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Irregular heartbeats, palpitations, tachycardia, bradycardia

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grandmaD   
grandmaD

I was wondering if there is any information on this topic?

 

Do others have a high pulse rate (sitting) from thing in the morning?  Mine is always high 90,s to the 100,s.

 

Is there anything I can do to help myself?

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SquirrellyGirl   
SquirrellyGirl

I can say that I did have this happen while in protracted withdrawal from Effexor.  I remember going to the dentist and them being alarmed because my pulse was 99, so I began tracking it, and sure enough it was always in the high 90's resting.  My BP also went up a little from my norm.

 

You are doing a very sane, slow taper, so I can't say that it is because you are going too aggressively.  You held for April?  Were you having this symptom then, or is it a recent development?

 

Many of our bodily functions are affected when neurotransmitter levels fluctuate/change, including the heart and gut.

 

I don't have the answer but perhaps this link will help:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1868-irregular-heartbeats-palpitations-tachycardia-bradycardia/

*topics merged

 

SG

Edited by Petunia
updated

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grandmaD   
grandmaD

Thanks Squirellygirl for the link to these posts.I find it interesting many people exerience different heart problems.  Thanks Alto as your post is reassuring saying it is a common side effect of withdrawal.

 

I have experienced what I call:

"fluttering" and when taken BP saw that I had arrythmia. 

"palpitations" which is when I feel a thumping/banging feeling

"lurching" when it feels like the heart has stopped and then has a BIG strong beat

"rapid pulse" when i feel stressed, with high vibrations running thru my body also and is usually in the 90's and 100's every day and got worse every year despite a slow taper.

 

I had all the tests which came back with this result, but I it seems palpitations and rapid pulse are not a symptom of it.

 

Second-degree AV block is a disease of the electrical conduction system of the heart. It refers to a conduction block between the atria and ventricles. The presence of second-degree AV block is diagnosed when one or more (but not all) of the atrial impulses fail to conduct to the ventricles due to impaired conduction.

 

Has anyone posted that they improved once they had finished withdrawal?

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grandmaD   
grandmaD

Thanks for the link, it was very interesting.  I can only hope these problems are due to withdrawal and will go away.  My big concern is that rapid pulse and palpitations have got worse each year.

Palpitations Year 1:  1.4 p/w

                    Year 2:  1.0 p/w

                    Year 3:  1.7 p/w

                    Year 4:  2.4 p/w

     Av. so far year 5:  3.7 p/w

 

No record Years 1-2

Rapid pulse Year 3:  2.1 p/w

                    Year 4: 2.7 p/w

    Av. so far Year 5: 3.7 p/w

 

These 2 symptoms along with breathlessness and crook guts have been my main concerns of late.  I was interested to note also, that crook digestion could cause palpitations.

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grandmaD   
grandmaD

You are doing a very sane, slow taper, so I can't say that it is because you are going too aggressively. That's what has me concerned.  2.5% taper for years now

 You held for April? No, 8 week tapers

 Were you having this symptom then, or is it a recent development?  No,not recent, palpitions from word go and rapid pulse from year 3 on.

Many of our bodily functions are affected when neurotransmitter levels fluctuate/change, including the heart and gut.  I am convinced it is w/d but just would like to see it improve and not get higher!

I don't have the answer but perhaps this link will help: thanks, I had a quick look and bookmarked some of the links and will read more later.

 

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AliG   
AliG

Grandma. I have had similar to you in withdrawal , as quite a few of us have had. I have been rushed by ambulance to E.R numerous times, with SVT and given Adenosine IV to settle the heart rate.  Tests have shown nothing irregular. I believe it's W/D and also time ON the drugs !

This symptom is gradually decreasing. I can usually control it these days , by a bit of deep breathing and being horizontal for a bit. Sometimes, a bit of ice cold water is a good shock to get back into rhythm.

Yours is a little different obviously but perhaps it also springs from W/D. It probably does, but nothing is definite. I can only say that mine is improving, in time away from drugs.I never had it prior to A/D's.   

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grandmaD   
grandmaD

Thanks for your reply Ali.  It all comes back to simple WITHDRAWAL symptom!  I have to accept it and 'float' by and move on! 

