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Author Topic: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?  (Read 2479 times)

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Offline newbieguy

  • Member
  • Posts: 197
Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« on: February 06, 2012, 08:06:28 PM »
I saw my general doctor today and discussed some of my recent sleep issues with her. She is always a great listener, and after talking awhile, I sort of had an a-ha moment..For years I have had palpitations and a slightly elevated heart rate, but was told they were clinically benign. I never thought of myself as anxious, however, the more I think about it, the more I think I have suffered from low-grade anxiety (NOT depression) for several years. Maybe I didnt want to admit it. Anyways, my doc suggested maybe I can try a beta blocker for awhile, to see if it can help regulate my pulse some, and maybe help me sleep on difficult nights too...She also mentioned maybe a low-dose regimen of Paxil, to see if maybe it can help my anxiety...I am pretty clueless about such medications. However, I def do think I can benefit from some type of low-dose anxiety medication to improve my overall quality of life. I would like one that is not overly addictive, and preferably has minimal or no sexual side effects too (since I am 29 yo, can't have my sex life suffering!  ;) ). Just thought I'd ask some of the forum members on if you could suggest any good, low-side effect, hassle-free, effective anti-anxiety meds if I do decide to go that route. Thanks a bunch!

Offline newt

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  • Posts: 3,878
  • the one and original newt
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2012, 09:07:41 PM »
Well now, me, first, I'd swap out efavirenx (one of the drugs in Atripla) and see what happens. If you have not had anxiety before meds this is the most likely cause. This said, adding an anti-anxiety drug is a reasonable route to try.

- matt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline buginme2

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  • Posts: 2,834
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2012, 09:20:26 PM »
if you could suggest any good, low-side effect, hassle-free, effective anti-anxiety meds if I do decide to go that route. Thanks a bunch!

Hmm.  You mentioned you didnt want sexual side effects.  Most if not all the SSRI's (including Paxil) can cause sexual side effects.  Maybe a low dose will lessen the effect, also not everyone experiences them. 

Benzo's (Xanax, Valium, Ativan etc) can make you sleepy and can be addictive (I take Xanax!!)  Again, not everyone experiences side effects. 

I also take a beta blocker (but I take it for high blood pressure).  It doesnt cause me any side effects.

The Atripla may be the cause, as Newt said.  Much like you I have had anxiety symptoms without really knowing it.  I have had some phsyical sysmptoms of anxiety but not many psychological symptoms (I have never felt anxious) so I know how you feel.  If you cannot work it out with your doctor, keep bringing it up.  You have to be your own advocate on this.  From my experience its something doctors can dismiss.

Offline springfever

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  • Posts: 14
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2012, 10:26:27 PM »
My doctor gave me a prescription for clonazepam, also a benzo.  I used to take 2mg at night for insomnia and 0.5mg as needed during the day for anxiety.  I didn't experience any side effects.  Now I rarely need to take any, I take 0.5mg at night on occasion, if I can't sleep, so they didn't cause any dependence either.  I have 3 full pill bottles in the cupboard.  As for sexual side effects, I really can't help you with that part.

Offline odyssey

  • Member
  • Posts: 765
  • One Crazy Mofo!
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2012, 10:10:38 AM »
I'd stay away from the benzos if you can avoid them. I took them as prescribed for years and when I had to stop I had to go through a horrible detox. NOT FUN! Now I take a low dose of Seroquel. Haven't had any sexual side effects, not sure if it even causes them. I'll check the prescribing info and get back to you on that. There is a risk of weight gain, but alas, a lot of psych meds have that. But a tiny dose probably would help with anxiety and not do much of anything to your weight.

Best of luck,
odyssey
01/09/09- diagnosed HIV+
01/16/09   CD4-425    22%  VL- 32,415
11/09- started Reyetaz/Norvir/Truvada
03/10- stopped R/N/T
10/18/11   CD4- 328   20%  VL- 84,000
10/25/11   CD4- 386   22%
10/28/11- start Truvada/Reyetaz/Norvir
12/30/11  CD4- 523  29%
03/08/12  CD4- 503  31%  VL 57
07/02/12  CD4- 897  43%
08/31/12  CD4- 745  39%
12/27/12  CD4- 884  40%
03/28/13  CD4- 819  39%
07/19/13  CD4- 739  40%
10/17/13  CD4- 535  36%
01/16/14  CD4- 743  43%

02/14- switched from R/N/T to Tivicay/Epzicom because of CKD 3 suspected from tenofovir.

03/14- switched back to R/N/T due to severe nausea and inability to eat on T/E.
 
