It all started when I was proscribed Flagyl, commonly known as Metronidazole, for a stomach parasite in late August. I was told to take 500 mg, 3 times a day for a week. Up until the 5th night, I was experiencing "common" symptoms such as lack of appetite, nausea, etc. I also happened to be working a night shift, as I was a summer student at a Grain Elevator, which didn't help matters. On the 5th night, I called in sick as I had a headache and was feeling generally unwell. I fell asleep around 3:30 am, after taking some Melatonin (graveyard shifts can really throw your body out of whack) and suddenly woke up at 5 am in what I can only describe as a jolt of panic. I didn't know what it was, thought it may have been a nightmare and managed to fall back asleep for about 45 minutes. Around 5:50 am, I again woke in a panic but this time I was sweating, felt like I was going to take a heart attack, I was dizzy, could't feel my hands and legs. I was running around my house like a maniac, waking up my parents and telling them to call 911 immediately because I literally thought I was going to die.
By the time the ambulance had arrived, the paramedics were able to calm me down and told me I was having a panic attack. I've NEVER had a panic attack before in my life. After going to the hospital and injected with fluids/Gravol, I was told to continue taking Flagyl, despite my symptoms, as I only had two days left of my medication. I arrived home dead-tired, and managed to get a peaceful nights rest. The next day I work up, felt time and dreaded the moment I put Flagyl into my mouth again. All was well until 8:00 that night. I got up to get a piece of fruit and BAM another panic attack. I felt like a couldn't walk, breathe, was dizzy, heart was racing-basically impending doom. My mother had to sit with me on the couch from 8 pm until 5 am until I was able to sleep for 2 hours. I stopped taking Flagyl immediately.
Well, for the next few days the panic attacks, crippling anxiety and insomnia continued. It got to the point where it took me 2 hours to leave the house because I was in constant panic mode, for no reason at all. After two more visits to emergency, I was left in the care of a psychiatrist, who proscribed me with sleeping medication as well as Clonazepam. Even after taking two sleeping pills and 0.5 mg of Clonazepam, I was only sleeping for a total of 3-4 hours. It even got to the point where I didn't necessarily feel anxious but when I was on the verge of sleep, I would wake up in a jolt/panic for no apparent reason.
After the sleeping pills were clearly not working, my psychiatrist proscribed me with 10 mg of an SSRI called Citralopram. I have since been on it for 2 weeks. Last week, my sleep did seem to improve when I took 0.5 mg of Clonazepam at night but after my dosage was upped to 20 mg this week I experienced heightened anxiety and am now back to square one with my sleeping problems. I'm back down on 10 mg of Citralopram right now and am lucky if I get 2-3 hours of sleep per night after taking Clonazepam.
I have always been an anxious person when it comes to school, but I was always able to manage it (I've been in university for 3 years and was supposed to graduate this year). I've also never had major sleep issues. As of the past week, my anxiety has decreased significantly and I basically feel back to normal, besides the sleeping part. The doctors keep telling me that I have some pre-disposed anxiety disorder, but I truly believe that I was given too high a dosage of Flagyl for my body weight (I'm only 105 pounds) and have read on many forums, blogs, studies, and websites about the effects that antibiotics can have on the CNS even months after they have been stopped. Since the SSRI has only been in my system for two weeks, I believe its highly unlikely my anxiety has decreased due to these drugs. I think my body is trying to recover from a state of shock- whatever was triggered in my CNS by the Flagyl (FYI: The FDA notes that there is a 9% chance Flagyl is associated with Panic Disorders).
Has anyone had similar experiences after taking Flagyl? How long did it take for full recovery? I almost feel as though I'm further polluting my body by taking all these anxiety meds and masking the deeper issue- the damage to my CNS.