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CJAJ16   
CJAJ16

I've been off Escitralopram just over two weeks. I'm experiencing lots of WD symptoms but the palpitations are causing me a great deal of anxiety and panic attacks.

When do heart symptoms become dangerous? Do I need to go to hospital?

Do the palpitations mean the AD have damaged my heart?

I'm so frightened I hope someone can help me please?

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mammaP   
mammaP

Hi CJ, please try not to be frightened, it is a common symptom of withdrawal but of course if you have any chest pain then you must get checked out. 

 

The symptoms will settle down again in time. Sometimes we feel things more than usual, with hyper- awareness which means we can feel things that we don't normally feel. This is how I think of it. The body is functioning every day but we aren't usually aware of it but in withdrawal we can feel every heartbeat, digestion and even the blood coursing through veins. The nervous system is trying to get everything right again after being on drugs and things keep changing until it has reached a normal state again. Everything is dulled when taking the drugs, and when we are off them we can actually taste again, hear better, smell things and sometimes all these things are so strong it feels abnormal but it is just our bodies healing themselves.  Palpitations are very common, but if you become anxious about them you are releasing adrenalin which causes more palpitations and it becomes a vicious circle.  Relaxing and accepting the feelings as they come and go helps to calm the anxiety, listening to and feeling the workings of our bodies is a form of mindfulness and is really good for you when not stressing about them. 

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grandmaD   
grandmaD

Mama, I agree - I have only just come to realise how numb was in brain and body while on the drugs.  It is quite frightening when you are suddenly faced with all these symptoms, but when you realise it is quite common, it is reassuring.  It doesn't hurt to get it all checked out either.  I went for years believing it was w/d but finally decided I had better get checked out.  When it came back okay, I was again reassured.

 

I think of it has a highly sensitised nervous system.  What you say has helped me realise what happens in bed at night, especially on my left side, it feels like my heart is moving, jumping around, quite weird.  I can also feel moving, popping, stretching in my stomach/bowel area.

 

CJA -  a really good book to read is called "Help for your nerves" by Claire Weekes.  I was able to get it from the local library.

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Cressida   
Cressida

I went to the doctors recently for the first time in at least 4 years . I had a virus which also jacked up WD to a fairly acute level. As I was there I told him about the ax I was still experiencing mainly the nighttime pounding palpitations which gives me other ax like pulsing flashing lights in my eyes and makes my head pulsing which I have had for two years worse. He was thorough to give him his due checked no carotid bruit for head pulsing but was concerned with the chest exam as he heard a murmur which he thought was an aortic stenosis ( a constricted aortic valve ). So scary , scheduled an ECG and echocardiogram and I have just had the results both normal thank God. My heart was doing a kind of hyped up pounding when I was examined which settled with the virus . What he would have heard was a flow murmur as a result which you wouldn't expect in a normal non healthy adult. I only mention this to reassure people that if the doctor picks up murmurs and palpitations in a WD person chances are it's part of our process though it must of course be investigated. It was actually a sign of progress that I was able to go as previously the idea of dropping dead at home was less scary than going to the doctors !

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Cressida   
Cressida

Should say non pregnant adult not non healthy and sx rather than ax . Didn't edit in time

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grandmaD   
grandmaD

Grandma. I have had similar to you in withdrawal , as quite a few of us have had. I have been rushed by ambulance to E.R numerous times, with SVT and given Adenosine IV to settle the heart rate.  Tests have shown nothing irregular. I believe it's W/D and also time ON the drugs !

This symptom is gradually decreasing. I can usually control it these days , by a bit of deep breathing and being horizontal for a bit. Sometimes, a bit of ice cold water is a good shock to get back into rhythm.

Yours is a little different obviously but perhaps it also springs from W/D. It probably does, but nothing is definite. I can only say that mine is improving, in time away from drugs.I never had it prior to A/D's.   

Hi Ali, I can see this is obviously from w/d for many.  I am getting concerned because for quite a while now, my resting pulse was in the 100's during mornings, but did come down later on.  Recently it went to 100,s all day but then again, I add added outside stress going on.  How long did you have the high pulse for?  Was it for days, weeks, months or years?

