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  1. Hi folks, Just looking for a bit of advice. I'd been on Prozac, 25mg a day, for 9 months, for depression and wanted to come off them. I was advised by my doctor to take a 25mg tablet on alternating days for 1 month and then stop completely. I did this and have now been off for 4 weeks. Asides from some rather severe depression symptoms my main withdrawal issue has been PGAD (Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder), something which I suffered with 2 years ago. What I'm wondering is, does this mean I tapered off too quickly? I should also mention I have M.E. and tend to respond strongly to drugs. Is the best plan of action to just ride this out and hope the symptoms go or to go back on the Prozac and taper off again much slower? (my doctor did tell me if I go back on the Prozac I'd have to stay on for 2 years but I really don't want to do that.) Any advice appreciated, Thanks
  2. angielynn78ii Over the last 10 years I’ve been on antidepressants. At different stages I was on Pristiq, Celexa, Cymbalta, Viibryd and Prozac. I was also on Lamictal and Klonopin. I am proud to say that I am currently free of all prescription medications. I took my last dose of Prozac 27 days ago. I’m surviving but I look forward to thriving. I could say so much and really want to share more but currently I just don’t have the energy or clarity. I will write again when able.
  3. Cigarettes at age 11. Alcohol periodically from age 13 to age 30. Valium episodically from age 18 to age 27. I have been on myriad anti-depressants since 1982 for major depression and generalized anxiety. Imipramine, desyrel, ativan. Off drugs from 1984 till 1995. Started Prozac 1995 till 2014 (did well from 1995 to 2011). Tried Wellbutrin, Cymbalta. Abilify and Trintellix from March 2014 till August 8, 2017 (depression free). Had to withdraw due to cervical dystonia and tremors which still persist. Terrible experience withdrawing from Abilify and Trintellix. Started Wellbutrin 150 mg. and Prozac 10 mg. for one week to help with withdrawal. Then increased Wellbutrin to 300 mg. and experienced ringing in ears; stopped the Wellbutrin and increased Prozac to 20 mg. (10 in A.M.; 10 in P.M.) Now on Prozac 20 mg. per day, occasional Propranolol for tremors (doesn't help). I've read that coming off Abilify can take up to 3 months or more, and it has been 2 months so far. I feel like I've spent (wasted) my entire adult life trying to feel better, first by self-medicating, then by psychiatric medicating. I'm 72 years old. I wonder if there is any hope for me.
  4. Hi all, thank so much for this forum. Here is my introduction. Since I was 16 years old I was put on Fluoxetin in a clinic, after a crysis and traumatic experiences. Clinic helped me a lot, but probably not because the medication. I tried to get off it when I was 19 years old because I felt more stable. I made a CT with Fluoxetin. I started to get panic attacs in certain situation (thought its because I stopped Medication). So I went to the doctor and he gave me Citalopram. First weeks of this drug were very difficult and horrorfiying. Lots of anxiety even with mild paranoia. After a few weeks I got better. On this Med it was the first time I had to fight with fatique. Moreover I had because of CT of Fluoxeitn or Citalopram agressions and moreover a lot of anxiety that drove me crazy in certain situations. This symptoms was always worst in the morning and earlier hours, especially the fatique. I moved into a new town to study. I just tried to accept this fatique, thought it was a kind of normal or blamed myself for it (go earlier to bed, get a regulary bed and wake-up time etc.) or thought it was something psychologically. Also had a lot of anxiety. Dont know if it was influenced by medication. Somehow I managed to get a Bachelor degree. I was also prescriped with Opipramol in that period and had a CT from it. At some point I thought this fatique can not be normal - to be always tired like that. I went to a doctor made a blood test. Doctor said its is psychologically. I went to a Psychatrist and told him I am always tired and want to try another medications. I asked for Fluoxetin, because I had less fatique on that one. He gave me that and I had a CT with Citalopram and took Fluoxetin. In that time I went abroad to work for a few month. I had terrible fatique and anxiety, shocks and twiches in my head and body when I was drinking coffee with my colleauges while putting the cup to my mouth. It was really uncomfortable. On some days horrible depressions with suiciadal thoughts. I was quieter than I used to be and mostly very depresssed. Somehow i knew it could be connected to Fluoxetin but did not thought of WD of Citalopram. When I come back to my country after a few months. I told doctor about this fatique and some symptoms and CT from Fluoxetin again and was prescribed with Paroxetin. I was very depressed, full of anxiety, desperated and fatique and suppossed to find my first full time job. Somehow I managed it and I was getting better. After a year on some point I was really ok. However, the fatique become worse and worse - from year to year. Again a blood test and even a test for sleep apnea in labour showed no result. Again I was told it is psychologically. I thought i could be connected to Paroxetin. One Doctor in sleep labour even agreed. I decided to get off it. I made a lot of research on the Internet, I understand I had to taper it slowly. But since the fatique was probably a side effect I decided to go more quickly and tapered in 6 Months from 10 mg to 0 (since May 2019 0mg). There was specially a lot of fatique (like always) later also more anxiety. First week after 0 mg was very good. Later I become worse and worse. Especially the anxiety. Sometimes the anxiey, sometimes the fatique is more on the foreground. I just feel like I want to rest and relax more. I have to work which is biggest challenges with this symptoms and also triggers a lot. I also started are Psychotherapy. She believes me that my state is coming from stopping AD and accept my decision not take them anymore. Fatique and anxiety are by far the most difficult symptoms. Moreover I have: - Problems with my eyes, especially with light - Back pain and tensions - Depressions with suicidal thoughts (think its caused by the other symptoms) - have to be very carefully with exercises (hobby) and all other activities cause it can trigger symptoms - weather changes trigger symptoms. Freezing a lot. - Situation that normally just makes me a bit nervousness, now gives me almost panic attacs I am taking omega 3 fish oil and sometimes zinc. Dont know if it has an effect. Tried in the last months these supplements: 5-htp, L-Tryptophan, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola rosea, Magnesium It could have triggered symptoms, so I stopped all of them. I am going to give Ginseng a chance (I know I have to be careful). It is incredible hard to get up in the morning and feel so fatique and tired, sometimes it is even hard to breath and every action needs so much energy (e.g. taking shoes on). I am sleeping very well. I just feel like i need much more sleep (I cannot get earlier too bed) and rest at the moment. In the evening I get better. Sometimes there are very clear and good moments in the evening, which give me hope. I really hope it gets a bit better in the next 6 months when I am one year off meds. I am thankful for every tip, hint, similiar experience and hope.
  5. Hello all! I will try to make this nice and short. I have been on lexapro 20mg for about 5 years with great success. However, I recently had been constantly tired, sleeping 10 hours at night, and 3 hours during the day. I got blood work and a sleep study, all negative, so i suspected my medication. This had made things difficult, so i decided to talk to my doctor, who recommended reducing the dose to 15mg. This had went well for the most part, but i began to feel foggy, so he recommended switching to prozac. Here is how he switched me: Week 1: 15mg lexapro, 20 mg prozac Week 2: 10mg lexapro, 20 mg prozac Week 3: 5mg lexapro, 20 mg prozac Week 4: 20 mg prozac only I have been on 20mg prozac only for ~1 weeks, and it has been hell. I have had insomnia, increased depression/anxiety, but most severely, I have had intense brain fog. I have trouble remembering anything. I am in my final year of physical therapy school, in my final clinical rotation, and it has 100% affected my performance. I struggle with simply remembering what my patients have already done, remembering their names, remembering techniques I have learned, etc. I am thinking this intense brain fog is mostly due to coming off the lexapro so quickly after being on it for so long, combined with a small amount of prozac side effects. Sooo, my question is this: Do i stick it out with the prozac and hope my body gets used to it? Do i jump from 20mg of prozac to 40mg (my doctor said it is up to me?), Or do i go back to taking my 20mg of lexapro, and gradually tapering my medication properly using the 10% rule. I am leaning to doing this, but feel terrible, as its like I am addicted to these medications to simply function. But at the same time, this is the most important part of my young career, as suceeding in clinical rotation leads to job offers and is necessary to even graduate. Any advice is greater appreciated!!
