xanax question

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Fairyeyes, Nov 24, 2002.

  1. Fairyeyes

    Fairyeyes New Member

    From what I have read about xanax, it seems it is a tranquilizer, not an anti-depressant.

    I experience bouts of anxiety/panic, but not all the time. I do not consider myself depressed.

    Does anyone here take xanax on an as-needed basis, rather than every single day? Taking it every single day does not appeal to me, simply because it seems one would eventually not get as much out of it after some amount of time.

    your input is greatly appreciated. thanks.
  2. Fairyeyes

    Fairyeyes New Member

    From what I have read about xanax, it seems it is a tranquilizer, not an anti-depressant.

    I experience bouts of anxiety/panic, but not all the time. I do not consider myself depressed.

    Does anyone here take xanax on an as-needed basis, rather than every single day? Taking it every single day does not appeal to me, simply because it seems one would eventually not get as much out of it after some amount of time.

    your input is greatly appreciated. thanks.
  3. 2BPainfree

    2BPainfree New Member

    Xanax is NOT a tranquilizer, it an anti-anxiety medication that has a mild sedative effect. This medication usually will take the stress away without making you groggy....I find it very effective!
    This medication is most often prescribed on a "AS NEEDED" basis. I would question it if it was prescribed for daily ongoing use...this drug like so many others has a strong addiction or "dependance" potential with chronic use.

    I agree with you, save Xanax for when you need it, not just take it everyday or night as a "preventative" drug.

    Just my opinion,
    Susan/RN/Ca
  4. 2BPainfree

    2BPainfree New Member

    in addition to my above reply:
    Xanax definately is NOT a anti-depressant....again it is a
    anti-anxiety medication.

    Susan
  5. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    Xanax is anti anxiety, not an antidepressent. I am not depressed, and I take Xanax to calm my 'racing brain' at 6pm, low dose 0.25 milligrams. This low dose I have been taking off and on for 15 years. I have been without it, and then go back to it for all these years. Never had to up the dosage.

    It is one of the few 'take as you need' drugs, if you take it that way, you don't become dependent on it (not for me anyway).

    It will get rid of the anxiety/panic feeling in less than twenty minutes, or if you 'feel' that anxiety comeing on, it will stop it dead.

    I doubt if anyone would get side effects taking them on a 'needed basic', unlike some drugs that you take three or four times a day.

    They do not give you that 'drugged' feeling, unless you took a large dose. All it does for me is make me feel normal and does help with pain, as it relaxes my muscles.

    They are recommended by many of the books on Fibro I have read in low dose. But most doctors don't want to prescribe them.

    I hope Klutzo is here today, she can explain this a lot better that I can! I am going by what it does for me only.
    Klutzo is much more informed that I am.

    Xanax is the only prescriptioin drug that I take for the Fibro, I take supplements and herbs. I am doing great right now. Thank God!

    Hope this helps answer your question.

    Shalom, Shirl
  6. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    By all means, if you can avoid taking any of the benzodiazepine drugs, stay away from them.
    If you take them around the clock, even for more than 2 weeks, OR take a dose at the same time every day, you will quickly find yourself dependent on it.
    I have been through Xanax withdrawl four times and even done slowly, it is hell.
    I cannot walk without it, due to spasms along my spine, and now I can't do without it because it causes rebound anxiety that is unbearable when I try to lower the dose. It makes me nonfunctional, because if I try to do anything while withdrawing, I have panic attacks. I am taking much less than I took at the start, but am totally hooked on it. I don't recommend this. It's a bad trade-off for most of us.
    I do not get the fast relief Shirl gets. It takes me at least 45 mins. to get relief.
    IF you can stick to once in awhile, you should be OK.
    I'd try natural stuff first, though sometimes they aren't strong enough. Valerian, Lemon Balm, Hops, Passionflower and Chamommile are all possibilities. Avoid hops and chamommile if you have hayfever. I also take GABA (Gamma AminoButyric Acid)which acts on the same receptors as Xanax and is known as the natural "chill pill".
    Good luck,
    Klutzo
  7. Dara

    Dara New Member

    this was originally prescribed for me about six years ago for anxiety/panic attacks. Without it I would still be almost "housebound", it has worked wonders for me. Since then I've been told to take it also for the FM. One word of caution though for anyone who takes it on a daily basis is that it can cause seizures if you suddenly quit taking it. I would be very careful, and try not to take it on an everyday basis.