 

When you say you used ice water - how did you apply it and where??

 

Isee many people suffer this from fast w/d but my w/d is anything but FAST, so i don't understand!

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AliG   
AliG

I had Supraventricular Tachycardia. During an episode the hearts electrical system doesn't work properly causing a very fast heart beat of anything from 100 - 300. I reached 280, lasted a few hours and needed medical intervention - Adenosine to revert it back to normal beat.

 

My last episode only lasted a few minutes and I used deep breathing and ice water.

 

There are simple maneuvers that stimulate the vagus nerve which can slow conduction of electrical impulses that control your heart rate. One of these is to hold nostrils closed whilst blowing air through your nose. Another is to plunge your wrists in ice cold water and then if that doesn't work to immerse your face in the ice cold water. ( Diving Reflex).

 

I had regular heart palpitations also throughout W/D and found that deep breathing helped slow down the heart rate. I had the medical tests done and nothing abnormal was found.

 

It has been over 12 months since I had any symptoms so I attribute it to not only withdrawal but also being on the drugs themselves as I had episodes before withdrawal.

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

My irregular heart beat reading on the trade mail (the pulse is normal though) started since the drug reaction from the dose incraese and has been with me ever since. It ranges from 120-240. Higher.rate is an indication for dropping dose ( at least what I used it for), and dropping dose usually brings down the rate. I found walking helps for a more stable rate even its still on the higher number.

 

I don't feel the fast beat though, it only shown on the trade machine HR readings. I tested using many different machines and used other ppl as a control and it's always there and only from me. My guess is, it's the misfire of electricity in my body, not really a true reflection of my heart beat rate.

 

When I have a relatively normal and stable reading, I always have a good day in terms of symptoms.

 

Electricity misfire seems the cause of many of my symptoms.

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Happy2Heal   
Happy2Heal

I had Supraventricular Tachycardia. During an episode the hearts electrical system doesn't work properly causing a very fast heart beat of anything from 100 - 300. I reached 280, lasted a few hours and needed medical intervention - Adenosine to revert it back to normal beat.

 

My last episode only lasted a few minutes and I used deep breathing and ice water.

 

There are simple maneuvers that stimulate the vagus nerve which can slow conduction of electrical impulses that control your heart rate. One of these is to hold nostrils closed whilst blowing air through your nose. Another is to plunge your wrists in ice cold water and then if that doesn't work to immerse your face in the ice cold water. ( Diving Reflex).

 

I had regular heart palpitations also throughout W/D and found that deep breathing helped slow down the heart rate. I had the medical tests done and nothing abnormal was found.

 

It has been over 12 months since I had any symptoms so I attribute it to not only withdrawal but also being on the drugs themselves as I had episodes before withdrawal.

 

 

this is interesting to me. After a car accident at age 18, I had one episode of SVT during a pulmonary angiogram (I had blood clots in my lung, not uncommon when your pelvis is fractured, as well as the rt leg) It was immediately stopped with an injection of adenosine. They told me I broke the hospital record for beats per minute but I don't recall the actual number.

 

anyway, fast forward to some 20+ yrs later, and I have my first episode of atrial fibrillation. I thought it was the same thing as the SVT but it wasn't and adenosine did not stop it.

I was on lithium at the time and probably an SSRI although I don't recall which one (it went zoloft-celexa-lexapro, basically)

 

they tried all sorts of drugs that made things worse, then they finally let my heart reset on it's own. I've had a few episodes since, for a total of less than 5, and every single episode had an easily identifiable set of triggers. The one trigger that has always put me over the edge from just an irritable heart with PVCs and PACs and other ectopic beats, was drinking or eating something very cold!!

 

I know the things you mentioned, ice water, etc

is  what is often used to get some people OUT of afib and I guess SVTs too, but for me, it's a trigger. It's the main trigger, but I also have to be at least mildly dehydrated, have had some stress recently (and usually it's been that I've been in an angry or aggravated mood: anger is NOT good for your heart!!) My potassium will be low and often I've not been eating much.