04/01/14 CD4- 898  42%   VL-

Offline odyssey

  • Member
  • Posts: 765
  • One Crazy Mofo!
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2012, 10:19:04 AM »
Just checked and sexual side effects really aren't common. There is some risk, but the rate is incredibly low. I'm guessing any med could have sexual side effects in some people.
01/09/09- diagnosed HIV+
01/16/09   CD4-425    22%  VL- 32,415
11/09- started Reyetaz/Norvir/Truvada
03/10- stopped R/N/T
10/18/11   CD4- 328   20%  VL- 84,000
10/25/11   CD4- 386   22%
10/28/11- start Truvada/Reyetaz/Norvir
12/30/11  CD4- 523  29%
03/08/12  CD4- 503  31%  VL 57
07/02/12  CD4- 897  43%
08/31/12  CD4- 745  39%
12/27/12  CD4- 884  40%
03/28/13  CD4- 819  39%
07/19/13  CD4- 739  40%
10/17/13  CD4- 535  36%
01/16/14  CD4- 743  43%

02/14- switched from R/N/T to Tivicay/Epzicom because of CKD 3 suspected from tenofovir.

03/14- switched back to R/N/T due to severe nausea and inability to eat on T/E.
 
04/01/14 CD4- 898  42%   VL-

Offline eric48

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,158
  • @HIVPharmaCure & tinyurl.com/HIVPharmaCure
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2012, 04:19:00 PM »
Hi,

I suffer a slowly disappearing PTSS and anxiety.

I think I have put the entire initial trauma behind me, what you never know.

So I take the lightest , smallest dose anxilotic there is on the market here and 1/8 of OTC unisom pills. (their are small pills, not easy to split!)

Doc says it is anxiety , I am starting to suspect the meds...

Observations that my doc say are confirming it is anxiety:
- it starts end of day (typically 5-6 PM, there fore I take the pill before around 4-5 PM, works better)
- does not happen if I am at a social event, etc (but may happen later in the night)
- more sever after a hectic day work
Last but not least: found out that lying on the living room's couch and turning on TV (CNN) around 5 PM, closing eyes, not really listening, I would easily feel asleep. Family hates that! I get reprimanded all the time but doc said the listening of voice just relaxes the anxiety and might be better than medication.

I've tried it several times with success, except that it is not feasible in my family environment. You may try , though.

Found that a small dose of coated aspirin at night seems to help.

Hope this helps

Eric
 
NVP/ABC/3TC/... UD; CD4 > 1000; CD4/CD8 ~ 2.0   safety stock : 2 months

Offline newbieguy

  • Member
  • Posts: 197
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2012, 05:02:08 PM »
Hi all, thanks for all your great comments! Really insightful. I def want to avoid the benzos, I think I am going to try a lowgrade beta-blocker since I have always had small issues with palpitations, which only makes my anxiety worse. Mind you, I don't have high blood pressure, merely elevated pulse rate, although nothing too crazy..Dunno if the Atripla is somehow causing my heartrate to rise more than it should, who knows....I am also going to consider switching off Atripla to another med and see if that in itself helps my anxiety. Couldn't hurt right! My doc wanted me to consider low-dose Paxil, but I am very reluctant to go that route, due to its addictive qualities...I think right now, I will try the beta blocker for the pulse issue, and maybe the occasional OTC melatonin or unisom as needed for falling asleep.

Offline odyssey

  • Member
  • Posts: 765
  • One Crazy Mofo!
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2012, 10:31:37 PM »
Paxil shouldn't be addictive. Its an SSRI, which are considered to cause dependency issues. If you take a high dose you need to come off gradually to avoid side affects but its certainly not addictive. I've been on it and off it several times.
01/09/09- diagnosed HIV+
01/16/09   CD4-425    22%  VL- 32,415
11/09- started Reyetaz/Norvir/Truvada
03/10- stopped R/N/T
10/18/11   CD4- 328   20%  VL- 84,000
10/25/11   CD4- 386   22%
10/28/11- start Truvada/Reyetaz/Norvir
12/30/11  CD4- 523  29%
03/08/12  CD4- 503  31%  VL 57
07/02/12  CD4- 897  43%
08/31/12  CD4- 745  39%
12/27/12  CD4- 884  40%
03/28/13  CD4- 819  39%
07/19/13  CD4- 739  40%
10/17/13  CD4- 535  36%
01/16/14  CD4- 743  43%

02/14- switched from R/N/T to Tivicay/Epzicom because of CKD 3 suspected from tenofovir.

03/14- switched back to R/N/T due to severe nausea and inability to eat on T/E.
 
04/01/14 CD4- 898  42%   VL-

Offline osric

  • Member
  • Posts: 53
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2012, 11:25:02 PM »
I've taken almost all of the major anti-anxiety meds, and the worst two for me were clonazepam (aka Klonopin) and alprazolam (Xanax). Klonopin worked well for me in the beginning, but my doc kept having to up the dosage for it to work, and after a couple of years I was pretty much addicted to the stuff. Withdrawal when we finally discontinued it was off the charts misery. Xanax just knocks me out for a good 16 hour sleep and leaves me groggy all day after.

We tried a low dose of Inderal (propranolol) which is a beta blocker, and that worked really well for me. It helped with my social anxiety for a while, but like me and most meds we had to go to a pretty high dosage over time and then the sexual side effects kicked in when it started lowering my blood pressure :(

Hope you find something that works well for you.