  6. Hello! I have been following this forum for a while, but haven't been able to find time and energy to write my own introduction. I found this site after searching relentlessly for other answers to mental wellness besides antidepressants. Besides lots of other informative books I read Whitaker's "Anatomy of Epidemics", and understood better what happened to me last year when I had a big relapse, which I'm still recovering from. Medications didn't help anymore. Things only started improving when I started taking supplements (Daily Essential Nutrients, which is former Empowerplus), and applied gluten free casein free diet. And since then, I have carefully tapered down with medications. But I write briefly about my story from the beginning. I have difficult background and lot's of things I have had to work through psychologically, because my dear mother suffered from severe depression for many years and finally it ended with her suicide in 2002. But I don't go into depths about that, but try to give you general idea of what has happened over the years. It was very hard after her death, and with difficult relationship at the same time, so I ended up taking antidepressants for some time. I was really paranoid about them, and agreed to take only small amount - 10mg citalopram, for like 5-6 months. As time went on, I started to get really bad mood swings myself in 2005. In summer 2006 I ended taking birth control pills I had been taking for 8 years. At the same time there was high pressure at work and another relationship that didn't work out. Few months after quitting the pills, I fell into hole I hadn't even been able to imagine before. Severe depression with even small amount of psychotic symptoms (delusional guilt thoughts). It was really, really bad. There was a psychiatrist, that put me on citalopram "because it worked before". 40g, which, in hindsight, was really high and I probably suffered a lot from not only the illness, but AD side-effects. I didn't really feel that the pills were helping, although after a few months I was out from the most awful state of mind. I continued to take the meds for some months, but then dropped it - I just didn't want to take them (I saw my mom deteriorating on AD-s, and didn't believe in them). But I was not the same after this crisis. I'd lost something in me. And as time went on, I started to sink down again. Until in 2008 (3 years suffering), it was so bad that I had no other way than to search for help again. I started cognitive-behavioural therapy, and did it vigorously, but it didn't help. And then I started meds again. After first tries that didn't work, I started prozac (20mg) - and it's effect was amazing and very strong!!! I got flashes and glimpses of my warm and good memories, I felt like a ton had fallen from my shoulders, it was quite dramatic improvement. I continued to get better gradually for at least a year. I felt that I gained about 80% of my wellness. As things were going well, I thought it's ok to stop them now. I was still very wary about taking those drugs long term. I gradually stopped it, I think during 1-2 months. I remember I had withdrawal (feeling very angry and irritated), but pushed through it. I had learned a lot in therapy and thought I can handle myself. I was really emotional after ending it, cried a lot and it put a strain on my new relationship. After a couple of months I was really going down again, I felt really bad, depressed, awful, and anxious about the relationship. my pdoc restarted prozac. It didn't work anymore! It was awful... to realize that the drug doesn't help anymore. We tried duloxetine, which gave bad side-effects. and then sertraline (zoloft), which, after 3-4 weeks started giving relief. So the dynamics was such: I stopped the drug, restarted it about 4 months later, waited for 5 weeks, then started new one (1-2 weeks), and then new one, which eventually started to work. The relationship still ended though, after a few more months. I didn't fall into pieces after that, although it was hard. 2009-2011 I was on Zoloft then (50mg). Looking back, things were more stable. not perfect, but I was able to live my life. In July-August 2011, I was in love, and thought I could do better if I reduced my antidepressant. I took 3/4 pill for a week and then half, since the beginning of August. By the end of August I was quite a mess. I didn't think about meds at all because I was dealing with relationship and I thought this all is psychological, and due to past traumas and my own illness, etc. I felt very raw psychological pain at this time, and it took a long time to get out of this hole - I remember hurting like hell all autumn. And we (me and psychiatrist) started messing with meds. I think at first we upped zoloft, to 1,5 tablets (75mg). I think it didn't help - therefore we switched me to citalopram. I think first at 1 tablet, then 1,5. it helped for a little, but then I think caused me to be very tired and stoned. I think I then reduced it again, and went to 0,5 tablets (somewhere in November). And then, in the end of January 2012 I quit that entirely. I ran out of meds, and then thought, what the hell, I don't want to take them at all. I realized that they were not helping very much, but I totally did NOT realize how much harm they are doing, especially if withdrawing! During all this autumn 2011, I was making intensive progress in therapy, so I attributed a lot of my feelings to psychological things. And at the end, we did quite remarking breakthrough, and I also felt better, so I naturally thought about dropping the pills. I experienced sudden and dramatic IMPROVEMENT in my condition, especially psychologically! I felt alive, sensitive, feeling, lighter, more awake, really connected to life and people and things! wow! I saw very vivid dreams and I swore that I even visually saw more clearly! I did feel also psysical sypmtoms - like dizziness, little nausea. but nothing so bad that I couldn't tolerate. In april, my mood starts swinging. I managed it with lots of meditation, and running, etc. but it continues and gets worse. Until in the end of June - boom - suddenly during a period of one week, I suddenly crashed so deep, it's hard to even describe it. The relapse was very sudden and steep. I deteriorated into suffering which is unimaginable. I had been through very, very painful mental illness periods before, but this was one of the two most awful crisis. and it didn't go away. new pdoc, at first reinstated zoloft, I think. didn't help. then swithed to paroxetine. things only got worse, paroxetine gave me horrible side-effects, besides everything else. then switched to buproprion. didn't help. at all. I ended up in the hospital. they started me on Prozac again. plus 50mg seroquel for sleep. This was in August, last year, 2012. Things actually did not improve after that, or improved really, really little. And I developed hypersomnia - sleeping 14-16 hours a day. But still feeling tired. We increased Prozac to 40mg, but after that I was reluctant to do any more changes. I felt that meds just don't help me anymore. And it proved to be correct, because for 8 months, there was very little improvement (all that time I stayed on 40mg prozac + 50mg seroquel). I started reading about meds. Before that, I had done ALL possible with psychological interventions. CBT, EMDR, intensive therapy, group therapy, ect. all things very helpful for personal growth, but unhelpful for feeling so bad still. now I started reading about meds. And vitamins and minerals. I read Whitaker's book, and finally understand what happened last year - that the horrible condition I ended up with, might be because of ending drugs too abruptly. It helped to give me back some security - at least I understood, what happened, and what almost caused me my life. I also read a lot about vitamins and minerals and mental health. I started taking lots of supplements in March, and noticed small improvement in my hypersomnia. Then I switched to Daily Essential Nutrients (former EmpowerPlus) in April. At the end of April I started tapering down Prozac, by 1/10 amount in month or more time. In June, I started gluten-free-casein-free diet (with the help of nutritional therapist). I have been improving since April. When I started DEN, it made me more tired for a week or so. And then, I think it started detoxification process in my body - I had violent headaches, woke up with swollen face, didn't tolerate alcohol at all (half glass of champagne gave me horrible hangover the next day). But those things passed - I think the headaches stopped completely when I started GFCF diet. My mood has definitely improved, if I look back a couple of months. I don't think about death anymore. I have more concentration, and my memory is better. although I'm not by any means in good shape, I'm out of crisis. My energy has improved more slowly, and hypersomnia as well, but they, too, are improving. There are days now when I can sleep 10 hours, and I'm very glad about it. I'm able to do more things. I think I feel prozac withdrawal after two weeks when I have reduced it. I plan to go in the same pace (4mg down each month) until 20mg, and after that go 2mg/month. and at the same time, reduce also seroquel. Whoah, that was a long story to write down. Thank you for anybody who had the energy to read it through! I have some questions for you, too... - does it also seem to you, that lot's of my problems are drug-induced - withdrawal-induced? - what about illness itself? lots of people here discuss how they were put on AD-s which in hindsight were not needed, and then developed problems. I had small depression even before drugs. after my moms death I was on low dosage and for little time (half a year). And I did have bad trauma in my life. My mood swings and depressions were bad without AD-s... - my first biggest crash coincided with quitting baby pills (hormones). I have long suspected there was a link. I think I was sensitive to chemical changes, and the stress and traumas had built up, but my body couldn't handle it anymore. I also think taking long time baby pills can deplete the body from some important vitamins/minerals, and cause biochemical mess in the body. I think I will have more questions down the way. It's nice to finally write and introduce myself to you!
  7. Hi all, I’m so grateful for websites like these. I was on Mirtazapine for over a year at 15mg/day for sleep. Can’t remember exactly how long. I’m so stupid I stopped cold turkey. I just didn’t want to be on them anymore. I did not keep record of timeline but I believe after 8-12 or more weeks of stopping all of a sudden I couldn’t sleep. However, I’ve been going through a lot of relationship issues that has caused me emotional pain and anxiety which I though it was that until I researched withdrawal. I panicked and took a dose of 7.5mg and 15mg here and there. It wasn’t working like it used to so I decided to go on 7.5mg everyday for last two weeks. Panicked and up it to 15mg for a few days. Now back to 7.5mg. I’m so scared. I can’t sleep. Some night I can’t sleep at all. In the last week I sleep for four hrs and automatically always up same time every night (4hrs of sleep). I don’t know what to do. I jus want to come off again and deal with the insomnia. No other symptoms except for what I’m feeling with my personal issues. I shouldn’t of come back on and just went with insomnia. Should I just stop it all together again since I cannot sleep anyway?
  8. Hard to believe I have been taking Prozac for 23 years. History of depression, anxiety, and OCD. First diagnosed at 21, but remember being a sad child. I started tapering from 20 mg to 10 mg in January 2015. So far I'm doing pretty good. The anxiety has ramped up a bit but I'm able to manage it fairly well by using meditation, magnesium, herbs and kefir. For so long I've been afraid I couldn't cope with life without taking antidepressants. Then one day I decided being on Prozac for so long was probably not a good thing. It had lost most of its efficacy many years ago. I had gone through trials of switching to Zoloft for a short time then back to Prozac in order to recharge the antidepressant effect. That did work but the improvement didn't last very long. My hope is to someday be totally off Prozac, even if it takes years.
