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Hi I'm Erneebird. Tapering Effexor, Remeron, Ambien, Lamictal


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I've been on too many meds to remember for 25 years, original Dx Bipolar II with Rx 50 mg. Zoloft. I immediately became hyper manic. At the time, I didn't know that. I just thought it was a very nice feeling :) Eventual Dx BP II. Different doctors tried many meds, deciding I had ADD too. Became addicted to 90 mg. Adderall daily for 8 years. It usually got me up and to work no matter how I felt.


So now I'm 55, and after a rough period last year, including a hospitalization that included massive doses of Latuda (even though I've never had Psychotic behavior), I started w/ a new Dr. who has me on the Rxs in my tag line. In between, my temporary Hospital Dr. tried Saphris, Seroquel, Topamax, Trazodone, Geodon, Neurontin, some I can't even remember. All this in a 6 month period. My current Dr. has me on the meds in my intro.


So anyhoo, after researching extensively, I want to taper off all meds slowly to find a baseline. I'm not even sure if I'm Bipolar. Maybe just a naturally bubbly person with normal reactions to the bad things that happened to me, starting at an early age, and continuing throughout my life, due, in part, to choosing partners that fit into my skewed psychological belief system.

Before I found this site, I had already tapered from 150mg EffexorXR and 30mg Remeron. My doctor disapproves of the taper. She is rigid and controlling and won't listen, stating that she is the expert, and she'll fire me if I cross her :( .


With the Effexor, I originally took one granule out every day for 20 days. I also broke my Remeron up and have been taking 22.5 mg, and broke my Ambien (not CR) into 7.5mg. I thought I might be dying. Awful headache and severe body pain, extreme nausea, constant dry mouth, and dry, bleeding nose, racing heart, feeling out of breath, profuse sweating, no energy. I now realize I shouldn't have done all that at the same time, and even individual drugs need to be tapered more gradually.


I correctly assumed the Effexor was the major culprit, so I added back 10 granules, and finally felt good after 4 days. I left the Remeron since I was feeling ok. But the Ambien was still causing sleep-walking, sleep-eating, and sleep-texting. So I asked my Dr. if I could go back on Klonapin. (I had always taken 1mg K to sleep, but when I added the Remeron, I started R carb binging, and my Dr. said the K added to that, and switched the K to A. She grudgingly agreed to Effexor taper, but will only do it in 37.5 increments. I think I can granule my way around that. She said I didn't need to taper A. She was wrong. Last night was hell.


My plan is to increase the Ambien to 5mg., hold for a week, then 3.3 mg, hold another week, then 2.5 mg. for a week, then quit. I can't do that any slower because my Dr. won't prescribe A and K at the same time. So I'll just start the Klonapin now. I think it will help w/ Effexor and A w/d. Simultaneously, I will remove 2-3 granules, hold til I feel steady for a few days, then continue. I figure it will take 14-20 months.


I'm not sure what to do about the Remeron. I really want it gone, because I think it was the main factor in my 40 pound weight gain. I think I can taper it instead of the Effexor for one week per month? Also, am I correct in leaving the Lamictal for last, and just getting really good with a pill cutter? I hope this isn't too scattered to read, but I would appreciate advice because I DO NOT want to go through that again. Thanks!

Effexor 130 mg
Remeron 22.5 mg
Ambien 5 mg
Klonapin 1 mg
Lamictal 150mg
Fish Oil combined AHA, BHA 4000mg

Edited by Petu
Added paragraphs for readability
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Hello E,

Welcome to SA.

Glad/sorry you are here.lol

Someone should be along soon to answer your questions.

I just wanted to say hello, as I am also a current remeron user trying to get off!

Good Luck

April 2014 remeron 45mg.

June 2014 abilify 2.5 remeron wasn't working so abilify was then added

September 2014 woke up with anxiety x 100!!!!

Pdoc then took me from 45 to 7.5 within a month and took abilify from 2.5 to 0


Remeron 7.5

Vitamin d 5,000 iu taking for about 3 years

October 2014 added fish oil/omega 3 1000 mg per day

Levothyroxitine 100 10 years or so

Dec 2014 started tapering 10% every 10 days-no problems.

August 2015 down to 0.1 mg

Woke up with severe anxiety-sleep issues-racing thoughts-depression. 9/9/15 up dose 1 mg.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

That's a lot of drugs that you have had in a short space of time, plus trying to taper too there

is no wonder you have been feeling pretty rotten! I'm not sure I understand why you are switching to K from Ambien? 

