Fetzima (Levomilnacipran) is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor that was approved by the FDA in 2013 to treat major depression. It is similar to the older drug milnacipran, but contains the “levo”-stereoisomer – making it slightly different. This antidepressant is regarded as being significantly different from other SNRIs in that it inhibits norepinephrine reuptake to a greater extent than serotonin.
In fact, the ratio of norepinephrine reuptake to serotonin reuptake is approximately 2:1 – even greater than its predecessor milnacipran. Most would consider this drug to be one of the newer (2013) antidepressants on the market, despite the fact that it is merely an adjusted formula of the older drug milnacipran. Since depression and other mental health disorders are among the biggest issues facing modern society, you can bet many will turn to trying this drug for relief.
The upside is that this is a drug that is different than most SNRIs on the market – it demonstrates how targeting low norepinephrine for depression can be beneficial. The downside is that like many antidepressants, many people won’t find them effective and/or be able to put up with their side effects. If you are considering trying Fetzima or are already taking it, below are some side effects and factors that can influence their severity.
Factors that influence Fetzima side effects
When taking any antidepressant, there are going to be factors that influence the side effects that you experience. These factors tend to include: individual physiology, the dosage, how long you’ve been taking the drug, as well as whether you are using any other medications.
1. Individual Variation
Perhaps the biggest influence of side effects is your individual genetics and physiology. Your nervous system may adapt quickly to the drug and learn to function fine under its influence. Another person may experience an adverse reaction and/or experience many unwanted side effects that never seem to go away. This why one person may experience headaches as a side effect and another person may experience something completely different like loss of appetite.
Two people of the same age and with the same diagnosis may take Fetzima and one person may get relief from depression with a few side effects, while the other may get no relief from depression and have many side effects. Individual variation is why it is impossible to predict how you will respond to a certain medication and why a drug that you find void of side effects may be problematic for someone else.
2. Dosage (20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg, 120 mg)
The dosage of Fetzima can play a big role in determining the number of side effects and their severity. As you increase the dosage, you are essentially under the influence of a greater quantity of the drug. The more milligrams of the drug you take, the more your physiology has to change to accommodate the drug’s influence. At lower doses, you may not notice many side effects, but as the dose increases, they may become intolerable.
For Fetzima, most doctors prescribe a starting dose of 20 mg and have a person titrate the dosage upwards to 40 mg. The typical dose range is between 40 mg and 120 mg. Typically the greater the dose you are on, the more side effects you can expect. This is why it is always recommended to stay on the lowest possible dose that produces an antidepressant effect – to help you avoid side effects.
3. Time Span
Most people notice a bulk of their side effects within a week or two of starting a new medication. When you start Fetzima, you may notice wicked side effects for the first few weeks. However, if you continue to stay on the drug and put up with the initial “short-term” side effects, you may find that they eventually subside. There can be an initial adaptation period that is needed for your nervous system to adjust to the drug.
Once you have made it through this period, many side effects go away. It is important to also understand that there are sometimes more long-term side effects that can develop among people who have taken the drug for an extended term. Long-term side effects typically develop when the body has become tolerant to the effects of the drug and a dosage increase is required to yield the same antidepressant effect.
4. Other drugs
If you are taking any other drugs in addition to Fetzima, it is important to understand that they could have an interaction. Be sure to read about any contraindications that this drug may have with other drugs that you’ve been prescribed. Most doctors will be able to tell you whether Fetzima can be safely taken with other pharmaceutical drugs. Just know that taking other psychiatric and/or illicit substances with this medication may lead to interaction-based side effects.
Fetzima Side Effects: List of Possibilities
Below is a list of possible side effects that you may experience while taking Fetzima. Understand that everyone’s experience will be different and that you may not experience everything on this list. Based on clinical trials, the most common side effects included: nausea, vomiting, sweating, increased heart rate, and palpitations.
- Agitation: The stimulation from this drug may make certain people increasingly agitated. This usually has to do with the norepinephrine aspect of the reuptake inhibition. If you notice that you have become filled with anxiety and or unnecessary excitement, this can sometimes lead to agitation.
- Anger: Some individuals have noted that this drug made them angry and mean. If you are becoming angered by everything, chances are it could be a side effect of the neurotransmitter changes that Fetzima is making. Usually if anger is your experience, it’s probably not helping your depression.
- Anxiety: Another very common symptom from a drug that affects norepinephrine is feeling anxious. Since it inhibits norepinephrine to a greater extent than serotonin, it may be too stimulating for certain people – leading to worsened anxiety.
- Appetite loss: People have reported losing their appetite while on this drug. Usually appetite loss is more common within the first few weeks of trying it due to nausea and other side effects. If your appetite loss is tough to deal with and you are losing a lot of weight, you may want to switch medications.
- Constipation: If you notice that you have started to feel constipated since you started taking this drug, you are not alone. Constipation was reported as being one of the most common side effects in clinical trials. This may improve over time and/or you can consult your doctor if you need help dealing with it.
- Depression: This is an antidepressant and its primary purpose is to alleviate depression. However, not everyone has a positive reaction to antidepressants. Certain drugs actually make them feel more deeply depressed and hopeless. If you have given this medication a chance for a few weeks and are feeling worse, it’s probably not a good fit.
