The drugs REALLY don’t work

Six (I think) days ago, I was prescribed Celebrex/Celecoxib for my joint pain. Today, I’ve decided to take myself off it, after another sleepless night and a sudden explosion of anxiety, panic, worry, depression and something I can only describe as bordering on psychosis. I’ve had a constant stomach upset, heartburn, swellings all over my body, headaches, vision problems, nightmares, endless sweating, nausea, worse than usual fatigue and a total inability to function. The last few days have been spent almost entirely in bed, alternating between crying and feeling absolutely nothing. I’ve shouted and screamed at my mother for no reason. As I type, I’m rocking back and forth, trying to calm the irrational fear and expend the ridiculous amount of energy I have stored in my  body. I’m too exhausted to make use of the energy – which feels like I’ve overdosed on E without the happy side-effect – and nothing I see or hear makes sense.

Having finally let myself Google personal accounts from people who’ve taken it, I’ve realised that everything I’m feeling can be attributed to the medication. I don’t care that it was starting to help a little with the pain; if I have  to choose between relative sanity and painful joints, I’ll take the sanity please.

Of course, my mother will insist that I get yet another appointment with my GP to discuss it. However, I think if I have to walk into that waiting room one more time, I’ll snap entirely. I’ve been trying so hard to keep my shit together recently, and I don’t want to end up undoing all the hard work. Plus… I don’t think I can face yet another medication which probably won’t work, and might end up making me feel worse. Perhaps I can make it until April (when I’m seeing a rheumatology specialist) and just deal with the pain.

Six days is all it’s taken for me to become a quivering, sweating, angry wreck. I want to punch myself in the face; as barmy as I can be, that’s not normal. The only thing stopping me is knowing I’d have to explain the bruising. It’s difficult to make excuses for an injury when you’ve been bedbound for days.

This is never going to get better, is it? Life’s never going to get better.


    • I feel the same way. Most of these medications are far too dangerous for human consumption. I recently weaned myself off of Gabapentin, an anti-convulsant I was placed on to help me with my depression and suicidal ideations. This shit gave me tremors and I became so scared I stopped taking it. Besides having side effects for two weeks, I am fine. I do not have any mood swings or anything. I don’t regret my decision at all.


  1. Oh sister …I’ve been there…
    I loathe having to go to one more doctor’s appointment, to be given one more legal poison to try…to see if THIS one’s side effects will be small enough, and it might actually do what they say it will, even if only a little!!! ANNNNDDD….nope.


  2. I know its hard to believe, even from me since all i am anymore is depressed. But life will get better. You and a few others have helped my life get better. Everytime you post and long for change in your life we are always here to listen. If i could do more to help with the pain or make life feel better for you i would. But all i can do at the moment is write for you and all those who read my writings and those whom i read. Know that i do care you are in pain…. maybe something you read on here will help you feel a little better in life.

    Maybe this post will help…maybe..


  3. My dear sister in pain. I am so sorry this med has you feeling so strung out emotionally. There is hope. I promise. Everything I want to say comes out really lame and minimizing and I in no way want you to feel that. I know the pain takes over everything, not allowing you to focus on anything else. Be as gentle with yourself as possible. You are not alone even though times may feel like it.

    If its the pain that needs first needs to be addressed there are less toxic pain medications that have been used for thousands of years. Opium based pain meds tend to get a really bad rap as some of our govermnents choose to use illicit RX drug use as the platform to fight the drug war. There is something morally wrong when drugs to treat a condition are being prescribed that are tending big Pharma’s agenda.

    Hang in there Luv.


  4. I don’t know Halfway. I am not as ill as you but going through the whole meds not working thing. I wonder everyday will I get better and at what cost. I’ve already lost my hair, parts of my vision and I can no longer go in the sun from just the meds. I know what it’s like and I feel you. Maybe you will get lucky and find the right doctor. I really hope so. I wish you the best and thank you for sharing. Be strong Halfway, we can beat this shit somehow.


  5. Lyrica has worked almost life-changing well for me (at least for a year that is). But only in really high dosages. I mean, every medicine works different on different people, but it might be worth a try. My ex-boyfriend is a rheumathologist and he said, that while there is some potential for addiction (the urge to raise the dosage – which I could withstand and I am quite an addict in nature – but no withdrawal symptoms), a lot of Fibro-people are really pleased with the effect.


