Depakote, topamax, paxil: dig the bummer

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Posted by JimC ( on May 04, 2000 at 14:53:07:

I was recently hospitalized for a week with pancreatitis--inflamation of my pancreas that caused everything in my abdomen from my diaphragm to my pelvis to hurt like hell. It was pain of a very different nature than cluster or the 24X7 shadow pain that I experience between clusters; but it was getting up there in severity. Fortunately the abdomenal pain responded to demerol which I received every four hours for five days. (I'm getting off of the subject...more about my inability to steer my train of thought later).

Pancreatitis has four main causes: heavy drinking, gall stones, medicine, and idiopathic (gee, we don't know). I don't drink. Gall stones were ruled out. Medicine: I switched from depakote to topamax about two months before the pancreatitis. I was also taking Paxil for its supposed ability to ease nerve pain. There is a chance that the headache medication caused the pancreatitis. (Depakote in particular, according to one reference; but Paxil has also been implicated in "voluntary" reports according to the PDR.)

Even though I am feeling better, my digestive enzyme levels and blood sugar readings are still out of whack because the pancreas takes a long time to heal. It has flared up once since I left the hospital and could again.

Anyway...(recovering from another derailment) make sure liver functions are tested regularly if taking depakote or topamax. My GP had me stop taking topamax which wasn't working for me even though my neurologist thought it might work at the next dosage increase (I was on 250mg/day). We just want to make sure my pancreas will heal.

I also stopped taking Paxil and what a surprise that has been. It turns out to have the worst record of all SSRIs for withdrawal symptoms. I'm in day six of perceptual disturbances (there was a time in my life when I actively sought drugs that did this), blurred vision, intense bouts of dizzyness, and horrible nightmares. Work has been nearly impossible with my head spinning constantly.

I hope soon to return to normal which will be just 24-a-day pain in my head. This, in its own awful way, is a known state.

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