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  1. Hello there, I am new to this forum and am seeking any guidance you can give me as I am in despair and feel horrible. I had been on SSRI’s for over 25 years and have always wanted to get off them but never could. Always tapered too fast and ended up feeling horribly sick so I would start back up. It was just easier staying on them. Several years ago, I realized that my mood had become really flat and I had trouble getting excited about anything. I wasn’t necessarily sad or depressed about anything but I felt that there was more to life and believed it had to do with the Prozac. So, I made the decision to taper differently this time – very slowly over the course of a few years. Unfortunately, I tapered completely wrong. Just because I was going more slowly did not mean that I was doing it right. How I wish I had found this website sooner. I began skipping doses and taking 20mg every other day. Maintained that for about a year. Then began taking it only a few days per week and maintained that. Then dropped down to 2 days per week. Then instead of taking 20 mg, I began taking 10 mg 2 days per week. All this time, I was having intermittent withdrawals, but did not recognize the symptoms for what they were. I ended up in the ER twice with chest pressure that was diagnosed as acid reflux but it was withdrawals. I had bouts of severe muscle pain/burning in my shoulders and neck that would last for about a week and then go away and then resurface down the road. My doctor suggested I had Fibromyalgia and prescribed Cymbalta which I refused to take. I never believed that I had Fibro but I still hadn’t connected the dots that my symptoms were withdrawals from tapering so poorly. When I got down to 10mg twice a week, my doctor told me since I was on such a low dose, to just stop it. So, I stopped the Prozac in March 2019 and began taking amino acids – Tryptophan 1000 mg, DLPA 1000 mg and GABA 125 mg (upon the advice of a holistic doctor). Since then, I have ranged from feeling ok to pretty good. In fact the week before the horrendous withdrawals began on July 24th, I thought I was getting close to my “normal” self again. My husband and I were even planning on doing an embryo transfer later this year in the hopes of having our first child. The holistic doctor advised me that amino acids were safe to take while pregnant, however, I recently came across articles that say otherwise. Unfortunately, I played with fire and wanted to see what would happen if I stopped taking the DLPA. So, I stopped the DLPA, for 3 days. On the 3rd day, all heck broke loose and I became extremely dizzy and off balance for most of the day. The very next day, I resumed the DLPA hoping it would alleviate my symptoms but they continued and evolved into other ones as well. Initially, I thought that the symptoms were withdrawals from DLPA but now I believe they are protracted withdrawal from the Prozac. I think the aminos were keeping the lid on the Prozac withdrawals and then once I lifted that lid off, everything boiled over. After a week of terrible withdrawals and calling in sick for 2 days, I couldn't take it anymore and decided to reinstate the Prozac. I came across the SA website and the recommendation to reinstate a very small amount. I only had 10mg and 20 mg pills left so I made liquid Prozac out of the 10mg and reinstated at 1.25 mg. Although, I did not have any negative effects from 1.25 mg, the next day I was scared that I reinstated too high and only took .5 mg. That is where I have been at for 9 days now. I am pushing myself to work each day and it is so very difficult with my symptoms: feeling sick/hungover, chest pressure, difficulty breathing, fatigue, insomnia, neck/shoulder tension, sometimes a burning sensation in my neck/shoulders, too. Over the past 9 days, I would say that I am better than I was before the reinstatement but I am still miserable. There have been a couple of times when I have experienced a wired feeling, too. I did go and see my new PCP and it did not go well. Of course, she told me that there is no way I could be in withdrawals if I quit Prozac in March and that she believes I have underlying depression and anxiety in which she suggested I take Effexor. I told her I would never take that. I am looking for guidance as to whether it is time for me to increase or hold at .5 mg longer. I apologize in advance if this was too long winded and does not make much sense.
  2. Hi just a little about me! I have been taking fluoxetine for approx 20 years! Throughout which time I have continued to struggle with coping and mood! I have made adjustments in my life to help me cope better: not overloading myself, mindfulness, taking it easy and trying to manage my reaction to situations and life better! I am now weening myself off Prozac! I have always taken 20mg. At the moment I am down to taking the tablet just 5 days per week. As for symptoms, I never felt well while taking them, tired moody, highs and lows, generally feeling unwell. Noticeably more recently foggy head, poor long and short term memory and a feeling that my head is full and confusion at times! So, I am thinking, yes there will be withdrawal symptoms, but I am hopeful that I can handle it! I have been taking 5 per week for 3 weeks now, and I am wondering when I could reduce to 4 per week? I would really appreciate your advice and thoughts on this. Many thanks x
  3. 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
  4. Hi all, I am so glad I found this site. I am dealing with what I now know is ssri withdrawal and this place has given me hope, knowledge, and peace of mind. It’s crazy what these drugs can do. To start, I will give you my story. Looking back, I grew up with low self esteem and emotional issues that I never faced. Through school and going into college, I still managed to adjust well, make friends, and didn’t have especially bad anxiety or anything. In high school and college I abused alcohol frequently, probably due to emotional distress. I never was addicted, but was a binge drinker. In my 2nd year of college, even drinking became stressful and not fun. I began to have a lot of social anxiety, and couldn’t handle any alcohol. Depression started to set in, and I was in denial for a long time. Because of this, I let it get worse, I let people hurt me, and I ended up in the ER because I realized I couldn’t function and was suicidal. There they decided to send me to an outpatient treatment facility, and there my medication history began. I first was given seetraline, then Effexor, neither for longer than a week. The side effects were too much. So the doc deicided to try Prozac with me. That one seemed to have me feeling better, so I stayed on that for the time being. Started at 20mg around May 2017, 40mg for a few months, then 60mg for a long duration. I was only at this outpatient thing for a couple months, then I started seeing a new doctor. She basically just kept giving me the Prozac, and I’d just say I’m fine. I guess I felt fine, but I was more or less a zombie that just went to work and slept. The thing is though that Prozac is what lifted me out of the horrible depression I was in, and helped my anxiety. I thought of it as miraculous. The one thing that made it a lot less miraculous was that I gained nearly 100 pounds in a year! This prompted my doctor to lower my dose to 40mg, which made me realize how much Prozac dulled me out. I felt so much more awake and clear headed, so I figured I should get off the meds totally! It’ll only be good news, or so I thought. So I went down to 20mg a couple months later around November 2018. Afterwards is when withdrawal started to hit. I really noticed it while visiting family for Christmas. I just wasn’t myself. The anxiety was back in full force, and that was enough to hinder my social ability. It sucks to think family members see me like that and don’t know what’s going on, that maybe they just think I’m mentally ill. Oh well. I went down to 10mg in February, and jumped clear off in March. I now know this was far to fast of a taper, but I didn’t know this at the time. My doctor obviously didn’t either, but she probably also thinks Prozac doesn’t give people withdrawals. Once at 10mg I started to have the very sever symptoms. Extreme anxiety, irritability, anger, sensitivity to movement light and sounds, depersonalization, tightness in chest and neck, paranoia, numbness, and headaches (sometimes long lasting). Once I went to 0 they got a little worse for a bit, and it was gradually improved since then. I’ve only been totally off the Prozac for about a month right now. My god has it improved since a month ago! I still wouldn’t say I’m doing well by any means but I at least feel kind of normal. I felt like everybody was staring at me when I went outside or drove around at first (still kind of do sometimes), so much so that I just felt overwhelmed and crazy. I quit my job, not super important since it was just a silly job to pay rent. All I can really say about the symptoms is that they are still there, and it feels like they’ve been gradually receding ever so slowly. I seem to have the windows and waves, but mine have been short, maybe only hour long windows sometimes. I just pray that I will not only feel normal again but find real happiness and relief. I’m currently taking D3 and fish oil daily, nothing else. Does anyone have any advice about those supplements and others I could try? That would be great. I’m also just wondering if my story sounds familiar to anyone and what to expect. But most of all, it’s just nice to get this all out. Feel free to ask me questions!
  5. Hey, everyone. Here's my introduction (I hope it's not too long): In 1994, at 19, I suffered panic attacks from being bullied in school and having cognitive errors in my thinking (perfectionism, negative self talk, etc.) My parents took me to a psychiatrist who told me I had a "chemical imbalance in my brain," prescribed me 80 mg of Prozac a day, and kicked me out the door. I received no therapy and from that day forward saw myself as a mental health patient. This diagnosis changed the course of my entire life. My Prozac took six weeks to kick in, and it brought with it a slew of side effects: generalized anxiety, hypervigilance (constant surveying the world and my body for signs of panic), stomach cramps, and irritable bowel syndrome. Like the proverbial boiling frog who doesn't notice the raising temperature, the side effects eased in to my life so slowly I thought they were a part of me and my "chemical imbalance." In essence I had a paradoxical reaction to the drug: it amplified my existing struggles but I had no idea my medication was the source. I was never told this was possible, nor was I told about the danger of trying to come off. The side effects made work outside the home, socializing, and dating extremely difficult because I was always afraid of the next wave of anxiety that would send me racing to the washroom. I watched my friends grow up and have careers, partners, and families, while I tried to buoy what was left of my self-esteem with self-help books and different therapists, none of who ever questioned the drug or the dosage. After two years of cognitive behavioral therapy to untwist the errors in my thinking, I tried coming off the drug under the supervision of my doctor in 2006 but the initial reduction of 20 mg every two weeks proved to be far too steep. When I reached zero I had a few days of bliss, then an absolute mental collapse. I developed akathisia and was unable to sit still and paced relentlessly and lost control of my emotions. I felt completely hollow and cried for no reason, all the while suffering from unspeakable anxiety. My parents debated admitting me to a hospital but was told that the doctors would check my medication levels then ask me to leave as there would be nothing they could do. I went to my psychiatrist who misdiagnosed my condition not as withdrawal but as depression and anxiety that the Prozac had been treating. Desperate not to lose my mind, I restarted the drug and lost another ten years to side effects. Two years ago I lowered my dose from 40 mg to 30 mg. Three days later I was to meet friends for dinner for as long as my anxiety would allow. I braced myself during the meal for the inevitable tsunami of mental anguish but what I felt instead was a mere ripple. I was stunned, then perplexed. When I realized what was happening and that the drug had been the cause, I burst into tears. Instead of racing home after the meal as I so often had in the past, my friends and I went to a movie. Over the past few months I've been easing off Prozac at 5 mg every six weeks. My quality of life improves with each reduction. My hypervigilance and anxiety all but vanished at 20 mg. At 15 mg I have become more social than I have ever been, and at 10 mg I feel like myself again - sort of. I've been on 10 mg of Prozac since May 9th, and I'm also on 50 mg of Seroquel. I want to get off the Prozac completely but I'm going to stay at 10 mg for at least three months until I know I'm stable. Though most of my anxiety is gone, I had a panic attack last week. I had an appointment with my psychiatrist yesterday over how much I've missed out on from the medication and cried through the whole thing. Naturally she was concerned that this might be a relapse of depression/anxiety, but I honestly feel better now than I ever did on the higher dose. So...that's me!
  6. Want2Want2

    Want2Want2: hello

    Hi yall, So much to say, but little time now. Will be back w/more info soon. Glad to be here. Currently struggling with ongoing apathy, indifference, just-not-caring, from initial (and fairly immediate) introduction of Zoloft in 2013. It has persisted since then whether on or off medication, although it IS dose dependent w/Prozac. Reading this forum has been instrumental in my previous tapering but only now have I created an account. So thanks to all, especially Altostrata. I know there are much more difficult symptoms, as I've had many of them in the past, but this indifference seems to have completely (permanently?) changed my personality. Preparing to discontinue current doses of 10mg Prozac and 150mg Wellbutrin, beginning in April.
