Friday, October 5, 2012

Drugs and stuff.

I wish I could say that the reason why I haven't posted anything in two months is because I've been busy, but that has not been the case. I was laid off two and a half months ago, and since I didn't have anything better to do at the time, decided to change up my crazy pill cocktail. This meant being weaned off of the three medications I had been taking so that I could start a new one without any negative drug interactions.

The weaning process took a month, and it was absolute hell. My depressive symptoms returned the second week, at which point I stopped being able to sleep on top of everything else. There really wasn't anything that could be done to relieve my symptoms, either, short of trying to find a sleep aid out there that I haven't already tried (it's a long list) that would be compatible with the new anti-depressant my doctor wanted to try once the weaning was over (a much shorter list). After the detox, there was the usual four to six week waiting period before the new drug would reach a therapeutic level. Fortunately, it's there now, and while the hunt for a new sleep aid continues, I'm back to being a mostly-functional human being.

The anti-depressant my doctor wanted to try is called Parnate, or tranylcypromine. It's in that scary class of drugs known as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, or MAOI. They've got a bad reputation in pop culture, and a bad reaction to an MAOI has been the cause of death in more than one episode of some crime drama or novel. There's also a wealth of bad information out there about this class of drugs, and what a person can and cannot ingest while taking one, and it makes them seem more dangerous than they actually are. Furthermore, I have to wonder if this bad reputation is the reason why I'm only trying a drug in this class now, after seven years of trying to treat my depression.

MAOIs work by inhibiting an enzyme called monoamine oxidase. Among other things, this enzyme aids in the metabolization of tyramine, a compound commonly found in food. If too much tyramine is ingested, it can lead to a hypertensive crisis-- high blood pressure, essentially. On TV, this means that if you eat a piece of cheese, you'll drop dead within minutes. In reality, though, this is unlikely, unless the person already has very high blood pressure. You might feel quite ill, and should probably seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of high blood pressure, but death is unlikely. Sorry to be the asshole to point out a medical inconsistency in CSI and the like. (I am not actually sorry.)

Anyway, now that my health is more stable, I hope to be updating this blog on a regular basis again.

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