After being on Lexapro for years to fight anxiety, and subsequently depression, I have had enough! Even though Lexapro does work well preventing panic attacks, I have had major weight gain, I feel "foggy" all the time, many times during the day I can not think straight, I have awful fatigue, and suffer from insomnia. My doctor has tried switching my medication, but face it; anti-depressants are just that, and you will have side effects no matter what is taken. So I decided to do some research and make a my own plan of attack.
HTP is hydroxytryprophan, a plant derived source of an amino acid that increases the body's level of seretonin, your "feel good" hormone. This is what anti-depressants do, but the HTP performs the same action only naturally. I purchase lots of natural products from IHerb.com, which is my favorite source of vitamins, etc. and after researching this product and reading rave reviews from customers with depression, I decided to give it a try.
Instead of ordering a large bottle from IHerb, I thought I would try a smaller bottle (30 capsules) in the Natrol brand from Walmart. At least if I don't like it, I can easily take it back without shipping costs. I am now on my third day - I know this is not a milestone yet, but I wanted to share what I thought about this product now, and then can update with another review later.
It is not advisable to take any product like this while being on prescription anti-depressants. Products such as SamE and St. John's Wart give you the same warning, and it makes perfect sense. But there was no way I could stop taking Lexapro for a week or two before I started on this; not without ending up having a major panic attack. So I took the chance of substituting the HTP instead of my Lexapro.
Day 1: I took one capsule with food as advised. Of course, being the first day, I felt no different, but I was paying close attention to myself to make sure I did not start to feel nervous. I did not; so far so good. At 4:00 PM I decided to take another, as you are allowed up to two capsules per day. I made the mistake of taking it on an empty stomach though. After about an hour of taking the second pill, I started having cold chills, felt hot at the same time, and got extremely nauseated. I stayed in the bathroom for a while thinking I was going to get sick, but nothing. I took the trashcan with me to the couch, because I felt so weak I needed to lie down. Finally it happened; I think I lost 5 pounds from getting physically sick! I realized right away it either had to be because I took it on an empty stomach, or I was having symptoms of a seretonin overdose. I slept good that night, as I was completely wore out, and decided that taking 2 capsules per day while Lexapro was still in my system is definitely a stupid idea.
Day 2: I took a capsule, with food, in the morning. I actually felt pretty rested from sleeping so well, so I was more than willing to give it another try. I did not get sick, and felt pretty good. Even though it is only the second day, my body does not feel as though it is missing the Lexapro. (I weaned off of it years ago, and believe me, after a couple of days without it, you feel the effects!) - in fact, I'm feeling rather energetic, which is rare for me, and took my daughter to the mall. I LOVE to shop, but when I am around a whole group of people, I start feeling like I am in the ozone somewhere; I just deal with it though it is unpleasant. But at the mall, lo and behold, I did not feel quite so foggy. In fact my mind felt rather sharp; not completely normal, but much better. I am happy at this point. When we got to the car to leave, my car wouldn't start. It's dark, it's raining, and normally I would get rather upset over this situation, but I did not this time. I ran in the mall and called my husband at work from Kay Jeweler's phone (my cell ran out of minutes) and he came and jumped me; the battery was dead. Whew..what a relief..but I did not get upset!! Rare for me for sure. And I did not take a second capsule on this day - one was good enough.
Day 3: This is my third day as I am writing this review. I took a capsule about an hour ago, and still so far, so good. I am actually surprised I am up at this hour at the computer; usually after my daughter gets on the bus, I have to lay back down because of the fatigue. I also slept very well last night which is highly unusual. I am actually tickled with myself that I can think straight this early enough to write a review!
Granted, this HTP may not work in the long run; I am still concerned that I may have a panic attack at any time, but I am taking my plan of action as far as I can so that I may have a chance to feel well without the effects and non-natural ingredients of the Lexapro. Everyone knows their own body better than anyone, so I have the sense to know if and when I do not feel right. I do have a slight headache, but I realize this is a normal and temporary side effect. I got major headaches after starting Lexapro, so this itty bitty headache is nothing for me to be concerned about at this point.
I ordered some Passionflower supplements from IHerb, but have not received it yet; this is to work well by relaxing you, and customers take it before going to bed; more rave reviews from users; it is not expensive at all and I am anxious to try this out too; anything that will relax me and put me to sleep without it being an actual drug is fine by me. I have used Valerian Root for sleep in the past, and it worked OK for me, but not good enough; it seems I got used to it and it did not work as effectively over time. I have previously tried Melatonin, but threw it away as it gave me terrible nightmares the three nights I took it. Prescription sleep aids? Forget it. Lunesta made me drugged and groggy, not to mention the most God-awful metallic taste it left in my mouth all day long. When I see the Lunesta commercial with the butterfly in it, I want to shoot it. Plus, you can get dependent on it. I have tried a couple others, thanks to my doctor who can't wait to give me a prescription, but no luck.
I will keep an update of how this is working for me. I realize I should have consulted my Doctor before doing this huge venture, but she is a negative sort of person and I was afraid she would deter me, but rest assured I thoroughly researched any side effects and warnings about taking HTP - I have included these warnings in the Wiki portion of this review. It seems very possible I suffered from a temporary seretonin overdose the first day I got sick, but taking only 1 capsule per day since then has left me with no other "overdose" symptoms.