  7. I joined this site a couple of weeks ago. After finding that paxilprogress was no more. I was devastated. That site may have truly saved my life in some of my darkest moments. What is one to do? When essentially you've self-destructed in front of everyone you love; because of a nasty little "non-habit-forming" pill that's been shoved down your throat for decades. So here I am. Time (weeks really) has eluded me. I meant to reach out sooner. I'm just hoping I'm not reaching out too late. I feel like such a horrible failure. I know better than that at some level, know that maybe I failed but that I just have to pick up the broken pieces and keep moving forward. But I'm so I'll. I'm so weak. I'm so alone. And I feel so helpless. My life may not have been a picnic before the introduction of SSRIs. But this is one situation in which the grass was truly greener on the side of which I was already standing. Before popping that first "innocent" little pink pill, prescribed by a doctor who had seen me only once and only spent 10 minutes "getting to know me". I couldn't tell you who that doctor was, I never saw him again. Nevertheless he was the first in probably nearly a hundred who have insisted upon continuing the saga. And what better did I know? I was unhappy before the meds. I was often unstable on them. And I was clueless as to why I was saying and doing psychotic things (that I often didn't remember, or just have "snippets" of memory after the fact) and so violently ill when I decided I simply no longer wanted to take the pills. Or was even 12 hours late on a dose. (More about that and my travels down genetic testing road and CYP450 mutations later.) All that being said; Hello to all in these forums. I'm the antisocial one. The antisocial one that sometimes doesn't know when it's appropriate to shut up. Or how to appropriately ask for help. But if you've been through it (psych med-wise), I probably have too. And vice versa.
  8. Introduction Hi everyone. I have been lurking here since last year but decided to start my thread as my waves are getting more frequent. I am trying to stabilize at 20mg of generic Prozac (fluoxetine) daily, and have been taking it for 6 months. I thought stabilization was finally happening in January this year but waves are now weekly. I am here to see if anyone can shed light on why my horrible waves are more frequent now. I've read “The windows and waves pattern of recovery” (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-recovery/). Maybe I'm missing something? I'm not feeling very bright since WD hit me! Wave and window frequency Stabilization seemed to work right away and my intense waves were about every 14 to 21 days (3 to 4 weeks). Last month and this month, waves have increased frequency to about every week and last 2 to 5 days, with a window inbetween. Currently working on a graph based on my daily notes to visualize my stabilization journey. WD waves This is how I recall them now but I will update this description when I consult my notes next during a window. A headache and dizziness accompany a vice-like tightness around my head. I then get intensely irritable, depressed, and quite sleepy. I then get akathisia, mostly in the legs. I have tried pushing through it but I find it very hard to concentrate on anything and I just can’t bring myself to talk or interact with anyone. Any conversation or touch terrifies me and I just have to dismiss myself and apologize to whoever is around me at the time and hope they don’t take my sudden departure personally. I then go to sleep. When I wake, I feel better but the wave is still there. I tend to get better over the next day or two, only for the cycle to repeat as mentioned above. Aside from sleeping the only relief I get, for but a moment, is when my rescue cat comes home and deigns to grace me with her presence on the bed next to me or in my chair. This WD has meant that I can no longer keep many commitments, I can only work on a casual basis (i.e. I put in a few hours a day in a window), and my relationships have become skeletal. My life is slowly falling apart and I am now dependent on my partner. She is understanding of my withdrawal, having been on SSRIs herself but luckily avoided a protracted WD. Sadly though, I just feel so guilty and frustrated at how I am now a slave to this window and wave cycle, and largely a useless partner. Windows (something positive) I am myself: productive, fairly positive, happy, thoughtful of others, and able to tackle my anxiety properly. I still live in fear of waves but I am learning to try not to ruminate on them. I feel a willingness to connect with people. I am starting to put too much pressure on myself to do everything during a window and that is leading to problems. To be fair to myself though, my waves are iatrogenic and I must forgive myself for feeling wretched, even during a window, because SSRI withdrawal is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced and it has ruined my life. Why are my waves more frequent? I will share some of my hypotheses below regarding why my waves are more frequent. If anyone has any thoughts please let me know, I’d love to hear them. I’ve learned so much from SA already. As mentioned in my signature I am working on compiling all the daily data I have into a graph so I can get a better picture of my stabilization journey (and what proceeded it). I don’t know when that will happen as my windows are now spent doing all the things I put off in my waves and just improving my loosening grip on the good things in life. I know though that I have to finish this data processing as soon as I can in case the waves merge into one big, long one. 1. My SSRI history during the last two years is peppered with ignorant tapering attempts, maybe it is catching up with me? 2. The optimist inside me is hoping that the frequency is increasing because it could be a pattern that occurs prior to a period of flatter frequencies (perhaps the ebbs and flows of homeostasis). I am perhaps just fantasizing but I imagine that if the frequency increases so much, like in a radio wave, the peaks and troughs (waves and windows) will be indistinguishable, which could be what homeostasis looks like. I am laughing at this hypothesis as I can see I am desperate for some good news XD 3. Maybe my reinstatement/stabilization dose was a little too low (considering I was on 40mg daily for the longest time) and I am catching up with the WD that it would have caused in recent months. If this is the case, I can’t see any benefit in updosing now anyway. Sure, it could always get worse but I think it would definitely get worse if I start guessing at an updose level. I could be wrong. 4. Some of my family wish to visit me later this month for a few days. I haven’t seen them in years. They planned it during one of my windows in December and I felt positive about it all. I also felt optimistic that given about 6 months of trying to stabilize, my waves would be a thing of the past, or a rarer occasion. I tried to get them to postpone but they can’t change their plans without losing all their money. I don’t want them to stop their holiday for me but as the reason for travelling is to see me, I have warned them that I may be in bed, only able to talk to them for a few minutes. I hope I have a window when they are here but I think I’ve had a huge amount of stress about the visit because I just don’t need the guilt I will undoubtedly feel when I am only able to see them for a few minutes. In other words, perhaps stressors and other factors in my life are making waves more frequent. My expectations for stabilization and my tapering plan I didn’t expect stabilization to take this long but after reading “After reinstating or updosing how long to stabilize” (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4244-after-reinstating-or-updosing-how-long-to-stabilize/?hl=%2Bhow+%2Blong+%2Bstabilize) I realize it could take a long time, maybe years based on how much damage my ignorant tapering did in the past. When I stabilize (I suppose I have to believe that I will) I plan to do an SA taper, spanning years, with water titration (I have done a few trial runs of it and it’s very easy to get accurate doses this way). I have the syringes ready but it could be a long time before I get to use them! My current plan is to keep plodding along at 20mg until I can get a more stable window and wave frequency. I don’t expect my waves to disappear completely but this increase in frequency means I am questioning things and hope that someone out there may have an idea about what’s happening and what I may expect to happen for the next 6 months. Lifestyle As for my lifestyle, I am healthy, eat well, and exercise most days. I take some supplements but I don’t think they’ve made much of a difference either way. I will list them later when I can manage it but they include B12, magnesium, and fish oil. Sadly, during waves I mostly lie in bed as it provides me some relief. One of the side effects from fluoxetine is sleepiness and lethargy, which I've always had, so that contributes to me lying about a lot. It took so much out of me to write this but I am glad I did it now! Good luck to you all and I wish you the best, regardless of what stage of withdrawal and recovery you are. Kittygiggles
  9. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE TOPIC BEFORE GOING OFF PRISTIQ. Pristiq comes in insufficient dosages to taper. Do not alternate doses of Pristiq to taper -- this will cause the levels of this medication in your brain to go up and down and is second only to cold-turkey in causing withdrawal symptoms. AND DON'T COLD-TURKEY EITHER!!!!!!!!! To reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms and post-discontinuation prolonged withdrawal syndrome, as with other psychiatric drugs we recommend reducing Pristiq 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? The official prescribing information from the FDA contains this: However, Pristiq is difficult to taper "at a more gradual rate" as it comes in only 3 dosages: low, average and excessive -- and officially, the tablets cannot be split. PROTEST THIS DANGEROUS DRUG Phone Pfizer, Pristiq's manufacturer, to make a complaint: (800) 438-1985 in the US Pfizer has not provided any specific information on how to taper from a dosage of 25mg Pristiq, the lowest available dosage. They may suggest alternating dosages to taper Pristiq. Don't do this -- it's like playing ping-pong with your brain. File a complaint about the difficulty of tapering off Pristiq -- the range of dosages is inadequate. Also complain to the FDA 1-800-FDA-1088 Mon–Fri between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST. Pristiq is Effexor's fancier sibling Pristiq is a drug made of Effexor's (venlafaxine) active metabolite, O-desvenlafaxine. Pristiq is to Effexor as Lexapro is to Celexa -- a tweaked and more powerful isomer molecule. In effect, Pristiq is concentrated Effexor. See http://www.primarypsychiatry.com/aspx/articledetail.aspx?articleid=2464 According to Pfizer http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=497, Pristiq is available in extended-release tablets of 25mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg; the most common dosage is 50mg. Unlike Effexor, which is metabolized primarily by liver enzyme P450 CYP2D6, Pristiq is metabolized via conjugation and liver enzyme P450 CYP3A4. It attains peak plasma concentrations in about 7.5 hours. As a chemical, before it's put into an extended-release tablet, desvenlafaxine has a half-life of around 11 hours. Pristiq's extended-release formulation According to this paper, the extended-release formulation releases desvenlafaxine over 24 hours. The mean half-life of desvenlafaxine, without the extended-release formulation, is around 11 hours. The extended-release formulation is a monolithic matrix -- it's in the glue that holds the tablet together, not in the coating. I confirmed this in a phone conversation with Pfizer medical information (1-800-438-1985). (Thank you, oaklily, for this information about the matrix formulation.) Rather than a timed-release coating, the coating on the Pristiq tablet is only protective. The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. This is called a monolithic matrix tablet. If the tablet is split, the matrix is damaged and may not reliably be extended-release, depending on the size of the fragments. Larger fragments are more likely to retain some extended-release capability. When the tablet is CRUSHED, the matrix is completely destroyed. The particles should be assumed to have NO extended-release capability. A Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. (Here is a description of the similar matrix formulation for quetiapine XR (Seroquel XR) .) OPTIONS FOR TAPERING PRISTIQ Since medicine knows nothing about tapering Pristiq, the following are all informal suggestions. Try any of them at your own risk. Please let us know how you do by posting in this topic. Cut up Pristiq tablets Despite the warnings not to cut it up, from reports on the Web, cutting up Pristiq tablets does seem to work for some but it makes others ill, possibly because of "dose dumping." According to Pubmed on Desvenlafaxine: "....The extended-release tablet does not dissolve in the stomach after swallowing. It slowly releases the medicine as it passes through your digestive system. You may notice the tablet coating in the stool...." The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. If the matrix is destroyed, the entire dose is released at once or "dumped," instead of being gradually released through the matrix formulation. Without the extended-release matrix, a Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. To avoid "dose dumping" of the entire dose, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. Cut-up Pristiq seems to sometimes cause stomach upset, which may be reduced by taking it with food. Now that the 25mg tablet is available, cutting it into quarters gives you the option to taper by 6.25mg per step. If you are taking 100mg Pristiq or 50mg Pristiq, you may wish to request part of your prescription be written for 25mg tablets. (For insurance coverage of multiple dosages, your doctor most likely will have to specify taking Pristiq in "divided doses.") You may find you need a precise way to measure your tablet fragments. See Using a digital scale to measure doses As you get down to a low dose, you may wish to switch to Effexor to more precisely control dosage decreases, see below. Reducing from 100mg Pristiq to 50mg Pristiq Drug switches incur additional risk. Before trying a switch to Effexor or Prozac (fluoxetine) from 100mg Pristiq, it's probably wise to go down to 50mg Pristiq first, or 25mg if possible. Combining whole tablets, with their extended-release qualities, with tablet fragments probably makes "dose dumping" less likely or noticeable. You might use a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to