- Dizziness: Another very common side effect is that of feeling dizzy. You may feel very dizzy and/or sensations of vertigo within a few weeks of taking the drug. Usually the dizziness will go away after a month or so of treatment.
- Fatigue: Do you feel tired all the time since starting Fetzima? Although this is more of a stimulating drug, not everyone reacts by feeling on edge and with increased energy. Some people may experience the opposite effect and become tired, sleepy, or lethargic.
- Feeling “wired”: A significant number of people taking this drug will notice that it makes them feel “wired.” In other words, they feel stimulated and as if their level of arousal significantly increased. This can be beneficial for those who were previously lacking energy, but feeling too wired can interfere with focus and lead to excessive anxiety.
- Flu-like symptoms: A combination of initial nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and frequent nausea will make anyone feel as though they’ve contracted the flu. This side effect is certainly unpleasant, but one you may have to put up with until your body adjusts to the drug.
- Headache: The increased stimulation that your nervous system receives from this drug may lead to frequent headaches. In fact, some people have gone as far as to describe severe headaches, tension, and migraines from their Fetzima. Although headaches may be part of an adjustment phase to the drug, for some they do not improve.
- High blood pressure: If your blood pressure increases (which is common on drugs affecting norepinephrine), you may need to monitor it closely. If your blood pressure were to get too high, it could cause other health concerns. Be sure to tell your doctor if you notice any significant increase because it could be dangerous.
- Increased heart rate: Another effect from this drug is increased resting heart rate or tachycardia. Fast or irregular heart rate is common while taking Fetzima. This is another result of targeting norepinephrine to a greater extent than serotonin.
- Insomnia: For some people, taking this drug will cause significant insomnia. In other words, you may be so stimulated from its effects that you cannot fall asleep at night. If you already have a problem with insomnia, this is probably not a good solution.
- Irritability: Not only could you become a little irritable on this medication, but many people are reporting that they became super irritable. This is an unfortunate side effect of many drugs that increase norepinephrine, leading to a “wired” feeling and also increases in anger.
- Jaw clenching: You may notice that you are clenching your jaw more and/or there is more tension throughout your jaw area. This is usually more common to experience while asleep, but can occur throughout the day as well.
- Mania / hypomania: Among patients with bipolar I and bipolar II disorders, experiencing a manic switch can occur with any antidepressant. Since this medication tends to be more stimulating, some believe it increases the likelihood of triggering mania or hypomania.
- Mood swings: Any antidepressant can lead to mood swings as a side effect. You may feel slightly happier, then all of a sudden irritable, then sad, etc. This is usually your brain adjusting to the medication. If you experience more frequent mood swings, you may want to consider other treatments.
- Nausea: This is among the most common side effects of Fetzima. Some hypothesize that the norepinephrine reuptake inhibition can make certain individuals prone to feeling nauseated. Since Fetzima does this to a significant extent, it is common to feel nauseous.
- Palpitations: These are often perceived as loud heart beats, flutters, or sensations that your heart is beating abnormally. Typically these are influenced by increased levels of arousal and can be exacerbated by anxiety. Although these are uncomfortable, you may have to accept them as part of the treatment.
- Poor concentration: Your concentration may suffer as a result of taking this drug. Although for some people norepinephrine can benefit concentration (e.g. Strattera), others will find that the extra arousal actually makes it more difficult to concentrate. If your ability to focus decreases, you’ll know why.
- Sexual dysfunction: Specifically erectile dysfunction seemed to be a problem in approximately 6% of men who took Fetzima in clinical trials. Additionally delayed ejaculation in males was another extremely common side effect that was noted. For certain individuals, this drug may significantly interfere with your sex life.
- Sleep changes: In addition to experiencing insomnia, you may notice that you expeirence other sleep changes. These can include crazy dreams, changes in sleep patterns, and/or feeling as though you’re getting less restful sleep. If you feel as though your sleep quality is suffering as a result of this drug, you may want to talk to your doctor.
- Suicidal thoughts: There is evidence that antidepressants can cause increased depression and suicidality in certain cases. If you notice yourself feeling even more depressed and feeling suicidal, the medication probably isn’t a good fit. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice you are feeling suicidal while taking Fetzima.
- Sweating: Many people notice that they start sweating more after they start this drug. The increased sweats may occur throughout the day or at night. This is a physiological reaction and may be caused by increased stimulation from the norepinephrine reuptake inhibition.
- Urinary retention: One of the most uncomfortable side effects from Fetzima is that of urinary retention or hesitation. This is where you know you have to pee, but when you attempt to “go” the urine won’t seem to come out. This can be a very frustrating side effect and is likely linked to the norepinephrine reuptake inhibition.
- Vomiting: Another very common reaction that people have to this drug is vomiting. It can be difficult to put up with feeling nauseous and puking just to feel less depressed, but this is a reality for some people. Fortunately as the body adapts to the drug this symptom usually gets better.
- Weight changes: In both an 8-week and a full year study, Fetzima was not associated with any more weight gain than a placebo. However, this does not mean that people won’t experience weight changes as a side effect. Most people report losing weight if taking the drug decreases their appetite and vice versa. (Read: “Fetzima & Weight Loss vs. Gain“).