  9. Sycamore Hi there everyone! First of all, I want to thank the ones who made this forum, and all those who have posted – this is basically the only platform where those of us who want to quit these pills can get some understanding, information and knowledge, and this is so very important as the official information from doctors and medical sites are downright denying the truth of what it means to come off these pills. In my case I discovered it a bit too late, five and a half years into withdrawal having suffered tremendously and I really wish I knew about it sooner- it could have made it easier to understand that these reactions was not me, but reactions from a wrecked nervous system. Oh well. I will attempt to tell my story: I was taken to a doctor after a suicide attempt at age 15. I had been severely depressed for more than a year, lost 10 kilos, lost my period and generally living in a heavy darkness that never seemed to lift. After I started, 60mg of Zoloft, I remember feeling a bit better, for about 8-10 months. However, after that I got worse. I developed severe anxiety; I had anxiety to begin with, mostly panic attacks but after starting the pill I believe it got worse I got agitated, fidgety, and very nervous, and my depression also came back so the doctor increased the Zoloft up to 200 mg. Then I started getting hallucinations. The doctor put me on antipsychotics: 800 mg of Seroquel and 100 mg of Solian, as well as reducing the Zoloft to 100 mg. She did tell me, before I left her office, that my symptoms could be a reaction to Zoloft. In hindsight, I think that is exactly what it was. However, I was already deep in medication, and trusting of the therapists’ methods, so I did not see it at the time – also, I was 17 and desperate. Anyway, after begging to quit the antipsychotics – I was drowsy and sluggish, couldn’t understand what people were saying to me, couldn’t concentrate on reading and I had to quit school because of this – and gained 30 kg as well. I stopped taking them after two years of being on them. Quitting cold turkey was not smart, but no doctor or therapist supported it – actually they threatened me with not getting any treatment if I refused to take them - so that’s what I had to do. I continued Zoloft, after some years I asked to switch to a different one, Fontex (fluoxetine). This one I tapered down extremely slowly – I think I spent about two years of cutting down little by little. I had previously tried to cut them and not managed because of the debilitating symptoms, so I understood that I had to ignore my doctor’s advice and go very slowly. In November 2015, after 10 years on antidepressants I took my final dose. I was, however not aware of the withdrawal phenomenon – I interpreted everything coming as my “real” condition surfacing. I suffered bone pain, electric jolts through my body, intense headaches, pain in the collarbone, anger, mood swings, pressure on the eyeballs and an anxiety worse than I could ever have imagined – I was constantly on the edge. Akathisia, rumination (I was spinning around past mistakes that kept me paralyzed and at the same time extremely agitated and unable to do anything – at one point I didn’t leave my house for 8 months), couldn’t sit down to concentrate on anything, deep, heavy depressions that never lifted (one lasted almost two years without windows) anhedonia, depersonalization, derealization and two years after quitting, I got hypomania, and then again two years after. At the time I thought I had bipolar disorder, but after having read that mania is a symptom of withdrawal, I am thinking that maybe that was it. I don’t know. I have been working with meditation for three years which has helped a great deal. Only now, after five years, have the intense debilitating anxiety somewhat lifted, and I can at least do simple things like take walks and do shopping etc. Becoming aware of withdrawal gave me a new perspective on myself and my condition, and made it easier to treat myself with some patience and love, and of course, get some bloody hope. So a big thank you to everyone on this forum!
  10. Hi all. Please help woth some advice. I took a total of 16 20mg pills of Prozac in the course of 1 month for some moderate anxiety - thinking it is an innocent happy pill (10mg/day,then several days with 20mg,then 10 every other day). The first 2 weeks - my symptoms were increased anxiety, up to a level I have never experienced. Then complete insomnia followed. I was so agitated that I could not do a Lego toy/watch a movie. Then a period of apathy followed, with no anxiety. I was still driving/talking to people,eating etc. I am now 2 months after stopping the Prozac. First month: I have experienced muscle twitches ( ocular, jerking while trying to fall asleep, biting my tongue, lower jaw tremor ). Anxiety returned very intense. Depressive feelings - never had them. Emotional instability. Insomnia - 2-3 hours per night. Light head, hard to concentrate. Hard to take care of myself - shopping etc. Started cognitive behavioral therapy. Yoga. Meditation. Month 2: Muscle issues have diminished. Some sleep is back - but agitated. Obsessive reading about my issue occupies most of my time. Emotional instability remains. Anxiety. Depression. Trouble to concentrate. Still hard to take care of myself. Cannot work. Lost ability to meditate. Food appetite is affected. I am terrifed that I have ruined my health and life doing a stupid test with a pill I never needed. Where to now? Thanks, Adrian
  11. Hi i wanted to ask if anyone in here experienced extreme fatigue ? All day I feel so tired and the only activity I can manage is an hour walk but even through walking I feel very weak.. the mornings are the worst when I wake up after 10 hrs sleep I have no energy my body just lies in bed but have absolutely no energy did anyone experienced something similar ? Thank you in advance
  12. Lzieb

    Lzieb: Zoloft 25mg 6 days

    I took Zoloft for 6 days at 25mg. Been off 21 days today. I have had mild to severe symptoms but I don't want to go through months or years of this if there is a better/smarter way. The last three days have been really hard for me and so I want to at least try reinstatement of fluxotine at a smaller dose. I need help. I have 10mg of fluxotine and I figured I can do a switch from Zoloft to fluxotine. I need help to know how to do this. Will this help if I had an adverse reaction to Zoloft? I read that if I take a small enough dose I will know if it will be effective. I'd like help and thoughts. If it's an adverse reaction that I did have, will reinstatement of another drug help? Thx
  13. Kristine

    Kristine: not alone

    Moderator note: link to Kristine's benzo thread - Kristine: Protracted clonazepam withdrawal? Hello, I am new to this site and would firstly like to extend my gratitude to all the people who have shared their stories and support. I now know I am not alone. My story is long and complex so I will attempt to condense it. I am 43 years old and was introduced to antidepressants 10 years ago after being diagnosed with MDD, GAD and PTSD (l do not feel comfortable with labels) by my psychiatrist. During the first 8 years of treatment multiple antidepressants and other psychotropic medications were prescribed. I will fast forward to October 2015 when I attempted to end my life (I had never been suicidal prior to taking antidepressants). I had to resign from work and was hospitalised for 1 month. At the time I had been taking citalopram for a number of years and had reached the maximum dose. My intuition told me it was not helping. I wanted to stop this medication and my psychiatrist was supportive of this decision. However, it is obvious to me now that she was inexperienced and uneducated with this process. The citalopram was ceased over one week and due to severe anxiety I was commenced on seroquel and diazepam. After leaving hospital I managed to taper off the seroquel and diazepam but became increasingly unwell both mentally and physically. My psychiatrist convinced me that my mental illness had returned and I was commenced on Parnate which was increased in dose over 3 months. Instead of improving my mental and physical ailments worsened and my psychiatrist sort a second opinion. I was hospitalised again in May 2016 under the 'care' of another psychiatrist. This was the beginning of an indescribable hell where I was treated like a human lab rat. Looking back the medications he prescribed were beyond belief and I was the victim of poly pharmacy without adequte professional rational. Unfortunally, like so many others, I was vulnerable and trusted his guidance. He treated me as both an inpatient and out patient over a one year period. Over this time I was prescribed over 14 psychotropic medication some of which were abruptly ceased and crossed over with other medications. If this wasn't enough I was subjected to 15 sessions of unnessaccery ECT. Not surprisingly, I was in a zombified state, unable to function and unable to return to work. My anxiety and depression was not alleviated and I was plagued with tremors, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and migraines. By April 2017 I ceased my appointments with this psychiatrist (he had little belief in withdraw symptoms or side effects of the medication he prescribed - he resorted to blaming me) and returned to my previous psychiatrist. Over the past eight months I have the mammoth task of withdrawing from multiple medications. These include escitalopram (completed reduction), Lithium (competed reduction), clonazepam (partial reduction), bupropion (completed reduction), seroquel (completed reduction), dexamphetamine (partial reduction) and fluoxetine (no reduction). My withdrawal symptoms are horrendous and relentless. My psychiatrist has been unable to advise me along a comfortable path. She appears to be in denial and her support has mostly evaporated. I feel abandoned, alone and frightened. I was forced to seek information independently (for which I am grateful), which continues to be a hideous realisation that for years I was in a constant state of drug withdrawal, side effects and drug interaction. I also feeling very angry about my treatment. I am tapering at the 10% rate now (one medication at a time) but even though I know road ahead will be long and rocky, I feel a sense of empowerment from educating myself. What I am experiencing is common and I am finally breaking free from the clutches of psychiatry.
  14. Hello, my name is Ben from Germany, I am 26 years old. I stopped taking Fluoxetin 20mg After 4 weeks because of the immens problems with the medicine. I had stomache, brain and health problems, lost Libido and nearly no erection and lost feelings in my genitals. Now after 5 months off I still have so many Problems. I feel sick, have Brain/ thinking Problems and I am Always tired and have no power at all. I dont want to do anything... sad :( and I dont have any erection... its like if he‘s dead. So now I am wondering what could/ should I do? My girlfriend is really nice but I think she needs sex :( and I cant. Was the Cold turkey a bad decision? What would u recommend to me? Thanks for your answers, Ben (26)
  15. i've been off 60mg 40mg (see Post #4) of prozac for 2 months after tapering very quickly over 2 months. i took prozac for 20 years. i have really bad headaches most days, something i never used to have before unless i was dehydrated. i have terrible mood swings - i shout at people in the street if they're badly parked, i get road rage when i'm driving, i scream at the kids and my husband. fatigue is a big problem - i can fall asleep at any point during the day and often do. i sleep all night but am still exhausted the next day. i have constant vivid dreams and nightmares. my ocd is creeping back (which is what i was prescribed the prozac for in the first place). i thought i had it under control until my kids told me i needed to stop posting on social media so much as it was dominating my life. i was also alienating people online. i have constant diarrhoea. i cannot stop eating -i'm constantly ravenous, especially for carbs - crisps and potatoes are my downfall and i've put on a stone in weight since stopping. i have lots of pains in my joints and limbs. i did have crawling under my skin, especially in my knees and feet but this seems to have subsided. i'm scared of seeing or talking to people. this has always been a problem for me but it is worse right now. thankyou for listening if you made it this far. today is a bad day and i keep asking myself why i gave up the pills in the first place? i hoped i would have more energy, feel more emotionally, lose weight etc. but it was only after i stopped that i started to read up on protracted withdrawals. i had no idea it could be so bad to stop the drugs.
