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MedFree75: venlafaxine low dosage stabilizement before WD


MedFree75

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I would really appreciate your comments concerning my situation. I have always stopped AD (Escitalopram) too quickly simply because of lacking knowledge in the previous years. Now I may be a bit smarter. Doctors always say it's the underlying disease coming back. It seems that I don't benefit from SSRI/SNRI anymore, at least I'm not willing to try anything anymore, I just want to get out of the current poison (Venlafaxine) in a reasonable time. Mainly SSRI was described to anxiety in a difficult life situation.

 

Symptoms: Main concern is a pressure type of feeling in my head (starts in the morning) which started after stopping Escitalopram abruptly in 2021 after feeling really sick on the medication for 4 weeks. I have also some inner restlesness but not akathisia and occasional anxiety. The symptoms have got a bit better but some drugs (Seronil) seemed to make them worse and was discontinued. I may be on a protracted withdrawal from Escitalopram but I'm not sure. At the moment I don't actually know what Venlafaxine is doing, in a way it might have lowered the symptoms but days vary - not feeling stable. I think my central nervous system is a bit shaky at the moment and I really would like to have some suggestions/comments that am I going to the right direction if I try to stabilize on a small amount of Venlafaxine (12.5-37.5 mg) for some months before WD? I didn't want to start this drug but it just happened and that's done, can't go back.

 

Sleeping aids: Melatonin, Magnesium and L-Teanin for the last 3 months (sleeping 3-6 h/night)
Used to take sleeping pills (Triptyl, Surmontil, Mirtazapine and Benzos) occasionally but built tolerance
and stopped them. I have never been addicted to above meds.

My AD history:
Escitalopram 10 mg, Apr 2013 - Feb 2016 & Nov 2016 - Oct 2020
Escitalopram 10 mg, May 2021 tried reinstatement 4 weeks -> stopped abruptly
After 4 weeks tried (Escitalopram 5 mg) reinstatement -> helped a little
Seronil (Prozac) 5-10 mg Oct - Nov 2021 -> not successful
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Dec 9 2021 - Jan 11 2022 -> 75 mg, Jan 11 2022 - Feb 8 2022
Venlafaxine XR 62.5 mg, Feb 9 2022 - Feb 18 2022 -> 50 mg, Feb 19-25 2022
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Feb 26 2022 - trying to stabilize on this before WD

Mar 11 50 mg; Apr 13 62.5 mg - big mistake; May 3 56.25 mg; May 13 53.125 mg; May 23 50 mg - trying to hold

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to MedFree75: Venlafaxine low dosage stabilizement before WD

(I wanted to add this to the beginning and sorry about my rusty English.)

 

Hi everyone,

 

My journey with AD medication started in 2013 and at that time I didn’t know anything about them and I was neither told anything about the possible long-term side effects. I just continued using them and they certainly helped me in a tough life situation but afterwards I regret ever starting these, I would have preferred to deal the situation with other methods. Now I think that I want to get rid of these permanently, hopefully with the help from people in this forum who have won their battle or are still struggling.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
Resized font

My AD history:
Escitalopram 10 mg, Apr 2013 - Feb 2016 & Nov 2016 - Oct 2020
Escitalopram 10 mg, May 2021 tried reinstatement 4 weeks -> stopped abruptly
After 4 weeks tried (Escitalopram 5 mg) reinstatement -> helped a little
Seronil (Prozac) 5-10 mg Oct - Nov 2021 -> not successful
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Dec 9 2021 - Jan 11 2022 -> 75 mg, Jan 11 2022 - Feb 8 2022
Venlafaxine XR 62.5 mg, Feb 9 2022 - Feb 18 2022 -> 50 mg, Feb 19-25 2022
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Feb 26 2022 - trying to stabilize on this before WD

Mar 11 50 mg; Apr 13 62.5 mg - big mistake; May 3 56.25 mg; May 13 53.125 mg; May 23 50 mg - trying to hold

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a volunteer-run community of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  From what you describe, my guess is that your nervous system became sensitized from repeatedly going on and off SSRI drugs, and then you had adverse reactions to Lexapro, and Prozac.  

