Day: June 18, 2009

  • Librax withdrawal, are we having fun yet?


    I guess it's about time for one of those 'where am I now' posts.  Besides discovering BLATOs (BLT with avocado and onion), renewing my out of county library card (50 bucks), and cruising the farmers market, I'm on the roller coaster from hell.   
    Yep, getting off another medication, and doing it all wrong.  When doctors and pharmacists blow you off for 20 years with "it's a safe drug" and "you're on a very low dose", and then the FDA gets involved and your insurance company stops paying and you're suddenly stuck with paying double for half as much, you sorta take stock and make a few decisions.
    Such as, Hey, I'll just chop the dose in half.  The doctor says ok, be careful, here, take some xanax while you're at it to help you get off it.  Xanax?  I don't understand.  I *don't like* xanax.
    So, I didn't take the xanax.  And I didn't stick to the plan.  I started having some really bizarre off the wall crazy withdrawal problems and freaked out, decided to get off the medication all together.
    NOT a good change of plan.
    Common sense says that once something's out of your system, you're home free, right?  WRONG.
    Probably need to insert here that I was diagnosed with lupus and severe fibro 20 years ago, have minor complications that are slowly grinding my life to a crawl, and since I finally had to quit work in '06 I have been on a quest to better myself via healthiness.  In doing so I've gotten off handfuls of meds and see very little difference now in my quality of life for doing so, even though 20 years ago they probably saved my life at onset.  I feel I've been extremely lucky not to have ever been hospitalized, but I think my doctors would see it more as me being extremely stubborn.
    And my stubbornness is doing me in this time.  I finally spent a really bad night on search engines, after a realization dawned that I might still be in some kind of weird withdrawal.  Guess what.  It's called "protracted withdrawal".  I got through the profuse sweating and severe bloating, got through the days-long uber intense migraine, got through the blood pressure drops and spikes (everything from 96/64 to 150/95, very unusual for me since I'm on a very stable BP pill), got through the weird pain spikes down my back and legs and around my neck and shoulders, even got through the freaky bug crawling all over me sensations, and the stinging and biting sensations that made me jump outa my sox.  I got through ALL that.  But-- it wasn't ~going away~...
    The stuff I found on search engines convinced me to get back to a doctor.  The withdrawal can go on for months because the brain receptors have been changed, and there is even danger of seizures for some people, and no way to tell if and when and who.  Egads.
    By now some of you are going Geez, what medication was this???  I'm sure a lot of you out there are using Librax for various digestive problems associated with all kinds of illness and disorders.  I was only doing two pills a day.  How in the world could getting off that stuff be so traumatic?
    An ingredient in Librax is chlordiazepoxide, which is in the benzodiapezine family.  Xanax happens to be in that family, too.  I didn't know this stuff until I read about it.
    So, it's gonna be a long summer.  The doctor I saw yesterday convinced me to step up the xanax (0.25, smallest dose), of which I was taking only half a day, to taking it 3 times a day.  I was commanded to take the whole pill each time.  I have severe pill phobia after so many years of med reactions and withdrawals, so I've compromised, and I'm taking a half xanax 3 times a day.
    Even that small amount is amazing.  Withdrawal symptoms were slashed almost immediately.  Still courting the headache, so I have a feeling I'll increase the xanax a little more if I can't handle it, but at least I'm not on the edge of my seat ready to head to the ER any more.
    Another withdrawal problem I'll have to watch are body temp regulation problems, i.e. the possibility of heat stroke (heat index this week is 98).  From what I read in those links, withdrawal can last anywhere from 3-6 months, or even up to a year for some people, regardless of whether the dose was low and how short a time a person may have been on it.  The key to all this is brain receptors.  They don't automatically reset back to default just because the medication is out of the system.  Some people's receptors are never able to reset back, and they are dependent on controlled addiction all their lives.