 

I was seeing a regular cardiologist instead of an electro- cardiologist (not sure that's the proper term but basically, a reg cardiologist is like a plumber, the cardiologist you want for afib, etc is one that works with the electrical system of the heart)

 

that's when I learned that you need two basic things for afib to happen: you need a substrate of an electrical problem (simplified, this is electrical cells in the wrong places, firing off in the wrong order to mess things up)

Most ppl have at least a few cells in the wrong place, that's what causes PVCs and PACs which almost everyone has, but not everyone feels (as I understand it, now, don't take this as gospel medical info as I'm just relaying my understanding of what I was told in an afib group lol)

 

An ablation, which is very invasive, can also be very painful and is, in the wrong hands, risky- may or may not "cure" afib. It often needs to be done twice.

it is also very expensive but is being put out there as the gold standard for treatment of afib- UNLESS you are under insured or have no insurance, or have state/fed govt funded insurance.

in those cases, where there's no money to be made off you (my circumstances) You are told that an ablation is not the first thing done nor the Gold standard of treatment but is rather, a "quality of life" surgery.

 

I told the cardiologist that all of my friends on the various afib forums are going to be SO relieved to learn that a risky painful surgery is not actually needed but is really just an option if you don't want to have to deal with afib symptoms or meds that may cause side effects you dont like.

 

They (the insured patients) are being given a totally different spiel: episodic afib will get worse the longer you keep going back into it, it remodels your heart, so you should immediately get an ablation to avoid further episodes!!! hurry hurry rush rush, give us all your money, now!!

 

that's my cardiology rant for today.

 

it's sad that I have lost so much of my faith in drs as healers, they are now just drug pushers and aggressive business ppl/salesmen to me.

what a terrible state of affairs, really, it's supposed to be a healing profession.

 

I hope that can be turned around, I hope we find our way back to that.

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Alpha23   
Alpha23

Just wondering if anyone knows exactly why antidepressants (or withdrawing from antidepressants) causes heart palpitations. I developed a very particular pattern of palpitations after starting Lexapro and they are still occurring even though I have been off Lexapro for almost 3 months. Does anyone have a theory about why this could be happening? Nothing abnormal shows up on my EKG but I'm sure the palpitations have some kind of "physical" cause rather than being caused by pure anxiety.

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grandmaD   
grandmaD

I never had them while on a full dose, only when in w/d so I always thought they were the result of anxiety. 

 

I can't answer your question, but it is a good one, I look forward to an explanation also!

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Alpha23   
Alpha23

I have a problem with my heart pounding. Not fast like I have been running, but beating really hard. Blood pressure and heart rate are normal, but when laying in bed, or sitting down I can see and feel my chest moving with each beat. It's like I have been running, but without the rapid heart rate, just the heart beating so hard I can feel it throughout my body. Just wondering if anyone else has experienced anything like this.

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grandmaD   
grandmaD

Yes, most noticeable when I go to bed and try and sleep and when I wake up.  It makes it difficult to get to sleep.  I also experience a strange sort of sensation as well as the pounding, it feels "floppy" like it flops from side to side.  I get better relief when I lie on my right side. I wish you good success with your Prozac taper once you have stabilised.

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Alpha23   
Alpha23

Thanks for the reply grandmaD. Would you say this symptom gets better or worse as you taper down?

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grandmaD   
grandmaD

The averages mean how many days in the week that I had palpitations.  It doesn't reflect how often in the day I had them, which meant more work/journaling.

 

Av. for year 1:   1.4

Av. for year 2:   1.0

Av.  for year 3:  1.7

Av. For year 4:  2.4

Av. For year 5:  3.8

Av. For year 6:  4.7

 

As you can see it has been getting worse the last 4 years.  The palpitations range from mild to moderate to high and at times severe, especially when I wake in the early hours and I have to get up.  Keep in mind, however, that we are all different and my results may not apply to you - I hope not!

Edited by scallywag
moved explanation about averages to start of post

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Alpha23   
Alpha23

I'm really sorry to hear your palpitations have been getting worse the past 4 years. It does seem like they have been increasing as you taper down, but that could be pure coincidence. As they say, "correlation is not causation".

