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    Old 01-03-2005, 08:59 PM   #1
    sammi34
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    Help? Xanax XR Question

    Hello. I'm glad to "meet" you all. I've been reading the board for quite awhile and it's been really helpful to me.

    I have a question that I haven't seen covered and wondered if someone could give me some advice? A little background - I'm female - age 50 and I've lived with a high level of anxiety for most of my life. Over the years, I've learned to live with it, for the most part. I started having full blown panic attacks years ago during a time of high stress, was treated then with xanax and prozac (years ago) and eventually got better and was off all meds for years.

    Three years ago, my eldest son died unexpectedly and I've had major problems with anxiety and panic attacks since that time. Also, sleep problems and now am beginning to have physical problems. (Constant and awful fatigue, aching in my muscles and joints, just feeling like I can't keep going.) I'm divorced and have few people I can turn to - my mother is elderly and has Alzheimers and that's another whole story.

    My PCP tried every sort of anti-depressant (it seemed - paxil, wellbutrin, buspar, trazadone, celexa...I can't even remember them all) and none helped at all. He also prescribed xanax for occasional use and that did help the panic. I never felt I was clinically depressed - just situationally - although my doctor would never listen to that. Wouldn't YOU be depressed if one of your children died, for gosh sakes? But the anxiety and panic have been terrible. When my PCP got tired (my interpretation) of my failure to get better, he recommended a psychiatrist for med consultation. I've been seeing him once a month now for about six months.

    He prescribed Serzone (the generic - I know the brand is unavailable in the U.S. and I know why - scary drug) and continued the xanax for occasional use. I did okay with that - even though the risks with Serzone does frighten me. Last month, during what I thought was not a great time, (holidays, out of town with my other two adult children, etc.) he switched me to xanax xr - (1 mg) instead of regular xanax. This just isn't working well. My general level of anxiety is a little lower with the xanax xr but it doesn't stop panic attacks.

    Twice since then, during extremely stressful times at work, I burst into uncontrollable crying, which of course, led to a major panic attack. (This is totally unlike me - getting upset enough to actually cry at work). I also had panic attacks while out of town, in unfamiliar places and situations. I called the physc doc and he seemed dismissive and wants me to give the xanax xr more time. I've been taking it for a month now and I've just about had all I can take. I'm also getting more frightened of continuing the Serzone for more than six months. (I've had blood tests though that seem to show my liver is okay).

    Has anyone had experience with xanax xr? Does it eventually begin to work better - or as well - as regular xanax? If not, how can I get my doctor to switch me BACK to regular xanax? At the time I stopped taking it, I was usually taking .5 mg a day - although I could take up to 1 mg and did when necessary. I'm NOT a drug addict. I just want to feel normal - and with xanax xr - I don't feel normal. I feel like I'm on the edge of an attack way way too often. And I'm having too many full blown attacks. My psyc doc is there for med consultation only and doesn't listen real well - but then - I don't really want to start over with a new doctor. Also, does anyone have any experience with Serzone? I really would like to get off this drug - but I'm told it does lower anxiety and I'm afraid I'd be even worse without it.

    Any suggestions or advice for me? I'm sorry this got so long. Thank you all - this is a great board.

    sammi

     
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    Old 01-03-2005, 11:09 PM   #2
    hry33
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    Re: Help? Xanax XR Question

    welcome sammi
    its worth remembering that most psychiartrists have never had a panic attack or the fears and worries they cause

    buspar isnt an antidepressant its a tranquilliser of a different type to xanax

    some people just dont adjust well to a new tranquilliser, ask the psych for a prescription for ordinary xanax, or maybe ask the pharmacist if he will give you ordinary instead, its possible that your XR was spoiled by hot storage or perhaps are inactive fakes, these are around

    is the serzone helping you, sometimes an antidepressant just never helps, if it is, I guess stay on it

    I am doubtful about xanax xr, its usually much more expensive and takes longer to start helping than ordinary xanax

    klonapin is a longer lasting benzo thats popular for anxiety and panic attacks

    stay with us,we have lived thru it, not just read about it in books

     
    Old 01-04-2005, 06:53 AM   #3
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    Re: Help? Xanax XR Question

    Hi,

    At one point in my life I also took reg. Xanax...I no longer have panic attacks so I'm not on it anymore.
    But, when Xanax XR first came out I asked my Doctor about it.
    He told me that in his opinion it was a waste of money and not all it was cracked up to me.
    He said 1 dose was supposed to last all day long, but in most people that just wasn't the case and they ended up having to take it more than once a day.

    He also wouldn't put me on it for the same reason you mentioned.
    He said it may decrease your anxiety, but if you have a full blown attack chances are...since it's a time released medication it will do nothing to stop a full blown attack in it's tracks the way reg. Xanax does.

    He said from his experiance most people did better just taking reg. Xanax and not increasing their dose, but splitting that dose up through out the day.

    As for the other drug....Klonapin...that hry33 mentioned, I know some people who have done very well on it, while for others like me, it was just to much.
    I took the smallest dose possibly and felt like a zombie.
    But, everyones experiance with these drugs is different.

    Sorry I couldn't really offer any help, I just wanted to let you know why my Doctors thoughts on Xanax XR were.
    Hopefully you can talk to your Doctor and tell him that the XR just isn't cutting it and see if he'll give you reg. instead.

    It makes me mad when Doctors do that, just because some drug company rep. told them how wonderful a certain drug is doesn't mean that it'll work for everyone.

    Last edited by Graciecat; 01-04-2005 at 06:55 AM.

