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Obtaining antidepressants


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Hello again everyone!

Need some help. I was packed off to China with a 12 month supply of antidepressant (escitalopram- Lexapro to the Americans) for my 10 month stint. I've been going through a really rough patch during the hols and out of desperation (I've emailed my UK gp and he hasn't answered), I've doubled my dose (within safe limits). This has given me a good deal of relief. However, on the higher dose should I need to continue (hopefully not), I only have 3 1/2 months supply to cover the 5 months remaining of my contract.

I'm in Yantai, Shandong, where the campus medical staff either stick a drip in you for the flu or give you herbal tablets for migraine... Do you think I'd be able to get a prescription from a local doctor here to cover the shortfall? Anyone know if its even available?

Thanks and a premature happy Chinese New Year!

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I don't know how much help this will be to you, but searching on google and baidu led me to a website that gave the chinese name: 草酸右旋西酞普兰

However, compared to other common medicine names, this name was rather hard to find, which leads me to guess that it won't be easy to obtain in China. In the past, when I've searched for some other medicine that I got in China, there were many search results and it was easy to figure out the Chinese name. That's all I have to go on, though.

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Hi Liebkuchen,

I started Lexapro back in 2003 during my junior year of university. I was doing one pill a day (I think that's 10 mg) through 2007ish.

Starting from when I went abroad (in 2005) I had my mom fill and ship prescriptions to me. I wasn't able to find any Lexapro in either the Czech Republic or here in China.

Lexapro, for me, was just something to get me over the hump. It's not as heavy of an anti-depressant as Prozac or some of the others. I was in a down spot in my life in 2003. Once I finally "woke up" in 2007, I weaned myself off it. I did 10-5-10-5-10-5, etc. Then down to 5 everyday, then 5 every other day.

By the time I went "cold turkey" I didn't notice any withdraw symptoms. However, I did notice a huge difference in how I experienced emotions and interacted with people. I noticed, in hindsight, that Lexapro made me despondent and aloof, and largely incapable of forming meaningful emotional relationships with people. (When I look back to my two major relationships in university under Lexapro, the number one complaint from both of those girlfriends was that I was too aloof. At the time I attributed it to my easy going nature--now I know better--the Lexapro dulled my emotions.)

In short, I don't know your story, your background, etc., and perhaps this is something you do need at this juncture in your life. While my personal experience searching for Lexapro back in 2006 and 2007 failed, you may have more luck--though I've still, in 5+ years, to my knowledge, yet to meet a Chinese who took or even spoke about anti-depressants. (It's not as big a part of their culture as it is ours.)

Perhaps this is something you need right now, but I'd recommend you at least take a long, hard look at your situation and see whether or not this is something you really need.

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:wall Aaaaargh!!!! (and breathe out....)

@kdavid- I realise your reply was made with kindly intentions. But as you've said, you don't know my background and suggesting I'm better off without them is a not just unworkable but irresponsible. Everyone reacts differently to different antidepressants. I've found the cipralex work for me, especially last summer combined with exercise.If anything, I'm far more socially at ease on it. In the past 4 years, I've had 2 runs of therapy plus computer CBT (God Bless the NHS) as well as cycling through all the SSRIs- I've got good old long term depression and without antidepressants I cease to function, cry constantly and the discomfort/pain in my brain litteraly makes me want to die (and a joyful new year to anyone reading :D )

Bummer on the lack of supply though... I'll see if I'm able to get down to my usual dose tomorrow which would be the best scenario. If I've 'broken though' my current dose, it does happen, and can't get top ups then I'll have to seriously look at heading home... (fingers crossed I've just had a 'blip')

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Lay off the meds, this stuff is really creepy.

without antidepressants I cease to function, cry constantly and the discomfort/pain in my brain litteraly makes me want to die

Should such people even be allowed to go abroad? Shouldn't we inform the PSB about this? What are the chances of this person getting violent and hurting someone?

This looks more like a drug addiction to me, to be honest.

[if anyone wants to know how to get instantly banned, this is it. R.]

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@ Iriya- I'm depressed, I just get really, really down- not psychotic...even people with the really serious illness like Manic Depression or Schizophrenia are way more likely to harm themselves than other people. They are out walking the streets beside you right now and aren't running around with axes. Seriously, you should volunteer with people who have these problems. You'd find it eye opening.

I cease to function as above as that's my brain's default state. I was like that before I took any medication at all and its a hellish state of being. I'm usually happy and well adjusted on my meds. You wouldn't suggest a diabetic stopped taking their insulin on the logic that as they can't live without it, they're addicts.

All I want to find out is if I can find escitalopram/Lexapro in my city so I can make it until the end of my contract and carry on enjoying my time in China.

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Bummer on the lack of supply though... I'll see if I'm able to get down to my usual dose tomorrow which would be the best scenario.

If you're doing 20 mg/day now, see if you can do 20-10-20-10-10-20. That will at least stretch out your current supply a bit.

When I was still taking my meds, the thought of running out gave me anxiety attacks. With a lot of deep breathing, positive affirmations, and time, however, I was eventually able to get over that.

No, I don't know your story. If this is what you need right now, keep on with it. I was speaking as a former-user hoping to ease your nerves. Apologies this was interpreted in a different way.

Best of luck in your search!

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Apology accepted, KDavid- in fact your suggestion re: stretching out is actually a good one.

I'm on 25mg usually. I've boosted to 40mg for 2 days as an emergency measure but I'll go back to normal tomorrow. If I could get away with a 25-30 day about pattern should I need, I'd have enough to last me while getting a slightly higher dose.

I'm very glad for you that you did manage to get off them.

Thanks for the advice :)

I'm off to terrorise the locals now!

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It might be available in Hong Kong. More likely than in Yantai. If you have a friend going to HK for some other reason, you could ask them to try to buy some and bring it back.

Edit: I see from your blog that you are heading home to the UK. Hope you feel better soon. Sorry that China did not work out.

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  • 4 weeks later...

+one negative to Iriya's post. :D Life is hard; not everyone who takes antidepressants or anxiety meds is crazy--or becomes crazy in reaction to the meds. Not everyone who takes them is addicted to them or sells them for profit.

kdavid - I find it interesting what you said about you being too aloof while on your meds. This is probably my problem as, when I was younger, I was friendly and talkative to people outside my family. Now, I'm not even friendly to some of my family! :help Come to think of it, I felt a lot more productive and outgoing when I cut back on my dose 2 years ago. I think I'll do that again.

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  • 2 years later...

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