Depression in COPD…

Depression, in chronic illness like COPD is understandable. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that it can be caused by their medication. (But – whatever you do – don’t stop taking it!)

Theophylline, and its derivatives, like Aminophylline (Phyllocontin Continus), can cause vitamin B6 deficiency.

B6 helps moderate the function of serotonin in the brain, and a deficiency can mess up the re-uptake mechanism, resulting in serious depression, as happened with me.

Prozac disagrees violently with me  (it caused me to cough so much, so uncontrollably, that  my lungs bled severely, so much so that I’ve never been tempted to try any other SSRIs), so when I stumbled across the B6 information, I ordered myself a B6 supplement – 100mg tablets, one a day proved sufficient. That was nearly three years ago, and the effect has been excellent, and  Christmas 2007 was the first for many years when I didn’t feel suicidal.

So if you have COPD, or it’s precursors, like bronchiectasis, or chronic bronchitis, or asthma, and are taking Theophylline-based or derived drugs, then a B6 supplement is certainly worth trying if you’re at all depressed.

It’s cheap (it currently costs me £1.90 a month), and harmless. By the way, if you are still taking Theophylline-based drugs, like Franol Plus, for example, you really shouldn’t be, nor should you be taking plain Theophylline (in drugs like Theo-Dur), not unless you find puking fun* (it has a powerful emetic action) – Aminophylline (Phyllocontin Continus), although derived from Theophylline, is far better in every respect.

* During my backpacking days, my evening dose, at 17.00, was of necessity taken on an empty stomach, after which my route to the night’s camp was marked by a trail of vomit.

I also thought, for many years – I took Franol Plus from the age of 10 until I was 36 – that I was unable to drink alcohol without vomiting, but the culprit turned out to be – after far too many years spent just borrowing beer for a short while – the Theophylline-related drug in Franol Plus!  Simultaneously with Franol Plus, I was prescribed Choledyl, and that contained Oxtriphylline, a second cousin to Theophylline. It’s a wonder I could function at all!