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  1. Hi everyone, My story. I started at 300mgs of Zoloft about 2 years ago. I also take 5mgs of Remeron to sleep. I have gained 40 lbs since starting these medications. Yes, you read that right. A few months ago I decided to start tapering down under the supervision of my psychiatrist. We did this SLOWLY. About 25 mgs at a time. I would taper and then stay at that dosage for a month- sometimes a month 1/2. I have tried going cold turkey before and it was horrific. I usually had to be under supervision because i would try to commit suicide. DON'T go cold turkey. ever. My withdrawal symptoms then were pronounced: dizzy, electrical zaps in my face, suicidal thoughts. I am now at JUST 25mgs! I feel good. I realize now that my energy had been really low at that high of a dosage. So, yeah, I feel energetic. My appetite seems to be changing. I don't want to eat everything in sight all the time (just some of the time unfortunately, over the past few day my skin has been SUPER itchy, all over. At first I thought it was from my weight gain. Maybe my skin was just stretching? So I have been putting lotion on...to no avail. It's just occurred to be that this may be a withdrawal symptom. Also I want to hear about other experiences with weight gain from zoloft (the remeron definitely plays a part in this since it's known to affect your appetite) did you lose the weight once you went off?
  2. hi folks, I just joined this site. Hopefully I do this intro and advice request right! I'm on the timed released Efexor 75mg venlafaxine capsules made by Pfizer, taking one each morning AND I also take one 37.5mg tablet of immediate release venlafaxine each evening (tablets made by TEVA UK Ltd). I've been on venlafaxine since 2009. I would like to start weaning off them. Would it be sensible to start weaning off of the timed release capsule first (doing a 10% reduction by removing the appropriate amount of beads from the capsules every 4 weeks or so, depending on how I get on) and just keep taking the 37.5mg tablet every evening while I wean off the capsules? Or, should I wean off the immediate release tablets first and then begin weaning off the timed release capsules afterwards? I haven't tried to wean off the medication before. I'm in the UK. Cheers and thanks in advance for any help. Kaygee
  3. Hi, everyone. I'm new to this forum and so glad I found it because now I'm starting to understand what's wrong with me and that there are others like me. But I'm also horrified at the seriousness and uncertainness of all of this. I'm also kind of angry at myself for taking myself off of medication without knowing how to do it properly. My story is long, but just skip to the end for the question I have. See my signature for drug history. In July 2013, I took myself off of Wellbutrin and Seqroquel. The Wellbutrin i basically stopped cold turkey (I believe I cut my dose in half and took it for 1 week before I just stopped.) I didn't notice any withdrawal effects for the Wellbutrin. The Seroquel was hard to wean myself off of. At first I tried taking it every 2 days but had withdrawal symptoms (nausea, runny nose). So then over the next 6-7 weeks, I tried tapering it by cutting up the pills I had left. I started at 200mg, then took 150mg for 3 days, then 100mg for 2 weeks, 50mg for 2 weeks, 25mg for~2 weeks then stopped. Basically I reduced by 50% every 2 weeks, and I now realize I did it all wrong. About 2 months after my last dose, I awoke suddenly one night with severe nausea and then shaking, shortness of breath, stuffy nose and insomnia. (It is possible I was launched into panic by noticing initial symptoms and knowing that I had no one home to help me). Over the next days it felt like by chest and nasal passages/sinuses tightened up, making it feel very hard to breathe. I went to 2 doctors--1 gave me antibiotics with a diagnosis of possible mild bronchitis after hearing slight rattling in my lungs, and the other gave me a nasal steroid spray with a diagnosis of allergies after noticing a lot of fluid in my ears. Neither helped. Symptoms gradually improved (except for still feeling like I had bad allergies) from September 2013-December 2013, until they started getting worse mid-December. For a couple weeks I noticed I was getting sharp jolt-like chest pains. Then things got dramatically worse Christmas Eve. Again, it is possible anxiety launched my body into full-blown panic. After 24 hours of feeling like I couldn't breathe and sharp chest pains, I went to the ER. They thought it was basic anxiety and wanted to put me back on some kind of meds, but I refused, by this time with a suspicion my symptoms were related to the meds I was on and never wanting to take them again. Things were really bad (I hardly slept at all for a few weeks and felt like I couldn't breathe for months). I have been slowly recovering since my rebound symptoms in December 2013. I still feel bad, just less bad. My question is: after doing some reading (especially http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=cache:bYx3vNZH3IUJ:http://www.jptcp.com/cjcp_04-032_e69-r101631%2Btardive+insomnia&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&&ct=clnk ), it seems that rebound symptoms do not go away unless the original medication is restarted. After 1 1/2 years of being off the med(s), do I restart them and then taper off them correctly? Or would going back just mess with my system more and jeopardize the progress I have made? My deepest gratitude for anyone who can empathize or point me in the right direction. Peace to all of you.
  4. Hello I'm 31 I've been on celexa for 5 years and I am tapering off my 40 mg dose to a 20 mg dose. It has been two nights and I'm sweating and having horrid stomach cramps. I realize that's a big leap but I am so tired of being on this drug.