 

On 3/2/2022 at 3:47 AM, MedFree75 said:

I think my central nervous system is a bit shaky at the moment and I really would like to have some suggestions/comments that am I going to the right direction if I try to stabilize on a small amount of Venlafaxine (12.5-37.5 mg) for some months before WD?

I agree with you - I'm guessing that your nervous system is sensitized and destabilized at the time, and would benefit from stabilizing on your current Venlafaxine dose for a while before you do any more tapering.  You have had a lot of drug changes in the past several years, and your system is probably craving stability, so that your brain can catch up and find equilibrium.  I would suggest staying on the 37.5 mg of Venlafaxine XR for a while, at least 2 or 3 months, if not longer, until you feel better.  Then, I would suggest doing a very gradual taper.  I will go into this more later in the post. 

 

Thank you for giving us your drug history in your signature. 

 

Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.   This explains why we get symptoms from going off of these medications, and why it's so important to taper slowly and carefully, and be very cautious about changing our doses: 

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

Video on Recovery from Psych Drugs

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

 

Tapering is best done extremely slowly, and we generally taper by 10% of the current dose no more than once every 4 weeks, so that the reduction becomes exponentially smaller.

 

 Why Taper by 10% of my Dosage  

 

In your case, since you've had many drug changes, I would suggest an even slower and gentler method of tapering called the Brass Monkey Slide method of micro tapering.  This is described below: 

 

Brassmonkey Slide Method of Micro Tapering

 

Tips for Tapering Venlafaxine

 

Here is a link with checklists of common WD symptoms: 

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen Withdrawal Symptom Checklists

 

 

Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 

 

Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

 

 

We don't suggest many supplements, but 2 that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil. Here are the links for info about those. It is suggested to add one at a time, and start with a low dose to see how it affects you. 


Magnesium

Omega 3 Fish Oil

 

I know there is quite a lot for you to digest here.  Take you time, and let us know if you have any questions.  We look forward to hearing back from you soon.  Hang in there, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you will get better.  

Please do not private message me.  Only tag me for urgent questions about tapering and reinstating - thank you.  

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, extended release vitamin C, melatonin 2 mg

 

Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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Many thanks for your reply. I have been feeling quite bad the last few days, crying and having suicidal thoughts - which I had also occasionally on the higher dose. I’m thinking should I go back to 50 mg, if I came down too fast but going up and down is also not a good idea. I don’t really know since my condition has not improved much at any point on this medication, only a few better days here and there. CT also came to my mind because I don’t know is the medication doing anything good or stabilizing ever, but CT might not be a good idea in any case.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
Resized font

My AD history:
Escitalopram 10 mg, Apr 2013 - Feb 2016 & Nov 2016 - Oct 2020
Escitalopram 10 mg, May 2021 tried reinstatement 4 weeks -> stopped abruptly
After 4 weeks tried (Escitalopram 5 mg) reinstatement -> helped a little
Seronil (Prozac) 5-10 mg Oct - Nov 2021 -> not successful
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Dec 9 2021 - Jan 11 2022 -> 75 mg, Jan 11 2022 - Feb 8 2022
Venlafaxine XR 62.5 mg, Feb 9 2022 - Feb 18 2022 -> 50 mg, Feb 19-25 2022
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Feb 26 2022 - trying to stabilize on this before WD

Mar 11 50 mg; Apr 13 62.5 mg - big mistake; May 3 56.25 mg; May 13 53.125 mg; May 23 50 mg - trying to hold

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  • Moderator Emeritus
14 minutes ago, MedFree75 said:

but CT might not be a good idea in any case.

 

Cold Turkey and Too-Fast Tapers

* 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 got it, thanks.

