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Thursday, March 31, 2011 Jackie, Community Member, asks

Q: Is It Safe To Take Valerian Root With Citalopram?

Hi there, I have been prescribed 10mg of Citalopram to help with "Adjustment Disorder" and "G.A.D." I also get bouts of depression. I have also been prescribed Propranolol, 80mg (beta blocker I believe?) is this ok to take if there are "big" bouts of anxiety, ie as and when needed? I don't want to be on too much of a coctail and want to know that what I am feeling is actually me and not some side effect. As someone who would much rather use natural methods, I was wondering if it would be safe to take Valerian tincture in the evening to help with rest and sleep, whilst taking Citalopram? Many thanks for your help, Jackie
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Answers (3)
Merely Me, Health Guide
4/ 4/11 4:41pm

Hi Jackie

 

I have been meaning to answer your question for some time.  I think what you are really asking for is a little emotional support in making such decisions and we want to give that to you.  I am going to respond more fully later but did want to say that Paul is absolutely right to advise you to speak with your doctor and let him or her know what all you are taking or plan to take.  That way they have this vital information on your medical chart. 

 

Just real quick...I am all about taking supplements but one thing you should know is that supplements are not FDA regulated...they sometimes contain unatural fillers and sometimes even harmful ingredients.  Just because it says "natural" doesn't mean a thing.  You can experience adverse reactions from supplements and you can also experience harmful reactions between certain supplements and prescription medications. 

 

I will be back to respond more fully...this is such an important topic.  And I want to make sure that you get some support for what you are going through.

 

Hang in there. 

Reply
Jackie, Community Member
4/ 5/11 3:29am
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Thank you so much.  I'm a little over-whelmed and so touched by the response!  When I read your comment about "emotional support", I cried!  I really thought I was losing it the other day, my thoughts going crazy, a panic attack (first and hopefully last one) feeling like my whole life was out of control. 

 

Was it Maslow who talked about the "hierarchy of needs?" when we don't have our basic needs met, we don't feel safe and secure mentally, psychologically and emotionally.  I think I've looked to get these needs met in other people, but probably not the right people and probably not in a healthy way. 

 

Yes, I'm very aware of some of the supplements around.  I opt for the better quality ones, such as Solgar.  Also, omega oils are really important, plus "green powders"...spirulina, green barley grass, etc.  In fact, I think, through a very healthy diet, organic where possible, it can be much better for us than anti-depressants, etc. I know anti-depressants have their place and can really be of benefit to some people.

 

It's very confusing "out there", I think it's why people were healthier during the wars.  There simply wasn't the choice there is now, there was more community spirit, no processed foods, no computers/mobiles/gadgets. 

 

When I get distressed, lonely, stuck, all that unhealthy, negative emotional stuff, I don't look after myself. 

 

I live in a very isolated place, I moved back in with my parents (as a temporary thing 3 years ago!, but somehow, seem to have got "stuck") and haven't got the energy or inspiration or knowledge on how to "move forwards".  People have told me that many different things, I don't know who to listen to anymore.  My folks are retired academics who don't do talking about feelings, hugs, support...that's not a criticism, just how they are.  I have a feeling my Mum has Aspergers Syndrome which would explain why we have never formed a healthy bond. Due to this, I've realised, when someone listens (I think the longest conversation I've had with my Mum was probably 3 minutes long) I then open up and pour out everything, then feel very "raw".

 

I can tell I'm too stressed as I seem to have "tight" headaches, spots and my eczema has erupted on my arms.  This probably means my liver is stressed (I believe it holds emotional things and then affects the skin) 

 

It's ironic as I feel painfully lonely (when I'm emotionally stable, people have commented on how bubbly, confident, warm and loving I am) but I tend to isolate myself as I don't want people to see the needy, hurting, lonely, crying, lost Jackie.  People want to help, they want to give advice...so many have said why don't you move...the sad thing is, I'm scared!  Petrified. I've scared off people with my emotions and am too scared to find new people.  Moving is such a stressful thing, I would love a holiday, a breather from being in my folks "space", away from everything, somewhere safe and nurturing, with lots of raw/living foods, massage, but I can't even decide where to go.  When your mind is busy and emotions are raw, you feel tired, making even the simplest decision feels painfully difficult.

 

I'm widowed (in 2000) and people say I'm like I am because it was such a tragic thing to go through and yes, it was, but, I don't really know who I am.  I think I spent so many years trying to please everyone to be liked, accepted, etc that I'm not sure how I feel, what I like.

