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Does Lamictal Feel Like Taking A Benzo?

Lamictal Xanax Anxiety

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#1 Vinny1885

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 05:33 PM

The more I read, it seems like Lamictal is very helpful to many people with GAD. I've taken Xanax as needed and it does help but my anxiety is still pretty bad. It's somatic and cognitive anxiety. My question is, for those of you who have taken Lamictal off-label for anxiety, how does the relief compare to taking a benzo, like Xanax? Is it a different kind of relief? Even when I take a Xanax, I never have that well-being feeling of low anxiety. Not looking for euphoria but relief. Thanks.
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#2 Halberd of Hope

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 08:21 PM

I'm not familiar with using lamictal as a rescue med like xanax. When I took it, it felt nothing like a benzo. There was no anxiety relief any amount of time after taking it that I noticed. It wasn't PRN, either; it was taken daily.

Have you looked into something like buspar, gabapentin, or Lyrica to keep anxiety under control?

Edited by hammer of dusk, 11 October 2011 - 08:23 PM.

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#3 Demento

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 09:37 PM

No, Lamictal doesn't not help me with anxiety, and it feels nothing like a benzo. I've really never heard of taking Lamictal for anxiety, and you cannot take it PRN.
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#4 Her

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 07:59 AM

Lamotrigine feels nothing at all like any of the benzos I've taken. It's been great for depression and has improved my energy level and cognitive functioning tremendously, but it has had no effect at all on my anxiety. I take Seroquel for that.
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Give us this day our daily meds:150 mgs lamotrigine, 75 mgs topiramate, 150 mgs Seroquel XR, 100 mgs Seroquel IR, 12.5 mgs Ambien CR, 15 mgs escitalopram, 4000 i.u. Vit. D3. Azelastine spray for allergies.

Cyclobenzaprine and Midrin PRN.

Past, failed attempts: Effexor XR, Celexa, amitriptyline, Depakote, Geodon, klonopin, ativan, bupropion, busipirone, lithium, trazodone, Lunesta, Rozerem, gabapentine, mirtazapine, Wellbutrin, Temazepam, Sonata.

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#5 Vinny1885

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 01:43 PM

I'm not familiar with using lamictal as a rescue med like xanax. When I took it, it felt nothing like a benzo. There was no anxiety relief any amount of time after taking it that I noticed. It wasn't PRN, either; it was taken daily.

Have you looked into something like buspar, gabapentin, or Lyrica to keep anxiety under control?


I have read about Buspar, Gabapentin, and Lyrica but haven't brought them up with my doctor yet. Right now, she is slowly tapering me off Lexapro and Imipramine. She wants to replace it with possibly another SSRI for the anxiety. I'm also taking Vyvanse and Abilify, which I know can increase anxiety but my old doc put me on the Vyvanse to help lift the depressive moods. Basically, my first doctor had me on too much medicine and my new doc is slowly adjusting/changing things, to get a better response. Thanks for your reply. I'll certainly bring up the meds you suggested when I see my doc next time.
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#6 Vinny1885

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 01:46 PM

No, Lamictal doesn't not help me with anxiety, and it feels nothing like a benzo. I've really never heard of taking Lamictal for anxiety, and you cannot take it PRN.


Oh ok. Hmmm, I guess it's used off-label more for depression. Thanks
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#7 Vinny1885

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 01:50 PM

Lamotrigine feels nothing at all like any of the benzos I've taken. It's been great for depression and has improved my energy level and cognitive functioning tremendously, but it has had no effect at all on my anxiety. I take Seroquel for that.


Ok, thanks for that info. Definitely helpful. The increased cognitive functioning sounds great! I've been having trouble with that for a little while now. Concentrating and studying are more difficult. I think that may also be a side effect of the meds my doc is tapering me off of, to be replaced with something else. How's the Seroquel working for u?
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#8 Blue Heron

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 02:54 PM

Vinny, many of us who take Lamictal find it slows down our cognitive functioning. The med is more effective against depression than anxiety.
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#9 Her

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 06:12 PM

Seroquel works well for me for anxiety. I'm lucky, I guess, that it works for me at a low dose (everything that works on me seems to work at a relatively low dose), like 12.5 to 25 mgs two or three times a day, if I'm really climbing the walls, plus the stuff I take every night at bedtime. When I've taken higher doses, say to knock back mania, it makes me very dopey and sedated and also very dehydrated, but at small doses...someone else can probably explain the chemistry behind this, but what it feels like is almost an anti-adrenaline rush. Only more gradual. Does that make sense? Suddenly I notice that I've relaxed. Whatever horrible soundtrack was playing in my mind, wearing grooves in my mental floorboards, gets turned way down, or if I'm really lucky, off. Have you ever seen self-leveling cement work? Feels like that in my brain.

