Tinnitus 2 Weeks In: Did Escitalopram/Lexapro Cause This? Could Ibuprofen Have Contributed?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by GratefullyCured, Sep 13, 2020.

    1. GratefullyCured

      GratefullyCured Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/02/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hello all,

      I have been experiencing pretty intense Tinnitus for a little less than 2 weeks now. Before the ringing started, I did not even know this condition was a problem for so many people in the world. I am hopeful that mine is only temporary and that I will cure myself in time, but I also feel for all of you out there suffering and will pray that the day will come when everyone can be cured of this. With that said, I would like to give a brief intro of what transpired before my tinnitus started. I greatly appreciate any positive feedback or tips that may help me.

      I am a mid-30s male living in Ohio, USA. I have always been somewhat of an anxious person, and I am sure that I have some other psychological issues like OCD, depression, etc. I am including this because I have read that tinnitus can be attributed to psychological factors. When the COVID-19 shutdowns started here, I became extremely anxious and upset, convincing myself (due to the media over-hype) that I and everyone else would catch it and it would possibly lead to the end of the world as we know it.

      Fast forward a couple of months, back in early June I started experiencing strange neuropathic type pain/sensations in different areas of my body. I will spare the full details of this. At this point I had an almost complete breakdown as my Anxiety got so bad that I could not sleep, I wasn't eating much, etc. I had severe panic attacks and thought I was going to die several times. I eventually went to a Doctor and was prescribed Pregabalin (Lyrica) for the nerve pain and as an added bonus it should have helped with my Anxiety as well.

      The first night I took it, it gave me massive anxiety attack and left one of my legs numb (this lasted almost a month!). I ended up going to the ER the next day because of the now even greater (hard to imagine) anxiety, and the leg numbness. Blood tests checked out and they sent me home with a prescription for Ativan, which I used several times sparingly (I am aware of the risks).

      I then went back to my regular doctor and we decided to try an SSRI (Escitalopram/Lexapro) for the other issues I was experiencing as she thought I really needed to tackle my anxiety, as the other symptoms may be related. I started on 5mg and took it for 2 weeks. After a follow up we decided to up the dose to 10mg which is the standard dose.

      The very first day I took it, that evening I started hearing a ringing/humming/buzzing in my head.

      I also had taken one 200mg Ibuprofen that night for a headache which I thought was a side effect of the medicine. I was aware of a minor interaction (increased GI bleeding risks) between the 2 medicines, but I asked several people I know and they said they had taken both without issues (also Googled and it seemed to be fairly common). Little did I know that both medicines are considered ototoxic and can contribute to tinnitus. However, I am unsure if the Ibuprofen was just coincidence or if it was a contributing factor. I contacted my doctor and she recommended going back to taking 5mg of Lexapro and see if the tinnitus subsides. After googling and freaking out a bit, I decided to instead quickly ween myself off by taking 2.5mg for a few days and then quitting entirely.

      The tinnitus started as a slight humming/buzzing that seemed like it was in my brain or the back of my head. This really didn't bother me that much as it wasn't loud and could easily be forgotten about with background noise. However, it has since moved around mostly to my left ear and can get very loud at times, usually at night. It is very high pitched and sounds exactly like the high frequency buzzing that an older TV would sometimes emit when it was powered on. As you can imagine, this has not been good at all for my already fragile state of mind. I am again barely getting any sleep and am concerned about what the future holds.

      I am wondering, for anyone that had tinnitus start with taking Escitalopram/Lexapro, did it ever subside and how long did it take? Thanks.
       
