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xanax or ativan anyone

amyb15's picture
Posts: 109
Joined: Jun 2009

my sister has been talking about the possibility of starting to take an antianxiety medication. As you all know it (caNCER) is very stressful. She is afraid she should not be taking it when on chemo, etc, My opinion is if you need it , take it. I don't know if it would be detrimenatl to any other treatment she may have, but I don't think so. She has also always been very anti any psych meds. Please post if you taking any anti anxiety meds or any antidepressants or what your thoughts are about them

Thanks as always for your caring and responses. it is truely like a family


Posts: 1736
Joined: Jul 2007

I took them during treatment the second time and I continue to have them by my side.

First of all I will say as your doctor, but I am sure you are going to get plenty of replys that support either anti-anxiety or anti-depressants, I for one support them. Life is hard enough without having cancer, if your sister can get some relief with the meds I say go for it..

Good luck and I hope your sister feels better soon


just4Brooks's picture
Posts: 988
Joined: Jun 2009

I took/and do take anti anxiety meds and antidepressants. This is a crazy road we're on and we need do what it takes to get down it.


AnnaLeigh's picture
Posts: 185
Joined: Jan 2010


My husband takes Ativan and it really helps him relax from all of the stress his body goes through after treatment. This has also allowed him to not get so depressed from the fatigue. Depression and fatigue can go hand-in-hand after long periods of time.

With a more relaxed body, his appetite has increased and he is much more willing to get outside, enjoy the fresh air and exercise.

Wish we had known about this drug sooner.


thready's picture
Posts: 475
Joined: Sep 2009

I take Ativan for nausea, but the anti anxiety effect has been so helpful. 1mg at night helped with the sleep issue, calmed my stomach and helped get me through the next day.

If your sister needs the help she should take it. My onc said these meds were not detrimental at all. I do not believe in taking a pill just to take a pill, but this is rough stuff we are dealing with and a little help might be all she needs. There is no shame in taking either one. Tell her to try taking one at night. She will sleep off the "sleepies" that the medication causes and she might just feel a bit better the next day!

Take care,

Posts: 827
Joined: Jan 2010

No shame in taking antiD's. My PCP rx'd Prozac for me with my onc'c ok. He thought I *might* be depressed...I didn't think so, but he said he'd be depressed if he was on chemo so I went along with it.It apparently wasn't right for me because I became so apathetic that I didn't have any feelings left.Discontinued after 9 days.

On the other hand I sometimes get agitated, aggravated, stressed with trying to keep the folks who are supposed to be my health advocates on their toes, especially the middle men/women who are supposed to be sending/receiving faxes,rx's, etc. And the steelhearted insurance companies! They make my blood boil. That is when I allow myself an Ativan at night and forget it all for a few hours.

If the Prozac had helped me I would certainly still be on it and appreciating it's positive effects.


maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

last year it was like I fell into a big dark hole....I started an anti-depressant called effexor and I still take it....never get the same blues....

also take from ....... 0.5 to 1 of lorazapam...which I think is ativan for sleep at night....this fight is hard enough


dianetavegia's picture
Posts: 1953
Joined: Mar 2009

I'm pretty much 'anti' any meds. I refused to take pain meds after surgery once they disconnected the IV that same night. I DID take a child's dose of med for a few months during menopause but only when I was in a full blown panic attack and didn't like taking them. I stopped cold turkey.

No Birth Control Pills, very few antibiotics in my life and NO Tylenol!

That being said, my cancer had not spread. I did not have the same concerns she has. I don't know what I'd do in her shoes. She, however, has got to be the one to make this decision.

As far as taking them during chemo, when I had a serious reaction each treatment to Oxi, Ativan was added to the Benadryl. I slept through my last 5 txs. I do not remember anythng until they woke me to go home. Talk about good sleep!

sfmarie's picture
Posts: 605
Joined: Aug 2009

You can take anti-depressents while on chemo. As my shrink says, so many people take them they might as well put them in the drinking water :)

Amy, I am thinking of you and your sister. Make sure you take the time to take good care of yourself too. Caregivers need to recharge or we burn out.

