Monday, February 21, 2005


One of the drugs prescribed for me is ativan. It's a tranquilizer like valium and it reduces nausea. When I was in college, and I was an anxious and depressed wreck, I desperately wanted something to help me sleep. I used to lie there, insomniac, and fantasize about tranquiliers but this is the first time in my life I've ever been prescribed one. When I first got the prescription, I took maybe five ativan during a two week chemo cycle. I could never feel the tranquilizing effects of it. Like valium, I suspect, it just cuts off the highs and lows. But it did quell nausea.

By now, the chemo effects have gotten much more pronounced and I would say I take an ativan almost every day, usually a bedtime. I have this neuropathy (nerve pain in my hands, arms and shoulders) and while the ativan doesn't have any effect on the pain, it does reduce my anxiety about the pain. I take a couple of ibuprofen as well, and that seems to allow me to sleep. But I'm worried about becoming dependent on the ativan. Saturday I felt pretty good and didn't take an ativan that night. I slept really badly although I don't know if it was because I hadn't taken the ativan or if it was just one of those nights. Sunday was not a good day, either physically or emotionally. Last night, my arms were aching so I took the ibuprofen and the ativan. I slept and this morning I feel much, much better.

I did what I always do. I went searching the web. I found one site that said habituation can develop in just 2 to 4 weeks of regular use. So I don't know what to do. Maybe tonight, if I'm having pain, I'll try half an ativan and I'll ask Dr. Schnurr about it on Thursday.

I feel like one of those Hollywood people who explain that they are checking into Betty Ford because they developed an addiction to pain medication after an injury. Picture me hear standing in front a microphone, taking responsibility for my problem and all that rot, okay?

My sister is flying in today from New Mexico to spend a week with me. I can't wait.


Blogger geoff said...

I just finished re-reading "Mission Child" last night and wanted to see if you had finished a new book, so I Googled and found this blog... I'm not sure what to say, but I wish you good luck in this.

I remember reading a short piece you wrote for Salon years ago and thinking that it was really well done, and thinking that I'd like to read some other present-time-based writing from you. I'm sorry that this is the way that I get to read more, but even in this format you still have a clear voice which is really great to read (not that that's necessarily the purpose of this blog, but still...)

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that at least one person out here in readerland is rooting for you.

February 21, 2005 10:58 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

The trick with tranquilizers is that they hit people differently; when I was a kid, my mother took Equanil steadily for years with no discernible change in manner; the one time she took an upper she was, literally, up for a week. My father (whose Dexedrine Mom copped) was briefly addicted to to speed (he quit smoking in the early 60s, gained weight, his doctor gave him an open scrip--ah, the good old days!--and a year later noticed Dad was popping three times the normal number of pills per day). The one time he took one of Mom's Equanil he spent 12 hours walking around like something from Notes from the Underground.

A friend of mine who has chronic pain "issues" insists that if the drug is actually combatting something it takes you longer to become habituated. I dunno about that. By all means, talk to your excellent doctor. But it seems to me that right now you are engaged in a struggle for which you need your strength and focus, and that means getting rest and not being debilitated by the low-lying fug of chronic pain.

(By the way: I'd never seen that Salon piece before. It's wonderful, but it makes me wonder if we are, in fact, related...)

February 21, 2005 12:06 PM  
Blogger Ellen Datlow said...

Thank you for linking to the Salon piece by Maureen. I'd never read it either.

It's marvelous Maureen. I'm steaming just thinking about this guy even though the incident took place more than 5 years ago!

February 21, 2005 12:48 PM  
Blogger Responsible Artist said...

Ativan is addicting. It just is. So it's a question of which is worse -- feeling like shit now, or feeling like shit later when you have to stop the Ativan. And you will have to stop, unless you can get someone to buy you more in Tijuana. I have advice and that's to listen to the present and do what you have to for now. There's only so much worrying about later a person can reasonably be expected to handle.

You can try tapering off the drug and avoid some of the problems that occur if you stop cold turkey. And the Betty method is a good fallback position.

Still, worrying about addiction is a safe thing to fret over, and I think there's value in focused fretting vs. the more debilitating free-floating anxiety that could explain why Ativan came into the world in the first place.

