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New meds... new side effects... what to do?
10 Replies
BrandyO - February 18

Hello friends..... I saw my neurologist on Feb 7th and she has now started me on Aricept for my memory and cognitive problems. I've been on it for almost two weeks now. I am extremely fatigued and my muscles ache so much more than usual. I don't know if getting worse is from the Aricept or what. Seems that each new medicine brings with it so many side effects. I am beginning to think I am better off with extreme fibro fog if the Aricept is the cause of my extreme fatigue and over the top muscle pain. I can't get a thing done because my energy has been sapped. I am really getting so frustrated. When my neurologist upped my Lexapro a few months ago I started getting very bad (suicidal) thoughts. I was so much more depressed. Seems strange that would happen considering Lexapro is a antidepressant. The same thing happened when she put me on Cymbalta a while back. So needless to say, I am back down to only 10 mg daily of the Lexapro. I'm about ready to give up. This fatigue is killing me! Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated! Brandy


Jeannie3 - February 18

Hi BrandyO, I am so sorry to hear that you are doing poorly. I quickly googled Aricept and the sideffects and sure enough a side effect is muscle cramping and fatigue. I unfortunatly have no suggestions at this time except share your concern with the doctor. I just want to know I'm thinking of you and if I get any more info I shall send it your way.
There's gotta be a way.


jane doe - February 18

Brandy, I am curious if you feel the Aricept is helping you memory problems. This is a huge issue for me also, and in my "Fibro Fog" post I mentioned an herb, Huperzine, which is supposed to be just as effective in ALZHIEMER patients as Aricept. Dream69 said tho that fibro fog is caused from a different condition than Alzhiemers. The Huperzine (therefore I am assuming Aricept) would not be effective for fibro fog. This is his quote "Huperzine has been shown to work in animals and humans but there are side effects. Fibro Fog is due to a disruption in the regulation of oxygen metabolism. Huperzine works well when memory loss is due acetylcholinesterase activity ." After 2 weeks or so you should be able to notice a change, AND your side effects should be subsiding. I checked (one of my favorite sites for drug and medical info), and as Jeannie said, muscle cramping and fatigue are side effects. I would speak to your doctor if you don't feel better soon. Sometimes you just feel worse for awhile, until your body adjusts. But PLEASE let me know if you think it is helping with your memory issues. I also wonder about using antideppressants in people who are NOT depressed. I know they are suppossed to help with sleep and pain, but they affect our brain chemistry. Maybe that's why you don't react well to them. I hope you feel better soon, but speak to your doctor if you don't.


larry - February 21

Hi Brandy- Your post about the medicines concerns me as it sounds like you are still working with doctors that are focused on the symptoms of fibro as opposed to fixing and healing the root causes. Additionally I assume that your doc is clueless on fibro since he prescribes Aricept. The root causes of fibro fog or Brain fog stem from many things such as the neurotoxins in your brain from undiagnosed, underlying infections as well as undiagnosed, underlying imbalances of adrenal, pitutary, thyroid, memory, hypothalmus, etc ., hormones. The medications that you are taking just focus on putting a bandage on the symptom which means that you will always be until you address the underlying causes. If I recall correctly you are from Pennsylvania? I am not sure if you know this or not but there are 2 centers in PA.. Here is the info if you are interested in fixing the root causes so that you won't have any more symptoms and working with doctors that already healed thousands of people with fibro. -------------------Fibromyalgia & Fatigue Center of Philadelphia-
1012 W. 9th Avenue-
King of Prussia, PA 19406-
Toll-free: 1-866-443-4276-
Phone: 610-337-3339-
Fax: 610-337-2654-

& Fatigue Center of Pittsburgh-
Foster Plaza #8 -
730 Holiday Drive-
Pittsburgh, PA 15220-
Toll-free: 1-866-443-4276-
Phone: 412-922-1155-
Fax: 412-922-1127-
I am glad to answer any questions you may have. I am almost thru with the program and I feel SOO much better, 90%. I hope this helps you!


