View Full Version : Anxiety after coming off long term use of Prochlorperazine?

05-02-09, 06:19 PM
I have been diagnosed with permanent damage to the Vestibular Ocular Reflex Nerve possibly caused by Lyme Disease (not confirmed by blood tests just via Specialists diagnosis).

The physical signs are very bad dizziness where the room sways from side to side, and I feel very nauseous, jolts inside my head & my eyesight jumps. This makes it practically impossible to sleep. Apparently given the severity of the damage I should actually be much worse, but because I have very good natural balance, my brain has ben trying to rectify the problem to some degree.

I have been prescribed Prochlorperazine by my GP (which has helped considerably), but I have now been taking for it for over a year.

My ENT Specialist has advised that I should stop taking this drug as it is stopping my brain re-calibrating to try and correct the problem, & stopping the exercises from working. I have slowly reduced the dose to nil over the last 2-3 months.

The dizziness, jolts & eye problems I can live with, but what is driving me to despair is the anxiety & sheer depression that seems to appear when I have reduced my use of Prochlorperazine.

With the first tablet reduction the anxiety symptoms did eventually subside but not quite disappear totaly. However, with 2nd & third/final tablet reduction I now feel terrible.

This is affecting my sleep & my relationship with my wife as I feel unable to drag myself out of this slough of despondency.

I recently took one 3.75mg Zopiclone (these had been prescribed by my GP to enable the occasional good nights sleep) and after an excellent nights sleep, I woke up feeling more like my old self and could actually look forward to the day! However the next day (without any drugs) I woke up back to square one. It was actually worse as my recent experience has enabled me to feel 'normal' for a very brief period.

Has anyone experienced any similar anxiety symptoms when coming off Prochlorperazine? If so how did you cope and have you any advice?

My GP's answer is to prescribe Citalopram, which after a bit of internet research appears like getting out of the frying pan iinto the fire. I really dont want to become dependent on any drugs again.

Any advice especially from anyone with any type of longer use of Prochlorperazine and Anxiety symptoms would be great.

Sorry for such a long post!
This site is great - at least I know I am not on my own, other sufferes will understand how I feel.
Many Thanks :cry:

05-02-09, 06:59 PM

I was on these meds for nearly 2 years following a vestibular nerve section. They are very good at masking the symptoms of vestibular disfunction. I too was told to gradually come off them for the same reason you were told, they do hinder recovery as they just cover up the symptoms and your brain cannot receive the dizzy signals and is therefore unable to correct them.

I too found that I felt anxious and down after stopping them but it did go after a while, specially when I found the exercises were helping more than the meds, so hang in there, it will ease off.

When we have vestibular disfunction (in my case 100% loss on right side) anxiety and depression seems to be part of the symptoms. Its just a matter of overcoming this, but I understand that it can be hard.

Lots of our members here have useful information on coping with anxiety/depression resulting from vestibular problems so have a good look around the site, I am sure you will find some helpful comments.

You arnt alone with this, we are all here to support each other, we all have a moan, have a laugh together so you are welcome to come and join us!

Let us know how you are.


08-02-09, 02:07 PM
Sal. Thanks ever so much for your reply. It was encouraging to read and gives me a boost. If you don't mind can I ask you how long you found the rehab exercises took to start having an effect? Also, do you have any advice on coping methods for the anxiety and depression. I have found my worst moments are through the morning and afternoon and I pick up a bit during the evening. I sometimes think I would be better off back on the Stemetil, but I guess there is a limit as to how long you can be on that, although I've not seen any conclusive statement to say how long you can be. I wonder if anyone out there has information on that.
Anyway I've started the exercises and am focussing on those that produce dizzyness which I think is correcrt. Is that so Sal?
Many thanks again for the reply. I'll let you know how I get on.

08-02-09, 02:18 PM
Dave the vestibular nerve is linked to your emotional centre. This means that anxiety and depression come with the damage. You will gradually get back to normal, whatever that is, emotionally. It is like your balance system. the Stimitel masks everything and hinders recovery. saying which I carry a packet with me everywhere, buccastem 3mg, which I use very infrequently. the comfort of knowing it is there is enough.

Sorry but this is something you will have to work your way through.

