Can Prozac Change Your Personality? — (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

SSRI Ed note: Woman given Zoloft Paxil, Xanax, becomes anxious, shaky, unable to sleep, believes drugs are helping her but sister finds it hard to be around her.

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Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)

December 20, 1995

Author: Dr. Joe Graedon

Q: My sister was recently put on Prozac for PMS and depression. She was originally on Zoloft and then Paxil, but these drugs made her anxious, shaky and unable to sleep. The doctor also has her on Xanax at bedtime to calm her down.

I think she has been acting weird ever since she started with these drugs. Whenever we get together she seems hyper and she makes me nervous just being around her.

She maintains that her life has improved dramatically and she can’t manage without these medications. Can Prozac and Xanax change someone’s personality this way?

A: Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline) may all produce anxiety, restlessness, manic episodes, tremor, sexual difficulties and sleeping problems. On the other hand, they are effective antidepressants for many people. It is hard to predict in advance who will benefit and who will suffer.

Balancing the advantages of such drugs against the adverse effects can be tricky. Xanax (alprazolam) can calm people down and even help them fall asleep. But it, too, may produce psychological side effects, including difficulty concentrating, memory problems and daytime anxiety. Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely unpleasant.

Copyright (c) 1995 Sarasota Herald-Tribune