February 21, 2005 2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you need the Ativan, take it. If you don't, then don't take it. Right now, I don't think you should worry about becoming addicted to Ativan. Only worry if you start making excuses so you can take 3 or 4 a day... I have yet to pick up an Ativan junkie.
Oh... and tell mom hi for me

February 21, 2005 5:13 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm with the others -- you need your rest now. I do think it would be a good idea to see if your doctor could recommend an alternative, but right now your number one priority is doing all that you can to fight the Hodgkins -- and that requires that you are able to sleep at night.

February 21, 2005 6:21 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Bill! You posted a comment on my blog! (wave wave wave)

I went and looked at my script and I was issued the original prescription on 12/03. I've renewed it once (end of January) and I still have a dozen left. I guess if it's taken me this long to go through 48 pills I'm not really in trouble.

February 22, 2005 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Madeleine Robbins wrote:
>A friend of mine who has chronic pain "issues"
>insists that if the drug is actually combatting
>something it takes you longer to become habituated.

I've also heard it asserted, from moderately respectable sources, that opiates used to combat pain do not lead to addiction as much as opiates used recreationally.

February 24, 2005 2:23 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am really worried about the medications of many people use... thats the reason because show that theme to you... The Drugs like the ATIVAN

the most important things about ativan

The Ativan (Lorazepam) is a benzodiazepine with CNS depressant, anxiolytic and sedative properties. Peak serum concentrations of free lorazepam after oral administration are reached in 1 to 6 hours. Peak concentrations are reached in 60 to 90 minutes after i.m. administration and in 60 minutes after sublingual administration. Lorazepam is 85% bound to plasma proteins. Lorazepam is rapidly conjugated to an inactive glucuronide. Very small amounts of other metabolites have also been isolated in man. The serum half-life of lorazepam is approximately 12 to 15 hours while the half-life of the conjugate is 16 to 20 hours. Ninety-five percent of the drug was excreted within 120 hours, 88% in the urine and 6.6% in the stool.

In the same calification we can find drugs like

Vicoprofen, that drug is supplied in a fixed combination tablet form for oral administration. VICOPROFEN combines the opioid analgesic agent, hydrocodone bitartrate, with the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) agent, ibuprofen tha means is a semisynthetic and centrally acting opioid analgesic.
Vicoprofen is a combination of an opioid analgesic (pain reliever related to narcotics, hydrocodone) and a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (ibuprofen). Both medications are effective against pain. It is estimated that one tablet of Vicoprofen is as effective as two tablets of Tylenol #3 (acetaminophen 300 mg plus codeine 30 mg). Vicoprofen was approved by the FDA in 1997.
This medication is used for short-term relief of pain. It is not recommended for such chronic conditions as arthritis.
This medication is taken by mouth, usually one tablet every 4 to 6 hours as necessary for pain. Dosage should not exceed 5 tablets per day. Treatment is for 10 days or less unless otherwise directed. Follow all instructions exactly to receive good pain relief. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if your pain is not relieved. Take this medication with a full glass (8 oz or 240 ml) of water unless your doctor directs you otherwise. Do not lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking this drug. After a period of time, this medicine may not work as well. If this occurs, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Prolonged or excessive use of this product may cause dependency (or addiction). Do not increase your dosage or use more often than directed.

Hydrocodone is habit forming. It is possible become physically and/or psychologically dependent on the medication. Do not take more than the prescribed amount of medication or take it for longer than is directed by your doctor. Withdrawal effects may occur if hydrocodone and acetaminophen is stopped suddenly after several weeks of continuous use. Your doctor may recommend a gradual reduction in dose.

Lortab, this is Hydrocodone (related to codeine) is in a class of drugs called narcotic analgesics. It relieves pain, the Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of hydrocodone.
Together, acetaminophen and hydrocodone are used to relieve moderate-to-severe pain.
Lortab may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

you can find more information about these themes and another ones in our website

Have a great day

November 07, 2006 9:20 AM  
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March 24, 2009 12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the striking informative tidbits associated with the anti-anxiety medication valium make it apparent that valium is a prescription-based drug for treating anxiety, it belongs to the medicine group termed as benzodiazepines and is duly approved by the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) for treating anxiety disorders.

July 16, 2009 2:23 AM  
Anonymous bad breath remedies said...

as far as i know the effect of ativan is lighter than lorazepam..maybe u can try compare it

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April 26, 2012 3:41 AM  

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