  16. I live in New Zealand. I have been on clomipramine since early last year. I was put on it to help me with OCD but it hasn't helped. I have started to slowly taper myself off. I am on 50mg at the moment, will be on 25mg on Friday. I was on fluoxetine for a few years as a teenager and again a few years ago for about a year. I was prescribed it as a teenager for depression and a few years ago for OCD, which I have had since I was 19. If anyone else is on clomipramine I would love to talk to you about your experience and where you're at with this. I find it hard to deal with by myself, my family don't care and I don't know anyone who's on clomipramine. I feel so alone.
  17. Cymbalta comes in 20 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg capsules. Full prescribing information: http://pi.lilly.com/us/cymbalta-pi.pdf Cymbalta is tricky to taper. It does not come in liquid form and cannot be compounded into a liquid. To protect the drug, each bead inside the gelatin capsule has an enteric coating to protect the drug from stomach acid, which would destroy the drug. (It is absorbed further down in the digestive tract.) The pellets cannot be dissolved in any liquid without destroying the active ingredient. You cannot crush the pellets (see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/275-do-not-crush-list/page__view__findpost__p__3021 ) or dissolve them in a solution -- the drug would never get into your system, it would be destroyed in your stomach and you would have immediate cold-turkey withdrawal. Of course, the range of dosages from the manufacturer is inadequate for very gradual tapering. Like all psychiatric drugs, do not skip doses or alternate doses to taper Cymbalta. Its half-life is very short, about 12 hours. It is metabolized via the liver enzymes P450 1A2 (substrate, inhibitor) and 2D6 (inhibitor). This post has a chart that shows what happens with the level of Cymbalta in your bloodstream when skipping doses. See Doctor is shocked at severe Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms and testimony by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen regarding Cymbalta withdrawal syndrome: http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/pdf/DrGlenmullenDeclarationSupportofCymbaltaClassCert.pdf (PDF) Reduce by 10% per month to start As with any neurologically active drug, a conservative taper is the safest way to go off Cymbalta. Some people find they can go faster and some people find they have to go slower -- they can only tolerate decreases of a fraction of a milligram at a time. A conservative taper for Cymbalta, like other psychiatric drugs is: Reduce by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? Cymbalta CANNOT be crushed, compounded into a liquid, or dissolved in a liquid The pellets in the capsule cannot be dissolved in a liquid; this would destroy the active ingredient. High-dosage Cymbalta: Using different dosages to decrease to 40mg If you are taking as much as 120mg Cymbalta, see this topic for an example of how to taper to 40mg using existing capsule dosages and a few compounded prescriptions: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7060-razzlesf-off-abilify-tapering-cymbalta/?p=129252 To taper from a dosage of 40mg, you're going to have to either open up 20mg capsules and count beads, or get custom compounded dosages. The bead-counting method Like Effexor XR, some people have tapered by opening the Cymbalta capsule and taking out the beads to gradually reduce the dosage. (See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tapering-off-effexor-venlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__2985 for the technique.) You can do this if you have brand-name Cymbalta or generic capsules containing hundreds of tiny beads rather than 4-12 "mini-tablets" (see below). The number of tiny beads in each Cymbalta capsule will vary within a given dosage, across dosages, and from different manufacturers. The capsules are filled by weight. To find an average number of beads per capsule, you will have to carefully count the beads in several capsules. Then you can estimate how many beads amount to 10% of the dosage and manage your taper accordingly by keeping notes on paper showing the number of beads removed and equivalent Cymbalta dosage. Take out 10% of the beads at each step of the taper. Put unused beads into a clean, dry, capped prescription bottle marked with the dosage of the original capsule and expiration date. You might want to use them later. Do NOT mix beads from capsules of different dosages, such as 30mg and 60mg. NOTE When you are taking loose beads, put them in an empty capsule to swallow them. Gelatin capsules and vegetarian capsules are available at health food store. The FDA reports here http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm103473.pdf there have been some instances of the beads causing throat irritation when swallowed without a capsule. Dividing Cymbalta beads into empty gelatin capsules To make counting of the beads easier, this technique may work with Cymbalta, see details at http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__3033 Opening capsules and weighing beads Eventually, as you remove more and more beads, it may become too confusing and time-consuming to count out them. You may wish to weigh them instead, see Using a digital scale to measure doses and Counting beads in a capsule versus weighing. Have a compounding pharmacy make up capsules of smaller dosages For precise dosing, a compounding pharmacy will accurately weigh the doses and put the right number of beads into capsules for you. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__3001 Dividing Cymbalta beads into apple juice or applesauce Follow the instructions above for dividing the beads in a capsule and put your reduced dose apple juice or applesauce. --------- It has been scientifically demonstrated that the Cymbalta pellets survive being put into apple juice or applesauce but NOT chocolate pudding: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18691989 Clin Ther. 2008 Jul;30(7):1300-8. In vitro stability, potency, and dissolution of duloxetine enteric-coated pellets after exposure to applesauce, apple juice, and chocolate pudding. CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study found that the enteric coating of duloxetine pellets mixed with applesauce or apple juice was not negatively affected. The pellets were stable at room temperature for < or = 2 hours and should quantitatively allow delivery of the full capsule dose, provided that the pellet integrity is maintained (ie, not crushed, chewed, or otherwise broken). Therefore, mixing duloxetine pellets with applesauce or apple juice appears to be an acceptable vehicle for administration. However, exposing the pellets to chocolate pudding damaged the pellets' enteric coating, suggesting that pudding may be an unacceptable vehicle for administration. --------- Tapering generic Cymbalta (duloxetine) capsules containing "mini-tablets" The generic forms of Cymbalta may contain beads, like brand-name Cymbalta, or 4 to 12 "mini-tablets" rather than beads. From Lupin Pharmaceuticals http://medlibrary.org/lib/rx/meds/duloxetine-3/ The "mini-tablets" cannot be split or dissolved to make a liquid. Suggestions for gradual tapering: If you are taking 20mg, 30mg, or 40mg (two 20mg capsules) per day, switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing tiny beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking 50mg (20mg plus 30mg) per day, reduce by one mini-tablet from the 30mg capsule (5mg, or 10%) initially for a month, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking one 60mg capsule per day, reduce by one mini-tablet (5mg) per month for 2 months until you are taking 50mg per day, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking one 60mg capsule plus any of the other dosages per day (at least 80mg), reduce by one mini-tablet (5mg) from the 60mg capsule per month until you get to 45mg total daily dosage, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. You can combine brand-name Cymbalta or generic beads with generic duloxetine mini-tablets to taper. (This would cost less than using brand-name Cymbalta for your entire taper. A prescription for 60mg brand-name Cymbalta capsules will go further.) You could take part of your dosage in brand-name Cymbalta beads and the rest of your daily dosage in generic mini-tablets. For example: If your 30mg generic duloxetine capsules contain 6 mini-tablets, each mini-tablet contains about 5mg duloxetine. Let's say you want to reduce 10% from 30mg to 27mg. You can take 5 mini-tablets (25mg) and add 2mg in beads to it. If a 60mg capsule of brand-name Cymbalta contains 200 beads, each bead contains about 0.3mg duloxetine; you would take 7 beads (2.1mg) to total a daily dose of 27.1mg. (BE SURE TO COUNT THE TOTAL NUMBER OF BEADS IN YOUR CAPSULES -- THEY CAN VARY FROM THIS EXAMPLE.) When you are down to 5 mini-tablets (25mg) per day, take 4 mini-tablets and the rest in beads to reduce another 10%, and so forth. Reduce by micro-taper The very smallest dose of brand-name Cymbalta is one bead. Some people find they can better tolerate a reduction of one bead at a time rather than a 10% decrease. You may be able to make reductions of one bead more frequently; try reducing by one bead a week for a while to see what your tolerance is. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2878-micro-taper-instead-of-10-or-5-decreases/ Do not reduce by one additional bead per day. This is too fast, you may develop withdrawal symptoms before you know what's happening. Here is an example of a micro-taper from cymbaltawithdrawal.com http://www.cymbaltawithdrawal.com/topic/8325-dose-down-bead-counting-chart-anywhere/?p=50499 Switch to Prozac Like its fellow SNRI Effexor, withdrawal from Cymbalta can be very difficult. Recently, I asked a knowledgeable doctor about how he switches patients to Prozac. He said if the dosage of Cymbalta is "normal" -- 30mg-40mg -- he would switch to 10mg Prozac with a week of overlap. In other words, take both medications for a week and then drop the Cymbalta. Later, taper off Prozac. He acknowledged Prozac can have its withdrawal problems, but given Prozac's long half-life, gradual tapering should be much easier than tapering off Cymbalta. And, at least Prozac comes in a liquid. He confirmed that Cymbalta cannot be compounded because the pellets are enteric-coated to get the medication past the stomach acid, which destroys it. Other than the Prozac switch, he said counting pellets is the only way to taper. See more about the Prozac switch http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1463-the-prozac-switch-or-bridging-with-prozac/ Here is more discussion about switching from Cymbalta to Prozac: NOTE Also see 2009: FDA hears testimony about Cymbalta discontinuation syndrome Study finds some Cymbalta withdrawal "severe and persistant" Doctor is shocked at severe Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms Cymbalta Withdrawal Lawsuits Progressing in US
  18. Hi Guys. I have been on every SSRI over the past 2 years, apart from Paroxetine. This all started from some situational anxiety at work. Each time i took a medication i was on them for about 3 month without any benefit at all. I would loose time at work, cold turkey and return back to work. Each time i did this i was getting worse and worse. I would then return back to the doctor and ve started on something else. This has basically gone on for 2 years. All this time i have got worse. I have now come to understand withdrawal and the fact i could have well been prescribed numerous medications due to an illness been mistaken for withdrawal. 8 weeks ago after stopping my second attempt of Escitalopram for 3 months i decided to stop for good with a fast taper. I feel anxious, dizzy, fatigued, poor cognition and inability to focus. I know if i take a dose of SSRI that this will improve however i will return to the Zombie state of meds. I am finished with medication!!! On reflection my problems i encountered prior to any medication was far easier than the problems i have had the past 2 years on medications. I think i have been a victim of Psychiatry! I dont think i ever needed medication! My chemical imbalance was created by meds! If i had no knowledge of this i would be stuck in Psychiatry! I just want to know ppls experiences and can i still be in withdrawal at 8 weeks after 2 years of messing about with meds. Thanks Lee