Note: There may be other side effects that were not reported in the list above. Consider reading antidepressant side effects as a more general reference for various medications.
Fetzima: Serious Side Effects (Adverse Reactions)
In addition to having a standard list of common side effects, there are always some serious side effects that you should know. These more serious side effects are usually rare and are referred to as “adverse reactions.” If you experience any of these, it is recommended to seek immediate medical attention.
- Abnormal bleeding: In a few cases, Fetzima can increase risk of bleeding and bruising. This is more common among those who take blood thinner medications, NSAIDs, or aspirin. If you notice any problems with bleeding or bruising, talk to your doctor.
- Glaucoma: This medication is not to be used by individuals with glaucoma, as it may worsen the condition. People taking Fetzima have noted increased eye pressure, which could theoretically damage the optic nerve. If you notice any increase in eye pressure, this probably isn’t a good medication to take.
- Hyponatremia: A lesser known side effect is that this drug can cause low sodium (salt) levels in the blood. The low sodium levels can lead to other effects including: weakness, confusion, memory difficulties, and balance issues. If not treated, this can actually lead to death, so be sure to note any symptoms related to hyponatremia.
- Rash: Although this is a rarer side effect, some people notice that they develop a rash. In most cases this will be considered an adverse or allergic reaction and the medication will be discontinued.
- Seizures: There is evidence suggesting that Fetzima can lead to seizures (or convulsions). Obviously if you are prone to seizures, this may be a medication to avoid. Additionally if you notice any potential warning signs of a seizure, be sure to seek medical attention.
Fetzima: Weighing the Cons (Side Effects) vs. Pros (Benefits)
When taking Fetzima, it is important to weigh the cons (your side effects) with the pros (the benefits from the drug). If the drug isn’t producing any benefit in your depressive symptoms, then it should be a no-brainer to switch to another medication. Things can get tricky if the drug is producing some sort of benefit in your depression, but the side effects are very difficult to cope with.
In most cases, it is a good idea to wait at least 4 to 6 weeks to determine whether the side effects subside. If the side effects do not improve at all after a month has passed, then you should be able to make an educated decision as to whether it is worth staying on the drug or transitioning to something else. Some side effects like constipation and insomnia may be easier to deal with than others like nausea, vomiting, and irritability.
It is ultimately up to you to make the final call on whether you are willing to put up with Fetzima’s side effects for an antidepressant benefit. If this is the first medication you’ve tried for your depression, but you have many side effects – then you may want to ask a medical doctor about Fetzima withdrawal and alternative treatment options. However, if you’ve tried many medications and this is the only one making you feel less depressed, you may be able to justify putting up with a few unwanted side effects.
Have you tried Fetzima and noticed some side effects? If so, feel free to share your personal experience in the comments section below. Realize with most drugs there are often many side effects that go unreported in clinical trials and preliminary studies.
My family doctor switched me from cymbalta to fetzima about a week ago. The cymbalta no longer helped me with depression, anxiety and tiredness. I started with two days of 20mg and now have been on 40 mg for five days.
I had high expectations for fetzima to help give me more motivation and less fatigue but the side effects are so bad that I can’t stay on it long enough to get positive results. From day one on it I have had a severe pressure-type headache and stiff neck, nausea, dizziness, extreme heat intolerance and profuse sweating and hot flashes and increased thirst.
I’ve also had diarrhea and trouble focusing. Today I’m too exhausted to deal with these side effects any longer – so I’ve decided to switch back to Cymbalta until I see my Doctor again. But I feel disappointed that I can’t pursue this med and I’m wondering if and how long it would take for these side effects to subside.
Hi I am a 65 year old woman and have suffered with depression since I was a child. I spent 3 years in mental institutions from age 18 to 21 – lost 3 years of my life. I have been on many many kinds of different meds over the years. I believe Largactil was the worst. Today I am still under care and am on 120 mg cymbalta once a day and 80 mg fetzima. I also take CBD oil.
It is difficult out to say what meds cause what because I am also on thyroid meds which have lots of symptoms that copy some side effects of psychiatric meds. I do know none of the psych meds do much for me – I think my body has become resistant to them all.
What I am noticing is that since taking fetzima, I have broken out with a rash and my whole body itches and drives me crazy at times. Also take Claritin. I have an appt with my family Doctor tomorrow and will show him the rash. I know he will ask about any changes in the house etc.
I also suffer with asthma so I do not use any perfume or scented sprays etc. So I know it is nothing in my home. I did have some nausea and bloating but that has passed. I am always constipated because of the other drugs I have to take as well for chronic pain. I take magnesium powder in water daily which helps a little.
I believe I am the only one on this site that states they have had a rash using this med. I did read that a rash can occur but it is rare. I believe my rash is from this medication. It can be so itchy at times I can scratch until it bleeds. I know I should not be doing this but it starts from my head to my feet.
I will wean myself off this meds when I speak with my Psychiatrist next time and maybe try Elavil again. It is so frustrating when I am unable to feel relief. My moods jump around a lot but recently. They have been the worst since the time I was in the hospital years ago.