make the first reduction to 93.75mg 2nd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 87.5mg 3rd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 81.25mg 4th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet to go to 75mg 5th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to go to 68.75mg 6th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 62.5mg 7th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 56.25mg 8th reduction: a 50mg tablet If withdrawal symptoms occur, some people have found taking an additional fragment of a tablet can smooth the transition from one dosage to another. Another way to get from 100mg to 50mg or 25mg is to combine Pristiq tablets with a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor (see below). Once at 50mg or 25mg, stabilize for a month at least and consider your plan for the next stage of tapering. Have Pristiq made into smaller dosage capsules or a liquid by a compounding pharmacy Compounding pharmacies can crush the tablets and put the powder into smaller capsules by weight. Like cutting up tablets or crushing, this destroys the time-release quality, but the compounded method is much more exact. In your body, crushed Pristiq is similar to regular immediate-release Effexor, with an 11-hour half-life. You may wish to have your dose compounded to take twice a day. If you are taking 50mg Pristiq, for example, you would have 60 capsules compounded per month. Each capsule would be 1/2 of 45mg (a 10% reduction of 50mg) or 22.5mg. You would take two capsules per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The next month, you would have 60 capsules compounded, each capsule being 1/2 of 40.5mg (a 10% reduction of 45mg) or 20.25mg. And so forth, for each reduction. (According to my compounding pharmacy, they can put in a slow-release additive distributing absorption over 8-10 hours. This is not as long as the Pristiq time-release coating, but at least it's something. Check with your compounding pharmacy about this. See getting-custom-dosages-at-compounding-pharmacies-us-uk-and-elsewhere ) If this does not work, you may wish to switch to Effexor XR and use the bead-counting method. Regular Effexor probably wouldn't be an advantage over Pristiq compounded to custom dosages. One of our members had a desvenlafaxine liquid made by a compounding pharmacy. Most likely, this compounder used pure desvenlafaxine succinate powder to make this liquid, as desvenlafaxine tablets contain a glue that might resist being made into a liquid. But he may have a way to grind tablets up to make a suspension. A liquid would have to be immediate-release, with a half-life of around 11 hours. Generally, you'd take a drug with that short a half-life twice a day. Crush Pristiq tablets, weigh powder with a digital scale This is similar to cutting up tablets -- Pristiq is a "do not crush" medication, as it is a time-release drug. The Pristiq powder becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you pulverize the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. In principle, this would be a more precise way of tapering than cutting up tablets: Crush the tablet Make sure the shell fragments are evenly distributed in the powder Weigh the powder for a dose with a digital scale Put the powder into an empty gelatin capsule to make it easier to ingest Peer discussion of this method starts here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__27417 Switch to Effexor or Effexor XR Note: If you've had an adverse reaction to Effexor before, do NOT switch from Pristiq to Effexor. "Desvenlafaxine (O-desmethylvenlafaxine) is the major active metabolite of venlafaxine." Since the relationship is so close, switching to regular immediate-release Effexor tablets, which you can cut up or make into a liquid, this may be the best way to taper off Pristiq. Because it has a mean half-life of 5 hours, you'd have to take regular Effexor twice a day. Alternatively, you might substitute Effexor XR, which is released gradually like Pristiq and needs to be taken only once a day. You'd have the difficulty of tapering off Effexor or Effexor XR -- themselves notorious for withdrawal difficulties -- but at least you can do that gradually. See Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine). According to FDA Prescribing Information for venlafaxine (Effexor), the usual dose of Effexor is 150mg per day. Since 150mg Effexor and 50mg Pristiq are both "normal" dosages of their respective drugs, they may be roughly equivalent. (If you've just quit Pristiq and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may wish to reinstate a LOWER dose of Effexor XR, such as 37.5mg, to start. This may be enough to stop withdrawal symptoms and avoid a kindling reaction.) The psychiatrist who writes the 1boringoldman.com blog reports success in switching one patient from Pristiq to Effexor, then tapering Effexor, here (see comments) Another psychiatrist said when he tried this, the switch from Pristiq to Effexor was "seamless." Dr. Stuart Shipko posts here: Advice from a psychiatric pharmacist I have been corresponding with a professor at a prominent US university pharmacy department. Here is his best guess at how to taper Pristiq (he does not want his name published): Then taper off fluoxetine (Prozac). See Tips for Tapering Prozac Advice from Dr. Stephen Stahl, author of the manual Essential Psychopharmacology In his widely read psychopharmacology manual, eminent psychopharmacologist Stephen Stahl advises titration by crushing the tablets and mixing in fruit juice, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__14799 According to our member oaklily, Stahl is wrong. Making a liquid from Pristiq does not work, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__24822 Dr. Stahl intends to correct his book, according to this correspondence 09/15-9/16/13 with him: Use a combination of Pristiq tablets and Effexor liquid Pristiq cannot be made into a liquid, but its close relative immediate-release Effexor (not Effexor XR) can. You may be able to go off Pristiq by taking part of your dose in lower-dose tablets and part in liquid Effexor, gradually converting to all-liquid Effexor as you get to lower dosages. This may offer a convenient and gradual path off Pristiq. Only regular immediate-release Effexor can be made into a liquid (see Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine) ). As immediate-release Effexor has a short half-life and is usually dosed twice a day, you may wish to take the liquid portion of your dosage later in the day. For example, if you are taking 100mg Pristiq, you may wish to take your daily dose as one 50mg tablet and the rest later in the evening as a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. You can titrate the liquid by 10% of your daily dosage to taper until you get to 50mg. Then you can take a 25mg Pristiq tablet with the rest in a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. When you get to 25mg Pristiq, you might switch to splitting the tablet and taking the rest in Effexor liquid and so on until you are taking only liquid Effexor. To do this, you will have to request a prescription for Effexor tablets as well as Pristiq from your doctor. "Bridging" with Prozac or another antidepressant Any drug change incurs additional risk. A switch to Prozac from Pristiq may not work -- they are very different drugs -- or you might have adverse reactions to Prozac. Prozac is regularly used to "bridge" off Effexor. Given that Pristiq is a sibling of Effexor and Effexor XR, it is possible that one can, similarly, use Prozac to withdraw from Pristiq. Attributed to Joseph Glenmullen, the "bridging" technique is described by a doctor here http://www.bipolarworld.net/Phelps/ph_2005/ph1354.htm Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to Prozac: The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac Later, taper off Prozac. At least Prozac comes in a liquid. To do this, consult a doctor knowledgeable about this technique.
  10. Hi, my teen has been on Prozac 7 months. On 40mg for 9weeks. Before that she was on Zoloft for 5 months. So a total of a year on a SSRI. She is being tapered off prozac. She has been on 35mg for close to 4 weeks with no withdrawal problems. Her psychiatrist said to taper and be off in 6 weeks. I felt that was too fast. One site I was on had her tapering and getting off close to 2 years. Want to taper her so she has as few problems as possible.
  11. See journal articles about PSSD in Papers about Post-SSRI Sexual Disorder (PSSD) Please note that SurvivingAntidepressants is a site for tapering and recovery from withdrawal syndrome. While we see PSSD sometimes as an aspect of withdrawal syndrome (and we see gradual recovery from it as well as withdrawal syndrome), this site is not specifically for discussion of treatment of PSSD or its neurological origins (which at this time are highly speculative). If you wish to discuss symptoms, theories, and treatment of PSSD, please go to these sites: PSSDforum http://www.pssdforum.com/ Yahoo group SSRIsex (log in to http://Yahoo.com to join) Facebook group (log into Facebook.com to join) Various pages on Rxisk.org
  12. Hi, all. Thank you so much for providing this site. I’ve been inspired by the stories here, and look forward to my own recovery and hope to help others as I can along the way. It’s been a hellish year… I have a rather long story – 99% of which takes place within the last year – so please bear with me. I’ll write this out in a timeline for organization’s sake. In essence, I have a history of anxiety and depression, and have OCD. I have been suffering from severe postpartum anxiety (PPA) and depression (PPD) since delivering my son in May 2018 – exacerbated by a move out East so I could start my PhD, the decline and death of my dog, dealing with childhood trauma, etc. I was on Prozac and Xanax as needed before I was pregnant and went off without any problems while we were trying to conceive. I had an uncomplicated pregnancy. Here we go… 1999ish – 2005 (6th grade – high school) (Zoloft, Lexapro, Wellbutrin) I was diagnosed with severe academic perfectionism and OCD and put on (I think) Zoloft first (not sure of dosage). In the years that followed, I was on Lexapro and Wellbutrin, all in various combinations. I don’t remember timing or dosages. I don’t remember having a hard time coming on or off any of the meds. I was chronically ill in high school, though, with fatigue, mono, sinusitis, shingles (to be fair, I had immunological issues before going on meds, too, and a complicated family situation). I took the year after high school off to recover, went off all meds. All I remember is feeling tired and my sleep being on a weird schedule. 2005 – 2009 (no meds) I started taking some community college classes, started volunteering, and then working full-time. Started paying more attention to my diet (went off gluten and most dairy after I realized it made me feel better). Was doing very, very well. Summer 2009 – Summer 2017 (40 mg Prozac daily, ? Xanax PRN rarely taken; occasional supplements - multi vitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, probiotics) Started on 40mg Prozac (slow taper to START it), as a ‘preventative’ measure against OCD and perfectionism (I know… probably wasn’t necessary, but I can’t prove a negative) as I was about to start at a university in the fall of 2009; I was pushed by family (also on psych meds) to start. I think it helped somewhat but it’s hard to know. Eventually, I had an Rx of Xanax, which I took maybe 5-10x/year as needed. I did well in college, though, started a great career, went to the UK on scholarship to do my Master’s and then decided to QUICKLY taper off the Prozac when my husband and I (we married in 2014) decided to conceive. I don’t remember having any issues coming off the Prozac. I was on it fairly consistently for 8 years. Summer 2017 – May 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Pregnant, more depressed than usual, especially after moving back home from the UK and being unsure of what was next. Still, did the damn GRE, applied to PhD programs, got into a great program out East, started setting up our life out there. Obsessive compulsive symptoms were worse than usual but not unmanageable. Late May 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Delivered my son. Epidural, long labor. Started breastfeeding. Early June 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Had a week of awful insomnia and anxiety and intrusive thoughts, but it went away. Early June – Mid-July (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Doing okay, just exhausted and depressed (I was breastfeeding around the clock). One week in mid-July 2018 (? Xanax, one-time dosage ~6mg Zoloft, and one-time dosage 2mg Ativan, one-time dosage ? Klonopin in hospital; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Then, at around 7 postpartum weeks - BAM - I was hit with a week of NO SLEEP. I just couldn't sleep and I lost my appetite. I had been given an Rx for Zoloft by my OBGyn and took a very small amount that Friday (I wanted to ease in). That night, all my symptoms were much worse – and I also felt this severe restlessness in my limbs. It was AWFUL. I even tried Xanax to calm me down (I gave to my son pumped breastmilk). My anxiety was so bad that I went to the ER that Sunday. They drew blood and it turned out that my blood sodium was dangerously low (126) - possibly due to not eating enough and drinking too much water. They gave me Ativan (2 mg – which was A LOT for my system), some Klonopin, too, eventually, and fluids overnight and I felt MUCH better the next day. I was given Ativan and Remeron as needed but didn't need to take it for a few weeks. Mid-July to Late Aug 2018 (0.5 – 1mg Ativan daily; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) I was fine for a few weeks, and then my family and I moved out East, where I was attending grad school (I’m now on medical leave). The anxiety and insomnia came back around the move in August. I took Ativan (0.5 – 1 mg) as needed each day and had some rebound anxiety but was able to get through until setting up care there. I was assigned an interim psychiatrist (before being placed with a regular one), who Rxed me 0.5 Ativan to take at night to sleep for 10 days. This worked for sleep, but not the overall anxiety and depression. Due to breastfeeding concerns, they switched me to Trazodone (25-50 mg), which worked ok for sleep. Eventually, I was able to fall asleep on my own for a couple/few nights. That would be the last time I could do that to-date. Late Aug to Late Sept 2018 (0.5 – 1mg Ativan daily, 1-5mg Prozac, 25-50 mg Trazodone; supplements: postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, probiotics?) I started seeing a regular psychiatrist in early September, and we agreed I should go back on the Prozac with 1 mg Ativan/day as needed. We started sloooow on the Prozac - 1mg, then 2, then 