  5. Hi all, Bit of a long read- thanks if you read til the end- Where to start, part of me wants to cry just beginning. I wont as I am trying very hard to be positive these days. I am about to attempt to come off Pristiq (the devil drug) for the third time in 3.5 years. I have a long complex mental health history and apparently suffer from Post traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder- I am 23 and have had underlying depression from these things since approximately 5 years old. Although having these diagnoses', I never wanted to try anti depressants. In 2011, however, I was taken to the gp after being told I was causing too much heartache on my then partner. The Gp put me on 50mg of pristiq and after 2 weeks of no change (duh I have a mental past and need psychology not pills) I was then put on 100mg of Pristiq. Since then I have attempted to come off pristiq by halving the dosage then halving the 50mg dose and taking prozac and a low dose tranquilizer- experienced severe side effects- anxiety, confusion of both mind and body, aggression, headaches, dizziness,sweats, nausea, numbness of the face (left side in particular,) increased depression and the feeling of the room moving in and out. After this I went back to 100mg then tried a few months later to taper (50mg for first week again) substituting the prozac and tranq for valium at night thereafter, however after 2 weeks the same adverse reactions was put back to 100mg. Since then I have tried multiple other psychiatrists asking to discontinue Pristiq, however none were willing to do so, all of which told me I needed to be more 'mentally stable' before coming off the meds. Last year I experienced an incident which turned me back into a child and I have had to rebuild my entire life in one year-however the depression, anxiety, extreme aggression and agitation plus an included physical disability (now finally gone) has meant I have lost my job, my study plans, my animals wont come near me when I start to tear up as they are now scared of me (which is devastating for me as I was studying vet nursing and animal law) and finally, two days ago my partner of 2 years asked for a break, told me she has kissed someone else a few months ago and isn't sure if she can be with me anymore after how I made her feel through my aggression- I honestly believe the pristiq increased my anger levels. I have towered over my poor partner while she has been crying in a ball, SCREAMING at her telling her everything thats wrong with her and the whole world. And some I don't even remember. I spent an entire year tearing her down into nothing! I still love my partner(although an hurting about her kiss with someone else- she was going through a hard time, I was being so depressed I was entirely focused on myself- I actually said the words, I'm the one with depression, you're not allowed to cry) Thats not who I am- I truly believe its the damn pristiq ! I am a kind hearted girl who wants to change and save the world from all injustices, I try to live a life of compassion never cruelty- and I turned into a monster- I turned into who hurt me- I have had enough of this drug-I am finally living a life of positive thinking but this drug is underlying and if I don't take it at the same time every day I get dizzy, confused and cannot feel parts of my face (generally the left side.) After a recent recommendation I though I was going to get admitted to hospital to come off the drug, however I found out today this is not possible. So while my partner and I need time and space, I am in a relatively good frame of mine, I think its the time to come off the awful Pristiq! After reading everyone's topics on this forum I am so scared at how long it is going to take ! My heart is racing thinking about it. Sorry for the long intro I am lost and scared but staying hopeful regardless. I want the real me back
  6. I realized I posted this in the wrong place the first time. Sorry for the double post. I have been on some type of ssri since 1993. Yep almost 20 yrs. The longest of the meds being Effexor for 14 yrs. I decided to taper off of this evil medicine to stop a life time of eyeore like living. Yes Disneys eyeore. Slow and unemotional. I realize now I did many things wrong during this process. I started the two week taper on my doctors direction on December 20th 2011. Way to fast. I could barely function. Zaps, dizzy, nausea on and on. I truely thought I was dying from some horrible brain disorder. Several trips to ER cat scans blood work, heart eco, stress tests. U name it I was tested for it. After 4 months of agony to say it lightly phys doc decided to put me on lexxapro. You already know before I say it that it didn’t go well. I actually tapered off of it over a 5wk period. The doctors recommendation was to increase my dosage. Wrong answer. I have now been off of all meds since the end of July. I am still in major major withdrawl. I must be Hercules to endure this living hell. I have to stay positive about the positive outcome that might come. I have symptoms from the second I wake up until I go to bed. My family and lifestyle is in serious jeopardy if this doesn’t go away or at least decrease slightly. The only thing that helps my head is a steady stream of asperine. I realize aspirin is not good long term either. It is almost impossible to write down or even explain symptoms like my head is so fuzzy I can’t see straight. The medical community, naturopathic, main stream no one has a clue about ssri discontinuation syndrome. It is very disheartening to say the least. I’m not sure what I am asking for because there really seems to be no answers to when this will go away or subside if ever.
  7. Hello everyone. I'm on day 6 of my prescribed three week taper off of Effexor XR. I started out at 225 mg and the doctor instructed me to drop down to 150 mg for seven days and then to drop down to 75 mg for seven days and then discontinue use. Thus far, I've been doing okay, I guess, I am currently taking 150 mg before bed. I've been waking up at 5 a.m. like clockwork and am very drowsy at that time, as well as for the rest of the day. I cannot go back to sleep at that time and it takes me two hours to wake up enough to be able to drive to my work. As the days progress on the 150 mg dose, I've noticed an increase in forgetfulness, sleepiness, and a change in my emotions. During the daytime, I feel as though I have no emotions. I feel like a void. It's just nothing but feeling tired. No emotions. However, when evening rolls around, I will feel intense sadness, anger, or joy within minutes of each feeling. Last night, I felt absolutely intense sorrow for a friend's little boy who has leukemia. I cried harder than I've cried in days after reading the update regarding his status. Then, not even 15 minutes later, that feeling was over and I was laughing robustly at a joke my husband told the family. I feel like an utter train wreck just waiting to happen. I am scheduled to drop down to 75 mg tomorrow night and wanted to share my story with everyone here in hopes of getting some feedback regarding such a fast taper. I've been told by some caring folks in a support group on Facebook that I should post on this site as soon as possible in order to get that feedback. I would appreciate any advice or stories from you so I can understand what is happening to me, what I can do about it, and how I should proceed. My doctor is staunch about staying with this taper even though I have told him that I am a very, very sensitive person. I would and DO label myself as an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), which makes me believe that I may indeed not fare so well on such a fast taper. However, I should mention that the doctor is wanting me to start a sample pack of Viibryd tomorrow night, as well, to "bridge" medications. I'm hoping that this goes seamlessly, but that hope is diminishing as I speak with more people who have experienced withdrawing from Effexor. Thanks for reading my story. I hope that someone can identify with what I'm going through and be able to offer some advice. I hate to say this, but I really don't think my doctor understands how to properly taper someone such as myself (or maybe even anyone, for that matter) off of this medication.