In fact my depression got so severe this time they wanted to put me in hospital. I declined and am not in complete darkness at the moment. I hope I have helped a little with my info.
Has anyone experienced a foul smell and cloudy urine with Fetzima? It started immediately after starting the medication. Have not read about it anywhere as a side effect. Thank you for your input!
I’ve been struggling with depression all of my life. Am currently 45 years old and my doctor just switched me from sertraline and wellbutrin over to Fetzima. I am now up to 80 mg and it’s been about four weeks since I started it. I went off of the other meds (weaned). I wasn’t really noticing much of a difference – some withdrawal symptoms, but no initial side effects really from the new drug.
Unfortunately they are in full force right now. I also had a 2-week bout of diarrhea. My regular doctor diagnosed me with gastroenteritis because Fetzima is known for its constipation, not diarrhea. He gave me a prescription and it cleared up in about a week. I am super dizzy which I attributed to being bedridden for a week and a half, but even after a couple of days of trying to get myself up and running, I’m still dizzy.
And of course there’s the nausea. Today I woke up and was overwhelmed by tears even writing this. I’m sitting here crying, hideous, ugly, and crying with some wheeling thrown in for good measure. Thank God my kids are school-aged as I am unemployed at the moment. I’ve taken just about everything out there in terms of meds over the last 25 years – and I’m just so tired.
I feel like my body has betrayed me and I’m at my wits end. I see my psychiatrist in two days and will go over this with him again, but honestly, I seemed to have him stumped too. I’m very sensitive to many drugs so he is having a hard time finding the right drug and/or combination for me. I need to find a job, but I’m so scared to start a job for I feel like this. Sorry I guess I’m just rambling, but I know some of you can relate.
I know exactly how you feel! I feel like a guinea pig! I couldn’t get past the 20 mg with Fetzima. It gave me bouts of rage and anger and my anxiety has been horrible! Please know you’re not alone!
I am on 60 mg of Fetzima. Started at 20 mg for 2 days then 40 mg for 2 days and now on 60 mg and I’m finding that I have had constant diarrhea since I started. I have the odd wave of nausea but no vomiting which is a plus. I have no appetite which is good too cause I need to lose weight. So I don’t mind that, however, the diarrhea is so bad that I’m afraid to be out some place for too long cause it’s numerous times a day. Will and when should this side effect finally subside?
Fetzima leaves me really spacey and I cannot concentrate to formulate a sentence when writing. I was on 60 mg at one point and my thought were so scattered. I was in a great mood when I was on the 60 mg, but I could not organize my thoughts.
It was really affecting my work so I took some time off. My doctor does not believe that it was the medication, but my work environment, so I’m back on them. As you can see, my thoughts are all over the place and and I cannot find my center or focus.
I was on nortriptyline for a number of years for sleep but that did not curb my depression. I stopped Fetzima and could concentrate with Pristiq. So, I will probably go back to that. I cannot find that balance of good mood and concentration.
On Fetzima for 5 days. Pounding heart, perspiring, hot, and tired. My blood pressure and pulse are very slow due to years of long distance running. This drug put me in high blood pressure and high pulse in 5 days. Doctor took me off it. I did feel the antidepressant effects in the 5 days I was taking it.
Hi. I have had chronic med resistant depression since my teens. I took Prozac for 20 years and could not function without it. There was a period of time I remember being functional and I want to try to find that med combo again. I think it might have been Cymbalta and Provigil plus? I was put on Fetzima some time ago. I have lost a lot of my short term and long term memory due to all the drugs so I can only put together that it has been longer than a year.
In addition to depression I have anxiety and panic disorder, add, PTSD and some form of narcolepsy. Although I love my doctor I have been complaining for over a year about profuse sweating and hot flashes. I have overturned every stone but that of the Fetzima. I was told I was in pre-menopause by several doctors and my psychiatrist attributed it to my hypothyroid condition.
I never thought it could be my meds and she never once mentioned it. Besides horrific sweating I have been in bed completely unfunctional, unmotivated, and getting fatter by the day. I am a little pissed now that my doctor, knowing all of this and how hopeless it made me feel, never once suggested that it could be the Fetzima UNTIL I happened to read the side effects on a prescription pamphlet and asked her directly if the sweating could be due to the Fetzima.
I have been on the highest dose since day 1. I’m done with this shitty medication! I want my life back or to have the life I never had! I am going to see a Naturopath and maybe try a different route. I miss Prozac, frankly, but it started to make me suicidal. Anyway, this forum helped me a lot. I hope this post might help someone. Good luck!?
It’s 2018 and I’m happy I see this. I’ve taken fetzima and on the smallest dosage I’ve had a horrible reaction. I feel beyond sick and I’ve been off it a month now. I’ve been worried because my health has declined. I’m actually going in Monday to check for damage the medication has done to me.
I don’t feel the same not even mentally and now I’m seeing all these similar bad reviews. This medication was NOT ready to be on the market.
I had to send my full complaint via survey and not a single response, a sorry note, or even a compensation. Now I have some damage and I know. I’m actually devastated. If it causes so many negative effects how is it still on the market?!