5. By week 3, I had lost my appetite completely, and my anxiety was through the roof - just on 5mg (I was on 40 before becoming pregnant, so I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so terribly). The Trazodone was no longer helping me sleep, and was giving me terrible dry mouth. My limbs felt like they were vibrating. My psydoc FINALLY directed me to go off the Prozac and Ativan, and Rxed me just Klonopin 0.75mg/day. In addition to the psychiatrist, I saw a primary care doc, who checked my thyroid, adrenal glands (several tests there), vitamin levels, and other things - all normal. My blood sodium has still been a little low, but they believe it's due to not eating enough. Oct 2018 (Klonopin 0.25 – 0.75mg/day; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) My appetite returned but it was never the same. I was sleeping better, but not well – maybe 6 hours at most, sometimes waking in a panic. I could only take one class. I was very depressed and frustrated, and deeply confused as to why I wasn’t responding to medications. But I felt BETTER than when I was on the Prozac, and was able to feel like I could sleep on my own again, and on just 0.25mg Klonopin/day – but the plan was to let me ‘settle’ and then try a new AD, sooo… Nov 2-4 2018 (25mg Anafranil at night, 0.25-0.5mg Klonopin/day; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) The psydoc suggested Anafranil, a TCA. The day I started it, we put my dog down and I stopped breastfeeding (I had been tapering on that for months). It wasn’t a great time to start something. But I did. I took it the night of the 2nd, fell asleep instantly, then woke up feeling SO GOD AWFUL about 3 hours later. I had a tremor, I vomited, I couldn’t eat. My husband had to hold me while I shook in bed. I called the psydoc and she told me to keep taking it, sounding annoyed with me. So I pushed through for three days – but that was all I could do. Until then, that was the worst I have ever felt. Nothing could calm me down. Things start heating up here, so I’ll spare some details and focus more on the med changes… Nov 5-8 2018 I barely remember these days. Sleep was poor, I felt awful. Then on a Thursday night, I was up all night with panic attacks. I called my therapist and made the decision to go into the psych hospital. Nov 9 – 15 2018 (In hospital, put on 0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day and worked up to 100 mg Seroquel at night) I didn’t start sleeping until I was put on a combination of Seroquel and Klonopin. BUT, I remember this creeping feeling of “buzziness” and restlessness when I woke up everyday. That feeling would continue to get worse over the coming weeks and stay with me to the present. Nov 15 – Early Dec 2018 (0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day → 0.25mg Klonopin 2x/day; 100mg Seroquel at night; some supplements – don’t remember) I left the hospital taking 100mg Seroquel at night and 0.5 mg klonopin 2x/day. I officially went on medical leave from grad school. I stuck with this doseage for 2ish weeks, was sleeping well but feeling horribly depressed and anxious, then started to quickly taper the Klonopin. I don’t remember how quickly – but I wasn’t taking anymore than 0.5mg/day by early December. I then tapered on the Seroquel after feeling SO much worse when an IOP psydoc tried bumping the dose to 125mg; I remember not being able to sit still – going outside to pace. No tremor – just pacing, fidgeting, and losing a lot of weight. Early December 2018 – Early Jan 2019 (1mg Ativan at night, 2.5mg Zyprexa at night, 25-100mg Lamictal; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) I made the decision to move back home to do a program specialized in PPD (we ended by moving back entirely later that winter). In the program, I was put on 0.5-1mg Ativan at night, 2.5 mg Zyprexa at night (for sleep – though it never helped), and titrated up to 100mg Lamictal (the psydoc suspected a bipolar spectrum diagnosis). I was still incredibly restless, unable to sit down and just enjoy a movie. And my sleep was growing worse and worse. It was awful – then my mood grew worse and worse as we went up on the Lamictal; I also had increasingly bad tinnitus and TMJ. I was hospitalized as my thinking became suicidal – just ideations, but I was ready to go back in… Early to Mid-Jan 2019 (0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day, 5mg Paxil/day, 50mg Benadryl at night; 0.25-1mg Risperidone 1-2x/day; some supplements?; THEN back to 150mg Seroquel) In the hospital, I was taken off the Lamictal and put on 5mg Paxil once/day, 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, Benadryl 50mg at night (for sleep), and Risperidone 0.25mg once or twice a day (I don’t remember). I became increasingly orthostatic (low BP, high HR). I stabilized mood-wise – sorta – and left the hospital feeling off, but better… Within days, though, we tried increasing the Risperidone, and my HR went up to 140 (I think we tried 1 mg). I wasn’t sleeping AT ALL. I was taken off the Risperidone, stayed on 5mg Paxil once/day, 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, Benadryl 50mg at night (for sleep). Eventually, as my sleep diminished, the PPD IOP doc put me back on Seroquel (I has actually asked to go back on) – but suggested as much as 150mg. After that, my mood really shifted and became erratic; I was really upset and angry at my husband and suicidal ideation returned. So it was suggested I go back in the hospital... Late Jan to Mid-Feb 2019: 3-week hospital stay (see below for crazy med changes) All the docs agreed I didn’t need to be in there this long (everyone kept asking why I was still there), but there I was so they could keep throwing stuff at me to see if something stuck. I was holding out hope SOMETHING would work this time...: First week: 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 100 mg Seroquel at night, 300mg XR lithium 2x/day (HORRIBLE stomach reaction, especially when the doc abruptly pulled the Seroquel) Second week: 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, some amount of Depakote (I don’t remember – wasn’t improving, irritable), tried PRNs of 12.5mg Seroquel and became really depressed Third week: 1 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, 1200mg gabapentin (taken as 300mg twice during the day, and 600mg at night). That’s how I left the hospital. Mid-Feb to Early-March 2019: (0.75mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, 300mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 600mg at night, brief re-trial of lithium – 150mg; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics?) Instantly went down to 0.75mg Klonopin 2x/day (fear of dependence). New trauma-based IOP. Was very constipated. Tried low-dose lithium (150mg) as lithium seemed to be the only med to be helping to-date (along with benzos); was improving somewhat mood-wise, but the stomach issues were SO bad, so we went off. After going off lithium, my restlessness SKYROCKETED, and was particularly bad for 10 days. My stomach was AWFUL; I was taking antacids all the time; seemed to be worse after taking gabapentin, so the new IOP doc cut THAT dosage in half. Developed a tremor. The new IOP psydoc diagnosed me with akathisia – FINALLY. I had NEVER heard of that before (although, in retrospect, I think it has been mentioned to me in the hospital as a possible side-effect of the antipsychotics – but I remember them saying “you can get this, but I don’t see that in you, so…” and so I ignored it (dumb)). When I read about it, I felt so frustrated; this had, no doubt, been plaguing me since at least the one-time Zoloft attempt in July - and in particular since the first Seroquel doseage in November. Doc suggested I reduce my Seroquel from 50 to 25mg; I couldn’t do that for a couple of weeks. Early to Mid-March (→0.25mg Klonopin during day and 0.5-0.75mg/night, 25mg Seroquel at night, 200mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 300mg at night, brief re-trial of Depakote – don’t remember dosage; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics) Continue reducing my Klonopin down to 0.25mg during the day and 0.5mg at night. We tried XR Depakote as a Hail Mary in the med department. It seemed to help a bit, but also increased some of the restlessness. At this point – and this should have come sooner for me – I was done – just DONE– with med changes. My body needed a break. I haven’t added or taken away and particular meds since (with one exception - the propranolol, see below) – though I have reduced the dosages… Early April (0.25mg Klonopin during day and 0.5-0.75mg/night, 25mg Seroquel at night, 200mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 300mg at night, up to 70mg propranolol throughout the day; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics) Was diagnosed with thyroiditis (my thyroid had been normal as recently as January) – a relatively common thing postpartum, but it was ‘late’ to arrive to be postpartum thyroiditis, so doctors suspected the lithium. B/c I was hyperthyroid first (usually follows a pattern of a few months in 'hyper'/overactive mode, followed by anywhere from 3 to 18 (or more) months underactive. I was put on propranolol (taking as much as 70mg throughout the day). That seemed to help the tremor, heart palpitations, and restlessness maybe 50-75% of the time. But it crashed my BP. Early-April to Present (see below) We’ve moved into a new, stable house (both good and really stressful). As of early June, I am off the Seroquel. I tapered from 25 to 0mg by reducing by about 6.25mg every two weeks or so. I tried re-starting it to do an every-other-day ending taper, and felt instantly WORSE, so I am done. But it was probably too quick a taper. I NEVER want to take another antipsychotic again, though; I can point to the beginning of the worst parts of this whole cluster to starting Seroquel, and the akathisia that ensues and continues. I reduced the daytime Klonopin to 0 (though I’ve had to take a 0.0625mg to 0.125mg PRN three times in June as things have grown worse). I still take 0.5mg Klonopin at night. In June, I also went off the propranolol – too quickly – and have been having heart palpitations, and have been orthostatic. My BP was just getting to be so, so low. Now, taking any amount of it seems to make me more agitated/restless or, at best, woozy. In June, I also got ambitious and reduced the gabapentin from taking 400 mg during the day (200mg 2x/day) to 0 at the end of June, mostly b/c I thought it was making me feel worse; I’m not sure on this STILL (or if it ever did much of anything). I still take 300mg at night with 0.5 mg Klonopin. May was my best month - not great (I was still constantly restless, struggled with my appetite, and was really disoriented and depressed), but it felt more manageable. I should have done a slower taper on all things when I felt more stable, then – but here I am. June started out okay but, after going off the Seroquel and trying a glass of wine again (out with a friend), it’s been awful; the akathisia is back in full swing. NOW I seem to have reached this point where my body won’t tolerate much of anything again – as if it’s saying “if you’re done with one, then you’re going to be done with them ALL.” I’ve also noticed that the first half of my menstrual cycle is FAR AND AWAY WORSE than the latter half – and am trying to explore ways to (as naturally as possible) balance my hormones. I tried bioidentical progesterone cream that an integrative MD Rxed and it helped somewhat, but caused cramping and spotting and an upset stomach – no go. Currently Taking 0 – 200mg gabapentin during the day; 300mg gabapentin at night 0.5mg Klonopin at night 5mg melatonin (+10mg B6 – combo pill) at night Fish oil (1400mg EPA + 480 DHA) in morning and afternoon 1500mg primrose oil morning and afternoon 200-400mg magnesium glycinate at night, and magnesium oxide throughout day 2000mg vitamin D afternoon Cal+Mag+Potassium supplement afternoon 2 kinds of probiotics morning Multivitamin morning What Makes Things Worse Alcohol; I haven’t been able to tolerate this since sometime early spring – makes me SUPER anxious. Any antihistamine; it used to help me sleep but something in the last 2-4 months has changed my brain so I now feel WORSE the next morning. Some vitamins (I say that b/c I sometimes feel more buzzy after taking a multivitamin; on the other hand, sometimes I feel better) Caffeine (not that I’ve tested this too much; the most I ever drink is a cup of green tea, and I haven’t been able to do that in weeks) Antacids (found that out the hard way) What Helps Epsom salt baths Sweating Crying (when I am able to) Walking (especially in sunshine) Melatonin (at night – for sleep) Klonopin (but I am trying not to go over 0.5mg/day – mostly at night; and want to taper off) Massage Stretching Kombucha (not too much, though b/c caffeine) Apple cider vinegar + lemon water (ahead of meals and when I have an upset stomach – at east once/day) Eating enough (really tough to do right now) Not Sure if it Helps (tried/trying it) Acupuncture (doing this for a few months now) Therapy – CBT, talk Gabapentin (want to taper off anyway) Primrose oil Multivitamin Fish oil Magnesium Calcium CBD oil What I Need Help With I’m here b/c I need to feel like I’m not crazy when the psydoc says this isn’t still akathisia. I KNOW it is – I KNOW it’s protracted withdrawal and the effect of such a brain-altering year. I know this b/c, even in my most anxious moments pre-postpartum medications, I never felt this protracted insatiable restlessness and dread. I was a champ at sleeping (though a night owl). And my appetite was always solid (too much so, at times). This is DIFFERENT. I also want to get off the gabapentin and the Klonopin – but do so in a smart way. I’m not sure the gabapentin is a net evil right now and shouldn’t be taken off altogether? And is the gabapentin the best thing to drop first? And I need help managing the akathisia. I've read some tips here, and will explore those. Any help on the hormone piece would be invaluable. There is something there. I feel the effects of akathisia/withdrawal/autonomic disregulation far more at the start of my cycle. And this whole postpartum period has been inherently hormonally disregulating (compounded by meds like Depakote, which altered my cycle). Anyone else? Anything help? I plan to keep a more focused journal as this site recommends and track my symptoms alongside food, supplement, and med changes. Of course, what sucks THE MOST is the lost time and what's been taken - from the joy of being a new mother, to what was supposed to be a fulfilling career move in pursuing my PhD (I might have to give up my place now b/c I'm so disabled), to feeling defective for not responding to the 'right treatments.' The worst year of your life should not also be the first year of motherhood. To those of you that read this monster of a post – or event 10% - THANK YOU.
