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PommesFrites: Introduction ~ Wanting to taper off 5 mg Prozac


PommesFrites

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Hi everyone. I found this forum through a link in Adele Framer's 2021 publication, What I have learnt from helping thousands of people taper off antidepressants and other psychotropic medications, which I cited in a paper I wrote for my psychopharmacology course in grad school. I'm currently pursing my master's degree in clinical mental health counseling, and I'm thankful to be able to join this forum.

 

As for my own meds, I've been taking a low dose of Prozac (fluoxetine) since January 2023, so for about 18 months at the time I'm writing this post. I started at 5 mg and took that for 60 days. Then I moved up to 10 mg and held steady on that dose for 14 months. As of four weeks ago (early May 2024), I'm now back down to 5 mg daily.

 

I don't have any history of taking psychotropic medications before this.

 

I was prescribed Prozac by a well-intentioned but misinformed provider who was trying to treat the symptoms I was presenting with at that time. Those circumstances have since resolved, and I no longer wish to be on Prozac, as there's no reason for me to stay on it. At my last check-in appointment, my provider gave me the following tapering schedule:

  1. Switch off between 5 mg and 10 mg every day for two weeks.
  2. Then, take 5 mg every day for two weeks. (<- at the time of writing, I'm currently at the end of these two weeks)
  3. Then, skip a day between doses (0 mg, 5 mg, 0 mg, 5 mg, etc.) for two weeks. (<- I now know this is a horrible idea, and I'm NOT going to do this)
  4. Then stop.

[Edited to add: I have had zero withdrawal symptoms over the past four weeks and am feeling absolutely fine. No increase in fatigue, anxiety, flu-like symptoms, or sleep disruption.]

 

I understand from the Adele's publication that skipping a dose is one of the absolute worst things a person can do, other than quitting cold turkey. I am really thankful I read that paper, because tomorrow was the day I was going to start skipping doses, per my provider's recommended schedule.

 

With all that out of the way, I am feeling super grateful yet also VERY overwhelmed with all the information on this site. I don't know what to read first, and I don't know how much applies to me given my low dosage and relatively short prescription duration.

 

Please help a lowly grad student whose brain is already at the bursting point with information due to school! What should I read? What is the best route for me to go, given that my Prozac dosage is quite low and I haven't been on it for that long?

 

I send my unyielding gratitude for any assistance that the kind members here might be able to provide. 🙏

Prozac: Jan 2023: 5 mg for 60 days • Mar 2023: 10 mg for 14 months • May 2024: 5 mg, current dosage and holding steady • Aug 2024: will begin tapering by 10%

Other meds/supplements: 81 mg aspirin, omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin B12, cal-mag

PommesFrites' introduction

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  • Administrator

Welcome @PommesFrites

That's a great article from Adele. She's an amazing woman who has positively impacted so many lives, including mine.

 

4 hours ago, PommesFrites said:
  • Switch off between 5 mg and 10 mg every day for two weeks.
  • Then, take 5 mg every day for two weeks. (<- at the time of writing, I'm currently at the end of these two weeks)

 

4 hours ago, PommesFrites said:

I have had zero withdrawal symptoms over the past four weeks and am feeling absolutely fine. No increase in fatigue, anxiety, flu-like symptoms, or sleep disruption.

 

WD symptoms can be delayed, especially with Prozac. Given the taper you've followed, I'd be pausing for a few months to make sure your body has adjusted ok.

 

A few months down the track, this is the approach to consider:

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage? The reductions should get smaller and smaller each month, for example: 10mg, 9mg, 8.1mg, 7.3mg etc. Importantly, if you develop unpleasant side effects from tapering, halt the taper, give yourself time to settle, and once stable, taper more slowly and by smaller amounts moving forward.

 

I find it handy to keep this at hand to reflect on: Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF) . WD symptoms are part of the process, so it's good to be informed about them.

 

4 hours ago, PommesFrites said:

I am feeling super grateful yet also VERY overwhelmed with all the information on this site.