  8. Hi all, I'm here to share my positive experience so far with tapering off 30mg Cymbalta. I reside in Australia where supply for me is prescribed in blister packs with one month supply per box and I've only been taking Cymbalta since April 2011. Initially I counted a few caps & found approx 300 beads in each 30mg cap so I started by removing 30 beads each day for ten days, then each ten days increasing the amount removed by 30 (100 day plan). My tapering plan has been more aggressive in timing than other research suggests & I've been lucky that this hasn't caused any ill effects (there are one or two days each week where I feel a bit dizzy / jetlagged but nothing debilitating). Also, I was not anal with the bead removal, some days the amount removed from each cap may have varied by 5 beads up or down. Once I got to the stage where I was removing half the beads & I only had a few caps left of my blister pack, I purchased some empty gelatin caps & started filling them each day using the beads I had saved from the previous daily removals & have continued with decreasing the amount by 30 beads every ten days. I'm currently down to an intake of 90 beads per day & I'm feeling good. Thanks to everyone else who shared their experiences that helped me to formulate my plan, good luck to everyone else who is in the process :-) Bead counting is laborious but it's worked for me so stick with it!
  9. I have been on Effexor tab for two years-- very low dose of 75mg daily. My doc agreed to let me start tapering off. Since I have 25 mg tabs I started by decreasing to 50mg for two weeks then 25 mg for two weeks and then discontinued. I feel really our of it, forgetful, easily angered and weepy. I am starting to think I may have tapered too abruptly? Could really use some advice thanks! Jerseygirl2014
  10. Hello! I have been around these different types of boards just as a 'viewer' and NEVER thought i'd join but this particular group seems to be the perfect type for me-highly researched, and wanting to take their own health back and into their own hands! My quick story: struggled with anxiety my whole life on and off. Especially health worrying and obsessing. This past summer it got really bad and I couldn't stop looking online about symptoms of this disease or that. Facebook didn't help. And by the end of this summer it snowballed into depression because I was just feeling hopeless and consumed with worry I stopped going to the gym and doing things that interested me (like cooking healthy foods, etc). Backtrack-for a YEAR my GP was trying to get me to go on lexapro or paxil and i kept saying 'no' - so he gave me xanax. So I was taking that (.25 mg) for about 6 months at night and it was keeping things at bay (until this summer). So I go and see at talk therapist, to talk about my 'health obsessions' and she mentions that Celexa would be the 'perfect' drug for me and she's seen people 'just like me' do great on it. So I start taking 10 mg I think end of Sept/beginning of October 2013..I was feeling OK on it but around the 4 week mark I started waking up in a complete panic, sweat and couldn't breathe. Then these panic attacks led to suicidal thoughts-I thought I was going crazy, I was not ME. So mid-october I go off of it cold turkey (only been on it about 6 weeks). Felt awful for a week, tried 5-HTP, Valerian Root..felt a little better but my therapist and those around me kept saying 'i needed something' and I had friends who had been on these meds and were 'feeling fabulous' So I thought maybe I just didn't find the right med. So I decided to see a psychiatrist this time. Beginning of November, I see a psych, does an hour evaluation, perscribes me effexor. Started at 37.5..5 days later, panic attack in the morning, a plan to kill myself. *NOTE* I NEVER HAD PANIC ATTACKS OR SUICIDAL THOUGHTS BEFORE THESE MEDS My Psych and Therapist tell me: 'you would've had these attacks anyway, nothing to do with the meds, up your dose' - so I up my dose and spend 4 days at a mental health clinic for 'anxiety and depression' - Then for the next month I upped my effexor dose to 150. For a couple weeks I felt agoraphobic and didn't want to leave my house. Turns out the effexor gave me really high BP so my dr has been weaning me off of this (which i'm happy about anyway because I don't want to be on this and i'm glad my BP is my 'excuse' for getting off of it) - so now i'm BACK on celexa, but this time 20 mg. I have NO panic attacks BUT I have horrendous nightmares. Once i'm done weaning off of effexor completely in the next week or so ( i'm going to split the 25mg in half and then i'm done doing this weekly). But my question is-do I stay on Celexa? Will Celexa actually 'retrain my brain' to be 'right?' (my friend's GP actually told her that). Or am I just prolonging the inevitable of relapsing and I should just go off of it now. I'm researching SAM-e. St. John's Wort. positives: my mood has improved on celexa, my anxiety is down to nothing, BUT I wake up exhausted from these dreams, i have diareah, (sorry if that's TMI), and my obsessions about health are just turning into obsessions about what these meds really do to your brain. I'm meditating now, reading about buddhism which is helping and I journal every night. THANK YOU if you read this-or even a little bit-is it me or is it the meds that caused these attacks? Am I going crazy? I kind of miss the 'old me' looking back that was a worried anxiety mess-because atleast i was ME. Hindsight's 20/20 I suppose. Wishing you all well. I look forward to making some friends and hearing from you guys.
