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Does withdrawals from Ativan taken for GERD cause headache and can Buspirone can help?

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Addiction Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 1486 Questions
Today: Tuesday 17 of 2013. Yesterday I left Tarzana Treatment Center for adults, I was there for Ativan “detox” . I have been taken LORAZEPAM (ATIVAN) for about 4 month before being at Tarzana. Somehow I got prescribed this drug by a doctor at memorial hospital in Glendale CA, on 10/30/13. What I really had (my doctor told me at Glendale Health Center) was GERD and I was prescribed OMAPREZOLE. (this happened the following day I after I went to memorial hospital). At Tarzana Treatment Center, I was given PHENOBARBITAL to prevent seizures (as they say) for withdrawals from LORAZEPAM. About two months ago somehow I developed this “headache” which took as much as 5 to 6 ALEVES pills to control. The problem in my head was such (still is) that when I would wake up in the morning; I would begin to feel “something bothering me” on my left of the top of my head and this “pain”, would increases as I walk or just by staying up, and would increase more depending on the activity’s effort; chewing food also increases my “pain”; now lately I feel the “pain” on my right side of the top of my head too. This “pain” still is with me today after I took BUSPIRONE (BUSPAR) Yesterday and after I have left Tarzana treatment center (one day before the day written above ) and it seems to be more severe because I have taken 4 extra strength Tylenols and 4 Aleves, and the problem continues. Also I am experiencing fatigue when I try to do something like changing the tire of a bicycle and beging breathing deep and fast. I get tired quickly; even speaking I feel this distress about my head. A problem with taking pain pills, mainly Aleve, is that my stomach gets very irritated. I wish that at least I could get some temporary relief I could get. I hope these are only withdrawal symptoms and would last little time, but in the meantime I am depending on relatives to get around. Should I take the buspirone (Buspar)? Although at this point I am very afraid to take any anxiety pill. I took one Buspirone yesterday and I was able to go with my sister to see if I made an appointment to get some High Blood Pressure Medication and buy food, (the doctor at Tarzana Treatment Center suggested that my headache might be caused by High blood pressure.) I took some medication this morning someone gave me for high blood pressure but the problem in the head persists. Was the detox treatment at Tarzana Treatment Center not successful and need to take Ativan necessarily? I hope not. I also take antiacids bought over the counter. I have not taken Buspirone today and not taken Ativan while in treatment and after. (Treatment began on Wednesday 4 of December). I feel weak, and the “headache” is giving a lot of problems, and I feel somehow nervous and perhaps for all these I feel with some anxiety. I don’t want to take lorazepam any more or Buspirone anymore. After I took Buspirone yesterday, and went to rest a little, perhaps slept a little, the “headache” came back stronger and I feel a little lightheaded and little dizzy, especially on top of the left side of my head; and I my movements are slower. Within the time of applying (20/11/2013) and getting into Tarzana treatment center (04/12/2013), I was given a plan: 2 , 10MG TABS, a day and 1 and a half of Ativan to gradually wean me out Ativan. But I opted to go to Tarzana Treatment Center to get rid of Ativan. XXXX, 57 years old.
Posted Wed, 8 Jan 2014 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Preeti Parakh 3 hours later
Brief Answer: Explained below. Detailed Answer: Hi XXXXXXX Welcome to Healthcare Magic! Buspirone is very different from medicines like Ativan. Unlike Ativan, there is no risk of getting addicted. Also, unlike Ativan, it has no immediate benefit. That is, once you start taking Buspirone regularly, you will be able to see the anti-anxiety effect only after a few weeks. It has absolutely no benefit in the way you are currently using it. But it would work very well if you were to take it regularly for the next few months in the prescribed dosage. It is safe as well and will not make you dependent on it. I do not know what is the cause of your headache. You have not mentioned what your blood pressure is, but if it is high, it can very well be responsible for your symptoms. On the other hand, anxiety itself can cause headache, high blood pressure, dizziness and fatigue. There can be many other causes of headache. However, I expect your doctor must have assessed you thoroughly before arriving at the conclusion that high blood pressure is responsible for your symptoms. Please take whatever anti-hypertensive medicine has been prescribed to you regularly for at least a few days before deciding whether your symptoms are improving or not. In my opinion, if you suffer from anxiety, then you should definitely give buspirone a trial. Once anxiety and headache are under control, you will not need to use so many analgesics which are harming your stomach. I hope this helps you. Please feel free to ask if you need any clarifications. Best wishes. Dr Preeti Parakh MD Psychiatry
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Follow-up: Does withdrawals from Ativan taken for GERD cause headache and can Buspirone can help? 14 hours later
I was given PHENOBARBITAL for five days (from 4 to 8 of december 2013) to stop Ativan. What do you think of this treatment? Was it adequate? Do you think withdrawals from Ativan are hurting me (perhaps worsening my GERD) and Buspirone can help?
