Depression Medication and Heart Disease

ashleylovie
By ashleylovie Latest Reply 2011-11-10 15:15:28 -0600
Started 2011-09-13 14:27:49 -0500

I was diagnosed with congenital 2nd degree and some 3rd degree av block and about 5 years ago at age 21. As of my last Cardio appt on 9/9 I was in complete block. I have also been diagnosed with depression, panic disorder/anxiety, and ADHD among others. I was taking 20mg of Lexpro for the depression/anxiety for about 2 years. I have recently began to taper myself off of it. The fatigue that it causes on top of the fatigue I experience because of my block make it almost impossible to get through the day. The only thing that helps at all is the Adderall for my ADHD. My psychiatrist recently decided to try me on a new medication called Viibryd. I never take anything without running it by my cardiologist first but she hasn't heard of it yet. It's a VERY new medication. From my research, I've found that it contains 5-HT1A receptors that lower blood pressure and heart rate. Of course that is a red flag for me because I can't afford to lower my heart rate one bit.

For those of you out there that deal with depression and heart disease:
Which medications have you had a good experience with?
Has anyone heard anything about Viibryd?

Any insight into depression medication and heart disease would be GREATLY appreciated!

Thank you,
Ashley


23 replies

dotwiggs
dotwiggs 2011-11-10 15:15:28 -0600 Report

Try celexa, it is a very mild anxiety medication and it works great. I think we share the same condition and that is what I take. It does wonders for the panic attacks :)

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-09-24 22:21:44 -0500 Report

ashley,

My daughter Finally got back to me regarding buproprion. It is in the class of Selective Norepinephrin Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) as opposed to the more common Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) depression drugs of which Prozac is the most famous.

Buproprion is commonly used in depression and smoking cessation but it also has mild stimulant effect such that it is also used in conjunction with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Accordingly, it typically does not cause weight gain or sexual disfunction as do many similar drugs. In fact, in can sometimes increase libido and stimulate weight loss. That may be why Wellbutrin is added to a Lexapro regimen in order to balance Lexapro's often opposite side effects. Buproprion is very often added when an SSRI like Lexapro is not effective alone.

Wellbutrin side effects are typically well-tolerated . Here's a good site that lists them.

http://www.heartconnect.com/news-articles/394-http-www-drugs-com-sfx-wellbutrin-side-effects-html

HH

ashleylovie
ashleylovie 2011-09-15 00:29:37 -0500 Report

Wow! Thank you both for your input! I decided to not risk the side effects of Viibryd. My psych, as of a few hours ago, has me on a low(10mg) dose of Lexapro and added 150mg of Wellbutrin. According to my cardiologist, anything that mildly accelerates my heart rate is okay. After some research, I decided to ask my psych about Wellbutrin. He agreed and added that because Wellbutrin doesn't do much in the way of anxiety/panic disorder, that I stay on a low dosage of Lexapro for the time being. I'll definitely check back in and let you all know how it works for me :)

Thank you again for your greatly informative responses!! HeartHawk, you were my deciding factor against Viibryd and I'm deeply appreciative!!

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-09-15 23:01:48 -0500 Report

ashley,

Actually, I have an advantage in that my daughter has a degree in biochemistry and my son is studying to be a neuro-pharmacologist (he is the only 21 year old I know who has a subscription to the Journal of Psycho-pharmacology instead of Sports illustrated or Playboy, lol). We actually had an interesting discussion about 5-HT1A agonists when he came home as was writing my first reply. Lots of bipolars in my family so we all talk about what we either take or did take! Lexapro and Wellbutrin are a common combo.

HH

ashleylovie
ashleylovie 2011-09-19 12:49:32 -0500 Report

Wow!! That's actually VERY comforting, knowing that there is someone to go to for a first hand opinion on medications! And, congratulations on raising such intelligent and ambitious children! Unfortunately, there was a bit of a mix up with my recent Wellbutrin prescription. The pharmacy failed to read the "Do Not Substitute" note on my RX. I'm partially to blame for not checking the bottle myself but I figured that since it was stated on my rx that they would comply. The first, and only, week on Bupropion XL were the worst days of my life to date. The first day, I was extremely happy in the morning and then INCREDIBLY angry and irritable the rest of the day. The second day, I slept the entire way to work(45 minutes, fiance drives) and continued to sleep in the car until 12pm! I also slept on the way home and fell asleep 2 hours before my normal bedtime. I was nauseous everyday and felt extremely weak and sick. The mood swings were horrible and I constantly felt angry towards EVERYONE! I FINALLY looked at the bottle and saw that I was given a generic rather than name brand. Because I clear everything with my cardiologist prior to taking a new med, I was very worried. Being the internet researcher that I am, I looked the generic up online. What I found was extremely frightening. Apparently, there is an ongoing investigation into the differences between bupropion and wellbutrin. Hundreds, if not thousands, have written over pages and pages on forums complaining of the side effects Bupropion causes. Have you heard anything about this? I'm calling my doctor this morning to have him send over a new scrip. It's a scary feeling to find that even the pharm tech and pharmacist can make such a careless mistake.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-09-20 22:06:25 -0500 Report

ashley:

Heh, reminds me of when my doc wrote a therapeutic vitamin prescription for me and I walked out the door of the pharmacy with a prescription for coumadin! That was over 35 years ago so pharmacy errors are not a new phenomenon. Thank God I was the suspicious type even at 18.

