• Antidepressants combined with cancer treatments.

    Asked by oceanblue24 on Friday, December 7, 2012

    Antidepressants combined with cancer treatments.

    Hi everyone as I've expressed before on here I suffer from anxiety (GAD). I also suffer from IBS & GERD which can result from the anxiety & visa versa. I'm having so many side affects from the Arimidex, one of which seems to be anxiety. I really want to stay on this drug as I have read how good it is. I see my Oncologist next week & since I'm already on what I feel is max on the anxiety med, I was thinking perhaps an antidepressant might be of benefit to me. Are any of you on antidepressants & if so which ones? The Drs. tryed to get me on them many years ago but I couldn't get past the nausea side affects. I've done some research but I find looking things up gives me anxiety too. Sigh!! I wish I could be like so many of you on here & just take charge! I especially look forward to Nancyjacs coments since she seems so very knowledgeable. As always looking for advise & as always I wish you all well!!!

    16 Answers from the Community

    16 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I am on Arimidex but don't have anxiety or depression as a side effect. Am I assuming correctly that you were on anxiety meds before starting Arimidex. Has it gotten worse since then? My thinking it that the Arimidex may not have anything to do with it. I too would be concerned about upping dosage of anxiety meds and/or combining them with additional meds for depression and/or anxiety. Certainly worth discussing with your oncologist, but if it were me, I would be more comfortable with a referral to a psychiatrist who would have more expertise in the interaction of anxiety/depression meds and other treatment options.

      almost 4 years ago
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I think it's hard to take charge while you're in the middle of treatment. Everything seems so out of control at times but don't worry, you'll get there. I take an anti-depressant called Remeron. The generic is mirtazapine. Read up on it and speak with your Dr about it. Maybe this is something you can try. I was able to take it while receiving chemo. I take it at night because it does help with sleep. Let us know what you decide.

      almost 4 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar

      I have taken anti-depressants for quite a while, and am getting chemo. My counselor at the CA Center asked me about increasing the doses, and when I asked the oncologist, he said to talk to my psychiatrist because he thought my psychiatrist should be the one to talk to about that. I hope you do have someone you can talk to about things, such as a counselor or a psychiatrist. I feel very fortunate that I do, because you just can't tell one person everything, because usually you need to talk about them, too! My husband is there for me through everything, but I do need someone to talk to about my concerns for him after I'm gone, even though I do share this with him later. Then, we both get emotional about things. Keep us posted on what you decide to do. Best of luck in your journey!

      almost 4 years ago
    • oceanblue24's Avatar

      Thank you, I've been thinking about going back into counciling like I did many yrs ago. It is at a clinic so they will refer you to one of their psychiatrists for med advice. I think a lot of this is just my anxiety but I read it can be a side effect of Arimidex & right away my mind went in that direction! Thanks again!

      almost 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      When I was on Arimidex (and then on Aromasin) I was taking one Rx after another to combact side effects...I was antidepressants, stimulants, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety meds among others....I tried Effexor, cymbalta, wellbutrin but a few other things with the antidepressants that escape me at the moment....Ativan (anti-anxiety), Ambien (sleep), Adderal, gabapentin....Nausea is one side effect I get if it exists, but it was not one I had with the antidepressants.. I endured 3 1/2 years on AI's and finally gave up...its now been 2 1/2 years since I quit them and I'm not taking most of the above Rx....Hope you get some answers....I can write more later this week-end, but its almost candle lighting for my Shabbat.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      I too am on anti-depressants. It turns out that chemo often effects seretonin levels in the brain which causes depression so depression in cancer patients is common. There are several anti-depressants that can succesfully treat this so you justhave to find what is right for you. Interestingly most Oncologists are not very well trained to look for and hoe to treat depression. I urge sll cancer patrients and thier care givers to learn the signs of depression and seek treatment ae ehe first signs.

