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Celiac And Paxil

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My name is Stephanie and I'm new here. I'm 28, and have had a problem processing beer for several (4+) years. For that reason I very rarely drank beer, and when I did I never finished a whole one. I didn't notice a problem processing pasta until I started taking the drug Paxil.

In November of 2009 I started taking Paxil and was told not to drink at all. I didn't for most of that time, but every once in a while I would treat myself to a glass of wine.

Paxil always made my stomach hurt, so I usually took it at night. Over the summer, I started to notice that the pain got worse and lasted longer. I was planning my wedding and assumed it was just nerves. However, it got to the point where eating food didn't ease the cramping, and sometimes it would get worse. For example I'd take a Paxil at 11pm, go to sleep, wake up at 7am with an achey/crampy stomach, eat a bagel to try to make it better, and it would get worse. Eventually I started to phase Paxil out of my life because of how badly it hurt. I also reintroduced beer to my diet when I didn't take Paxil. Then I started to have what I call "tummy incidents," where I'd come down very suddenly with what felt like I was being poisoned, and I'd vomit/D until I was empty. This happened 2 times, once August 28 and once Sept 19, and both of those incidents included Paxil, beer, and pasta or bread.

After the 2nd vomiting/diarrhea incident involving the combination of beer, paxil, and bread or pasta, I stopped taking Paxil completely (my doctor knew about this).

I expected that eliminating the Paxil would fix my problem but on November 4th, I made spaghetti for dinner and had a 312 Urban Wheat ale, and I felt like I had been kicked in the gut for the next 12-18 hours.

I immediately called my doc and scheduled an appointment for the 9th. Without much knowledge about the testing process, I stopped eating wheat on Friday the 5th through Tuesday the 9th.

My blood work came back negative.

I'm no longer taking Paxil and haven't had a tummy incident since the 4th.

Now I know I have several options:

1) follow the diet and see if I have another tummy incident, then go from them

2) give up on the gluten thing and eat it again, wait for tummy incident

3) go to another doctor for a second opinion - but I know I have to eat a lot of gluten in order for this to happen.

Has anyone else had a similar experience with a medication? Could Paxil have caused some kind of damage to my small intestine where the gluten became toxic to me?


thanks :)

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Welcome Stephanie!

It does sound like you are either celiac or gluten intolerant. The tests for celiac are about 80% accurate. It is also possible that you just do not have enough damage for it to show up yet. The best test is to eliminate gluten from your diet for at least 3 months and then reintroduce it and see how you feel. And if something else is going on, say an ulcer or something, being gluten free will not mask it.

I am not sure about the paxil, it could be a coincidence though.

Started on this journey w/ my 9 yr old son after a bout w/ the flu in the fall of 2009.

2 neg celiac blood tests, mine was also neg. No endo done. Son had x-ray, showing severe constipation. Son has latex allergy. KP for both of us.

Long family history of bowel problems, auto-immune and all sorts of cancers. My G-mother informed me that she was put on a gluten free diet after she had my mom (1950's), of course she stopped when she felt better. She has had problems ever since I can remember.

So here we are! I do have my son's Dr to thank for even bringing up celiac! Thank You Dr.B!

My adult daughter also has been helped by eating gluten-free.

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Hi, Stephanie

A few days gluten-free is not long enough to throw off the results of the blood tests. They do have a 20% false negative rate though. The blood tests also do not pick up non-celiac gluten intolerance. You have to try going off gluten and reintroducing it to see if that's your problem.

Celiac disease and gluten intolerance can cause depression and anxiety, sometimes without a lot of other symptoms. I suspect your gluten intolerance was there all along, and may be why you needed the medication. I've never seen anything in the literature about SSRIs triggering celiac, but nausea and stomach upset are known side effects of Paxil. If you don't tolerate Paxil well maybe it inflamed your stomach and made your gluten intolerance more noticeable. You might go gluten-free and see if you feel better overall.

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