I have been having some issues with anxiety since my rupture 9 months ago. From what I understand, this is not an uncommon after effect of an aneurysm rupture and clipping surgery. Or really even an aneurysm in general. I have tried one medication that didn’t work very well for me so we are going to try a daily med called fluoxetine or prozac. I have never taken, or felt the need for, anxiety medication until this happened so I really have no experience with it. I have looked up side effects of this medication and one of the more common one seems to be headaches. As I already have issues with headaches post surgery, I am a little apprehensive to take this medication. Does anyone have any experience taking this med, and did it have any impact on your headaches? Did it have any other adverse effects I should know about before taking it? I am not someone that likes to take medications, and I could not wait to get off of all 13 medications I came home on after surgery, so I am just a bit nervous to start something new.
Although I’m not a medical professional I have worked in a pharmacy for 15+ years, with that in mind my first thought was “prozac is anti-depression, not anti-anxiety.”
Prozac is what’s called an SSRI, it helps control the amount of serotonin in your system which is one of of the chemicals that controls moods, which MAY include anxiety. It’s primary use is anti-depression (which can cause anxiety in many people). Unless you’re also depressed I would caution you to speak to pharmacists and do your research. When you take an anti-depression for an off-label secondary use without depression present it can trigger more side effects. One of the biggest things prozac can do is make you feel like you have the flu. The category of SSRI has been shown effective with anxiety, don’t mistake me, but it’s not the main use for the category and I, personally, tend to think it works best when the anxiety appears with some sort of depression – which you may very well have! You’ve had a life-altering event, depression is natural.
For acute treatment of anxiety the short term use of the medications in the category benzodiazepine works well. These include alprazolam (xanax), diazepam (valium), and lorazepam (ativan). With today’s climate about addiction I’m very sure that’s why your doctor may not have lead with those as they do have a mild risk of addition when abused. Keep in mind the majority of people who take meds don’t abuse them and they’re safe as long as you aren’t already an addict.
Again, do your own research and speak with a pharmacist about what you’re trying to achieve and for how long. Remember, your doctor knows disease, your pharmacist knows chemicals.
Thank you for your response. I did do some research before I filled the prescription, and found most of what you have said here. I didn’t find anything about it having more side effects without the depression though. Thank you for that. I do not feel that I have any depression. It seems to just be more anxiety all the time, Coupled with my incessant need to keep my house clean and have everything “ready” in case it happens again. I did mention to my doctor that I didn’t want anything that could potentially be habit forming because of my family history. I have never been an addict, but I have 2 brothers that have, along with quite a few members of my dads family. I wanted to avoid that scenario all together because it does worry me a bit. I’m guessing that is why she avoided that category all together. I started with hydroxyzine as needed, but that did not seem to help much. This is our second attempt at something. I did also read in my papers from the pharmacy that it can cause bleeding? That concerned me with all I have been through with the rupture. This is a new primary care doctor that was not my doctor when my rupture happened.
Light Anti- depressant can be prescribed as a part of treatment migraines and headaches ( I don’t know how strong Prosac is ) …
I am takingPropanolol for migraines and heart beat , but I know it’s also anxiety medicine …
I think the good idea to call your neurologist and consult with him regarding Prosac, just to be confident and safe …
Thank you for your response. I am on the lightest dose that can be prescribed. Hopefully not too strong, as I don’t have much of a tolerance for many medications.
Keep yourself, family and close friends if needed mindful of the side effects. Contact your Neurosurgeon and make sure it’s ok with them. My Neuro was aggravated that I was still on a heart med, since I quit taking it, I’m doing much better. Many years ago my PCP put me on an anti-depressant for something, can’t remember what, it made me depressed in about a week or two. She took me off it immediately. She said she guessed I wasn’t depressed after all. She was a great doctor. Whenever the cardiologist would change my heart meds, she followed up within a 7 - 10 days. I had a really good pharmacist as well. Never discount the value of a great pharmacist. One pharmacist refused to refill a prescription and called the doctor while I was there due to rare side effects I was having. It was literally a life saver!
Thank you for your response! I already take metoprolol for my blood pressure so beta blockers are out. That should be helping with headaches and anxiety, but it wasn’t doing the trick. I was taking labetolol that worked better, but did not keep my blood pressure low enough even at three times a day. It seems like a never ending battle!
How lucky you are to have such a great team caring for you! I have great doctors for each area, but I don’t think they work together the way yours do. I don’t believe my surgeon has been contacted at all for any of these changes. I got a referral from my pcp to see a neurologist, but they can’t get me in until August. Unless, of course, there are any cancellations. I will have seen my surgeon for my 1 year angio and follow up by that point so it seems redundant, but I am told I should have a neurologist.
