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British Lung Foundation
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Mirtazapine for copd anxiety and Panicky feelings.

Lost my hubby of 48yrs. While selling business and house to get bungalow to retire because of my moderate copd Then my beautiful German shepherd dog who was keeping me together suddenly died.all in the space of 9 months. Now my copd much worse. Doc said physically my copd is much better not worse! Gave me full health check to rule any other physical condition. Toldme I was suffering anxiety and Panick attacks making my breathing worse. Said mirtapine would help calm down and breathing would Improve. So I wouldn't Panick about going out. And I would feel a lot better about trying to do things again.

Has anybody else had these feelings. And has any body tried this drug. I am on15mg just started and frightened. Never had mind altering drugs before

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So sorry you have had such a tough time..Stress can definitely affect our health. My Dad of 88 takes that to lift up his mood. He hasn’t complained.

I hope it works for you.

Take care x

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Thankyou so much for taking the time to answer my cry for help. It's much appreciated.

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Whilst their father was dying over years my fairly grown children were really suffering. Docs prescribed anti depressant/anti anxiety medication. They didn't want to 'take tablets'. I told them what my lovely GP once told me: " if you break your arm you have to have plaster cast. The plaster cast doesn't cure the break, it holds you together while you heal inside". Medication won't cure your heartache but it will certainly help while you heal over time.

You do need some help after a double dose of grief, you can't manage it on your own so try the medication as it takes a while to recover & get used to a different way of life. If that medication doesn't suit you there are others to try.

None of us now take antidepressants for sadness & grief, it's just for a while.

This may sound harsh but there are times I have to remind myself that 'ain't no one going to rescue you so it's up to you Penelope'. It usually works. I also lost my chocolate lab out of the blue, told myself to wait a couple of years to get another dog, take time to see the world. Within 6 months though I had my Lola dog, less than half the size of Fred but oh such a joy.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, I promise. P

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Thankyou for your kind words. Love pic. Of your gorgeous choc. Lab. My business was a boarding kennels. Run it for 31 years. Had to rehome some of my dogs to move into bungalow. So when greta was found dead at 8yrs old it tipped me over the edge doc. Said. Thought I was coping ok. Obviously not. What upsets me most. Is I don't feel I could do another dog justice with my copd. I get another like a shot if it wasn't for that. I have always said to customers the best way to get over a loss of a dog is to get another. Which I have always done in the past.

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I can well understand that. Do take care of yourself won't you. We just carry on thinking we're invincible. Fred was 8, almost 9. I don't have copd, have asthma amongst other things. Lola is 1/2 Tibetan terrier, 1/4 cocker & 1/4 poodle, such good company, gets me out walking (she's so lovely we get stopped daily), she runs like the wind, jumps like a springer, doesn't moult, is funny & intelligent. I've really lucked out with her.

You've had so much loss to deal with, husband, dog, dogs, business, home and your whole way of life. Really, anyone would feel very low after all that.

Hope you've good friends & family nearby. P x

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I understand what you say but my little Suki - half Bichon half Lhasa doesn’t shed fur, only wants to go out when it’s nice weather and is a very easy and loving companion. Dogs help heal the hurt! Wishing you all the very best xx

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Lovely dog. Looks like a Lhasa with a curly Bichon coat. I would be concerned about being able to keep on top of the grooming. With these types of dogs. I used to breed and show Lhasa's. Thankyou for thinking about it for me.

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I gave it a lot of thought when my Heinz 57, Alastair crossed the rainbow bridge; taking into account age and a fair degree of infirmity. I lasted 3 weeks then my son assured me that he would exercise a dog on a daily basis (an hour a day walking does no-one any harm) and take over if I dropped off the perch. I went there and then and we came back with my lovely Border Collie Pippa, who is now rising 7 years old. BCs are my breed and she has been a total joy - so clever and loving, truly my best friend and there for me when everyone else has gone home. She has a very large garden to run in & her daily "outs" see her well exercised; I provided all the training (though she never knew - it was all play to her) and I am so glad I took the plunge. I have never lived without dogs and if, God forbid, she goes before me I would take a rescue greyhound - they ask so little out of life, just comfort and love and very little exercise. It is such a loss when they leave us Tilantoe but there are loads of people on here with very severe conditions and dogs have been a life-line for them.

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Dear Dragonmum

May I ask your age? I am concerned also that I would die before any new dog. And that would not be fair. What would happen to the poor thing then. I know there are plenty of good rescue centres about which would get it a good home. I may be just over thinking because of what's happened to me. I am 68. Stage3 copd and according to doc. Well under control. So am I being selfish to even consider getting a new dog. Cos. Believe me it has crossed my mind. I am so glad for the joy your border collie is giving you. And you are quite right about greyhounds. They are couch potatoes. Thanks for your time in answering me.

