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TaperCaper: Intro to my Olanzapine taper


TaperCaper

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Status:

Current Dose: 2.14 mg = 21.4 mL (3.6 mL Reduce)

Starting next 5% reduction; increasing frequency to weekly.

If 5% weekly reductions are tolerable, increase to 10% weekly reduction.

If 10% weekly reductions are tolerable, continue until the end of taper.

 

Story:

I started taking Olanzapine for:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Psychomotor Agitation

PTSD / C-PTSD

Insomnia

Nausea

Lack of Appetite

ARFID (Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder)

Bruxism

 

While Olanzapine does help with a lot of these symptoms, I no longer wanted to rely on it.

I had two previously terrible withdrawal experiences trying to quit cold turkey from 10 mg and 2.5 mg. 

It took these terrible withdrawals to realize I would need to taper. 

My stabilization at 2.5 mg has still resulted in mild tardive dyskinesia, akathisia, tics, and tremor.

I believe my previous cold turkey attempts have made these things worse than if I had started with a taper to begin with.

I am not happy about these things, but I have found a way to live with them and hope it will get better as I get off.

I am back in weekly Therapy which helps.

I have a life partner that provides physical/emotional support.

I have a plan and I just need to stay the course and see it through.

I think the hardest part about this has been accepting that you have to start and maintain such a long journey.

So far I’ve been very lucky that my reductions have not resulted in withdrawals.

I hope I can maintain this for further, larger, and more frequent cuts.

Someone in the Facebook group was able to do 10% every 10 days… perhaps a bit too ambitious, but I won’t know until I try.

Just trying to stay alert and prepared for if/when I push it too much, and being OK with having to scale back the amount/speed of the cuts.

I am extremely grateful to the people who have successfully done this before me, both on here and in the Facebook group.

hayduke stands out as someone that really helped make me feel confident in the Water Taper.

My hope is that I can put all the information and links that I’ve used here to help confirm that my strategy is sound, and that it can help others in the future.

 

Complete History (each start/stop is a new line):

November 1 2023: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg/Fluoxetine 25 mg

November 8 2023: Stop Olanzapine/Fluoxetine

November 29 2023: Start Mirtazapine 7.5 mg

November 30 2023: Start Olanzapine 5 mg

December 21 2023: Start Mirtazapine 15 mg

December 27 2023: Stop Mirtazapine and Olanzapine

January 1 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg

February 2 2024: Start Olanzapine 10 mg

March 1 2024: Stop Olanzapine 10 mg

March 12 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg

March 30 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg

April 24 2024: Stop Olanzapine 2.5 mg

April 30 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg

May 1 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg

May 28 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg = 25 mL Water Taper: 5% every two weeks

 

Olanzapine 2.5 mg Water Taper:

Using 30 mL, 10 mL, and 1 mL Syringes with a 60 mL Amber Glass Jar and 2.5 mg Olanzapine Tablets

Use 30 mL Syringe to add 25 mL of water to Amber Glass Jar, then add a 2.5mg tablet

Now 2.5 mg = 25.0 mL

30 min in the fridge

Stir well with 1 mL Syringe

Use 30 mL Syringe for tens place

Use 10 mL Syringe for ones place

Use 1 mL Syringe for tenths place

For Example: 2.14 mg = 21.4 mL (3.6 mL Reduce)

Consume: 21.4 mL: 20 mL of 30 mL Syringe, 1 mL of 10 mL Syringe, 0.4 mL of 1 mL Syringe

OR

Take Away: 3.6 mL: 3 mL of 10 mL Syringe, 0.6 of 1 mL Syringe

And consume the remaining.