  13. Link to father's topic: paranoidandroid Hello everyone, Iv'e actually been looking at this site for quite a while now to get me through and decided to make an account now I feel in a slightly better place to do so. Currently I'd just like peoples opinions on my situation.. do you think I'll ever fully recover? My history in the signature sums it up quite concisely so if you want to ask any questions please do. I believe I will but I just want to hear it from other people, as you may know this can be a lonely place to be. I wasn't aware for all this time how damaging these drugs are and assumed my visual snow and DP was just related to anxiety. But now I have no doubt in my mind they caused these symptoms. I may not go back to exactly how I was 6 years ago, which is upsetting, but as long as going forward I'll be able to make a better reality for myself, then I think I'll be okay. I'd also be very interested in what people think of my diet and if you think I should refine it in any way.
  14. Hi, I thought I would introduce myself. Have joined this forum after experiencing horrendous withdrawals from anti-depressants. I am 34, female. Currently 3 months completely off of Prozac which I took for 6 years at the highest dose I understand is allowed to be prescribed in the UK (60mg daily). I weaned down from 60mg to 0mg over 5 months. Have had 3 months of pure hell since stopping taking Prozac completely - symptoms ranging from suicidal depression, nausea, migraines, loss of appetite, the most debilitating anxiety and panic. Weakness, crying spells, the most excruciating emotional and psychic pain that I have ever had to endure. All the symptoms I have read others have experienced except I haven't had brain zaps - not sure why. Am determined to stay off of Prozac and just go through what I need to. Very grateful to have come across this forum and hopefully to be able to share how I am getting through and to hear how others have managed and hopefully to offer support too. I am aware that there seems to be no other way that through this - keen to connect with others who are finding a way through. Very keen to connect and speak further to anyone else having to go through this. Very determined to get through although very aware it feels like you just don't know what each day will bring or when you really are finally on solid ground. Very keen to hear others experiences. I am using the idea of windows and waves to navigate through currently. Very keen to connect with others. Natalie
  15. I'm new here. I began a (too fast) taper of 40 mg Prozac at the end of January 2018. Had been on for many years (at least 10+). As a sidenote, I also have Lyme disease which muddies the waters of symptoms and will explain why I didn't catch that I was declining once I started tapering. In looking back at texts I was writing to friends at the time, it is (now) clear to me that I was declining mentally very soon after I reduced the dose of Prozac, but I was attributing it to Lyme disease (not discontinuation of the drug), so I never connected the dots. I started reducing Prozac end of January 2018, and took my last dose end of April 2018 because "it's easy to come off of." During that time, my mental health declined rapidly and my sleep became awful. Again, I attributed these symptoms to Lyme and not discontinuation of the Prozac--it didn't even cross my mind. I finally connected the dots in December 2018, but had stopped the Prozac way back in April 2018. I still sleep only about 2 hours per night for the last 6 months and it's horrible. I used to sleep 7-8 easily before all of this. I've tried everything for sleep and nothing works, both Rx and natural. It scares me.My personality has changed, and I feel on the verge of cracking very soon. In August 2018 my doc put me on Lexapro, but after 3 weeks on it I felt like it made me more anxious, so I tapered over a couple weeks and went off it. I also tried Ambien several times (maybe 8 tablets total) from maybe Sept to November to sleep and it gives me suicidal thoughts upon waking, and never gave me much help--maybe 3 hours tops, but often just one hour of sleep. Tried the Ambien CR, and that gave me suicidal thoughts as well and never many hours of sleep. Mid-Novemember a doc put me on Ativan for sleep, but I hate benzos, so I took only a total of 7 .5mg tablets over a 12 day period and stopped. It always gave me at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep, but I was not willing to stay on it (addictive), and it exacerbates my depression as well. Also in November I tried (for 6 days) Remeron for sleep, (7.5 mg), but it didn't help and I didn't want to stay on it, so I tapered over a couple weeks and stopped. Tapering instructions of all these drugs was given by my medical providers, so none of the tapers were probably anywhere close to what I should have done. When I was done with this conglomeration of short-use drugs from August- November 2018, I felt like my brain was fried. I used to be a funny, silly, hilarious, fun loving person. I've become horribly depressed, anxious, and withdrawn....and often have thoughts of suicide that I cannot get out of my mind. I also am pretty convinced that my brain cannot handle psych drugs at all anymore. It's too sensitive and does not seem to rebound. I seem to be especially sensitive to benzos and the sleep meds. I am terrified to ever use another psych drug. I'll add: in 2014 (while on Prozac) I went through heavy anxiety, so was referred to a psychiatrist who (from July through December 2014) put me on a slew of different antidepressants and antipsychotics-(-introducing one, while withdrawing another), none of which worked, but it ended with clonazepam. I was on a small dose of .25-.50 mg intermittently over a few (maybe 3) months, put on too fast a taper, and went through HELL withdrawal. I was bedridden for at least 6 months, and still had symptoms up until I started coming off of Prozac last January 2018. What a mess. So this is my second time in 4 years of going through withdrawals from psych drugs, and I was never completely through with my first withdrawal episode (but was improving very very slowly). I am not taking any drugs right now, BUT I am a horrid mess. Not sleeping AT ALL (unless 2 hours per night counts as sleep); severe severe severe depression, depersonalization, feeling like I need to jump off a bridge all the time; I've become very angry and combative; I have hardly left the house in 6 months. I have tingling and numbness all over my body and face, panic attacks often, heavy heart palpitations, my brain often feels damaged, and suicidal thoughts are ever present in my mind. I also have difficulty breathing often--like labored breathing. My anxiety is off the charts constantly. My symptoms do not wax and wane--they are always there 24/7 and never subside. And obviously I cry a lot. I grieve the full life I used to have. I have a hard time taking care of myself: showering, eating, etc, but I manage to make it thru. I am 5 feet 1, and down to about 89 lbs (from probably 112). It's rough!! Any advice for me? I feel hopeless and un-fixable. I can't imagine that re-instating Prozac would help at all at this point, since it's been so long. What do you think? Feeling very very discouraged.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. ADMIN NOTE If you are looking for information about switching or "bridging" to Prozac to go off your antidepressant, read this ENTIRE topic: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/19373-the-prozac-switch-or-bridging-with-prozac/ Prozac was the first popular SSRI, released in 1987, and was a substantial source of profit for Eli Lilly for many years. It became available in a generic form in 2001 (Lilly's fortunes subsequently plummeted). It comes in 10mg, 20mg, and 40mg capsules, as well as a liquid (20Mg/5Ml), which is very helpful for tapering off. After a single oral 40 mg dose, peak plasma concentrations occur after 6 to 8 hours. In Australia and parts of Asia, brand-name Prozac is available in 20mg flavored dispersible tablets, instructions for which advise that they may be dissolved in water. The tablets are scored, indicating they may be split. (In the UK, similar fluoxetine dispersible tablets are called Olena.) Prozac also comes in a 90mg weekly capsule, containing coated pellets for delayed release adding 2 hours for peak plasma concentrations (very rarely prescribed). It has the longest half-life of any SSRI. After you take it for a few days, half-life is about 16 days. Fluoxetine itself has a half-life of 2-4 days, but as it is processed, your body creates an active antidepressant metabolite, norfluoxetine, which has a half-life of 7-15 days. So Prozac keeps on extending its half-life as it is metabolized. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluoxetine , fluoxetine and norfluoxetine inhibit each other's metabolism, extending the half-life of the drug. Because the half-lives are so long, the full effect of Prozac on the brain may not be felt for several weeks. fluoxetine (1-6 days) ---> norfluoxetine (up to 16 days) ---> other metabolites Prozac is mainly metabolized by the liver enzymes identified by cytochrome P450 CYP2D6 and CYP2C9/2C19, and inhibits its own metabolism via cyp 2D6 and cyp 2c19, which means lower doses get metabolized faster. (Prozac and its metabolites are also mild to moderate inhibitors of CYP1A2, CYP2B6, CYP2C9, and CYP3A4.) Is Prozac "self-tapering"? Because of its very long half-life, Prozac has the reputation of being "self-tapering," meaning it requires only a short taper. However, some people do suffer withdrawal from Prozac, just as severe as other SSRIs. Because of the long half-life, withdrawal symptoms simply take longer to appear. We suggest starting out with a slow taper of 10% per month for a couple of months; if no withdrawal symptoms appear, rate of taper may be increased -- but slow down if withdrawal symptoms arise. Reduce by 10% per month to start The 10% rule holds for Prozac, just like other psychiatric drugs: 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? Using fluoxetine liquid to taper This is by far the easiest way to taper by very small amounts. It comes in a concentation of 20mg fluoxetine in 5mL of liquid, meaning there is 4mg of fluoxetine in 1mL. If you are taking 10mg Prozac now, the liquid equivalent would 2.5mL. If you want to take 9mg of Prozac, you would take 2.25mL of the liquid. Always check the concentration of the liquid you get as it can vary among manufacturers, and adjust your calculations accordingly. If your fluoxetine liquid contains 20mg fluoxetine in 5mL of liquid: 1 mL= 4mg 0.5mL = 2mg 0.25mL = 1mg 0.2ml = 0.8mg You will need an oral syringe to measure out your dose of the liquid. To use the oral syringe, you need a special cap to put on the bottle of liquid Prozac. The cap should have a hole in it, the tip of the oral syringe fits into this. Read this about oral syringes. If your pharmacist doesn't have a cap, ask for a smaller medicine bottle with this type of cap. Pour some of your liquid Prozac into it and draw your dosage from the smaller bottle. Here's an illustration of how to draw the