My AD history:
Escitalopram 10 mg, Apr 2013 - Feb 2016 & Nov 2016 - Oct 2020
Escitalopram 10 mg, May 2021 tried reinstatement 4 weeks -> stopped abruptly
After 4 weeks tried (Escitalopram 5 mg) reinstatement -> helped a little
Seronil (Prozac) 5-10 mg Oct - Nov 2021 -> not successful
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Dec 9 2021 - Jan 11 2022 -> 75 mg, Jan 11 2022 - Feb 8 2022
Venlafaxine XR 62.5 mg, Feb 9 2022 - Feb 18 2022 -> 50 mg, Feb 19-25 2022
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Feb 26 2022 - trying to stabilize on this before WD

Mar 11 50 mg; Apr 13 62.5 mg - big mistake; May 3 56.25 mg; May 13 53.125 mg; May 23 50 mg - trying to hold

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  • Moderator Emeritus
On 3/9/2022 at 4:40 AM, MedFree75 said:

I have been feeling quite bad the last few days, crying and having suicidal thoughts - which I had also occasionally on the higher dose. I’m thinking should I go back to 50 mg, if I came down too fast but going up and down is also not a good idea.

I agree, going up and down is not a good idea.  It tends to further confuse and destabilize our nervous systems, and make the situation worse.  Just hang in there, and give your system a chance to stabilize on the dose you are now on - 37.5 mg.  Please read this link:  

 

Keep It Simple, Slow, and Stable

 

Realize that thoughts are just thoughts, and we don't have to act on them.  Try not to get too anxious about suicidal thoughts - this is common in WD.  

 

Suicidal Thoughts

Please do not private message me.  Only tag me for urgent questions about tapering and reinstating - thank you.  

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, extended release vitamin C, melatonin 2 mg

 

Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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  • 4 months later...

It has been a while, please see my updated drug signature. Sorry to say that I just couldn’t hold myself not messing around with the dosage. I feel so stupid and don’t want to make any more mistakes further on. I updosed from 37,5 mg eventually to 62,5 mg because I couldn’t stand the increased head pressure which was almost unbearable especially when walking. Anyway, 62,5 mg seemed to be too much and I started to have more suicidal thoughts, crying spells. It seems that I need to learn everything the hard way. Now I’m back on 50 mg for almost 8 weeks. I’m trying to hold. I take my drug within breakfast around 7:30 am. At the moment (was also before) my worst symptom is an increasing pressure (got worse during this week) inside/top of my head when trying to fall asleep, eventually I do sleep but I wake usually in 2-3 h and the head starts feeling again like it's being pumped up with air and occasionally it also radiates to my neck and spine causing more stiffness. Some amount of neck stiffness has been from the start of Venlafaxine. Because of the head pressure I can't feel tiredness during the day, sometimes it eases a little bit and I get a few yawns but most of the day I feel like my head is jammed and this is causing panic thoughts.

 

Increased symptoms after dropping back to 50 mg:

 

- Falling to sleep seems harder because of head sensations

- Head feels like it’s squeezed or in a vise

- A bit of pins and needles in the head

- Increased anxiety at night when waking, daytime better

- Slightly burning forearms but not bad

- More neck stiffness

 

Could this still be WD from the higher dose or am I experiencing something else? Tolerance withdrawal or kindling or just bad reactions to the drug/still too high dose? I know there might not be a strict answer to this.

 

My symptoms are manageable but most of the days are really hard because of the increased head sensations. The intensity of the symptoms also varies a bit daily. Every kind of stimulation makes my head feel worse. I have to be really cautious with exercise etc.

 

I’m wondering that I might still be on protracted WD from Lexapro since I stopped it abruptly and especially the head sensations from that time have been hanging around with me to this day. Although they just feel a bit different on Venlafaxine but are still really unpleasant. If I would have been smart I should have said NO to Venlafaxine from day 1. The damage was done already with Lexapro and Venlafaxine has not made things much better. I've read some articles that if a person is on a protracted AD withdrawal changing drugs usually just make things worse. If this is the case with me I have a long road to travel.

