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StephanieHello: 4th attempt to get off Paxil


StephanieHello

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Hi, I am here to look for some advice... I know that I am tapering at a rate faster than the recommended 10% a month, however I am also trying to work out most withdrawal symptoms before I start work again (in 1 month from today) and have added Prozac as well.  My goal is to get off all meds and get a baseline for how I feel before deciding if I need another medicine (but not Paxil again!)

 

I was put on Paxil at age 16 (I just turned 31). Can't remember if it was 10 or 20 mg.  Most of the time I've taken 10 mgs except during times of extreme stress.  Going down from 20 to 10 has never been an issue for me.  I tried to go off 3 other times...

 

1. I was 18 and let some people from my church convince me God could heal me and I went cold turkey.  Don't remember too much about the withdrawal except yelling at my sister and going back on within a few days.

2. I was 24 or so and I forgot my Paxil while visiting my dad over 4 days.  I did not experience symptoms, so I thought, "Maybe I don't need it anymore" and stayed off.  After a couple more days, brain zaps came and I went back on to 10.  

3. 18 months ago, I let a young general practitioner convince me that switching from Paxil to Lexapro was fine without tapering.  I tapered on my own for a couple of days, and then just took Lexapro for a week.  Felt great for a few days, then had major panic attacks at work and went to urgent care to get back on Paxil.  I knew I couldn't work without it (I'm a teacher which is also why I waited til summer to wean off.)

 

Now.... I went to a psychiatrist the end of May.  My twin sister has switched from Paxil 10 mg to 20 Prozac with very little symptoms. She was on Paxil for a few months.  So I asked for that method, but I don't want to take as much Prozac because then I'm just ultimately getting addicted to that instead.   So I am taking 10 mg Prozac while tapering off from 10 mg of Paxil.  I went down to 7.5 for 2 weeks with mild mood swings and brain fog (but I also have hypersomnia and this is common for me, it just became way more frequent).  Felt better and then went to 5 mg.  Had more brain fog for several days, basically just like I'm cloudy and can't process or think or focus.  No brain zaps or headaches.  But then.... after 2 weeks of 5mgs, I went down to 2.5 mgs.  I have now had a headache for 6 solid days that doesn't go away with aspirin.  Mild brain zaps, more like tingling in my limbs and forehead.  And very low energy, and more brain fog.  And I feel like I experience every possible emotion every day!  And at random times. Last night, I decided that I was going too fast and wanted to go back up to 4 mgs.  The pills are hard to cut into anything but quarters, so I bought a syringe and today I dissolved one to get 4 mgs.  I have an appointment with the psychiatrist in 2 weeks and plan to stay on 4 mgs until then.

 

My main question is, has anyone found a specific vitamin or supplement to help when coming off Paxil.  I am thinking about trying B12 because it's also been recommended for my brain fog anyways.

 

And is the best way to dissolve pills just to put them in water that equals the dosage. For example, I put 5 mgs in 5 mls of water to dissolve and then drank 4 mls of it.

 

Thanks for any advice.  I would also be interested to hear how long it took for people to feel better, even though I know everyone is different.  I start work in a month and I was really hoping to be completely off and recovered, but I know I have to go slower and be patient.

On Paxil for 16 years

I am down to 4 mg from 10 mg in 5 weeks time.  Added 10 mgs of Prozac to ease the withdrawal symptoms

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Stephanie.

 

What we've seen is that when people have a history of going on and off drugs, adverse reactions, or prior withdrawal syndrome, they are often very sensitive to dosage reductions.

 

There are no supplements or other remedies to make this easy. The only way we know to go off with minimal withdrawal symptoms is gradual tapering.

