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Snail: Aropax / paroxetine withdrawal


Snail

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Hello, everyone! Nice to meet you :)

 

I have been taking Aropax (Paroxetine) since 1998. I can't believe it's been 20 years. Initially prescribed at 20mg, then increased to 40mg sometime in the mid 2000s. I always use the Aropax brand, as any generics give me brain zaps and withdrawal symptoms.

 

Had brief experiences in the mid 2000s with Prozac (Fluoxetine), Aurorix (Moclobemide) and Lexapro (Escitalopram), which were prescribed in place of Aropax, in an effort to avoid side effects I was experiencing. Little did I know at the time, that the reason I felt so awful when started on these medications was that I was in intense, cold turkey withdrawal from Aropax.

 

I literally feel like I don't know who I am without Aropax. I don't know what parts of my emotions and the way I think are me and what parts are the medication. I want to regain control of my weight and have my sex drive back. Initially, it was prescribed for depression when I was 18 years old. I'm 38 now. Over time I realised that if I forgot to take my dose for a day or two, I'd feel depressed, and experience brain zaps amongst other side effects. Doctors told me, and I thought, that this meant I needed the medication as I was clearly still very depressed. Over time I learned that the side effects I experienced were actually withdrawal. How ironic that the thing that SSRIs are prescribed for - depression - is one of the most prominent withdrawal symptoms!

 

So I've decided it is time for me to try to withdraw from Aropax slowly. When I asked my doctor about it, she immediately suggested another antidepressant I could take while withdrawing, Valdoxan (Agomelatine). After some thought, this made me feel a little angry. Whilst I understand she is trying to help, it seems that if I leave my fate in the hands of doctors, I will never be drug free!

 

Over August and September 2018, I have gradually reduced my dose from 40mg, by 2.5 - 5mg at a time, as I felt like I could tolerate it. I am now at 17.5mg and holding until I stabilise before continuing. I have had no brain zaps or depression so far. In the last week I've been feeling very tired and fatigued. I'm hoping this will lift soon, but only time will tell. I plan to taper the last 17.5mg much slower than I did the first 22.5mg, as I assume it will be much more difficult.

 

Love to all, 

Snail

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Snail: Aropax / paroxetine withdrawal
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Snail and welcome to SA,

 

I'm really pleased that you refused the Valdoxan.  It is very wise not to try and get off one drug using another as it can lead to a drug merry-go-round.  Adding in another drug also muddies the waters, meaning that you can experience withdrawal from the original drug and/or side effects and/or bad reaction to the new drug.  Because of there being 2 drugs in the mix you wouldn't know what was causing any issues.

 

It's good that you have been tapering but unfortunately going from 40mg to 17.5mg over a 2 month period is Turbo pace (referring to Turbo the movie:  a speed-obsessed snail).  SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the current dose followed by a hold of about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  This is because we become physiological dependent on the drug, not physically like caffeine or nicotine.  Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

The tiredness and fatigue are most likely withdrawal symptoms.  Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist.  If these are the only symptoms you are experiencing you have been very fortunate.  However withdrawal symptoms can be delayed and might catch up with you, even if you start tapering using SA's recommended method.  If the symptoms are bearable the suggestion would be to hold for at least 2 months, 3 or 4 months would be better, to allow your brain a chance to catch up.  If the symptoms are unbearable or worsen you could make a tiny increase in your dose.  Please read Post #1 of this topic which also relates to updosing:  About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms  The idea of updoing/reinstating isn't to get rid of withdrawal symptoms completely but to bring them to a bearable level.

 

Tips for tapering off Paxil (paroxetine)

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

This is your own Intro topic where you can ask questions about your own situation and journal your progress.  There are many existing topics on this site.  You can either use the site search function (top right) or use a search engine and add survivingantidepressants.org to the search term.

 

* NO LONGER ACTIVE on SA *

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi again,

 

I forgot to ask you to create your drug signature.  Please keep it simple, no diagnoses or symptoms.