You have to tell the doctors to notify the others. The PCP is never a problem. Specialists sometimes get agitated at my demands. The Neurologist had no issues, but I don’t see him anymore. What I did was call the Neurosurgeon and my PCP to make sure they received the latest. My Neurosurgeon really appreciated it and even surprised me when she already knew about my fall. It went something like this (I stutter, drop words and have a unique accent, a gift from second coiling)
Doc: “So you fell off a ladder, broke the toilet and ended up with the wound care doctor”.
Me: “No, I fell with ladder, not off. No like toilet, it was blue. My head no break toilet, ladder did. My head hit rung. Rung no break from head. Break from toilet. See my booboos!”
Doc: “Stay off ladders”
I still laugh about it.
I guess I never thought to keep my neurosurgeon in the loop. It seemed as if they didn’t really need to hear from me until my angio. I was in contact with them a bit more before I found my new primary care doctor. The old one was not in the same health care system as the new one and my surgeon. I guess I have been lucky in not needing too much more than my primary care can provide for now. I always feel like I am bothering them, even though they assure me it is no bother every time. Hopefully it stays that way for a long long time!
My rupture was almost 3 years ago and I still have anxiety and depression. It took me almost a year trying different meds. I think everyone is different and I would really try a physiatrist. Everything is so specialized right now, I would really get established with someone.
Prozac is addictive. It was prescribed for my husband and he had many reactions to it. Look it up on the Internet. There are other drugs that will help you.
Hi. I experience anxiety since my ruptured brain aneurysm in 2005 where I had endovascular coiling and then a craniotomy in 2011. I have been taking fluoxetine for years with no side effects for anxiety. This medication has helped me feel relaxed. I do recommend psychotherapy, in addition to taking the medication, to ensure you are on the right dosage and for support. I completely understand your apprehension and everyone is different with side effects. Good luck with whatever you choose.
Thank you for your response! It has been a short time since my rupture (or so my doctor tells me), in terms of healing. I’m hoping to see more improvement in the anxiety atleast. I’m hoping that the meds won’t be long term, but atleast they are an option if there isn’t improvement.
Its very rare to find a survivor of a ruptured and clipped anni. I too had mine rupture back in 2011 and had it clipped. No anxiety for me after but I was left with ADHD. I’ll take it to the alternative.
Thank you for your response! I have researched it prior to filling the prescription. I am that person that needs to read every possible side effect or interaction for every med I start taking. I am sure that is not a great thing for me, but I just have to. I did read that you can go through withdrawl when stopping the medication. I have not had any side effects yet, but I have only been taking it for about 4 days. We shall see!
Thank you! I have only been taking it now for a couple days, so I haven’t seen much improvement yet. I’m hoping, atleast for the time being, it can give me some relief. I have started on the lowest dose available, so there is room for increase if needed.
It is rare! There is no one near me that is a survivor. I do still have some focus issues but have noticed a bunch of improvement on that. The anxiety and headaches are the worst for me, along with some fatigue. I’m not used to being limited! I could run 18+ hours on just 5 hours of sleep. Now I need 8 hours and am still completely exhausted at the end of the day. Its quite the change for me! But you are correct, I will take my few side effects in comparison to the alternative.
I am sorry to hear about the anxiety issues but you are not alone. I am a 5 year (wait and see) patient living with an un-ruptured aneurysm. My symptoms were constant little headaches that sometimes became migraines along with visual disturbance. Once diagnosed I also started to have panic attacks and anxiety that led to depression. I also am opposed to taking medication unless absolutely necessary and for the shortest amount of time. 2 years ago finally gave in and my psychiatrist and therapist agreed that I had done everything else at least from a health point of view to try to get this under control. It took about 3 weeks before I felt relaxed without feeling lethargic and I remained on the lowest possible dose. I no longer obsess about every little thing or try to control everything around me ( as if that ever works ) now I can focus on the task at hand staying as healthy as possible so that I can enjoy my life and all those who are in my life and who will come into my life. Hope this helps. By the way no more migraines . Just the occasional bad headache. Take care
I think Prozac is useful or another SSRI like Lexapro May help. I understand these may help with neuroplasticity and brain healing. Our brains are in need of rest and I also think these medications may help. Keep in contact with your doctor and keep talking if it reduces stress!! Consider any possible way to help yourself and ask advice when in doubt.