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  1. i've been off 60mg 40mg (see Post #4) of prozac for 2 months after tapering very quickly over 2 months. i took prozac for 20 years. i have really bad headaches most days, something i never used to have before unless i was dehydrated. i have terrible mood swings - i shout at people in the street if they're badly parked, i get road rage when i'm driving, i scream at the kids and my husband. fatigue is a big problem - i can fall asleep at any point during the day and often do. i sleep all night but am still exhausted the next day. i have constant vivid dreams and nightmares. my ocd is creeping back (which is what i was prescribed the prozac for in the first place). i thought i had it under control until my kids told me i needed to stop posting on social media so much as it was dominating my life. i was also alienating people online. i have constant diarrhoea. i cannot stop eating -i'm constantly ravenous, especially for carbs - crisps and potatoes are my downfall and i've put on a stone in weight since stopping. i have lots of pains in my joints and limbs. i did have crawling under my skin, especially in my knees and feet but this seems to have subsided. i'm scared of seeing or talking to people. this has always been a problem for me but it is worse right now. thankyou for listening if you made it this far. today is a bad day and i keep asking myself why i gave up the pills in the first place? i hoped i would have more energy, feel more emotionally, lose weight etc. but it was only after i stopped that i started to read up on protracted withdrawals. i had no idea it could be so bad to stop the drugs.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Unsure if I'm posting in the right place but this is somewhat of an introduction. 1.5 years ago I started on 20mg of Prozac for OCD. There was restlessness with starting but it went away. Gradually I tapered down to 10mg of Prozac which I was on for a full year. 2 months ago, I felt the sudden onset of a a very severely agitated feeling. It was very vague but I can pinpoint the exact moment I noticed it -- I was sitting, doing nothing remarkable, and unstressed. I had felt something like this before throughout my treatment but it was very very temporary and felt more like an agitated depression brought on by external circumstances. When this feeling started I could not pinpoint anything else as the cause. Things were good in all parts of my life. I had not messed with the dosage of Prozac at all for a year. Is it still possible that the Prozac is causing this long term agitation/akathisia that I still experience today? A month into the feeling I decided to taper off Prozac completely. I experienced very little withdrawal...just mild headaches and dizziness. The akathisia didn't get worse or better. But it is still quite bad. And the longer it continues the more hopeless I become and probably the more depressed as well because I can't see a life without this agitation anymore. Started on some Klonopin to treat the restlessness and help me sleep. Has anyone else experienced akathisia without a dose change? And also only being on a low dose?
  5. Prince1924

    Prince1924: Prozac

    I have just read this advice about keeping a withdrawal programme Simple ie 3KIS. Not sure but there doesn't seem to be a support network like this in the UK? Only one I've come across is the Royal College of psychiatrists which is a in the form of a video). I've taken great comfort from all this advice as I makes me feel I can try and come off Prozac one more time.
  6. Admin note: link to benzo forum thread - gretta: Tapering off klonopin while on prozac problems
  7. 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.
  8. 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. 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. Have Pristiq made into smaller dosage capsules 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. 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. (See discussion of Effexor and Pristiq dosage equivalency starting http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__42249 ) 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: "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.