 

Details for the last 2 years:  dates, ALL drugs, doses

Summary for older than 2 years:  years, ALL drugs

 

Please remember to update it whenever you make a change.  This means that we can see your history at a glance.  Thank you.  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

* NO LONGER ACTIVE on SA *

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Snail,

 

Chessie has given you some wonderful information. I just wanted to chime in to welcome you here.

 

I'm also dealing with Paxil and our stories are really similar, down to our ages, even. I look forward to sharing our journeys of learning "who we are" off Paxil. 


Weclome. : )

 

2020: After 18+ years (entire adult life) on Paxil, a dangerous doctor-led "taper" in 2015, and four years tapering off the last 1 mg thanks to SA and the Brassmonkey slide, 

I AM COMPLETELY FREE OF PAXIL! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Forever.

 

2021: Began conservative, proper, CNS-respecting taper of Zoloft, led by the only expert on me -- me. Making own liquid. 5-10% plus holds.

2022: Holding on Zoloft for now. Current dose 47 mg. Hanging in, hanging on. Severe protracted PAWS, windows and waves. While I may not be doing "a lot" by outside standards, things are graaaaadually getting better

 

Yoga (gentle to medium); walks; daily breath practice; nutrition, fruits/veg; nature; water; EastEnders (lol); practicing self-compassion, self-care; boundaries; connection; allowing feelings; t r u s t ing that I, too, will heal. (--> may need to be reminded of this.)

"You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story." - Baylissa

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Hi ChessieCat,

 

Another Aussie! Hooray!

 

Yes, the reasons you stated are precisely why I don't want to use another drug. It's hard enough knowing what's what without confusing things even more!

 

I love your Turbo the snail reference, thank you :D

 

I do feel lucky that the tiredness and fatigue are the only withdrawal symptoms I'm experiencing so far. I will definitely be holding at my current dose. Thanks for all the links, I'll read those :)

 

PS My signature is already done.

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  • Moderator Emeritus
1 minute ago, Snail said:

PS My signature is already done.

 

Thanks.  The funny thing is I did see the snail pic and the link to Intro but it didn't register that you had created your signature.  I'll blame it on withdrawal!

 

I was just being super-efficient.  No.  It was just automatic trying to get a new member set up.

 

3 minutes ago, Snail said:

I do feel lucky that the tiredness and fatigue are the only withdrawal symptoms I'm experiencing so far. I will definitely be holding at my current dose.

 

If you do start getting added symptoms it is better to updose by a tiny amount as soon as they happen.

* NO LONGER ACTIVE on SA *

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

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2 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

 

Thanks.  The funny thing is I did see the snail pic and the link to Intro but it didn't register that you had created your signature.  I'll blame it on withdrawal!

 

I was just being super-efficient.  No.  It was just automatic trying to get a new member set up.

 

Hahaha no problem! 

4 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

If you do start getting added symptoms it is better to updose by a tiny amount as soon as they happen.

 

Thank you, I will be ready to do that!

Is there any negative effect of updosing?

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  • Moderator Emeritus
7 minutes ago, Snail said:

Is there any negative effect of updosing?

 

Usually only if you updose by too much.  Our brain adapts to not getting as much of the drug during the time our dose has been lower but we don't know how much it has adapted so it is better to start with a tiny amount (of course it depends on the dose and drug you are on, but even 0.25mg can help in some situations).  If after 1 week you find that the symptoms are still unbearable you can increase by a tiny bit more.  It is better to err on the side of caution and increase by small amounts and slowly instead of risking taking too much.  Once we experience withdrawal symptoms our CNS can become sensitised.

 

It's also a good idea to:

 

Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable


Keep Notes on Paper

Rate Symptoms Daily to Check Patterns and Progress

 

This topic has links to a variety of formats for you to use to note your symptoms:  Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms

* NO LONGER ACTIVE on SA *

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

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I took Aropax for a year or so. God awful and didn't do anything for me. Doctor switched me to Effexor XR which was a massive improvement. From what i have read Paroxatine (Aropax) is the hardest to withdrawal with Effexor coming in second.

Paroxatine - 2004-2006

Effexor XR 75mg 2006 - 2016 (Discontinued Feb 2016) - Withdrawal for 6 months.