medication from the bottle http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__2284 Also see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__21391 See more detail about how to measure and taper Prozac-brand liquid here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/759-tips-for-tapering-off-prozac-fluoxetine/page__view__findpost__p__41090 Making your own Prozac liquid Prozac is one of the few psychiatric medications with a long history of do-it-yourself dilution in water or juice. Mixed in cranberry juice, it's been called "Cranzac." My own personal preference would be to dilute it with water, to avoid any degradation that might be caused by sugar or acid in the juice. Also, it will be easier to see how well the Prozac is dissolved in water. (There may be particles swirling around, that's the filler in the Prozac capsule that doesn't dissolve.) Your Prozac solution may be a little bitter -- just swallow it quickly. You might want to chase it with a little fruit juice. There are instructions for DIY Prozac solution here: http://depression.about.com/cs/sideeffects/ht/cranzac.htm (A psychiatrist posts about it here.) For very gradual tapering, for example, you can dissolve a 10mg capsule or orally dispersible tablet in 10mL of water to make a solution with 1mg Prozac in 1mg of water. To take 1mg Prozac, use an oral syringe to take out 1mL. Refrigerated, it's supposed to be stable for 14 days. From a pharmaceutical technician manual Using a liquid can be a very precise way to taper. Using a combination of tablets or capsules and liquid Rather than switch directly to an all-liquid dose, you may wish to take part of your dose in liquid and part in lower-dose tablets or capsules, gradually converting to all liquid as you get to lower dosages. This can be very convenient and reduce any problems switching from one form of the drug to another. For example, if you are taking more than 10mg Prozac per day, you could get your prescription filled in 10mg capsules and take part of your daily dosage in a 10mg capsule and the rest in liquid. If your doctor prescribes liquid and tablets or capsules at the same time, most likely, he or she will have to indicate "divided doses" in the prescriptions to get the drugs covered by insurance. Dividing contents of capsules into empty gelatin capsules One way of tapering is to split up the powder in a capsule into smaller dosages. Go to a health food store and get empty gelatin capsules, the biggest they've got. When you open up a Prozac capsule, you can carefully pour a fraction of the powder into empty gelatin capsules. You won't have 5mg per capsule exactly, because it's difficult to eyeball the amounts. If you want to be more precise, carefully pour the powder onto a piece of black paper and divide it into quarters with a knife, then scoop each 1/4 into an empty gelatin capsule. See more about this technique at http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__p__3033#entry3033 If you are very sensitive to variations in dosage, this method will not be precise enough for you to control your taper. Divide up capsule contents with an electronic scale If you want to be even more precise, weigh the powder in a capsule with an electronic scale, divide it up, and put it into empty gelatin capsules. The powder is very fluffy, though -- make sure it doesn't blow off the scale. See Using a digital scale to measure doses Have a compounding pharmacy make up capsules of smaller dosages A compounding pharmacy will accurately weigh the doses and put them into capsules for you. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__p__3001#entry3001
  19. Wow! First of all I would like to say how relieved I was to have found this forum. For the years I've been struggling with this I have gotten so tired of other people (including doctors and therapists!) telling me that what I've experienced isn't possible and that I'm either making it all up or still sick. Everything started in my junior year of college. I had struggled with varying levels of depression and anxiety for most of my life, even resorting to SI when I was younger, but had finally hit a point where I thought that I needed some professional help. Looking back, I'm sure that the sudden drop was situational as much as anything. Most of my friends had moved away or graduated, my family was going through some money trouble, and I was working more hours to be able to be more self-sufficient. I started to become more withdrawn and my academics started to drop. I was an A and B student so this was very stressful to me. Thinking I was being proactive and doing the right thing, I went to my school's counseling center who then referred me to the campus clinic. The psychiatric nurse practitioner prescribed Prozac (20mg). About two weeks later I was hit with the worse anxiety I had ever had. I barely left my house unless I had to for class or work, would start shaking at random times, and had near constant chest pain. I tried to wait it out but eventually gave up and went back. She switched me to lexapro(20mg). This seemed to do the trick so I stayed on it though the end of the semester and over the summer. Unfortunately, when I started back up at school I started to struggle again. I'd tried to make positive changes in my life: made some new friends, got in contact with old ones, and started trying to date. Then, as it happens all too often in college, the guy I was seeing got me drunk and took advantage. This led to me having a bit of a breakdown and my friends urged me to go to the hospital. While there they switched me to zoloft(50mg), remeron(15mg), and lorazapam(2mg as needed). This is where things start to get really wonky. At first I thought it was helping but about a month after I got out of the hospital I started having these intense intrusive self-harm thoughts. Violent and strong enough to scare me. I had a medication review and those three were dropped and I was put on WellbutrinXL(150mg). Again things were better for a little while but about a month later started to go south. The intrusive thoughts were back and I had started to feel very unlike myself. Impulsive and disconnected. I later learned that this was probably a kind of dissociation. One night all of the stress and darkness got to me and I impulsively decided to chase the rest of my pills with half a bottle of vodka. It was strange because I wasn't trying to kill myself, the mindset was more: "I wonder what this will do. It can't be worse that what I'm already feeling." It didn't feel real, like it was happening to someone else. That put me back in the hospital where I then dropped out of college and moved back in with my parents. I had to be on a wait list but eventually I started seeing a new psychiatrist who decided to diagnose me with Bipolar based on the impulsiveness and out of character behavior I had while taking Wellbutrin. She called it agitated depression or mixed mania. At the time I believed her. I was scared, desperate, and seriously doubting my sanity, and I felt like I couldn't trust myself. She started out by prescribing me Abilify(15mg) and Effexor (75mg). This was my second nightmare. A few days later I started having akathisia and had similar feelings of impulsiveness and feeling out of control. When I told my doctor she urged me to wait it out which led to me relapsing into SI for the first time in over 6 years to cope. That combination was obviously stopped and I had the most physical withdrawal symptoms that I had so far. I couldn't leave my bed for two days I was so nauseous and dizzy. I feel like I should point out at this point that I was on most of these medications for max of a few months and didn't taper at all. Cold turkey then right on to another. Next on the list was Latuda(40mg - 60mg). My insurance ended up not really covering that one so what I ended up on as my final medication was Lithium. This was a blessing in a way because it didn't really do anything, which turns out, is what I needed. At one point I was up to 1600mg a day to control my "symptoms" which I'm now convinced was almost entirely side effects mixed with withdrawal. That dose completely destroyed my short term memory. After finally stabilizing, I had gone back to school and this was making classwork almost impossible, so after much debating the dosage was stepped down to 800mg. Finally, in the summer of 2017, I took a summer job working at a research station in the forest. After a lot of solo time hiking in nature I had an epiphany. This was the best I had felt in years and that all of my serious problems started after I sought "help." When I got back to see my doctor I told her my plan to stop taking medication. She was extremely judgemental and basically told me I'd be back when I had a relapse and just told me to tapper off with the what I had left (about a weeks worth). I'm very happy to say that she was wrong. All I've done since then is get better. I still struggle with some depression and anxiety but if that is the trade off I will gladly live with that. After a year and a half of being free of psychiatric drugs I'm surprised at the difference. On medication I was dissociating, having panic attacks, paranoia, and suicidal ideation. I felt like a complete basket case. It's terrifying to me how easy it is to get stuck in a downward spiral like that. Not ONE of the doctors or therapists that I'd seen even considered that the medication could be what was causing me to get worse and worse. They just saw worsening "symptoms" that they had to "get ahead of" and I believed it too. Now, even that the worst is over, the experience still haunts me. I feel so guilty about the way that I behaved and I have no idea how much was my fault versus the medication. I know that it was a factor but I remember making the decisions to hurt myself and destroy my life and I'm not really sure how to live with that. I have nightmares where I'm back in the worst of it feeling like I'm slowly losing my mind and I have permanent scars from the SI. I saw a new primary care doctor recently and the first thing she tried to do was get me back on mood stabilizers after seeing "bipolar" on my chart. I don't know how to get that removed or if I even can. The only people who believe me are my friends and family who saw me go from a somewhat stressed young adult to nonfunctional almost overnight. I know that this hasn't ruined my life... but it certainly feels like it sometimes. I'm sorry that anyone else had to go through this hell but I'm so, so glad that I'm not alone in this. Even now I'm not sure that I'm completely recovered. I guess time will tell.
  20. I'm really struggling with severe anxiety, derealization and depression. I have been having windows and waves (both follow a pattern of 2-7 days each). Currently on 75mg Zoloft and thought I was actually improving and felt ready to reduce again after 4 weeks. Then I get a day like this and it knocks me for six. I have this horrible feeling that this is the real me but I can't remember how bad I was since I've been on SSRI'S since I was 16. I'm 25 now. Please advise, I'm getting desparate feeling like I may need to be on these meds for the rest of my life.