  11. Thank you for the "tapering Pristiq" topic and the extensive information and updates and also the many links to gain more info. After reading this I have formulated a plan for attempting a wean off my current high dose of 100mg Pristiq which I take in addition to Welbutrin 300mg. (For those unaware that is a &@$*#% ton of SNRI on board!!) My exact plan was to start by transitioning my body to taking multiple smaller doses of the 100mg cut up without changing the dose then to begin the taper VERY SLOWLY I am currently at 75mg taken as three doses of 25mg (three pieces of a tablet I carefully quarter with a pill cutter). I have set a timer on my phone to remind me to take my dose. I cannot express enough the importance of not missing doses during this process. I am currently having symptoms. I am frequently nauseated, irritable and tired. I have an almost constant headache, light sensitivity and rarely "brain zaps" especially early in the morning because I am farthest from my last dose at that time. I am doing this without informing EVERYONE in my life so naturally my greatest fear with this process is not having the support I need. I know I will have bad days and irritability and it will get much worse before it gets better. I know that I may get to a point where I just want to go back and feel what has been "normal" for the past 14 years. I have tried to be proactive in this endeavor by enlisting my sister as my accountability person. (Geez it sounds like I'm am addict when I say that). I have informed her of my plan and my goals. I talk to her frequently and vent to her about my symptoms (I can't whine to everyone) She reminds me of my "why" for doing this so I don't lose sight of the goal. I am also keeping a journal to log my progress and help me manage the internal monologue that can sometimes be very negative when I don't feel well. Most importantly I am taking it extremely slow. Even though I want this process over NOW I know I cannot take away from my brain what it has been used to for such a LONG TIME. (You did read above when I said 14 years) I will post later about my experiences with various anti-depressants in another post. Here's to success and being medication-free (eventually)
  12. I'm taking the following: 10mg celexa for 2 years 75mg Bupropion for 1 year I want to taper off of both and am so pleased to have this forum for reference! Thank You! My dosages are low so please advise if I can do it faster or differently: Celexa - going to do the liquid solution of 20ml and take half each day for 1st month, take 1 quarter each day 2nd month. I know you don't suggest alternating days so what shall I do after the 2nd month? My concern is the solution going bad as it will take 4 days to get through 1 10mg pill by the 2nd month. Bupropion - Going to cut into quarters, reducing 1 quarter every 3 weeks until completely off Thank you for your help!
  13. Is it possible to live without anti-depressants? I've heard the insulin/diabetes argument from my physician, and any time I've gone off of the pills, I end up filled with self-loathing and must surrender and go back on. I thought I might wait until my kids are grown up, then it won't matter so much about my ambient mood around the house. But I am worried about having to take these pills forever. And now my daughter who is seventeen and has chronic pain issues, is also taking them! and I'm really worried for her.
  14. I have been on 20mg prozac for 12 years. I want to have a baby and get off of this. I changed to 10mg March 29. Then on May 1 I moved to 10mg every other day. I have had diarehea, headaches, difficulties sleeping and mood swings. Last week I was so angry. This week I am starting to feel a little paranoid--that others hate me and I feel lonely. Do I need to get back on this stuff? I dont want to. I cannot tell if this is because I am "coming back to normal" or if I really need the Prozac? If this passes I will be okay. Right now I just feel awful.
  15. I am type 2 Bi-Polar Manic Depressive. So I'm currently taking 1200 mg of Lithium daily and I was also taking 4mg of risperidone daily. I told my psychiatric ARNP that I wanted to ween off of the Risperidone because of the weight gain and other undesirable symptoms. so she reduced me to 3 mg (25% reduction). about three days later I started having anxiety attacks. I had already been considering seeing a different medical professional because I didn't like traveling for an hour to get to appointments. When I saw my new doctor, he was amazed that I had been prescribed such a drastic reduction in dose. I still wanted to continue reducing my dose, so he lowered it to 2.5 mg for six days and then 2 mg after that and prescribed .5 mg of clonopin to take as needed for anxiety. the clonopin completely eliminated my anxiety and after a week or so the attacks just stopped occuring. After a month of taking 2 mg of risperidone, I went back to the doctor and the appointment was mostly taken up discussing a stomach issue, and I forgot to ask about continuing to reduce my risperidone dose. We scheduled a follow up in a month. About a week into the month I decided I was going to reduce the dose without medical approval, so i started cutting my 2mg pills in half, after six days of that, I started cutting some 3mg pills I had into quarters for a .75 mg dose, I took that dose for a further six days and then stopped taking the Risperidone entirely. Everything was fine for a day and a half. on the evening of the second day I started to get this feeling that something was wrong physically. by midnight that night I was convinced that if I went to sleep I would die. I felt very weak and had this terrible feeling like my body was just shutting down. This continued until about 9 AM the following day and then abated. after getting about 12 hours of sleep from noon to midnight I felt just fine again, and have felt great ever since. I have noticed that my appetite is reduced, but I'm working on losing weight anyways so this doesn't really concern me. My doctor was initially concerned when I said I had discontinued my dose, and asked me a lot of questions to see if I was having a manic episode but eventually came to the conclusion that I wasn't about to flip out. I googled "risperidone withdrawal" and found this site. the first post I read talked about this 10% reduction method. Maybe if I had used that, I wouldn't have had such a nightmare?
  16. I'm on 3 150mg pills of bupropion HCL XL, and would like to eventually stop taking it. I know it's best to go very slow, but I'm still a bit nervous. I've tapered off citalopram and gabapention previously, but the bupropion is a bigger dose and I worry about withdrawal.
  17. Hello... I have decided to wean myself off Effexor. I was on Prozac for about 15 years (dr. put me on to help with perimenopause), then another dr. switched me to Effexor about 2 years ago as he said it would help with hot flashes. A week ago I cut my dose in half and have been experiencing many side effects, so I did an internet search and found this site. After reading the "tapering..." forum, I realize I cut back way too much and will now start the 10%/month approach. Thank goodness I found you... I am so glad to have found a support system.
