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Posted by wendyn on 4/22/03 at 07:48 (116779)

Just popped in for a second Laurie - good to see you!

Your comments about the Xanax made me think of the Ativan I took last night. Ativan is what they prescribed for my flight next week - and the doctor suggested I try it before hand to know how I will react.

I hate drugs - but I hate flying even more.

I took one of them - and while I was fairly content - there's now way I would have hopped on a plane. I will try two when I have time this weekend.

Re: Laurie

john h on 4/22/03 at 08:34 (116790)

Ativan is just the poor mans Xnax. They are prescribed for the same conditions such as anxiety. They work in the same manner in the brain.

Re: Laurie

Laurie R on 4/22/03 at 09:39 (116803)

Hi Wendy , Here is the thing that I have found with Xanax . You won't feel any different , or at least I don't when I take it . I just feel calm and not so nervous .....

What is the doseage of the Ativan ? Maybe it was not high enough ?? Yes I would take two and see if that helped you ... Did the first one calm you down at all?

Or did you take it and sit there and say , I don't feel any different ? That is just what I did the first time I took a Xanax , now I can't live without it ..

I would think your doctor gave you the lowest doseage ....

Laurie R

Re: Laurie

wendyn on 4/22/03 at 20:15 (116866)

Are you sure John? I though Xanax was an anti-anxiety drug (to be taken all the time) - where Ativan is more like a sedative (for when you need it).

I could be wrong though (it happened once before)

Re: Laurie

wendyn on 4/22/03 at 20:17 (116867)

Laurie - I felt it - and it did calm me down (though I wasn't that tense to begin with). I just know what I'm like with flying - and one certainly won't be enough. It takes A LOT to keep me mellow on a plane.

Apparently Ativan is prescribed in 2 mg 1 mg and 0.5 mg doses. My doctor gave me the 0.5 mg to be taken (one or two) every four hours.

The phobia doctor I spoke with figured that I would need about 1 mg (minimum) and I would suspect he is right!!!!!!

Re: Laurie

Pauline on 4/22/03 at 23:05 (116883)

Actually Xanax and Ativan are in the same classifications of drugs. They are both Benzodiazepine tranquilizers. They are RXed for Anxiety, tension, panic attacks and other things as well. They relax you and can slow the nervous transmittions to the brain.

The biggest difference is in their half life or another way of saying it is how long they stay in the body. Xanax has the shorter half life and sometimes patients complain that they can tell when the drug is wearing off. The doctor will often RX the medication to be taken many times a day depending on the affect he wants to achieve.

On the other hand, the Benzodiazepines with a longer half life like Ativan and Valium stay in the system longer and the ups and downs often experienced by those taking Xanax are eliminated. With these drugs a patient could forget to take one of their doses and not miss it because the amount of drug remaining in their system would carry them through that period of time.

Xanax is most often used to treat Panic Attacks, but is very addictive because of it's short half life. When the panic or nervous feeling returns after 4 hrs one wants to pop another pill. You become a clock watcher. I think you'll find many phychiatrist prefer treating Panic Attacks with antidepressants while G.P's often choose the Xanax. In this case I personally think experience with the various drugs makes a big difference in over all treatment success. I'd opt for the physciatrist because this is his field.

No matter what drug you are taking the key is to have the proper dosage, inform the doctor of other medications you are taking, your drug allergies, and to let your doctor know immediately if you experience any side affects. They are not cure alls, but they certainly help us get through tough times.

Re: Laurie

wendyn on 4/22/03 at 23:54 (116888)

Thanks Pauline!!! I thought that Xanax was more like Paxil - see - I'm wrong for a second time (I hope no one is really keeping track!)

Regardless - I hope it works.

These are pills that go under the tongue - so they work pretty fast. I would say I felt weird after about 15 minutes. Of course - this freaked me out (I really hate the feeling of drugs) so it took me a while to just chill and not be uptight about the fact I didn't feel 'normal' (yes, I know I have control issues).

I was quite content for about 3 hours - but I would say that the effect had worn off between hour 3 and 4 for sure.

