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Thread: PPD Drugs & Nursing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Unhappy PPD Drugs & Nursing

    I've been taking Nefrazodone (generic for Serzone) for three+ months now. My psychiatrist is prescribing 300 mg a day for PPD. He told me that the only side effect would be that the infant could be drowsy and to keep an eye on him. Caden (7mos) has not had any issues with being drowsy but has stopped sleeping more or less within the last two months-since they up'd my dosage again. I called the Ped. today to see if there could be any relation and they informed me that Serzone is a #4 on a scale from 0-5 and five being the most dangerous to take while bfing.

    That being said, I have called my doctor and left a message. I'm just at a loss at this point. I don't want to stop nursing. I'm afraid of what may happen if if I stop anti-depressants all together. I know I cannot afford to take Serzone anymore. I'm worried that I have caused serious harm to Caden by taking this for three months.

    Any wisdom, advice or links are greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks,
    Heather

    Edited to add: I read the note from LLL and understand no one can give me advice on medication. I'm really seeking any experience other mothers have had with the drug or PPD in general. Just looking for support
    Last edited by jackwoman; January 18th, 2006 at 01:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: PPD Drugs & Nursing

    If you have already taken the med for 3 months and have not noticed ill effects, I don't personally see the need to change things now (and I am not an expert, just a mom), especially if the medication has helped you?

    I did find this on Dr. Thomas Hales' site: http://66.230.33.248/discus/messages...tml?1085171483

    Just to relate an experience: My best friend has lupus and her doc rx'd her a med and told her "You must stop bfing your 1 month old as this med can cause blindness." She freaked out, tried to wean, but delayed taking the meds her body needed because it was so hard to wean her baby. She contacted a LLL Leader who was able to read her what Dr. Hale said in Medications and Mother's Milk about that medication -- according to his research, that med was okay for breastfeeding moms. She had a hard time believing a LLL Leader over her regular doctor. In that time her insurance changed and she had to see a different doc. The first words out of this new doc's mouth were, "Oh, you CAN breastfeed on that medication."

    Often docs don't know where to get the most current evidence-based findings. And the medication causing blindness? Well, in studies where puppies were given super-human doses of the medication, yes, some went blind. You never know what the studies docs are getting their info were really all about.

    This is what Dr. Hale says about the sleepiness:
    It apparently has induced at least one case of severe somnolence and sedation in one infant. In one mother taking 200 mg AM and 100 mg PM the 9 week old infant(premature) was admitted for drowsiness, lethary and failure to thrive. It appears that about 1.2% of the mothers dose transfers to the infant.
    So they know in one baby it caused severe sleepiness (and this was a newborn who relied solely on mom for all its nutritional needs; not a 7 month old who is probably eating other things?).

    If this medication has been working for you, and you are a better parent because of it, that counts for something. Another thing to consider, some infants grow out of that sleepy newborn stage and they don't take regular naps (some are sleepers, some aren't, in my opinion). It's hard to tell why they do the things they do and what causes them. It could have been a reaction to teething and then grown to a schedule change from there.

    I am not much help I realize, lol, because after all that I am still going to say to trust your mommy-instinct! You know best for you and your baby. I just wanted to give you a bit of info on both sides. You may want to call a local leader and see if she has the information from Medications and Mother's Milk; you could also try a local pharmacy.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: PPD Drugs & Nursing

    I can't be of much help since I wasn't diagnosed until after my son was weaned, I just wanted to offer you my support. It isn't easy dealing with depression/bipolar and children, but it is worth looking to you health for them. They are first most in my mind when things are bad.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: PPD Drugs & Nursing

    I have to agree with Jebs on this one. Please consider getting another opinion. Some doctors just don't understand the importance of nursing your baby and won't take your desire to nurse into account when making treatment recommendations. If you cannot find a doctor (psych. or ped.) who will work with you to find the safest, most effective treatment for your condition, LLL can provide you with all the information you need to help your doctor prescribe treatment which is appropriate for breastfeeding. LLL leaders have access to a professional liaison department which can find references in medical literature to help you. I will not elaborate further because I am not qualified to do so, but I have seen plenty of resources on antidepressants and breastfeeding, so rest assured that help is available. Hang in there! P.S. I have suffered w/ depression for 20 years now, and breastfeeding my babies was essential to my ability to cope with new motherhood, as well as being a wonderful source of pleasure and increased self esteem. Please let us know how you get on.

