How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Z Your Own Question

Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4439
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr. Z is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

"I was given a prescription of Prozac 10mg tablets for depression.

Customer Question

"I was given a prescription of Prozac 10mg tablets for depression. Since I am drug sensitive I asked the pharmacist if I could cut the tablets in half and he said yes so I took 40mg in divided doses over a 3 day period and stopped abruptly due to adverse reactions that have not gone away and it has been 2 weeks. When I try to fall asleep I get a brain pulse that startles me and I have not been able to go to sleep without medication that was given to me by my primary care doctor. Have I done permanent damage to my brain or will this resolve itself and what type of doctor should I see? My primary care doctor has prescribed Klonopin for anxiety and Seroquel for sleep. I have had terrible anxiety attacks fearing I did permanent damage.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 8 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello

Dr. Z :

I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that you experienced these symptoms related to your 3 day use of the Prozac, I can imagine how distressing this must be for you

Dr. Z :

The "brain pulse" that you described would you consider them like Brain Zaps, here is a link describing it and it is common once you withdraw from an SSRI or SNRI antidepressant

Customer:

Will they go away?

Dr. Z :

It would be described as like a small electric shock in your head intermittently

Dr. Z :

Yes they usually should go away, I am surprised that you got them after using the Prozac for only 3 days and they have still not gone away. It most likely is due to your sensitivity to medications as you described

Customer:

Could this be considered an overdose?

Dr. Z :

No, they usually occur after you stop a SSRI antidepressant, like Prozac, all of a sudden and it just shocks the system and takes a while for the system to recover. But you did not cause permanent damage to your brain at all, that I can reassure you of.

Dr. Z :

Prozac has a long half life, so it stays in your system longer and given your age, you metabolize medications at a slower rate as your get older, so this is most likely why you are still having these adverse symptoms.

Dr. Z :

They should go away in another 1-2 weeks though

Customer:

What type of doctor should I see to help me through this?

Dr. Z :

A Psychiatrist would be the best doctor to see as they see this occurrence more frequently. If you cannot go to a psychiatrist then a Nurse Probationer with Psychiatric Experience or General Practitioner would be suitable as well.

Customer:

Are there any medications that I should be taking to help this go away or do I just need to give it time?

Dr. Z :

The Klonopin was a good medication to help as restlessness/anxiety associated with this issue is common, but typically time is the best course of treatment for your body to readjust itself.

Dr. Z :

This is typically temporary and it will go away

Dr. Z :

But I still would suggest a consult with a psychiatrist as well to prevent this from happening again and to monitor you more closely

Dr. Z :

There is also some early research that the Seroquel can help alleviate these brain zaps at a faster pace, but has not been conclusive yet.

Customer:

Before I quit taking it I had like a flash bulb sensation in my brain and my face and arms were stinging and that is when I realized I was in trouble. It was like the sensation that I burned something out in my brain. I am really struggling with this completely fearful that it won't return to normal. Sorry for all the questions but I am in a panic.

Dr. Z :

Its okay I completely understand. The symptoms you described initially before you stopped the medication were actually somewhat common, but I think because of your sensitivity to the medication it made it feel worse. Whenever you start an antidepressant things get worse before they get better because your body is adjusting the medication and that can take time and you can have adverse effects, which you felt. But I can promise you that because you only took it for 3 days you did not suffer any permanent or long-term damage from this. Prozac has been used the longest and there are absolutely no reports of long-term damage from short term use in thousands of studies.

Dr. Z :

So I understand your panic, but I just want to reassure you of this and hopefully put your mind at ease

Dr. Z :

And by the way you can ask me as many questions as you like, that is why I am here to help you

Customer:

I read that if you start taking the Prozac again in small doses that it helps the brain zaps go away. Not going to do it just want your opinion. I am going to see my primary care physician again on Monday.

Dr. Z :

Well what you are describing is called "SSRI discontinuation syndrome" and usually they occur with other antidepressants that are stronger than the Prozac like Effexor for instance, and to help with the withdrawl symptoms medical professionals will prescribe Prozac as it is an easier medication to taper off of and minimize the withdrawal symptoms. I do not recommend that for you because of your established sensitivity to the Prozac

Dr. Z :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

Yes it does. Thank you very much for all of your help. I greatly appreciate it. Your reassurance that I don't have permanent brain damage will help me get through this.

Dr. Z :

Good I am glad that I was able to help you and reassure you tonight. I wish you the very best and I hope these symptoms resolve soon for you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime. Before you sign off though, I would very much appreciate if you could rate my performance in helping you so that I can get credit for this question. Thank you very much

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4439
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and 3 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Dr Z are you there ?

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 8 months ago.
Yes I am here, what can I help you with today?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

I am in a terrible mental state. Since I had my prozac experience, I have not been able to sleep on my own without taking seroquel. It is as if my brain is wired for awake only. When I close my eyes to rest, (as if on a timer) I get these brain pulses that jolt me. I am at my wit's end and covinced that I burned out something in the sleep circuit of my brain. no one can give me any answers and I am terrified that this is permanent. The seroquel makes me feel drugged the next day and I can't drive or leave the house ...HELP

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 8 months ago.
I am so sorry that you are feeling this way, but the brain zaps are not permanent at al with only 3 days of use from the Prozac, so be reassured that it is not permanent and like I said they should go away in 1-2 weeks for you. One reason most likely that you are not sleeping well too is that you are very stressed and worried that you have done damage to your brain, when you have not, and this can increase those brain zap feelings you have as well. The Seroquel at a low dose is a powerful sedation medication, so that is why it calms you down, allows you to sleep, and you still feel groggy in the morning. You may want to ask your doctor if you can lower the dosage as you will still have the benefits as a sleep aid, but not the groggy feeling in the morning. Also there are many circuits and pathways in our brain that help us sleep, but the anxiety and stress that you are feeling will interrupt your sleep pattern and cause insomnia. These brain zaps will go away for you and they will not be with you for the rest of your life. I hope you start to feel better soon and please let me know if there is anything I can do for you
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

Thank you

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 8 months ago.
You are most welcome and I am available anytime you want to talk or if you need more reassurance. I am sorry that you are experiencing these symptoms, but they will go away.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education