Jump to content

Grampa - struggling to get off Doxepin


Recommended Posts

I'm 73 and have suffered chronic depression and anxiety throughout my life.  Have taken most of the antidepressants out there at one time or another.  Only one that really helped was Anafranil but I was unable to hold down a job with it because I couldn't stay awake!  


In 2014 I felt hopeless and decided to try Doxepin because it had worked miracles in my daughter's life.  She warned me about side effects but that's another story.  I get my psychiatry at the VA and my doc there wanted me to take 200mg of Doxepin at night but I couldn't sleep after hitting 100mg.  So I switched the timing to the mornings but when I hit 200mg in a single dose I slurred my words and really could barely function.  So I dropped to 150mg and stayed there...but my mood did not improve.  So I added 100mg at night for a total of 250mg/day.  Stayed on 250mg from May 2016 to Sept 2016 when I told the VA doc that it wasn't working.  Not only was I depressed but I had lost quite a bit of strength.


VA doc wanted me to drop 100mg/week but I feared going off too fast and we settled on 50mg/week.  I am at the end of my third week of tapering so am down to 100mg taken in the morning.  BTW, the doc wants to start me on Bupropion as I taper the Doxepin but I have said no so far.


But I feel w-a-a-y down...not suicidal but having difficulty with daily functioning.  I wake up several times a night with a start and I dread the morning wakeup.  Also, am feeling flu lilke symptoms and have loud ringing in my ears.


So I need help.  Where do I go from here?  I already decided I am not dropping another 50mg tomorrow...but should I go back up?


I should also mention that I have decided to work on my depression with mindfulness and somatic work.  At my age it is no fun to play with meds!

Edited by scallywag
tags added

1992-2014 Just about every SSRI available and Anafranil.  Very little help from any of them.


In 2014, decided to try Doxepin because it turned my daughter's life around...25 years ago.

11-2014  Started on 100mg Doxepin

04-2016  Increased dosage to 250mg, 150 in am and 100 at night.  

09-2106  began to taper at 50mg/week

10-2-2016 at 100mg having deep depressive episodes and flu like symptoms


My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/13207-grampa-struggling-to-get-off-doxepin/


Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Grampa,


Welcome to SA.  Thank you for doing your drug signature.  It is exactly what we need.  Good job.  Are they any other drugs, prescription or non-prescription or supplements that you are taking?  If so, could you please add drug and dose information to your signature.  Thank you.  Also please remember to update your signature whenever you make a change so it remains current.


"VA doc wanted me to drop 100mg/week but I feared going off too fast and we settled on 50mg/week.  I am at the end of my third week of tapering so am down to 100mg taken in the morning."


I am very pleased that you decided not taper by 100mg as suggested.  However even 50mg/week is a very fast taper.  SA's recommended taper is 10% or less taper of the previous dose followed by a holding time of at least 3-4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  Flu like symptoms are a withdrawal symptom.  See the Symptoms Checklist link below.


"BTW, the doc wants to start me on Bupropion as I taper the Doxepin but I have said no so far."


What was the VA's reason for suggesting Bupropion.  If you put both drugs in the Drug Interactions Checker you will see that there can be a major interaction between them.


Here are some links to check out.  You can ask questions here in your Intro/Update topic and journal your progress.  Click "Follow" top right and you will be notified when someone responds.


Before you begin tapering what you need to know


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms


Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist


Tips for tapering doxepin (Sinequan, Zonalon)


Waking with panic or anxiety -- managing cortisol spikes


These helped me to understand SA's recommendations:


Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery



Here are some links on SA which you might find helpful:


  1. Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms
  2. Yoga for calming (very simple poses can help greatly)
  3. Acceptance
  4. Acceptance and Mindfulness
  5. Claire Weekes' Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System
  6. "Change the channel" -- dealing with cognitive symptoms
  7. Change cognitive framing - Redirect - Another Way
  8. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for anxiety, depression
  9. Cognitive Behavior Therapy lessons


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

Link to comment

Welcome Grampa,

Sorry you are in this position it looks to me that the Breggin book 'Your drug may be your problem' may be your story and may be well worth your while to read.


It is worth reading that link cc gave you on tapering doxepin. 


What was the reason to updose from 100 to 200 this past april. Did you cold turkey another drug at this time?

Did you CT the anafranil in nov 14? or if you tapered it how did you taper. What dose did you taper from? How long had you been taking it for.

Was this the drug you were on the longest for.

It sounds to me and im just guessing that you may have been tapered off anafranil too quickly and then suffered wdl symptoms (probably interpreted by the doctor as relapse) and so given doxepin to cover the withdrawal (erroneously called relapse). But the doxepin didnt cover the the wdl off anafranil so 18 months later still suffering wdl symptoms the doc 'doubled the dose'. ? Could be wrong what do you think?


You are tapering too fast.



I should also mention that I have decided to work on my depression with mindfulness and somatic work.  At my age it is no fun to play with meds!

I cant help feel that what you are calling depression is really withdrawal symptoms that masquarade as 'D'. but 'D' it is not.

Are you nauseous?

'After years of exposure the tricyclics can be extremely difficult to stop.' Breggin.


It is not fun to play with these drugs at any age. We can relate somewhat to what you are going through and you are not alone. This site is full of people in a similar situation to you.... iatrogenically harmed ...not cross wired flawed individuals but people who have been let down by medical error and betrayal.


I rec another book Whitaker 'Anatomy of an epidemic' It is extremely informative. You will be able to get it from your local library.


Is your daughter still on this doxepin drug?


Sorry you are in this difficult situation



Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.


Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017



Link to comment

Welcome from me too Grampa......nz11 has given excellent analysis of the possible source of the problem.

I have also had a long exposure to AD s  also and until I came accrues this site had node that WD was my problem, which it certainly is.


I am sure that you will get wonderful guidance here and hope you begin to feel a bit better.


With all Best Wishes 



Anti Depressants for  25 years. Valium between 2006 to 7 tapered off over a month without too bad withdrawals.

For last 15 years 150 mg of Effexor and 30 mg of Mirtazapine. Occasional short term benzo use without habituation.

March 2015 stopped Effexor after rapid taper. 6 weeks. 

One month fluoxetine June 2015...stopped CT July 2015.

October 2013 to December 2015 Zopiclone 15 mg at night,

Dec 2015 to Early March 2016 Lyrica 75 mg at night. 

Stopped too quickly as  adverse side effects.

January to May 2016 tapered Zopiclone to 7.5mg 

Crossed over to Valium and now ..March 28th 2017 Benzo Free.

Also on 30 mg Mirtazapine and holding until have finished Benzo taper.

IN protracted WD from Effexor.


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy