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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?1269550379
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

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
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.
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
Thanks Doc!
Avatar universal
Panic attacks can scare the hell out of you!... Word of caution though, stay away from the Paxils, Lexapro, and especially effexor..they are great to mask but are killers to get off of further down the line!  Most all that I have talked to eventually have side effects such as weight gain, mode swings, sexual disorders, etc.....I have been on Paxil for 10 years, i have still had a few panic attacks during that time.  I am now trying to ween myself off and switch to Wellbutrin for various side effect reasons mentioned above..

The weening process is and continues to be a NIGHTMARE.. the withdrawel symtoms are unbelievable from these meds (I had tried switching to effexor in past as well with bad results).. I am having weird stuff happening such as "Shock type feelings" severe dizzyness, episodes of disorientation....its a nightmare...I have no idea how long these things last, just hope they stop soon!!!!!

Avatar universal
I think it depends on the person on which medication is right for you. I took Paxil for a year and I did HORRIBLE on it. I was tired all the time, I gained weight, and I had constant yawning. I tried Zoloft and was on that for about a year, and that helped a lot. My only problem was that I had little to no libido, and it would make me sick sometimes. But then I weaned off of it with no problems and was med free for about 7 months. Then my anxiety/panic came back and I was put on Effexor XR. I have been on it since April, and so far it seems to be helping a lot. And i haven't had ANY side effects with it. So it just depends on the person and what kind of meds you can handle, if any. And it depends on how much you're willing to change meds until you find the one that works best for you.
Avatar universal
I have been taking lexapro for anxiety & depression for several months.  I am trying to wean off of it.  I too have had SEVERE withdrawl symptoms even though I am only trying to wean off of 10mg.   The main withdrawl symptoms are severe dizziness, as someone earlier stated- "shock like feelings."  --- very unsettling!

I am now trying Xanax and light therapy. I went back on the Lexapro because I can't handle the withdrawl.  The same thing happened over a year ago when I went off of Zoloft.  It took 2 weeks for the shock and dizzy feelings to subside.  

Just thought I would say something because I do think that withdrawl symptoms from the SSRI's can be just as bad as with other drugs and must also be carefully tapered down.
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
I was put on Lexapro about a year and a half ago after my son was born. I had anxiety problems with agitation, etc. My hubby convinced me to try it! I have only taken the 10 mg dose. Twice I have run out of Lex and not realized it until everything seemed to be in slow motion. I cannot even describe the feelings I had. Pretty much all the symptoms that everyone else has posted here. I would always feel better about 3 hours after taking a Lex.

I am now having issues with high blood pressure. I am convinced it is the Lex. I had toxemia when I was pregnant and on bed rest, but my BP went down within 3 months of having my son. After I started the Lex, I always felt so good I never checked it until recently when I started getting BP headaches like I did when pregnant. BP was 155/102!!  I decided to QUIT Lexapro and deal with my problems on my own.

Day 3 of no Lexapro and I had to leave work to go home and get a pill. I cannot take the withdrawl symptoms. It is the most miserable feeling. I do not even feel HUMAN. I feel like I am out of my body and have constant dizziness and nausea. I can't concentrate and am SOOOO tired. Called my doc and the nurse told me to take half a pill every other day and I should be fine. She said quitting Lexapro should only cause slight dizziness and will go away in a few days. BULLS***!!!  I asked about the HBP and the nurse told me it was from my anxiety! Whatever.

I am now taking 5 mg every OTHER day and by the time I am due for my pill, I feel horrible. I am so afraid I will never be able to get off of this awful medicine. I WILL NEVER EVER TAKE ANOTHER SSRI WITHOUT THOUROGHLY RESEARCHING IT!!! I am so angry at my doc for never telling me about this. I am angry at the drug company for marketing Lex as "no side effects" when they should say "don't ever stop taking it or you will want to die". I will tell EVERYONE I can to NEVER take LEXAPRO!!!  

By the way, how long will the withdrawl last?  I am freaking out here.
Thanks and good luck to all of you!
Avatar universal
Its the great SCAM. As one who has had terrible panic attacks 20 years ago (enough to end a marriage} who spent time self medicating with drugs and booze, to seeking a peace, or contol over my life, which was out of control. I go see the DR PSYC. and he wants me to go on most of thee above. We settle on xanax, because he told me it was not addictive. Well I understand panic attacks and I promise you, you will live, and it will pass. You are reading this ? I have not had a drink, or any drugs except breaking off the bandaid of benzodiazepines. I take one milligarm of klonopin and I am weening from the real problem.The medicine to "cure" me. But I am sure your Dr.s who proscribe all of the above should take thier own product for a year instead of long term $125.00 an hour care, to where you NEED them to drag out your therepy. Ween off, get off, tell your Dr.s who want to experiment with you to BUZZ OFF.
Avatar universal
Hi.  I hope you find some of this info helpful:
Avatar universal
3rd day of withdrawl from effexor without weaning down, just got damn tired of taking it and my sexual life is truly suffering because of it, I must say this is a scary feeling of the mind jolts, flu-like sympthoms, dizziness.  I remember a year ago when I started it took about 2 weeks for me to adjust to it, so how long if anyone knows will it that this **** to subside.  I also read about others taking Benadryl to help with the sympthoms, is this true cause this sister is ready to take some.  Thanks for and support offered.