I have just started this medication. I have quickly noticed relief from mild depression but it’s noticeable. HOWEVER I want to eat everything in sight. Weight gain is not acceptable to me. I like your suggestion so I will try it for 4 weeks.
I’ve been on Fetzima for about 3 weeks and take seroquel 25mg twice daily with it. It helps with the side effects finally my heart rate is down and blood pressure is back down only on 20mg of Fetzima don’t know if it’s helping yet with depression yet might stick it out awhile longer. This Med DOES NOT HELP WITH ANXIETY! Take care everyone wish you all the best!
I did not realize just how much anxiety I had until I started Fetzima. I am bipolar. I had a victory yesterday. I spoke with two insurance companies about an $11,000. medical bill I had received (four visits to ER for rabies shots). I spoke with three people and successfully resolved the issue without raising my voice.
I’m in my 3rd week on Fetzima after years of trying alternatives for major depressive disorder. I started on 20 mg and titrated to 40, so far, with minimal effects either way. I’m in a stressful work situation and husband lost his job about the same time I started on this, so I’m trying to assess impact of Fetzima in conjunction with these other contributing factors to feelings of depression, fatigue, and feeling overwhelmed.
I have a history of migraines, but had them pretty under control. I’ve had one migraine and a couple other headaches, but I can also say it’s when I’ve skipped meals or worked too late on the computer, so I’m paying more attention to those variables. I thought I’d moved into menopause because I noticed some unusual sweating, but usually after some exertion in cool weather and then walking in to a warm space. Nothing too terrible.
I can’t say I’ve experienced anything to jump up and down about, but I have at least felt a little motivation to start chipping away at work/cleaning up my house that’s been so cluttered and dirty that I was overwhelmed as to where to start. My husband took on some out of town work so I cleaned without interruption after coming home from work and had a couple rooms looking decent, but was very agitated when he came home and left stuff lying around everywhere again.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking more proactively about things than I was – as in looking at ways to help improve through better diet, although I haven’t taken the steps to implement. There are times when I feel more positive, but it’s like a glimmer and other external factors seem to make hope for change come tumbling down. A glimmer is better than what I’ve seen with other medications, though, and I’m out of other med options, so I’m sticking with this one in hope that it’ll help motivate me to do what I need to do to take things to the next level toward a life that is more than just coping with what each day brings.
At work, I feel like I’m stuck and having some trouble focusing, even though I take 20 mg of Dexedrine for ADD. I HAVE been chipping away at some of the easier stuff – outstanding smaller tasks that were sidelined during a huge project that wrapped in January, but procrastinating on things that require more focus.
I check in with the doctor this week, so may be bumping it up to the next level. My doctor and I are on the same page in terms of increasing slowly.
I just wanted to let you know that one of the side effects of Fetzima is an increase of sweating. My Dr. had me start taking 20mg of Fetzima for a week, all was okay… then up to 40mg, started noticing I was sweating a bit more than usual even though I wasn’t doing more activities. So last week, my doctor increased it to 80 mg b/c I noticed I wasn’t feeling as good as I was when I first started taking it.
OMW!! 2 days after the increase, I was sweating nonstop from an hour after taking it until 2 hours before I was to take my next dose the next morning. I mean BAD!! So I looked up the side effects of Fetzima and sure enough, it was the medicine. So my doctor reduced my dose back to 40mg for 2 days and now starting me on Cymbalta 30mg for a week then 60mg. It seems the dose of norepinephrine in Fetzima is 2 to 1 compared to 20 to 1 in Cymbalta.
I have been on Fetzima for 3 days now. I was switched over from Cymbalta with the hopes Fetzima would better help my Fibromyalgia. The side effects are horrendous: nausea, diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, abdominal distention. I am on 40 mg & will try to persevere through the side effects a few more days in hopes they resolve. If not, will have to ask my physician to put me on something different.
Just got taken off fetzima. Thank god!! I was on it for about a month, I think I was allergic. All I did was sneeze, my nose kept running, and I was getting really bad bloody noses. I got put on it in the hospital by someone who didn’t know me and didn’t really look at my med list. Plus she started me off at the highest dose. My regular doctor put me back on prozac,starting tomorrow thank you lord!
I have had most of the side effects listed. Nausea, sweating, blood pressure going up, agitation and anger issues. I also would feel like crying for no reason. Headaches and jaw clenching as well. What finally pushed me off it was not just getting a rash. The rash turned into blisters. Definite allergic reaction.
I’m in my third month of Fetzima. It’s the only medicine that has worked for me. I’ve tried many. It has increased my energy levels and decreased my appetite. I’ve lost ten pounds and my thinking has calmed down. In other words, I’m not overthinking everything. My marriage is much better.
The side effects I’ve experienced are itching especially on my scalp, irritability if I miss a dose or take it late, terrible constipation, and two horribly painful migraine headaches. Both times I had the headaches I had two drinks that night, so I’m going to stay on the med and stop drinking any alcohol to see if that helps. Besides the headaches, I think the other side effects I’ve experienced are worth tolerating.
The positives I’ve experienced from this medication are incredible. I feel like an energetic, normal, well adjusted person again. It’s what we all hope for I think. I only hope the migraine doesn’t return. If I get another one, I’m pretty sure I’ll wean off the Fetzima because that pain is too much.