      almost 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      Depression is very common for cancer patients, even those who appear to be taking things in stride. Does your oncology center have a psychiatrist who works primarily with cancer patients? If so, he/she would have good knowledge about the emotional strain of cancer diagnosis/treatment and the interactions between meds and side effects. Even if there isn't a psychiatrist integrated with your oncology practice, perhaps your oncologist can recommend one? Your mental health is important. Find someone who will work with you to understand what's going on with you emotionally.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Tracy's Avatar

      This sounds familiar - I also have IBS and GERD as well as Anxiety and Depression. Depression and Anxiety are not unusual for cancer patients and survivors. It can be pretty sneaky and I applaud you for recognizing it. I have taken Lexapro (now generic) for about 10 years with no problems, I also take medication for the other problems and for my headaches. I hope this helps! Tracy

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      I asked my oncologist for a pharma referral, to help me cope with the stress, anxiety, anger,etc due to having cancer and side effects of treatment. I got the name of a wonderful Doctor who specializes in treating cancer patients. Before the consult I was taking xanax as needed. Dr L put me on a schedule 50 mcg in the morning and before bed and 25 mcg in the afternoon. I am also taking 10 mg of Lexapro with Breakfast. This seems to be working really well for me. Why not speak with your oncology team as see what ideas they have.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Bellamore's Avatar

      I'm on Lexapro and seems to be working just great for me. I don't worry about going off it, because as long as I have cancer, I think I'll need it. I've no side effects from it (maybe a little wieght gain). It keeps me from those uncontrolable crying outbursts I use to have in the middle of nowhere for no reason.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      For the GERD take 2x the recommended dose of Prilosec (this put my horrible acid reflux to rest from the chemo, on oncologist's recommendation). I think if some of the anxiety symptoms get better you may feel less anxious. Exercise is great for anxiety, I would recommend walking and...yoga. Yoga can help a lot. Of course throwing an antidepressant in the mix won't hurt. I'm on Effexor myself, with the added benefit of helping with hot flashes (by the way, 225mg of Effexor supposedly helps with anxiety as well).

      almost 4 years ago
    • Kathy's Avatar

      I see a social worker who specializes with cancer patients. She has been so helpful. I am also taking an anti-depressant. I tend to be anxious by nature and having cancer definitely adds to it.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Gena's Avatar

      I also take Arimidex for acid reflux. I have taken 10 mg amitriptiline to help with tension headaches, which is actually prescriped for depression. I take it at night as it also aids in sleep. I do not suffer from depression, and don't know if that is because I have taken the amitriptiline all of these years.

      almost 4 years ago
    • SandiD's Avatar

      I had way too many side effects with Arimidex & switched to Aromasin. After 18 months, I am now going to try Femara. If it doesn't work, I will go back to Aromasin. But I won't give up. My oncologist said it is ok to try what works best for me. Remember, you have choice and the Aromatase Inhibitors work about the same. I also took Cymbalta with the AI's with no problem. Again, there are several types of antidepressants. Don't give up! Work with your doctor until you find which is best for you. Good luck!

      almost 4 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      I became anxious and depressed at the end of treatment, a little more than 4 years ago. Years before I had tried antidepressants, and like you I had difficulty with nausea. Finally, I found that Zoloft worked for me. When I needed an antidepressant again, I tried Zoloft and it worked for about 3 years. Then it stopped working. I was afraid to have to start looking for a new antidepressant, remembering how hard it was to find the right one the first time. Luckily, I have a great psychiatric nurse practitioner. She recommended I try Viibryd. I take half of the lowest dose and it is working great. I have 9 more months of Arimidex and I am looking forward to being off AI's and antidepressants. It isn't easy finding what works. Just don't give up.

      almost 4 years ago
    • maralyn's Avatar

      i have dealt with depression/anxiety for years,,, i currently take wellbutrin, and diazepam (which was newly added when my mom was sick) if needed,,, addiction concerns me with the diazepam, so i try not to take it if possible,,, but i am in need of some change myself,,, i hope to get some relief from these crying/depressed symptoms, wellbutrin worked well for me for a few years, maybe it has just run its course and it is time for a new kind of meds!!! "thank you all for your great advice", and "thank you for asking the question", you have def helped me see some "new light" in this world of cancer!!!

      almost 4 years ago

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