And I know a lot of people get cognitive impairment from lamotrigine, but I think maybe if it's acting as an anti-depressant for you (as it certainly is for me), just being not depressed is enough to clear your head significantly.
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Give us this day our daily meds:150 mgs lamotrigine, 75 mgs topiramate, 150 mgs Seroquel XR, 100 mgs Seroquel IR, 12.5 mgs Ambien CR, 15 mgs escitalopram, 4000 i.u. Vit. D3. Azelastine spray for allergies.

Cyclobenzaprine and Midrin PRN.

Past, failed attempts: Effexor XR, Celexa, amitriptyline, Depakote, Geodon, klonopin, ativan, bupropion, busipirone, lithium, trazodone, Lunesta, Rozerem, gabapentine, mirtazapine, Wellbutrin, Temazepam, Sonata.

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#10 Wilcofan

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 01:51 PM

Lamictal and benzos are nothing alike.
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#11 Jade Mermaid

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 12:49 PM

When I take Lamictal, about 45 minutes later I get that sense of well being and overall "good" feeling. But it's very short lasting for me and I've been taking it over a year consistently. Like others have said, it's not prn, but I know the feeling you're talking about. I have to say that my anxiety is better after I take my pill, but my anxiety is pretty bad to start with. It's nowhere near the effectiveness of Ativan for me when it comes to anxiety.
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#12 Mr_West

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 08:03 PM

Well, in Japan Lamotrigine is a narcotic and requires diplomatic measures to bring it into the country as a patient. There is some nominal evidence that lamotrigine hits on some mu-opioid receptors. It isn't a drug with either serious abuse potential or tremendous potential as a prn. It does have a somewhat short half life though at 13.5 hours, give or take and sacrifice a goat.

Hours 2-4 after I take lamotrigine are usually my most productively alert hours of the day since I've settled on it. Of all of the anticonvulsants lamotrigine may or may not work on more discrete things than any other. It can hit high voltage sodium channels like no other which is may be why for Lennox Gestalt and some seizure disorders it doesn't have a parallel. It is also structurally different on a chemical level from the other anticonvulsants in significant ways.
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#13 Vinny1885

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:32 PM

Vinny, many of us who take Lamictal find it slows down our cognitive functioning. The med is more effective against depression than anxiety.


Oh ok. I didn't realize it was more for depression. Thanks for clearing that up.
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#14 Vinny1885

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:36 PM

The only similarity I experienced with Klonopin and Lamictal is that both cleared my head. Don't know if that makes sense to a GAD person, as I was taking them for BP. They both quieted the noise in my head, which for me is a really nice thing. Lamictal increased my anxiety in the afternoons, but when I was on it, the pdoc had me on once-a-day (morning) dosing and refused, for reasons I am unsure of, to have me take it twice a day. A new neurologist wants me to try it again on twice-a-day to see if the afternoon anxiety decreases.


Ah, that clear head feeling sounds nice. I don't really have noise in my head but it's usually pretty busy in the sense that it's never really calm, where I can really just sit, relax, and be content. I'm glad to hear that you've benefited with the clear head effect. Just one question......why are you seeing a neurologist instead of a psychiatrist? Can a neurologist run certain tests to better target drug therapy? I appreciate your response :-)
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#15 notfred

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:50 PM

[.why are you seeing a neurologist instead of a psychiatrist?


It's in the signature:

TBI--frontal lobe lesions (Traumatic Brain Injury) is the purview of the Neurologist. Nope, Neurologists don't have any magic tests to better target drug therapy for MI.

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#16 Vinny1885

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:53 PM

When I take Lamictal, about 45 minutes later I get that sense of well being and overall "good" feeling. But it's very short lasting for me and I've been taking it over a year consistently. Like others have said, it's not prn, but I know the feeling you're talking about. I have to say that my anxiety is better after I take my pill, but my anxiety is pretty bad to start with. It's nowhere near the effectiveness of Ativan for me when it comes to anxiety.


Ok......I've never taken Ativan. Only, Xanax and Diazepam. I have heard that Lyrica can help with anxiety and I've also been interested in asking my doctor about beta-blockers. I'm just interested in exploring all the options I have. Have you tried anything else besides Ativan for anxiety with some success? Thanks for the reply!
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#17 Vinny1885

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 10:05 PM


[.why are you seeing a neurologist instead of a psychiatrist?