    Dara
  8. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    There are, I believe, 13 different drugs in this family. I doubt that dependence will be a problem if Xanax is used on an as-needed basis. Even if dependence occurs, a person can wean off them very, very slowly to avoid adverse withdrawal symptoms. Benzos are not addictive.

    I take Klonopin every night to go to sleep. It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for it to make me sleepy. I get 8 hours of quality sleep and awaken feeling refreshed. I have no morning hangover from it.

    I quarter the tablets and use them during the daytime as needed by slipping one of the pieces under my tongue to get it into the bloodstream immediately. Using it this way allows me to control the dose without making my sleepy when I'm out.

    It doesn't thrill me to think about taking a benzo for the long term, but the Klonopin has been the most important drug I have in my little bag of tricks to fight the symptoms of CFS and FMS.

    Love, Mikie
  9. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    ......my doctor told me that benzos are more addictive than heroin. That is why they are so tightly controlled, why they must be renewed by phone call to the doc each time you refill, and why so many docs go ballistic when you even ask for them. Still, if you need it to function, then it's probably worth it. At least that's what I tell myself. Klonopin has a much longer half-life than Xanax and is therefore supposed to be much easier to wean your self off of. Maybe my bad withdrawl problems are due to being on xanax. I have heard of docs changing people to Klonopin when they withdraw from xanax, since it stays in the bloodstream longer so there are no big drops.
    There is big variation in the tendency to addiction, which is mostly genetic. I am dependant, not addicted, but I don't think it matters much, since I know from the symptoms I have even when withdrawing slowly, that the result would be the same if I went off it suddenly = death. Cutting my xanax by even 1/4 pill daily can cause stomach spasms, palpitations, paranoia, tachycardia, panic and dangerously high blood pressure. I have to be really careful when I withdraw from it.
    Hugs,
    Klutzo
  10. 1Writer

    1Writer New Member

    I took Xanax for almost 2 years and felt like a zombie all the time. Now I take Klonopin and don't drag near as much. I was prescribed it 3 times daily and 2 at bedtime and I have weaned myself to one in the morning and one at bedtime...with an occasional one here and there if I have a VERY TOUGH day. Klonopin is an anti-anxiety/anti-seizure drug. I don't think it's as hard to come down on your dosage as with Xanax...that was very difficult for me. I didn't want to be that "tied" to an anti-anxiety medication. Talk to your doctor and see what he/she thinks...maybe the Klonopin would work for you.
    Good luck...#1Writer
  11. ssMarilyn

    ssMarilyn New Member

    is not an anti-depressant. Never has been. It is an upper respiratory relaxant(as explained to me by an ER doctor and this would include nerve relaxant)and highly addictive. If you do use it, use the smallest dosage possible and then cut THAT dosage in half or more. So if you have a .25 mg tablet, cut that into fourths or halves and just take that small amount. Chances are that's all you will need. Most times a full tablet is not necessary. Xanax is fast acting, meaning it's in and out of your system in about 4-6 hours. The only time you would feel drugged out would be if you took too large a dosage, or if you took them too close together.

    Here's some info I posted a few weeks ago after I did some extensive research on Xanax.

    Studies of Xanax show that most patients develop withdrawal symptoms during routine treatment lasting only eight weeks. Tolerance, or the need for increasing doses to achieve the same psychoactive effect, is the underlying physical mechanism of addiction. Within two to four weeks, tolerance can develop to the sedative effect of minor tranquilizers taken at night for sleep. This again warns against the use of these drugs for more than a few days at a time.