      • Hug Hug x 3
    2. Danny B
      Wishful

      Danny B Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear syringing
      Hello! I don't have any personal experience with lexapro or ibuprofen-related tinnitus, but I just wanted to pop in and say that it's important not to worry too much in the early stages. Tinnitus and anxiety often go hand-in-hand, and I remember being absolutely mortified the first few weeks I had to deal with mine. One of the things you don't see too much on a site filled with the worst-case scenarios in the reality that, in a loot of cases, tinnitus fades over time to the point where it is either completely gone or so quiet you can only kind of hear it in silent rooms. Even in my case (Botched ear irrigation/years of full volume headphone use, maxed-out car stereos, live music playing without earplugs) where I have tinnitus that occasionally seems completely umaskable, I've gotten to the point where I don't even think about it most of the time and my brain doesn't dedicate any mental energy to perceiving it. If you're browsing any section on this site, it should really be the success stories category - a lot of the battle with tinnitus is staying positive and having hope that you will recover in time.

      My post is a little rambly, but I just want to give you some words of relaxation to let you know that what the future holds isn't nearly as bleak as it first seems. You're in the worst stages of it possible right now, and that extra anxiety/fear amplifies your perception of the sounds. I can almost guarantee you that, if your future self were able to time travel and talk to you right now, they would tell you not to dread the future.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GratefullyCured

      GratefullyCured Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/02/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Thank you for your comments and positive outlook.

      Currently, I am extremely anxious (building up after a week or so) and haven't slept in nearly 3 days. I do have Ativan and Clonzepam on hand for emergencies, but I have been hesitant to take them, and even less so now that I have learned they could be "Ototoxic". However, I am at a breaking point. I am wondering, what are the chances of causing more damage just from taking them for maybe 1-2 days? Thank you.
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GratefullyCured

      GratefullyCured Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/02/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hello,

      The piercing high pitched sounds I am experiencing in my head and left side, are almost unbearable - it's been a wild ride to say the least, and I have contemplated admitting myself to psychiatric centers and/or E.R. multiple times. I am averaging about 2 hours of sleep a night in 3 weeks time. Some nights there were no sleep.

      I am fearful of taking any more drugs (ototoxic) and don't know what to do. I am almost positive I have a severely impaired GABAergic system, among other sensitivities. I believe I have excessive Glutamate in the brain/body and not enough GABA, and this has contributed to my anxiety/insomnia/tinnitus. I can't even take one low dose Ativan or Clonezepam without experiencing debilitating rebound anxiety and significantly spiked tinnitus (tested once since tinnitus onset). I've only taken benzos a few times, so they are not the primary cause. I am not sure why my brain is this way, but it could be that I drank a lot (binge drink) when I was younger, as well as taking Phenibut for some time in my mid twenties (both work on GABA system).

      As a last resort, what drug could help if it was an absolute emergency? I saw some claims that Mirtazapine is the least ototoxic and that some people on here benefited from it? However others said it triggered their tinnitus. So confusing.

      Any other natural remedies that could help with the insomnia and calm down the tinnitus? So far I have tried the following:

      NAC - taking on and off, can't tell if it helps or spikes tinnitus
      Curcumin - taking 2 a day in hopes that it can repair some damage or inflammation
      Taurine - tried one night and definitely had rebound anxiety/tinnitus
      L-Theanine - basically same effect as above
      D3/B12 - took on and off but decided to stop as I know D3 affected my sleep previously
      Zinc Picolinate - unsure but going to continue taking

      Thank you so much. Prayers to all.
       
    5. Rjbookworm
      Brooding

      Rjbookworm Member

      Location:
      Western United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/08/2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ototoxic medication
      Hello,

      I'm sorry that you're going through this. Medication induced tinnitus is terrible. :huganimation: My onset of tinnitus began a few days before Mother's Day from an old school antidepressant called Nortriptyline. The thing that's strange about Nortriptyline is that it can treat tinnitus, but according to my audiologist and her intern, antidepressants like Nortriptyline (and Escitalopram) can cause tinnitus as well. Nortriptyline had the paradoxical effect for me.

      Know that we're all here for you. I think it's good that you're taking curcumin. I took curcumin before my tinnitus started to help inflammation in my lungs (yay moderate asthma!) and some terrible chest pain that I had at the time.

      Has taurine helped your tinnitus? Did l-theanine cause a spike for you? Because l-theanine is supposed to relax the central nervous system and help with anxiety in general.
       

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