Home Health and wellbeing

Anti-anxiety - effexor/pristiq? Advice or experience

StrongCoffeeStrongCoffee Member Posts: 119
So anxiety is nothing new for me, but tamoxifen is definitely making me more edgy. I'm taking B12 but don't think it's helping particularly. I've been really successful with managing my anxiety for almost 20 years, since my late 20s, without medication. But I do have to modify how I live my life to do that.

I think I'm doing OK with tamoxifen side effects compared to some (beyond the edginess). It seems to have stopped my peri-menopausal hot flashes. I take it in the morning so I can still sleep OK at night. I already have body aches thanks to inflammatory arthritis and I don't think they are worse. However it has killed my libido and I'm just realising how bad atrophy down there is now I'm trying to treat it. All of which is impacting how I feel towards hubby. He's happy with just cuddling/touching, but I don't even want that. I just have no desire for any level of intimacy (something I've always thoroughly enjoyed in the past.) All this is starting to make me feel quite low at times. I had severe antenatal depression during one of my pregnancies - it's not like that level of depression, but it's not my normal.

I feel like I've gotten to a point where staying positive and not letting anxiety set in is just taking SO MUCH WORK! I know the strategies, I'm doing all the right things, but far out it's hard. So I think it's time for a helping hand.

So I'd love to hear about experiences with medications for anxiety and/or depression.

Bonus points if you also have an autoimmune condition and can give feedback on if it helps with that fatigue too.


  • Cath62Cath62 Brisbane Member Posts: 822
    Sorry to hear this  @StrongCoffee. I don't have much experience with meds for anxiety but I am aware some anti anxiety and depression meds can interact with tamoxifen. I also have hashimotos ie under active thyroid which is an auto immune condition. 

     I have suffered depression in the past on 2 occasions and required meds to help me get back to a level playing field. One episode was after a marriage breakup and the other after a life threatening illness (not bc).

    Now to manage my health including mental health i meditate, exercise daily and try to eat good food. I also have a gratitude ritual every morning and write down 3 things I am grateful for. It is so helpful. I can't really believe the change in how I feel. I started using a gratitude app called Delightful. I think the daily gratitude and my walks each day keep me healthy. 

    In terms of fatigue which I suffer from I find walking helps. I know it seems counter intuitive but it really works. I have experimented with resting when fatigue and going for walk and hands down the walk works better.

    I hope things improve for you. 
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 5,075
    Sent you a message
  • StrongCoffeeStrongCoffee Member Posts: 119
    Thanks @Cath62 - good to hear medication has helped out short term in the past. I would hope it won't be long term, as hubby and I have longer term plans in place to make his life less stressful (because this flows on to me, increasing my workload with the kids etc). But we're not there yet!

    I practise yoga, journal, have taken up painting again and dropped back to part time work this year. I practise mindfulness and am so grateful for all that I DO have. I think this is where I'm thinking that this is currently bigger than what I can manage all by myself. I'm doing all the right things, plus some new ones. I'm being very kind to myself. But I just can't stop the way I am feeling!

    Funny that you mention walking. I was shattered the other day, been up since 4am without a break. I had to get my eldest to footy training but the dog hadn't been walked, so I took the dog with us and did laps on the oval. I was surprised that I felt less tired afterwards (I was super-sleepy level tired driving there!). So I'm going to give that a go more on the bad days. Thanks 
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 5,075
    Walking is great!  I was always a distance walker however after breast cancer surgery it was a little difficult.   Fatigue set in and some days a walk to the corner and back is all I could manage and other days 3 or 4km easily.
    Having the dog as a reason and or company you will soon feel the benefit and miss it when you are unable.
    Our bodies as well as our emotional well being take a hit as well as our heightened awareness of self
    Take care
    Best wishes 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,913
    Just adding to the walking recommendations. I was never a walker, took up the gym and yoga after bc which was great. But Covid got me into walking and it’s become second nature. Time to think, listen to music. Good for my bones and my brain! 
  • Cath62Cath62 Brisbane Member Posts: 822
    @StrongCoffee, you sure are doing great things to help yourself there. It is a step by step process isn't it. Try the walking but if you need extra support with meds talk to your dr about the right one so it doesn't interfere with others you take. You could always have a session or 2 with a counsellor too. Might just help to kick start that extra bit you need to feel better. Also I think the libido thing doesn't help either. I sure found that tamoxifen has made me lose interest. I love my wonderful husband and we too use to be pretty active but times changes, life events change things and we still have a romantic life and make time for special times.  Hope things improve for you. Ps: I didn't want to walk today but I did and look what I saw in the Brook near my home. This Brook was badly found damaged in February and all the tress, paths, lighting and wildlife disappeared. It will take a long time to recover.  However this week has seen fish, ducks, eels and turtles return.  Have a great weekend.

  • Julez1958Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 475
    Hi there
    i didn’t take medication for my post breast cancer depression/anxiety but I did see a psychologist specialising in cancer related distress for a couple of sessions .
    I am a naturally “ glass half full” person but after my mastectomy I had a lot of pain and was still on Endone 6 weeks after the surgery.
    I had never taken painkillers before and I was thinking “ is this the new me?”
    I found the sessions very helpful and actually after the first session the pain started to recede.
    The best advice the psychologist gave me was that it was ok to cry .
    Initially I cried so much and at such innopportune times ( like the supermarket checkout ).
    I am now almost 2 years from my initial diagnosis and hardly cry at all now.
    Take care🌺
  • AZ79AZ79 Member Posts: 8
    @StrongCoffee Have you tried medical cannabis? Look into it. Thank god it’s finally legal in Australia for medical purposes! 
  • StrongCoffeeStrongCoffee Member Posts: 119
    @AZ79 thanks I will do some research into it.

    I would be hesitant to try it, as recreational (and only very occasional) use first triggered my panic attacks back in my early 20s. However, I understand medicinal cannabis can have low/no THC, so may not have that effect.
  • Julez1958Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 475
    hi @StrongCoffee
    have you tried meditation / mindfulness?
    I did it years ago when working full time and then lapsed when  
     semi retired and found it helpful to take up after my diagnosis.
    Not for everyone but worthy of consideration.
    Take care.🌺
  • CynCyn Member Posts: 14
    Hi Strong Coffee!
    Effexor and Pristiq are safe to take whilst on Tamoxifen apparently.  I was on Effexor for the seven years I was on Tamoxifen, then I had my ovaries out, mostly due to false positives for possible endometrial cancer and side effects of Tamoxifen. After that,  hitting menopause instantly, I switched to an aromatase inhibitor for three years, and am now on Pristiq. I also had a full supportive medical team that included a psychologist and a oncology massage therapist.  Anxiety and depression have been  long term issues for me, and dealing with breast cancer and other physical health problems have really tested my mental health along the way.
    Hope you are going well.
Sign In or Register to comment.