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gruvingal: Getting off of Paxil after 20 years


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Hello everyone!!!  I was a member on Paxil Progress back in 2005.  I had weaned off of Paxil and did well for about two years and then had to go back on it after unsuccessful trials on other medicine.I was originally given this medicine after being diagnosed by a doctor as bi-polar and also fibromyalgia from a car accident.  I have since then been diagnosed with essential tremors (thanks Grandma!) and spinal stenosis up and down my back.  I am on disability now because of this.


Last year my doctor upped my dose to 40mg because my depression was getting worse, but all it did is make me want to sleep all of the time.  I have spent the last three months in hell weaning down to 10mg.  I was down to 5mg for a few weeks, but the anxiety was making my blood pressure go way up and I have been on BP meds since 2006 (thanks Dad!) 


I just want to stabilize for a bit and have an appointment with my doctor toward the end of the month to talk about what to do next.  I may not be able to get off of this completely, but I feel so much better at the lower dose.  I have lost 20+ pounds that I could not get off no matter what I did and I am up in the morning and ready to go instead of sitting for two hours trying to wake up. 


I have extreme sensitivities to many drugs so I do not want to even try any of the new drugs for bi-polar, anxiety, depression, etc.  I am praying that things will settle down and maybe I can get on with my life!  Thanks!

Edited by baroquep
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to gruvingal: Getting off of Paxil after 20 years
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Gruvingal,


Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA), I’m glad you found this site.  I'm not familiar with Paxil Progress but do know that there are quite a few members from that site here at Surviving Antidepressants and hopefully you can connect with a familiar face or two.  


It looks like you have be reducing the Paxil far too quickly and the reason you are experiencing so much difficulty.  You may not be aware, but when an antidepressant is discontinued abruptly, doses skipped/alternated or a person tapers off too quickly this puts you at risk for developing withdrawal syndrome.  


Surviving Antidepressants recommends tapering by 10% of your current dose with at a hold of at least four weeks before your next decrease.  The 10% taper recommendation is a harm reduction approach to going off psychiatric drugs.  Some people may have to taper at an even more conservative rate as they are sensitive to even the smallest drops.  I'm going to attach a few links to provide you with more detailed information on the recommendations made at Surviving Antidepressants.   


What is Withdrawal Syndrome?
Before you begin tapering what you need to know
Why taper by 10% of my dosage?
Tips for Tapering off Paxil / Paroxetine


Without having more detailed information with respect to your drug/tapering history and your present goal, it will be difficult to make any specific recommendations.  We ask all of our members to fill out a signature so that all of your information can be read at a glance.  This helps moderators determine you current situation and we would ask that you follow the instructions at the link below.


Instructions:  Withdrawal History Signature


 •    Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
 •    A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
 •    Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
 •    Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
 •    Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.

I thought I should also include a couple of links on how to talk to your doctor about tapering and withdrawal as you will be visiting with your doctor.  I think it will be useful for you to be aware that oftentimes doctors will either increase the dose much higher than necessary, suggest a person switch drugs or add another medication such as a benzodiazepine which in most cases just makes things worse.   Unfortunately very few doctors have any clinical experience tapering off of antidepressants and often provide advice that is not helpful when their patients visit them and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.  


How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?
What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?


I know I've given you a lot of information to digest, but think it is better to know what you are dealing with so that you can make the best decisions regarding your health and well-being and believe that an informed decision is always the best decision.  Please feel free to connect with other members of the Surviving Antidepressants community by posting in their introduction threads, they are a supportive group, know what you are going through and are here to help.  


If you have any questions, or need clarification on the information provided above, please post back in your introduction topic where one of the moderators can get back to you.  

Current Prescription Drugs for Hypothyroidism:  Synthroid 100mcg / Cytomel 5mcg (15 years Pristiq/Effexor)

Tapering Schedule
September 15, 2016 - switched from Pristiq 50mg to Effexor XR 75mg; November 10, 2016 - reduced to 67.5 Effexor XR
December 9, 2016 - reduced 60.75
January 5, 2017 - reduced 54.67
January 30, 2017 - reduced to 49.0
February 20, 2017 - reduced to 44.0 
May 20, 2017 - reduced to 40.25 (holding for additional month due to late onset of withdrawal symptoms after this taper)
July 17, 2017 - reduced to 38.24
August 15, 2017 - reduced to 37.5 (50% of my original dose)

October 15, 2017 - reduced to 35.6

November 12, 2017 - reduced to 33.8
December 15, 2017 - up-dose to 35.6
December 28, 2017 - up-dose to 37.5

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  • 3 months later...

Any update?

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



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