Thankfully - I am now only prone to panic attacks while flying, so I don't anticipate needing the ativan when I'm smart enough to keep both feet on the ground.

Strangely, I am less stressed about flying than I normally am. I wonder if with September 11 and SARS - I no longer feel compelled to try to dream up terrible things that can happen. Sort of feels like it's all been taken care of for me.

Only people with anxiety issues will understand this. Regardless, it's nice not to have the burden of thinking about potential catastrophes 27 hours a day. That gets very tiring - maybe I'm just too busy and too tired to worry so much.

Could be!

Re: Wendyn

Kathy G on 4/23/03 at 09:05 (116906)

I didn't see your thread here or I wouldn't have bothered you with the thread below. I hope the Xanax helps. My sister's psychiatrist prescribed Ativan for her when she flew recently and it helped her a great deal. In her case, she is Bi-Polar and on many other medications so the doseage she took wouldn't be the same as what you might take.

Xanax and Ativan are very similar as Pauline explained.

I, too, hate to fly but I don't have the anxiety attacks that you and so many other people I know have. My attitude since September 11th is that flying is the safest it has ever been. In many ways, I think the safest place you can be nowadays is in an airplane. I'm particularly bad on take-offs and landings and I just keep reminding myself how much I drive and how much more dangerous that is. Once I'm up in the air, I relax a bit since there's not a whole lot I can do!

The second time we flew, we went to Ireland. The trip home was particularly turbulent and we kept hitting air pockets and going up and down. My husband claimed he had the red finger-marks from my gripping his arm for months after!

I hope you do well on your flight. I've thought of you often during this SARS thing since your country has been affected. I hope that they come up with a vaccine soon. In the meantime, all we can do is go on with life in our usual way and hope and pray for the best! And wash our hands more, just for safe measure!

Take care!!

Re: Wendyn

wendyn on 4/23/03 at 09:42 (116911)

Kathy -- the SARS thing freaks me out, but where it is bad here is actually far away. It would take about 2 days straight to drive to Toronto from where I am. Most of you are probably closer to it than I am....so it still feels very far away.

I am fine with landings in the plane. In fact, as soon as I sense that we're beginning to get ready to land (like 30 minutes before you actually touch down) - I'm fine. Go figure. That's why they call it an irrational fear.

I have a new phobia doctor lined up for when I return. For the small fee of $200 an hour - I'm going to try to get to the point where this is no longer an issue.

(I have not been around much simply due to time pressure. I just finished one night school class, and I'm taking another by correspondence. When I get back from my trip - I'll still have that to work on, plus night school 2 nights a week till the end of June. I also work full time...so needless to say - my 'surfin time is pretty quick!)

Re: Laurie

john h on 4/23/03 at 10:01 (116913)

Ativan is definitely used to treat anxiety. I have a Doctor fiend who was on it for years for anxiety disorder. I think it is probably used in combinations with other drugs for depression also since anxiety and depression often go hand in hand.

Re: Wendyn

Pauline on 4/23/03 at 10:11 (116916)

Please give me your opinion on SARS and the Stratford Festival in Ontario.
I'm taking 24 people there in June. Tickets purchased and hotel paid for.

I've not gotten any calls yet from any of them, but as the date draws closer it may start to happen.

Any local news from that tourist area in the papers?

Re: Laurie

D.Thomas on 4/23/03 at 14:00 (116934)

Paxil is a serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) drug that has been shown to help anxiety, like Celexa and others. The big diference between these and Ativan and Xanax is that they are not habit forming at all. Ativan and Xanax are the old drugs for Anxiety.

Because it take the serotonin drugs a while to kick in and you gradually up your dosage (about 4 weeks), Doctors usually will supply Ativan or Xanax to help until the serotonin drug kicks in.

Doctors are very careful about Xanax and Ativan because they can be habit forming and you can have withdrawal coming off of them if used for a long time. Usually they are only used for emergency cases now, not for long term use.

Re: Wendyn

wendyn on 4/23/03 at 21:04 (116965)

Hi Pauline - as I mentioned, I am a long way from Ontario - so we certainly wouldn't see their local news in our papers.

Ontario is a big place - where is the festival?