    I hate pills.  I have always hated pills.  This one pill was my last standby, the one that always got me through no matter how bad anything else was.  I had severe IBS (related to the lupus and fibro) in my 20's, more controlled in my 30's, and now in my 40's I've figured out what triggers it, so I'm not having a problem with wanting to be off this pill.  No doctor or pharmacist EVER told me this pill would be a problem and a real bitch to deal with if I ever wanted off it.  Not even the printout says "This medication will change your brain receptors and will require very careful medical supervision if you ever stop taking it."  I have had more pain and physical problems trying to get off this medication than ~anything~ the lupus and fibro ever dished out.  Although it was a godsend at the time I needed it most, I really really wish someone had sat down with me and discussed the consequences of taking this pill.
    So to everybody out there with digestive problems, this is what I've learned, and hopefully you won't go through what I'm going through.
    I'm not lactose intolerant, nor do I have celiac disease, or many other problems related to digestion.  I was checked for cancer as a baby, had ulcerative colitis by the time I was 6, and have spent my entire life in severe digestive pain.  I've learned what triggers it and how to avoid it.
    These things are bad for me and make it worse.  Gum, mint, chocolate, cinnamon, 'hot' spices, raw fiber, raw dough of any kind (even cookie dough ice cream), anything with high fructose corn syrup, soda pop of ANY kind, coffee, alcohol, smoking, too much hidden salt, pastries, too many vegetables, fruit juice of ANY kind, citrus in any form, some herbal teas, rich dinners in restaurants, big salads, I think you're getting the picture.
    I have an easier time if I eat a very wide variety of foods and rotate them.  For instance, one meal very plain and bland in between other meals, never repeat a tomato or tomato product two meals in a row, home cooking so I can control the ingredients, limited sugar and salt, vegetables cooked soft, limit meat to smaller portions and keep the meat simple, i.e. a steak is preferable to meatloaf, fry foods in canola or olive oil, avoid orange juice and lemon pie all together, don't snack all day long so my stomach can rest, eat smaller portions and do 4 small meals a day...  Sorta like putting the Mediterranean diet, diabetic diet, cancer diet, and several other diets all together.  It's like the closer the food you eat is to the farm, the easier time your stomach will have with it, as long as you don't pile it in till you're stuffed and remember to rotate a variety through all the time.  Like, don't eat rice 3 meals in a row.
    I've never known why I have all these digestive problems, but they could be related to having Asperger's, and they could also be related to being a CF carrier.  No one else in my family seems to have digestive problems like this.  I've had many tests, all negative, they keep saying all my tissues are very healthy, so I guess the hypersensitivity and pain are just something I have to live with.  I guess IBS problems are fairly common, there seem to be a lot of people out there dealing with stuff like this, including medication problems, so I hope this post is helpful.
    :edit: 6-19-09
    I will be looking into high salicylate foods.  Got this message, and I think it will be very helpful.

    If you haven't done so already, you might really benefit from checking out alienrobotgirl's blog and giant collection of information at the Plant Poisons and Rotten Stuff site (not on xanga, but a quick google search should turn it up). She's been exploring the connections between food intolerance (your list really does look like a salicylate-intolerant's nightmare), fibromyalgia, autism-spectrum disorders, and thyroid, among other things. She herself is an aspie with fibromyalgia and multiple food intolerances, thus her interest in the topic.

    If anyone else is looking for more info and interaction on this, there is a post at Tomato Sauce Makes Me High | autisable  Hope this helps anyone else who is having similar problems to mine.
    Ok, other 'where am I now' stuff.  My closest video store doesn't have Sliders for rent at all.  I'm going to call around, and if I can't find one within 30 miles, then I'll dig through my old VHS tapes and watch what I've got.  Can't afford to buy the series at Best Buy, so that'll have to do.

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I've started transferring my survey posts over to Surveypalooza so people coming in from search engines on mobile devices will be able to see the surveys.


Apologies for the missing vids, another upgrade during the server migration swept through like a scan sweeping through the Enterprise. I'll fix those later, kinda busy...

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