It's in the signature:

TBI--frontal lobe lesions (Traumatic Brain Injury) is the purview of the Neurologist. Nope, Neurologists don't have any magic tests to better target drug therapy for MI.

nf


Oh, I'm sorry. I'm kinda new and I'll make sure to check the signatures. Thanks.
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#18 Vinny1885

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 10:12 PM

Well, in Japan Lamotrigine is a narcotic and requires diplomatic measures to bring it into the country as a patient. There is some nominal evidence that lamotrigine hits on some mu-opioid receptors. It isn't a drug with either serious abuse potential or tremendous potential as a prn. It does have a somewhat short half life though at 13.5 hours, give or take and sacrifice a goat.

Hours 2-4 after I take lamotrigine are usually my most productively alert hours of the day since I've settled on it. Of all of the anticonvulsants lamotrigine may or may not work on more discrete things than any other. It can hit high voltage sodium channels like no other which is may be why for Lennox Gestalt and some seizure disorders it doesn't have a parallel. It is also structurally different on a chemical level from the other anticonvulsants in significant ways.


Wow, very good info. Thank you for answering....Since you know a lot about psychopharmacology, can I ask you a question a bit off this topic? Can taking an SSRI and a TCA cause a flat mood and apathy because of too much serotonin re-uptake inhibition? I take Lexapro and Imipramine, so I think this may be causing those symptoms. Thanks again for your advice.
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#19 bergsonisme

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 03:11 AM

Short answer: no.

It may be considered a controlled narcotic in Japan because it can induce some serious manic buzz. I've written about my manic adventures on sub-100mg LTG before.

Sub-100mg LTG is like an activating antidepressant. IIRC anti-seizure activity only starts at way higher doses.
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#20 Blue Heron

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 06:40 AM

Sub-100mg LTG is like an activating antidepressant. IIRC anti-seizure activity only starts at way higher doses.


Not always true. I haven't had a single seizure while on Lamictal or lamotrigine, and my highest dosage level was 100 mgs, while I was on oral contraceptives. One of my neurologists said it's unusual for someone to be able to take such a low dose and achieve seizure control, but it's not unheard of. I consider myself very lucky.
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"Note also how we don’t worry about taking medicine for pain the way we often do about taking 'happiness' pills like antidepressants. We worry that by artificially changing our mood we risk not being 'us.' But no one feels inauthentic because he took ibuprofen to relieve his back pain."

--"Happiness and Its Discontents," essay in the New York Times by Daniel M. Haybron, the author of the book, Happiness: A Very Short Introduction.


#21 Halberd of Hope

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 12:44 PM


Ok......I've never taken Ativan. Only, Xanax and Diazepam. I have heard that Lyrica can help with anxiety and I've also been interested in asking my doctor about beta-blockers. I'm just interested in exploring all the options I have. Have you tried anything else besides Ativan for anxiety with some success? Thanks for the reply!


Lyrica and Neurontin can help control the baseline anxiety you have throughout the day; I don't think they work for panic attacks, but you can use a benzo PRN with them. I've found Neurontin great for calming down all the anxious noise in my head.

Beta blockers work well for some people. There is also something called Clonidine you could look into.
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#22 bergsonisme

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 04:42 PM

Not always true. I haven't had a single seizure while on Lamictal or lamotrigine, and my highest dosage level was 100 mgs, while I was on oral contraceptives. One of my neurologists said it's unusual for someone to be able to take such a low dose and achieve seizure control, but it's not unheard of. I consider myself very lucky.


Interesting. I was on a digression with my pdoc couple hours ago on the way to the bank (I had forgotten to bring cash to pay for my consult, and we often walk up to the place he takes his bus (mine is way higher up the street)), and we were discussing (abstractly) the TLE/bipolar DDx, and he said that he rarely got results for epilepsy with Lamictal at less than 200, 300mg being a modal dosage.

I'm not doubting what you're saying -- heck, LTG absorption rates are said to vary with the kind of facial hair you groom -- but it's indeed an anomaly. Having this is in mind may prove clinically important in the future.

Edited by syntaxfree, 31 October 2011 - 04:43 PM.

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#23 Mr_West

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 09:25 PM


Well, in Japan Lamotrigine is a narcotic and requires diplomatic measures to bring it into the country as a patient. There is some nominal evidence that lamotrigine hits on some mu-opioid receptors. It isn't a drug with either serious abuse potential or tremendous potential as a prn. It does have a somewhat short half life though at 13.5 hours, give or take and sacrifice a goat.

