Question on antidepressants

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sbmly53
sbmly53 Member Posts: 1,522
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
So many of us are taking something - Just got Effexor, and I'm a bit afraid of how I'll feel. If I'll have side effects, should I drive, how long before it 'kicks in', etc.

What is your experience?

Sue

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  • CypressCynthia
    CypressCynthia Member Posts: 4,014 Member
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    Just start low and go slow
    Just start low and go slow and you'll be fine. About the 3rd day on effexor, I noticed that the sky seemed brighter and I honestly think it was my depression lifting. It also really helped my anxiety.

    Keep an eye on your blood pressure. It may go up in the first couple of weeks, but then it should go back to normal. I never felt like it would interfere with my driving (if anything I felt more alert), but you might ground yourself for a couple of days to be extra careful.
  • Rague
    Rague Member Posts: 3,653 Member
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    Can't help
    Sorry - Can't give you any thoughts/experiences. I've never taken any anti-depressants or tranquilizers. Never felt the need for them. It's not that I don't think they can't be life savers for some because they certainly are - it's just I've never felt the need to ask for anything along those lines. The closest I've come is to take the lowest dose of Ambien about 1/3 to 1/2 the time when on Taxol and rarely now IF I just can't get to sleep and I have something important to do the next day. Just me.

    There are those here who can give you insight.

    Susan
  • missrenee
    missrenee Member Posts: 2,136 Member
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    Rague said:

    Can't help
    Sorry - Can't give you any thoughts/experiences. I've never taken any anti-depressants or tranquilizers. Never felt the need for them. It's not that I don't think they can't be life savers for some because they certainly are - it's just I've never felt the need to ask for anything along those lines. The closest I've come is to take the lowest dose of Ambien about 1/3 to 1/2 the time when on Taxol and rarely now IF I just can't get to sleep and I have something important to do the next day. Just me.

    There are those here who can give you insight.

    Susan

    Sue--don't be scared
    Honestly, before this craziness last year--I literally read the aspirin/Tylenol bottles before I took one--and then usually I didn't because I was too scared! After diagnosis, I was put on Zoloft--I really didn't hesitate--very "un-Renee-like!" I had no side effects and felt so much better. I've been on it ever since (11 months).

    Everyone is different, but good luck!

    Hugs, Renee
  • sal314
    sal314 Member Posts: 599 Member
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    Taking Effexor XR
    You probably won't feel anything for a couple of weeks. Some of the side effects when you first start are sweating and a little nausea and sometimes people get constipation or diarrhea when first starting out. Those side effects usually go away after a week or two.

    Effexor has really helped me with my anxiety as well. There is also a similar drug called Pristiq.It's basically Effexor, but supposedly doesn't have the sexual side effects (low libedo) and is suppose to be easier for your liver to break down. I decided to try it and HATED it. I cried for a week and felt like crap! And getting off of it is REALLY hard. I went back to Effexor XR and feel much better!!

    SO...everyone reacts differently to drugs. I'd say go ahead and try it. If you feel it doesn't help, you can always stop it. Life is too short to be miserable and filled with anxiety. The anti-depressants don't take it all away or change you, it just makes you feel more like your old self and you are able to handle life with a clearer head. I went back on them in March after my father was diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer. I also have two special needs kids. I don't think life could be more stressful and I'll take anything to help me be of sound mind!! LOL. Well, as sound as it can be anyway:)

    Sally
  • ladyg
    ladyg Member Posts: 1,577
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    I have been
    taking Lexapro for about 2 months and don't have any side effects from it. when the dr. started me on it I was taking 10 mg. a day. After the first 2 weeks I went back to the dr. and told her that I didn't feel like me anymore. At times I felt like I was just floating outside myself. She knew what I was talking about and cut my dosage in half. Since then I have been doing fine. I do not feel stressed and am just more relaxed. I wish I had found this a long time ago. I have always been high strung and tense and this has changed that.

    Hugs,
    Georgia
  • crselby
    crselby Member Posts: 441 Member
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    no 'obvious' effects
    Like Rague (Susan), I had never found it necesssary to take anything more than aspirin over the years. At the beginning of my bc diagnosis I SHOULD have taken something as I ruined my immune system with anxiety for the first 3 weeks. I've always been pretty upbeat.

    When the Tamoxifen side effects kicked in, the hot flashes became even stronger than I'd had for 11 years into menpause. Unbearable. So my gyn suggested Effexor, or else I would have stopped taking Tamoxifen. We started at 37.5 mg/day and increased until I was taking 75mg. That is what I take now, and it seems to do the trick, keeping hot flashes to 2 or 3 a day.