 

To Calculate Doses:

https://reversepsychiatry.org

2.50 Start

End 0.05

Taper Percent: 5

Decimal Precision: 2

Shift decimal point one place to the right for dose in liquid mL

For example: 2.50 mg is 25.0 mL

Can also use Dose Calculator-Final.xlsx from the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/449194779623649

Files > Dose Calculator-Final.xlsx

I added columns for Dose (mL) and Reduce (mL)

 

Supplies:

2 oz Amber Glass Jars with Lids, Bumobum 3 pack Small Jars with White Labels & Inner Liners, 60 ml: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09ZP6WY25 

12 Pack Plastic 30ml Syringes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CJT8DWLN 

12 Pack 10ml/cc Plastic Syringe: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CJHKT2S6 

12 Pack of 1ml Plastic Syringes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CJHR16QF 

 

Sources:

Facebook Group: Olanzapine/ Zyprexa tapering support: https://www.facebook.com/groups/449194779623649

Files > Dose Calculator-Final.xlsx

I added columns for Dose (mL) and Reduce (mL)

 

“I am down to 0.66mg using the water taper with next to no withdrawal symptoms. Dropping 5% every two weeks.

I started at 2.5mg.

I make a water solution using 25ml of water and a 2.5mg pill so that 10ml = 1mg. I use a 10ml syringe for the .6 part of the dose so take 6ml of the solution to equal 0.6mg of medication and then I use a 1ml syringe to measure the 0.06 part so I take 0.6ml of the solution to equal that part.”

 

How To Taper Off Of Olanzapine, Fluoxetine, ect. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRDKvxZsgoo 

 

hayduke: coming off olanzapine / Zyprexa: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/forums/topic/20131-hayduke-coming-off-olanzapine-zyprexa/


Tips for tapering off Zyprexa (olanzapine): https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/forums/topic/3743-tips-for-tapering-off-zyprexa-olanzapine/

November 1 2023: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg/Fluoxetine 25 mg, November 8 2023: Stop Olanzapine/Fluoxetine

November 29 2023: Start Mirtazapine 7.5 mg, November 30 2023: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, December 21 2023: Start Mirtazapine 15 mg

December 27 2023: Stop Mirtazapine and Olanzapine

January 1 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, February 2 2024: Start Olanzapine 10 mg

March 1 2024: Stop Olanzapine 10 mg, March 12 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, March 30 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg

April 24 2024: Stop Olanzapine 2.5 mg, April 30 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, May 1 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg

May 28 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg = 25 mL Water Taper: 5% every two weeks

Current Dose: 2.14 mg = 21.4 mL (3.6 mL Reduce)

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  • Moderator

Hi @TaperCaper, and welcome to SA!  We are a community of volunteers providing peer support in the tapering of psychiatric medications and their associated withdrawal syndromes. Thank you for completing your drug signature- do keep it updated as you progress!

 

It sounds like you have done your research, and have a very sound plan.  As you have undoubtedly discovered, we advocate for a taper of no more than 10% of your current dose every four weeks, also known as hyperbolic tapering, in order to minimize withdrawal symptoms. 

 

My only concern is that you are experiencing some concerning physical symptoms- the mild tardive dyskinesia, akathisia, tics and tremor.  You may wish to consider holding for a while, right where you are, to see if these settle.  Maybe a month or more.  You are correct- your previous cold turkey stops, along with the drug and dose changes you have experienced since November of last year, are likely contributing.  What your nervous system likely needs now is stability before proceeding with a taper plan- even one that is hyperbolic.  Withdrawal symptoms do have a tendency to get worse and worse if we are moving too quickly.  Slow and cautious is the way!

 

Keep it Simple, Keep it Slow, Keep it Stable

 

If you haven't started already, I would recommend keeping a symptom journal.  It is really helpful in identifying those moments when you are moving to fast.  And helping you remember that better times are just around the corner when you're having a bad day.  

 

Here's some information on how these drugs remodel our brains- this will help you understand why I am so focussed on moving VERY slowly lol:

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

What is happening in your brain?