JJ1 - February 21

Larry, you state ..."The root causes of fibro fog or Brain fog stem from many things such as the neurotoxins in your brain from undiagnosed, underlying infections as well as undiagnosed, underlying imbalances of adrenal, pitutary, thyroid, memory, hypothalmus, etc ., hormones. " ....I don't know how you can say this. You are not her doctor and do not know have access to her medical records. You have also said that you are not a doctor yourself. I think it is dangerous to try to diagnose people over the internet. I know most people know better than to follow the advice of some random anonymous person on the internet. ...................On the other hand, Brandy can benefit to know that these are "possibilities" and if her doctor hasn't looked into them yet, then maybe they should, but to try to tell her what exactly is wrong with her based on your own diagnosis and experience is just plain wrong. You have not even yet been fully cured by the fibro and fatigue center (only part way through their program), so the jury is really still out on your own personal success with this program. Also, a medicine that treats a symptom is not inherently bad. What is wrong with alleviating a symptom while at the same time trying to discover a root cause? Why should she suffer from memory and cognitive problems if she doesn't have to? ...............I don't mean to be argumentative because I think your intentions are good -- something is working well for you thus far and you would like to share your successes -- however, this illness strikes people in different ways and some have more than one thing going on that could be the cause of specific symptoms.


BrandyO - February 21

Jeannie3 and Jane doe.... Thank you so much for thinking of me. Altho I am having the fatigue and muscle pain above what I normally feel with the fibro, I do think my thinking is slightly better. Things seem sharper, more clear. I called my doctor and she suggest if I can tolerate the fatigue that I continue it for another week to see how it goes. I actually feel somewhat better today. I was able to go out this afternoon to Sam's Club to pick up a few things. So things are looking up.

Larry..... I have always had memory problems do to typical fibro fog. This has waxed and waned over the past 40 years just as the pain, sleep problems etc. The cognitive problems started in my late 40's. I will be 53 next month. They have become progressively worse in the last year. I had neuropsychological test done (about 8 months ago) and they found deficits in my memory and cognitive skills. I must mention that my mother who passed at age 76 had very bad dementia and three of her sisters were all diagnosed with Alzheimer disease a few years before their deaths. All were in their 80's when they died. She also had a brother who died of a brain tumor. Had my mom lived longer maybe she too would have developed Alzheimer's. This is why my neuro doctor started me on the Aricept. But thank you for your concern.

JJ1... I just want to say... thanks for looking out for me!

Thank you all for your interest in my post and for your concern! Have a great day/night.


jane doe - February 21

Brandy, I'm glad to hear you're feeling better. Hopefully the fatigue and muscle pain will go away as your body gets used to the drug. Good luck to you.


Jeannie3 - February 22

Hi BrandyO, my sentiments are same with Jane Doe, giving the body time to adjust to the meds. But how wonderful you are seeing some good change. Here's to future sucess. Be well.


