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Devi514 New here and scared of tapering


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Hi all...


I am new here.  What brought me to this site is my recent decision to taper off of 5 mg escitalopram. (Lexapro).  I have been on almost exactly 2 years.


Some background:


I was on Effexor 75 mg from 2004-2006.  I was a teen at the time I was prescribed the drug.  I had no idea withdrawal symptoms were even a possibility, and my doctor had me taper very quickly... I think 2 weeks.  Long story short, I had a terrible time.  Crying spells, vomiting, horrible insomnia and developed panic attacks FOR YEARS.  I ended up starting to use lorazepam too often (to cope with withdrawal) and experiencing awful rebound anxiety in between doses.  I slowly stopped taking lorazepam in 2013.


To deal with the residual anxiety, I ended up agreeing to go on a low dose of Lexapro, as suggested by my doctor.  He suggested 10 mg, but I refused to go any higher than 5 mg.  5 mg worked well enough for 2 years, but I am tired a lot and I gained weight.  I want to get off of it.  I have been eating well and exercising regularly in preparation for this, but I am afraid it will be awful like the Effexor withdrawal.


I plan to taper over 4 to 6 weeks.


Does anyone have any advice for me?  I appreciate it. Thank you.

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Oh, we always have advice :). It would also be 4-6 weeks...drop your dose from 5 to 4.5mg for 4-6 weeks and see what happens. You had horrible symptoms because you dropped horribly fast. The pinned topics in the Tapering forum will give you more info. Good luck!

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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In 2008 I tried getting off of Effexor, tapering in 8 weeks, was fine-even felt great, for exactly 2 months when I was hit by very bad withdrawal. The next time I tapered I decided to reduce no more than 10-25% each cut and then wait until I felt OK before another drop. This second taper took me just shy of 4 years. I'm now 7 months into my post-taper and doing very well. Effexor is supposed to be one of the worst to get off of, but my experience on this site tells me they're all pretty awful. There is no fast way to get off of these drugs. Your taking 4-6 weeks this time rather than 2 will probably result in the same bad withdrawal-really no different than a cold turkey.  There's also no way to get off of these drugs without some suffering, but there's a world of difference between manageable and horrific withdrawal. I think that your being young will help and the fact that you're not on Effexor anymore, too. Is there a liquid form of your antidepressant? That would be a great help also, giving you an accuracy not everyone is able to have during tapering.   Weight gain is common with antidepressants. It becomes literally impossible to lose that type of weight no matter what you do. My friend was as skinny as a stick his entire life before Effexor. He suddenly became obese maybe a tear after starting Effexor and soon developed Diabetes. I'm not absolutely sure, but, as with all antidepressant side effects, your extra weight will disappear as you taper or soon after stopping.   

Sept 12th 1992-began taking Imipramine (50mgs) for panic attacks.

Stopped Imipramine after 4 months (cold turkey).

7 months later experienced "mysterious" bad flu-like symptoms, although, without upper respiratory problems or fever. Because of this and a day of panic attacks, was put on Prozac (20mgs?) for 2 months and then, when that didn't work-was put back on  Imipramine,  plus Xanax 1 mg (4Xdaily)-October 1993.

March 1999-switched from Imipramine (50mgs) to Celexa.

2008-switched to Pristiq for 3 months, then back to Effexor XR (after bad reaction to the Pristiq).

Sept 1st 2010-Switched from Effexor XR (75mgs) to Effexor Generic (solid form) in preparation for taper.

Nov 15th 2010-Began tapering from 75mgs Effexor Generic.

January 13th 2014-.06mgs

April 17th 2014-      .03mgs

May 11th 2014-       .02mgs

Ended taper October 31st 2014

Oct 4th 2015-11 months post taper and completely back to normal!

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Devi.


As you had severe withdrawal syndrome before, you would be wise to be very cautious in going off Lexapro.


See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? and Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)


You might consider a 5% taper rather than a 10% taper. It will take a long time to go off, much longer than 4-6 weeks, but may minimize withdrawal symptoms.


Is your doctor aware you had withdrawal syndrome when you went off Effexor? We'd love to hear details of your recovery from that.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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