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From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: claustrophobic friends needs MRI
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 23:57:10 -0600

"Luiner" <> wrote in message
> I am an MRI Tech in a large outpatient facility.  Injectable sedation
> is not an option for us due to problems with oversedation and other
> problems that may require emergency treatment.  Plus the radiologists
> don't want to mess with it in a non hospital setting.
> What normally works is  Xanex for mild to medium claustrophobia.
> Valium for more severe cases.  With both medications take at least
> 45min before the appointment so that it will have time to kick in.
> Most referring doctors I know are happy to call the script in to the
> patient's local pharmacy.  Of course, with either of these drugs,
> don't let the patient drive, or drink alcohol afterwards.  Xanex
> usually wears off fairly quick, but Valium can last for quite a long
> time.  Neither of these drugs will knock out a patient but will allow
> him to not feel claustrophobic, or at least make it tolerable.
> I've had two cases where Haldol (an anti psychotic drug) was
> prescribed.  While I unsure about this new trend, both times it worked
> pretty well.

For sure. Probably a mildly unpleasant experience for the patient
(especially in retrospect), but guaranteed to work  or your money back. Not
for nothing are these things called chemical straightjackets. I tried one of
these once, just to see what it was like. It feels like your brain has been
packed in excelsior. All emotional color drains from your life, and you're
frozen in the middle of a cold and robotic hell, like something out of
Dante.  Yech. Why people quit taking their neuroleptics is not difficult to

> What does not work is Ativan (all too frequently prescribed and
> extremely mild sedation),

No, you just got the wrong dose. It's purely a matter of dose, as it is with
all this class of drugs. Ativan is NOT an  intrinsically mild sedative, it's
just a mild sedative per dollar <g>. Four milligrams of Ativan orally (what
your dental surgeon will use on you) will zone you pretty well, so far as
worry goes. At equipotent doses there's not much difference between
benzodiazepines for the average patient-- somewhat the same situation that
exists with narcotics.  Of course, you always find individual patient/drug
interaction differences which can be startlingly large.

> I've had remarkable success with mild to medium claustro with aroma
> therapy, believe it or not.  Essence of Cucumber, which is hard to get
> except at large Garden Botanica stores.  Just put a drop or two on a
> cloth or cotton ball and place it under the patients chin so he/she
> can smell it.  It could be simply placebo effect, but I've not had any
> success with other scents.  Of course, you will have to 'sell' it well
> to the patient.  If you're skeptical, so is the patient.

No, this makes sense and is good advice. Anything that stimulates a
patient's senses in a place of sensory deprivation, is good.


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