Effexor XR 75mg Re-instated June 2017 (Discontinued Dec 2017)

Effexor XR 2-3 mg Re-instated March 10 2018 - 1 day (Didn't work)

Effexor XR 2mg Reinstated (Again) May 11 2018. 6 Beads

July 2018 - 0.0mg of Effexor. Zilch

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  • Moderator Emeritus

You're very welcome.  I hope you start to feel relief soon.  The dose increase you have decided on seems reasonable considering that you were on 40mg 2 months ago.

 

Please note that it takes about 4 days for a dose change to get to full level in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.  You will need to be patient and not panic and updose too soon, which is what some members do when they don't get immediate relief.  Please keep daily symptom notes on paper.

 

Please update your signature with the date and new dose.  And let us know how you are going.  If you run into difficulties please check in with us before changing your dose.  It's important not to make too many dose changes in a short period of time because the brain likes consistency.  If your symptoms don't improve please post your daily symptoms pattern notes so we can to try and work out what might be the best thing to do.

* NO LONGER ACTIVE on SA *

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus
1 minute ago, Lloyd said:

From what i have read Paroxatine (Aropax) is the hardest to withdrawal with Effexor coming in second.

 

Yes, it may be more difficult to get off some antidepressants, but if you taper carefully then you have every chance of getting off successfully.

* NO LONGER ACTIVE on SA *

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

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On 10/3/2018 at 7:17 AM, Snail said:

Over August and September 2018, I have gradually reduced my dose from 40mg, by 2.5 - 5mg at a time, as I felt like I could tolerate it. I am now at 17.5mg and holding until I stabilise before continuing. I have had no brain zaps or depression so far. In the last week I've been feeling very tired and fatigued. I'm hoping this will lift soon, but only time will tell. I plan to taper the last 17.5mg much slower than I did the first 22.5mg, as I assume it will be much more difficult.

 

I was on Paroxetine for 17 years, dropping from 20 to 10 mg after eight years, from 10 to 5 mg after eight years, and from 5 mg to nothing after a year.

 

Withdrawal lasted a solid two years thereafter. Anxiety was the worst part of it, anxiety with comorbid insomnia. For all I know, I'm still in withdrawal, although I sleep fairly well and fear less.

 

I tried a fair amount of supplements to curb symptoms. There are countless opinions as to what works and what does not. I recommend you keep a journal of what you take and effects you observe. All the while, it is entirely possible that the only thing that will make you feel better is time, itself.

 

So whatever became of this depression you were diagnosed with?

Began in 1998 at 20mg/day. Dropped from 20 to 10mg/day around 2006. Dropped from 10 to 5mg/day in June of 2014. Dropped from 5 to 0mg/day in June of 2015. Rough times, indeed.

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1 hour ago, Trichotomous said:

 

I was on Paroxetine for 17 years, dropping from 20 to 10 mg after eight years, from 10 to 5 mg after eight years, and from 5 mg to nothing after a year.

 

Withdrawal lasted a solid two years thereafter. Anxiety was the worst part of it, anxiety with comorbid insomnia. For all I know, I'm still in withdrawal, although I sleep fairly well and fear less.

 

I'm really happy to hear you're doing better these days!

 

1 hour ago, Trichotomous said:

I tried a fair amount of supplements to curb symptoms. There are countless opinions as to what works and what does not. I recommend you keep a journal of what you take and effects you observe. All the while, it is entirely possible that the only thing that will make you feel better is time, itself.

 

Were there any supplements in particular that helped you?

 

1 hour ago, Trichotomous said:

So whatever became of this depression you were diagnosed with?

 

The depression was and is real. It took me a long time to realise what the cause of my depression was, and an even longer time to come to terms with, and deal with the cause. I see a psychologist when I need to.

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16 hours ago, Snail said:

Were there any supplements in particular that helped you?

 

Moderator note: Please see next post with reminder about supplements. 

