up until take off. I was so stressed at the thought of getting trapped on that plane with only two bathrooms to choose from. We are blessed to have found something that works for us. I pray that others can find what is helpful for them. As we know what works for some may not work for others.
 

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Chazmonet - happy you have found relief.I am a 20 year old student, so paranoid about my condition that I've even made another email to sign up to this site! It's so embarrassing.I miss so much uni and tutorials because I am way too scared to board a train some days.I get so anxious that I don't like leaving the house -- even a short bus trip gives me palpitations and the "what if" feeling. I broke down in my dr's office because I can't tolerate it anymore.While my friends go out, eat what they want and drink... I'll sit there picking at rice or at a potato. It's limited me so much & I've actually been referred to a psychiatrist because apparently this level of anxiety isn't normal.I'll ask about effexor... although I just want to be "normal" without drugs.
 

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If your college has counseling services you might add therapy to the drugs. Sometimes it really does take a combination of things to get it under good control long term. Often, it seems, people need the drugs to reduce the symptoms enough that they can do the therapy/lean the techniques (especially with CBT types of therapies there are various practices you can learn to do) and then as they get control with the therapy (as well as life style things like exercise or adding meditation or yoga) they can back off on the drugs and use the therapy for longer-term control of the issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey all, I’m happy to report that the effexor has continued to work very well! Although I did have one ibs flare-up it was less severe than before and only occurred during a very stressful situation. I had some friends coming to visit me and stay at my place for a few days and I was very anxious about having ibs flare-ups while they were here (I have a small apartment). Fortunately, I only had one flare-up before they arrived and got through the whole visit without any trouble! Kathleen, I wish the doctors I saw had known that anti-depressants are a common treatment for ibs! The last year of my life could have been spared. I eventually suggested anti-depressants to my doctor after nothing else worked, and she put me on an SSRI, but sent me to see a psychiatrist who switched my over to the SNRI.Chic Icelander, I’m so sorry that effexor didn’t work for you. I’m kind of surprised they were using it to treat your depression though, since the psychiatrist I saw said that SNRI’s are best for anxiety and SSRI’s are best for depression. Luckily I haven’t suffered from any side-effects yet, though I suppose I could be a zombie as I haven’t checked my pulse recently (I know, bad joke). I hope you find something that can give you some relief soon!Sick&TiredKat, I’m so happy you have also found relief with effexor!! I also lost a bit of weight instead of gaining any. I used to get so nervous before trips that I would have to spend an hour on the jon before leaving. Before effexor I used to take clonazepam for flights which actually worked really well (although you don’t want to use it often). Admittedly I’m kind of surprised that you take 75 mg where the psychiatrist I saw has me on 450mg. Haha considering I only weigh about 175lbs I doubt I am 6 times your size! I guess our psychiatrists must have differing philosophies about dose sizes.Aliandra, your situation is all too familiar for me. My last year or so was also full of anxiety and worrying about anxiety attacks and ibs flare-ups. I forced myself to continue working, going to class, playing sports, going out on the weekends, but it was so stressful with ibs. When I did get an IBS flare-up in the middle of work or a social event I got so angry and depressed I couldn’t bear it. I spent a lot of my time thinking about dropping out of everything and just binging on drugs and alcohol. I sincerely hope that you get better. Although effexor has definitely been the greatest help in treating my ibs some of the lifestyle changes I’ve adopted probably help a bit too: sleeping 8 hrs a night; eliminating caffeine; taking downtime; hypnotherapy; regular exercise.
 

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im so sorry you are having such a hard time ! you are so young. im 50 plus and have lived with this problem for about 5 years. im a rn and work in an operating room, sometimes i cant leave and go to the bathroom and have been so afraid of having an accident ! i have found a medication, very few if any side effects and it works great for me ! its called prevalite. a general surgeon i work with gave it to me. it taste awful but so worth it !! if taken regularly it stops my diarrhea completely, sometimes too good. if i feel like im getting constipated i just skip a day and things return to normal. if you can get a rx please try! i think its fairly cheap also, abut no matter what the cost its worth it !!
 