My understanding is that of the cases they have had there - most of them by far are directly linked to a woman who came from Hong Kong and ended up in hospital in Toronto. It was right at the start of all the media attention about SARS, and they didn't realize what they were dealing with until it was too late. She had already infected several people at the hospital - mostly patients who were very ill already - and several medical staff.

One of the people she infected was an elderly man who was visited by his son. The son developed SARS, and suspected what he had. He actually ended up going to three different hospitals (I think) - each time he was sent away and told he was okay. (Talk about a mistake) Of course - he exposed people every time he went to the hospital. (Needles to say - all hell broke loose when major %^*( up was discovered. The doctors won't be chastised though - two of them are in critical condition).

He is the same guy who ended up infecting several people at a church and funeral home. Evidently they sing a lot at his church - and this virus can be spread easily by singing (?). Anyway - this resulted in about 30 infections of people at his church.

There have been several scares where they have quarantined hundreds of people who may have come into contact with someone who has it - but usually none of those people end up with it. I am glad they are taking it seriously enough to do that though!

To my understanding, there are no cases that have ocurred in the general public (i.e. unexplained cases, transmission at restaurants/schools etc).

(Remember these are the facts as I recall them from everything I've read and herad)

I would HOPE that this will be under better control by June - and hopefully you will not have any cause for concern.

Would I go there right now? No. Would I go there in June - maybe, depends on what happens between now and then.

I would wait and see.

Re: Wendyn

wendyn on 4/23/03 at 21:21 (116966)

Thought you would find this interesting Pauline - it's from the Health Canada Website

Latest Canadian Numbers on SARS
Health Canada Reaction to WHO Travel Advisory
Latest Canadian Numbers on SARS
As of April 23, 2003, Health Canada has received reports of 330 probable or suspect cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Canada. There have been 16 deaths in Canada. To date, transmission has been limited to specific transmission settings such as households, hospitals and specific community settings. The information contained in this update is based on the information available to Health Canada at this time.

The details of the cases to date are as follows:

Ontario is reporting 136 probable and 131 suspect cases.
British Columbia is reporting 4 probable and 47 suspect cases.
New Brunswick is reporting 2 suspect cases.
Saskatchewan is reporting 1 suspect case.
Alberta is reporting 5 suspect cases.
Prince Edward Island is reporting 4 suspect cases.
So far, 127 people have been discharged from hospitals in Ontario. These people were treated as suspect cases or as probable cases.

These numbers are accurate as of 1:00 pm. Eastern Daylight Saving Time, April 23, 2003. For specific information on the provincial numbers, please contact the appropriate provincial health department.

Health Canada Reaction to WHO Travel Advisory
On April 23, the World Health Organization (WHO) extended its recommendation to postpone non-essential travel to include Toronto.

Health Canada does not support the WHO's position; it is safe to travel to Toronto.

We have a clear understanding of the specific settings in which this virus has been transmitted in Canada and confidence in the steps being taken to manage infection control.

A CDC travel alert provides a more accurate assessment of the situation in Canada. It states that: 'Currently, all cases in Toronto are linked to Toronto's original index case and spread has been through person-to-person contact. SARS transmission in Toronto has been limited to a small number of hospitals, households, and specific community settings.'

Health Canada will be formally challenging the WHO's assertion that Toronto is an unsafe place to visit through a letter to be sent today to the WHO.

Health Canada Investigation with Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

On April 20, Health Canada invited officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to come to Canada to lend their expertise to a Health Canada-led investigation.

They will be assisting Health Canada officials as they spend time in hospitals in Toronto, gathering information in order to compare the circumstances surrounding those who were infected to those not infected.

Health Canada and the CDC will report as soon as possible, outlining the probable cause of the transmission among health-care workers and recommendations for additional measures that may be taken to prevent further spread.

**Pauline - the last part is about concerns with transmission in the health care setting. Despite following what is believed to be the right protocol for protection - they still have doctors and nurses getting sick. They've called the CDC in for assistance in finding out why. One of the theories of what may contributing to this is that with so many medical staff on quarantine - the rest are pulling 16 hour shifts, and people become more prone to error when they are exhausted.

