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rainwave3: Muscle loss and weakness


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Hello, all. This is my first post. I was put on 100 mg of Zoloft around 2006. I suffer from horrible migraines and my doc thought antidepressants could help. And Zoloft did help for a while. Actually, I'm not sure anymore how effective Zoloft actually was on my migraines, and that I wasn't just completely dulled by the Z so I didn't care as much. Either way, I woke up from my Z sleep in August 2016 when I had some of the worst migraines of my life and realized the Z wasn't working and that I wanted off the antidepressant train. Let me just say that I was completely unprepared. When I told my doc I wanted to quit he told me to cut my pills in half for the first two weeks, and then cut those in half for 2 another weeks and then I'd be done. He said that it shouldn't be a difficult taper, that Z is safe and the weakest antidepressant. Seriously, I should sue. He was wrong. I was wrong to trust him. I've changed docs, but my current doc is not much better. Anyway, back to the withdrawal. I didn't experience any withdrawal for about a month after my last pill. But when the withdrawal did hit, it hit me like a freight train. It started with panic attacks that I was convinced were heart attacks. I went to the ER three times and a cardiologist, and had an echo and stress test just to make sure my heart wasn't defective. All the tests were normal. But I continued to have heart palpitations, chest pain, and dizziness. Then I started having the brain zaps, headaches, full body twitches and fasciculations. Then anxiety and depression in cycles. Windows and waves. But the reason I'm here is the muscle loss and weakness. It started about 6 months after I quit the Z. It's been 17 months now and I'm still losing muscle. It's progressed from my hands to my arms and my left leg. I'm scared that this isn't withdrawal at all. My doc says Z withdrawal can't cause this. I can actually see the thinning in my left leg compared to my right, the dent in my arm, the thinning in my forearms. My hands shake when doing simple things like trying to hold a key down on my laptop. My muscles ache like I've been working out just from making my bed. I'm losing muscle in my shoulder, my back, my neck. This can't be Z withdrawal, can it? I've had an EMG which came out normal, but that was before I noticed the muscle loss. I feel weak all the time, it never goes away. I also have this weird kind of magnetic feeling in my muscles sometimes. I'm going to see a neuro, but I just wanted to get some feedback from people who actually believe antidepressant withdrawal is real. Has anyone gone through this, specifically this type of prolonged and progressive muscle loss? How long did it last? Could antidepressant withdrawal have given me ALS? Would reinstatement of the Z make the withdrawal go away (if it is withdrawal and not something more awful) after all this time? I'm terrified. Any help or advice or personal experiences would be greatly appreciated. Seriously, how scared should I be?

Prescribed 100 mg Zoloft in 2006

Quit Zoloft September 2016

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to rainwave3: Muscle loss and weakness
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello, rainwave3 and welcome to SA.  I am sorry you are having these problems.


As you know now, your taper was far too fast, and withdrawal symptoms would be the norm.  

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Muscle weakness is a common WD symptom.  I can't say about muscle loss.  Several posts in the following link mention muscle weakness and two mention muscle loss.  Also Google SurvivingAntidepssants.org muscle weakness. 

Asthenia / muscle weakness - Surviving Antidepressants

To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?
  • 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. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.


I'm also including two links to give you more information on withdrawal.  Tremor and trembling are listed in Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom list.

This is your introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community. I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but I am glad that you found us.



Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium 

End 2021  year 1 of Valium taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of Valium taper at 2.75mg 

End 2023 year 3 of Valium taper at 1mg

Jan. 24, 2024: Hold at 1mg and shift to Imipramine taper.

Taper is 95% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan.-Sept. 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Jan. 24, 2024: Resume Imipramine taper.  Current dose as of June 28: 5mg

Taper is 93% complete.  


Supplements: multiple, quercetin, omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg, iron, serrapeptase, nattokinase, L-Glutamine

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Hi Rainwave,


I'm toward the end of my taper with Effexor and I've had some muscle loss/weakness as well, but nothing as severe as your description. 

My doctor went through withdrawing from the same antidepressant as me but he STILL tried to rush the process!  It's insane how the medical profession can be so clueless.  What worked for me was counting beads and it's taken me almost a year to go from 150mgs to only 7mgs a day but it hasn't been as devastating as your experience


  My suggestion would be to get a couple of gallon jugs (like water jugs) and fill them up a quarter of the way and start trying to build the arm muscles up slowly by using them as weights.  If they're too heavy,  pour out some water.  Keep a record of how many reps you do, when during the day and slowly build up as you feel able.  Easy does it.