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Hi Chazmonet, I'm really glad that you have found something that works for you. I have just got Effexor myself - 37.5mg twice a day. Have only been taking it for 2 days so will see what happens.Was just wondering if you are taking any other meds as well as the Effexor?? I'm on codeine, hyosine and effexor now. I taking the codeine just to be on the safe side. How long befire you saw any diff??Please advise??Thank youAhmed
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dear Ahmed, sorry for late response. I am currently only on Effexor, although I still often keep immodium and clonazepam with me, but I haven't taken much of either in quite a while. I don't remember exactly how long it took for the effexor to start working for me but i think it was about 2 weeks or so, and started working best when I got up to high doses 375mg - 450mg about a month in. The doctor that gave it to me tells me that effexor is only really effective at high doses. I have no idea if he's correct, but you might want to keep it in mind if the dose your taking doesn't work as well as you want it to. It is still working quite well for me. I generally have a bowel movement every 2 days, and I haven't suffered from any urgency while out socializing which is so amazing! I'm so conditioned to anticipating the ibs attacks that I often still worry about them while out even though they haven't been happening. The only side effect I experienced was an uneasy stomach for the first couple weeks as my body was getting used to the medication.I hope with all my heart that you experience the same relief from ibs using effexor as I have so far. Let me know how things go.
 

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Hi Chazmonet, Sorry about late response. I tried the Meds but they did not work for me at all. Made me alot worse so i had to go back to Trazadone. So am looking for a new AD that will work for me. Am happy that it worked for you. Ahmed
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ahmed, sorry the effexor didn't work for you! My psychiatrist told me that it often takes a couple of tries to find an anti-depressant that is tolerable for the patient. Also, remember that anti-depressants take quite a bit of time to start working. Many cause side effects in the first couple weeks, but they may disappear once your body adapts. Best luck!
 

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Hmm seems that SNRIs have some beneficial effects. I've been on antihistamine chlorpheniramine once which also has SNRI properties. I noticed some improvement in my anxiety and didn't have any gut issues while on it. The only problem was the extreme drowsiness - you feel sedated all the time.I suppose venlafaxin (Effexor) works very well for people with marked anxiety and IBS.
 

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Hi Chazmonet, Thanks for your reply. Your advice is always helpful. WIll keep checking out different AD's and should hopefully find one that works for me. Hi Slade, Thanks for your reply too. I dont mind being drowsy all day, that i can get used to. Just want some AD's that will keep me awake. Are you on any AD's at the mo? What other AD's have you tried?Please advise??Thank youAhmed
 

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Hi,I'm not on any antidepressant at the moment so unfortunately I can't give you an advice. I try to cope without treatment as much as I can because antidepressants and anxiolytics have many side and rebound effects which I want to avoid.
 

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this is interesting. who recommends all these meds to you guys? is a regular doctor, gastro, or psychologist? my gastro has said he has done all he can although he has not addressed my weight or my depression as reasons. he jsut keeps throwing tests and meds at me. i plan on getting a second opinion. i know weight loss and depression are not his field, but if they are known to have something to do with ibs, shouldnt he be recommending help in those areas? i know plenty of overweight people who eat whatever and whenever they want. and that is annoying. i figure i am overweight because when i get home i binge eat because i havent been able to eat at will at work. things are better now and i can at least eat lunch or snacks within reason, but i still have horrible gas and pain to the point i can't stand for more than ten minutes without discomfort now matter what i eat. i need to see another dr who will try to get this under control. it's better now dont get me wrong, evernthough i am trained to expect it and plan accordingly(extra clothes, my own food, etc.) i have greater freedom. i take bentyl and questran. people look at me funny when i explain i have to leave suddenly because i have a digestive problem because i am so big! they expect anyone having that kind of trouble would be skinny.
 

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Please please please be careful with the Effexor. I was stuck on that for 2 1/2 years. It seemed to help at first and then the positive effects eventually wore off and I was left with only the crazy awful side effects. I also had these "Brain zaps" although I'd always referred to them as "Brain shivers". It feels like someone is dragging a blanket full of static electricity across your brain. It took me months to ween off the drug. I finally had to switch to Pristiq and then to Lexapro, all just to get off of Effexor. I can't stress enough how bad this drug is. Look it up online. Lexapro was actually a great antidepressant for me and I stayed on it for a while until I couldn't afford it without insurance. Zoloft also helped me for a while. I wish you the best of luck!
 
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