  6. Obviously, the Celebrex isn’t the correct drug you need. You probably shouldn’t have just taken yourself off it cold turkey. Some meds require you stop taking them gradually. It’s too much of a shock to the system.
    I know going to the GP isn’t your cup of tea, but he does need to know what is going on. Be firm with him, insistent and keep asking questions. I have a friend in the UK ( I think I mentioned her to you) that has CFS and it took several doctors to finally come to a diagnosis for her. She’s finally on some meds that agree with her. But she had to scream and yell to get them to listen to her. That it wasn’t in her head–the pain, fatigue, depression…etc. I know of a couple other cases as well where the doctors just poo pooed the patient. I’m not sure NHS is really the way to go. They’re trying to push it here in the states. I’m not for it.
    Yes, it will get better. You need to get the correct medication and a doctor who will listen to you and take you seriously! If the meds aren’t agreeing with you (and it does happen) go back and tell him!


  7. I agree. Don’t take the Celebrex again. I took Celebrex and/or Vioxx for years and all it did was tear up my stomach, give me brain fog, anxiety, depression — and I still hurt like crazy. I’ve had far better luck with a VERY low dose hydrocortisone dose — only 10 mil. per day. My holistic doctor, who doesn’t believe it prescribing prescription drugs unless absolutely necessary, gave it to me. He said it is such a low dose that I shouldn’t have any negative effects — just pain relief. He’s right. My pain has been decreased by 80 percent!!!


  8. A friend took medication, had a terrible time with it………laying in bed terrible. It is so vital to have a doctor that listens,………..that is just to simple for what you are living through. Wanting you to get better. TerriO.A.


  9. I am so sorry to see you set so far back by a damned medication. You have been doing so well, and you will again, I know. I want to second the suggestion above about Lyrica — two friends of mine have each gotten on it, and the difference is quite astounding. Hang on until you feel well enough to see the GP again, and tell him in no uncertain terms that the Celebrex not only didn’t help, but did so much damage to your psyche. If this GP doesn’t listen this time, consider finding another GP. You can interview doctors before you choose, so you could avoid some of the sh*t this one has given you. Please, know that things will get better again — before you know it, you’ll be back where you were before all of this started. Sending you lots and lots of love. And Happy Valentine’s Day! 8-)


  10. When the side-effects out-weigh the benefits, you need to tell your GP and stop it. Could you arrange a telephone appointment instead of having to go in and see him? Then at least you don’t have to go in, apart from picking up a precription and I’m guessing they could probably pass that onto a pharmacy for you anyway.

    There’s always the possibility that the side-effects will go away after a few more days – but if you cannot face it then I don’t see why you should.

    Sending love & prayers.


  11. I’m sorry you are going through this. It makes me so angry that the only medications they offer to people with fibromyalgia have horrible side effects that are often worse than the condition they supposedly help. Then doctors don’t understand when we don’t want to take them! But life can get better. Many people do get better, sometimes through the right meds but often through eliminating certain foods, yoga or other lifestyle changes. Don’t give up – there is hope.


  12. This is the sad reality of drugs. They are nothing but experiments on our body. Then we find one that works and it often causes us to need another one to counter the side effects. Or, it only works for a period of time before more is needed or another drug entirely is necessary. Big money for the drug companies, a lot of frustration for us. A love hate relationship. I wish you well.


  13. I was on Savella for quite some time and over the period of 3 months I weaned myself off of it, because like you said, I’d rather have pain than problems with my mind. The meds made me terribly crazy, even cutting back didn’t help much. I was really scared to be completely off of it, but after a week of being completety done with it I felt much better. The pain is still there, but my whole body feels much different, a little better even. Having a mind that functions is the best of all. I’m much more fatigued with out the Savella, but I will take that over walking around in circles and not knowing left from right every hour of the day. I also still feel “electric shocks” from the withdraw at least once a day but think they will go away after more time (I hope anyway).
    I know the docs push for us to take meds, but we know our body’s best, and it was great that you paid attention. Good luck in whichever direction you choose to go towards next, and I hope you have a less difficult day with the withdraw.