Offline newbieguy

  • Member
  • Posts: 197
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 07:39:26 PM »
Thanks all for the great comments! I am wondering if my Atripla days are numbered, because my doc informed me today that my lipids were too high, not alarmingly so, but she suspects it might be med-related...Not sure until I have further tests. But lately, I have been having a lot of hot flashes (even for me lol) and the nagging sleep issues, and the anxiety, which sometimes (though rarer) borders on depression. I had some low-dose Paxil prescribed, but I haven't taken any yet because I was basically too chicken because I didn't wanna get hooked on them. I did get prescribed a low-dose Metoprolol (12.5 mg) for occasional rapid heartbeat, so I might try that and see if it helps my anxiety any..The doc said he really wanted me to not take it unless I had to though, because it could really lower my blood pressure too much in someone my age (28). So I may just switch HIV meds first and see if that helps any, before I take more drastic meds.

Offline Ann

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 28,140
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2012, 06:31:29 AM »
Hey Newbie, I hope you don't mind me injecting a little bit of my odd brand of humour, but I couldn't help notice something in you post - and it made me laugh.

Metoprolol - never heard of this med before so I was kinda checking the word out and noticed the second half of it... pro-lol. Kinda like it's all for making you laugh out loud. Pro teh lulz and all that.

Well, it made me lol anyway. ;D
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline TexasPOZ

  • Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2012, 01:58:19 AM »
It sounds like you have a pretty good relationship with your doctor, and if I were you, I would try what the doctor recommends. It's definitely worth a try and may make you feel better.

Offline wylidas

  • Member
  • Posts: 85
  • Trying to love this life, since it's all we got.
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2012, 03:27:26 PM »
I noticed a couple of people comment that they had a hard time coming off benzos, I would like to second and third that. I am in the midst of absolute hell coming off lorazepam (ativan) which I took for almost a year daily 1-2 mg for panic and anxiety.

I came off it 6 months ago and I am still struggling with depression apathy and extreme anxiety, but the first few months were the worst because I had all kinds of insane physical symptoms. So my two cents is to avoid benzos at ALL costs. The one saving grace I have realized from this hell is that I can control my panic on my own without medications, but what a nightmare this has been to have to go through all this just to figure out I could do this without the help of anti-anxiety meds. Learn from those of us who have gone before you and use exercise and therapy (and potentially an HIV med change) before you try ANYTHING else.

I wish you hope and healing.
Diagnosed + in 2006.
Atripla in 2006 (Bad dreams, nervous system reaction after a few weeks. Discontinued.)
Epzicom/Reyataz/Norvir October 2007 - February 2012 (anxiety and elevated BP primary s/x)
UD VL <30
CD4 - fluctuates between 250 - 500 with 25%+
Discontinued meds in February 2012 (due to adherence issues after detoxing from Ativan)
March 2012 - CD4 296, VL 120
4/22/2012 - Started Complera
5/1/2012 - Discontinued Complera, began monitored drug holiday
7/3/2012 - VL 55,000; CD4 211 - started Bactrim
8/5/2012 - Began Truvada + Isentress

Offline MoMorrison

  • Member
  • Posts: 57
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2012, 08:49:50 PM »
I was given a prescription for Ativan this past Monday and started taking them on Tuesday. Doctor recommended 1mg pill twice a day, but I am only taking one a day. I did suffer from mild to moderate anxiety before starting my complera and I just want to keep that in check. The ativan has helped me a lot. I don't stress, worry, or fear like I used to. I don't want to become hooked so God willing with therapy I can over come anxiety and wean off the avitan without any problems. Good luck to you all in your struggle with anxiety. She can be a real BITCH!
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

Offline Cojo

  • Member
  • Posts: 196
Re: Anti-Anxiety Meds Advice?
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2012, 09:30:49 PM »
I have struggled with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) for decades now and finding out I am poz certainly didn't help. Ativan is good for acute anxiety attacks and can certainly help immensely through short periods of high anxiety or panic. For a decade now I have been on Cipralex (Lexapro in USA) and it works really well for anxiety. Although it is an SSRI which are generally thought of as anti depressants, this drug has high anxiety beating indications. Consider it if you haven't, it works great with little (or no) side effects.
May 2011 - Tested Positive
June 2011 - CD4 330   16%   VL182,000 no resistance
Oct 6, 2011 - CD4 300  20%  VL 60,000
Oct 7, 2011 - start Truvada / Isentress
Nov 29, 2011 CD4 280 26% VL 54
Feb 7 2012 CD4 260 25% UD!
Mar 20 2012 CD4 400 28%
June 2012 CD4 330 26% UD
Sept 2012 CD4 450 32% UD
Dec 2012 CD4 310 28% UD
May 2013 CD4 500 32% UD
Oct 2013 CD4 460 33% UD
May 2014 CD4 360 33% UD
Aug 2014 swap out Isentress for Tivicay

 


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