March 29, 2009
Prazosin "Off Label" Use For PTSD
Originally a drug for hypertension and now is used "off label" for PTSD symptoms including; nightmares, reexperincing, avoidance, numbing and hyperarousal. I couldn't have found one more perfect. I will have to see how well I tolerate the side effects, but the study that I read says the drug is well tolerated.
My doctor prescribed 1 mg titrated up to 2 mg over two weeks. I took my first dose tonight, so far the only side effect that I can discern is a massive headache, but to me I have those all the time. Acetaminophen took the headache away, so no problem. I will have to watch out for those over time.
This drug has made a world of difference to me in treating my PTSD. It helps with the major symptoms during the day and affords me a more restful sleep at night. I have been taking Prazosin for about six months now and have had my dosage raised to 6mg, 2mg in the day and up to 4mg at night. Depending on my sleep patterns, stress level and social situations I will either decrease or increase the dosage within the 6mg a day range as needed.
One issue I have experienced with this medication has to do with my memory. When I take the higher doses, I cannot for the life of me remember anything, including names of people I associate with on a daily basis. So, I weigh the costs when taking the larger doses. Am I overly stressed? Did I not sleep well the night before? Do I have to write a paper for school, or have an exam?
Another issue is the dream/wake state that you described. At times I will think I am dreaming when awake or have a memory that I cannot distinguish from a dream or the waking world. During such times I will remind myself and contribute the symptom to the medication and in doing so the episode expires.
Benzodiapinzes (Xanax, Valium, etc.) do not mix well with PTSD and should not be prescribed to treat PTSD. They can increase certain symptoms during the day, along with having powerful addictive properties.
Update: 1/15/2013 - I am still taking Prazosin, I am up to the maximum dosage for nightmares at 5mg. It still works today, still deal with the possibility of fainting but not as bad as when I first started taking it.