    The short-acting benzodiazepines can produce especially severe withdrawal symptoms, because the drug is cleared from the body at a relatively rapid rate. These include Xanax, Halcion, Ativan, Restoril, and Serax. However, according to expert Louis Fabre in a February 1991 interview with me, tightness of binding to receptors is probably more
    indicative of addictive potential, and the most tightly binding are Xanax, Halcion, Ativan, and Klonopin.

    Individuals who take only one pill daily for sleep or anxiety are not exempt from withdrawal problems. In my private practice during the last few years I have worked with several people who were unable to stop taking a once-a-day standard dose of Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, or other minor tranquilizers. In each case, the attempt to stop the medication led to a disturbing degree of anxiety or insomnia within twenty-four hours. The problem seemed to be caused by rebound anxiety or rebound insomnia. In a personal communication in late December 1990, internist John Steinberg confirmed that patients taking one Xanax tablet each day for several weeks can become addicted. Steinberg is medical director of the Chemical Dependency Program at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and president of the Maryland Society of Addiction Medicine. He points to research that Xanax and other short-acting benzodiazepines can cause a reactive hyperactivity of the receptors that they block. The hyperactive receptors then require one or more doses of Xanax each day or they produce anxiety and emotional discomfort.
    Steinberg calls the impact of Xanax "a fundamental change in the homeostasis of the brain." After the patient stops taking the Xanax, according to Steinberg, it takes the brain six to eighteen months to recover. Xanax patients should be warned, he says, that it can take a long time to get over painful withdrawal symptoms. Since doctors frequently don't realize this, they, too, are likely to be confused and to continue the drug in the hope of "treating" the patient's drug-induced anxiety and tension.


    Marilyn :)
    [This Message was Edited on 11/24/2002]
  12. Fairyeyes

    Fairyeyes New Member

  13. Annette2

    Annette2 New Member

    I started taking Xanax in 1986. I quickly became addicted. I don't remember the exact dosages I took, but it was too high. I found myself needing more and more. Of course I was in denial and didn't believe I could become addicted. I would call my doctor comlaining of anxiety, and he'd tell me to "pop another Xanax". Needless to say, by 1989 I was a mess. My hands shook, I was getting blackouts, and was totally depressed. Weaning off of Xanax is a nightmare! I did it under a doctor's supervision (not the same one who prescribed it). I'm not saying that it shouldn't be taken at all - I just want to warn you.

    Annette2
  14. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    There seems to be a lot of conflicting info out there on benzos. Dr. Cheney says Klonopin is not addictive but that because of physical dependence that one must wean off slowly. Heck, I have missed my nightime dose of Klonopin and suffered no ill effects other than not sleeping through the night without waking. Then again, we are all different.

    If I ever get to the point that the antibiotics finally rid my bod of the nasty little mycoplasmas, I may try weaning off the Klonopin. I am hoping that when the mycoplasmas are gone, my CFS will heal, but maybe, that's wishful thinking.

    Love, Mikie
  15. ssMarilyn

    ssMarilyn New Member

    When a person takes these drugs on a regular basis, they build up in your system, so you probably wouldn't notice missing just one dose or even two. But I bet if you missed more, you might start feeling some discomfort. (maybe) I don't even dare try them. I am so afraid of all that man-made stuff so stay away altogether. I only take aspirin or Tylenol when I'm really desperate!