  9. 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
  10. Hello everyone! I first started Prozac in the beginning of 2009 to help with social anxiety and public speaking at work. I had to delivery training and couldn't simply face the situation where I'd be in the center of attention. I had had previous failings in this area and couldn't think of screwing up again. Especially, I could lose my job. So, after googling and researching I decided to give fluoxetine a try. As you can see, no doctors were involve and I could only blame myself . I even sourced the pills by ordering from the internet. I started with 20 mg and noticed effects after approx 2-3 weeks. The main thing that I remember was calmness and confidence. With the chemicals fully kicked in, I was so relaxed about the future ordeal that I thought that even if I failed, I’d not care too much. The training went fine though and I had a massive boost of confidence from this fact. The nature of my work, requires me to constantly communicate with people, which had always been hard for me. For this reason I stayed on AD. So that I could function normally and establish myself. I had recently moved to the UK from another country and had to survive. On the other hand I was very cautious, as I had had some past dependency on substances at a tender age, and never exceeded 20mg/day. Also, I never intended to use the pills forever. I just liked how they made me feel in social situations. I had always been a bit shy and fluoxetine helped me to be more relaxed. I continued to take Prozac, but with breaks where I'd be completely off for weeks and even months! I'd go off medication cold turkey (I didn't know about tapering at the time!). And to be honest, I didn't have any major symptoms during years 2010-2013 apart from anxiety (but I'd always been anxious), irritability, anger. No major physical symptoms as far as I could remember. I consider myself to be a person with some self control and I'd try to disregard what happens inside me and try to look normal. Maybe being young(ish) and the fact that I always did some sport help as well? With time as I was becoming more relaxed about my job security and with thoughts that I probably better off AD eventually, my breaks would become longer and longer. And in Jul 2015 I first decided to go off completely. As always, I just stopped cold turkey! Well, I tapered by taking 20 mg every other day for couple of weeks, but I don't think it can be considered tapering in pure sense. WD was probably a bit harder this time with anxiety, irritability, fatigue more pronounced. But I tolerated it fine. I thought maybe I was getting older? No other major physical symptoms. I went back on Prozac again in Feb 2016 because of a new project where I'd need to socialize and communicate. And when work situation calmed down, I went off again in Sep 2016. This time WD a bit harder still. Major symptoms: anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability, stress intolerance, anger, insomnia. Surprisingly, insomnia only hit me first in month 7 (still suffering)! This is probably the worst symptom, a torture, when you can't sleep for several nights at a time and then had to function during the day... Thanks a lot for all your attention!
  11. 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
  12. 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!
  13. Hi. I have been reading different posts on here for about a month. I want to taper off Lexapro, but I've been on it for over 10 years. In 2005, I was put on a very short, and ended up with brains apps and went back on it because I was super agitated. When I told my doctor I wanted to Lexapro, her idea was to switch me to Prozac. Initially, she was going to help me switch to 20 mg, but I knew that the equivalent was 40 mg, so I asked if we can do that and she said yes. I am on day two of switching from 20 mg of Lexapro to 40 mg of Prozac. I feel dizzy and have a UTI. I don't know if that can be caused by this medication switch. It kind of creeps me out. The test only showed barely any evidence of the UTI, but the doctor said I was experiencing symptoms so gave me an antibiotic. I am thinking about a post I read on here that suggested people try wean off their current drug rather than bridging to Prozac. So now I am kind of freaking out thinking that I should just go back on Lexapro and when I see my doctor in a week and a half ask if she will prescribe the liquid. I think I asked that in A message, but she suggested Prozac. I have wanted to wean off the drugs for a long time, but actually had resigned myself to staying on it for life. I felt like I was stuck. But then it was getting migraines, and my family doctor wanted to add another antidepressant Pamelor, for the migraines. At that point, I did not want to add any more, and so now I decided it was time to try to taper down. I have seen that on some sites it says Lexapro can cause migraines.
  14. Hey Everyone, I'm sorry if this gets long, it's been a very hard journey that I know yall will understand. I'm really hoping to get some sort of help or insight if the road I'm currently on is causing more harm than good. Back in 2009, I started taking Lexapro (escitalopram) 10 mg for very mild depression and anxiety. I began my career as a graphic designer in 2008 and the working environment was a bit stressful and I didnt adapt very well leading to more anxiety than usual. After speaking with my doctor, we felt it was a good idea to go on a low dose of lexapro. After a month or so, I started feeling really good. I even felt great after being on it for a couple of years on top with excercising and eating better. Well, in April of 2013 I got an opportunity to work from home which was great, no more hostile working environment and I was away from an over bearing/obnoxious co-worker. I continued taking lexapro until August of 2013 and more or less quit taking cold turkey