We've tried to summarise the most helpful information on the home page - stuff to get you going. A few of my favourites:

The Brassmonkey Slide Method of Micro-tapering

Windows and waves pattern of stabilization

Emotional Spirals

Non-drug coping strategies

Melatonin for sleep

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


Magnesium and Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

 

Avoid alcohol.

Don't change the manufacturer of your AD.

This is your own Introduction topic.  Each member has only ONE Introduction topic.  Your own Introduction topic is the best place to ask questions and the place to journal your progress.  This keeps your history in one place and means you do not have to repeat your story. 

Once again, welcome to S.A., and sing out with any questions.

Emonda

Please don't send me PMs. I am not a doctor. My comments are based on my personal experience with ADs and tapering. Consult your doctor about your own medical decisions.

Start of taper: Jan ’22 Vortioxetine 15mg, 

End year 1: 4.5mg, 

End year 2: 2.38mg, 

Year 3: 19 Jan 2.33mg, 26 Jan 2.28mg, 2 Feb 2.24mg, 8 Feb 2.19mg, 29 Feb 2.15mg, 7 Mar 2.10mg, 14 Mar 2.06mg, 21 Mar 1.99mg, 10 Apr 1.95mg, 17 Apr 1.91mg, 24 Apr 1.87mg, 1 May 1.83mg, 23 May 1.80mg, 30 May 1.76mg, 8 Jun 1.72mg, 13 Jun 1.66mg, 3 Jul 1.62mg, 10 Jul 1.58mg, 17 Jul 1.54mg

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Hello and thank you, so much for the warm welcome, @Emonda!

 

9 hours ago, Emonda said:

WD symptoms can be delayed, especially with Prozac. Given the taper you've followed, I'd be pausing for a few months to make sure your body has adjusted ok.

 

Thank you for this; it's reassuring to read. I will hold steady at 5 mg for a few months and then follow the 10% tapering approach. I will also make sure to stick with the same manufacturer.

 

9 hours ago, Emonda said:

 

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


Magnesium and Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

 

Avoid alcohol.

 

Absolutely — I don't drink alcohol anyway, as I never really developed a taste or liking for it.

 

I do already take omega-3s and a cal-mag supplement, so it's heartening to see that those can be helpful during this process. :)

 

Again, thank you. I will take my time reading through the resources you linked to and will come back here to this thread with any questions that arise. I appreciate the time and effort you took to write such a thoughtful reply, Emonda!

Prozac: Jan 2023: 5 mg for 60 days • Mar 2023: 10 mg for 14 months • May 2024: 5 mg, current dosage and holding steady • Aug 2024: will begin tapering by 10%

Other meds/supplements: 81 mg aspirin, omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin B12, cal-mag

PommesFrites' introduction

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Hello, I'm just checking in: week five of tapering off 10 mg Prozac, and week three of holding steady on 5 mg until at least August.

 

@Emonda, the PDF checklist of withdrawal symptoms you linked to has been very helpful and comforting because it lets me know exactly to expect and/or what would be considered normal.

 

I have been checking for WD symptoms every day over the past week. Out of the entire list, I have only been feeling mild jitters (on a 0-10 scale, maybe a 3). They are likely exacerbated by the fact that I just ended one summer course (for grad school) last Friday and began a new one on Monday (yesterday, at the time of this writing). It's normal for me to feel a slightly elevated level of stress/anxiety during the first week of a new class. I normally don't feel jittery, though, so I'm assuming that's a WD symptom from the Prozac.

 

To deal with the jitters, I have been allowing my body to move more. It wants to. That feels correct and helpful. I've been going on walks and doing a bit more resistance training (nothing extreme or high-intensity, just a few more minutes of my regular exercises).

 

Overall, I'm doing well. Thanks for reading. ❤️

Prozac: Jan 2023: 5 mg for 60 days • Mar 2023: 10 mg for 14 months • May 2024: 5 mg, current dosage and holding steady • Aug 2024: will begin tapering by 10%

Other meds/supplements: 81 mg aspirin, omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin B12, cal-mag

PommesFrites' introduction

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Hello everyone, I'm checking in at week 4 of holding steady on 5 mg Prozac. Overall, things are going very well. The mild jitters I had last week have gone away completely.