 

Given your long history, it's unlikely you're going to be off Paxil and Prozac in a month. If what you intend to do is switch from Paxil to Prozac, you might be able to do that in a month. However, what you say here:

 

1 hour ago, StephanieHello said:

So I am taking 10 mg Prozac while tapering off from 10 mg of Paxil.  I went down to 7.5 for 2 weeks with mild mood swings and brain fog (but I also have hypersomnia and this is common for me, it just became way more frequent).  Felt better and then went to 5 mg.  Had more brain fog for several days, basically just like I'm cloudy and can't process or think or focus.  No brain zaps or headaches.  But then.... after 2 weeks of 5mgs, I went down to 2.5 mgs.  I have now had a headache for 6 solid days that doesn't go away with aspirin.  Mild brain zaps, more like tingling in my limbs and forehead.  And very low energy, and more brain fog.  And I feel like I experience every possible emotion every day!  And at random times. Last night, I decided that I was going too fast and wanted to go back up to 4 mgs.  The pills are hard to cut into anything but quarters, so I bought a syringe and today I dissolved one to get 4 mgs.  I have an appointment with the psychiatrist in 2 weeks and plan to stay on 4 mgs until then.

 

Indicates that Paxil is not going to let you go that easy. Are you feeling better taking 4mg Paxil? How long have you been taking it?

 

If I were you, I'd plan to stay at 4mg Paxil for quite a while, perhaps months, before trying to reduce again. Please read

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Why taper? Paper demonstrates importance of gradual change in plasma concentration

 

Tips for tapering off Paxil (paroxetine)

 

What times of day do you take your drugs? What is your daily symptom pattern? Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages.

 

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to StephanieHello: 4th attempt to get off Paxil

Thanks for the reply.  Today was the 3rd day taking 4 mgs of Paxil and I do feel better than I did at 2.5. My headache finally went away.  It's back now, but was gone for several hours so I take that as a good sign.  My mood has improved as well.  I have no plans to taper any lower for several weeks.  If I can start work again and maintain, then I will start to reduce again, probably to 3.5 mgs.  I am having a hard time dissolving the pills accurately because they are so tiny.  For 4, I found it best to cut in half and then use a knife to shave off some.  But I know that's not 100% accurate, so I am hoping to get a prescription at the end of next week for liquid Paxil.

 

Does anyone know if it's difficult to get liquid Paxil from a psychiatrist?  She did not mention it when I first met with her, so I'm hoping she will be able to write me a prescription to make tapering more accurate and easier to get to lower doses at a slow rate.

 

I'm feeling down that I am only at 4 mgs but I know that my body was telling me to slow down.  If I wasn't on Prozac, I'd be thrilled with a 60% reduction in 5 weeks.  But it seems that after all this weaning off Paxil will be great.... but then I remember I'm still on Prozac.  However, I do know that I would not be able to get down to a 60% reduction that quickly if I had not buffered it with the Prozac.  I guess the only thing I can do it to be patient and then when I am totally off the Paxil for a while symptom-free, to start tapering the Prozac very slowly.  

 

I have never lived my adult life without medicine and I honestly think I may be able to handle my anxiety without it, but I won't know until I am off all medicines for a while and give my system a chance to heal.  I know my mom did what she thought was best, I just can't help but wonder how my life would be different if I wasn't given it at such a young age when my brain was still developing.

On Paxil for 16 years

I am down to 4 mg from 10 mg in 5 weeks time.  Added 10 mgs of Prozac to ease the withdrawal symptoms

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On 7/10/2018 at 12:08 AM, StephanieHello said:

I know my mom did what she thought was best, I just can't help but wonder how my life would be different if I wasn't given it at such a young age when my brain was still developing.

 

Hey Stephanie, 

 

Welcome to the site. You might be able find ways to cope with the anxiety as an adult, there are lots of ideas if you look around this site. Another important thing is to listen to your body. 

 

I'm wondering the exact same thing. I was started on meds at 16 too, and now I'm 29. I believe that it caused me to miss out on a lot of normal things growing up, so I'm trying to come to terms with that now. I ended up in the "treatment-resistant" camp though and was put through a lot of med switching and med stacking before deciding to quit. Hopefully your withdrawal will be more straightforward. It's wild though, how what I want to do with my life now is so different than what I wanted to do with my life before. One thing is that I didn't want to have kids when I was on the four meds, because I thought they'd just be a nuisance and I didn't want them to inherit my misery anyway. However, once I got down to one med, I did want kids, and now I think that it would be beautiful to have a family. I'm freaking out though because my life is nowhere near set up for that. It also takes all of my energy just to get to work on time. Do you have children?