 

Crumbs, sorry, I've rambled on here.  I've kind of typed out my thoughts and am too tired to formulate them and summarise them...thank you for reading and "being there".  What started as a simple question about Valarian has almost become a book!

 

Thank you, Jackie

 

Ps I wrote this last night and then this morning, I've woken up with so much aggitation/anxiety, no plans, needing a break....spiralling out of control and wanting a hug so much.

 

 

 

Reply
Merely Me, Health Guide
4/ 5/11 4:42pm

Hey Jackie

 

(((Jackie)))  Hugs!

 

Been wondering how you are doing.  Yes isn't it something...many people come on with certain questions and I can usually read between the lines to know that there is something more to the question than meets the eye.  I am glad you have opened up here.  You are going through a lot and I hope you can find some good support here.  I would encourage you to write a sharepost...and talk about some of these things and hopefully other members can chime in.

 

Wanted to first ask...are you getting any sort of therapy?  If not...now may be the time.  It is wonderful to have a place to go to talk about all this stuff.  In addition to talking...you also get to work on addressing the issues you are raising.

 

Your original question about the meds...sometimes we get to a place in our life when we need a little help.  There is nothing wrong with this.  It just is.  Medication can sometimes help get you over the bump if you will.  Sometimes the bump is huge and...you need more time.  It has been my personal experience that in some cases medication for either anxiety or depression saves a life.  You never want to reach that point where you are not functional.  The longer you allow depression or anxiety to go on untreated...the more entrenched it can get.  Despite what some people think...you can't always just pick yourself up by your bootstraps. 

 

So you may want to consider taking medication for the short term and just see if it helps.  The pharma companies have so many warnings for their products that it can frighten you.  But most people are not going to experience all these side effects.  I was reluctant to take medication for some of my symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.  I read in detail about a drug called Baclofen and it had so many warnings that I became scared to even think about taking it.  What helped was...going on-line to Health Central's MS site and hearing what people had to say who were actually taking this drug.  And many things were pointed out to me that I did not know such as...some of the scary side effects were for more associated with high doses.  I finally decided to take it and...I am wondering now...why didn't I try this sooner?  I don't have spasms now or restless leg syndrome now.  I think my MS more than anything has made me less fearful of medications. 

 

Here is information we have about Inderal (PROPRANOLOL).  I have no experience with this particular drug.  It appears to be used for multiple purposes and can help some people with high blood pressure.  It may be like what my son had tried...Clonidine...also a blood pressure drug used off label for treating anxiety. 

 

Celexa or Citalopram is an antidepressant but it also helps with anxiety.  Here is our Member Medication Review on Celexa.  I do have some personal experience with this medication...my son is taking this drug and I have a good friend who is taking it.  I have not taken it myself.  It is working wonders for my son and what my friend said about her experience is that it is one antidepressant which took care of her anxiety as well as her depression. 

 

There are clearly side effects to both of these drugs...it seems that your doctor is starting you on a low dose.  Personally I would be more comfortable starting just one medication at a low dose and then seeing what it does and then adding another one if the celexa doesn't work in 8 weeks.  That way you know what is doing what. But this is just what I would do for me...you and your doctor have to decide what is right for you.

 

Here is some information on Valerian.  I would be extremely cautious about using this in addition to your other medications especially the Inderal as you may be increasing possible side effects such as drowsiness or dizziness. 

 

Again...I want to state...I am not a doctor or a medical professional.  You absolutely need to talk about all this with your doctor.

 

These are your choices and nobody can make them for you.  Remember that you are always in control. Medication is but one tool in our arsenal to combat the symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.  You can decide to take it or not. 

 

Please do keep writing and know that we are here for you...in this limited capacity.  I am not usually writing novels either...in response to questions as there are too many but you seem to really be reaching out and I wanted to make sure that you were heard. 

 

Let us know what happens...we want to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

Reply
CIG, Community Member
3/31/11 3:34pm

No.

 

Valerian appears to be, relatively, "safe". An adverse interaction, with Citalopram, is unlikely. An adverse interaction, with propranolol, is possible. Likelihood would depend on the individual and doses.

 

Valerian can cause problems if it's used in high doses, for extended periods and/or with depressants; benzodiazepines, opiates, barbiturates, alcohol et cetera.

 

Neither Citalopram nor propranolol are "safe".

Reply
Jackie, Community Member
3/31/11 4:37pm

Thank you very much for your helpful answer.  I have one query....when you say "neither Citalopram nor Propranolol are "safe" what do you mean exactly?