  5. #5
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    Exclamation Re: PPD Drugs & Nursing

    I have gone through exactly the same thing you are going through. I gave up on Zoloft (setraline) which is an SSRI. I started taking it for anxiety at 6 days postpartum and continued for about 3 months with only worsening symptoms every time I upped the dose. Basically it made me psychotic. There are no studies on safety of these meds long-term and very little study of infants. Some studies showed that no detectable amounts were present in the baby's blood if the mom used the meds while nursing, others at trace amounts, but these were at lower doses. But also you have to know that the blood levels of antidepressants are not the same as brain levels. The brain holds 100 times more of the drug than the blood. Some doctors recommend weaning to take the drug, others recommend continuing nursing while taking it, I recommend nursing and not taking it. For me personally I found the drug to be incredibly harmful to my mood and thoughts.

    Withdrawal is scary, but you can get through it. The only way is to cut back on the dose gradually over a period of a few weeks or months. You can get info on that at www.drugawareness.org, or www.breggin.com. Get help from an alternative health doctor and a therapist, not a psychiatrist. All they do is push drugs on you and don't look at any other ways of helping you.

    Also you might want to have your thyroid tested. Oftentimes postpartum thyroiditis masks as PPD and docs don't check for it. I had to armwrestle my doc to test my blood for it, now I go to an endocrinologist regularly to make sure my thyroid is ok.

    Please send me an email or private message, or go to my website at www.chaada.org and read my story on the message board (Docs blame PPD for horrible effects of Zoloft). You can also go to www.breggin.com or www.drugawareness.org. I hope you find this information useful, and if you need help and support I would be glad to help you more! I have been through what I consider to be far worse than PPD at the hands of irresponsible docs and dangerous meds. Also there was a study in Discover that showed that infant rats fed prozac developed lifelong anxiety and depression. I sometimes worry that my son will have anxiety, since he already shows some signs of extreme separation anxiety, but it is really too early to tell. Other than that he is still very smart and happy.

    These drugs are not safe!
    Last edited by amyphilo; January 27th, 2006 at 10:43 AM. Reason: added withdrawal tip

  6. #6
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    Default Re: PPD Drugs & Nursing

    P.S. I got the same message from the docs when I was on Zoloft - that the only side effects to the baby would be sleepiness. However, if you think about it, that makes no sense whatsoever. The medication passes into human milk, so the baby is getting the medication, not just a sedative. If the only side effect is sleepiness, then I suppose the only side effect an adult taking it would need to be informed of is sleepiness. Just read the label and you will see that there are many more "side effects" or, really main effects of the meds. So whatever is happening to you could be occurring with your baby, to the extent that the effects could affect a baby (I doubt a baby could have images of suicide, but could easily have hallucinations even though the baby wouldn't really know that is anything different from normal!).

  7. #7
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    Default Re: PPD Drugs & Nursing

    Quote Originally Posted by jackwoman
    I've been taking Nefrazodone (generic for Serzone) for three+ months now. My psychiatrist is prescribing 300 mg a day for PPD. He told me that the only side effect would be that the infant could be drowsy and to keep an eye on him. Caden (7mos) has not had any issues with being drowsy but has stopped sleeping more or less within the last two months-since they up'd my dosage again. I called the Ped. today to see if there could be any relation and they informed me that Serzone is a #4 on a scale from 0-5 and five being the most dangerous to take while bfing.

    That being said, I have called my doctor and left a message. I'm just at a loss at this point. I don't want to stop nursing. I'm afraid of what may happen if if I stop anti-depressants all together. I know I cannot afford to take Serzone anymore. I'm worried that I have caused serious harm to Caden by taking this for three months.

    Any wisdom, advice or links are greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks,
    Heather

    Edited to add: I read the note from LLL and understand no one can give me advice on medication. I'm really seeking any experience other mothers have had with the drug or PPD in general. Just looking for support
    One of the effects of antidepressants is insomnia. This could explain the insomnia in your son. Also what it really is is REM sleep deprivation, which is really nasty.

    The fact that your ped. said it is a 4 on a scale of 5 in terms of danger should alert you that it would not be safe for you or the baby.

    Don't stop nursing, just stop using the med.