  19. 9 months ago today I took my last Prozac and I am still dealing with withdrawal. I took 15 mg of Fluoxetine for 12 years from PAR pharmaceuticals. In July 2015 the fluoxetine I received from the pharmacy was from TEVA pharmaceuticals, apparently PAR pharmaceuticals discontinued the tablets I was taking. Well, my body did not react well to the TEVA brand. I started having nausea and tremors. After a couple of days on the TEVA brand I switched to the MYLAN brand but nothing changed. Realizing my body was not going to handle the change I decided to taper but it seemed pointless because my body was in withdrawal from the PAR pharmaceutical fluoxetine my body was use to taking. On August 27th 2015 I took my last pill. From July to November I dealt with nausea and tremors and then all hell broke loose. On top of the nausea and tremors I developed a bad smell in my nose that only I can smell, internal shaking that is constant, the nausea got much worse, I started having hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and chills. I also have cried almost every day since November. In December I had a gastric emptying study done due to the nausea and lack of appetite. I discovered I now have delayed gastric emptying. To date I have lost 44 pounds from the nausea and not being able to eat. I have also had a CT scan and an MRI for the tremors and internal shaking. Those results were normal. I have seen an ENT for the bad smell in my nose, but they can find nothing wrong. I have noticed that I am feeling a tiny and I stress tiny bit better but I still have the internal shaking, nausea, bad smell in my nose and crying. I have read about internal shaking in withdrawal but how long does it go on. I was put on Prozac for panic attacks and the constant internal shaking is making me feel panicky and anxious. Does anything help with it? Has anyone else experienced a bad smell in their nose or heard of anyone having a bad smell in their nose during withdrawal? Thank you for any advice or help anyone can offer me.
  20. Hi Everyone, Well i am 36 years old and my journey with antidepressants started at the age of 16 (in 1999) when i started having panic attacks, i had always been a sensitive person and prone to bouts of anxiety as far back as i can remember. The list of medications went from Aropax, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Fluoxetine etc etc and i had tried numerous times basically since i first got put on them at 16 to stop them, i resented the fact that the doctor was telling me i would need them probably for the rest of my life and that i had a "chemical imbalance" which was determined through an extremely flimsy set of written questions, with no science at all backing it up! But unfortunately i was young and naive and this was back when you trusted what your doctor was telling you, so i reluctantly agreed. Every time i tried to come off this medication i would fail spectacularly and end up in severe distress at which point the doctor would use this as "proof i needed medication" when actually this was a withdrawal symptom all along which unfortunately took a lot of pain and anguish and time for me to come to understand, but i am where i am. I had been on the Fluoxetine for over a decade (can't remember exactly how long) and was tapering off in 2016 (before i knew anything about tapering), anyway i reached a point after a difficult breakup where i had a complete meltdown anxiety wise to the point where it was unbearable and the doctor put me on Mirtazapine where my weight ballooned to the biggest i'd ever been and i am only 155cm tall and since being put on antidepressants have put on close to 30kg! I used to be quite fit and active until this happened. Anyway at the end of 2017 after being on 15mg of Mirtazapine for a year as well as remaining on the reinstated 20mg of Fluoxetine i began tapering the Mirtazapine because the weight gain was making me even more miserable. The taper was going quite well and i had been tapering for 18months and was down to 0.5mg! and found out my mum needed to have some pretty serious surgery and lost my job which sent me into a spiral and unfortunately because i didn't know any better at the time i reinstated the full 15mg of mirtazapine again instead of just pushing it up 1mg or something and holding for 6 weeks (which seems to be the magic number for me). Anyway, after discussing with my doctor we decided to change the 20 mg of Fluoxetine over to 20mg of Vortioxetine after i had done a DNA test which supposedly tells you which medications may work better with your genetic makeup. So now i find myself on a new drug and also still taking the 15mg of Mirtazapine. The medication change was 10 weeks ago now and 5 days after the switch i did have some vomiting, diarrhea, headache and anxiety which passed but have had a steady stream of side effects including - intermittent Anxiety (sometimes panic), mild vertigo, some headaches, nausea, teariness and feelings of DEEP sorrow, irritability, ruminating thoughts the list goes on and on really but they all seem to pass quite quickly at this stage so i am hoping to power through and hoping that these side effects won't get any worse. Once i have had a solid period of time where there are no side effects and i feel physically and mentally ready then i will attempt at weaning from the mirtazapine (I wish i could do it immediately so i could finally fit into my old clothes again but alas the evil antidepressant side effects stop this from being a reality right now). I am being careful to keep a journal of my symptoms and become more aware of what my body is telling me, as well as learning from other people's stories from this website, which are immensely helpful as well as listening to James Moore's youtube channel called "Let's talk withdrawal" which i highly recommend to everyone who needs some encouragement. So glad to have found Surviving Antidepressants and reading all your experiences, it really helps to know I am not alone through this process
  21. I was put on fluoxetine 20mg about 2 years ago during a dark period in my life. I had experienced depression and anxiety before in my life but always was able to manage. This dark period came at a time when I had been struggling pretty bad for a couple of years. When I say bad I was still able to function at work and all that, but it was really really hard. After years of considering I decided I’d try them as I had tried just about everything else. Initially it was great. My depression started to lift. I was suicidal at the time and that started to go away. About 1 or 2 month in I started to feel much better. So much so that I decided to stop taking the medication cold turkey. I know now what a foolish move this was. The first month I felt just fine. Life was really great. I told my doctor. He expressed no concerns. After about a month is when things started to change. Mainly my anxiety and insomnia started to get really bad. I thought it was just withdrawl symptoms and that they would resolve after a few months. They didn’t. In addition to that I started to get really wierd symptoms. Just weird sensations in my head and with my vision that I had never experienced before. I started to experience what is what is best described as depersonalization or disassociation. At the time I started some trauma therapy and that wasn’t helping either. I just started to feel like a shell of my former self. This went on for about 2 years. During that time I thought I had everything from TBI or PCS, concussion like symptoms, CPTSD, BPD, low testosterone, chemical sensitivity, auto immune issues, celiac, inflammation and neuro inflammation. That what would come up when I googled my symptoms or spoke to a medical professional. Then I found these communities and it started to make sense. I never releazed that taking such a low dose of an SSRI for a short time could cause such chaos. Quitting cold turkey was a dumb move on my part for sure, but I thought since it only had been 3 months and at the lowest dose of 20mg it wouldn’t be that bad. Boy was I wrong. The last two years, I have been a completely different person. My sleep was completely destroyed. I was tired and irritable all the time. No libido what so ever. I was just sensitive to everything. A word or a look from anyone would drive my crazy. I was scared of everything. Some how I managed to get to work everyday and perform my duties but it was hard. I couldn’t look at the screen for more than a few dozen minutes at a time without getting a weird headache that felt like something was crawling around in my brain. My eyes would start to hurt. Exercise was really, really hard. I couldn’t read. Even books would cause a huge headache. If I turned my head a certain way or tried to look out of the corner of my eye, I would get a headache and be totally exhausted from it. Like I said somehow I survived these few years. I managed to make new friends, I bought a new home and started to live on my own. I tried new hobbies, pass times. But it was hard. I didn’t enjoy anything. Things started to change once I started to take supplements. Longvida, fish oils, magnesium. But it was all still really hard. After a while I decided to go back on the fluoxetine. It had been two years, and I was exhausted. The symptoms got much better as a result. I started to sleep better, my mood improved. Strangley my libido is back. I can think clearer. I can read now, and perform better at work. It’s not perfect and I still feel far from my normal self but much better than I was before. Once this happen I started to do more research and realized that the issue was the CT of my SSRI a few years ago. The symptoms just matched up perfectly. All the other medical conditions had some alignment with my symptoms but they didn’t add up. BPD? Why now? I’ve never had it before. TBI? From what? Minor bumps to the head? It just didn’t make sense. But being on these websites and reading peoples experiences, its like a light went off. It all started to make sense. So now I don’t know what to do. My symptoms have abated since reinstating 20mg of fluoxetine. I am still very new to these communities so I am trying to educate myself. I want to taper badly but not sure when to start. I am also worried about permanent damage that I have done to myself by stopping cold turkey so long ago. I feel much better since the reinstatement but I am still not 100% I would say I am at 75% to 80% up from 20% to 30% for two years. I find also now that I can’t miss a dose. Back when I first started taking it, I could miss a day or two and not feel anything. Now if I am late taking my dose the following day I start to feel these terrible symptoms come back. My basic plan right now is to keep taking the medication and track my progress. Eventually I want to start a taper a slow as possible. I am thinking like 1mg and waiting and seeing how it affects me. Holding at 1mg reduction for about 4 weeks. If all is good then another 1mg for 4 weeks and so one. I want to take it a slow as possible to allow my body to adapt. Any advice or feed back would be much appreciated.