     
    Old 01-04-2005, 01:22 PM   #4
    sammi34
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    Re: Help? Xanax XR Question

    Thanks, for your responses. I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

    hry33 - I wish it were as simple as asking the doc to switch me back to regular xanax! I did try that over the phone but at that time he wasn't receptive to the idea. Maybe at my next appointment he'll feel differently. I did NOT know there could be bad batches of medication out there. That's a little scary! As far as the Serzone helping - at first I thought it was helping the level of generalized anxiety but now - I just don't know. I think the xanax does that all by itself. And I'm concerned that the Serzone is contributing to the extreme fatigue, muscle and joint aches. My PCP doc thinks that's the case - (although he didn't tell me to stop taking it) but he was the one who sent me to the psyc doc for med consultations! Arrrrggghhhh! I am so tired of dealing with doctors! And panic. And anxiety. And just feeling so bad most of the time.

    Graciecat, thank you too. I'm glad you're better! I think your doctor was right - at least that's how the medication seems to me too. I hope my doctor will agree when I see him again but since he was so insistent on switching to the xr, I just don't know. I appreciate your sharing some of your thoughts too - I feel less alone with this.

    Thanks to you both - and for the welcome to the board too. Any other thoughts - or maybe there are others out there who have had some experience with Xanax XR and Serzone? I'd appreciate any and all input.

     
    Old 01-04-2005, 02:24 PM   #5
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    Re: Help? Xanax XR Question

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sammi34
    Thanks, for your responses. I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

    hry33 - I wish it were as simple as asking the doc to switch me back to regular xanax! I did try that over the phone but at that time he wasn't receptive to the idea. Maybe at my next appointment he'll feel differently. I did NOT know there could be bad batches of medication out there. That's a little scary! As far as the Serzone helping - at first I thought it was helping the level of generalized anxiety but now - I just don't know. I think the xanax does that all by itself. And I'm concerned that the Serzone is contributing to the extreme fatigue, muscle and joint aches. My PCP doc thinks that's the case - (although he didn't tell me to stop taking it) but he was the one who sent me to the psyc doc for med consultations! Arrrrggghhhh! I am so tired of dealing with doctors! And panic. And anxiety. And just feeling so bad most of the time.

    Graciecat, thank you too. I'm glad you're better! I think your doctor was right - at least that's how the medication seems to me too. I hope my doctor will agree when I see him again but since he was so insistent on switching to the xr, I just don't know. I appreciate your sharing some of your thoughts too - I feel less alone with this.

    Thanks to you both - and for the welcome to the board too. Any other thoughts - or maybe there are others out there who have had some experience with Xanax XR and Serzone? I'd appreciate any and all input.
    Hey Sammi:
    The Serzone also has properties to relieve anxiety, so I think staying on an antidepressant that helps with anxiety is good. But, I did switch from Serzone because of all the problems. I now take Effexor XR, which again has anxiolytic properties. Cymbalta also supposedly has this effect, and I think I am going to try that because Effexor doesn't seem to be working like it did when I started it over a year ago.

    As far as anti anxiety medication goes... I definitely think you need something else. I took Xanax-- hated it. I would feel shaky and like I was crawling out of my body. Apparently, according to the Psych... it's because Xanax has an EXTREMELY short half life-- so think of it working in you body like a sharp spike-- absorbed quickly, peaks quickly, and excretes quickly. Others, like Ativan are a little longer (my wife does take these for panic disorders). I prefer Klonopin personally, because it stays for so long and is slowly excreted from your body. That is what Xanax XR is supposed to imitate; the drug manufacturer did not succeed at making this happen.

    If I were you, I would switch to another antidepressant... Cymbalta, or Effexor, and use Ativan for panic attacks/anxiety. As far as him not being receptive... too bad! It's your body. Give your reasoning for wanting to switch... Serzone is dangerous and Xanax XR doesn't do it for you. No sense in having you lose your career!


    Hope that helps.

    Best of Luck.
    CancerDad

     
    Old 01-04-2005, 04:29 PM   #6
    sammi34
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    Re: Help? Xanax XR Question

    CancerDad,

    Thank you too! Very good information to know. And I'm glad you and your wife both found meds that work for you. I appreciate the reminder that it IS my body and my health we're talking about. Doctors intimidate me - but you're absolutely right. I can see I need to insist on the doctor listening to me about this. Seeing it and doing it - two different things but I'll have to try. We're also having a massive reorg and lay-offs at work - not helping my stress levels and surely NOT a time to be seen as "unstable" i.e., crying, etc.

    Good luck to you! And thanks again.

    Sammie

     
    Old 01-06-2005, 10:38 AM   #7
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    Cool Re: Help? Xanax XR Question

    Xanax XR doesn't work as well as regular Xanax. The problem is most physicians are afraid of the dependency side effects of regular Xanax. This is quite stupid. A good psychiatrist will use the drug that is most effect for each particular patient. I have been on Xanax .5 mg. on and off two to three times a day for years without having to increase the dose. But, word of warning if you have been taking regular Xanax on a regular basis it has to be weaned it cannot be stopped abruptly--you will have some side effects. You need to convey to your doctor that the regular Xanax was very helpful to you. I take Zoloft along with Xanax and this is a very good combination for me, it might work also for you--you would have to try it and see. You need to work with one specific doctor if you are going to use regular Xanax or they think you are "doctor shopping" for your drug. I know its stupid but what are you going to do. Regular Xanax takes one-half to take effect, peaks in two hours and is usually gone in 4-5 hours, thats why the repeated dose. Xanax XR is suppose to release over 24 hours, but its not very effective. Talk to your doctor and try to explain what you need, if necessary switch doctors.

     
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