Have a Blessed Holiday Season
Stay in Good Mental Health!!!!
Avatar universal
I had been on Celexa 10 mg. for about 3 years with little to no side effects. No panic attacks while using it. Went off of it for about a year, (no insurance). I was feeling up and down, but more depressed than not. I also was going through alot of stress.(But I think I have been depressed most of my life) I started getting anxiety attacks, feeling my heart race, thinking I'm sick, etc. Doc put me on lexapro, saying it has less side effects than Celexa. I felt a little better after 3 weeks, Meaning not having panic attacks, or thinking I am sick or dying. I had just had my yearly lab work done, and everything looked great. My BP never over 120/80, Cholesterol low. After about 2 months on Lex I now have high blood pressure. 145-160/90. I still don't feel as good as when on Celexa,and some days I feel lousey. I have pressure headaches, and alot of tension in neck and shoulders. Doc says it can't be the Lex, as it is the same as Celexa. So, instead of stopping it, he put be on a diuretic for the HBP. Does anyone know if it is possible to be ok on Celexa and not on Lex? Anyone else having similar problems?dbhans
Avatar universal
Depression as a biochemical condition simply does not exist.SSRI`S are not the smart selective drugs they are sold as and impact on way more than the serotonergic system.They cause neurological damage and alter gene expression.

  SSRI `s DO NOT rectify a chemical abnormality in the brain.This is pure fiction made up to create a market for harmful drugs .Despite countless attempts by biochemists and psychiatrists a serotonin deficiency causing depression has never been proven.-

In May 2005 the American Psychiatric Association were forced to admit the truth about the entire corrupt industy -

With the hunger strike, MindFreedom threw down the gauntlet to biopsychiatry. The hunger strikers said,

Avatar universal
This is to dbhans.  I was using Lexapro for about 1 1/2 years.  I felt great up until 3 weeks ago and wham, it just stopped working.  Celexa and Lexapro have the same main compound, though Lexapro is supposed to be more concentrated and thus you need a smaller amount which the marketing stuff says results in fewer side effects.  If Celexa worked for you that well for 3 years, then go back on it and forget about Lexapro.  I personally cannot take Lexapro any more.  It actually INCREASES my anxiety which causes more panic attacks.
Avatar universal

Thursday, January 5, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

Reported risks spur new study of ADHD drugs
By Andrew Bridges

The Associated Press

Avatar universal
I was giving effexor xr for migraines I am concerned only because of the loss of appetite that I have had I am really hungry in the morning but the rest of the time I am not. See I am 5'8 and I way 115 lbs by nature I really can not afford to loose any weight at all. The side effect other than that is the shortness of breath, and I am tired the fist part of the morning. This morning I woke up and I had tracers from like being on acid it was mild but it is there when I get moving it goes away. Any thoughts on that I do have other issue I suffer from GAD, SAD, PTSD, and major depressive disorder. My other concern I have is I am on medication for a bladder problem I have. Fun stuff for being 26. AND DO NOT LISTEN TO DON
Avatar universal
Hi I've been taking effexor xr 75mgs for over 3 years. and basiclly stoped working for me last oct. i got down to 37.5 it was hell so i stayed here for the past months and am tapering down i'm soo sick this is awful if it was still working for my depression and anxity i would stay on it but it isn't.My brain feels soo choppy and the dr. wants me to start prozac in the moring and stay on the effxor for a few more weeks but i'm afraid to.Has anyone here done that? does it work?
Any info. Please
Avatar universal
Do be too quick to say that guy above is an Idiot (dontakedrugs) He is telling the truth about what part of it i know of.

The Increase of prescribing of these "mental health drugs" is MONUMENTAL and very profitable; to be polite.

It frightens and saddens me so much talk of XANAX use in great quanities i read here.
i use it, but i do not let it USE ME....
i stopped having panic attacks as well.
EFFEXOR XR and Zyprexa were pumped into me after i had a emotional "difficulty"

that could have been cleared up with a Vacation (or i could have just killed to people to even the score) and  SHORT TERM USE of some aniti depressant. Long story short. I am now 12 plus years out from that famous day I let The Psych industry own me. and I have to say that on Effexor: i have thought of suicide all the time; for 12 years or so.....I also have major liver damage and as of a few years now serious MIGRAINES that are unexplained.......

I say we all need to use this internet to find out for ourselves about these crazy drugs THEY want to
give us. wether it is  ZOCOR or Lexapro. etc..,  

and for this person above ..JOSS26....... you are going to be in worse shape in a decade if you don't take control of YOUR OWN LIFE NOW.. I can say that because i have wasted well over a decade and had battle scars to prove it and I AM NOT PROUD,

I hope some of you will stop trusting these doctors Blindly!!  
I'd say more but if you are not believing your posting mate  DONTAKEDRUGS above, then in your haze of drug induced sadness, you won't believe me. I am only a few days from being
OFF EFFEXOR and I will not go back.
I amDAMN  tired of thinking of killing myself everyday...its a poor hobby. OH by the way, my

therapist (who they always keep out of the medication loop) did NOT know these Anti depressants caused Suicidal thinking!!

They don't want you to know. why do you think in 1993 all i was worried about was getting Vitamin C with Rose hips, and now my meds list is a full sheet of paper long??????

please don't get mad at me for what i say. just find a way to help YOURSELF I have been trying to GET SOMEONE to Help ME for years and I now get it!! THERE IS NO ONE but ME and I GOOD counselor who is not on the pay roll of a Pharmasuitical company or has a brainwashed  Psychology field.  talk therapy can WORK IF you do work TOO.

I wish i could help all of you with my experiences. my heart is in this;  even if my words aren't coming out the best.
( if you doubt me; ask me how my body has been destroyed in these years since christmas of 1995.)
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