larry - February 23

Thanks for your post JJ1, I wouldn’t worry about sounding argumentive in your post. It appears that my post to Brandy struck a nerve with you, personally, which is kinda confusing and sending mixed signals. I just read many, many, many posts about your symptoms of anemia and nutritional deficiencies and brain fog which contain very specific recommendations of very specific tests for you to get. Additionally, the post contained just as many guesses on the names of possible diseases that are related to anemia. Yet, you took the time and energy to post your comments to me on diagnosing. Yes I did say "The root causes of fibro fog or Brain fog stem from many things such as the neurotoxins in your brain from undiagnosed, underlying infections as well as undiagnosed, underlying imbalances of adrenal, pituitary, thyroid, memory, hypothalamus, etc ., hormones. " There is nothing wrong with stating this as it is well documented and proven in the many books and websites I have quoted here in these posts. If one's hormones are unbalanced then brain fog sets in. If one has fibro, then there is a 99% chance they have hypothyroidism which also causes brain fog and further sets off an imbalance in your other glands. Most fibro patients also have multiple infections, underlying and undiagnosed which also cause brain fog. These are all facts. And another fact is that these conditions are passed down from generation to generation. I am sorry to read that you are upset about my posts and have read into them that I am diagnosing. As I stated, I have read many posts here of people being very specific recommending having very specific test done and I did not see this same kind of response from you. I feel that you might be very uncomfortable in what I have to say and I can understand that as what I say is different. It is different for you as it appears that the doctors you are working with have left you guessing and searching for answers. Unfortunately, this is happening everyday and will continue to happen until there is a change, until the US doctors catch up and get updated. So it is up to us to change if we want a different result, if we want to get better, faster. We can try to teach an old doc some new tricks if we have years to spend doing this. Most of us don’t have the years and desire to do so. What I speak about is proven. It is effective at fixing root problems, not bandaging symptoms. It is advanced for most US doctors, we are still behind most other countries. However, there are MANY doctors that have made the move forward and have had GREAT results in healing patients with fibro. You will continue to see many changes in our health care systems as the US makes the change from focusing on the symptom level and starts to move toward healing the root causes. The other change that is happening is the movement to integrated medicine such as the F&F centers, looking at the body on a holistic level and the merging of traditional medicine and more natural alternatives that are just as effective. Unfortunately the holistic approach and the natural alternatives will continue to be dismissed here in the US by our doctors and most pharmaceutical companies since they can't make money off of natural alternatives. The pharmaceutical companies control the medical schools (and doctors) and holistic healing is not taught so we have huge obstacles to overcome and many barriers to getting the necessary info that we need. Our doctors have come a long way but still have a lot to learn. Those doctors (and patients) that are willing to admit this to themselves (and there are many!) are the pioneers today of what will be the norm in years to come. If I am making anyone uncomfortable it just means that I have touched a nerve or maybe challenged a belief system and that is ok and is very common with change. Change is hard to accept but change is good. I can not help but wonder if our high level of skeptism (and rightfully earned due to many year of poor diagnosis and treatments) and fear of change and our need to try to control every symptom, if this is compounding our efforts and getting in the way of fibro patients getting better. There are hundreds of symptoms and hundreds of nutrients that are deficient in fibro patients and if everyone tried to address each individually we would be researching for years, which is ok if that is what anyone chooses. Not everyone is a do-it –yourselfer as it can get in the way of people healing. There are many ways that people develop fibro, some may be from physical or emotional trauma or infections which may be associated w/ hormonal deficiencies (despite normal blood tests). In others it may be chronic stress, antibiotic use with secondary yeast overgrowth and/or nutritional deficiencies. There are well over 50 common causes that contribute to this syndrome. However, the commonality is that most of these processes can suppress a major control center in your brain called the hypothalamus. The center is similar to a fuse box in your house. When your body is subject to so much stress (physical or situational) it can “blow a fuse”. Your hypothalamic “circuit breaker” controls sleep, your hormonal system, temperature, blood flow/pressure which then stops your immune system from working properly. Although devastating to have ALL of your lights go out, having a circuit breaker go off protects the wiring in the house. In the same way, developing fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome can actually protect your body from further harm. However having this info doesn’t help you unless you know how to turn your body’s circuit breaker back on. If you have interest in learning about the successful multidisciplinary approach you can read the findings of a scientific study in The journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The article is titled “Effective Treatment of Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia- the Results of a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study”. This showed that 90% of patients improved with a multidisciplinary treatment approach. For more information on this you can research Dr. Jacob Tietlebaum. Bottom line? My posts are to help accelerate, fast-forward, people through the process that has already been done. If anyone has the time they could read the same fifty books and thousands of research articles, talk with dozens of experts and correspond with thousands of fellow patients as Mary Shomon has done in writing her book “Living well with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You That You Need To Know”. However, you will probably come up with the same conclusions that Mary Shomon already has. I have no affiliations with the Fibro and Fatigue Centers or with Mary Shomon and it doesn’t matter to me what people do this with the info I post, I am just trying to help. My intent also is to help people understand that having fibro is not a life sentence of illness, you can recover, which may be just the opposite of what their outdated doctors are telling them, incorrectly. However, I do care and take offense when I see posts that are negative, posted w/o research, placing additional skeptism and doubt in the minds of fellow open-minded fibro patients and possibly getting in the way of them getting well.


larry - February 23

If I can contribute anything to this forum is to help people understand that the reason fibro is so misunderstood and so many of us are are sick is because our medical system as it stands today has failed us by just focusing on symptoms. It doesn’t work for Fibro, does it? We will continue to stay sick if we don’t do something different. To get a different result we have to have a different action. Twenty years from now we will look back at how we once were so mystified by this syndrome and be amazed. Change is hard but change is good. There are SIX components to the F&F center’s treatment. Take a look at the First Component, it is amazing, to me.--------Component One: Stabilize the patient -----
This is a component in which pain and sleep disturbances are addressed. This may include the use of, sleep medications, pain medications and antidepressants. This is in general a temporary "stop gap" phase because as the treatment progresses and the underlying problems are addressed, the medications that "mask the symptoms" are no longer needed. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of patients are never brought past this stage by their doctors. This is because this component is the limit of training for most doctors, but it really should only be the first step.


BrandyO - February 24

Larry, I for one have difficulty with your post due to "my problems" in comprehending them. You seem like a very intelligent person and you have obviously done your homework. Thank you for trying to share what you have already learned with the rest of us. ................................JJ1 states "On the other hand, Brandy can benefit to know that these are "possibilities" and if her doctor hasn't looked into them yet, then maybe they should" ........................... It sounds to me as tho JJ1 was saying that your information is valuable I don't see the problem. Personaly, it seems to me that it is JJ1 who has struck a nerve in you. I asked for suggestions and I truly value all of them. So let me please take them all for what they are worth and not pick at each other! Thank you again for any information that any one has posted or will post. Enjoy your day! Brandy :)



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