 

You can expect to have good days and bad days along the way.  This is normal for those tapering from psychiatric meds, and is known as the windows and waves pattern of stabilization.  Journaling your symptoms help you see this more clearly.  Read more here:

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

I'm not sure if you're taking any supplements, but I want to caution you that it is not uncommon to experience hypersensitivity to medications, supplements and even foods while in withdrawal.  If you introduce anything new, start with a low dose to see how it goes.  Here on SA, we only recommend two supplements- magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids.  That being said, I'm a good example of that hypersensitivity- magnesium is actually very activating for me.  When I take it, I wake up every 15 minutes all night long.  So obviously, I've abandoned that!

 

It sounds like you have good support, and you've incorporated therapy into your recovery schedule.  There are a few other things that do tend to be helpful while dealing with withdrawal- I'll give you some links to check out at your leisure:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

Easing your way into meditation for a stressed-out nervous system

Music for self-care: calms hyperalertness, anxiety, aids relaxation and sleep

"Change the channel" - dealing with cognitive symptoms

Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems

 

Overall, it sounds like you're in a good place, and my only recommendation would be to consider holding for a while to let your nervous system settle, and then keep a symptom journal as you progress.  Do keep us posted- this is your introduction page, and you can post updates, questions, etc here.  Explore the forum, and engage with other members if you wish.  Sometimes it's helpful to make some connections here to help you through the more challenging times.  And most of all, keep the faith- it is a crazy long journey, and I know that can be disheartening.  But you're not in it alone!   

1995- 2007- On and off multiple antidepressants (Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, Wellbutrin, escitalopram). Memory poor- can’t remember dates. Always tapered fast or CT.  2007- tapered Wellbutrin, zopiclone and escitalopram over one month to get pregnant.  Withdrawal hell for many years.

2009- Daughter born 🥰 Post partum depression/psychosis- no meds taken.

2016- Back on escitalopram due to job change/anxiety

2022- Severe covid infection- Diagnosed with long covid 08/22.

2023- 01/23- Long term disability approved for long covid.  Started taper under MD advice from 20mg: 11/23- 15mg. 2024- March-10mg. Started low dose naltrexone for long covid-5mg- terrible reaction, reduced to 0.5mg.  April- 10mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 1- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 15- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN.  June 12- 8.5mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN.  July 8- Brassmonkey micro taper started.  8.4mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN.  July 15- 8.3mg esc, 1.5mg LDN.  July 18 8.3mg esc, 2.0mg LDN

 

Supplements/other meds: Vitamin D, B12, Claritin

 

I am not a doctor.  I don't even play one on TV.  This is not medical advice, but based on personal experience.  Please consult a medical professional.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Is olanzapine a wafer?

Escitalopram  approximately 2012 to March 31st 2023 20mg cold turkey.

Back on to escitalopram 10 mg approximately 3weeks later.

Switch to Fluoxetine approximately 3 weeks after that.

Come off Fluoxetine 20 mg 22nd of June cold turkey.

 

2018 Saphris 5mg, 2022 Nov upped to 15mg, March 2024 decreased to 10mg, in April started to drop by 2.5mg a month. Got to 2.5mg and went back up to 7.5mg due to possibly dopamine sensitivety or withdrawal but can be sure. Not sure if kindled or withdrawal of symptoms I'm getting.

 

Been on antipsychotics such as Serrequal, Abilify, Zyprexa, but can't remember dates.

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10 minutes ago, Hello20 said:

Is olanzapine a wafer?

 

Hey @Hello20 I am using standard tablets.

Orally disintegrating tablets (ODT) or wafers are available, but I have not used them.

November 1 2023: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg/Fluoxetine 25 mg, November 8 2023: Stop Olanzapine/Fluoxetine

November 29 2023: Start Mirtazapine 7.5 mg, November 30 2023: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, December 21 2023: Start Mirtazapine 15 mg

December 27 2023: Stop Mirtazapine and Olanzapine

January 1 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, February 2 2024: Start Olanzapine 10 mg

March 1 2024: Stop Olanzapine 10 mg, March 12 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, March 30 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg

April 24 2024: Stop Olanzapine 2.5 mg, April 30 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, May 1 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg

May 28 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg = 25 mL Water Taper: 5% every two weeks

Current Dose: 2.14 mg = 21.4 mL (3.6 mL Reduce)

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Can I ask how long it takes you to stabilise? 