 

Daily routines: Light exercise (nature walks, cycling and swimming when possible)

 

Sleeping: Around 3-5 h, sleeping aids Magnesium citrate 150 mg + B6 1,5 mg (in one pill) and Melatonin 1,9 mg

 

I know that jumping around with the dose just hurt me more and I deeply regret that, I’m so sorry. I'm a bit hopeless at the moment that I have messed up my system totally. I would be so thankful if you could comment my situation and suggest further guidelines which I’m willing to follow after making stupid decisions.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
Resized font

My AD history:
Escitalopram 10 mg, Apr 2013 - Feb 2016 & Nov 2016 - Oct 2020
Escitalopram 10 mg, May 2021 tried reinstatement 4 weeks -> stopped abruptly
After 4 weeks tried (Escitalopram 5 mg) reinstatement -> helped a little
Seronil (Prozac) 5-10 mg Oct - Nov 2021 -> not successful
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Dec 9 2021 - Jan 11 2022 -> 75 mg, Jan 11 2022 - Feb 8 2022
Venlafaxine XR 62.5 mg, Feb 9 2022 - Feb 18 2022 -> 50 mg, Feb 19-25 2022
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Feb 26 2022 - trying to stabilize on this before WD

Mar 11 50 mg; Apr 13 62.5 mg - big mistake; May 3 56.25 mg; May 13 53.125 mg; May 23 50 mg - trying to hold

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A small addition to the head matter, when I lay down and close my eyes I slowly feel the sleeping "mechanism" starting but instead getting sleepy I feel pain in the center top of my head and it feels like it's radiating somewhere around Hippocampus area. I know that sounds silly but I feel there is something trying to block natural sleep or there is too much damage. I had this similar type of feeling when I tried a too high dose of Prozac, decreasing helped. 

My AD history:
Escitalopram 10 mg, Apr 2013 - Feb 2016 & Nov 2016 - Oct 2020
Escitalopram 10 mg, May 2021 tried reinstatement 4 weeks -> stopped abruptly
After 4 weeks tried (Escitalopram 5 mg) reinstatement -> helped a little
Seronil (Prozac) 5-10 mg Oct - Nov 2021 -> not successful
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Dec 9 2021 - Jan 11 2022 -> 75 mg, Jan 11 2022 - Feb 8 2022
Venlafaxine XR 62.5 mg, Feb 9 2022 - Feb 18 2022 -> 50 mg, Feb 19-25 2022
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Feb 26 2022 - trying to stabilize on this before WD

Mar 11 50 mg; Apr 13 62.5 mg - big mistake; May 3 56.25 mg; May 13 53.125 mg; May 23 50 mg - trying to hold

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Hi, I just came across your post randomly and I want to say don’t be sorry or feel stupid for updosing in a time of desperation. None of this is your fault, we are all just trying to get better, feel better. I’ve considered it myself many, many times. And most people on this site have done exactly what you have. I have no suggestions for you but can definitely offer my support from one sufferer to another ❤️♥️

2000-2018 150-200mg Sertraline and Vyvanse

2018- vyvanse 60mg to 0 over 6mo. 200mg Sertraline to 150mg. 2019- 150mg Sertraline to 100mg. Early 2021- 100mg to 87.5, two weeks later 87.5 to 75mg, 1.25-4mg bromazepam PRN. Mid 2021 - Feb 2022 taper 2.5%-5% 75mg to 50mg. March 2022 bromazepam for 3 weeks. May 9th 2022 started Propranolol, 10mg in the morning and 10mg in the evening. July 2022- off propranolol Oct 2022- off birth control. Dec 2022- updose sertraline 100mg, benztropine 1mg and Ativan 1mg. March 2023- stop benztropine. May 2023 - ativan taper finished. May 2023 - updose Sertraline to 125mg added propranolol 40mg added Ativan 1mg. July 5- sertraline 112.5mg propranolol 60mg. By October off propranolol, Ativan and at 100mg Sertraline. Jan 2024 added Guanfacine.  Current meds: Guanfacine 3mg ER, Sertraline 100mg, B6, CoQ10, Magnesium Glycinate, prenatal, Benadryl as needed, folic acid 