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So sorry I didn't offer my condolences Tilantoe - I really do feel for you; I too lost my husband after almost 50 years of very happy marriage, and after 15 years I still miss him every day, but life goes on and it does get easier. Age is just figures on paper so let's just say I'm old enough to be your Mum! Look at it this way: there are thousands of gorgeous dogs out there who want nothing more than someone to love and many are under a death sentence. You are obviously someone with a great understanding of dogs and yes, I agree that you are overthinking this but that's understandable with all you've had to take. Worst case scenario is that even if you left instructions that the animal should be put down in the event of your passing first (which God forbid) that dog will have had love and kindness for your life-span and you will have gained a loving loyal friend who will probably do more for you than all the doctors' medicines. Take the drug as a stop-gap but go find your friend as soon as you feel able. I wish you a peaceful Christmas and I hope you find solace in the New Year. Give yourself time to grieve and be good to yourself.

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Hello Tilantoe .

I am so very sorry to read about your losses. I cannot imagine what you went through and what you must still be going through.

Before I was diagnosed with my lung disease, I had terrible anxiety and suffered panic too. I am guessing it was a combination of many things. I had depression, and depression and anxiety are like the best friends of mental illness. They hold hands and skip through your mind. 😑 It got so bad I crashed my car one day. I knew I had to get help so I started going to a mental health clinic and seeing a psychiatrist. I started taking Zoloft and within weeks I felt better.

I started to be less hard on myself and taking lots of time to do things I enjoy and if I didn't feel like it, I would just rest and do something relaxing like read. I stopped pushing myself to put on a brave face. It didn't work for me. I stopped trying to please everyone and worked on caring for me.

Communicate often with your doctor. If you feel any adverse effects after taking the medication, ring them up immediately.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself.

Sending a gentle hug.

Cas xx 🍀

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Thanks so much. I will give them a try. Don't suppose it can be much worse. And it might give me some strength to try and build myself some sort of life.

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After what you have been through you are suffering from grief, so perhaps a grief counsellor could help. Cruse is an organisation which works in this field, your GP should help. As for losing your lovely dog Greta, it is the straw which broke the camel's back, especially as dogs were your life. We have always had dogs and when our last dog died three years ago we lasted until last winter, when we got a cocker spaniel who has been a life saver for my husband, who has had to give up his sailing after suffering prostate cancer and developing a serious back problem. I am sure the puppy saved him from serious depression. When my father in law lost his wife we persuaded him to have a rescue dog and it was definitely a lifesaver. By the way, our last three dogs have always walked quite happily to my mobility scooter! I wish you all the best and an improvement soon. Much love xxx

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I have been trying to think about your message. Which is not easy at the moment to think straight. But I think perhaps you could be right about the counselling. It's also an idea about scooter. And yes. Dogs were my life. Cos apart from family I wasn't into many people found animals more trustworthy.could counselling be done on phone to start with. Cos I am scared to go out a the moment. And couldn't do group counselling. Not at the moment anyway? Thanks for your help

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When I had counselling years ago they decided first what kind of counselling I should have, group or one to one, and the doctor decided I shouldn't do group counselling as it wouldn't help. I am waiting for a few sessions now because of depression. It is such a help because you can express those feelings that are there but which you don't feel you can 'bother' the doctor with. It really helps. You have had a cataclysmic life change in a very short time, and yet people think ' you should be getting over it', but life is not like that. I wish you all the best xx

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Yes you are right. I thought I had got over it to a degree. I have just been masking it to family. But haven't the strength any more to pretend. I did put it down to physical problems.But I think the doc. Knew before she went through all the physical tests. I think that I do need counselling. My daughter in law mentioned it a couple of months ago. But told her I was ok and would get over it.

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Try the Big White Wall on line - you can get counseling and chat with others struggling with mental health too. It’s free if your GP has signed up to it and most have. I found it very useful x

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Hi , I have been on 45mg of Mirtazapine before so don't worry too much about 15mg. If I think back , the medication did reduce my anxiety and also made me sleep well. It is quite sedating until you get used to it, and I found I craved carbohydrates whilst on it, but there was nothing too bad to report.

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Thankyou I think I will try it. And also think about getting some counselling as previously suggested.

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I have lost nearly 2 stone in weight. So could do with an appetite. To put some back on.

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They did choose that one for Dad to help him regain his composure and appetite after his wife passed away.,

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That's good to know

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Hi there Tilantoe, firstly I would like to offer you my condolences on the loss of your dog, I know exactly how painful it is to lose a beloved pet, I lost my poodle a few years ago due to heart problems and losing him just ripped my heart out. I coped for a while but felt empty inside, so we adopted a beautiful rescue cat. He's adorable. I am on stage 4 copd and bronchiectus . I panic when I have breathing problems and panic dose make it worse. Try doing your breathing excersise s before you attempt anything, it helps me. I'm not on meds for it. People on this site are so helpful and supportive, it's the best thing to be here.

