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Ask Dr. Ed Wilfong Your Own Question
Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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I AM BEING WEANED OFF ATIVIAN AND THEY ARE TRYING TO GET ME

Resolved Question:

I AM BEING WEANED OFF ATIVIAN AND THEY ARE TRYING TO GET ME ON A ANTI DEPRESSANT I HAVE PANIC ATTACKS AND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE I HAD AFIB BUT I HAD ROBOTIC SURGERY AND MY HEART HAS BEEN DOING FINE SINCE. I WONDERED ABOUT TRYING ELAVIL THEY TRIED ME ON LEXAPRO BUT IT RAISED MY BLOOD PRESSURE HIGHER AND IM KIND OF WORRIED ABOUT ELAVIL SINCE IT SAYS DONT TAKE WITH HEART PROBLEMS WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND I HAVE TRIED BUSPAR CYMBALTA PROZAC AND COULDNT TAKE ANY OF THOSE EITHER BECAUSE OF BLOOD PRESSURE OR ANXIOUSNESS WHAT DO YOU RRECOMMEND ELAVIL OR ANOTHER KIND WANDA IM [email protected]
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 6 years ago.
We cannot contact you by any other means. In fact, your email is blanked from our screen.

I would recommend that you not be weaned off Ativan until you are OK on antidepressants. Elavil and other tri-cyclics have highest cardiac risk. Buspar won't help.
Celexa does not have any cardiac warnings.
I would suggest you talk to MD about getting stable on Celexa, then (about 3-4 week) try tapering the Ativan slowly. That may help adjust beeter to Celexa as it has little effect for first couple weeks, so ativan could help. In the long run, Ativan and other benzodiazapines are lousy solutions for panic. You either have to be constantly tranquilized in anticipation of a panic attack, thus elevating anxiety. If you take just as needed, panic attacks seldom last more than 30 minutes and medication takes 45-60 minutes so it is giving you false sense of it working.
Celexa will treat anxiety, panic and any depression. You have to be patient initially.

Edited by Dr. Ed Wilfong on 1/2/2010 at 12:01 AM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
THEY ARE ALREADY TAKING ME OFF ATIVIAN SLOWLY I WAS TAKING 5 A DAY OR MORE AND NOW DOWN TO 3 A DAY AND IN 3 WEEKS DOWN TO 2 AND SO ON BUT THEY HAVENT REPLACED WITH ANY OTHER MEDS EXCEPT TRIED LEXAPRO WHICH RAISED BLOOD PRESSURE WILL CELEXA RAISE MY BLOOD PRESSURE AND I HAVE A FRIEND ON ELAVIL SHE SAID IT REALLY HELPS HER I HAD AFIB BUT HAD ROBOTIC SURGERY TO REPAIR AND I HAVE NO OTHER HEART PROBLEMS I JUST HAD A EKG YESTERDAY IT WAS PERFECT DO YOU THINK ELAVIL WILL STILL CAUSE PROBLEMS THANKS WANDA
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 6 years ago.
Personally, I do not like elavil. I don't like the cardiac risk, nor the excessive sedation, or a bunch of other common side effects. What helps one person doesn't mean it will help you. Celexa should not raise blood pressure and since ativan and celexa are so different, the can be given at same time. I would ask doctor to try the celexa while you are weaning off ativan. It is a fairly ideal way to do it.
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