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Avatar universal

Panic attacks, lexapro, effexor xr, and xanax

A couple of months ago I was feeling very stressed and anxious, so I decided to start taking lexapro again. (I had been on lexapro and ativan for a couple of months a year ago, and had now been medicine free for several months). I took 10mg before I went to bed and woke up at 3am with heart palpitations, muscle weakness, nasuea, and a severe heat flush. I went to the ER and they said it was a panic attack and gave me xanax to take .5 3x daily. I continued the lexapro and my anxiety increased as my appetite decreased..i had another panic attack and went to the ER. They tested me for liver, kidney probs, did an EKG and tested for hyperthyroidism. Everything came back normal, although I blacked out for the very first time in my life when they drew the blood. (scariest experience of my life!!) I had to have an IV  for dehydration and my doc told me to gain weight. (5'4 110 lbs). I quit taking the lexapro and just took the xanax 3 times a day. It has been 3 weeks and my appetite has increased (I've gained 6 lbs yay!) and haven't had any full blown panic attacks, but still have the heart palpitations during the night and in the morning. I saw my psychiatrist yesterday and he didn't want me to become "hooked" on xanex so he gave me a whole case of samples of effexor xr. He said that I shouldn't need to take the effexor for long, just a couple of months or more. I'm very concerned about taking it, because my appetite and weight are already on shaky ground, and with the heart palpitations and panic attacks...well, I'm afraid it would be like the lexapro and only make the symptoms worse. I do NOT want to end up in the ER again! I have about 30 xanex left and wonder if I might be better of just trying to wean myself off of it and go without any medication at all, which I'm willing to do even though the xanex has been working great. I'm just terrified of taking the effexor after my experience with the lexapro and the loss of appetite and the panic attacks. Help? Please?
22 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
I agree with your intuition.  I have helped more people by taking them off these kind of medications than I have helped by putting them on.   Wean slowly over a threee week period, last week being lowest dose every third day.  Work on your life, that is the best medicine.
Avatar universal
Hi.

I am the same wiegth height almost as you are. But I am 5'5" 114lbs. I used to be 121lbs. If you look down a few post for A to Xanax. You can read my story. But when I first started taking Xanax, it completely took my appetite away. I mean food meant NOTHING to me. I was so weak and I had to chew my food and drink it down with water. I bought some Ensure shakes and that helped, cause they are 350 calories. The loss of appetite went away.  At fist I also woke up with heart palpitations but that stopped after a week but remember I was taking .5 FIVE TIMES A DAY. I take 5 Xanax 4xs a day trying to wean down to 3xs with mixed success. I just started Prozac three days ago. 10mg once a day. Since it takes a month to build up, so far I can't really tell what the Prozac is doing except I noticed that I am ot so angry anymore. I really want OFF Xanax. This is what I went throught in the last 24 hours

10pm Oct, 19th took a .5 Xanax
2:30AM oct 20th  woke up feeling panicky split a .5 )so .25) drank some chamomile tea (it helps) went back to sleep
6:00 woke up again feeling anxious-6:30 took a .5
9:00 woke up, felt weak ate some fruit yougurt grape juice
took the Prozac 10MG
11:45 am felt really jittery took a .5
12:30PM saw therapist he said the addition of Prozac will help ease the need for Xanax
ACTUALLY FELT FINE MOST OF THE DAY, drank some ensure, went shopping no anxety

6PM - not so anxious but alittle so I took a .5 Xanax

Now the question is should I take a .25 at midnight or just take another .5???? I am trying to wean but when I tried to drop to .5 3xs a day I had another panic attack.

I am really confused as to what to do.


Avatar universal
It's funny that there seems to be a correlation with my weight/appetite and eating habits and panic attacks. I have my panic attacks usually when I haven't had enough to eat or drink that day. Xanax actually brought my appetite back. Ensures are good, but you know what my saving grace has been? Turkey and cheese lunchables!!! lol, they are packed with protein and so easy on your stomach...so usually if I have no appetite or don't feel well I just eat one of those and I feel better. I have a sneaking suspicion that if I were to gain a few more pounds I wouldn't have as much health problems. There are millions of websites and magazine articles and ads for people trying to lose their appetites....it's hard to find support for skinny people who want to eat, lol!
Avatar universal
Yes, that worked for me too. I had some smoked salmon and cheese and crackers. One day I got some luchable type salami and had it with crackers. You are right it helped with the weakness and added protein. I just ate dinner, a spinch salad,  mac and cheese and my mom made dulce de leche ham. I had a slice. I took my last xanax at 6pm. This dose usually makes me sleepy but I will try to resist that tonight so maybe my sleep wont be so interurpted during the night.

Oh, BTW Xanax also made me constipated when I first took it...I still have problems with it but I have IBS anyway. I eat a few prunes or a bowl of fiberall if i goes on too long

I find the earlier you eat dinner the better. I had a bad habit of eating dinner at 9-10pm, when I did this I was more likely to get anxious. so tonight I did at 7pm.

The magnesium supplement debate intrigued me and I bought some. Funny how each time I took one I woke up with diarhea and more panicky. The Fish oil, did help some. I think. I take One a Day vitamin for women, plus fish oil or vit. e supplement. The chammomile tea does help .

You know the doc almot put me on Lexapro rather than Prozac, but after what you say maybe Prozac is more benign. Celexa is another one they spoke of.
Avatar universal
I drink lots of gatorade, actually. And I stay away from caffeine and any type of herbal drinks that may cause physical anxiety. And I didn't memorize the date of my first horrible panic attack either...I'd like to get it all behind me and not obsess about it. The more you obsess about the problem, the further away you become from a solution. I just want an MD to validate my concerns about starting a medication that may make my situation worse, and/or offer alternatives, so I can get through this and get on with my life.
Avatar universal
PS. Drink lots of water. This helps with my axiety. I also drink Vitamin Water flavrs "multi" "50/50" "Revive"  DO NOT DRINK THE ONES WITH GINKO< GINSENG OR CAFFEINE. the "energy" one has ginko and caffeine but the others add vitamins to your diet.

at first, I had hot flushes with my panic attacks that I woke up with in the middle of the night. Now before bed I have two bottles of water on the nightstand, Xanax, and an ice pack. I also have a cold moist towel in the fridge that my husbad gets if I need it. I have not in the last three weeks. I leave a window cracked for fresh air even if it is cold out. I live in NYC so it is about 50 degrees at night here, so the brisk air is alot better when the temp was 80 out.

I had my first attack ever on Sept 17, 2005. I think of it as a nightmarish day that has changed my life.
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