(1) Xanax for life, and (2) IBS and lupus?
Hi. Two things.
First, I'm on Xanax and have been for a couple years. I take 0.5mg three times a day and more when needed. I have major depression with generalized anxiety and panic disorder related to my CNS lupus. I have been told, in response to my worries over addiction and the rest, that I will be on Xanax the rest of my life and not to worry about it. I am on the board of directors of a mood disorder support group in my local area, and many of the members have this same statement made to them. I can't imagine all these doctors are wrong. Just my two cents worth.
Okay, we were talking about IBS and Lupus, though. After being hospitalized for a severely infected colon, it was explained to me that the IBS is mainly due to the Fibromyalgia. The gastroenterologist said that just like with my other muscles, the muscles in my intestines do not work in a coordinated matter. They have spasms, they slow down, they speed up, and some parts do one thing while the rest do the other. It made sense to me.
I have to be careful with my digestive system. I have to have enough fiber, but not too much. When I'm on narcotic pain meds, I have to take Colace to keep things moving along. I need to have some Fleet enemas at hand for emergencies. I can't eat ice cream and lettuce too close together. I have to head for the bathroom when I get that urge, and not put it off. It's a longer list than that, but you get the picture.
So, now I treat my intestines as just another muscle group...just one that I can't look at or rub muscle cream on, lol. My IBS got less severe when I got on meds that help fibromyalgia, too. One example is Lexapro, an antidepressant, although I'm on that for depression and anxiety, it also treats fibro and helps with pain.
Hi, Susan - you are in a slightly different situation because you have a diagnosed anxiety /panic disorder - this kind of medication may be appropriate for you because your doctor is monitoring your responses, and presumably aware of any personal or family history of addiction. I was specifically referring to the use of xanax and related meds in the context of treating normal stress, without trying other therapies first. Some GPs and family practice doctors simply write prescriptions for xanax without taking into account the potential for dependence and abuse, drug and alcohol interactions, and the fact that xanax can worsen depressive symptoms in patients with undiagnosed depression. These are the same types of doctors who routinely give antibiotics to patients with viral illnesses because the patient is convinced it helps, even though the doctor does or should know better. Medical malpractice insurers have a nickname for this kind of doctor - dr. feelgood. My comments about xanax were not referring to the long term use of medication in a controlled clinical situation such as ongoing psychiatric treatment, just the indiscriminate use of anti-anxiety drugs for stress. I'm sorry, I should have been more specific, and certainly didn't mean to offend you.
There is another issue with xanax that folks who drive should be aware of - this is especially true in Kentucky, where I live, but some other states also - if you are involved in an accident while taking xanax, you can conceivably be charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance, even if the medication was prescribed by your doctor and you are taking only therapeutic levels; most DUI blood screenings now include benzos as well as opiods and cannabis. Some Kentucky AGs are even charging in cases involving over the counter cold and allergy medicines. It's definitely something that people taking any medication that can impair their driving ability need to consider.
I was in a bad wreck about 4 weeks ago, and am still recovering. The police officer asked me what meds I had taken, and I told him my regular Darvocet and Xanax about 15 minutes previously. I told him they were regular prescriptions taken routinely each day, both three times per day.
He looked at my bottles in my purse, and never said another word about it. The only ticket I got was following too closely.
So I'm not sure, but it seems here you can drive with your regularly prescribed narcotics and benzodiazopenes (sp?).
However, you have to be on them long enough to know how your meds affect you, I agree.
Susan, I'm so sorry about your accident
I hope you are recovering - even a little accident is scary, and the stress sure doesn't help lupus.
As for DUI charges for driving while taking prescription meds, this pretty much varies from state to state - some states only worry about alcohol and "illegal" drugs, other states are a lot more aggressive and require DUI screening for any accident with injury unless the cause is something obvious like hitting a deer. Kentucky is very aggressive and has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country, partly because of a bus accident caused by a drunk driver that killed 27 people, mostly high schoool kids on their way home from a church trip. But every state has different DUI laws about prescription and OTC meds, so people really need to check out their state's laws.