  18. Hey guys! So every time I've tapered down a dose of Effexor xr (starting at 112.5), I notice for a day or so I get this feeling like i'm under water, or my ears have water in them. Or like they need to be popped-like i just drove up a mountain. Is this what is commonly known as the 'brain shivers' ? I hope I'm not the only one who this happens to. While it's annoying, it's tolerable. I get that, a migraine, a runny nose, and the feeling like i'm coming down with a cold at the end of the day. Physical symptoms actually don't bother me..i feel "lucky" that I haven't had any emotional side effects (yet cautiously optimistic) - I'm also on 20 mg of citalopram so that could be why too. Just seeing if the water in the ears thing sounds familiar to anyone or if this is a completely separate physical ailment. I just notice it's always within the first few days of my latest taper. Thanks in advance
  19. Hey guys! So I've been meaning to see this guy around the corner from me. He's a psychologist who worked in pharmaceuticals for a part of his career and couldn't take what he saw and now is a certified nutritionist, counselor and owns a natural health store where he takes patients, and puts them on tapering plans and monitors their new plan of supplements, etc. I made an appointment with him (not telling my husband). Most around me have either been on meds, think taking anti depressants 'work great' and don't understand that these meds are just not for me and i'm trying to find my way safely off of them. I even have a friend who says 'i'm just never going off Cymbalta so I don't have to worry about withdrawals' - and a cousin who's been on prozac for 6 years who says 'i can't cry and i have insomnia but i'm cranky without prozac' - So these are the people i'm surrounded by. My gut, my heart and soul are telling me to get off of these now matter how low I'll get, I'll get out of it through exercise, nutrients, etc. So here's this guy. (of course he's heard of Dr Peter Breggin) http://www.earthfoods.us/page1 His name is Dr. Pappas. I've talked to him before in the store but I made an actual one on one appointment with him. If you can help me come up with questions for him maybe or things to look out for I will. Thanks so much!
  20. I'm a mature adult - now 69 years young. Started with Strattera several years ago when I had focus problems in writing grant applications for a new nonprofit (see missrubyskids.org). I was very happy for awhile; the irritable bowel I'd had forever vanished, I could do a public presentation without melting down, and I was able to focus like a laser. There was a side effect - loss of libido - but that was not a problem as hubby was no longer interested. However, when I tried to stop the med cold turkey a couple of years later as I was no longer writing grants. the fallout was awful. After just one week I had mood swings, digestive upsets, scrambled brain, etc. My family practice doctor put me on 50mg Pristiq about two years ago. Again, I was happy. No digestive upsets as with Strattera - caused by dumping? - and I felt normal. But I began reading that SSRIs might contribute to alzheimers so now I'm determined to get off this med.
  21. Hi all, I'm new and have been reading the forums for a couple of months and I have to say everything I have read so far has given me hope and a new found attitude towards my health and well-being. I'm ready to take control and be accountable for what I do and do not do to my body. I have always trusted in doctors and medical professionals; it gets instilled in many of us from a young age that if you're sick, the doctor will help. Unfortunately for me, and probably many others, it was like a "blind faith" and I never thought to question my doctor's opinion and trusted he/she knew what they were prescribing; that they had taken the risks and/or side-effects into consideration before they scribbled away on their pad and had me tottering off to the pharmacy. I realise now that this is, sadly, not true of the medical professionals that I have trusted with my care. I lived at home until I was 21. My childhood had a rocky start with my father abusing (beating) myself and my siblings. It went on for years. I was about 5 by the time I told my mother, and 6 by the time he had gone to prison. I had good support, my mother took me to a child psychologist to talk about what had happened and I think I dealt ok with it. I often had nightmares, or imagined things had turned out differently and I would work myself up and cry, but I didn't feel truly sad or depressed about it; it was what it was. I think the hardest part for me came a lot later, years later. When I was at uni and out in the real world, dealing with real relationships and people and stress and responsibility. My family never talked about what had happened with my father, we all knew it had happened, but whenever any conversation came close to the subject, someone steered it away. We just, never talked about it. All this time I still had, on occasion, fantasies about what had happened, what might happen, and eventually I had convinced myself that it hadn't happened. No one wanted to talk about it, so maybe it didn't really happen the way I remembered. Maybe I made it all up? Did I ruin my family by making it all up? So many maybes and no way to sort them out. My self-esteem was never great. I was very shy and had a lot of problems talking to people. Add to this my conviction that my childhood hadn't happened the way I thought it had, that I had made it all up, and you get me 10 years ago: low self-esteem, self-doubt, guilt. I guess this wasn't so bad on its own, a lot of people suffer from these things; they aren't pleasant, but they aren't the end of the world. The real problems started when I began a romantic relationship. I had dated guys before, but I saw this as my first adult relationship. It all went well at first, but I had massive, MASSIVE, blinkers on (hindsight huh!). In short, he was manipulative and emotionally abusive. I knew the entire time I was with him (4 years) that he wasn't good for me, that I deserved better, but my bags of low self-esteem, self-doubt and guilt convinced me that it was better to be in a relationship than be alone. When I was still living at home and going to uni, we had a big bust up which sent me into a guilt and shame spiral, even though he was the one that did something wrong, he manipulated me into thinking it was my fault. My friend found me at my desk, head down, exhausted. She suggested I talk to a doctor and I did. He prescribed me Zoloft and I didn't sleep for two weeks. That was my first contact with anti depressants, and after not sleeping for two weeks (not literally of course, I'm sure I fell asleep at some point each night, it just didn't feel like it) I was a zombie. I chucked those pills away, not thinking about the consequences of going cold turkey. I figured it was fine because it had only been two weeks, and