 

Best wishes,

Marmot

2004: Clonazepam and Celexa. 2005 - 2006: Effexor, then increased to high dose, then switched to Valproate and Seroquel. 2007: Wellbutrin + Strattera + Celexa. 2007 - 2008: Wellbutrin + Adderall + Paxil. 2008 - 2012: Wellbutrin + occasional SSRIs when I had worsened "depression", which happened around 4 times, usually after CT of WB. 2012 - 2014: WB + Sertraline, then WB + Pristiq (awful W/D) then WB + rTMS, then ketamine. 2014 - 2016: Wellbutrin 200 mg + Abilify 4 mg + Adderall 20-40 mg + Cipralex 20 mg. Oct 2016: "Tapered" Cipralex, felt outrageously anxious, irritable. Dec 2016: "Tapered" Adderall, then felt depressed, hopeless, fatigued.  Feb 6 2017: reinstated 20 mg Adderall. Mar 2017: switched to Vyvanse, upped to 30 mg. May - Aug 2017: "Tapered" Vyvanse + Abilify to zero. Oct 25, 2017: Wellbutrin from 200 to 100 mg. Sep 10, 2018:  Wellbutrin from 90 to 60 mg. Oct 29, 2018: WB from 60 to 50 mg. Dec 19, 2018: WB from 50 to 45 mg. Apr 15, 2019: WB 41 mg. May 14, 2019: WB 37 mg. Jun 8, 2019: WB 33 mg. Jul 22: WB 30 mg, then down by around 10% per month. Aug 2020: 0

 

Working hard to take my life back. Anything I say here is as a friend or peer supporter; it is not medical advice.

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5 hours ago, Marmot said:

 

Hey Stephanie, 

 

Welcome to the site. You might be able find ways to cope with the anxiety as an adult, there are lots of ideas if you look around this site. Another important thing is to listen to your body. 

 

I'm wondering the exact same thing. I was started on meds at 16 too, and now I'm 29. I believe that it caused me to miss out on a lot of normal things growing up, so I'm trying to come to terms with that now. I ended up in the "treatment-resistant" camp though and was put through a lot of med switching and med stacking before deciding to quit. Hopefully your withdrawal will be more straightforward. It's wild though, how what I want to do with my life now is so different than what I wanted to do with my life before. One thing is that I didn't want to have kids when I was on the four meds, because I thought they'd just be a nuisance and I didn't want them to inherit my misery anyway. However, once I got down to one med, I did want kids, and now I think that it would be beautiful to have a family. I'm freaking out though because my life is nowhere near set up for that. It also takes all of my energy just to get to work on time. Do you have children?

 

Best wishes,

Marmot

Thank you! I have had very little anxiety since starting the tapering.... but I also am not having any stressful situations in my life.  The real test will be when I start working again.  

 

I just turned 31, so similar situations.  Yours does sound more complicated than mine, simply because of more meds.  Hopefully time will heal and you will feel better soon.  Can I ask why you take Adderall?  I take Ritalin as needed because I have what is basically a mild form of Narcolepsy and it works as a stimulant.  It sometimes make me anxious, but usually not, as long as I eat so I don't get jittery.  I've heard pros and cons about Ritalin vs. Adderal.  

 

I don't have kids... I am single and think it would be terribly hard to be a single mom.  I've just starting toying with the idea of fostering, but it would be a while from now as I am in a year long lease in a 1 bedroom and I would need to complete all the classes and home study first.  And definitely don't know if I 'd have enough energy to do that plus work full time.

 

Have you found eating healthy makes a big difference?  I've added in green smoothies daily but I hate cooking so I also eat a lot of processed foods.  

On Paxil for 16 years

I am down to 4 mg from 10 mg in 5 weeks time.  Added 10 mgs of Prozac to ease the withdrawal symptoms

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Just wondering if anyone has noticed a difference when going from the generic to brand name of Paxil.  I got a liquid Paxil yesterday (yeah!) to start tapering more accurately.  But I've always been on the generic pills so am hoping that won't make a difference.  I'm just glad to have liquid to make it easier to micro taper!