Answered by Dr. Preeti Parakh 12 hours later
Brief Answer: Explained below. Detailed Answer: Hi XXXXXXX Many doctors like to use anti-epileptic drugs like phenobarbitone and others to prevent seizures while withdrawing benzodiazepines. These are required only for a short duration of time. I usually do not use anti-epileptics since I either cross-taper Ativan with longer acting benzodiazepines or gradually reduce the dose of Ativan to prevent any withdrawal seizures. What I wish to say is that I do not think using phenobarbitone for 5 days was wrong, even though I prefer to use different methods to treat my patients of benzodiazepine dependence. Do you feel this has harmed you in some way? Withdrawal from Ativan can lead to anxiety which can aggravate GERD. However you have been off Ativan for more than two weeks now and I do not think you are still in withdrawal. More so, since you mentioned that you had been on Ativan for only four months and usually people do not become dependent on Ativan in just four months if they adhere to their prescriptions. Though you have not mentioned how much Ativan you were taking daily that you needed to check into a center for detoxification, I guess it would not have been too high a dose. So I feel that your withdrawal must have been mild and you are already out of it. If you still have anxiety, it is unlikely to be due to withdrawal but more likely to be due to an anxiety disorder. Buspirone, because of the long duration needed to show its response, is of no benefit in withdrawal related anxiety. But it is safe and effective in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. Best wishes. Dr Preeti Parakh MD Psychiatry
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Does withdrawals from Ativan taken for GERD cause headache and can Buspirone can help? 47 hours later
Thanks Dr. I just got from the ER for my headche, dizziness and lighheaded. Theyh gave me "Ultram 50 mg Oral for pain. And they gave me 1 MG of Lorazeapam. I guess I am into Ativan again because it got me out of the "anxiety" I had. Now, I was taken 2 mg of Ativan, but it really got me scared when I tried to quit at once, and I have been worse after I left the "detox" treatment center. Could you help me with a plan to quiet Ativan in a more secure way the way you do it. I don't like Buspirone because it gives me a huge time of lighheadedness. I could donate $30 Dollars if you send me the program to get rid of Ativan, I will talk to my doctor about it so he can prescribe me what I need? you could send it to jorgegranados56@gmail. What do you say?
Answered by Dr. Preeti Parakh 3 hours later
Brief Answer: Explained below. Detailed Answer: Hi XXXXXXX There are a few things that can be done to help you. 1) First, it needs to be assessed if you have an anxiety disorder. If you had anxiety for quite some time before you were put on Ativan, then there is a strong chance that you have an anxiety disorder. If so, you need to be treated for it because even if you get rid of Ativan, you will still have anxiety and will still feel unwell. As I said earlier, I do not feel your present symptoms are due to withdrawal from Ativan but due to a independent anxiety disorder. You benefit from Ativan because it works in all kinds of anxiety, whether it is due to anxiety disorder or due to withdrawal. You need to be put on adequate treatment for an anxiety disorder before you get rid of Ativan. Otherwise, you will still have anxiety even when the withdrawal period is over. You need not take Buspirone if it makes you uncomfortable. SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil etc) are a good choice as they are effective in all kinds of anxiety disorders as well as safe. I am sure your family physician will be willing to prescribe you one of these. 2) The second thing that you need to do is to start practicing some relaxation exercises regularly without fail. The simplest and easiest one is taking deep breaths very slowly, so that the time taken to exhale is at least twice the time taken to inhale. You will notice an immediate reduction in anxiety on doing so. Progressive muscular relaxation exercise is more complicated and there are detailed instructions freely available on the internet. Here is one link for you WWW.WWWW.WW au/docs/ACF3C8D.pdf. There are many other relaxation exercises and you can choose what you like. In a few days you will notice an improvement in your mental state and it will become easier for you to quit Ativan. 3) Once you are on an alternative medicine for anxiety for at least four to six weeks, as this is the time usually taken for these medicines to show their response, you can start getting off Ativan. For this you do not need to go to any rehab centers. Just start reducing the dose of Ativan very slowly. For example, if you are taking 1 mg per day, cut down by around 0.25 mg per day. Be on 0.75 mg per day for at least a week or more till you feel stable on this dose, and then reduce 0.25 mg again, repeating the process. Just go very slow and allow your body ample time to adjust to the the lower dosage. Think of quitting Ativan only when you have started some treatment for your anxiety disorder and it has started working. Till then continue with it, but take it in two or three divided doses. If you do as suggested, you will be rid of both Ativan and anxiety. You do not need to make any donations. If possible, use the money to see a good doctor, preferably a psychiatrist, so that the real reason for your anxiety can be diagnosed and you can be given adequate treatment, rather than having to depend on Ativan which can just provide transient relief. I understand that you do not wish to be on any medicine at all but if there indeed is an anxiety disorder, then it must be treated before you can be weaned off Ativan successfully, otherwise it will be a wasted effort. If you need me again, I can be directly reached through this website at WWW.WWWW.WW Best wishes. Dr Preeti Parakh MD Psychiatry
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