Escitalopram  approximately 2012 to March 31st 2023 20mg cold turkey.

Back on to escitalopram 10 mg approximately 3weeks later.

Switch to Fluoxetine approximately 3 weeks after that.

Come off Fluoxetine 20 mg 22nd of June cold turkey.

 

2018 Saphris 5mg, 2022 Nov upped to 15mg, March 2024 decreased to 10mg, in April started to drop by 2.5mg a month. Got to 2.5mg and went back up to 7.5mg due to possibly dopamine sensitivety or withdrawal but can be sure. Not sure if kindled or withdrawal of symptoms I'm getting.

 

Been on antipsychotics such as Serrequal, Abilify, Zyprexa, but can't remember dates.

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9 minutes ago, Hello20 said:

Can I ask how long it takes you to stabilise? 

 

2 weeks.

November 1 2023: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg/Fluoxetine 25 mg, November 8 2023: Stop Olanzapine/Fluoxetine

November 29 2023: Start Mirtazapine 7.5 mg, November 30 2023: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, December 21 2023: Start Mirtazapine 15 mg

December 27 2023: Stop Mirtazapine and Olanzapine

January 1 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, February 2 2024: Start Olanzapine 10 mg

March 1 2024: Stop Olanzapine 10 mg, March 12 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, March 30 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg

April 24 2024: Stop Olanzapine 2.5 mg, April 30 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, May 1 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg

May 28 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg = 25 mL Water Taper: 5% every two weeks

Current Dose: 2.14 mg = 21.4 mL (3.6 mL Reduce)

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And then all symptoms are gone? Have you had insomnia for 2 weeks? I'm on Saphris and nearly everyone that tapers Saphris doesn't really come back to say how they did coming off it.

Escitalopram  approximately 2012 to March 31st 2023 20mg cold turkey.

Back on to escitalopram 10 mg approximately 3weeks later.

Switch to Fluoxetine approximately 3 weeks after that.

Come off Fluoxetine 20 mg 22nd of June cold turkey.

 

2018 Saphris 5mg, 2022 Nov upped to 15mg, March 2024 decreased to 10mg, in April started to drop by 2.5mg a month. Got to 2.5mg and went back up to 7.5mg due to possibly dopamine sensitivety or withdrawal but can be sure. Not sure if kindled or withdrawal of symptoms I'm getting.

 

Been on antipsychotics such as Serrequal, Abilify, Zyprexa, but can't remember dates.

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On 7/12/2024 at 12:29 AM, Hello20 said:

And then all symptoms are gone? Have you had insomnia for 2 weeks? I'm on Saphris and nearly everyone that tapers Saphris doesn't really come back to say how they did coming off it.

 

Withdrawal symptoms yes mostly. No insomnia.

November 1 2023: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg/Fluoxetine 25 mg, November 8 2023: Stop Olanzapine/Fluoxetine

November 29 2023: Start Mirtazapine 7.5 mg, November 30 2023: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, December 21 2023: Start Mirtazapine 15 mg

December 27 2023: Stop Mirtazapine and Olanzapine

January 1 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, February 2 2024: Start Olanzapine 10 mg

March 1 2024: Stop Olanzapine 10 mg, March 12 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, March 30 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg

April 24 2024: Stop Olanzapine 2.5 mg, April 30 2024: Start Olanzapine 5 mg, May 1 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg

May 28 2024: Start Olanzapine 2.5 mg = 25 mL Water Taper: 5% every two weeks

Current Dose: 2.14 mg = 21.4 mL (3.6 mL Reduce)

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