Blessings, Marie

Posts: 638
Joined: Dec 2009

pass me the bottle

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

I have never heard of any of those meds having any adverse affect on chemo. I take xanax and zoloft and they help keep me on an even keel. The stress that cancer often causes is more harmful (IMO*) than the anti-anxiety meds are. With all of the stuff we have to deal with, cancer/operations/chemo, if there is something that I can take that takes the edge of the stress then I am all for it. Toughing it out for the sake of it just causes extra stress. My chemo has been totally effective and I am as sane as I've even been**
Best of luck to your sister.

* I wish we didn't have to put in disclaimers all of the time but I know some people do not agree that cancer can actually cause stress and depression.
** Open to dispute

msccolon's picture
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

aka Lorazapam! It really helps with anxiety and I think is a necessary part of chemo treatment. In fact, it was initially prescribed by my onc for the anticipatory nausea before each treatment. Worked like a charm!

Shayenne's picture
Posts: 2370
Joined: Jan 2009

My onc put me on Zoloft (anti-depressants) and Ativan (anti-anxiety) which is taken during treatment as well. No shame in it, I was never on any kind of meds till I got cancer, and let me say, the drugs do help! I don't get so blubbery, or think dark thoughts and put the covers over my head and not want to get out of bed anymore...it has balanced me loads. If your sister feels like she needs the help, let her try it, it takes a month for the anti-depressants to actually kick and work in your system, but these may just work nice for her.


P_I_T_A's picture
Posts: 133
Joined: Oct 2009

I get Ativan during treatments. I get through my port at start of treatment and have pills for when I get home to help with the nausea. Makes me pretty drowsy though.


christinecarl's picture
Posts: 545
Joined: Sep 2009

I took it to help with nausea and with anxiety. I never knew what having an anxiety attack felt like until cancer. I never took any anti depressants and I no longer take the Antivan, but it was an enormous help while going through chemo. I used to take an Antivan right before my chemo appt and I would sleep through chemo. Amazing stuff.

ninetoes's picture
Posts: 81
Joined: Jun 2009

I took them during treatment and continue to take them. It's hard enough what we are all going through, it will take the edge off.

Good luck with everything and I hope your sister feels better.


porkchopqueen's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: Feb 2010

Yes, my oncologist offered this as a help with sleep and with all the anxiety that comes from treatments. Works for me.

abrub's picture
Posts: 2153
Joined: Mar 2010

Ativan was always part of my chemo treatments. When I had IP (intraperitoneal chemo) they dosed me with it before starting the chemo drip. With FOLFOX, they gave me the Ativan IV before I headed home to head off the nausea. I had it for sleeping as well.

Use what you need to get through this treatment, but when in doubt, ask your oncologist. They know the interactions.

Posts: 965
Joined: Nov 2008

My doctor told me she would have no problems prescribing anti-anxiety medication. I chose not to, however, I did get a prescription for Ambien and that allowed me to sleep through the night. I found that my mind would race while I lay in bed at night and I could never go back to sleep if I woke at 2 or 3. With Ambien that's never a problem.


Crow71's picture
Posts: 681
Joined: Jan 2010

Hey Amy - My Dr. prescribed ativan for nausea. I got it during treatment and also had the pills. It made me feel very relaxed - almost sleepy like P_I+T_A described. It wasn't until later that I learned it was also an anti-depressant. One of my nurses said she if were up to her, she would put it in the drinking water. (LIke Marie's sister's Dr. said.) I take the pills from time to time.

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2010

My Oncologist suggested I take Ativan, without my even asking, my anthesiologist gave me some before surgery saying it was the best, and my ENT takes it herself at times when she is stressed...Don't believe my Oncologist would recommend during chemo if it weren't safe..Just follow dosage as prescribed...

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