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Glad To Find This Group -- Starting Straterra

Posted by froggyanna on May 22, 2003, at 4:32:32

In reply to Straterra approval., posted by scoper on December 28, 2002, at 2:19:34

Hi Folks,

I apologize in advance for the length of this posting!

I have looked at many of the messages about Straterra on this board, but there's no way that I'll be able to read them all! But I'm very glad that I found this and I hope to learn a lot. If it happens that I ask a question that has already been addressed here, perhaps someone could kindly direct me to the conversation where that question is covered. Otherwise, I thought that, like several other people here, this might be a good place to keep a record of my experience, perhaps help others, and benefit from the collective experience!

I am starting Straterra tomorrow, 40 mg. Actually, it's today, since it's 1:00 am! So I'll start a few hours from now. I'm a 51-year-old woman who is just discovering I have ADD. I went to a psychiatrist a few weeks ago to get a diagnosis, and it was confirmed. He also recommended an internist I could go to, because I am new to my area and have a number of different health issues. Luckily, I went to that doctor last week and found him to be a great match for me! That in itself is a major accomplishment -- to find a doc that you can trust and feel comfortable with!

Anyway, the psychiatrist (is that what people mean here when they use the term "pdoc"?) took my history and we discussed the fact that I also have sleep apnea and am hypothyroid. Both of those problems can exacerbate the ADD. I am going to work with the internist to get the thyroid meds fine-tuned, because I believe that I'm not taking the right amount/kind of thyroid right now. As for the sleep apnea, I use CPAP and that has been fairly successful. But this pdoc (I hope that's the right term!) has done a lot of work with Buspar. His research and clinical experience have shown that Buspar can be highly effective in reducing both snoring and apnea. He suggested that I start taking Buspar for a few weeks, see if that helps with the snoring and/or the ADD symptoms, and if I still need help with the ADD, to add either Ritalin or Adderall to the mix.

So I've been gradually increasing the dosage of Buspar over the past couple of weeks, but I haven't yet tested whether I can go without the CPAP. I did try to go without it one night at the beginning, and my husband told me that the gasping apnea had been reduced but I was still snoring pretty badly. I put the mask back on! Since increasing the dosage I haven't tried it again yet, but I will!

I'm up to 45mg of Buspar. Both the internist and the pdoc said that I could comfortably go to 60mg and maybe even higher. For me, the reason to be taking Buspar is specifically for the sleep apnea. So if, after testing it out again, I see continued improvement, I will probably keep increasing the dosage to see if the snorning is even more reduced. I have been snoring loudly since I was a skinny teenager, so being an overweight middle-ager is NOT the cause. I was evaluated for surgery for apnea (decided not to do it) and that doc told me that I have an unusually narrow air passage, so that's the cause. I guess the Buspar has properties that help to maintain muscle tone of the airway during sleep. I think that's fascinating!

When I went to the internist, he suggested that I get all the thyroid blood work done and I'm waiting for those results. He also suggested an overnight sleep study because I haven't had one in years. That will be a good way to find out if the Buspar is having an effect. Additionally, he told me that because I have some possible heart risks, he thought that it might be a better idea to try Straterra before going with the stimulants. I called the psychiatrist and told him this and he commented that a lot of internists are "unnecessarily afraid" of the effects of stimulants (he and the internist are friends). But he said if I wanted to try Straterra he had no objections. He said that he's had 15 people on it -- 5 of them love it and 10 of them hated it.

Despite the odds, I've decided to give the least objectionable substance a chance (least objectionable, at least, to my mind). The pdoc said that my target dosage should be 120mg, and to start out at 40.

By the way, I'm going ahead with this, because the Buspar appears to be having very little effect on my ADD symptoms.

Now.... in addition, I have been taking ssri's for years for depression. First Prozac for about 6 or 7 years, and now Zoloft for about 5. I have found a very stable state in regards to depression by taking 100mg/day of Zoloft. Like a lot of people, I think, I thought my ONLY problem was depression. Well, after several years of learning what it feels like to be, or not to be, depressed, and yet still having problems with attention and work performance, I recently "discovered" ADD.

What a revelation! Now I can finally put all the pieces together and see my life clearly, all the way back to little-girlhood! The overwhelming sense of futility over not being able to achieve goals, accomplish things that other people seemed to find so easy, and put my life in order. The extreme shyness, the sensitivity, the anger, the impulsivity, the aimlessness.....despite being very intelligent! I dropped out of high school, I have taken college courses but have never gotten a degree, and at 51 I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up! Despite some career success, I have been unemployed for over a year and a half now and I'm afraid to jump back in! I've been afraid to put myself back into those corporate situations that are so alien to a person with ADD; afraid to make myself vulnerable yet again to the constant sense of not performing as well as I should, despite my best efforts, and always being late to work!!

So, in summary: I currently take 100mg of Zoloft and 0.2mg of Levoxyl (thyroid) in the morning, and 45mg of Buspar at bedtime (will increase to 60mg tomorrow). I also take some allergy meds (Zyrtec, Flonase, Advair), but I don't think they pertain to this discussion. I will be adding 40mg of Straterra to the mix.

I will aim to provide updates here like a lot of folks have been doing. I'm sorry again for the length of this -- just wanted to introduce myself and provide as clear a picture as I can at the start of the experiment. I sure do hope that I can begin to turn my life around!





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