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Old 08-12-2008, 01:34 PM
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ativan?

I've taken it before, but just got a new prescription without going in to talk to the doctor and I'm wondering if it's the right choice for me. I'm not looking for medical advice here... I'd just kind of like to hear other people's experience if anyone can share, so I have somethign to comapre to.

I get panic attacks which is why they were initially given, but I haven't taken it for over a year now. I will be taking a lengthy flight next week and wanted a prescription for that anxiety.

My experience with ativan:
I always think it's "not working" when I'm on it. I keep feeling like I should take more, but not because the feeling is good, it's not an addictive, I need more, it's just because I think it's not working. Eventually I found if I could keep myself distracted, (which was hard) then it did take the edge off.
But more than anything I found I was more hyper, almost drunk. I'd talk to anyone, i'm always looking around to see what's going on, definately not sleepy, drowsy or any of that. Which is what I'm aware the feeling should like. IF I can manage to focus on something else, I don't feel AS scared, but I dont' feel relaxed and calm. Most of the time it doesn't seem like it helps at all, even after I've taken more then that 1mg recommended. The next day I would have partial amnesia about what had happened while I was on it so I know it's doing something.

I've got a few pills, 1mg, and the flight is 11 hours.
I wonder if these will be effective, or if I should see about something else?
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:33 PM
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I'm really not sure what you are asking?

I took Ativan once but I was given a shot for the first panic attack I had. I do remember feeling like I was drunk and super sleepy, of course I'm sure they gave me a large dose. They sent me home with a prescription for Clonazepam.

I like the Clonazepam, it works pretty quickly and does help me relax and stay calm. Sometimes if I'm anxious over a attending a large function or just feeling edgy I will take one and it helps me feel normal I suppose.

With anxiety the more you think about it the worse your anxiety can become. I know the anxiety over having a panic attack can give you a panic attack. If the Ativan doesn't work for you, I would recommend talking with a doctor.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:51 PM
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ativan knocks me out, and i don't like the after effects, but i'm very sensitive to any medication. i find that xanax works better for managing my anxiety attacks. (just remember, you do have a withdrawl from any benzo's, which can temporarily make your symptoms worse.)

you should definitly discuss with your doctor, or i would rec. a psychiatrist as they will be more familiar with the drugs needed to control your panic issues.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:51 PM
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really i'm just wondering if people have experienced similar effects with the ativan. I am not in the same city as my family doctor now so I can't talk to him about it. I called his office and he just phoned it in for me so no question/answer.
anyway... i don't think my reaction is normal, but I don't really know. I'm trying to decide if I should take it or if it just may be making things worse, by comparing experience.

^^
yeah... i don't get the withdrawl. the only side effect I seem to have is los of memory. I can't do psychiatrists.. and my doctor isn't available to me so i've been trying to find some info online which is proving to be pretty useless.


thanks

Last edited by cherbd16; 08-12-2008 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 08-12-2008, 08:58 PM
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I have ativan for panic attacks. I take half the amount I'm supposed to.

People can react differently to medications, or different doses. In some, a higher dose may in fact have opposite effects.

It does definitely make me sleepy.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:02 PM
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Are you saying that you took ativan before and that was the experience you had? Imo, that would definitely not be the result I would want if I wanted to be relaxed on a long plane flight. I agree with Kate that you should take to a psychiatrist, for the most part they have much more experience with the effects of these medications than GP's do.

Just remember, these are medications with serious side effects. Especially if end up taking more than the dose you were prescribed. They can have withdrawal symptoms, as mentioned before, but also can have other serious, and deadly side effects. Please just be careful using this medication and def. see about getting a specialist for this problem.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:18 PM
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yes, that's the experience I had. I was walking throuh the airport talking to everyone. on the plane it was like I had ants in my pants: strumming fingers, flipping all through my magazine, peeking at the seats behind me, looking all around to see what the stewards were up to... I'm sure it looked like I was sketching out.

I am familiar with the drugs and how they are suppsed to work. side effects, dangers, etc. I don't take long term medication for this reason. I only keep a few pills on me. I also don't get the withdrawl from this which is why I'm asking if anyone else experienced this in the same way. The effect seems to be very different. My BF can take one pill and be knocked out... I have once been told to take 3 within a short time period and still nothing but some loss of memory the next day. A psychiatrist is not an option, and I'll have to wait until dec before I can see my doc so I jut want for a more immediate comparison. I'm just curious to see if this was normal.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:22 PM
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The amnesiac side effects you mentioned have been reported with these types of medications and other sleep aid type of medicines (ambien, lunesta, for example). So, yes, if you are concerned about the memory loss, that is a side effect you can have with this type of medication.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:26 PM
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yeah, that was something I was wondering if was common. it was not something I had been expecting, so it's a bit of a relief to know that part is normal.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:05 PM
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I took ativan before my last flight to and from Florida (~5 hour flights). Between that and reading a book called "Flying without Fear" I was fine. I have huge claustrophobia issues and this book helped me to gain the confidence I needed to get on the airplane.

