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Ren96: Paxil's effect on my life and how I'm doing now that I'm off it


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Hi. My story should maybe begin with med history I suppose. Back in 2017 I was hospitalized and put on trazadone, zoloft, and zyprexa. After only barely a year of this cocktail it was determined that I was too tired to function with trazadone and zyprexa caused an odd issue with blood sugar which required immediate discontinuation. After another year and a half of zoloft, I asked my PCP (primary care physician) to manage my meds and help me try something new. I was tired of driving to see my nurse practitioner, who formally managed them. My PCP suggested Paxil, and also placed me on imitrex for chronic migraines. She discontinued zoloft, she felt it was a low enough dose. Shocker. This was the end of January 2020, so covid was nearly upon us. After only one month of being on it she decided to bump it by 10mg, to 30mg. We also decided imitrex sucked so I got put on maxalt which I'm still on today. I felt as though it was helping me with irritability, which is a problem I've had for a long time. Paxil mellowed me out it seemed. It made me not really care much. All visits after February were done via zoom due to covid. In November of 2021 I was feeling at a wit's end with the increase in head pain frequency. Taking all 9 of your maxalts every month and having more migraines on top of it just sucked. I also was having more s******l ideations, I always have had passive ones but having more than usual was bothering me. She said she would add 10mg of amitriptyline because "it helps with migraines and mental health so it'll kill two birds with one stone". Well it seemed to help me sleep. However, I'd been slowly gaining weight while on paxil due to my low motivation and lack of caring... which I think amitriptyline just further encouraged. My pharmacist was a little concerned about the combination. She mentioned serotonin syndrome being a common issue, but my doctor said I'd be fine. 

Well I continued to just kinda suck things up, my fault, but I just really appreciated how chilled out I was. May 26th 2022 I go to my PCP in person because 1. I developed a twitch in my thumb, tendinitis from typing. 2. Because I finally got the courage to talk about my meds via pro con list. She determined the tendinitis, we got that fixed. However, when I wanted to address meds she actually cut me off and just started talking about my blood pressure and (obvious) 30 pound weight gain. This was the first time she's seen me since increasing the paxil, mind you. I understand her concern. My blood pressure was some kind of record high, I'll admit it was so high I couldn't believe it for my age. She said I needed to get blood work done asap and that after she looks at lab results THEN she will discuss meds. That Friday, may 27th I messaged her on mychart (she's nice about this) about my concern regarding med combination. I told her I was curious about whether paxil in combo with other meds could've been my reason for high blood pressure. She said "well, hold your paxil until you get your blood work and until I can get another blood pressure reading". LOL. I said sure thing, because what could ever go wrong. I got very sick, but got the labs done that next tuesday and sadly couldn't get my blood pressure done until that next Friday due to staffing issues at her clinic..I ended up having my work do it since we have nurses, and just messaged the bp read on mychart. Believe it or not my blood work was pretty emaculent. My blood pressure went down 30 points on systolic and 10 diastolic (idk if points if the right term) but still it was high. She messages me on Mychart that friday afternoon to say she got my results, and wanted me to continue "hold (not take) your paxil because I think it was affecting the blood pressure". Yay. She scheduled to see me June 10th to talk about a beta blocker if my blood pressure was still high. June 10th comes and she still wants me on a beta blocker, it's still high but going down slowly. I have tachycardia on top of it, so she was pretty concerned. I told her about my very horrible experience with paxil withdrawals, to which she said "you're the first to say that. I've never had a patient have a problem or get withdrawals from stopping paxil". So I said, well maybe I'm sensitive and reminded her about my zyprexa problem. I thought it kinda sucked to have her brush off my withdrawals that took two weeks to go away completely. =/ I ended up added omega 3 and magnesium to help with brain zaps, which actually helped me but I can't say how or why. She was fine with the new supplements and said I would now start atenolol (beta blocker). Scheduled me out to see her on June 24th. 