  21. Hello everyone, I spend nearly every day on this forum so I figure why not make a post of my own. Well where to start??? 9 months ago I was a hard headed, intense, body building, drug abusing party animal. I had just graduated college, and immediately became an assistant manager. The job was perfect for me, being sales minded and very outgoing. Then one day, mid March everything in my life came spiraling out of control. I drank heavily at a party and experimented with some cocaine. I woke up the next morning feeling off, eeew withdrawals, I told myself I would make it through this week and it would get better. It didn't... I was having panic attacks at work, so I went to an urgent care clinic. He tossed me a prescription to Prozac and sent me on my way. A huge sigh of relief came over me.... What I didn'the know is that cocaine withdrawl was nothing. I was about to be put through the most brutal hell I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I took the Prozac for about 3 months without a Pdoc, diagnosing myself online and hearing about "startup effects" I persevered through this lobotomy, surprisingly sober (despite my best efforts). Until one day I went on vacation with my family and I Snapped, I drank a few beers and went completely manic...started throwing plates in this beach house my brother rented and hid from my brothers because I didn'the want them too see me. At this time i'd been seeing a doctor for a week and she said it was fine to cold turkey Prozac. So I did, and ever since I have been slowly crawling out of hell. Withdrawl and being on the drug feel no different to me, extreme depersonalization, which is mostly gone, sensitivity to everything, food, vitamins, etc. Short term memory loss, and the list goes on. 2 months in my doctor put me on Lamictal, but due to my extreme sensitivity I started to feel crazy again, so I got off. Felt good for a week then things spiraled out of control again. I finally convinced her to give me 5 MG tabs that I break in to quarters because that'she all my nervous system can handle. She thinks it's a placebo, but I was insistent that she give me the micro dose. It helps tremendously with my depersonalization. But this is a success story, so i'll get to the positive. I learned that 1 year ago I was "happy" but my life was way off balanced. I was addicted to drugs and would anything to impress others, and I hated the person I saw in the mirrior. For once in my life I was thrown a curveball where I was forced to work on myself, and luckily through all of these terrible events I have achieved a level of balance in my life. I still have a lot of residual side effects of treating my brain like a piñata for the last 5 years. I still occasionally drink, if I feel like I can handle it but I usually cap out at 2-3 beers. I have a psych doctor that will literally throw any potent benzo I want at me (which I refuse to even pick up my perscription). I am far from perfect, but i'm learning, and feeling myself recovering. I have an amazing support system consisting of my girlfriend, my family and a friend that literally went through the exact same experience as me. For all of those who think you will be stuck like this forever, you will recover. If someone like me, with no self control can make it through this, you can too. I now get why heroin addicts never get off of it, because they just want to feel "normal" again. Your drug dealer just does it by the books. We can only take life one day at a time, spread positivity and try to do a little good in every day. And don'the beat up on yourself for your mistakes. Thank you Altostrata and everyone on this forum. You have all helped me grow in to an individual I am liking more and more every day. I will be sure to give updates in future months.
  22. 26/F. Depression/anxiety. History of being somewhat underweight. Family history of severe mood disorders. My brother killed himself about 6 months ago. 2007-2013: Lexapro 10-20 mg. Took this on and off, with 2 cold turkey "quits." I remember it took about 7-8 days of sleeping and withdrawal symptoms both times. Luckily this time around, my SSRI has a much longer half-life, and wellbutrin has been pretty tame so far in terms of withdrawl side effects. 2015: Moved out of state by myself. Lived alone. Started seeing psychiatrist regularly. After trying: citalopram, sertraline, and the SR version of bupropion, my stable prescription has been 150 mg bupropion XL (wellbutrin) and 30 mg fluoxetine (prozac) in the morning everyday. Wellbutrin was my "Godsend." I was crying for 12 hours a day for no reason. Wellbutrin made it possible to get out of bed. 2017: Moved back with family. They're feeding me and taking care of me. I'm trying a taper because of side effects. There are so many "mild" ones that it's difficult to even identify them anymore - I've accepted them as just "normal". The dizziness, the foggy brain, the random "blank" moments when I forget what I'm saying mid-sentence. GI symptoms... Etc. I stopped the wellbutrin earlier this week. According to this website: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/going-off-antidepressants it should be out my system 99% by now. Keeping the prozac consistent. I have a ~10 or so pills of .025 generic xanax that I'm keeping for panic attack emergencies or acute withdrawal symptoms. I'm taking 3 capsules of 10mg each. I might try dropping one whole capsule for a week and see how I do. I will be of work for a few weeks so it will be a good time to experiment. I'm trying to add lifestyles changes that will help me manage depression. Here is what I am trying right now, in approximate order of perceived efficacy: 1. exercise: 3-5 days a week, trying to get 150min of moderate cardio and 2 days of full body strength (per CDC recommendation). Has helped with mood, self-esteem, dramatically improved sleep quality and appetite. 2. meditation: using an app for this. started with 3 minutes, went up to 10. Haven't done it the last few days, will start again tonight. 3. sleeping hygiene - work in progress. 4. diet: avoiding processed foods and junk foods, eating 3 good meals a day, lots of water. I have been experiencing huge pangs of thirst since stopping wellbutrin. I'm taking a few supplements (curcumin, probiotics, among others) but I don't know if that's doing anything. I'm interested in "gut health" - apparently there's a huge connection between the gut and the brain, eh? Trying to take care of it. I'm also reading some books. Currently reading Upward Spiral. Has anyone read it? Here's the description: "Depression can feel like a downward spiral, pulling you into a vortex of sadness, fatigue, and apathy. In The Upward Spiral, neuroscientist Alex Korb demystifies the intricate brain processes that cause depression and offers a practical and effective approach to getting better. Based on the latest research in neuroscience, this book provides dozens of straightforward tips you can do every day to rewire your brain and create an upward spiral towards a happier, healthier life." Here's to managing symptoms... of the meds, withdrawal symptoms, and depression.
  23. AKA 5htp and oxitriptan (INN) [Also see our topic on SAM-e] http://www.5-htp.net/Safety.asp 5-HTP Safety, Side Effects and Dangers Safety and Side Effects 5-HTP appears to be well tolerated with few and relatively mild side effects, the most common being nausea. However, large doses of 5-HTP should be avoided as it can result in the formation of excessively high levels of serotonin in tissues other than the brain, resulting in significant adverse reactions. 5-HTP is generally better tolerated than its SSRI counterparts, such as Prozac®........ Source: 5-HTP The Natural Way to Overcome Depression, Obesity, and Insomnia by Michael Murray, N.D. 5-HTP should not be taken concurrently with anti- depressants except under the supervision of a physician, because 5-HTP increases the activity of these drugs. 5-HTP should be avoided by pregnant women, nursing mothers and those with significant cardiovascular disease. It is also contraindicated in those with carcinoid tumors. Large doses of 5-HTP may significantly increase serum levels of serotonin which, at least theoretically, may result in the serotonin syndrome which can be very serious, although there have been no reports of the syndrome occurring with use of 5-HTP in humans. Do not exceed 900 mg per day. Vitamin B6 taken in doses of 5 milligrams or greater causes 5-HTP to be converted into serotonin before it passes into the brain. Since serotonin does not easily pass the blood-brain barrier as 5-HTP does, this effect is undesirable and can be detrimental. May have additive effects with tryptophan, St John's wort, and SAMe. Be sure to get 5-HTP from a reputable source to ensure purity, such as MedQuest Pharmacy. As with any supplement, 5-HTP can be abused. However, when used wisely, it has proven itself to be a safe and effective supplement........... *The information provided herein should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. PROZAC is a registered trademark of Eli Lilly and Company. _______________________________________________________________________ http://www.progressivehealth.com/5-htp-risks.asp Dangers and Benefits of 5-HTP 5-HTP is a supplement used to help with many conditions, including depression, obesity, carbohydrate craving, bulimia, insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, migraine, headaches, and fibromyalgia. Although there are several conditions, which are helped by, taking 5-HTP there are also dangers when taking it with out know how to take it. Benefits of Taking 5-HTP 5-HTP is an amino acid. The body makes 5-HTP from tryptophan (an essential amino acid) and converts it to an important brain chemical known as serotonin. Tryptophan and 5-HTP dietary supplements help raise serotonin levels in the brain, which may have a positive effect on sleep, mood, anxiety, aggression, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. Depression - Low levels of serotonin in the brain can contribute to the development of depression. Many drugs prescribed for depression increase serotonin levels. Some studies indicate that 5-HTP may be as effective as certain antidepressant drugs in treating individuals with mild to moderate depression. Such individuals have shown improvements in mood, anxiety, insomnia, and physical symptoms. Fibromyalgia - 5-HTP has been shown to improve sleep quality and reduce pain, stiffness, anxiety, and depression in individuals with fibromyalgia. Insomnia - Medical research indicates that supplementation with tryptophan before bedtime can induce sleepiness and delay wake times. Studies also suggest that 5-HTP may be useful in treating insomnia associated with depression. Headaches - Some studies suggest that 5-HTP may be effective in children and adults with various types of headaches including migraines. Obesity - There is some evidence that low tryptophan levels may contribute to excess fat and carbohydrate intake. When Not To Take 5-HTP As with any supplement, 5-HTP can be abused. However, when used wisely, it has proven itself to be a safe and effective supplement. While this supplement appears to be safe for most people, 5-HTP danger occurs when people mix 5-HTP with prescription medications and herbal supplements. Taking too much 5-HTP is also dangerous. 5-HTP should not be taken concurrently with anti- depressants except under the supervision of a physician, because 5-HTP increases the activity of these drugs. Mixing SSRI medications and 5-HTP may result in a rare but extremely serious condition called serotonin syndrome. People with serotonin syndrome exhibit a variety of symptoms including confusion, restlessness, hallucinations, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Coma and death follow swiftly after symptoms appear. 5-HTP should be avoided by pregnant women, nursing mothers and those with significant cardiovascular disease. It is also contraindicated in those with carcinoid tumors. Mixing 5 HTP with herbal supplements for depression such as St. John's Wort is also not recommended. Like SSRI medications, St. John's Wort alters the delicate balance of brain chemistry. 5 HTP can tip the balance into dangerous territory. 5-HTP Overdose Individuals who take 5-HTP may expect it to act quickly, altering their mood overnight. Medications, supplements and herbs that act upon neurotransmitters usually need to be taken for several weeks before patients start to feel the effects. Some people take more and more 5 HTP, hoping that taking more will increase the effectiveness more quickly. This can create a dangerous condition called, serotonin syndrome. Many alternate health practitioners recommend starting slowly with 5 HTP and taking it for only short periods of time to avoid dangerous overdoses. 5-HTP Side Effects Reported side effects from taking 5-HTP include nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. Dangerous doses of 5-HTP can cause agitation, fast heart rate, a boost in blood pressure—and in rare cases, coma and even death. Combining it with an antidepressant, any other drug that affects serotonin levels or herbal supplements like St. John's Wort can also cause such side effects. People who have heart disease, peptic ulcers, kidney disease, or clotting disorders should definitely not take this supplement. ____________________________________________________________________________________ http://wellnessletter.com/html/ds/ds5HTP.php 5-HTP Claims, Benefits: Treats or prevents insomnia, depression, and other problems; modifies mood. Bottom Line: In 1989, thousands of people taking tryptophan developed a rare and incurable blood disease, leading the FDA to ban all sales of the pills. 