Anxiety and Afibnow can take nothing

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I was diagnosed 5 years ago as suffering with GAD ( Generalised Anxiety Disorder)  for which I was given Citalopram.and I was told I would have to always take it.

In July of last year I was diagnosed with Afib and given medication to control my heartrate,  and thin my blood.

Unfortunately my Anxiety meds clash with my Afib meds so I cannot take my Anxiety medication any longer, and it appears that no Anxiety medication can be taken as they effect the heart rate.

So after all those years of relying on Anxiety medication I now have nothing to support me through Anxiety or Panic attacks.

Having tried to read up on Afib to try to understand what it is - why it happens- and how can I help protect myself the following became obvious - 

Symptoms of Anxiety - Rapid Heart beat and Palpitations

                                 - Cold sweat

                                 - stomach churning

                                 - breathlessness 

                                 - feelings of panic.

Symptons of Afib      - Rapid Heartbeat and palpitations

                                - Sweating

                                - Stomach churning.

                                - Feelings of panic

                                - Breathlessness.

Now - have I always been Afib and not known it, was it hidden under the diagnosis of Anxiety disorder?  

They say Anxiety can  cause rapid heart beat, palpitations and panic disorder, and that you should do everything you can to avoid stress and anxiety - but now I have no meds - what do I do. I put this to my GP and he said ' as best you can' you cant take them any longer as they clash with your beta blocker. So that's it is it Is something that I have had to take medication for, for years to keep it under control, is now no longer a problem - and I'm supposed to suck it up - Anxiety doesn't just go away, Anxiety can kill - it can cause Heart attacks and Strokes - the very thing that Afib can cause - so whats the point in treating one and not the other - there must be something you can take to ease anxiety that wont clash with Beta Blockers and the like - come on you Scientists and Medics this is a real problem - I can't be the only one out here fighting this battle

Is anyone out there suffering the same - have you found an answer, if you have please share x

Barbara x 

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  • Posted

    Hi Barbara, I sorry to hear you are going through a tough time. I do believe the two are interconnected in many ways. Lots of people with A Fib also have anxiety issues also. It can be tough living with both. Recently I started to learn how to meditate. I really was a non believer of it making any difference. But I decided what harm can it do. So I use an app on my phone and taught myself how to do it. Over time I have become quite good at it and I can see that I am in a MUCH calmer state of mind most of the time now and yes I am now a true believer in meditation. Recently I had a ruptured diverticulitis and was in the hospital. During that time I used white light meditation over the diseased area. I've never done that before and wasn't even sure how but I tried and the doctors where amazed at my fast healing of just 2 days. So my point is try meditation. Learn how. It's cheap, easy and may make a world of difference. Take care my A Fib friend.

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  • Posted

    Hi Barbara

    Sorry to hear you seem to have been put between a rock and a hard place with this. Many of us reading your story have experienced similar symptoms. Firstly can you advice what your Cardiologist has said about the prescribing, rather than your GP? Sadly the latter are not the best placed to know about AF... Additionally I was put on a drug called Gabapentin last year which I could take with my Bisoprolol as I was dizzy, unbalanced and breathless so I wonder whether that might be an option.

    You must not rule out that you may have been misdiagnosed in the first place and perhaps they need to do a few more tests and monitoring to get to the bottom of it.

    The other question I would ask is whether they checked out your Thyroid levels as I also take Levothyroxine as if that's out of kilter it can cause some of your symptoms?

    Sorry to bother asking so many questions but I too had a 'constellation' of symptoms (!) which took a while to sort out, during which time I got totally despondent, as if having to deal with AF wasn't enough to worry and get you down.

    I'm sure with a bit of research and second opinions (which you're entitled to ask for) you'll get yourself sorted>

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  • Posted

    Hi Barbara,

    I think you are getting bad medical advice. People take anxiety meds and afib meds all the time. 

    If for some reason Citalopram conflicts with your beta blocker (and I have doubts here) then you could probably be switched to an equally effective calcium channel blocker. That's just one example, but the fact is that with all the combination of drugs available today, for both afib and anxiety, you should easily be able to find a combination for yourself.

    GP's sometime have limited knowledge. My advice is to seek a second (or third) opinion from a cardiologist and/or GP who have more experience treating afib patients and therefore would be more familiar with drug interractions between afib and anti-anxiety meds.

    And yes, anxiety can be a major afib trigger, so treating anxiety definitely has the potential to help with your afib.

    Jim

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    • Posted

      CORRECTION: I meant "EP" not "GP" in second sentence of the third paragraph. So it should read in part...

      "....My advice is to seek a second (or third) opinion from a cardiologist and/or EP..."

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    • Posted

      Hello Jim,

      Sorry for the delay in responding - I spent so long waiting in the Drs surgery to get the ECG and Bloods done last week I caught a cold - so many people coughing and sneezing, its unavoidable, so have been laying low for a couple of days.   Anyway Jim I thank you for your comments and support, and I am desperately trying to get to see a Cardiologist, but it seems I am banging my head against a brick wall. - the Drs practice I am with has 10 GP's and I have in time visited all of them - there are those that I will never visit again, those that showed interest but no knowledge, and 2 who showed enough interest to listen to what I was saying - but then totally go against what they say they will do -  Arrrrgh

      One of the later - a fairly new German Dr who has joined the practice was the latest one I have been to see - ( it is he who told me my Anxiety and Heart meds clash, and that there is nothing he can give me - he even said 'are you sure you really need these anxiety meds - ) and so it was he that I went to see with my demands for a Heart Monitor for 24 hours and a referral to a cardiologist.