Hours 2-4 after I take lamotrigine are usually my most productively alert hours of the day since I've settled on it. Of all of the anticonvulsants lamotrigine may or may not work on more discrete things than any other. It can hit high voltage sodium channels like no other which is may be why for Lennox Gestalt and some seizure disorders it doesn't have a parallel. It is also structurally different on a chemical level from the other anticonvulsants in significant ways.


Wow, very good info. Thank you for answering....Since you know a lot about psychopharmacology, can I ask you a question a bit off this topic? Can taking an SSRI and a TCA cause a flat mood and apathy because of too much serotonin re-uptake inhibition? I take Lexapro and Imipramine, so I think this may be causing those symptoms. Thanks again for your advice.


I can't speak to that, not a medical professional here. Also, the physiological aspects of this stuff tend to be more clear cut than correlating actions to symptoms.

Short answer: no.

It may be considered a controlled narcotic in Japan because it can induce some serious manic buzz. I've written about my manic adventures on sub-100mg LTG before.

Sub-100mg LTG is like an activating antidepressant. IIRC anti-seizure activity only starts at way higher doses.


In general Japan and South Korea are much more proactive in restricting and regulating drugs than western countries, and penalties for breaking their drug laws tend to be much more harsh. Being psychotropic at all is enough to merit some serious restrictions. I can't find any literature in a language I can read which elaborates on why lamotrigine is a controlled substance there. Maybe it is the stimulating effect is can have. Maybe it is the fact it can touch opioid receptors at all.
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Not a medical professional. I have been asked whether I am a magician or scientist. Maybe I am neither, maybe I'm both. Take things I've written more than a year or two ago with more than a couple grains of salt, because people learn. I mean who thinks that when the house cat finally catches that bunny rabbit in the yard the bunny is going to kick the cat's ass, but once you see it you have to reconcile it with your existing view of the world.

CYP 2D6 *10, *39

#24 dymphna

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 12:45 AM

The only similarity I experienced with Klonopin and Lamictal is that both cleared my head. Don't know if that makes sense to a GAD person, as I was taking them for BP. They both quieted the noise in my head, which for me is a really nice thing. Lamictal increased my anxiety in the afternoons, but when I was on it, the pdoc had me on once-a-day (morning) dosing and refused, for reasons I am unsure of, to have me take it twice a day. A new neurologist wants me to try it again on twice-a-day to see if the afternoon anxiety decreases.


Just to throw another thought out there, being a fellow neuro & psych individual...

When I'm in a heavy seizure cycle (I tend to run with my hormones, but sometimes it might as well be the moon...), I swear I can feel my Lamictal running out -- and I take it twice a day. I also take Topamax twice a day. In that in-between time, before it is "time" for my mid-day Klonopin dose, [you have never met anyone as OCD as I am about not taking drugs more than prescribed, LOL], everything goes to shit. I mean EVERYTHING. Fear. Obsessions. Anxiety. Everything that could ever emanate from a problem in the temporal lobe comes rushing out in one big wave.

In other words, my illness ekes through my meds.

Now, during a "normal" cycle? When my brain is NOT being bombarded with ill timed electrical discharges? Bubkus. I could skip that mid-day Klonopin and never notice it missing (I have, indeed done this).


You, on the other hand, are dealing with a different lobe, a different core problem, but essentially the same problem: symptom control. So here is my question: has anyone ever thought to offer you Tranxene?

As Klonopin is to Xanax, Tranxene is to Klonopin. With a kicker: Tranxene has an active metabolite where neither of the former do -- meaning, where drugs like Klonopin are metabolized into something inactive that you pee out, Tranxene is metabolized into an "intermediate, pharmacologically active product; these products, in turn, are detoxified by further metabolism before they are excreted." (thank you Primer of Drug Action, Robert Julien) The end result being, where Klonopin stays in your system for a mean half life of 30 hours (18-50), Tranxene stays for a mean of 60! (50-100).

In other words, it doesn't run out in the afternoon and leave you feeling as if you want to rip your skin off. Tranxene is NOT a drug for your average anxiety patient. It is too much of a baseball bat for that. For people who have organic brain issues for whom no amount of therapy is EVER going to change the situation, though (you, me, every brain injured person on the planet), it works exceptionally well. I only stopped it because it was exacerbating my absence seizures. It was kick-ass for my myoclonics and everything else.


Dymphna
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Yes, my name really is Dymphna.

 

I'm not a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or therapist.

I can find you an answer and I won't blow smoke up your ass.

 

St. Dymphna is the Patron for brain maladies.

 

I'm the Enforcer.

