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Author Topic: HELP! Anyone with mitral valve prolapse? What anxiety meds do you take?  (Read 228 times)

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Offline BamaErin

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I had a heart ultrasound done about a year ago and was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse.  The ultrasound was done because I started having moments of my heart racing very fast, panic attacks, etc.  I was told it is a fairly common heart condition and that I shouldn't worry. I also wore a 48 hour heart monitor.  My mom also has MVP. Months of severe physical anxiety passed.  Finally a dr told me I should probably go on medicine for anxiety and referred me to a psychiatric group.  I started seeing a clinician there.  She prescribed me paxil 10mg and then to be bumped up to 20mg and also hydroxyzine.  It's been a month I've been taking paxil 10mg and I'm so jittery, left chest aches, feel like a constant adrenaline or flight/fight feeling in my heart, feel like my heart is racing a lot, and my left arm aches a lot, along with numbness in my left hand.  She offered to switch my medicine to celexa, but I recently read about heart problems associated with that medicine. 

I feel the physical symptoms I am having are causing a me to worry, which seems to make the physical symptoms even worse.  It's a vicious cycle.  So I guess my question is those of you with MVP and anxiety symptoms what meds have proven to be affective?  I feel like I've wasted a month of taking a pill that doesn't work and desperately want to go back to feeling normal again.  I see the clinician tomorrow and she says I have to have an answer about whether or not for her to prescribe celexa.  Thanks for any advice!
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Offline insights

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So I guess my question is those of you with MVP and anxiety symptoms what meds have proven to be affective?  I feel like I've wasted a month of taking a pill that doesn't work and desperately want to go back to feeling normal again.

It typically takes 3-12 weeks for an antidepressant to begin working. Also, 10mg is usually a sub therapeutic dose for Paxil. Ideally, it should have been increased to 20mg, which is usually the minimum effective dose, after a week. It is quite common for anxiety levels to increase when first starting to take antidepressants. This usually resolves after a week or two as the body adjusts to the med, but may return for a while whever the dose is increased.

IMHO, Celexa (citalopram) may be a better med under the circumstances. It usually produces fewer and/or less severe initial side-effects than the other SSRIs. It's potential effects on the heart are only a concern for those with specific heart issues and MVP isn't one of them. BTW- there appears to be a common link between MVP and anxiety disorders, particularly panic disorder though no one is sure exactly what it is.

Ian
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NOTE: I'm not a doctor, and particularly not yours, so there may be factors I'm unaware of. Therefore all advice is of a general nature and you should consult your doctor before following any of it, especially before changing med doses.

Offline 2sungo

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When I first had panic attacks and anxiety a couple of decades plus ago, the first thing they told me was that I had mitral valve prolapse.  I also worried about it  and read and heard scary things at that time.   I also had all kinds of scary palps, chest pains, and more.   It turns out years later the docs now say I really don't have it, it is so minor its not even considered real MVP (I think the diagnostic criteria may have changed, and it is my understanding that everyone has some degree of not perfect valve closure, at least as we get older).  I've been dealing with anxiety and depression yet again for the last year plus, and I know I have triscuspid regurgitation, again minor and nothing of note according to the cardiologist, and not much in the way of mvp.  So if the doc tells you its mild, you can be sure the anxiety is causing all the heart symptoms.  This time around I haven't had many heart symptoms aside from fairly fast pulse when I am not feeling well (eg anxious and not always even then).  I have had rather little in the way of palps this time around (I do get some but not often and no more than before I got sick again), mercifully that aspect seems much less this time. 
I was on Lexapro for about a decade at one point and it worked well during that time until the current relapse.  It did not bother my heart so you shouldn't fear it or celexa provided the doc says its okay, as Ian said, its not contraindicated for mvp.  Incidentally I remember getting attacks of pounding racing heart from my sophomore year in college through my first panic attack illness, then once I got better it never returned even when I got sick again later on.  It was aggravated by caffeine and once after a long run.  It would literally pound for a minute or two and then suddenly lurch back to normal rhythm.  I remember being frightened when it happened, but I got over it when it stopped and it occurred very infrequently.  Haven't had one of those in over 2 decades, don't miss it either.
Some of the "symptoms" of mvp and anxiety are similar and sometimes I think the docs don't know which is causing what, again as Ian said there appears to be a link between mvp and anxiety/panic but no one really knows which is the chicken and which is the egg in this situation.  The most important thing is to know that when you are on an effective medication for anxiety and its working well, the heart "symptoms" and worry about mvp will disappear, I've had this happen before. 
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