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Alpha23   
Alpha23

Hi all. Just wondering if anyone has managed to get a diagnosis for heart problems caused by antidepressants (or antidepressant withdrawal). During a recent health check my EKG was flagged with possible myocardial ischemia (reduced blood flow to the heart) but follow up tests showed my coronary arteries and heart structure to be normal despite the EKG being abnormal. The Cardioloigist I saw couldn't explain why this was and just said we should keep an eye on it. I'm thinking about seeing another cardiologist for a second opinion and was wondering if anyone thought this might be worthwhile. Even if I can't prove a link to the drugs it would be good to hear a doctor acknowledge my symptoms are real and not all in my head...

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Barbarannamated   
Barbarannamated
8 hours ago, Alpha23 said:

Hi all. Just wondering if anyone has managed to get a diagnosis for heart problems caused by antidepressants (or antidepressant withdrawal). During a recent health check my EKG was flagged with possible myocardial ischemia (reduced blood flow to the heart) but follow up tests showed my coronary arteries and heart structure to be normal despite the EKG being abnormal. The Cardioloigist I saw couldn't explain why this was and just said we should keep an eye on it. I'm thinking about seeing another cardiologist for a second opinion and was wondering if anyone thought this might be worthwhile. Even if I can't prove a link to the drugs it would be good to hear a doctor acknowledge my symptoms are real and not all in my head...

Alpha, 

I still have irregular heartrate since withdrawing from Pristiq in 2011.  Currently, I've been consistently in the 90-130 range, with postural changes (sitting or standing being much higher). It changes by 30+ points in a minute or less.  BP is usually steady.  

 

I was hospitalized for bradycardia in 2012. Found no cardiac abnormalities. They always want to blame it on thyroid even though my thyroid numbers look ok.  

 

Recently, I went to an urgent care because my HR was so high and I was very symptomatic (light headed, weak, etc).  I was hoping for some fluids, which have helped in the past.  However, the doc did an EKG and sent me by ambulance to the ER to test for cardiac enzymes indicating a heart attack.  The paramedics did another ekg en route and triage at hospital did another.  Both said they were normal (as well as the one done at urgent care) and I left without being seen.  

 

Years ago, I was referred out to a cardiac electrophysiologist, but I never followed through.  After years of seeing so many doctors for these crazy symptoms with nothing accomplished, I became very jaded.  

 

The literature and prescribing info is very clear that SSRIs and SNRIs can cause cardiac problems, but I THINK it would be very difficult to prove causality.  

I do understand that you want to know what is going on, though.  It's very scary and causes terrible anxiety.  

 

If you haven't, you might check to see if yours is postural.  It might give doctors more to go on.  I'm not sure, though. 

 

My apologies if I'm reiterating anything already covered. 

 

I wish you the best.  

 

 

 

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Alpha23   
Alpha23

Thanks Barbara. I'm sorry to hear about your cardiac symptoms. It must be really hard having your heart rate change 30+ points in a minute or less. My heart rate is relatively stable, but my heart beats so forcefully I can feel it reverberating throughout my body. I also have a very tight chest, and recently find it hard to breathe. When this all started back in March I ended up in ER. They found a slight arrhythmia and the cardiologist said he could feel my heart beating really hard against my chest bone. However, he couldn't find any other abnormalities, so blamed it on stress. I'm no stranger to stress, but this feels completely different. My heart keeps on beating hard whatever I'm doing or feeling at the time, so I'm convinced it has some kind of physiological cause related to the SSRIs I've taken. Unfortunately, I think many doctors have been brain washed to believe SSRIs are perfectly safe and cardiac problems are extremely rare even though more and more evidence suggests this is not the case.

 

I may be clutching at straws somewhat but I really hope I can find a doctor who can explain to me what's going on. I'd also love to hear from anyone on this forum who might have an idea about what is going on and what, if anything, can be done about it. I think I saw a video in which Alto mentioned heart problems being caused by autonomic dysfunction, so it would be good to hear her take on it.

 

I did find the following article but it is very technical and may be a little difficult to follow for the lay man.

Cardiovascular Considerations in Antidepressant Therapy: An Evidence-Based Review

 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2493295/  

 

 

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