 

Many thanks again, Jackie

Reply
CIG, Community Member
4/ 4/11 12:28pm

Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Propranolol is a beta blocker. Both classes, of drug, have numerous, potential adverse effects; some life threatening. These are listed on numerous reference sites, which can be found searching, on Google or whatever, for: "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor" OR "beta blocker" AND "adverse effects". SSRI's, in particular, haven't been well-studied and their actions/effects aren't, entirely, known or, completely, understood, as a result.

 

I agree, with Paul, that your doctor(s) need to know what OTC medications and supplements, you're taking; also, that your pharmacist can be of great help. I disagree that "it's better if you ask your doctor". In a perfect world, all doctors would research medications and have extensive knowledge, of them, prior to prescribing. In the world we live in, many doctors rely on what they're told, by pharmaceutical companies.

 

No doctor or pharmacist knows everything, about every drug, or is perfect. Doctors and pharmacists make mistakes and patients die or their conditions worsen, as a result. It's "better", I think, if you do your own research, determine the potential risks, discuss any concerns with your doctor and pharmacist; then, decide if the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Reply
Paul, Community Member
4/ 1/11 4:02pm

I really think you should check with a doctor, preferably the one who has prescribed your drugs. They need to know of any new substance claiming medicinal qualities, which you begin using, along with your prescribed drugs. Sometimes your pharmacist can be of great help too.

 

It's better if you ask your doctor, or doctors, they need to know what you are taking along with what they prescribe, so they can advise you of any harmful effects, or possible reactions. It's why they ask when you come in, if you are taking any new medications.

 

In the end, it's up to us what we take, but the doctors should be made aware and given a chance to help.

Reply
Jackie, Community Member
4/ 4/11 4:15pm

Many thanks to both of you. I really appreciate the feedback.

 

I think if I had to speak to a doctor about every new thing or supplement, etc I'd be there all the time! 

 

I haven't started the Citalopram or Propranolol yet....I'm still taking 7.5g of Mirtazapine and my doctor didn't say whether I was supposed to wean off that first.  When I spoke with my doctor last, I got upset and then couldn't process what he was telling me properly.

 

I would much rather be on "natural things" 5htp, correct vitamins, etc and then if I'm anxious or aggitated, etc, at least I know it's me and not a side effect.  I read the side effects on the leaflets enclosed with the medications and I know they have to list every possible ever effect that's happened, it's just horrific.  I don't have a partner or supportive family who can soothe/comfort/listen/talk through things.

 

I really want to make some lifestyle changes as I know if I'm isolated for long periods of time or can't "hear or see" another person, I get quite stressed.  I think most people would.  I've realised it's so important to have support when making changes and trying to "go it alone" isn't easy.

 

Thank you once again.

 

Jackie

Reply
Paul, Community Member
4/ 4/11 5:28pm

Thanks Jackie. You can come to this site any time you want and write. It's not the same as having someone next to you, but it's the next best thing. I am well aware of the, "alone feeling." There are good people who have had a lot of experience who will help, if they can. I hope you stay and write some shareposts. You are a good writer.

 

Here are afew of posts which Merely Me, a writer and the community leader for this site has written in the past about natural substances. She says SAM-e has helped her a lot, and the comments which members here did to each article are very useful, I think. There is a lot of information here, not seen. You kind of have to search for a term and see what is here.

 

I'm not crazy about taking anything, you are right about the warnings.

 

Anyway, these are well worth reading, hope they help, hope you stick around:

 

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Natural Alternatives for Treating Depression: Part One

 

Treating Depression with Natural Supplements: SAM-e and 5-HTP

 

My Experience Taking SAM-e

 

even a bit of, tongue-in-cheek, article: Can You Imagine a World with No Antidepressants?

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Paul, Community Member
4/ 4/11 5:30pm

Sorry, I know I shouldn't copy and paste from certain places, but I did, and this is the result. The links are still good though.

Perhaps the community leader will fix my mess later! 

Reply
Jackie, Community Member
4/ 4/11 5:52pm

Thanks Paul...I shall take a look at some of those links.  Bless you, it did make me laugh when I saw "the mess", thank you again.

 

Jackie

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We hope you find this general health information helpful. Please note however, that this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. No information in the Answers above is intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The views expressed in the Answers above belong to the individuals who posted them and do not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media. Remedy Health Media does not review or edit content posted by our community members, but reserves the right to remove any material it deems inappropriate.

By Jackie, Community Member— Last Modified: 07/13/13, First Published: 03/31/11