 

DHEA helps the most. Bear in mind that my thing is anxiety. I never researched its effect on depression, though others certainly have. I'm not sure young women should take it; men and post-menopausal women may benefit the most. Extremely low doses seem effective with young men. Some studies concluded there is no effect variance by sex, some do. Clearly, more research could be done, but no one makes mountains of money off DHEA right now.

 

By extremely low doses, I am describing 2.5, 5, 10, or 12.5 mg—taking larger tablets and halving or quartering them. Smart to start very, very low.

 

Regular exercise is important in the fight against both anxiety and depression. To this end, DHEA and magnesium are helpful. While DHEA doesn't pack on muscle or make you stronger by itself, it increases energy levels and promotes healing—if combined with magnesium. Together, they set the stage, but it's entirely up to you to put on a good show with regular exercise.

Edited by SkyBlue
mod note

Began in 1998 at 20mg/day. Dropped from 20 to 10mg/day around 2006. Dropped from 10 to 5mg/day in June of 2014. Dropped from 5 to 0mg/day in June of 2015. Rough times, indeed.

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  • Moderator Emeritus
2 hours ago, Trichotomous said:

Regular exercise is important

 

Hi T, 

 

A reminder that here on SA we do not recommend any supplements beyond magnesium and fish oil. Everyone here is extremely sensitized and some supplements, and even vigorous exercise, sadly, can make this worse. Many do best with gentle exercise (walks, yoga, etc), and everyone needs to find that balance for themselves.

 

I want to clarify for anyone reading this that supplement mileage may vary--keep it simple, and listen to your own body.

 

2020: After 18+ years (entire adult life) on Paxil, a dangerous doctor-led "taper" in 2015, and four years tapering off the last 1 mg thanks to SA and the Brassmonkey slide, 

I AM COMPLETELY FREE OF PAXIL! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Forever.

 

2021: Began conservative, proper, CNS-respecting taper of Zoloft, led by the only expert on me -- me. Making own liquid. 5-10% plus holds.

2022: Holding on Zoloft for now. Current dose 47 mg. Hanging in, hanging on. Severe protracted PAWS, windows and waves. While I may not be doing "a lot" by outside standards, things are graaaaadually getting better

 

Yoga (gentle to medium); walks; daily breath practice; nutrition, fruits/veg; nature; water; EastEnders (lol); practicing self-compassion, self-care; boundaries; connection; allowing feelings; t r u s t ing that I, too, will heal. (--> may need to be reminded of this.)

"You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story." - Baylissa

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Trichotomous,

 

That drug is a steroid hormone, not to mention a controlled substance in Australia.

 

It might not be a good idea for you to recommend this to people.

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Oh, rest assured that I will never recommend anything to anyone here ever again.

Began in 1998 at 20mg/day. Dropped from 20 to 10mg/day around 2006. Dropped from 10 to 5mg/day in June of 2014. Dropped from 5 to 0mg/day in June of 2015. Rough times, indeed.

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Hey Snail,

welcome fellow Aussie!!!

I’m another long time user of Aropax and was put on it at the age of 18 years old.

Pleae be careful with your tapering, slow is the best way to go.

1995 started Paxil 20mg slowly increasing to 50mg until 2014

-2014 I decided to tapper myself not knowing how too and crashed , DR added 50mg Seraquel

-2015 tried tapering again and crashed

 

Started Tapering Both drugs at the same time 6% per month doing daily micro-taper 

Guided by Mark Horowitz

24/09/23  14.47mg Seroquel.  16.19mg Paxil 

27/11/23.  12.13mg. Seroquel.   13.85mg Paxil

 

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  • Moderator

Before this escalates any more with the snarky comments I would like to remind people that it is perfectly fine to mention that something has helped you personally, but we don't want people making direct recommendations of for any drug or supplement.  Each persons situation is so individual and the affects of various drugs is so unpredictable it isn't a good idea.  Besides, non of us are medical professionals and can get into a lot of trouble for making recommendations.  Many of the drugs that get talked about are controlled by national laws and some are just plain illegal.  I would also like to point out that here at SA making recommendations for drugs is grounds for getting a warning point as is making snarky comments to other members or moderators.

Edited by brassmonkey

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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