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chest pain and lexapro


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#1 christineg

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 04:29 PM

I started antidepressants about 2 months ago and they have really worked great for me. I feel like the pieces of my life are falling into place. However within about two weeks of starting Pristiq I began having chest pain. I called my doctor and they switched me to Lexapro. At first all was ok, but then the chest pain started again. I called back and basically they told me that I need to either learn to deal with the chest pain or the depression. I made an appointment with another doctor, but stayed on the Lexapro in the mean time. The pain got worse and started aching in my left arm and shoulder. I was light headed and short of breath as well. When I had my appointment they gave me an EKG (which was normal) and schedualed me for an ecocardiogram. The doctor thought I had a mitral valve prolapse which is common and harmless so I quit worrying about it. That weekend though I couldn't sleep though because the pain was keeping me up. I finally had the eco and it was normal. When they called with the results I asked if it is normal why am I having chest pain? They told me it was probably heartburn. Now I am not an alarmist or a hypocondriac. I know what freakin' heartburn feels like and this isn't it! I made another appointment with the doctor and when I went in she schedualed me for a stress test and an asthma test (this isn't asthma either), but she couldn't get me in until next week. I told her that I really think it is being caused by the Lexapro and asked to start weaning off of it for now. She lowered my dosage to 5mg. I have been on that for about 3 days and the chest pain is SO much better. No one seems to believe me though. I don't know what to do. I need the medication, but I'm not going to continue with this chest pain. Has anyone else had this happen? Did switching drugs help? Did they know why you were having it? Thanks.


#2 Velvet Elvis

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 04:43 PM

Heartburn is listed as a common side effect. Could it just worse heartburn than you've ever experienced before in the past? Limb pain is listed as a side effect as well.

Here's where I'm looking:

http://www.rxlist.com/lexapro-drug.htm

I wouldn't argue with them about if it's heartburn or not and just quit taking the stuff. There's plenty of other drugs you can try and you obviously can't tolerate this stuff. It doesn't matter if it's a heart problem, indigestion, or if an alien is about to burst out of your chest. If you can't stand it you can't stand it. Take something else.

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#3 christineg

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 04:53 PM

Like I said, it's NOT heartburn. For one thing, it's not even located over where my esophagus is. Antacids don't help it. Physical activity brings on sharp stabbing pain. I have NEVER heard of heartburn that makes your arm hurt. Most importantly though, I know my own body. I have had bad heartburn before (which honestly was more painful than this), but it didn't feel anything like it.

#4 christineg

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 05:41 PM

It's not anxiety either. I know all about anxiety. I've had PTSD most of my life, and honestly there is an element of the pain that isn't unlike a panic attack. Like a suffocating feeling, but that is where the similarity ends. This wakes me up out of a dead sleep when I'm 100% relaxed. The Lexapro has been great for me. I'm not anxious about a single thing....except the chest pain. I'm all for switching to another med, but I have now been on Pristiq (a SSRI) and Lexapro (a SNRI) with the same result. If I knew what was causing this I could maybe find a med that won't cause it, but right now I'm cautious to use anything.

#5 Deepster

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 07:19 PM

It's not anxiety either. I know all about anxiety. I've had PTSD most of my life, and honestly there is an element of the pain that isn't unlike a panic attack. Like a suffocating feeling, but that is where the similarity ends. This wakes me up out of a dead sleep when I'm 100% relaxed. The Lexapro has been great for me. I'm not anxious about a single thing....except the chest pain. I'm all for switching to another med, but I have now been on Pristiq (a SSRI) and Lexapro (a SNRI) with the same result. If I knew what was causing this I could maybe find a med that won't cause it, but right now I'm cautious to use anything.