VRT is best little and often. The object is to get slightly dizzy not throwing up over the cat. If it is not making you dizzy then it has stopped working and time to move to a different exercise.
Anxiety ,there is lots of advice in the forums. In the end it is whatever works for you.
Anxiety and depression find something to smile or chuckle about every day. Get out and about.

08-02-09, 02:20 PM
P.S. Dave let your wife know that there will be an end to this although it will take a while.

08-02-09, 04:12 PM
Hi Dave,

Stemetil is not a good med to be on long term, I was told this many years ago by my consultant, apart from stopping the recovery process I was told it can bring on Parkinsons later in life.

I found that after a couple of weeks my mood brightened, the VRT started to work about that time as well. I had 100% loss on my right side and couldnt even walk properly but as I continued to do the exercises given me then I gradually noticed a big improvement. Its not something that occurs overnight, its more of a subtle, gentle improvement, with this improvement comes relief of the anxiety depression I found.

Have a look at how our other members cope with the anxiety/depression side of this, I am sure you will find some helpful information.

All I can say to you is just persevere! the negative thoughts you have about the condition will also hinder your recovery so please do try and be positive, you will get over this but sometimes it can take a while.

I wish you luck. Always happy to answer any questions.


10-02-09, 09:59 AM
Iain, Thanks very much for the advice. I'm sticking with doing the one exercise that gets the room spinning (backwards circle walking with eyes shut) and doing these whenever I get the opportunity...as you say little but often.

10-02-09, 10:01 AM
Sal, Thanks once again for the additional advice.

12-02-09, 02:44 PM
Hi Dave

Prochlorpherezine(stemetil) is addictive..so if you come off it you are going to get some "rebound" symptoms..but stick with what you are doing and the symptoms will lessen. Stemetil is really not a good drug to be on for more than 7 days to be honest, so its better to come off it.

anxiety is very closely link to our vestibular system..in other words if your vestibular system isnt functioning properly..anxiety tends to come as part of the package.
CBT(cognitive behavioural therapy) is very helpful in vestibular disorders and can help you overcome anxious thoughts with positive ones..I had CBT and found it very helpful...it is very difficult to get on the NHS though..I had to go private

14-02-09, 12:18 PM
<span style="color:#000000">Hi </span>
<span style="color:#000000">Thank you for all your posts and advice. </span>

<span style="color:#000000">I find it really re-assuring that people with similar or even worse symptoms than myself, have been able to deal with them effectively and regain some form of normality in their lives.</span>

<span style="color:#000000">At the moment the nausea is causing quite a problem. When I last saw the ENT Specialist & he told me to come of the Prochlorpherezine completely, he suggested that an alternative treatment might be to use Dramamine, but didnít give any advice on when, or how much.</span>

<span style="color:#000000">Tried to buy Dramamine at local Boots & was told it was no longer on their records for over counter selling. (Internet research suggests its incorrect use as a recreational drug might have something to do with its withdrawal). However did buy their own over the counter travel sickness preventative Ė similar to Kalms. Contains 0.3mg of Hyoscine Hydrobromide. Am only taking 1 tablet on a when needed basis, and though itís not completely clearing the symptoms it is helping.</span>

<span style="color:#000000">Wikipedia suggest that Meclizine (Bomine, Bonamine, Autivent, Postafen) has replaced Dramamine as having fewer side effects, esp. drowsiness.</span>

<span style="color:#000000">Has anyone any experience of taking any of the above medication?</span>

<span style="color:#000000">I am continuing to do the exercises especially the walking in circle backwards which has the worst effect, and think am very slowly seeing some improvement.</span>

<span style="color:#000000">My wife was particularly interested in Ericaís post about the CBT, as she wanted me to get some sort of Psychiatric coping help when I first came off Prochlorpherezine. But the GP didnít think it was necessary she just prescribed Citalopram instead.</span>
<span style="color:#000000">Has anyone used this on this forum and did it work, I believe it has quite severe side effects in first couple of weeks, poss longer? If I donít improve over the next week or so, I def will try CBT (or so my wife says!), unfortunately I have always been a bit of a pessimist, subscribing to Ďthe glass half empty, rather than half fullí premise, so maybe it could help me to have a more positive outlook.</span>

<span style="color:#000000">Sorry this seems to have turned into another epic, but I am really grateful for all your suggestions and advice! </span>

19-03-09, 10:11 PM
Why has no one replied ? Help the poor man out !

(i dont have the answers)