  22. Hello, Part 1, Intro. I would like to start by sincerly thanking websites such as Survivingantidepressants for essentially helping me to understand my plight more accurately. I have found the success story sections to be particularly helpful, and have turned to these wonderful stories to help raise my spirits in times of utter hopelesssness. After lurking around on these websites, often too incapacitated to do much in the way of meaninful writing, I decided that it might be helpful to someone out there if I shared a little bit about myself. This is going to be a long post, and I understand that some folks going through the ringer will not be able to read this post in its entirety due to eye issues, or just information processing issues. I've been there, I couldn't read for probably a year in total. Nevertheless, I hope that you can eventually read this and garner some useful information, or at least some knowledge that you are not alone out there going through this unjust, cruel, and totally unecessary hell that we've been subjected and in my opinion, decived into undertaking. 2 Background. To give a brief background, in January of 2013 I was prescribed 50mg of pristiq, had a bad reaction to it, then switched to effexor 75mg for ~2 months, and then after requesting a medication that doesn't give me sexual dysfunction, prescribed 30mg of cymbalta. All said, I spent about 6 months on medication and I must say that it definitely relieved my moderate depression and my above average anxiety. Simultaneously, I was taking ~10-15 mg of adderall nearly daily for over 7 years to relieve "ADHD". Unfortunately, after going on cymbalta, I had a severe manic and borderline psycotic reaction to all of this stimulating medication, and proceeded to spend a tremendous amount of money over a short period of time because I became convinced that the economy was going to crash and that I needed to prepare NOW. At the time, I had a sneaking suspicion that something was wrong, but I always trusted my brain's intuition, and my ideas just seemed "right". So I basically bought 400 pounds of non-perishable food, and nearly 4 grand worth of prep supplies and equipment. Seeing that I was employed as a graduate student, earning my PhD, my funding was very small, so this basically bankrupted me and I had to borrow money from my family just to stay out of debt. I also opted for a very invasive, and not entirely necessary shoulder survery to correct a torn labrum that had been annoying me for years. I went ahead and had the proceedur finished, and was excited at the prospect of having a fully functional shoulder again. As it turns out, my intentions were pure, but life had other plans for me (if you'll read on and bear with me). At the end of my 6 month stint on this medication, I started to have severe memory issues. I would be trying to explain something to someone, and all of a sudden I would hit a "road block" and couldn't figure out the correct word to say. Obviously, as a PhD student, this would not do, so I told my doctor I wanted off of this stuff and I wanted my old brain back. Well, I tapered from 30mg to 10mg somewhat quickly (as I have now learned), over about 1 month and from there, based on my doctors advice, I "bit the bullet" as he said, and went from 10mg to 0mg. What proceeded to happen was that I went through very similar symptoms over a 1 week period as people often describe for benzodiazapine withdrawal. Indeed, I had been prescribed clonopin for 5 years, and withdrew from thsi medication back in 2012, and for 3 whole months I was basically bedridden and completely incapactated before being able to function in the world again. At that time, I swore I would NEVER EVER take a benzo again for the rest of my life. Unfortuantely, I was unaware of the fact that SSRI/SNRI's could produce similar symptoms. I was even moreso unaware of the fact that SSRI's could produce symtpoms that were even worse and even more debilitating. To make a long and disappointing story short, I went on an epic vacation just 30 days after I quit taking the medication. I had planned this trip very meticulously during my medication induced mania, and spent a tremendous amount of money on this trip - it was essentially meant to be the trip of a lifetime. Instead, it became one of the more awful experiences of my life. Try navigating 5 countries and managing an expliciting budget just 30 days after coming off SNRIs and having awful symptoms. It was just really hellish, but by the halway point I was hoping that my symptoms would abate within 60 days and I would be able to resume normal functioning at the unviersity. I was hoping to put all of this behind me. Upon returning, I discovered to my horror that I was not much improved after 2 months. My symptoms included, but are not limited to: severe memory loss, burning sensations, problems with my eyes (blurry vision, floaters, etc), difficulty concentrating, difficulty thinking, hot flashes, vertigo, and depersonalization/derealization, fatigue, etc. You guys and gals know the deal, it was GRIM, GRIM, GRIM. Looking back however, I actually had it pretty good. 3. From bad to worse This is where the story goes from bad to worse. As a PhD student, I had worked exremely hard to make a good career for myself once I graduated. One way of doing this way to teach a college level class. So upon returning from my trip, I was meant to teach a laboratory class in an advanced course in Biological Sciences in the summer for 1 month. I was so severely depersonalized/derealized, and with all the other symptoms I listed above, that I could barely remember any of my students names, and I certainly couldn't remember any of the subject matter that I was supposed to be an expert in and deticated the last 6 years of my life to memorizing. Ouch. Nevertheless, I pressed on because the course had to be taught. So I did, and the student's didn't seem to mind, although I was acutely aware of the fact that I had lost a tremendous amount of intelectual ability and could no longer "speak off the cuff" and go on intelectual tangents. I recall one student asking me about a relatively simple mathematical formula, and my inability to easily answer this question that drove me to the point of calling my ex-psyciatrist back and demanding a meeting. In this meeting, he indicated that a quick fix for my problems would be a prescription of prozac which has a long half-life, and reinstating this medciation for about a month or two, and then going off of it again. I thought "well, this better work" and went ahead and tried. As I had mentioned earlier, I had shoulder surgery, and as a consequence I needed to take some pain meds to help me through the immensly painful physical therapy sessions. So I was prescribed tramadol, which is an SNRI (UH OH!). One day I will never forget, I took this tramadol, about 1 week after being on prozac, and I had an adverse reaction to this combination that has haunted me for about 1.5 years now. My entire body went numb, particularly my sensory neurons, and I felt like an strange tickling and itching sensation over all of my skin. I never took tramadol again, but as I continued to take prozac over the next couple of weeks, I began to have an odd sensation over all of my skin: it felt as if I had wet paper bags over my entire body, and my face was becoming anesthetized. I returned to the doctor, and told him about this a couple of times and he basically told me "how could that possibly happen, you're probably just anxious". At the 1 month mark, things were not improving, and all of the original cymbalta withdrawal symptoms were still there. Instead of taking me off the medication, like any reasonable human being would have done, this doctor UPPED my dose to 20mg (from 10mg) after I told him about these adverse effects. After just 2-3 days of this, I started having insomia, and I said "**** it" and tapered off quickly in a 4 day period. It was around September 1st, 2013 when I had my last SSRI/SNRI. I should note here that I was miraculously able to finish teaching the course in anatomy and physiology with decent reviews - the prozac did help in the sense that it produced a mild mania again, which allowed me to sort of interact with the students better. What also helped me was the fact that it was around this time that I got together with my then girlfriend who saw me through the worst of the issues, so I was not completely alone thorugh this hell. It was really this wonderfully patient and kind woman who, amongst others, I attribute to saving my degree and possibly my life. 4. Recovery begins Afer coming to the realization that reinstatement was not an option for my body, I had to deal with the fact that my reinstatment attempt was not only a failure, but it made my symptoms like 40% worse. Now I also had tingling and numbness in all of my limbs, profound sinous headaches, and trigeminal nerve problems, and more serious eye problems than before. I was seeing a psyciatrist through all of this, because I was still taking adderall and had developed quite a habit for this pill (later on, I did successfully quit), which was the only way I was going to write my dissertation and complete my degree. This doctor told me that many of these symptoms may disappear after 3 months, so I waited patiently and tried my best to be physcially active and write my dissertation. Unfortunatley, releif came VERY slowly, and it wasn't until the 6 month point that I began to feel substantially better (Feburary-March 2014). At this point, with the help of my wonderful girlfriend, and a moderate dose of adderall, I began to be able to write my dissertation, and in the next ~2 months I wrote a massive chunk of this work. The symptoms sort of started to melt away, and I began to be able to read and function again - although I was still severely damaged and had not recovered. In anticipation of the fact that this might take a very long time, I scheduled my PhD defense for Summer of 2014, so that I could be at my very best. I also began applying for jobs, and succeeded in securing an interview. One unfortunate event that I should mention is that I reinjured my shoulder, so that now it was worse than it was before I got surgery in the first place. I attribute my reinjury of the shoulder to the SSRI withdrawals, and the adderall - the level of fatigue and the lack of awareness of my body due to sensory nerve damage (or what ever the heck it is - I'm still not entirely sure I understand what precise physiological mechanism is responsible for all of the symptoms I experienced) caused me to just not work on my shoulder exercises like I should have, and to play with it the wrong ways while in bed one morning. 