So I guess that's my story so far. My blood pressure is slowly but surely going down. I'm feeling more energy again, less headaches, less weird hyperthermia feeling, still some issues with motivation but still seeing small improvements. My concern is how my body will adjust to not having paxil in the long run. It very much wasn't good for me, and I feel bad for not getting it check out sooner but I really just didn't care enough at the time. It was kind of scary. I know CTing can have long term effects, but I also JUST started feeling somewhat normal again and don't want to go back to feeling addicted to paxil to ever return. I also just feel alone in this, if that makes sense?

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Ren96: Paxil's effect on my life and how I'm doing now that I'm off it
  • 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.  I'm sorry to hear that your doctor disrespected you by blowing off your concerns about withdrawal, and saying that you were the first person to say that you had Paxil withdrawals.  Unfortunately, we hear this type of thing quite a lot on this forum.  


Can you please give us specific information in your signature about your drug history for all drugs you are on and have been on, especially for the past 18-24 months?  It would be especially helpful to have the details of your drugs in a concise vertical list (no symptoms), only drug names, specific dates (as best you can say for example early March if you don't recall the day) and dosages of each medication decrease or increase.  Use this format:


Drug name: date, dose, date, dose, date, dose…

Drug name: date, dose, date, dose, date, dose…



Please read the link below for instructions.  This will allow us to give you the best guidance.  


How to List Drug History in Signature


Here is some important information about how these drugs actually work.  This explains why we get symptoms from going off of these medications too fast.


How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain


I've seen many people jump off psych drugs by a cold turkey or fast taper, and they are fine or OK, then they get hit with withdrawal 2 or 3 months later. And, often withdrawal can become protracted, and last for many months, even years.   If you wanted to, you could try to prevent this by going back on a small amount of Paxil, and then gradually tapering off of that in the future.  You may be one of the lucky ones that is fine, but you did mention you previously had a horrible Paxil withdrawal, so I have some concern.   The sooner you do reinstatement after quitting the drug, the better the chance that it will work.  


Going back on a small dose of your drug, which we call reinstatement, is best done very carefully.  This is temporary, and after stabilizing you would then taper gradually off of this.  There is some risk involved, and we need to see your complete drug history before we can suggest a good dose at which to reinstate.  Here is some information about reinstatement.  


About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms


Please think about this, and let us know what you decide to do.   

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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  • 1 month later...

Sorry I'm coming back to this late...

A quick update is I was put on atenolol due to Paxil majorly affecting my blood pressure. I could be on it indefinitely, or until my body regulates it on it's own again. I feel Baseline, stopped Paxil may 2022. While my moods kind of swing again (this is pre-paxil behavior but a bit better), I do have much more motivation and better work ethic. I care about things again. My blood pressure is improving daily, but atenolol is also helping. Weight isn't budging despite exercise and diet being good but I'm being patient as I only barely meet overweight bmi right now. I unfortunately can't get back on paxil due to the medical complications I had, it's just sad it went unchecked for so long. Partly my fault due to zoom doctor visits, I should've went in person so the blood pressure could've been caught early. 

No major issue from cold turkeying Paxil yet, just the withdrawals for 1-2 weeks as described earlier but i can't say I won't have a problem later. I am still worried but the improvements so far have me feeling slightly encouraged.


Diagnosis history:

BPD 2017, anxiety 2016, depression/dysthymia 2016, unspecified bipolar 2017 (removed late 2017). Migraines (2009), GERD (2016). High blood pressure 2022 (never had an issue with this until paxil.) 


medication history:

-Zyprexa unk dose start 2017 stopped 2018 due to medical complications from the med (blood sugar) comps went away after discontinuation.

-Trazadone unk dose started 2017 stopped late 2017 

-Zoloft .5mg started in 2017 stopped Jan 2020

-Paxil 10mg started Jan 2020

-Imitrex 5mg started Jan 2020 stopped Feb 2020

-Paxil 20mg started Feb 2020

-Maxalt 10mg started Feb 2020

-amitriptyline 10mg started nov 2021

-Maxalt 10mg Nov 2021

-discontinuation of Paxil may 2022 due to medical complications (blood pressure alarmingly high)

-Atenolol June 2022 for blood pressure management 


Current med list: atenolol 10mg (daily) amitriptyline 10mg (daily), Maxalt 10mg (as needed for migraines).  


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