they're just "happy pills", right?! What could go wrong. I was ill. I felt like I had a really bad flu and was in bed for a few days until my body adjusted. I didn't realise I was having withdrawal symptoms, I didn't know there was such a thing, my doctor had said nothing about it. I got over it after a few days and didn't think of it again. My boyfriend planned to move states, back to his home-town, and me being me, I followed. Things were ok for a while, but he wore me down slowly. I let him. I didn't stand up for myself and one day I was standing in the shower crying and I didn't know why. He told me there was something wrong with me and that I had to go to the doctor. So I did. The doctor I found was quite good. We talked about how I was feeling, what my options were, how he normally deals (medically) with these issues, and we decided to start me on St John's Wort. He told me of the risks involved and that I had to be careful taking it. I took it for about 6 months, but didn't notice any significant improvement, so I went back to the doctor again, but because it was a Saturday and I was desperate, I had to make do with the on-call doctor. My first impression of him was horrible. He was rude and arrogant, and made me feel like I was wasting his time by "being a little bit sad". He was completely flippant about how I was feeling that it made me feel worse. Nevertheless, he prescribed me 20mg Cipramil (Citalopram) and said I should talk to the clinical psychologist that worked at the practice. I left feeling like s**t. I went to the pharmacy, got the prescription filled and drove to the beach. I sat in my car and watched the waves crash against the sand. I pulled a pill from the box and just stared at it in my hand for the longest time. Eventually I just shoved it in my mouth and swallowed. And that was the start. I was on 20mg Cipramil for a few years as well as seeing the clinical psychologist which helped a bit, but I don't think I really, truly had a grip on what was wrong with me, so I was just "going through the motions", thinking I was getting better. I ended up finally standing up for myself and getting out of that relationship. I met my current (wonderful) partner, who is now my fiancé a few months later. Things were great, I felt great, but I still hadn't dealt with my initial problems, and when work became stressful, I unravelled. I went back to the doctor, yet another new one (same practice though), and she had me fill out a quick form about how I felt and then gave me a few sample boxes of 100mg Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) and sent me on my way. There was no talk about the drug itself or possible side effects, and at the time I was still naive enough to not question. When I got my prescription filled, there was no information leaflet in the box - there still isn't today (Oct 2013) - and I didn't think to research it. I started taking the Pristiq and after a few weeks I felt ok. I didn't feel like laying in bed all day, I wasn't crying at the drop of a hat, I was better able to manage the work stress. Overall I felt better than I had in months. I continued taking the drug and at subsequent doctor visits I would get a new prescription. I remember asking about when to come off the drug, and my doctor said I had to be on it for at least a year if not more. I don't remember if she offered any reasoning behind this length of time, but me being me again, I blindly accepted it as truth. I eventually switched to another doctor within the practice after my current one left, and although she is nice, my first appointment with her didn't fill me with confidence. All I took from that first appointment was yet another prescription and the advice to get some exercise and read "the good book". I don't know which book she was referring to, I can only assume she meant the Bible. I'm not a religious person, and while I didn't take offence, I was pretty angry and baffled by the suggestion and that the Bible would "cure" my depression, like it was a misunderstanding or that a lack of religion was the cause of my depression. (Now that I think back on it, I'm getting offended by it.....calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean...rainbows and puppy dogs...). Anyway, over the last two years, every time I have had an appointment with this doctor, I have had to correct her case history of my prescriptions. She is constantly under the impression that I have only been taking Pristiq for a "couple of months". I find this pretty annoying, but I'm not a confrontational person, so I don't say anything other than to correct her. She wrote me a prescription for 50mg Pristiq about a year or so ago and said that I could start taking this when I felt better. I was really apprehensive as I was still going through stress and I hadn't sorted out or dealt with my underlying feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, etc. So I kept going. It wasn't until my fiancé and I had a rough patch that started in late 2012 and ended just recently that I realised I needed to get a handle on things. I was just drifting through life, not really engaging and as I thought more and more about it, I realised that I was a zombie, a robot, and it was really, really difficult to remember things. Even now, I can't remember most of the conversations I've had with people over the last few months, it's like the words reached my ears, and I engaged with them, but there's no record of it. Sometimes I will have just spoken with someone and have no idea what it is they said; I remember the context, but not the actual words. It's pretty scary. It's like there is a warm fuzzy blanket over my brain. During our rough patch, I was seeing my psychologist and a counsellor. The counsellor really, really helped. My psychologist has helped a great deal too, but I found the counsellor to be a much better resource for me. She helped me to figure out and really focus on how I was feeling, which has led me to where I am today. Once I started feeling better and more in control, with the help of the psych, counsellor and my wonderful fiancé, I decided that I no longer wanted to take antidepressants. If I am going to be stressed, or sad, or frightened or anxious I want to face it and deal with it. I don't want to put a warm, fuzzy blanket over the difficult feelings anymore, because they're still there, they haven't gone away. I want to talk about things, really talk, really understand, really deal, and be here, for real. I got my prescription for 50mg pristiq filled and started taking it. I think it was a Sunday. I felt fine all week until Friday night. It was raining and our electric gate becomes dodgy in the rain. We ordered pizza for tea and after about an hour I picked up my phone, which I had left on silent and there were 3 missed calls from the delivery driver, saying he couldn't open the gate to deliver our pizza. I managed to call the company and get him to come