I’m on my 3rd day of fetzima after coming off celexa. I’ve never had abnormal anxiety before but I feel like I’ve been on the brink of a panic attack all day. My heart is racing, my skin is crawling, I’m nauseous and I have a very unpleasant feeling throughout my body that I can’t explain. I’m wondering how long this feeling will take to pass if I stop the meds.
I was diagnosed with bipolar depression disorder and extreme anxiety when I was 18. I am a 36 year old female who also suffers from a very aggressive form of DDD. I’ve had 3 spinal fusions along with multiple other spine surgeries and have been on low dose pain meds since 2004. Needless to say, I have tried every antidepressant/mood stabilizer out there.
The only medication that kept me stable was Celexa. But I was always tired, never felt like going out with friends and even at times showering took all my energy. I became a hermit and stayed in my room. It was my safe place. Finally I had enough and went back to the doctor who convinced me to try one more medication…Fetzima. And wow what a life changer for me. I have so much energy.
I can’t wait to get out of bed and my room and start the day. There are side effects with every medication but we have to figure out which ones we can live with. So far, mine is insomnia ughhh. When I increased to 40mg it got really bad. I would literally stay up until 4am cleaning, doing laundry, or what ever else I could find to do because I was so wound up. So I talked to my doctor regarding this problem and he suggested I drop back down to 20mg.
Now I’m pretty balanced out. I still have tons of energy but I’m able to fall asleep at a decent hour. What I’ve learned is Fetzima can be a great medication, but on the lowest dose possible. I’ve also lost about 6 pounds in the 4 weeks I’ve been on it, so if you’re like me and gaining weight is not an option then it’s an added benefit. I hope this helps anyone thinking about trying this medication!! Good luck and God bless!!
I switched from Prozac to Fetzima in hopes of giving me relief from Fibromyalgia. I have tried many other treatments for the fibro where the side effects outweighed the benefit, and I was still left debilitated, no energy, and in excruciating pain. I missed so many days from work, that my only choice was to start looking into medical retirement. Well one of the best things for Fibro is movement. We knew that trying Fetzima would give me the energy to get going everyday.
I was very sensitive to meds, so anytime we try something new there is always hesitation about what the horrible side effects will be. My doctor started me Fetzima 20mg. I imediately noticed a change in my energy level, experienced no side effects, some relief from the Fibro. We decided to bump it up to 40mg. I now have very little to no flare ups at all. I may ache a tiny bit in the mornings, but I’m able to hop out of bed, and get going with no pain. It also worked wonders for my depression. I’m more active, more social, and feel great for the most part. Now here is where it gets bittersweet.
I also have PMDD. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This is a hormonal imbalance which causes me to experience severe mood swings the week or two before my cycle. Normally right at ovulation. It’s just like having bipolar 2 for 2 weeks out of the month. It’s a beast and don’t wish it on my worst enemy. This is why I was on Prozac to help with the severe mood swings of that. It did very little for the condition, nothing for the Fibro, and the pain from the fibro kept me in a depressive state.
I have also been on Lamictal for about 6 years at 150mg. While on prozac, I had to decrease it, to 75mg because I couldn’t tolerate the two at that dosage. Prozac did nothing for the PMDD, although its usually given to women to treat it. The only good things I can say about Prozac is that I lost tons of weight from Mirtazapine that I was on before that, which did nothing but make me instantly fat for years.
When that time of month came around depression, anxiety, and mania felt like it was off the charts. At that point I would experience excessive sweating, terrible insomnia, aggressiveness, rage, irritability, occasional suicidal thoughts. My PMDD was so bad, even while on Prozac I cursed out my boss. Again, I experience these symptoms normally during the phase that PMDD kicks in, but the meds to include Fetzima amplified it because they both act as stimulants.
Since I have had no problems tolerating Lamictal with Fetzima, my doctor and I decided it would be ok to try bumping the Lamictal back up to 150mg, because it treats bipolar 2. To help with the insomnia. I take Fetzima in the morning, Lamictal at night because it makes me sleepy, and take ativan morning and night. This helps with the insomnia so that I’m not so wired up and energized in the evening before bed. Now I can honestly say I feel amazing!!!
I’m finally balanced and feel like I got my life back. I’m glad that I did not stop taking Fetzima, especially for the Fibro. Sometimes it takes a little time and patience to adjust your meds and see what works with what. I know this was long, I apologize for that, but I seriously hope that it does help someone.
My Dr just put me on this I can’t stop sleeping and have no feelings. Will this go away? My head feels detached. I got put on this medication with promises of energy. To get back to my life… I am a mother of 5 and just looking for a way to deal with my motherly duties.
Went from years of Effexor 75 to Pristiq last year. Two days of severe itching. Back to Effexor. Switched straight to Viibryd to change things up. No withdrawals or switching problems. Viibryd worked well for anxiety attacks but side effects of watery diarrhea and extreme! Dry mouth. My tongue is so sore all the time. Talked to doctor suggested Fetzima. Went straight to 20 this morning. Fine until this afternoon. Now goosebumps and skin crawling.