5-HTP, a close relative of tryptophan, is being taken as a substitute for it. Its potential dangers outweigh any possible benefits. Full Article, Wellness Letter, January 2005: Playing with Brain Chemicals For years people took tryptophan pills to treat insomnia and depression and to improve mood. This amino acid is converted in the brain into serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that affects mood and sleep, among other things. But in 1989 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned all sales of tryptophan because of an outbreak of eosinophilic myalgia syndrome (EMS, a rare disorder that affects the skin, blood, muscles, and organs) among thousands of people taking the pills. At least 30 people died. The epidemic was traced to a bad batch of tryptophan from one Japanese manufacturer, which apparently introduced an impurity when it altered its manufacturing process. A cousin steps in Since then 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), a close relative, has replaced tryptophan in health-food stores and drugstores and on the Internet. The body makes 5-HTP from tryptophan; and like tryptophan, 5-HTP is converted to serotonin in the brain. The supplement is derived from the seeds of an African tree. For decades European doctors have used it to treat depression and several other disorders. Some small studies suggest that 5-HTP may be as effective as standard antidepressants, but most of these studies were not well designed. And other studies have not found a benefit. There’s some preliminary evidence that the supplement may play a role in weight loss and may help against mild insomnia. One problem: when some people take the supplement, their blood levels of 5-HTP do not rise, so there’s little chance of a benefit. Just how safe is it? Reported side effects include nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. High doses of 5-HTP can cause agitation, fast heart rate, a boost in blood pressure—and in rare cases, coma and even death. Combining it with an antidepressant, any other drug that affects serotonin levels (such naratriptan or sumatriptan, used to treat headaches), or “herbal antidepressants” such as St. John’s wort can also cause such side effects. People who have heart disease, peptic ulcers, kidney disease, or clotting disorders should definitely not take this supplement. Even though the manufacture of 5-HTP is very different from that of tryptophan, worries about contamination remain. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have found an impurity known as “peak X” in commercial samples of 5-HTP; the FDA has also spotted impurities. Substances similar to “peak X” were found in the tryptophan involved in the 1989 outbreak of EMS. So far, however, there have been no confirmed cases of the illness from 5-HTP supplements. Final thoughts: Some dietary supplements, notably 5-HTP, can influence brain chemicals. As the tryptophan story showed, even though they are marketed as “natural,” they can have serious adverse effects—just like traditional antidepressants. The potential dangers of 5-HTP outweigh any possible benefits. UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 2005 ____________________________________________________________________________________ http://www.ehow.com/about_5600605_5_htp-dangers-stomach.html 5-HTP & Dangers to the Stomach Tully Grey Tully Grey is a freelance writer living in Chicago who has been writing for 10 years. She attended Columbia College in South Carolina and is currently pursuing a B.A. in history. Her fiction has appeared in The Broadkill Review and will appear in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. She has written nonfiction for The Post and Courier and iNeTours.com. By Tully Grey, eHow Contributor 5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is used by your body to produce brain chemicals like serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate your mood, appetite and energy level. 5-HTP helps maintain your serotonin levels, which can alleviate depression, kick-start weight loss and increase your energy. While 5-HTP can be beneficial, it does have side effects that can include mild gastrointestinal problems. Nausea Your digestive system can be sensitive to serotonin, and 5-HTP can lead to some mild nausea. The higher the dose, the more likely this is to happen. Higher doses are generally given to patients who are using 5-HTP to help with weight loss or fight obesity. Standard doses of 50mg to 100mg don't tend to bring on nausea. Diarrhea If your serotonin level becomes too high, you can develop serotonin syndrome. If this happens, you could experience side effects, one of which is diarrhea. The risks of serotonin syndrome increase when you take 5-HTP in combination with MAOIs, or monamine oxidase Inhibitors, as MAOIs prevent serotonin from being chemically broken down. Consult your doctor before beginning or ending any drug program. Empty Stomach If your reason for starting 5-HTP is appetite regulation, you should take it about 20-30 minutes before eating so that it will enter your brain and begin converting to serotonin faster. If you have other reasons for taking 5-HTP, you should be able to take it three times a day in small doses without nausea. You won't have to take it before meals if the purpose for taking it is not to promote weight loss or combat obesity. After Meals If you tend to eat more during the night hours than in the morning or during the day, it may be beneficial to take a 100mg dose of 5-HTP immediately after your last meal. If nausea follows, it should be temporary and subside after a few days. Sipping a ginger ale can be beneficial if nausea occurs after a meal. Avoid caffeinated drinks, as these can keep you awake as well as counteract the effects of 5-HTP. Gastrointestinal Side Effects Other side effects of 5-HTP that occur in the stomach are loss of appetite, diarrhea, cramps, vomiting and gas. Most of these symptoms occur when you take more than 100 ___________________________________________________________________________________ http://vitamins.lovetoknow.com/5_HTP_Danger 5 HTP Danger By Jeanne Grunert If you're concerned about 5 HTP danger, careful consideration of the risks and benefits may allay your fears. What Is 5 HTP? The product known as 5 HTP contains a naturally occurring brain chemical, 5-hydroxytryptophan. Synthesized from proteins containing tryptophan, 5 HTP whirls through the brain with a bevy of chemical compounds called neurotransmitters that affect mood, sleep, and appetite........... 5-HTP works with the neurotransmitter serotonin. Individuals take 5-HTP to combat depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Recently many companies have begun touting 5 HTP as a weight loss product. Both prescription and non-prescription supplements affecting serotonin appear to decrease appetite. Scientists aren't sure of the exact mechanism at work, but preliminary theories suggest that when serotonin levels are low, the body boosts the appetite in a quest to ingest as many foods as possible that provide the building blocks of serotonin. A 5 HTP Danger While this supplement appears to be safe for most people, 5 HTP danger occurs when people mix 5 HTP with prescription medications and herbal supplements. Taking too much 5 HTP is also dangerous. Antidepressants and 5 HTP People suffering from depression frequently take medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Medications in this category include brand names such as Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, Paxil and others. The exact way that these medications improve mood isn't known, but doctors speculate that SSRI drugs block the reuptake of serotonin in the brain, leaving more circulating serotonin for use by the brain itself. This process improves neurotransmission among nerves that affect mood. SSRI medications exert a powerful influence on brain chemistry. It's no surprise then, to learn that taking 5 HTP and a prescription SRRI poses great danger. Remember that 5 HTP itself interacts in complex ways with the entire serotonin reuptake system in the brain. Because the SSRI medications are already altering the delicate symphony of chemicals, adding 5 HTP to the mix creates cacophony. Mixing SSRI medications and 5 HTP may result in a rare but extremely serious condition called serotonin syndrome. People with serotonin syndrome exhibit a variety of symptoms including confusion, restlessness, hallucinations, fever, nausea and vomiting. Coma and death follow swiftly after symptoms appear. Anyone taking antidepressant medications, 5 HTP or a combination of substances who begins exhibiting these symptoms should go to the nearest hospital immediately. Herbal Supplements and 5 HTP Just as mixing prescription medications with 5 HTP is dangerous, mixing 5 HTP with herbal supplements for depression such as St. John's Wort is also not recommended. Like SSRI medications, St. John's Wort alters the delicate balance of brain chemistry. 5 HTP can tip the balance into dangerous territory. If you have any questions about these medications, supplements or herbs, please consult your doctor or another qualified health professional, and always tell your doctor about vitamin and herbal supplements you are taking to avoid dangerous interactions. 5 HTP Overdose Individuals who take 5 HTP may expect it to act like a magic pill, altering their mood overnight. Medications, supplements and herbs that act upon neurotransmitters often need to be taken for several weeks before patients feel the effects. In their rush to feel better, some people take more and more 5 HTP, hoping that "more is better" and the substance will improve their mood faster. This can create the dangerous condition mentioned above, serotonin syndrome. Many alternate health practitioners recommend starting slowly with 5 HTP and taking it for only short periods of time to avoid dangerous overdoses. Other Side Effects People taking 5 HTP also report other side effects, including nausea and stomach upset, irritability, and insomnia. If symptoms worsen or you feel ill taking 5 HTP, discontinue and see a physician immediately. Peak X Dangers No discussion of 5 HTP danger is complete without mentioning "peak X", a term coined in 1994 when a woman came down with a serious and rare condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). In this condition, the body overproduces eosinophils. Eosinophils are white blood cells responsible for combating infections. In EMS, high levels of eosinophils cause trembling, extreme muscle pain, and shortness of breath. In 1994, a Canadian woman came down with symptoms of EMS after handling 5 HTP pills intended for her children who required the supplement for medical reasons. Although the children didn't become ill, they also had higher than normal levels of eosinphils. The suspected compound within 5 HTP that created these side effects was named "peak X". Today, most alternate health practitioners feel that the supply of 5 HTP is free from peak X. Dr. Michael T. Murray, a doctor of naturopathy, provides a complete case history on 5 HTP and peak X online, and concludes that it would take massive doses of 5 HTP to cause EMS symptoms. Anyone taking 5 HTP, however, should be aware of the possibility and check with a physician if they experience unusual symptoms.
  24. I am very sick withdrawing from Prozac after 31 years. Feeling despair no support. Multiple symptoms. Neuropathy and Despair. Four months off. I did it cold turkey. I am Determined to stay off this time after many failed attempts over the years. I always thought it was only my original condition returning. Now I know it is much more than that. I am in bed. I can’t walk or stop crying. I am mad at myself that I ever let this happen to me. I am angry with society and big pharma and the ignorance of the medical system. I can’t find anyone who even knows or understands what I am experiencing. I went to the doctor. He had not a clue. I don’t really know if I can survive this.
  25. Hello everyone. I'll try to organize this as best as I can. There is a lot going on. I was on benzos from age 17 to 36 and on Cymbalta from age 35 to 36. Went off both together for a 2 year nightmare. Absolute pure hell. I wont get into the details and symptoms of that withdrawal in this post as it is it's own little novel. Some things improved during those 2 years and I feel I've beat the benzo part of the nightmare even still, but at age 38 I was still suffering enough that I agreed to go on Lexapro to see if I'd improve. I did improve hugely but it stopped working as well after 3 years and I was switched to Prozac. I have taken the Prozac ever since and it felt like it was failing around 4 months ago. I missed a lot of doses around 3 months ago and just tried to stop CT for just over a week around a month and a half ago. I started feeling withdrawals so I went back on and the withdrawal feeling is still getting worse. My memory and focus went first, then the inner restlessness and anxiety started and dizziness. I am also having the disconnected dream like feeling 24-7. I am so depressed and fearful all of the time. I've been taking the Prozac without missing a dose for over a month again and this is still happening to me. It's as if the combo of Prozac tolerance and coming off for the short time has started a withdrawal that even going back on can't stop. My doctor wants to take me off the Prozac after a slow taper and start me back on the Lexapro. The hope is that since it worked before and I've been off of it for almost 3 years that it could pick me back up and end this nightmare I'm back in. I am really considering just tapering the Prozac and staying off all ssris; so no going back on Lexapro in that case. I am so afraid of entering back into a nightmare like a was in coming off benzos and Cymbalta. My current state is terrible but the previous experience was truly worse; being benzos and Cymbalta together. It is really hard t say what withdrawal symptoms were coming from which pill. There were so many. I am so terrified of how I am feeling right now, but mostly for the days to come. If I come off the Prozac entirely I know my current state will worsen. I will be thrown back into a situation similar to the first nightmare. If I taper the Prozac and go back on Lexapro and it actually works, I'll still be doomed because I'll be back on another pill waiting for it to stop working again and most likely going through it all again. If I go back on the Lexapro and it doesn't work I will just aggravate my current symptoms with throwing more chemicals on my already hurting brain. The first time around withdrawal I had terrible akathisia and I am already feeling it brewing and I am still on the Prozac. I don't want to go through this again! Also from what I've been experiencing this month it seems a lot of what I assumed were due to the benzos were possibly due to the Cymbalta withdrawal as it's so similar. Also, I forgot to mention that I am on 500 mg of Depakote XR as well. I was put on this a couple of months after the Prozac as I felt a bit agitated. It helped but I got worried about my liver and quit it after 4 or five months and had a mild withdrawal from that but it passed. Just a couple of weeks ago after my current situation started I went back on the Depakote to see if it would help and it hasn't. I'll most likely be stopping it again as well. I had an account on Benzo Buddies during that ordeal and it gave me an outlet and some hope. I've set this account up here and got my story out in advance as I am leaning towards just stopping the meds and I'll be needing all of the support I can get! I'm seeing my doctor on January 3 so whatever I decide to do it will be starting then.
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