Are Antidepressants Destroying Your Organs?
From the Archives of Ditch The Meds. Edited from the original post.
Could your antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications be seriously damaging your organs? Read on to learn about two of the medications prescribed for depression and anxiety – Zyprexa and Effexor to understand the importance of understanding “side effects” and other issues related to long-term use of these drugs.
Zyprexa, also know as olanzipine generically, is an “atypical antipsychotic drug” used to typically treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and symptoms of dementia. Effexor, also known as venlafaxine generically, is in a class of drugs called selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs) and is used to treat depression, anxiety, and panic and sleep disorders.
Considering my mother had been on these medications for over a decade, chances are she developed symptoms of side effects. It is my belief these were the cause of her kidney problems or, at the very least, exacerbated the problems, as there was only one other issue that might point to why she would have developed CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease), which will be discussed in a future post.
Side effects of any drugs can be readily found online, particularly straight from the manufacturer. To give you an idea of the damage these drugs can cause, the following are some of the “severe” side effects: Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); abnormal thoughts; chest pain; confusion; decreased urination; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, or persistent sore throat; increased saliva production or drooling; increased sweating; memory loss; menstrual changes; muscle pain, weakness, or stiffness; new or worsening mental or mood changes (e.g. depression, hallucinations); seizures; severe or prolonged dizziness or headache; shortness of breath; suicidal thoughts or actions; swelling of the hands, legs, or feet; symptoms of high blood sugar (e.g. increased thirst, hunger, urination; unusual weakness), and the list goes on and on.
For the purposes of this post, I am going to focus on the side effects that seem to cause or exacerbate kidney issues. First of all, based on the information for professionals, there was an increased incidence of dry mouth in patients using olanzapine versus placebo. Anytime there is an increase in dry mouth it means the body actually requires water. The body is actually becoming dehydrated; it’s not just a “side effect”. When asking many people with this condition about it, their answer is typically, “my medication does it to me” and therefore they believe that is the issue and never actually increase their water intake.
The book, “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water,” addresses the very issue of how dehydration causes a great many illnesses. Another article also discusses how, in many cases of illness, the cure is water. Many illnesses are mistaken for dehydration and most people could actually be “cured” simply by drinking water; however, this is not a common prescription. Doctors usually reach to their prescription pad before really even looking into the problem.
I have witnessed first hand that many doctors do not “prescribe” something as simple as water and actually imply that a lack of water does not cause any kind of illness. What many doctors who do this are inadvertently doing is discouraging their patients from drinking water, despite its being vital to all of our bodies’ processes. Because of my own experiences with conventional doctors, namely in that they would rather prescribe a remedy for a symptom without looking to the root of the cause and prescribing a remedy or remedies for the patient, I only see mainstream doctors when absolutely necessary. I do believe they have a place in our medical system, but not to the extent that they do right now. Or else, these doctors should incorporate homeopathic and naturopathic treatments with their conventional treatments. Such doctors exist but they are few and far between.
So, number one, I believe kidneys could become very taxed simply because of not getting enough water. Additionally, patients who take such medications becoming more dehydrated from the medication itself causing their her kidneys to worsen.
Acute Kidney Failure and Liver Damage
Two other side effects are Acute Renal Failure (the kidneys stop functioning properly to excrete wastes) and an increase in hepatic enzymes (the amount of paired liver proteins that regulate liver processes causing a condition where the liver functions abnormally). Of course this Acute Renal Failure is different than Chronic Kidney Disease in that the former can be “fixed” and the kidney function could return to normal. Common sense tells us, however, that any kind of kidney failure would obviously affect their health over the long term.
Many “official” web pages state that caution should be used when prescribing Zyprexa in:
People with decreased kidney function
People with decreased liver function
People with raised liver enzymes
People taking other medicines that can affect liver function or white blood cells
This is just an excerpt of the list given.
Incidentally, Effexor has the same side effects as Zyprexa with regards to increased liver enzymes. This means that it falls into the caution warning for Zyprexa. Based on some more searches, it appears that many people that have been on Effexor for any real length of time (1 year plus) have had significant issues with their livers – from elevated liver enzymes to early stages of non-alcoholic cirrhosis. Generally the components in all pharmaceuticals are chemicals toxic to the body. Although some pharmaceuticals are derived from plants and herbs, they are highly processed and synthesized resulting in a compound so foreign to the body that it has no idea what to do with it. It treats it for what it is – a foreign toxin.
Both the liver and kidneys are responsible for dealing with toxins but the liver is tasked with dealing with any toxin that the kidneys are unable to process therefore the liver is the last hope for a toxic body. Taxing the liver with too many toxins obviously places it in a disadvantage, sometimes to the point of no return. So on top of not ingesting too many toxins, it is important to cleanse the body every once in a while to give the liver a break and to help the liver return to optimal health. The fact that medications are mostly toxic, despite their supposed ability to provide some remedy to certain specific symptoms, makes it obvious that both the kidneys and liver would be harmed for this reason alone.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Additionally, Vitamin D deficiency is a common symptom of kidney disease. One of the kidney’s many functions is to convert the vitamin D3, which comes from nutrients and the sun, into its activated form and therefore when its function is compromised, the vitamin D level in the body is shown to be reversed. In turn, a lower vitamin D level causes further damage to the kidneys and therefore it becomes a downward spiral.
On top of this and in relation to the present topic, the Vitamin D Council web site states that “Vitamin D has profound effects on the brain, including the neurotransmitters involved in depression and seasonal affective disorder.” So not only are patients on antidepressants, antipsychotics, etc. likely causing harm to their kidneys, such harm is causing a decrease in the very nutrient necessary for mental health and therefore it is another downward spiral.
Previously I looked into a number of medications being prescribed to one patient and what kinds of deficiencies they were causing. It turned out that the medications were causing deficiencies in the very nutrients required to fight the problems for which the medications were being prescribed. This, as well as natural methods to treat mental disorders, will be discussed in another post.
For more information on Vitamin D and its many benefits as well as a list of foods rich in vitamin D read 15 Health Benefits of Vitamin D, According to Science (+15 Best Vitamin D Foods).
For information on how oxidative stress is responsible for many of the issues discussed on this page, including mental disorders, and the most ideal antioxidants to fight such issues, download your free report.
Author’s Note: Doctors will generally tell you side effects are rare and the manufacturers are required to disclose all side effects that have been reported. In a healthy individual this might be true, however, keep in mind medications expressly containing warnings of possible kidney and liver damage are causing harm to the very organs that help detoxify the body thus the side effects are more likely due to the compromised organ function.