5. Hypersensitivity This is a very important part of my story because it explains my great downfall and what happened next most precisely. Basically, as I've read on this website, and others (particularly paxilprogress.com, which was my very favorite and brings me great disappointment to see it taken offline), many people experience an inexplicable hypersensitivity to various substances when going through an adverse reaction or an ssri withdrawal. I too had this experience, most profoundly after my issues with prozac and tramadol. For example, I would drink 1 beer and be totally incapacitated and brain dead for 3 days, and if I got drunk, I would be seriously messed up for no less than 14 days. This was also true for niccotine, or any central nervous sytem agent - and it severely limited what I could do and how I could enjoy my life. Thankfully, I was still able to escape my horrible existance by watching movies and playing videogames. Indeed, videogames very effectively passed time for me in the early stages of withdrawal. Anyways, I also noticed this in regards to other medication - I took one, ONE .5 mg clonopin pill to help releive the "rebound anxiety", if you can really call it that, during my recovery process in the spring of 2014, and it completely incapacitated me for like 2 weeks. I then took a valarin root to try to see if that might help calm my nerves, and another 2 weeks of my life were gone. It's very scary to realize that small doses of commonly taken medication can completely incapacitate oneself, and I seriously had no answer for any of this other than to very cautiously avoid any and all substances if it could be helped. I should have taken this as a warning for things to come, but unfortunately I did not. One night, with my girlfirend, I had ingested a marijuana brownie in an attempt to have a good time and to escape from my unimaginable horror of losing my intellectual ability, my career, and everythign that was important to me (especially losing my emotions, the anhedonia was SEVERE and pathlogoically bad - instead of feeling emotions, I would just feel a vague burning sensation in the frontal part of my brain). This pot brownie was suprisingly effective and I had a good night with her and her friends. The only reason I mention this is because that pot browning made me believe that I could handle a small dose of marijuana without any ill effect - maybe I could find a way to medicinally deal with the agony of my condition. 6. True hell: Boy was I wrong. One night I shall never forget, my friend and college invited me to a party where people were smoking some pot in a casual way. I was just coming down from a daily dose of adderall, so I was a bit anxious and thought I would now have an opportunity to relax and enjoy myself with these folks and have a nice weekend. I smoked the pot, and what happened next was that I went from euphoria stright to utter terror. It's still very difficult for me to write this, and I'm having some emotional issues with articulating what happened, but I basically had a terror (panic) attack for like 12 straight hours, and proceeded not to sleep for the next 2 months. Yes, you read that correctly, I did not sleep for 2 months. The hell of SNRI withdrawals and an adverse reaction PALED in comparison to what I experienced when I smoked pot. ALL of the original symtpoms came back in full force, simultaneously. I went from being partially recovered to fully incapacitated again, and this time I had the awful experience of constant panic attacks that could be set off from any little thing, and PROFOUND bodily anesthesia, in addition to profound derealization and depersonalization. I had esentially lost all progress I had made over the previous 10 months, and became WORSE than I was before any of this started. As I am still recovering from this experience, I can say with some confidence that what happened was that I overdosed on marijuana. The weed in California is NOT the weed I remember back in NY - it's VERY strong and one can overdose on just a couple of hits. I personally took 4 hits I think. I know this is not a forum for drugs, but I must be explicit in my story and explian this because I do not EVER want ANYONE to go through what I went through. Please, if you're on the fence about doing drugs to help edicinally allieviate your SSRI withdrawal symptoms, do not do it. Please, I beg of you, with all of my heart, please do not risk it. 7. Partial Recovery I'm not going to go into all the fallout from my terrible mistake of overdosing on that pot, perhaps I will once it's all over. I should just say that I just BARELY clung onto reality well enough to finish. I thank God every day that I lived alone, and that I was in contact with a very understanding Aunt who had gone through similarly difficult situations. She basically saved both my career and probably my life in the 6 months or so that I endured absolutel hell as a result of smoking that stuff. At this time, I also started attending 12 step meetings of AA, and these kind and amazing people helped me out so very much. I will forever be grateful to these wondeful people for their kindness during this time - these meetings esentially kept me out of the psych ward and off of medication. I want to point out and focus on the positive: I successfully completed my Phd in Biological sciences from a prestigous institution, and defended my PhD in front of the entire department and no one suspected a thing. I also stayed with some friends after I lost the lease in my appartment due to graduation, and then found an appartment in the state of California nearby my old university that I was able to hang out in until I was well enough to make the drive across the country back to my father's house in Pensilvania. I survived, barely. Just barely. *In the very unlikely, by theoretically possible chance that someone else in this wide world is experiencing something similar to that which I have just described, I would like to describe my timeline of recovery. First 3 months, absolute hell - but by the end of the 3rd month, I was able to be somewhat peaceful and calm from time to time. At the end of 6 months I was still having panic attacks from time to time, but I was getting pretty good sleep 75% of the time time and I was able to enjoy myself sometimes. At the end of 9 months is when the panic attacks stopped, and I just had bad migranes most of the time. This is when I began to be able to read and write fairly well, and enjoy life even more from time to time. I'm currently at 11 months, and still feeling pretty bad, but I'm much much better and get good sleep nearly every single night. *If someone else is also trying to quit a stimulant while going through SSRI withdrawal hell like I did, I can outline my timeline for recovery if it might help you. By the 3 month mark, I had all of my phiscal stamia back, and just lacked motivation. By the 6-7 month mark, I have begun to recover intellectual motivation, but I'm still beset by migraine headaches most of the time. I tapered from 10mg to 2.5mg and then off completely over a 6-7 week period. 8. Closing statements Now, I'm currently on the mend. I quit taking adderall immediately after completing my degree, and have been off that toxic and dangerous drug for about 7 months to date. I am also 20 months free from SSRIS, and certainly will never go back that route again for the rest of my life. I'm not employed, and really am not employable at all. I will probably have to find a job at some point, but I'll most likely not be able to go back into academia until my brain fully recovers. I don't know when that will be. For now, I'm grateful to A) be alive, and be able to enjoy some things again. I'm grateful for the fact that I have my health coming back, that I'm able to write somewhat articulately again, and that most of my symptoms are slowly improving. I apologize for this massive essay - I know first hand how difficult it is to focus on things like this when you're going through withdrawal, but I just felt inspired this evening enough to write this post. I hope that this helped someone in some way, and please let me know if you have any questions. There is A LOT that I've left out from my story, especially in regards to the hell I experienced after smoking the marijuana. I learned a tremendous amount about life that I really never wanted to learn, and I've learned a great deal about recovering from ssris, what works, and what doesn't. there's a lot that I don't really know yet, and I could use some advice from the community on a few things. 1) how the heck does one make money and support themselves through this? I'm not entirely sure how to proceed from here. I've attempted to figure out if there's another medical condition that I'm experiencing that is unrelated to ssri withdrawals - got an MRI (totally normal, from what the doctors at the ER said). One doctor said it's possibly a neuropathy, or a metabolic disorder - but nothing concrete. I'm scheduled to go see another doctor in an attempt to get an actual diagnosis so that I could possibly apply for disability, but I'm not too sure what to do. I'm not so sure if going back to western medicine is a great idea, but I did get a lot of releif from knowing that there's nothing highly abnormal with my MRI, so I figure it might be good to rule out common disorders that can cause the symtpoms I'm still experiencing. If there's one thing I've learned from all of this it's that the worst thing I can do to help myself is to introduce new chemicals in my body in order to fix the problem. I've read countless recovery stories on this website and on paxilprogress, and I've been able to determine that if what I'm going through is SSRI withdrawal/adverse reaction, the only real cure for all of this is: time. From what I've read, it takes between 6 months and 5 years for people to recover completely. That's a long time, and I'm not sure how to survive for that long. I've just barely made it through 2 years. Just BARELY. I've thought about taking my life so many countless numbers of times over the past 2 years, but never did it - I don't think I will either. I just think about it, because the pain is so severe and unending. Although things have improved a LOT, and I mean A LOT from last may when I smoked that pot, I'm still far from recovered. I have hope that I'll recover in the future, but I think this process will take a long time. Thank you for reading.
  23. Dear all, I have done all the research possible and contact all persons in the Netherlands who could help me find the answers for coping with this rollercoaster ride of tapering my last 2,5 mg of paroxetine (paxil). I managed to get in touch with a researcher in the area of tapering and withdrawal effects of anti-depressants. He was really helpful with my questions about tapering of and was so kind to share his latest upcoming publication about withdrawal effects and the importance of good guidance from our doctors. I found this article very inspirational and heart warming to know we are not alone in this battle of coming of our medications. I wanted to share this with you, thought it could be helpfull for others as well. Here is the link to the manuscript. It is still under review but already publiced at https://iipdw.org/user-knowledge-psychotropic-drug-withdrawal/ greetings Julia
  24. 2010- Two years of severe headaches. Bad vision in one eye. Muscle pains. The doctors did not say anything. 2012- anxiety appeared. the first drug sertaline - a paradoxical reaction. I got depression, ss thoughts and other bad symptoms. 2012- 2016 paroxetine - - I tappered slowly, but I did not know yet that it should be stopped more slowly. 3 months without paroxetine and withdrawal syndrome appeared. Return to the drug worsened the matter. I crashed. Bridge with fluoxetine. A year passed. at the end of September 2016 I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I did test in two different laboratories. 08/08/2016-now fluoxetin 20 mg 01/05/2016- now- triticco / trazadone 75 mg clonozepam - 04.03.2017. from 20.11.2017 I started tapper from 0.5 to 0.125 mg- when I got some relief from Lyme treatment. Now I am treated with ILADS ( Lyme and bartonella) and also tapper psycho drags. I want to not rule out the syndrome and stop the drugs safely. I am asking for support and exchange of experience, especially people who suffer from Lyme disease. I need to make plan. How to discontinue: clonazepam 0,125 mg, fluoxetine 20 mg and trazadon 75 mg How I feel now: Antibiotics have sustained discomfort from the urinary tract and improved the results of cytology. I have more windows, but I still experience strong hits of depression and pain in small joints, a specially neck. Through complicated diagnostics of Lyme disease and the syndrome, I do not know which symptoms are from what. Thank you for your attention, sorry for mistakes.