Wishing you well ✋️😊

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Thankyou for that advice.

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Thankyou. Everybody has been incredibly helpful

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Hi Tilantoe, after trying many anti depressants Martazapine was the miracle. I have COPD too and the Martazapine 45mg gave me sleep again, calmed anxiety and gave me back an appetite. No side effects for myself. I started it 2 years ago, for me it is a wonder drug! My panic attacks were very bad. It was a few weeks before it started to fully work, and I also started out at 15mg, then increase rapidly to 45mg.

Sorry for your troubles and loss. Dave

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Thankyou so much for taking the time to answer my cry for help. It's good to talk to some body who is on this medication. Glad it's helping you so much. How long was you on lower dose for before they increased It? And can you remember what difference did it make?

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Good Morning Tilantoe!

Yes, the cry for help, and for me not being able to find the proper doctor was frustrating. I spent over a year under some very dark clouds. Then one morning when I was really on the "edge" the telephone jingled and on the other end was the best geriatric psychiatrist ever. First visit lasted over 2 hours on the same day she had called. She said "I have exactly what you need, it's called Martazapine." 5mg to start, in two weeks up to 20mg. Now I was sleeping and eating, but things were still a bit blue. Two more weeks and straight to 45mg. Yes, the higher dose was better for myself. Today things are pretty, pretty good.

An odd thing with Martazapine is, the lower the dose the more effective it is for sleep. Alternatively, a higher dose lifts the spirit. A bit of a trade off. In the evening before bed is best for me.

Dave

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So glad your problems have been sorted for you daveseattle, seems you have really suffered badly. Good for you. ✋️😊

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Sorry to hear you are having such an awful time. I haven't used your particular drug but I can understand your worry. I was reluctant to take anti depressants after a number of losses and being dx with cancer .... they did help and I didn't need to stay on them for too long. Sometimes we just did a bit of extra support to get through when things are overwhelming. Be kind to yourself. Sending hugs.

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So sad you lost your husband and then your beloved dog within the space of 9 months - sincere condolences. Its no wonder you are having anxiety and panic attacks. Haven't had any experience of mirtapine I'm afraid. Hope it helps with your symptoms.

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Thankyou. I hope it works too

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Hi tilantoe,

I lost my husband of 28 years just over a year ago and since then everything has been a struggle. I did have some grief counselling at St Richmonds hospice. They were wonderful. Volunteer drivers took and collected me, but I still found it hard to actually go. The counselling itself helped a little I think, but I am not sure we really connected or that she understood how I was feeling, although she was very nice.

I have severe COPD and my husband, Dave was my carer aswell as my partner. I still cry every day. I knew I was struggling but thought I was coping just about, then last week I completely broke down into a quivering jelly and was unable to do anything. It was dark, fierce and scary. I felt I was spent. I had a telephone consult with my GP and he insisted on coming out to see me. He prescribed me 15mg of Mirtazepine. I've never liked taking antidepressants, but this time I thought I should try them. Well the first time I took one it completely wiped me out and to be honest made me wary of continuing with them, but I persevered and consequently I was 'out of it' for a few days. In hindsight I probably needed the sleep anyway. Now I take them at night. I still feel the effects but only slightly. They say that they take 2-4 weeks to be effective, so we shall see.

I still feel emotional and the anxiety is still there, but I'm now feeling a bit more level and sleeping better, which is an enormous relief. I also think that it's time I stopped fighting the sadness and feeling like I've failed when I'm low. It is about accepting, and being kind to yourself. It's incredibly hard and sometimes we need help but that's ok. Personally I'm going to see how things go with this medication. If I don't get on with it there are other options.

I have also been referred to a COPD psychologist to address the panic attacks and anxiety. She will be doing home visits, so I don't have to go out. Perhaps you have one in your area. Ask your GP or COPD for a referral. It might really help.

As for dogs we've always had them. Sadly Daves lurcher died a few months before he did. I always like to think of them running around together. I still have our other dog , a highland terrier cross who is now 19. He's lovely but going a bit senile, bless him. I don't know what I will do when he goes. I can't imagine life without a dog. I do think that on the whole the right dog could be good for you as we are always being told how exercise can improve your health and actually stop the disease progression, plus you have the added bonus of a devoted companion and social benefits. Don't over- think it. You deserve that friendship and love only a dog can give.

Sorry to have rambled on, but your post struck a chord with me. We seem to be in similar positions.

I am so sorry for your losses and that you are feeling in a dark place. If you do take the pills, take them at night and be prepared to give them a chance. However if you are worried about the effects tell your GP or pharmacist. I thought the list of side- effects were horrific and I took them with great trepidation, but after the initial drowsiness, I now think I am definaty on a more even keel.