For me the hardest part is getting on the airplane, once I am on and realize everything is fine, then I am fine. Of course, I take reading material and other things to keep me busy.

Amazon.com: Flying Without Fear: Duane Brown: Books


Good luck! Prepare yourself and you will be fine.


P.S. Ativan did not knock me out. It didn't make me groggy or out of it. I even had a drink (which you aren't supposed to) and I still didn't feel drunk.
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:14 AM
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ativan is like valium it is quite common for people to have a paradoxical or atypical response, i.e. it can make you more anxious or unable to sleep.

i would recommend you talk with your MD, PA or NP and discuss xanax, it is usually well received and works very well in an uncomfortable situation without harmful side effects (other than if you take it for long periods of time - it is addicting!)

also check into herbal remedies, new chapter's "Supercritical Holy Basil" - very good for mood leveling and anxiety

all imo of course
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Old 08-13-2008, 04:29 AM
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^
thanks that's good to know. On another forum it was suggested i may be taking too much (1mg, is my prescription, and what i take). i'm going to talk to my pharmacist today, that's the best i can do, i know it's not my doctor but i'll see what she thinks about taking half the pill cause it's the best resource i have right now. i'd definately try the herbal remedy but haven't found anything recommended for short term yet, i'll look into it.

thanks for the input
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Old 08-13-2008, 04:41 AM
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Yes, ativan is similar to valium, but also to xanax. They are all benzodiazepines....so all run the risk of the hyperactivity and other side effects you were listing. Imo, you can always talk to your MD about trying another drug in this class, but be aware if you have this type of reaction to one benzo, you run the risk of having a similar reaction to another benzo. Taking half the tablet might be an option, but my guess, you will still have a similar reaction to it. They are other medications out there (different mechanisms of action) that can be used in situations like this....so if you haven't tried any of the others, that would be option as well. Hope you figure it out, and I might be baised b/c I am one, but def. talk to your pharmacist-we are here to help you out. Good Luck-I despise flying too, so I hope you find something that helps relieve the stress!
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Old 08-13-2008, 04:54 AM
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yeah, i don't know that i want to start bouncing around with all these different drugs. I don't even like taking any really, but i understood ativan to be one of the more milder options (for short term, i refuse to take a long term anti-anxiety) so i agreed to try it.
thanks, my pharmcist has been some help in the past, often more than the dr., so we'll see.
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Old 08-13-2008, 11:19 AM
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Yeah, talk to your pharmacist - a well-trained pharmacist who knows your medical history will probably give you better advice than your doctor with regards to dosage and alternative medications, and can be your advocate to your doctor.

I know that anti-nausea pills completely knock me out, but I did not like the drugged, can't-focus haze that lingered.
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Old 08-13-2008, 12:47 PM
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Have you ever considered going on a daily anti-depressant medication such as Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, etc? They take awhile to get in your system and start working, but normally you don't have that weird drunk/sleepy effect like with sedatives. Usually, you wouldn't need to take the Ativan anymore since anti-depressants actually help with panic disorder.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:08 PM
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I talked to a pharmacist who just recommended to give the prescription another try. She said the side effects were normal, but just take what's prescribed... obviously. She wasn't really helpful, so I'm going to go to someone else for a little more info.

I've had doctors try to convince me to get a daily pill, but it's not something I'm willing to do right now. Most everyone in my immediate family has anxiety issues and everyone has had troubles with these types of medication. I'd like to try and find a natural remedy first. I can cope with the amount of daily anxiety I have, it's not fun, but i think it may be better than the alternative. I just need something for the extreme panic attack.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:45 PM
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Yes...my doctor stresses that it's his profession and role to prescribe medication, which is why he offers these options, and why for example he cannot give better information on meditation (since he's not trained in it). Too bad your pharmacist couldn't give you better advice.

Shelley is right in saying that anti-depressants are often prescribed to treat anxiety, but I understand your reluctance to rely on medication.

Have you considered or tried to learn meditation techniques like breathing exercises? It takes practice and it's easier said than done, but then you have something to focus on rather than panicking further and exacerbating your reactions. The practising is important because when the time comes, you need to reach for it automatically in your mind and talk yourself through the steps.
I remember once I was on the field and got hit, and for some reason I couldn't breathe. I panicked and this made me hyperventilate more until someone came over to me and yelled at me to look at them and talked me through taking deeper breaths.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanaG View Post
Have you considered or tried to learn meditation techniques like breathing exercises? It takes practice and it's easier said than done, but then you have something to focus on rather than panicking further and exacerbating your reactions. The practising is important because when the time comes, you need to reach for it automatically in your mind and talk yourself through the steps.
I'm sorry, just thinking about this made me laugh!! If you knew me you'd understand why. My friends would be on the floor picturing me attempt that. It'll never work. But Yes, I know it's great for others! i believe it can work. distraction helps... it may sound silly, I'll colour or do math equations, it works much better. but i'll talk to another pharmacist and see what they have to say about the ativan for now.
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