  25. ADMIN NOTE: Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to Prozac. Be sure to read details and cautions below . Consult a knowledgeable medical practitioner before changing medications. Also see Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine) Switching or bridging with another related drug, usually of a longer half-life, is a recognized way to get off psychiatric drugs, particularly if you find tapering your original drug to be intolerable. Many people with failed tapers from venlafaxine (Effexor), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), paroxetine (Paxil), and duloxetine (Cymbalta) find they need to bridge in order to go off the drug. For many doctors, a switch to Prozac to go off a different antidepressant is routine. Because of the risks of switching drugs -- see below -- we recommend attempting a very gradual direct taper from your drug, with bridging with a different drug only a last resort. There are a lot of unknowns in bridging. Fluoxetine (Prozac) has the longest half-life of any of the modern antidepressants. Because it takes more than a week for a dose to be metabolized completely, a careful taper off fluoxetine is easier for most people -- see information about Tapering off Prozac. And, at least fluoxetine comes in a liquid. (Do not assume fluoxetine is "self-tapering"! We have many people here with Prozac withdrawal syndrome. While going off fluoxetine usually has less risk, one might still develop withdrawal symptoms going off fluoxetine. No bridging strategy is risk-free.) Citalopram or Celexa and its sibling escilatopram or Lexapro have half-lives of about 35 hours, a relatively long half-life among SSRIs, and are other candidates for a bridging strategy. They also come in a liquid form. You must find a knowledgeable doctor to help you to with a bridging strategy. You might wish to print this post out to discuss it with your doctor. For most people the switch goes smoothly but for some it doesn't. The drawbacks of switching to another drug to get off the first drug, described below, apply to ALL bridging strategies for ALL drugs, including benzodiazepines: Risks of bridging A bridging strategy has the following drawbacks for a minority of those who try it: Dropping the first antidepressant in the switch may cause withdrawal symptoms even though you're taking a bridge drug. Adverse reaction to the bridge drug, such as Prozac. Serotonin toxicity or adverse effects of a drug combination. If withdrawal symptoms are already underway, switching to a bridge drug may not help. Difficulty tapering off the bridge drug. All of the bridge drugs can be difficult to taper themselves. About serotonin toxicity: For antidepressants, you run the risk of serotonergic toxicity if you are taking an SNRI, particularly at a high dose, with an SSRI, or too much of one antidepressant. (Never take an MAOI in combination with another antidepressant!) Serotonergic effects of an SSRI such as Prozac, Celexa, or Lexapro are ADDED when combined with an SNRI such as desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor), venlafaxine XR (Effexor XR), milnacipran (Savella), and levomilnacipran (Fetzima). This is why doctors familiar with the Prozac switch will cross-taper by adding a LOW DOSE of Prozac to an SNRI. Another concern: Escilatopram (Lexapro) is several times stronger, milligram for milligram, than the other SSRIs. If you add 10mg Lexapro to the high dose of 60mg Cymbalta, for example, you run the risk of serotonergic toxicity -- 10mg Lexapro is equal to approximately 30mg Prozac. So, like anything else, a drug switch is not guaranteed to work. When to switch or bridge A direct taper from the drug to which your nervous system is accustomed carries less risk than a switch to a new drug. You may have a bad reaction to a new drug, or the substitution may not work to forestall withdrawal symptoms. This is the "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know" rule. The risk of a switch is justified if you find a taper from the original drug is simply too difficult. Usually people will do a switch when they find reducing the original antidepressant by even a small amount -- 10% or even 5% -- causes intolerable withdrawal symptoms. (I have heard doctors say they don't even try tapering off Effexor and Paxil, they do the Prozac switch from the beginning.) If you are having intolerable withdrawal from another antidepressant, it may be worth risking the worst case: A switch to a bridge drug doesn't help and you have withdrawal syndrome anyway. If you're thinking of switching simply as a matter of convenience, you need to weigh the risks against the amount of convenience you would gain. Generally, switching for convenience is a bad idea. CAUTION: A switch to a bridge drug is not guaranteed to work. It's safer to slow down a taper than count on a switch. A switch really should be used only when a taper becomes unbearable or there are other serious adverse effects from the medication. You must work with a doctor who is familiar with bridging, in case you develop severe symptoms. Below is information I've gathered from doctors about how to do the Prozac switch. You will see there is no standard protocol. Healy 2009 method for the Prozac switch From Healy 2009 Halting SSRIs withdrawal guidelines: Phelps-Kelly 2010 method for Prozac switch From Clinicians share information about slow tapering (2010) Jim Phelps, one of the authors of the above, posted in 2005 in some detail about the so-called "Prozac bridging" strategy. He said it is described in Joseph Glenmullen's book, Prozac Backlash, maybe in the chapter titled of "Held Hostage." The technique Dr. Phelps described in this post skips doses and finishes with alternating dosages, which we do not recommend for people who are sensitive to withdrawal symptoms. Given that Prozac liquid is available, this is completely unnecessary. Foster 2012 method for Prozac switch Dr. Mark Foster, a GP whose mission is to get people safely off psychiatric drugs includes this in a presentation he gives to doctors. http://www.gobhi.org/spring_conference_powerpoints/safewithdrawal_of_psychotropics%5Bautosaved%5D.ppt. His method involves overlapping Prozac with the other antidepressant -- cross-tapering. Note on above: If you have tapered to a lower dose of Seroxat/Paxil, Effexor, Cipramil/Celexa, Lustral/Zoloft, etc., an even lower dose of Prozac may be more tolerable. If you are about half-way down, you might want to try 10mg Prozac. If you have decreased further, you may wish to try 5mg Prozac. More is not better for nervous systems sensitized by withdrawal. Prey 2012 method for Prozac switch Another knowledgeable doctor (whom I trust) explained his technique to me (this is the technique I personally would prefer if I had to do it, it seems much gentler) For a "normal" dose of Effexor (150mg per day or more) or Paxil (20mg) or Cymbalta (20mg), he would switch to 10mg Prozac with a week of overlap. In other words, take both medications for a week and then drop the Effexor. Lower doses of Effexor or other antidepressant require lower doses of Prozac as a "bridge." The lower dose of Prozac reduces the risk of excessive serotonergic stimulation (serotonin toxicity) from the combination of the two antidepressants during the overlap period. Do not stay on the combination of the first antidepressant and Prozac for more than 2 weeks, or you run the risk of your nervous system accommodating to the combination and having difficulty tapering off both antidepressants. Later, taper off Prozac. He acknowledged Prozac can have its withdrawal problems, but given Prozac's long half-life, gradual tapering should be easier than tapering off Effexor. What should the final Prozac dose be? Please note that if you cross-taper, you will be taking 2 drugs at once for part of the time. Because of the potential of serotonin toxicity by overdosing SSRIs as well as in combination with SNRIs, it's probably safest to err on the lower side of a Prozac dose "equivalent" -- such as 5mg -- to your original drug. Here is a graphic representation of cross-tapering: If the second antidepressant is Prozac, given Prozac's long half-life, it may take up to a couple of weeks to reach full effect. The effect of the amount you add at each stage of the cross-taper will build throughout the process. As it is possible to overshoot Prozac dosage, it's best to be very conservative about increasing it throughout the cross-taper, you could end up with serotonin toxicity from too much Prozac. For an idea of equivalent doses of your medication to fluoxetine (prozac) read this post (January 7, 2018) in this topic. It compares fluoxetine 40mg/day (a fairly high dose of Prozac) to other antidepressants. Source of that data: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25911132 Also see this discussion about cross-tapering with Prozac: Smoothing out a transition to Prozac Even with a cross-taper, your system might feel a jolt after you finally drop the initial antidepressant, particularly if it is an SNRI, such as Effexor, Pristiq, or Cymbalta, or other drug that is not an SSRI like Prozac. (Other SSRIs include Paxil, Zoloft, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro). If you go through a rough patch after the transition, patients find they can take a tiny chip of the original drug (or a bead or two, if it's a capsule containing beads) for a week or two to smooth out the transition. Eventually, you'd take a chip as needed only when you feel a wave of withdrawal from the original drug, and then finally leave the original drug entirely behind. (A gelatin capsule might make a tablet fragment easier to get down, but it is not necessary if you can wash it down with a good swallow of water. The gelatin capsule quickly dissolves in your stomach.) Here's an example. There is no shame in doing this. Whatever works, works.
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