For your legs and the rest of the muscle loss, have you tried planking?  It may help and can be done without anything fancy.  Even if it's only 5 to 10 seconds at a time, it may help reverse/slow down this alarming side effect.


Don't give up on yourself; these drugs are insidious and really can mess with us in bizarre ways but there is hope on the horizon.  I am so glad the check-ups ruled out heart problems and sorry you are going through this pain.  Just know, you are not alone and we are all pulling for you to feel better.

Backtoreality here. I take 120mgs. of Effexor XR. Plan: Week 1: 50mgs. in the morning and 50mgs. at night. Week 2: 50 mgs. morning and 25mgs. at night. Week 3: 25mgs. A.M. and 25mgs.P.M. Week 4: 25mgs to 17.5.

I plan to augment with grains from the capsules as needed and slow down when needed. Time is no object; as long as it takes.

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Thank you so much for the advice. I will try the weight lifting and planking. I'm glad your experience isn't as bad. These drugs are poison and most doctors seem to be absolutely clueless about them. It's infuriating to think of the damage I might've allowed to happen to me because a doctor told me I'd be alright. Anyway, just trying to breathe through it. I'm very glad I found this site.

Prescribed 100 mg Zoloft in 2006

Quit Zoloft September 2016

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im sorry to hear about your muscle loss, ive also had some muscles loss since my withdrawal started, especially off my arms, its annoying as I cant even go to the gym to rebuild my muscles at the moment, I tried couple weeks ago but it caused my insomnia to worsen,


i am sure yours is just from withdrawal so don't worry, 


take care

2001 - 2005 prozac,  2001 - 2017 various benzos, mainly diazapem and zanex,  2002 - 2017 olanzapine or seroquel,  2002 -2017 propanolol, 2005 - 2009 venlafaxine 75mg , forced to go cold turkey off venlafaxine as moved Thailand, doctor cut me off and couldn't get it there, severely ill for over 2 years, countered withdrawals with more zanex and seroquel

2014 returned to UK, mainly to get treatment getting off meds

doctor advised to taper seroquel over a few weeks, severely ill and bed bed-bound so reinstated it, 2015 tapered seroquel myself slower over a few months, was off it 2 months and was too ill so went on olanzapine, became zombie and too tired to get out of bed, went back on seroquel, very depressed so went back on venlafaxine, didnt work  so doctor swapped to zoloft became very agitated so back on venlafaxine

June 2016 - felt strong enough to begin tapering again, started what I thought was a slow taper of all meds,  2016 July Not had any alcoholic drink since this date, 

2016 October completely off diazepem, 2017 Feb completely off seroquel, 2017 March completely off proponanlol, 2017 April (day before birthday) completely off venlafaxine, OFF ALL MEDS 11/4/2017, was fine for nearly 3 months and then delayed withdrawal hit,

supplements taking: turmeric capsules, NiaCel (nicotinamide riboside), Vit B12 sublingual, Vit B3, Vit B6, Vit B1, apple cider vinegar, manuka umf 10 honey, camu camu powder,  melatonin when needed, epsom salt baths, juices, smoothies, 

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15175-dj2010-off-all-meds-for-3-months-and-been-fine-now-bad-insomnia/

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Thank you so much for your response and I'm sorry to hear about your insomnia. I've had some bouts with that too since going off the Z. Magnesium salt baths have helped me a little. And lavender aromatherapy. I'm not too sure about holistic approaches, but lavender works for me. It might be just the placebo effect, but I'll take it. I hope you find something that helps.

Prescribed 100 mg Zoloft in 2006

Quit Zoloft September 2016

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi rainwave3

I also have noticeable muscle loss, especially in my legs, whilst I am tapering off Paxil.  It is very noticeable above my knees and I am worried that people can see it.


I am thinking of seeing a neurologist incase it is the nerves attached to the muscles that are damaged by Paxil.  Have you seen a neurologist?  I also have other nerve pain.


Best wishes


On Paxil 10mg  2008-2015

Withdrew Paxil Sept 2015 - Dec 2016

Reinstated 1mg Paxil end Jan. 2017

Updosed  to 2.5mg Paxil June 2017

Reinstatement not working

Benadryl 25mg some nights 


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I've also had muscle loss above my knees. I'm def going to see a neurologist, though I half expect them to not believe that what I'm experiencing is because of antidepressant withdrawal. I'm fairly sure my nerves have taken a beating as well. Let us know what the neuro says if you decide to go.

Prescribed 100 mg Zoloft in 2006

Quit Zoloft September 2016

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