    Marilyn :)
  16. tamara123

    tamara123 New Member

    Has any one taken restoril for sleep? my dr just put me on this for 2 months to see how it does to get me to stage 4.....any comments?
  17. Kalli

    Kalli New Member

    Dear Sunny, I understand your concern about Xanax and I am so very sorry about your sister.
    I have been taking .50mg of Xanax for 5 years and have never had to up the dosage. I take it daily because I need it daily. There have been some days when I only needed one pill but generally I need one mid morning and one at night. I have found it to be helpful for the FMS and Arthritis pain. I also take 200 mgs of Ultram a day and 150mgs of Phenobarbital for grand mal seizures that began in 1979. Some doctors will prescribe Xanax for depression.
    I guess what I was wondering is, since I have taken the Phenobarb every single day for 21 years minus 4 months, of course I am addicted to it. It is something that I need so I take it. So, what would be the difference between that and the Xanax which is also something I need to function? I realize that seizures are more of a health hazard but not always necessarily so. You are aware that people die from depression. Well, what about the terrible fear that grips a person with panic-anxiety disorders? Do we place the threat of addiction above the quality of life? It seems to be that way with most doctors. Doctors vary from State to State and each one of us is different in the way our bodies handle medications. One thing I can't get over is they say this medication or that medication is meant to be used for a relatively short period of time. Well, what good does that do? I mean...it doesn't cure the anxiety or panic attacks. So , why even bother to give it at all?
    I'm not trying to promote drug useage but if it is needed, I feel like it should be used. After all, that is why there are prescription drugs. One word of caution. Do not take Xanax if you have to take Diflucan. It can cause hallucinations. It happened to me.

    As I get older I expect to cut down on the dosage of my medications as older people can't handle medicine as well as younger people. Your advice about tapering off the meds was appreciated. This would go for most any kind of medication, even that which is non addictive.
    Thanks for listening.
    Love
    Kalli
  18. Shirl

    Shirl New Member

    Heres one of the threads on Xanax. Hope this helps.

    Shalom, Shirl
    [This Message was Edited on 12/18/2002]
  19. nancyneptune

    nancyneptune New Member

    I agree totally with you. I have to have Xanax, I have panic disorder and I'm not about to go through the agony I went through when I first got it. If you need the blanking drug to live, then take it!Xanax saved my life. I've been on the same dose for eight years and never had to up it..50 mg. BID. My psychiatrist is a psychopharmacologist. Her take on Xanax is that if you have Panc disorder, it isn't going to go away miraclulously, so why would you go off the Xanax if it works? All I ever hear is how addicting it is. I can't help that. I need it, so I take it. I have no intention of going off it. People just don't understand sometimes about pain pills or Xanax. It isn't something you'll be able to go off of in the near future. If you could, you shouldn't be on it to begin with cuz you didn't really need it. N
  20. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    A psychologist I consulted told me that Xanax can actually cause Panic attacks because it stays in the body for too short a time and produces a huge rebound effect when it wears off.... All those empty GABA receptors in the brain start screaming for their fix! He says most people are told to take Xanax every 8 hrs., but it only stays in a high enough concentration in the blood for about five hrs.
    I personally believe everyone who needs Xanax and can handle Klonopin, should switch to Klonopin. It is a much safer drug for most, it helps protect our disordered brains from neuron death, as well as helping the panic, and it stays in the blood much longer, so if withdrawl is necessary, it's a lot less bumpy. Detox clinics use Klonopin to get folks off Xanax. They switch them to Klonopin,and then slowly lower the dose of Klonopin. I've been through Xanax withdrawl four times, and it was hell each time.
    I can't take Klonopin because it represses my respirations,a very unusual reaction, so I took the psychologist's advice and started taking smaller doses of Xanax, but more often. I now take 1/4 of a .25 mg. tablet every 6 hrs. Since I started doing this, I have had only one panic attack, and that was in an extremely unusual situation. My last panic attack was Jan. 8, 2002....almost a year ago, even though I am only taking teeny doses of the drug now.
    My panic attacks did not start until I had already been on Xanax for many yrs., to help with spinal spasms due to FMS. What I just said in this post would not necessarily apply at all to those whose panic started before they took Xanax, but it may well contribute, so, IMO, it's worth thinking about changing to Klonopin, or taking smaller doses more often.
    Hugs,
    Klutzo