back, and by that time it was fairly terrible pizza. In rushed the guilt - I had missed the calls because my phone was on silent, it's my fault the pizza was terrible, what must my fiancé think, I can't even get a pizza delivered...and on and on down the irrational road my brain skipped. I Iay on the couch and cried over pizza. My fiancé didn't know what to do. It was a fairly quick episode and I went on watching TV, not thinking much of it. The next day I couldn't focus on one thing for more than 10 - 30 seconds. Literally. I was fidgetting, picking things up to put them away, only to abandon them somewhere between where I picked them up and where I got distracted with something else. I picked up 4 books to read, only to put them down again, I started to get my old knitting project out, put it back, cross-stitch project out, put it back, start a computer game, quit, start another, quit. It drove my fiancé crazy. Eventually I settled on watching some TV and calmed down. The next day (Sunday) we talked and I decided to go back up to 100mg. It was only then that I realised that the headache that had been in the background all week was getting worse. I went to the chemist and they gave me the strongest over-the-counter pain killers (1000mg paracetamol and 12.5mg codeine I think), and I took them for a week before the headache went away. I started researching coming off antidepressants and found a new term: antidepressant withdrawal. What I had gone through the last week was a real thing and I wasn't the only one suffering. I read more and found the 10% taper method in these forums and read associated links and materials and finally had a good idea about how I needed to do this. I went back to the doctor and told her that I had gone down to 50mg and had suffered headaches, fidgetting, and mood swings and that I wanted to come down slower. All she heard was "mood swings" and told me that it meant I had to be on the higher dose. After all the reading I had done, I finally realised that even though she was a doctor, she didn't really know how to deal with depression or the medication she had been prescribing me. But I knew what I wanted, I wanted out. So I managed to convince her that I was ok and still wanted to come down, and that my crying episode was just because I felt crappy having had a headache all week. She then told me that I should cut the 50mg tablet in half and take 75mg. I know there have been some success stories posted here where people have done this (cutting Pristiq tablets), but at this point, I felt she was reaching at straws; uninformed. I didn't want to be an experiment anymore, "try this, see how you go". If I was going to try anything, it would be my way. I mentioned the compounding pharmacy I had found and asked if that would be a better way to go. She just said they wouldn't be able to make my medication for years to come because it isn't a publicly available formula. I had already done some research and suggested that they could just crush the 100mg tablets and make me a dose of 90mg instead. She waved me away, saying "no no". This was my last attempt, so I accepted her prescription and went to the compounding pharmacy the next day. They were a little skeptical at first too: "oh yes I've been there too honey, it's not nice, but you're doctor knows what they're doing", "you should be fine with this dose". But I was insistent that I was tapering in 10% doses. They spoke to the pharmacist and it was all agreed and my 90mg tablets were ready to pick up a few days later. It's gone very well so far, I have been taking the 90mg for a month now. I have had 3 "brain zaps" so far, which have been in the evening, and not too serious or unpleasant - I was disoriented for a couple seconds and my brain felt kind of heavy (if such a thing is possible!). I have ordered my next batch at 80mg which should be ready this week. I'm feeling so good at being in control!
  22. Sorry for my bad English but I use Google translator. I am a woman of 45 years old, housewife, living in Italy with her husband and parents who live in the adjoining. Before having psychiatric problems in 2006, I was found a leucoencelopatia vascular disease. In January 2006 I began to take Zoloft ( 1 x 50 mg) for generalized anxiety and depression. After one month and a half I was fine, I continued to take it until November 2006 when I had a relapse and I have replaced it with Cymbalta ( 1 x 60 mg). I took it up to July 2007 and then climb it in two months. In September 2007 I was fine without medication. In March 2008 I start to feel bad , they gave me Cymbalta again until January 2009 . From the middle of the month I took it every other day for two months to remove it completely to March 2009. In October 2010 I was sick again. For two months I took Cymbalta but this time I continued to get sick so I have given back to Zoloft starting with small doses because I was very bad and it seemed that my symptoms were dependent on this medication. I had anxiety , tachycardia, sweating . I also took a bit of Tavor and then Lexotan in drops. Finally I begin to get better and in April 2011 took only 1 pill of Zoloft 50 mg per day. In December 2011 I started to climb the taking Zoloft every other day for two months. In early March 2012 broke out strong anxiety so I have given back to Zoloft for about a month and then change it to Paroxetine ( Sereupin ). I started gradually up to June 2012 with 1 tablet of 20 mg and a bit of Lexotan. The anxiety was reduced but was still not well. During this time I started vision problems. I began to see I was bleary-eyed and puffy eyes. In August 2012 I see a new psychiatrist that I recommend to double the Zoloft. After 13 days I was getting worse so I stopped , switching to a pill and a half. In January 2013 I have another symptom: noise started on the left side of the head. In February 2013 I went back to 1 tablet of Zoloft per day, 5 drops of Remeron in the evening and a little Tavor. Then I took 13 drops of Lexotan but my anxiety was getting worse. In June 2013 I tried to take a half pill then every other day, then I went back to 1 pill. The symptoms were always worse. At the end of August 2013 I try to climb to 25 mg , add B-complex vitamins on the advice of a holistic doctor. I'm getting worse every day. CURRENT THERAPY : 25 mg Zoloft ( 4:30 pm ) Lexotan 5 drops in the evening Remeron 5 drops in the evening. SYMPTOMS HIGH ANXIETY : I do not know where I stand, do not leave the house, bad breath, wheezing constantly, I can not do anything, I am unable to follow any type of diet. I am underweight. BLEARY-EYED : I feel constantly wet and swollen eyes NOISE IN HEAD: Constant noise on the left side . TOOTHACHE : neuralgia sharp left, I have trouble talking. IRREGULAR SLEEP : even if sometimes I can get enough sleep, I always wake up tired. MY EXPECTATIONS I got to the bottom, do not take it anymore . I do not want my doctor to ask for help because I would admit. I do not want to be hospitalized in the psychiatric ward because I know that I will take even more drugs. I've heard of people ruined for life in this way. I do not trust most of the psychiatrists who are only able to dispense these toxic drugs. I asked for help from naturopathic or holistic doctors but nobody wants to take responsibility for me to climb these psychiatric drugs. Everyone says that I need a psychiatrist. I feel trapped, I tried to contact many people even within anti-psychiatry. Almost everyone advised me to call my doctor and get hospitalized. If I find someone who thinks like me, and tries to help me I can not follow his advice and I can only become more confused. How do I if for example you may want to go outside or do sports when I am not able ? Here in my country now I've tried everything, and the only hope now is you. Suggestions are truly appreciated. Thanks Terry
