Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: in a constant state of chaos
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Sorry I'm coming in late here, but I was having trouble posting and this is the first time I've been able in a few days.
I was on Ativan for a while and still have a script for any "just in case" needs. My script is for .5mg and I find that it works great for me. I began taking it in combo with an SSRI (Lexapro) and was able to pretty much quit Ativan in about a week or two after beginning both of them. The Lexapro was able to keep my anxiety and panic pretty much in check after that. I think I only had to take an ativan a couple times in the nine months I was on an SSRI. I have been on both Lexapro and Zoloft and they both worked great for the panic. Have you tried a daily SSRI to keep it under control?
As for the Ativan, here was what I was told by doctors. My Obgyn told me it was an absolute no no. She said that it is thought to cause birth defects. My psychiatrist also told me that it was a no no, for the same reason. I asked about the birth defects and he mentioned that there is a concern that it can cause limb malformations. That's not the only concern since it is a powerful neurological drug. Benzodiazapan's are heavy duty meds, and yes, they can be highly addictive, and anyone using them should be closely monitored. That being said, my psychiatrist told me when I was considering getting pregnant I should definitely try to deal with panic without meds, but if I were to take an Ativan early on not knowing I was pregnant (that was my fear) that I shouldn't worry too much. Once at a low dose would likely do one of two things -- it could do nothing, or I could miscarry very early on. They don't really know what would happen.
You are in a different situation in that you are at 30 weeks and the risk of limb malformation isn't much of a risk anymore. However, remember that you are taking a powerful brain altering medication at the time that your baby's brain is doing a huge amount of growth and formation. This isn't a decision that anyone can make for you and you should do your own research and make your own informed decision. I'm just giving you the information that I was given. I got lucky and when I went off my SSRI I didn't have any problems and the issue never came up. If it had I personally wouldn't have taken an Ativan, I would have gone back on an SSRI.
I'm not sure that comparing a fetus receiving Ativan to that of an infant is a fair comparison. The brain formation and development of a third trimester fetus isn't the same as the development of an infant. If you haven't considered an SSRI, I would encourage you to talk to your psychiatrist about it, or get a second opinion from another psychiatrist. Some are more versed in how to treat pregnant or breastfeeding women than others.
Whatever you decide, I wish you luck. Anxiety and panic are miserable.