 

eqnmrt.jpg

 


#25 dymphna

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 03:09 AM


p.s. I'm not catholic (agnostic) but I keep a St. Dymphna medal on my keychain. Who knows? I need all that help I can get. Reminds me of it every time I see your name.


Funnily enough, it actually is one of my Catholic names. Legal and all...


D
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Yes, my name really is Dymphna.

 

I'm not a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or therapist.

I can find you an answer and I won't blow smoke up your ass.

 

St. Dymphna is the Patron for brain maladies.

 

I'm the Enforcer.

 

eqnmrt.jpg

 


#26 Vinny1885

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 08:54 PM

Short answer: no.

It may be considered a controlled narcotic in Japan because it can induce some serious manic buzz. I've written about my manic adventures on sub-100mg LTG before.

Sub-100mg LTG is like an activating antidepressant. IIRC anti-seizure activity only starts at way higher doses.


Ok, interesting. What do you think about Abilify? I'm taking 2mg as an add-on for depression. It's helping the depression but I do have a decent amount of anxiety (I also have GAD) which is quite bothersome. Does LTG have a long half-life, so you just take 1 dose per day or do you have to take multiple doses per day?
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#27 Vinny1885

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 08:58 PM



Ok......I've never taken Ativan. Only, Xanax and Diazepam. I have heard that Lyrica can help with anxiety and I've also been interested in asking my doctor about beta-blockers. I'm just interested in exploring all the options I have. Have you tried anything else besides Ativan for anxiety with some success? Thanks for the reply!


Lyrica and Neurontin can help control the baseline anxiety you have throughout the day; I don't think they work for panic attacks, but you can use a benzo PRN with them. I've found Neurontin great for calming down all the anxious noise in my head.

Beta blockers work well for some people. There is also something called Clonidine you could look into.


Wow, thank you so much for those suggestions. I'm seeing my doc on Wed and I will bring those up. Yes, the calming of the anxious noise and the constant butterfly feelings in my lower chest would be wonderful. I have been able to control the panic symptoms quite well without benzos, although, at times, I do need the help of one. I'll look into Clonidine. Thanks again for those suggestions!!!!
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#28 Vinny1885

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 09:10 PM


You, on the other hand, are dealing with a different lobe, a different core problem, but essentially the same problem: symptom control. So here is my question: has anyone ever thought to offer you Tranxene?


I had one pdoc that gave klonopin out like candy. Klonopin was awesome, but if I took it at night I had horrible rebound anxiety in the afternoon. This pdoc was the same qd on the Lamictal and kept me qd on klonopin and it was too much--the shit afternoon anxiety negated that wonderful quiet in the morning.

I brought up the wonders of klonopin to the ndoc and she "doesn't do benzos". She's started a side business treating addicts and doesn't want me to be addicted. I am also way OCD about meds and don't ever overdo. Hell, I only drink coffee once a week because I don't want to be dependent on it.

*sigh* I hate navigating the individual quirks of docs. I'll bring it up though, thanks.

p.s. I'm not catholic (agnostic) but I keep a St. Dymphna medal on my keychain. Who knows? I need all that help I can get. Reminds me of it every time I see your name.

p.p.s to Vinny--if you don't have any organic evidence of brain cooties (brain injury, seizures) I don't recommend ndocs. In my experience pdocs know more about the psych meds. My previous ndoc (to the surprise of my new ndoc) wouldn't treat my crazy and referred me to an pdoc.


Thankfully, I don't have any of the evidence (seizures, brain injury, etc.) of that. That's good to hear, because I wasn't sure if a ndoc could be more helpful. I'm sticking with my pdoc for now. Thanks for the advice. :-)
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#29 Phoebe

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 09:30 AM

Vinny I've had the same issue! Last year I was taking Lyrica, and it worked well for my anxiety, however there isn't a generic out yet and it was costing me $100/month AFTER insurance :mad: I was also experiencing some weight gain, which I really should have just gotten over, but weight is an issue I just can't let go. Prior to Lyrica I was taking benzos, however I found myself using more and more of them everyday. An ADDICT! I did not experience this with Lyrica.

If it were not for the cost and my weight issues I would probably still be taking it. I currently take generic Lamictal, and have been on it for almost 4 years and it has been the ONLY consistent drug in my regimen, however I've always been prescribed something additional to help with my anxiety. I currently take clonidine for insomnia and night sweats, and TMI, but brace yourself for the constipation and dry mouth :)
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#30 bergsonisme

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 09:58 AM

I'm starting to think the forum rules should be ammended to minimize threads about prn meds. I'm just waiting for someone to come up with "prn OTC meds for OCD?"
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