Our OB/GYN tells us if we have something to worry about.
"I had headaches, backaches, and my period was like a monster," Nancy Jones said. "The cramping, irritability, and just overall feelings were horrible. It took quite some time for my body to readjust to where it should be."
We asked OB/GYN Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz how widespread this issue is.
"It is really impossible to make any sweeping generalizations about a particular drug's effects based on the comments of 52 respondees to the abc.com website -- hardly a powerful sample from which to draw any kind of definitive scientific conclusions," she says. "However, it does represent another cautionary tale. When women blindly make decisions about medication use without the knowledge that there may be side effects, or unwanted symptoms both on and off the drug, that is when the trouble starts. Any long-term use of a therapy, especially one that was helping control severe and unpleasant symptoms for many of those reporting withdrawal effects, is bound to cause upset and disturbance when discontinued, if for no other reason because the symptom may reappear or new life-stage-related symptoms may appear."
She continues: "Many of the women quoted in the article had typical side effects. Weight gain and mood disturbance are big ones on the med. Many others' withdrawal symptoms may have been merely a return to their off-med baseline, albeit with a vengeance! I have not seen any data on such prolonged use, and I use this medication sparingly in my patients because of the depot effect. (It is stored in fat and releases over a period of time, which makes it hard to control if the patient does not like it.) So I personally have no experience with it being used longer than two or three years. Counseling and supporting our patients thoroughly before, during, and after use of a medication are the keys to helping our patients through any treatment."
|Dr. Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz completed her undergraduate education at Wesleyan University and post-baccalaureate pre-med studies at Mills College. She earned her medical degree from the USC School of Medicine and has been in private practice for 9 years. She is the co-founder of Cedar Sinai Medical Center's Green Committee and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.|