Actually, you have the SSRI & SNRI reversed. I am now on Pristiq(the real SNRI), and have had very few SEs, and most went away within a week. Prior to Pristiq, I tried Celexa(SSRI).....I thought I would DIE from the very symptoms you are experiencing with Lexapro(SSRI). I had the severe "heartburn-like" feeling you are experiencing, but wasn't "real" heartburn. I had chest pains that were more like COPD than anything else I can describe....shortness of breath, chest pressure among other things. I went off ADs altogether for many years of Paxil. I never experienced the "chest pain" issues with Paxil, and haven't with Pristiq. Sorry, but it sounds like you may not be done med shopping for the time being, but for a doc to tell you you are either going to have to live with the heartburn or the depression is somewhat preposterous!

Good luck. I just don't think you've hit upon the right AD for you at present.

Regards,
Deepster

#6 null0trooper

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 10:51 PM

Most importantly though, I know my own body. I have had bad heartburn before (which honestly was more painful than this), but it didn't feel anything like it.


It's not that uncommon for an injury to feel like the damage is in a different location (look up "referred pain" anyway) - that's why middle-aged men usually mistake a heart attack for "heartburn"

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#7 Guest_russell_*

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 11:34 AM

I am having the same issues with the Lexapro I'm taking . I was admitting in to the hospital for 2 days for heart test and they all came back normal. And I stopped taking the lexapro and the chest pain went away. So my doctor put me back on it just 1/2 a pill a day to start for a week. With the 1/2 pill everything was fine but when I moved to the whole pill the chest pains started up again.

#8 Kodos

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 11:29 AM

This is an old thread (from 2009), but for Russell . . .

Some antidepressants would give me a choking feeling - or lump in the throat feeling - the technical name is globus hystericus. The muscles in that area go into spasm. Annoying but not life threatening.

As for chest pains - have had those too. Have 'em now--usually with nausea and a headache. When I first started having them, I had a choice - look for a medical cause, or a psychological cause. I chose medicine. Had the heart checked out - ultrasound, nuclear stress test, blood tests - all normal. That left psychological.

Talked to my psychiatrist about the health problems I was having - chest pain, nausea, rapid breathing, dull headache, general crappy feeling. He said it sounded like a panic attack to her. And she was right.

Now, I would say what I'm having is a "limited symptom panic attack," as I don't feel like I'm going to die. I just feel crappy and want to lie down (which doesn't help).

So I would recommend this:
1) Do take some heartburn medicine for a few days; you can have heartburn without feeling a "burning" sensation. I recommend Pepcid AC, 20 mg, 2 times a day. Pepcid AC is better from my research in that it doesn't interact with SSRIs.
---> if you feel better, great, problem solved

2) If #1 doesn't help, talk to your psychiatrist about Klonopin. This will reduce the anxiety/panic attack and hence the chest pains. Works for me...

So why would you and I be having limited symptom panic attacks on SSRIs? My theory is that we have more serotonin floating around, as as the depression is relieved, it makes us more susceptible to anxiety andn panic attacks. Increased anxiety is listed as a side effect for most SSRIs.

There doesn't have to be a "trigger" for the limited symptom panic attack. Sometimes there might be (say, a stressful situation). But about half are spontaneous and no trigger. I can wake up in the morning with a panic attack (that was fun for a week).

#9 DannyBoy

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:00 PM

I've had chest pain with lexapro.

My GDoc also said anxiety can cause pains all over the body.
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#10 Guest_Gigi_*

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 01:58 PM

I was also experiencing the chest pains, and mild nausea. My doctor then switched me to Celexa, which I did not tolerate well at all. It gave me joint pain, severe nausea all day long, head aches, and erased my sex drive. I am not sure if the irritability was caused by Celexa or from the side effects making me miserable. I let my body clear the meds and the sever anxiety and depression returned. I have now been back on Lexapro for 2 days, the chest pains are back, but I would rather deal with the chest pain than the depression. If there's another option, I'd love to know. I am about to go to the gym and hope the chest pain doesn't act up from working out. I LOVE spicy food, and am very familiar with heartburn and acid reflux, this is definitely something else, but I'll deal with it over not wanting to face the day.





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