  23. I'm new here, I'm glad to find this site. 60 year old Male, I've been in SSRIs for 17 years, Paxil for the first 14 years. It all began when I got CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when I was 42. Paxil really helped to get me functional again for many years, but now I am over the CFS but stuck on the SSRIs. Despite being an old man I would still like to have my libido back, which is diminished by the 2.5mg Lexipro I take. But also I'm interested in doing a different kind of healing using psychedelics and plant medicines which are counter indicated in combination with SSRI. Serious brain damage can occur if I combine them. Therefore I must get off the SSRIs, and I intend to take seven months to taper off this 2.5 using liquid as I have read about here in the thread about tapering off Lexapro. Despite this apparently small dose of SSRI I still have a completely miserable time when I've try to get off it or even skip a day of my medication. I have the bleakest, worst kind of suicidal thoughts when I try to get off the stuff, every time I try. I'm hoping the slow taper method using the 10% formula over seven months will be my ticket to success. I really appreciate this forum!
  24. Abilifyneedhelp88

    Important Empowering Technique...

    Hello All, I recently was curious as to how the pharmaceutical company (Otsuka) for Abilify had any info on discontinuation studies for the drug and if they had guidelines for discontinuation. At first I got the generic answer, everybody's different, everybody reacts differently on the drug and was redirected back to my doctor who I know gets his info from the company, from his experience with patients and of course his drug rep. The person I spoke to was a Pharm D. She would only give her first name and last initial. She was hesitant to give me any further info but when I said I was an RN, she said she could give me more info than just would a patient receive. So this is where it got interesting. She said there were no specific guidelines as to discontinuation. She said results done in studies were all over the board. She gave me specifics of the double blind studies and the percentages of relapse which are very low in the discontinuation. She then asked me if I would talk to their quality control department and go on record as to what my side effects are in which she came back and said that they were not available so I could talk to her. I had an hour conversation with her regurgitating all of my side effects, how I felt about the drug and how I thought that they should have more studies about discontinuation. I told her what I was currently doing in tapering in which I feel comfortable and thought that the Doctor was giving advice that was bringing patients down too fast and possibly encouraging relapse. I told her that I would like to come off the drug faster but that in reality going slower with all things considered and prior past history was the safest way to go for me. I also told her that it is difficult to live with the SE's and because of that and wanting to get pregnant is the reason for withdrawal. I found that expressing myself to this drug company liberating because in speaking with them it sounded like many people do not call in and share with them their experiences. So please, please call your manufacturer and tell them what is going on. They may not be able to give you a clear answer but their is some hope in being able to express yourself and go on record. It may be just what you need right now. They also want to know if your SE's or withdrawal symptoms get worse, better or stay the same. It is vital to express this to the manufacturer so they can take your story into consideration when developing new drugs. It is only from the patient do they hear and those that are proactive in their suffering. And it goes a long way when the other person on the other line says they are grateful for you calling in.... Just my two cents...Heather RN
  25. SugarDollMary


    I found this site after beginning to taper off venlafaxine. Effexor was prescribed for me ten or so years ago to help with fibromyalgia. Through the years doctors or nurse practitioners have upped my dose (usually due to situational depression and dysthymia). Somewhere I was switched from regular to XR and to the generic. My dose ended up at a high of 225 mg/day of venlafaxine XR. The few times I forgot to take my dose, I had quite a set of discontinuation symptoms: wild dreams, nightmares, "acid flashbacks." Because I have learned healthy ways of coping with fibro and dysthymia, I want to taper off the venlafaxine. My NP and I discussed and on Friday March 22, I started the taper as per what we figured out: 2-75 mg of XR + 1-37.5 nonXR, for a total of 187.5 mg/day. She told me to hold at this level for two months. What is that? 17%? A couple days later I had one night of insomnia, and then when I finally slept, my dreams were really crazy. One week and one day after, I had the worst migraine of my life. Usually I just get the aura and a slight headache for about 20 mins., but this one lasted all day; I was sick to my stomach and felt bad for two days. I also noticed I am sort of trembly and mentally dim. (What complicates this is that I also have had a nagging flu/cold for the last three weeks, and my head is still stuffed up, so I don't know what might be that and what might be the withdrawal.) Anyhow, I'm able to function, but feel crappy. The insomnia ended after one night as did the dreams. No more headache but I feel real tired and achy and still sort of dull. After reading about the 10% guideline, I'm wondering if I should go back up to 225, then drop 10% (I'd actually just split the 37.8 in half; it would be less than 10%), or if I should muddle through and reduce 10% the next time. Looking forward to support on this site. SugarDollMary Venlafaxine for 10+ yrs. For fibromyalgia, situational depression and dysthymia. Highest dose 225/day XR Taper #1 = 187.5 mg/day (2-75mg XR + 1-37.5 regular)
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