No heart fluttering though. Nausea. After reading all the stories I’m scared to go to sleep tonight. (Which will take an Ambien anyway). Wondering whether to take another one tomorrow and see how it goes or bail now and go back to Viibryd before I turn into the angry person with rage like all other seem to experience. Right now i feel like im on a caffeine high, which is not good. Although I do feel like I have energy, it’s to much nervous energy.
Decided to take 20 mg day 2. Sleep wasn’t awful although I woke up 3 times! Crazy dreams but not scary. More energy in the AM. Day 2 still some heeby jeeby feelings, freezing, and skin crawling. Got a bad headache so worried about that sticking around. Day three, upped to 40mg which will be my dosage. Much better day. Am pleased with the energy level and have lost a few pounds. No anger/rage problems. No heart flutter or BP problems. Best part… no more diarrhea ad dry mouth is 200% better. Think I’ll stick this one out!!!
Is this still working for you? My doctor just switched me from citalapram to this and you are the only one on here with a positive comment. My other med has been working for the most part, but I’ve had weight gain and started feeling a bit unbalanced. These comments from others have me a bit concerned now.
I was taken off of cymbalta because of weight gain 48 lbs over the last few months. My neuropathy and pain are worse with fetzima. Last night I took my third dose, which was 40mg. I had horrific nightmares and I am fairly certain I had a seizure because I woke up but couldn’t move. I’m moody, angry, and still no relief for my neuropathy pain. I’m tired of taking meds. I just want to feel like I did before all of this started.
Your experience sounds more like sleep paralysis than a seizure. Sleep paralysis is scary but harmless.
Coming off of one med that stopped working and two days on this, my body has itched SEVERELY all over. Even my tongue. Intense headache, trouble breathing, lightheaded, mood all off the map. No appetite, thoughts are all over the place spaced out feel like I’m loosing it. Will be contacting doctor and getting off this tomorrow.
I have been on Fetzima for 7 days now. I was taking celexa 20mg daily. This med has given me amazing amounts of energy but is causing terrible headaches, stomach pains, dizziness, increased heart rate, blurry vision, flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, and anxiety. I will be calling my dr soon to see about trying something different since celexa stopped working for me. I’m not sure that the mood boost is worth these other less than pleasant side effects.
I have been on Fetzima about 6 weeks. I am very sensitive to medications and this has been no exception. I discontinued it about 6 days ago, due to it causing eye pain and blurred vision, high BP, heart palpitations and lastly began itching all over. However, it has been been 6 days off and still experiencing the withdrawal symptoms of fluctuating BP and anxiety and sleeplessness. How long does it take to get this out of your system? I can’t find anything on it.
I’ve been on Fetzima for about 6 weeks for Bipolar depression. I thought I wasn’t having any side effects, but while reading this post realized that my suddenly worse Atopic Dermatitis (rash from eating cured meats & artificial sweeteners) could be a side effect. I’m stopping the Fetzima, calling my Dr., & returning to Pristiq.
This side effect makes me nervous. While trying Lamictal 5 years ago, I experienced the beginning of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a rare life-threatening side effect that starts with a rash. I had been on Lamictal 4-6 weeks and while my familial tremor had increased severely, I felt normal for the first time in my life. It’s a wonder that I wasn’t hypomanic with delight. Then the rash.
I thought it would break my heart to give up feeling normal, but have since decided that this experience showed me it is possible to feel good, so it could happen again. I have been depressed since the age of 5, Bipolar since my 20s, and am now 68. I used to have Bipolar 2 with very rapid cycling, but now have mixed type, which, at its worst, can be an ugly little swamp of depression and hypomania combined.
If I may offer what I’ve learned over the years, don’t give up on meds. Mental illness demands patience. I’ve tried so many meds, I can barely remember them all, but I do know I’m much better than I was 15 years ago.
I would have been on fetzima for a year next month. It helped with my depression some. The the beginning I was extremely sick due to the nausea and loss of appetite. As I increased my dosage all the way to the 120mg. I was only on this for 2 months. I gained so much extra water weight to where I felt miserable. The constipation. Still had mood swings even though I was on xanax as needed. This medication is very expensive And still new so no generic form available. I just told my doctor today I was to get off this med asap. I would rather be depressed and not bloated. This was not for me. And I still had depression. Sweated all the time, raised blood pressure and was moody…
I have been on Fetzima since December. I was on 120 mg until yesterday when I went down to 80 mg. I have the worst side effects. I have excessive sweating where showers make no difference. You can ring my shirts out they get so soaked…night and day! I am angry all the time! My resting heart rate is usually in the 90’s if not higher and my blood pressure is also sky high. I am getting off of this med ASAP before I go insane!
I am on my fourth day. I have fibromyalgia but for reasons unclear I became exceedingly depressed about a year ago. We are trying to replace cymbalta (for the fibro) with Fetzima to treat both. I can barely tolerate the cymbalta and take a subclinical dose – it manages my pain well enough for me to cope somewhat. I have stopped cymbalta and went from 10mg (divided a 20mg pill) for three days to 20mg.