Regarding Buproprion, my daughter has spoken to me about it often in her studies so I hoped to get her input. However, as is often the case with 20-something daughters (no disrespect intended to you), she's too busy to answer the phone when dear old dad calls, lol! New job, new house, new boyfriend, new cat, ... same old dad - ouch! The competition is fierce.

HH

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-09-13 22:15:27 -0500 Report

ashley,

Yes, Viibryd is really new. Its claim to fame is that it does not alter sexual function as do most drugs in its class (SSRIs). And, yes, it is also a 5-HT1A partial agonist that binds with 5-HT1A receptors (doesn't actually contain recptors) and promotes serotonin expression. Here is a good layman's article on the subject.

http://www.heartconnect.com/news-articles/375-5-ht1a-receptor-agonists-relieve-depression-and-anxiety-great-what-are-they

You are also quite right it can lower heart rate and blood pressure as part of its calming, anti-anxiety properties.

I have taken quite of few SSRIs as part of my "human guinea pig" experiments and can attest to the fact that most SSRIs inhibit sexual desire if not explicit capability. That is more of a lifestyle/personal concern than a health concern. But the heart rate concern is real.

The bottom-line is that depression IS connected to heart disease and you are wise to treat it. After all, the brain is just another organ (albeit a complex one). There are many anti-depression and anti-anxiety meds out there (the company that makes Viibryd makes at least two others as do many of their competitors). If I were dealing with AV block I would look elsewhere first before considering Viibryd. Be certain to discuss this concern with your doc before making any decision.

Let us know what you decide and how it works. I am certain many here would benefit from your experience!

HH

100 Acre Woods
100 Acre Woods 2011-09-13 21:05:09 -0500 Report

I can only speak of depression med. I also have controlled High Blood Pressure. I take Cymbalta 60mg. I used to take 90 mg but recently have cut it back.

Hopes that helps. I an sorry to hear of the health problems you are experiencing.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-09-15 23:05:23 -0500 Report

100 Acre,

The important thing is that we all treat the problem instead of running away from it. Like I saidthe the link of dperession to heart disease is real! I know some poeple on Cymbalta. How is it working for you?

HH

100 Acre Woods
100 Acre Woods 2011-09-15 23:21:15 -0500 Report

I love it. It works fine for me. I was working at a very stressful job and was taking 90mg. They went thru and are letting go the people over 50 yrs old. My last day was in the first part of March. While not having a job or insurance should be stressful it is nothing compared to the stress we were under at work. I have been able to drop from 90mgs to 60mgs and am feeling better than when I was working.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-09-16 23:32:54 -0500 Report

100,

Excellent! I know people who go through multiple (5 or 6 sometimes) before they find one that works for them. Like I always say, we are all different!

HH

100 Acre Woods
100 Acre Woods 2011-09-16 23:56:09 -0500 Report

I was truly blessed. I wasn't working at a job where I could have the luxury (or pain) of trying out several drugs to see which one worked. They have no empathy for people. They hire you to be there and give 150 percent. They have no qualms about firing people who came back from heart surgeries. People who have cancer, heart attacks, depression or have family members ie spouse or young children that have health issues. Nothing personal - if you are not there, then they just make sure that you don't ever have a reason to be there again.

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-09-17 23:17:27 -0500 Report

100,

Ain't it the truth! By the way, you have an interesting nickname. How did you come to choose "100 Acre Woods?"

HH

100 Acre Woods
100 Acre Woods 2011-09-17 23:44:44 -0500 Report

Hi! I love Winnie the Pooh. He and his friends lived in the 100 Acre Wood (without the 'S'. I think the author was English and maybe that's how they talk in England. I added an
'S' because people here sat woods ie I went for a walk in the woods. Not I went for a walk in the wood…I think Winnie lives in the heart oh many, no
Matter how old we get to be :)

100 Acre Woods
100 Acre Woods 2011-09-19 08:34:11 -0500 Report

That is true :). I couldn't find a cute Winnie when I was looking. But I did find this adorable giraffe. He makes me smile every time I see him. Guess I will just have to pretend that he was traveling and somehow ended up in the woods with Winnie and friends. They make sure he has just the right home so he stays warm in cool nights and in the Winter :)

100 Acre Woods
100 Acre Woods 2011-09-19 08:40:35 -0500 Report

Oh! His name is Curious! On the larger picture you could see that His nose was slightly smushed up to a window. As the photographer was taking a picture of the giraffe, that giraffe was looking back at a funny looking person with a camera face. Like, and ' What are You?' :)

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2011-09-19 22:00:02 -0500 Report

100,

Well, I gotta tell you, I have always liked giraffes - but that is a a long and weird story!

HH