      He said all the right things - gave me the once over, organised bloods and another ECG - and when I complained about MORE BLOODS - ANOTHER ECG  He said there was a procedure that had to be followed, tests that needed to be done - so I played along - and the rest is history, as they say.

      I was so upset and angry to receive that telephone call from the Practice receptionist giving me a message from the Dr to say he was happy with most of the bloods, but wanted me to make an appointment in a month to have them re done and then to make an appointment to see him  - no explanation as to what are the bloods he isn't happy with then? Why have I got to wait a month and have them done again? - no word about the Monitor - nothing.

      I am so fed up Jim I thought he was working with me not against me - I told him how rough I feel 24/7 - he knows I suffer with Generalised Anxiety Disorder which isn't going away on its own, and I need some med support to cope with the symptoms - and he leaves me hanging for another month - I really feel let down and alone, and had a total emotional wipeout over the week-end, and seriously felt as they I couldn't go on any more - I have been without Anxiety meds now since my Original Afib episode last July - every day has been a battle - but I have managed to survive without having a total breakdown by sheer determination - but its no way to live, I have become a virtual recluse, I don't go out unless its to the Drs, I never see anyone except my Husband, and my Son when he visits - if I go out I break out in a sweat, dry mouth, rapid breathing then the shakes and wobbly legs set in an I head for home as fast as I can - this is no life - sometimes, just sometimes I think perhaps I would be better off just not being here anymore - don't worry I would never do anything  to harm myself, I'm not brave enough - but it all gets so much to cope with - and with the Afib as an added bonus life just seems too difficult at times.

      Sorry for the sob story, I know there are so many others out there who are suffering far worse than I.

      Barbarax

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Barbara,

      Sorry you're having all these problems.

      GPs are good for some things but not for afib or anything related with afib. I don't care how attentive they may seem, or how many tests they run, afib is a speciality field and out of their league. Half of GPs can't even read an EKG correctly without the machine's program telling them what they're looking at.

      The most knowledgeable are EPs but they have a tendency to be more aggressive and promote surgeries (ablation) over drugs. Next most knowledgeable would be a good cardiologist. Many people here, including myself, have consulted with both. That gives a a more balanced overview.

      There is absolutely no reason you should be without your anxiety medications while being treated for afib. I'm certain any cardiologist or ep will find the right mix of drugs to help both your anxiety and afib at the same time.

      Hope this helps.

      Jim

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    • Posted

      Hi again Jim,

      I am sorry to show my ignorance but what is an EP ?   I keep hearing about EP's but havn't a clue what one is - Help .

      Barbara x

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Barbara,

      EP is short for electrophysiologist. An electrophiologist is a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythms. They are the ones that do the catheter procedures like ablations. Like many here, I see both a cardiologist and an EP. I see the cardiologist for general checkups and overall advice and I've seen the EP usually at times of my afib episodes like when I needed electro cardioversion. EPs tend to be more aggressive and more surgery oriented so I think it's always best to run their recommendations by a good cardiologist who might be more comfortable with a lifestyle and medical approach. In your case, either of them should find the right combination of drugs so that you can take your anxiety meds and at the same time take your afib meds.

      Jim

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  • Posted

    Hi,  you could always ask your doctor to change your afib meds to something that you can also take  anxiety  pills with . I am on verapamil for my afib . I too suffer with  anxiety and I take Xanax for the anxiety with no problems or interactions . Anxiety can be a trigger for afib.  From what I understand though is that beta blockers kinda has a calming affect I’m not really sure how true that is . 
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  • Posted

    Oh and also verapamil is a calcium channel blocker . It treats high blood pressure and slows the heart rate down . 
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    • Posted

      Hi,  Initially, I was prescribed Verapamil for SVT (Supra Ventricula Tachycardia) back in 1996. Then, I read about it causing heart failure so, I quickly came off them and was prescribed Sotalol instead which I took for many years until they weren't doing their job anymore. Now, I have AFib which is linked to SVT for which I take Bisoprolol along with Warfarin and Kalms which I find very helpful.  Best wishes, LuckyPenny

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  • Posted

    Hi Barbara, I was admitted to the cardiac unit under observation and diagnosed with AFib back in 2011. Before I was discharged and allowed to go home a hospital pharmacist came up on the ward to sort my meds out. I was prescribed Bisoprolol and Warfarin which I still take. However, I then asked the pharmacist about taking the herbal remedy called Kalms and she told me that I could as they act like an anti-depressant and would not interfere with my prescribed AFib meds.  I too am also a believer in meditation.  Hope this helps x  LuckyPenny x
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    • Posted

      Omg! I didn’t know that verapamil could cause heart failure . The problem is ,is that every drug has bad side effects . Sometimes the side effects are worse than what you’re being treated for . In a perfect world It would be nice if theses drug companies could just make a drug that has no side effects at all . Maybe oneday that will happen lol . 
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    • Posted

      Yes, a drug with no side effects would be nice smile  My AFib episodes were being caused by my hiatus hernia moving up and down.  I asked about an operation to sort the hiatus hernia and was told it's a very massive 'op' so, that's why I'm treated with meds instead. However, I've noticed that certain foods like wheat and dairy make me bloat and could bring on an AFib episode. I now eat gluten and dairy free foods and have noticed a positive marked effect smile  

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