 

This past week, I have noticed two new WD symptoms:

  • I am feeling slightly more sensitive to stuff in general, both from a sensory (light/sound) and emotional perspective. It's not debilitating, just a step above where I usually am. It feels like my nervous system is a bit sensitized.
  • I have felt mildly "waterlogged" (perfect descriptor on the PDF checklist) and kind of balloon-headed for a few days. Again, not debilitating; no vertigo or balance problems; just a slightly odd feeling.

Mood, sleep, concentration, memory, and anxiety levels have all been excellent. No further symptoms to report.

 

Thanks for reading, and I hope everyone is finding a few moments of peace, wherever you are.

Prozac: Jan 2023: 5 mg for 60 days • Mar 2023: 10 mg for 14 months • May 2024: 5 mg, current dosage and holding steady • Aug 2024: will begin tapering by 10%

Other meds/supplements: 81 mg aspirin, omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin B12, cal-mag

PommesFrites' introduction

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  • Administrator

Sounding promising, @PommesFrites

 

Continue to be patient, and keep us posted.

Please don't send me PMs. I am not a doctor. My comments are based on my personal experience with ADs and tapering. Consult your doctor about your own medical decisions.

Start of taper: Jan ’22 Vortioxetine 15mg, 

End year 1: 4.5mg, 

End year 2: 2.38mg, 

Year 3: 19 Jan 2.33mg, 26 Jan 2.28mg, 2 Feb 2.24mg, 8 Feb 2.19mg, 29 Feb 2.15mg, 7 Mar 2.10mg, 14 Mar 2.06mg, 21 Mar 1.99mg, 10 Apr 1.95mg, 17 Apr 1.91mg, 24 Apr 1.87mg, 1 May 1.83mg, 23 May 1.80mg, 30 May 1.76mg, 8 Jun 1.72mg, 13 Jun 1.66mg, 3 Jul 1.62mg, 10 Jul 1.58mg, 17 Jul 1.54mg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Greetings, all. I am checking in after finishing week 5 of holding steady on 5 mg Prozac until at least August.

 

My only WD symptom this past week was sleep disturbances (waking up too early), but that could be easily explained by the fact that I'm in a very stressful segment of grad school at the moment, with multiple long research papers due. Things should ease up one week from now, so I'll have clearer discernment at that point of WD symptoms vs. temporary stress.

 

I've had no other noticeable symptoms and am feeling very stabilized overall.

 

Thank you for reading! Wishing everyone peace and respite.

Prozac: Jan 2023: 5 mg for 60 days • Mar 2023: 10 mg for 14 months • May 2024: 5 mg, current dosage and holding steady • Aug 2024: will begin tapering by 10%

Other meds/supplements: 81 mg aspirin, omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin B12, cal-mag

PommesFrites' introduction

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Hello all, checking in after finishing week 6 of holding steady on 5 mg Prozac until at least August.

 

My stress level has eased up significantly compared to last week. However, I caught a terrible cold two days ago, likely exacerbated by last week's stress levels as well as my current position in my menstrual cycle (decreased immune system response in the late luteal phase). This cold has been fast and furious, with each phase of symptoms (sore throat, sinus congestion, coughing) appearing quite suddenly and ratcheting up to 11* before disappearing just as quickly. Multiple Covid tests have been negative.

 

I am feeling better today but still not yet back to 100% yet. This cold has been all the more strange due to the fact that I legitimately cannot remember the last time I was sick... maybe 2019? It was before the pandemic. Occasionally my husband brings home a cold from work, but I always seem to fight those off with zero symptoms.

 

I do not think my current cold has anything to do with my tapering off Prozac, but of course I am open to being enlightened!

 

I have no other WD symptoms to report.

 

Thank you for reading, and I wish everyone continued good health, peace, and positive outcomes.

 

*Anyone else a Christopher Guest fan? Lol.

Prozac: Jan 2023: 5 mg for 60 days • Mar 2023: 10 mg for 14 months • May 2024: 5 mg, current dosage and holding steady • Aug 2024: will begin tapering by 10%

Other meds/supplements: 81 mg aspirin, omega-3, vitamin D, vitamin B12, cal-mag

PommesFrites' introduction

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