Good luck with it all. Let's keep in touch and we can compare notes!

All the best,

Take very good care of yourself.

Kelda X

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Yes. I think you are right. Good to share the mirtazapine journey together. Sleeping was not a problem. Probably because my brain is so tired at night through over thinking and arguing with my self. Well today is day nine. First few days legs were like lead and had the worst headache. But that's got better. Now I just want to sleep all the time. This morning I wasn't as panicky so hope things are improving. Didn't know there was such a thing as a copd phsyc. Will speak to doc. About that after Christmas. How are you today?

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Hi Zelda how are you today. Is Christmas getting you down. I know it is with me. I just want it to all go away at the moment. How are you on the mirt. Anything better with side effects. And how is the anxiety? Do you have any family to help you? Keep your chin up. Hopefully we both might feel better.xxx

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Hi Tilantoe,

I must admit I'm finding it hard to feel the crust mad spirit and can't wait for it all to be over. I've done most of my shopping on line, but feel like I'm just going through the motion.

I also had to see my consultant on Wednesday- lung function tests ( awful) x- rays and blood tests, then I had to go to another hospital on Thursday to see the respiratory nurse- arterial blood test ( painful) lots of questions and a six minute walking test. I was there for hours and it's left me exhausted. I'm not really moaning it's only every six months and at least they' re taking an interest...this is the start of applying to get on the lung transplant list, which is daunting but its a lot to take in and I always seem to get down after a hospital visit.

I am lucky though I have my son who is 19 and looks after me and my grown up daughter here too. If I was on my own I think I would ignore Christmas all together.

I hope your feeling a little better and that you have some support. Try not to let it get you down. I hope that you manage to have a peaceful Christmas and that the new year is a better one.

Best wishes

Kelda

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Hi Tilantoe,

I've been thinking about you and wondering how you are.

I've now been on the mirtazapine for about a month. I'm still not sure about it. The drowsiness has virtually gone and my appetite is increased, but I don't think my mood has changed.

It has been tough with Christmas and then I had a chest infection, then this weekend we had a scare with our little terrier Kipper. He was suddenly really anxious and started behaving oddly. My children tool him to the vet and I had an anxious wait for news. I know he's old and I don't want him to suffer but I feel I'm not ready to lose him yet. He'd had a mild stroke. The vet has given him Activate and nutricalm. He says he should be ok in about a week, but needs lots of care. We were all so relieved that he has a good chance of recovering and he actually has settled down quite a lot now. I am amazed I really thought we were going to lose him. He is very old but still very active. He won't last forever but in the meantime as long as hes happy...

I am thankful

Take good care of yourself.

Best wishes, Kelda X

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Hi kelda. Sorry to here about your little dog. Hope he is on the mend now. It is quite common in little very old dogs but they do recover. I was a little better after Christmas. Glad it was over with to be honest. But like you ended up with chest infection. Don't know whether my medications for that clashed with the mirt. But for 2 days I have been shaking uncontrollably and breathless. Left me unable to do very little. And the anxiety and Panick have now returned. Just finished the steroids and antibiotics. So will have to see what happens when the steroids are out of system And if I start feeling better. I am concerned about 1 of my inhalers though. I haven't felt it was right for me since I was put on it. And I am wondering if that is making things worse. Did talk to doc. About it but he is reluctant to change it

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Hi Tilantoe,

It's a worry isn't it. When I first looked at the information leaflet on Mirt I found it 'clashed' with 3 of my other meds...

I know some inhalers can be aweful. I don't know which ones you are on, but I read recently on here about some terrible side effects. There are so many different ones I can't remember the name, but do look it up on here as there is a lot of information. Also seek a second. Opinion or insist you try one of the others if you don't get on with it. I was recently put on fostair instead of my usual symbicourt. It made me feel sick, so I changed back.

I had to re-order my Mirt a couple of days ago and for this I had to have a telephone consultation with my GP, but he wasn't available, so I spoke with another at the practice. He increased the dose to 30mg as I said I that I was still quite low and suffering with anxiety. Now I'm worried about this affecting all my other meds and also I have to go for an angiogram next week, where they will give me seditives. I just wonder at all these chemicals and how they interact!

As for Kipper he is much more responsive and looking better in himself but still going round in circles. It's only been 6 days though so I am hopeful he will recover fully.

I do hope you feel better soon. I am trying meditation. I also think if you can, that exercise is a great help for anxiety. I went to my 'fit to breathe exercise class yesterday for the first time in a month after only 2 hours sleep. It was so hard to make myself go and I felt so nervous and panicky leaving the house, but afterwards I felt amazing! It's hard work though- still no pain no gain, as they say.

Good luck with everything. Keep yer chin up

Love K X

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Yes Tilantoe I have been on that dose but have not found them effective sadly so sorry about your troubles hope things improve or brighten up xxx

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