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I am taking medication for anxiety/panic disorder

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hi...my name is ***** *****...
hi...my name is ***** ***** i am taking medication for anxiety/panic disorder (alprazolam and paroxetine) and i was wondering if it can affect my bowel movents...for some reason for the past week or so after i eat anything it seems like i have to run to the bathroom...i was in the hospital a couple of months ago and had bloodtests ran and everything came back great..that is when i figured out i have a panic disorder...any suggestions would be greatly appreciated..thank you
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Medical
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Answered in 8 minutes by:
6/18/2010
Doctor: Anthony Bray, MD, Doctor replied 8 years ago
Anthony Bray, MD
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 10,341
Experience: 14 years experience in the field of Family Practice
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Hello!

In a minority of people whom take it the medicine Paxil can have a side effect of causing diarrhea. If your symptoms coincided with the start of the medicine then it may be related. I would not expect the aprazolam to cause this as a side effect however. If you have taken the meds for a while but just recently developed the diarrhea then it may not be related. The SSRI class of antidepressants may have an ongoing side effect of diarrhea in approximately 5% of patients though.

I hope this information helps. Further questions are welcome if you have others. If my answer has been helpful and to your satisfaction then please remember to press the "ACCEPT" button. Thank you and Best Regards,

Anthony Bray MD

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

Thank you...but yes ive been taking the medication for almost 4 months now and ive had no problems up until this point. Infact the medication has helped me out tremendously...I still have off days but no more full blown panic attacks...other symptoms i have encountered have more to do with my sex drive...im 5'10..165lbs and im in pretty good shape...and the blood tests from the hospital came back great..infact my HDL levels were very high and my LDL levels were low...but what i am wondering is if my results would have shown any signs of cancer for example colon cancer...i do tend to worry about things often thus the medication...i rarely drink but i do smoke a pack of cigarettes almost everyday(which is terrible) but along with the increased bowel movements ive noticed nausea which causes me to start to worry because i always think im having a heart attack...thats where my disorder started from...like i said the medication has stopped my pvc's and has allowed me to live a normal life in a way...but im wondering if i should switch or try another medication or if it even has anything to do with the medication

Doctor: Anthony Bray, MD, Doctor replied 8 years ago

Hello!

Well as for a couple of your worries your age would make a couple of your concerns next to impossible at your age.For one the heart attack is extremely unlikely at your age. Panic attacks make people feel as though they are dying though so this disorder does explain why you worry... The second concern of colon cancer is also very unlikely at your age. Colon cancer in general increases as a potential concern after the age of 50. (There do exist cases at younger ages but the younger you are the rarer it would be. )

Irritable bowel syndrome is associated with diarrhea and sometimes episodic diarrhea. This disorder is connected with anxiety so this could be a possibility if you should end up having a recurrent pattern. Since the diarrhea did not coincide with your starting of the Paxil then I think it is safe to say that this is not the cause. The more likely culprit of a single bout of diarrhea would be gastroenteritis which is most often caused by a viral GI infection. These usually run their course within a few days. Taking Pepto Bismol may help or Kaopectate. (Each of these OTC products is one to two tablespoons after each loose stool up to seven doses a day for up to five days)

If you should have a bloody diarrhea, high volume diarrhea then seeing a doctor and having the stool cultured would be advisable. Hopefully your case is not so severe as to require this.

It sounds that you have benefited from the Paxil and alprazolam and your history does not suggest to me that you should stop either.

(The smoking of course is a different issue. Hopefully getting a better handle on your anxiety will help to enable you to stop the smoking)

I hope this information helps. Further questions are welcome if you have others. Best regards,

Anthony Bray MD

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