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Finally some relief - neuropathy and diarrhea

EZLiving66's picture
Posts: 1479
Joined: Oct 2015

I had seen my doctor's PA a few times who was much easier to talk to than my doctor who is from India. I signed the paperwork that I did not want any further testing like mammograms, colonoscopy, etc. I explained that I would not accept any further treatment if the cancer came back. Then she had me go through this questionnaire about depression. Of course, with my chronic neuropathy and diarrhea, it came back as possible depression.

So, she asked me if I would like to try an antidepressant called escitalopram with a side effect of constipation. She said it had worked off-label to help people with chronic diarrhea. Of course, I said sure! That was 90 days ago - and only once in those 90 days did I wake up around dawn, running to make it (or not) to the bathroom. But, the best thing is, my neuropathy pain has been reduced from an 8 to a 3. The liquid B-12 I take brought it down from an 8 to a 5 but now, the pain no longer keeps me from falling asleep or abruptly wakes me up during the night. I am sleeping so much better not having to try to walk off the pain during the night. 

Why, oh why, haven't any other doctors told me about this??

Anyway, I asked her if I could up the dosage and take 10 mg in the morning in addition to the 10 mg I've been taking at night and she said, let's try it! I'll let you know how it works!




cmb's picture
Posts: 730
Joined: Jan 2018


I'm really glad to hear that escitalopram is working so well for you! Quality of life issues are so important beyond just surviving cancer. It's ironic that the side effect of constipation, which I'm sure causes other people taking this drug some distress, is the solution for your chronic diarrhea. I hope it continues to keep the diarrhea under control and help with the neuropathy. What a relief it must be to have a good night's sleep after so many years of disruptions. Thanks for letting us know about this.

Posts: 1153
Joined: Jun 2016

Oh, Eldri!!!   You've been living with this for so long and trying everything you could and I've felt so helpless having nothing to offer that would help all of this time. I can't begin to tell you how it lightens my heart to hear that something is finally working for you! You are breaking ground for everyone here. Yippee!!

Posts: 162
Joined: Sep 2020

EldrI, you made my day reading this! Like the others, I have felt so badly that you were suffering so much! Thank goodness you finally got some relief!

And thanks for sharing!

❤️❤️❤️, Alicia

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
Posts: 1802
Joined: Jun 2015

ELDRI!!!!!!! So happy to see this post. I can even "hear" the happiness while reading it. 

What a great outcome. It sure helps to have a medical person that you can talk to. I hope this continues to give you years of relief and sweet dreams. :-)

Love and Hugs,


NoTimeForCancer's picture
Posts: 2914
Joined: Mar 2013

Eldri, I am so happy to hear you have some relief!!!  "Survivorship" is living with so much, and people have no clue.  Such happy news to read!  

BluebirdOne's picture
Posts: 455
Joined: Jul 2018

Glad you finally found relief, and for sharing your results. We now have another tool in our toolbox to help those who have residual side effects. 



RainbowRita's picture
Posts: 51
Joined: May 2021

Eldri, so happy for you that you have found something that helps with chronic issues of neuropathy and diarrhea. What a relief for you! Thanks for sharing the info with all of us. :-)

Fridays Child
Posts: 216
Joined: Jul 2019

I'm so glad you've found relief from two major sources of discomfort and aggravation!

Tamlen's picture
Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2018

That is incredibly good news to hear, Eldri! I'm so happy for the relief you've had after so much discomfort and misery for so long. Do keep us posted!


Harmanygroves's picture
Posts: 232
Joined: Jun 2021

I had about two decades of constipation until the surgery, and now, following radiation, I'm sort of normal. I'm so glad that you now have some relief, and can also get some sleep. Thankful for that for you!

Posts: 350
Joined: Feb 2004

I'm so happy to hear that you've found something that not only has resulted in a dramatic improvement with your diarrhea, but also with the neuropathy!  Yours is a textbook example of how important it is never to give up hope on these challenging issues!! 

And I want to thank you for posting the thread on your longstanding bowel issues several months back.  I've had longstanding intermittent loose stool and multiple bowel movement issues for years.  While I think some of the bowel changes may have come from radiation, I think the majority of my problems were related to having been misdiagnosed with pneumonia in 2009 and put on heavy-duty antibiotics for a number of months.  I subsequently was diagnosed with microscopic colitis, and though I have no way to definitively prove it, the closeness in time to receiving the microscopic colitis diagnosis makes me think there may have been a causal relationship.  In any event, microscopic colitis has no connection whatsoever to radiation.  After your earlier post, and reading everyone's informative responses, I decided to make another attempt to address my bowel issues.  I already was taking colesevelam, a bile acid sequestrant that used to be prescribed for high cholesterol before statins came into fashion.  One common side effect of colesevelam is constipation, like the anti-depressant you're now taking.  But my doctor would only allow me to take 1/2 the recommended dose, because I have had intermittent bowel obstructions since finishing cancer treatment.  So what I have been doing since your post several months ago is in the early afternoon taking calcium (600 mg) and vitamin D (800 IU in calcium plus 2,000 IU more to help with calcium absorption).  My thought was that calcium is supposed to be constipating, and I, like you, need something to firm up the bowels.  I also realized that most of the foods I ate a lot of were high in magnesium, which is great for constipated people, but not so much for my situation.  So I've significantly decreased the amount of things like nuts, peanut butter and dark chocolate that I was previously eating probably more of than I should have.  And guess what?  My conservative estimate is that there's been a 40-50% improvement in my symptoms on most days.  Not a home run, but not too bad!

So thank you again, Eldri, for initially raising this important issue and getting an informative discussion started! 

Be well,


Posts: 1576
Joined: Jun 2012

Now you can have a real life again down there in Florida.  Your PA needs a big hug.

annie1029's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan 2021

I am so happy for you. I suffer with the same issues. Tomorow I see my doc and Im going to ask him about it. thank you. glad your better

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2021

I'm having a little neuropathy at the tip of my fingers.  Before it get worse i will ask my doctor about escitilopram.  

Spydergal's picture
Posts: 50
Joined: Jul 2021

I'm so happy to read that medication has Lowered your pain and controlling the diarrhea 

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