There was one new case in Canada reported today.

My husband has a cold. I have sternly warned him that if he so much as sneezes at the airport next week - they are NOT going to let us on the plane. I wouldn't doubt it if that were true (and quite frankly, wouldn't blame anyone for being overly cautious)

Re: Wendyn

Kathy G on 4/23/03 at 21:52 (116968)


There are some confirmed cases of SARS in MA and we live right on the border, so it's closer to me than it is to Wendy. My son and his fiance live close to where some of the cases have been and they were here at Easter. I think that all we can do is take normal precautions. I find that I wash my hands much more and I am aware of people who cough or sneeze in public, especially those who don't cover their noses.

I agree with Wendy. Wait and see because June is a long way off. Hopefully, there will be a vaccine by then.

I surely wouldn't go to Toronto or BC right now and I definitely wouldn't go to China or Hong Kong but hopefully by June travel to Canada will be safe.

Just my thoughts - not that you asked me!

Re: Wendyn

Carole C in NOLA on 4/23/03 at 21:56 (116970)

After reading the details you provided, I realize that the impact on Canada has been far greater than I had realized.

I sincerely hope that it is contained and does not become an epidemic. :-s

From what the local news said tonight, I gather that if someone on an airplane from Toronto destined for New Orleans seems to have the symptoms of SARS, the airplane will be quarantined until everyone aboard is determined not to have it. But I'm sure it would take more than a sneeze for the flight crew to suspect SARS.

Carole C

Re: Wendyn

wendyn on 4/23/03 at 23:08 (116975)

I dunno Carole, we had a flight come in recently from Frankfurt...there was a nine year old boy on the plane who had a cough. The ambulance and infection people met the plane on the tarmac to make sure he didn't have SARS.

Can you say 'paranoia'?

Re: Wendyn

wendyn on 4/23/03 at 23:16 (116976)

Kathy - I think the chances of them having a vaccine by June are zero. There is still debate whether or not the coronavirus really and truly is the culprit (they've been unable to find it in 40% of the cases). They aren't sure if it's because those patients had already shed it or not.

Regardless, I think a vaccine is a long way off.

This virus is still considered to be less contagious than the flu, and it's not believed to be airborne. The best case scenario for the near future is that they are able to quickly identify anyone who has it, find a good way of treating them, and prevent it from spreading to other people. If the virus mutates as fast as they think it may, a vaccine could be next to impossible (would be as hard as developing a vaccine for the common cold)

I seem to know far too much about this. (stems from having an obsessive personality, and an ability to research an amazing amount of material in a very short time!!!!)

Evidently I need a different hobby....

Re: Wendyn

Sharon W on 4/24/03 at 07:00 (116979)

Very interesting info on SARS, :-? Wendy! Thanks for sharing your research.


Re: Wendyn

Carole C in NOLA on 4/24/03 at 11:48 (116993)

Wow! It seems like public health people worldwide are pretty worried about SARS.

A dead bird about a mile from me was found to have West Nile virus last week. But nobody seems to care about West Nile any more. I suppose it's no longer the 'virus du jour'.

Carole C

Re: Wendyn

john h on 4/24/03 at 18:32 (117013)

If none of the current meds all of which are being tested on SARS do not work then best guess is 5 years until the vaccine. I heard an expert from CDC tonight say the virus could be continuing to mutate into a weeker form which might account for zero deaths in the U.S. All the deaths in Canada can be traced to one person. The U.S. is not following the World Health Organization's recommendation to avoid Toronto.

Re: Wendyn

Pauline on 4/24/03 at 21:28 (117039)

Thanks for the info. I've had people calling me with fears about our trip.
I too have taken a wait and see what happens because we're not going until June.

I just read the WHO travelers warnings which now are including Toronto which doesn't help matters, my guests read too.

Hopefully it will die off before Summer arrives. Stratford is about 2 hrs south of Toronto. My feeling is that probably more Americans than Canadians attend the festival on any one given day and who's to say that an American might be a carrier.

We'll just have to watch and wait to see how this plays out. If it's still around next winter, flu won't be our only enemy.