  14. Thank you so much for posting this. I weaned myself off all my medications and I’ve also experienced side effects. I stopped taking it anyway because I was having tremors. I feel meds are unnatural to the human body and there are other alternatives, but the Drs. are not going to tell you that.

    I hope you feel better very soon.


  15. I completely. Understand. I have stopped most mess because they do nothing for the pain and only make the psych issues else. You are not alone in feeling I will never get better. Even those who really try to understand really don’t because they have not Bern there. Good luck.


  16. Hi! I am so glad to have found you today! I have been going through similar experiences for over 6 years now, and I have been at the end of my rope for about 5 of those 6 years. I am doing a few things–only in the past several weeks, with the help of a pain management specialist–and I am finally getting some relief. I have taken the max dose of Cymbalta for a year now, and that not only treats my joint pain, but also my depression and anxiety. I just added Seroquel, 50mg at night–that helps stabilize my mood, and it helps me sleep, too. I take a new pain management drug called Nucynta, 50mg every 8 hours, and that has made a big difference these past 3 weeks. My doc did a cervical epidural, but that did not work, so a few weeks ago, in the office, he gave me a shot to block my occipital nerve, and I have seen a big difference since that procedure. I experience severe, chronic migraines–pain where I am literally screaming that lasts for 3-4 days. This was the first month that I did not have to go to the ER because the occipital block decreased the severity of the migraine. I still had one, but significantly less pain. Next week, I will have another surgical procedure called a facet block. My doc isn’t sure which nerve is the most problematic, the facet or the occipital, so this is sort of an experiment. I have literally tried every form of treatment and therapy short of surgery, and so far, I have only found slightly temporary relief and no real results. Hope this helps! Let me know! :)


  17. I took Celebrex up till about a month ago, and I have to say, the side effects do go away, and it did help my pain for a few years before my body became immune to it. I’ve come off it because I don’t think it works anymore, and I keep putting on more and more weight, which hurts my joints.

    I’ve lived with Fibro since I was 18. I’m 35. There have been years of desperation, of depression and pain that seems like it is too much to bear. But. Eventually, you do settle out. You learn your limitations, the hours you’re at your best, the way to get the rest you need.

    It does get better. But it takes a while to get there. Hang in there.


  18. I hear you Halfway! I hate medications and I really, really hate the antidepressants. They all had side effects for me and it was just adding to the list of stuff I had to deal with. No way was I going to continue. I tried about a dozen different ones before quitting completely. Unfortunately, the alternative to medications is diet and exercise. Bummer! Changing my diet, eating properly and on a regular basis just hasn’t come together for me yet but I continue to try. Exercise is…well, what can I say?…the biggest pain in the ass EVER. I’ve never been someone that enjoys a team sport so that’s out. The gym? Forget that…gross smells and all those sweaty people…eewww! Then there are the millions of exercise dvd s which I will admit to buying a few only to have them watched and followed once then sit there and collect dust. I even took a Tai Chi classes, attended a few but stopped ’cause the instructor kept saying I had to slow down my movements…little did he know that was as slow as I can get:) Walking is boring if there is no destination. I’ll run if my life is in danger i.e. being chased by a bear… What to do, what to do? I’m not sure but I’m trying to think up some creative, interesting way to get it done.
    If you come up with something please let me know.
    BTW, you’ll have your ups and downs, and at times it will seem like there is no hope, you’ve been there before, on and on it goes. I now just go with it…during the better days, create lots of different projects…on the worse days, nap a lot. I try not to dwell on it, let my mind wander to where ever it wants to take me, thinking back to long ago memories and looking at the situation in a different way.
    Bottom line…let go of the guilt for everything that was beyond your control. You are not responsible for the circumstances that brought you to where you ended up. You ARE responsible for how you react to adverse conditions…and your responses CAN be changed. 100% can be changed. Keep on trying…you’ll get there. It’s not a fast process but it does move forward sometimes. Cling to that. Look at that and see why it moved forward. How you did it. How you felt when you did it. How to get that feeling again. It can all be done if you are willing to try.
    If you want any specific ideas on how to handle specific situations, I’d be more than happy to share what has and has not worked for me. You know, in your moments of “I’ll try just one more thing”.


  19. Pingback: You. Me. Us. Free… we’re alright, alright. « Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars

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