    I have felt absolutely no changes to mood or sleep (except for not being awakened by hot flashes!) However, for 4 days I was without the Effexor by accident, having forgotten to take them with me on a trip. Oh my gosh, I have never felt so odd. Jumpy and electrified. Within an hour of taking one, I felt normal again. So I know the drug is affecting my brain.
    ~~Connie~
  • JuJuBeez
    JuJuBeez Member Posts: 332
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    I am on 37.5 mg Effexor XR...
    I had been using Zoloft for anxiety, and when I started Tamoxifen I had to switch to Effexor. The Onc had me start with 37.5 then after a week move up to 75 mg. I started this in the middle of August. I was miserable with hot flashes when I increased the dose to 75 mg. I also felt 'hung over' and sleepy all day, no matter what time of day I took the Effexor. I have to admit, though, it was nice to NOT hear my hub snore for a month! I complained to the Onc that I felt like I was too drugged on the 75, so he switched me back to the 37.5. I don't get a lot of hot flashes, thankfully, but when I do I'm expecting the sprinklers to go off. I do still feel a little anxious at times. I know I'm reaching the end of my rope when I start dreaming about car accidents. That's a weird sign I get. I am getting a lot of foot and leg cramps. My left shoulder and arm, plus my incisions still hurt too. And sometimes I feel so sad I can't stand it. I thought 'mood swings' meant I would be mean, not sad. Is sad better than mean?? Ha ha.

    If I miss a night of Effexor XR, I can tell as soon as I wake up because I am dizzy. Whenever I turn my head quickly, I feel like I could fall down. I had to go a few days without it last month, because I didn't have the money for it, and it was like walking through the Fun House at the fair. You know the section with the moving stairs and floor?

    Overall, I don't like my 'new normal' feeling. I wear down quicker, and I ache a lot. It's not bad, but it wears me down after a while. Does anyone else feel like that?
  • Angie2U
    Angie2U Member Posts: 2,991
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    Rague said:

    Can't help
    Sorry - Can't give you any thoughts/experiences. I've never taken any anti-depressants or tranquilizers. Never felt the need for them. It's not that I don't think they can't be life savers for some because they certainly are - it's just I've never felt the need to ask for anything along those lines. The closest I've come is to take the lowest dose of Ambien about 1/3 to 1/2 the time when on Taxol and rarely now IF I just can't get to sleep and I have something important to do the next day. Just me.

    There are those here who can give you insight.

    Susan

    I've never taken
    I've never taken antidepressants, but, I know many do. I think you just have to give them some time to actually start working. I don't think it happens right from the start.


    I hope they help you!
  • Mama G
    Mama G Member Posts: 762
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    JuJuBeez said:

    I am on 37.5 mg Effexor XR...
    I had been using Zoloft for anxiety, and when I started Tamoxifen I had to switch to Effexor. The Onc had me start with 37.5 then after a week move up to 75 mg. I started this in the middle of August. I was miserable with hot flashes when I increased the dose to 75 mg. I also felt 'hung over' and sleepy all day, no matter what time of day I took the Effexor. I have to admit, though, it was nice to NOT hear my hub snore for a month! I complained to the Onc that I felt like I was too drugged on the 75, so he switched me back to the 37.5. I don't get a lot of hot flashes, thankfully, but when I do I'm expecting the sprinklers to go off. I do still feel a little anxious at times. I know I'm reaching the end of my rope when I start dreaming about car accidents. That's a weird sign I get. I am getting a lot of foot and leg cramps. My left shoulder and arm, plus my incisions still hurt too. And sometimes I feel so sad I can't stand it. I thought 'mood swings' meant I would be mean, not sad. Is sad better than mean?? Ha ha.

    If I miss a night of Effexor XR, I can tell as soon as I wake up because I am dizzy. Whenever I turn my head quickly, I feel like I could fall down. I had to go a few days without it last month, because I didn't have the money for it, and it was like walking through the Fun House at the fair. You know the section with the moving stairs and floor?

    Overall, I don't like my 'new normal' feeling. I wear down quicker, and I ache a lot. It's not bad, but it wears me down after a while. Does anyone else feel like that?

    you just took the words right out of my mouth...
    Overall, I don't like my 'new normal' feeling. I wear down quicker, and I ache a lot. It's not bad, but it wears me down after a while. Does anyone else feel like that?

    I just keep hoping this gets better, because I don't know if I can get used to all of this you just named. I'm so weak and groggy all the time. achy and lazy.
  • Megan M
    Megan M Member Posts: 3,000
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    Mama G said:

    you just took the words right out of my mouth...
    Overall, I don't like my 'new normal' feeling. I wear down quicker, and I ache a lot. It's not bad, but it wears me down after a while. Does anyone else feel like that?

    I just keep hoping this gets better, because I don't know if I can get used to all of this you just named. I'm so weak and groggy all the time. achy and lazy.

    I'm sorry Mama G that you
    I'm sorry Mama G that you are feeling so bad. I wish there was something I could do, other than send you a hug and a prayer.


    Megan