I was supposed to go slower but I could not stand the pain without cymbalta. I have bloating and nausea, kick-ass headaches, and am spaced out. Not truly functional. But I also have an inner calm I have not had for some time. I look around my home and actually enjoy seeing my things. Think I will go back down to 10mg and mix it with cymbalta (this was original plan) as I do not tolerate SSRIs or SNRIs well at all.
I have Very intense pins and needles feeling, flushing, and a red face. I would like to try this drug, but I also saw that it got a patient rating of 2 1/2 stars on rxlist.com. Not a good sign. I doubt I will sleep tonite as I have insomnia anyway, why don’t doctors warn of side effects before prescribing? I am always in patient forums for either fibro or another illness before I find out just how bad things can get.
I have just transitioned from Cymbalta to Fetzima for a chronic nerve pain condition as result of transverse myalitus. The Cymbalta was great for the pain but I gained 20 pounds in 4 months. I am having pain and not sure if I need to wait for full effect of Fetzima but now I have transitioned off the cymbalta. I am wondering if you also experienced weight gain with cymbalta? Are you using both Fetzima and Cymbalta now? I also have A LOT of sweating.
I’m searching the web to see if its safe to take Cymbalta and Fetzima together. Cymbalta works great for me. It takes the edge off. Fetzima seriously puts the edge back on.
On for 1 and 1/2 wks. 20mg 2 days then moved up to 40mg. Heart rate staying over 100 most of the time. Just feel funny. Dizzy, agitated. Not sure if I can make it long enough for side effects to stop. Thanks for others posting, nice to see I’m not the only one.
I am on my third week taking Fetzima after switching from Luvox. I am experiencing blurred vision in the right eye as well as some slight swelling. My optometrist took a look at my eye and can see no signs of infection or corneal damage, so I am assuming the cause is the medication. Anyone else having this problem? What to do?
Hi Sarah! I was taking fetzima since last summer. I had dry eyes before, but since I started it, I got some horrible eye symptoms, especially on my right eye. I went to see 5 ophthalmologists, 2 rheumatologists, 3 GPs and even a homeopath. Finally a cardiologist pointed out those side effects from fetzima on the eyes. The strange thing is that the eyes look normal. I stopped it one week ago, and am already feeling a difference.
Coming off of Paxil over ten years. Initially anxiety related to menopause. Started Fetzima three weeks. Thinking now intense dreams and night sweats were the lesser of many evils. Now experiencing dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, nausea, irritability and now shortness of breath and rash. If it aint broke don’t fix it? Going back to Paxil!
I know what you mean. I’ve been on it for 1 week. I now get angry VERY easily, am having the intense dreams and dry mouth. I’m switching back to Cymbalya!
I’m on week 2 of fetzima 40mg, switched from Lexapro, previous to that Prozac. I’ve got ocd and anxiety and depression… it occurred to me depression was being overlooked so we are now taking this route. (SNRI vs SSRI). So far I feel no major difference in mood and my ocd is still present. It’s been only a week so I know to wait. just upped dose to 80mg this morning. the side effects can feel pretty overbearing.
I’m dizzy, faint, lightheaded. I basically feel like I’m on another planet. is this what people refer to as Vertigo? my sleeping feels different and my dreams are intense. Unfortunately no loss of appetite which was the one side effect I was actually hoping for. Now I read that I should wait it out a month or two. (!!!) Wonder if others have lasted this long to feel the benefit of fetzima?
I am feeling extreme anger while taking Fetzima. I cannot reach my doctor. In 3 weeks, I have worked from 20 mg to 120 mg. The anger and irritability started yesterday. I was on Effexor. What should I do? Should I take Effexor pill to help. I am going to a very social party tonight – interacting with many people. I need to stay calm and happy. Please help. I could also take Clonazepam or Alphazola if this would help for tonight. Help
I am on week 2 of fetzima and have completely stopped citalopram (celexa). I have severe nausea with dizziness but honestly my depression is improving. I am going to wait at least 6 weeks before throwing in the towel on this.
I have been treated for depression, anxiety, panic since 2002. Started on Fetzima in July of this year. Works great…after all the other meds I’ve been on. But the tachycardia side effect is very dominant. I have the rapid heart rate all the time. Will I have to change meds or is there something that can be prescribed to remedy this tachycardia?
OMG. Yes I use to be on lexapro it made me a zombie. So doc gave me fetzima and then eventually at the most 120 mg QD. Now because I’ve started having tachycardia and high BP, I did heart monitor – couldn’t find anything wrong with my heart. So now docs weaning me off and I’m going through so much problems.
Side effects… I have everything except nausea and vomiting. I have great shakes. Confusion. Anxiety. Extreme fatigue. Headaches. Tingling in my extremities. Dizziness. OMG and all I can do is just deal with this.
It’s hard to work at a time like this but I am sure trying. What users and angers me is people who don’t know what this feels like make horrible and insensitive comments that really hurt. Yes oh woe is me. Can I get some empathy until this subsides??!!!
I am trying really hard to get through the side effects. Not knowing if it’s the Fetzima only or withdrawals from the Cymbalta I have taken for years. All I know is I am an emotional mess and super agitated. Don’t know if I should give up on the pills or keeping pushing through.