Right now you need to hold everything for a good few months to allow your nervous system to stabilise. When you are

stable you can then start a slow taper off the meds. It will take a long time but will be worth it in the end. We recommend

tapering one drug at a time and starting with the anti depressant. Your effexor taper didn't seem to be very fast but cutting

the others  at the same time would have been too much for your body to handle. 


You are not alone with the bi-polar diagnosis after starting psych drugs, lots of us suddenly became manic after taking them

and were then labelled bi polar! 


I will post some links for you to topics that will help.  


Tapering multiple drugs http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2207-taking-multiple-psych-drugs-taper-the-antidepressant-first/


What is withdrawal syndrome? http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-withdrawal-syndrome/


The 3 KIS http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6632-the-rule-of-3kis-keep-it-simple-keep-it-slow-keep-it-stable/


I am sorry that you have been treated so badly by the ones who were supposed to help you. Things will get better but for now it is

important to keep things steady and let your body recover. 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.



Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014


Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 


My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33


Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible



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I feel your situation a little bit. I was also on a similar combo although, thank God, just for a year. (Effexor, Rivotril, Ambien). Sadly I did not find this website soon enough so I had to listen to my stupid doc who made huge mistakes of telling me to quit cold-turkey all of them (Benzo first just to make things even worse.) Anyway I survived by some kind of miracle so you will too, ESPECIALLY if you listen to these guys.


So just do what they say and read those articles!!!

1st short round: from 2012 april ~ july 

Sertraline 50mg with 1mg Larazepam fast wd few problems


2013 may - 2014 january:  75mg Effexor XR +  1mg Rivotril + 10mg Ambien(zolpidem)

2014 january ~ june :        150mg Effexor XR +  2mg Rivotril    cold turkeyed both almost at the same time (crazy wd of course)


two days after cold turkey of Effexor I started 10mg of Lexapro for around a month then did a fast taper (for some days took little Ambien to combat wd)


Reinstated to 1mg of Klonopin on 2015.04.23  took the 1mg total for 10 days.  I did in three divided doses 0.25 morning + 0.25 afternoon + 0.5 before sleep.  

Now: 1 mgs total K, divided into .75 night .25 day


Started taking 3mg Lamictal on 05.07...... Slowly tiltrated up to 6mg....

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to the forum.


I would add, read over all the materials in the Tapering section, the stuff pinned at the top and the links in those topics. Like mammaP said, right now you need to hold steady for a while and not try to cut anything (except maybe if you're having a lot of trouble with the Ambien as you describe, and if you do decide to reduce that, please do it very slowly). So this is a good time to just do the learning and get prepared, get supplies together, etc. so you can taper slowly and safely when the time comes.


As a rule, people who've been on multiple meds, who have been on them for a long period of time, and who are a little older in age, need to taper more slowly. This will be a multi-year project, but I guarantee, if you do it slowly enough to be safe, it will be worth it. 


I would be looking into finding a more supportive doc. Also, I have found that approaching health care people with "I would like to maintain on the lowest possible dose of the fewest possible meds, so let's reduce very cautiously and see how I do" works better than "I want to come off meds." They are aware of the long term health risks of taking more meds than necessary but they have all been trained to hear "I want to get off meds" as "I am crazy and you need to stop me now."


And on that last note, I highly recommend getting hold of a copy of Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, which explains how psychiatry got this way.


Again, welcome. I'm glad you're here. I've had a multi-decade multi-med history too, and I started my tapering when I was 55, so I can relate. I'm doing great now, have gotten so much of my innate personality and zest back and starting to get my brain back too, just getting down to much lower doses, and so far every indication is that I will eventually be off all meds.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.


Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 


I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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I suggest you look for another dr. The one you have sounds like a... Well, you fill in the blank.


Good luck on the taper :)

2005-Zoloft bad reaction.....2006-Lexepro......2012-Upped Lexepro.......2013-Upped Lexepro......2/2014- Attempted Taper Lexepro...2/2014- Updosed Lexepro.......3/2014-Ativan.....5/2014- CT switch from Lexpro to Effexor.....

5/2014-7/2014-Tapered Ativan from 1mg to .25mg.....6/2014-Bad reaction to Effexor........7/2014- Rapid taper Effexor every other day......7/5/2014- Off Effexor.......7/2014-12/2014 - Ativan .25mg.......12/25/2014 -Taper Ativan by 4% due to paradoxical reaction .24mg...11/18/2015-Taper Ativan 1% CURRENTLY ON: .2376mg Ativan taken in 6 .0396mg doses.

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