On Paxil for 16 years

I am down to 4 mg from 10 mg in 5 weeks time.  Added 10 mgs of Prozac to ease the withdrawal symptoms

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Some members have reported problems switching from tablets to liquid.  We suggest a gradual crossover.  

 

Week 1  3/4 dose tablet, 1/4 dose liquid

Week 2  1/2 dose tablet, 1/2 dose liquid

Week 3  1/4 dose tablet,  3/4 dose liquid

Week 4   all liquid

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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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/13/2018 at 10:46 PM, StephanieHello said:

Thank you! I have had very little anxiety since starting the tapering.... but I also am not having any stressful situations in my life.  The real test will be when I start working again.  

 

I just turned 31, so similar situations.  Yours does sound more complicated than mine, simply because of more meds.  Hopefully time will heal and you will feel better soon.  Can I ask why you take Adderall?  I take Ritalin as needed because I have what is basically a mild form of Narcolepsy and it works as a stimulant.  It sometimes make me anxious, but usually not, as long as I eat so I don't get jittery.  I've heard pros and cons about Ritalin vs. Adderal.  

 

I don't have kids... I am single and think it would be terribly hard to be a single mom.  I've just starting toying with the idea of fostering, but it would be a while from now as I am in a year long lease in a 1 bedroom and I would need to complete all the classes and home study first.  And definitely don't know if I 'd have enough energy to do that plus work full time.

 

Have you found eating healthy makes a big difference?  I've added in green smoothies daily but I hate cooking so I also eat a lot of processed foods.  

 

Hello again Stephanie,

 

I've been meaning to write back for a long time, but it takes me forever to do things, sorry. That's a nice idea, fostering is really valuable. Lots of kids out there have difficult lives and need loving families.

 

Ya, working adds another layer of difficulty to this withdrawal thing for sure. Some workplaces can do a gradual return, mine is doing that for me right now. I'm two months in, and still not full-time yet. I took adderall when I was younger for "ADHD" or something, then I took it again most recently for the "treatment resistant depression"/or maybe it was for side effects of the other medications.

 

I can relate to not liking cooking. I've been tinkering with my diet for a long time now and still haven't figured it out. I've found that it definitely helped me, but that it was far from being a cure. The general helpful things I found were cutting out sugar (except for a few whole fruits a day) and removing all processed foods, increasing the vegetables a ton and increasing the fats a fair amount. I still crave sugar daily, so I don't know how long this will last 😣.

 

Looking forward to hearing how things go for you ❤️

Marmot

 

 

 

 

 

2004: Clonazepam and Celexa. 2005 - 2006: Effexor, then increased to high dose, then switched to Valproate and Seroquel. 2007: Wellbutrin + Strattera + Celexa. 2007 - 2008: Wellbutrin + Adderall + Paxil. 2008 - 2012: Wellbutrin + occasional SSRIs when I had worsened "depression", which happened around 4 times, usually after CT of WB. 2012 - 2014: WB + Sertraline, then WB + Pristiq (awful W/D) then WB + rTMS, then ketamine. 2014 - 2016: Wellbutrin 200 mg + Abilify 4 mg + Adderall 20-40 mg + Cipralex 20 mg. Oct 2016: "Tapered" Cipralex, felt outrageously anxious, irritable. Dec 2016: "Tapered" Adderall, then felt depressed, hopeless, fatigued.  Feb 6 2017: reinstated 20 mg Adderall. Mar 2017: switched to Vyvanse, upped to 30 mg. May - Aug 2017: "Tapered" Vyvanse + Abilify to zero. Oct 25, 2017: Wellbutrin from 200 to 100 mg. Sep 10, 2018:  Wellbutrin from 90 to 60 mg. Oct 29, 2018: WB from 60 to 50 mg. Dec 19, 2018: WB from 50 to 45 mg. Apr 15, 2019: WB 41 mg. May 14, 2019: WB 37 mg. Jun 8, 2019: WB 33 mg. Jul 22: WB 30 mg, then down by around 10% per month. Aug 2020: 0

 

Working hard to take my life back. Anything I say here is as a friend or peer supporter; it is not medical advice.

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