 

 

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Many thanks for your kind words, sending hugs to you 🤗

My AD history:
Escitalopram 10 mg, Apr 2013 - Feb 2016 & Nov 2016 - Oct 2020
Escitalopram 10 mg, May 2021 tried reinstatement 4 weeks -> stopped abruptly
After 4 weeks tried (Escitalopram 5 mg) reinstatement -> helped a little
Seronil (Prozac) 5-10 mg Oct - Nov 2021 -> not successful
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Dec 9 2021 - Jan 11 2022 -> 75 mg, Jan 11 2022 - Feb 8 2022
Venlafaxine XR 62.5 mg, Feb 9 2022 - Feb 18 2022 -> 50 mg, Feb 19-25 2022
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Feb 26 2022 - trying to stabilize on this before WD

Mar 11 50 mg; Apr 13 62.5 mg - big mistake; May 3 56.25 mg; May 13 53.125 mg; May 23 50 mg - trying to hold

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to MedFree75: venlafaxine low dosage stabilizement before WD

Please reply soon if possible, thanks. I’m still holding 50 mg. My head feels like a brick, but I think the nerve pain on the right side of the head has gotten a bit better. Anyway stimulation makes the head worse. Especially TV and computer and even talking to someone, so I don’t do much that. When I try to fall asleep it feels like my scalp is being fired from the inside of my head, this hurts. But I still get sleep around 4 h. If I get too much stimulation the tiredness goes away. Could this just be my nervous system on overdrive? I can cope with the other symptoms which are mild compared to the head. I just hope my CNS can eventually handle this.

My AD history:
Escitalopram 10 mg, Apr 2013 - Feb 2016 & Nov 2016 - Oct 2020
Escitalopram 10 mg, May 2021 tried reinstatement 4 weeks -> stopped abruptly
After 4 weeks tried (Escitalopram 5 mg) reinstatement -> helped a little
Seronil (Prozac) 5-10 mg Oct - Nov 2021 -> not successful
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Dec 9 2021 - Jan 11 2022 -> 75 mg, Jan 11 2022 - Feb 8 2022
Venlafaxine XR 62.5 mg, Feb 9 2022 - Feb 18 2022 -> 50 mg, Feb 19-25 2022
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Feb 26 2022 - trying to stabilize on this before WD

Mar 11 50 mg; Apr 13 62.5 mg - big mistake; May 3 56.25 mg; May 13 53.125 mg; May 23 50 mg - trying to hold

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  • 1 month later...

I’m still holding 50 mg and going to keep it at least for one more month. I was thinking that when I start to taper, is it appropriate to mix granules and mini-tablets in one gelatin capsule? They are both XR version. It would be easier to take three mini-tablets (12,5 mg/each) and the rest as granules to achieve a 5 % drop for example. I would be thankful if someone could answer this question.

My AD history:
Escitalopram 10 mg, Apr 2013 - Feb 2016 & Nov 2016 - Oct 2020
Escitalopram 10 mg, May 2021 tried reinstatement 4 weeks -> stopped abruptly
After 4 weeks tried (Escitalopram 5 mg) reinstatement -> helped a little
Seronil (Prozac) 5-10 mg Oct - Nov 2021 -> not successful
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Dec 9 2021 - Jan 11 2022 -> 75 mg, Jan 11 2022 - Feb 8 2022
Venlafaxine XR 62.5 mg, Feb 9 2022 - Feb 18 2022 -> 50 mg, Feb 19-25 2022
Venlafaxine XR 37.5 mg, Feb 26 2022 - trying to stabilize on this before WD

Mar 11 50 mg; Apr 13 62.5 mg - big mistake; May 3 56.25 mg; May 13 53.125 mg; May 23 50 mg - trying to hold

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