    Weaning can cause or worsen depression in and of itself.

    Also studies show that antidepressants actually worsen depression long term, so you don't really want to stay on it much longer anyway.
    They seem to work for some people at first, but usually end up causing "relapse" aka drug-induced depression. 60% plus had relapses in the 10 month follow up for medication and medication plus exercise groups compared to 20 something percent in the exercise only groups. If you want the link to the study I will go find it and post it.

    Exercise works wonderfully well for treating depression.

    The main side effect listed on the original Prozac label was depression, but it got removed from the label before marketing because an exec didn't want it on there!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Default Re: PPD Drugs & Nursing

    Please do not post medical advice on this forum.

    It is certain that this topic is a sensitive one, and there will be many differing experiences and opinions.

    As always, all board users should take what works for you and your family, and leave the rest!
    Last edited by LLL_Jolie; January 28th, 2006 at 06:22 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: PPD Drugs & Nursing

    You might find these resources helpful:
    http://www.kellymom.com/health/meds/...hale10-02.html
    http://www.kellymom.com/ppd/index.html
    http://www.kellymom.com/ppd/ppd-treatment.html

    I have no suggestions re: Serzone. But, I would suggest that you get in contact with an IBCLC. She can guide you through the maze of information and lead you to resources that are truly helpful for *your* situation. I would also suggest you contact your nearest LLL Leader for info and support!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: PPD Drugs & Nursing

    http://www.psychosomaticmedicine.org.../full/62/5/633

    When I was going through postpartum issues (exacerbated by postpartum thyroiditis & masked by drug- induced psychosis) I found counseling to be incredibly helpful. I learned relaxation techniques, and I also read some books that expanded on that - one is Anxiety & Panic Attacks by Robert Handly, another is Feeling Good by David D. Burns, also How Long Till My Soul Gets it Right by Robert & Jane Alter.

    I can't express enough how you should GET YOUR THYROID TESTED ASAP!

    The KelllyMom links to alternative treatments is helpful, but all of the information in the Thomas Hale link does not address the potential for the harm the drugs can do. In fact, it pretends that moms who go through PPD are suffering some chemical brain imbalance only corrected by SSRI drugs.

    There are all sorts of underlying medical problems that can mask as depression. Please see http://www.chaada.org/Depression.html.
    PPD is legitimately related to estrogen plunges, vitamin & nutrient deficiencies, stress, high expectations, pressure, and adjustments, etc. The estrogen part is unavoidable and gets better as you return to normal. Nursing helps with the stress, reduces cortisol, and increases oxytocin which relaxes moms as well as increases bonding. One study showed that for the 15 minutes after a mom massaged her infant, she felt significant relief from depression.

    PPD is not a death sentence. It gets better and there are ways to help that do not involve dangerous ineffective and unproven mind altering drugs.

    In addition, Thomas Hale claims (likely he received this info from the pharmaceutical handouts) that SSRIs are not addictive, which is a big lie... I could go on! And on! And on!

    Weaning to take a drug is a bad idea.

    This is not to tell any mom what to do, but just FYI, if you rely on Hale's assessment of PPD and meds, then you are ignoring the fact of what these drugs have done to REAL PEOPLE like me. Dismissal of victims of these drugs is disgusting, and so is trying to stop people from helping each other. Please educate yourself about this topic with ALL THE INFORMATION you can get your hands on BEFORE you make a decision to start or continue drugs. ANd never ever stop taking the psych meds suddenly because that can cause HORRIBLE WITHDRAWAL (i.e. incredible depression, psychosis, blackouts) and even dangerous physical medical problems (severe hypoglycemia, etc.) (I think even seizures).

    I am so disgusted and I will never consult Hale's book for anything related to this topic. I look forward to the day when the true information about these meds gets published in all PDRs and pharmaceutical companies have to admit what they are hiding from all of us. You can also go to the FDA website and request copies of all the adverse event reports filed on a specific drug to see for yourself if you don't believe the label, the PDR, the Thomas Hale article, or whatever.

    Please consider alternative, SAFE treatments like nutrition, exercise, vitamins, and counseling.!!!!! There are women who have been through this that you can talk to for support, you can email me if you need someone to talk to!

    www.chaada.org
    www.drugawareness.org
    www.breggin.com

    email:
    amy@chaada.org

    Have a nice day.

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