since I "felt fine." The doctor never stressed the importance of tapering over months, or the coarse of a year for that matter, so I tapperd in a matter of 2 weeks...maybe a little less. He said I would probably exerience some dizziness or lightheadeness after stopping, which I did for a few weeks...but then it went away by September. On January 29th of 2014, I woke up with vertigo. I wasnt sure what to think of it to be honest. I was like, "Wow, weird"...time to get a shower, and went about my day. I had a little lightheadedness that wasnt too bad that caught my attention, but didnt concern me. Then about a week later, I had another episode of vertigo. The dizziness and lightheadedness became more and more constant and intensified. At this time, lots of things started to stress me out, and for good reason. My dog started having seizures around the same time I started getting vertigo. My wife told me we were going to have our first baby in March. My sister was about to have brain surgery and almost didnt make it in April. I started working at the previous company as I did before, with the overbearing/obnoxious co-worker (who is now my manager.) In May, that's when the withdrawals hit me REALLY hard. The depression, the anxiety, the doom and gloom, the uncontrollable thoughts. The unbearable tension in my neck and shoulders, the fatigue, the intense headaches. When all of this began, I went to see an ENT specialist thinking the dizziness/vertigo was an inner ear issue. I racked up medical bills getting tests done, cat scans, an MRI, blood work, trip to the ER, doctor visit after doctor visit. Once the medical bills started pouring in, that added a whole other level of stress. I cried uncontrollably, I was lashing out, had panic attacks...I seriously wanted to die, to be honest. That's when I had to call my mom and she came to stay with us for a week. Here I am, a 32 year old man calling his mommy. Pathetic! This has already gotten long, but currently I am seeing a psychatirst who has no idea why I'm experiencing withdrawls this far out which is very frustrating. Shouldnt the be more aware of these type of things? I re-instarted lexapro 10mg in June of 2014 but it made me feel worse. We messed around with the dosage, but my psychiatrist has since put me on Celexa 10mg. Right now, I am just "maintaining." I still have light headedness and intense headaches. I get these headaches probably 2-4 times a week, and they leave me feeling VERY exhausted. I stay tired, but I know part of that is probably working 40 hours a week and taking care of a 7 month old...on top of dealing with all of this. What I would like to know though, is am I doing the right thing by re-instating an anti-depressant? These headaches that I get make life very difficult...I dont know if it's a side effect of the anti-depressant or if it's still withdrawals? I'm still at a low dose, and any time I try to go up...I start to feel worse. I now take topamax for the headaches/migraines and I've been put on blood pressure medicine since now I've developed high blood pressure. Sorry for the long post and introduction, it's hard to sum all of this stuff up in a couple of short paragraphs...either that or I'm just way too long winded! Thank you for any help and insight!
  15. Here comes my story: 2009 The first time I suffered from anxiety was when I was 16 years old, I spent more than a year being very hypochondriac, thinking I had many kinds of different illnesses and asking my parents to go to doctors to check if I suffered from this or this other illness. 2009-2013 After that period, I spent 4 years very well, with just short episodes of anxiety and hypochondria but mostly well. 2014 In 2014 my anxiety and pure obssesive OCD got worse, and I saw a psychiatrist for the first time; As a result of that, I was put on prozac in april 2014, because otherwise I was not going to be able to pass my exams. (I study engineering) I did very well on prozac 20mg, it ended my obsessions and helped me focus on studying but I didn't want to stay on it, so I got off it during august and tried to solve my problems with therapy instead of medicines. 2015 In december 2014 / january 2015 I got worse again, but this time much worse than before taking prozac in 2014. I had other symptoms such as imsomnia (which i had not had before), feelings of being incapable of doing anything, feelings of worthlessness, rumiating, and some more. I saw the psychiatrist again, and of course he put me on prozac 20mg. Now I have been taking prozac for 4 months and I am mostly well again, so I am getting off it with the permission of the doctor. My question is: Is it possible that what I experienced in january 2015 was withdrawal from the mere 4 months I took prozac some months earlier?? I assumed that it was my anxiety coming back, but it doesnt make sense that it was so much worse than ever. Thank you.
  16. 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
  17. Hey everyone, My name is Abby and I have been off Prozac for 3.5 months now. I'm currently experiencing intense withdrawal and the return of mental states I never thought I'd have to experience again, and I would really like to connect with others who are going through similar during this long, difficult process. Background info: I always had tendencies towards anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (the Pure-Obsessional variety) since childhood. At 16 these symptoms very rapidly became so severe my whole life fell apart within a matter of days (Going on the contraceptive pill at this time may have been a contributing factor). I didn't have a full breakdown until I was 18, at which point I was taken to the doctor, put on Sertraline, and referred to psychiatry. The following 8 years consisted of several psychiatric admissions, different drugs including clomipramine, seroquel, mirtazipine, prozac, and possibly a few others for shorter periods. I lost pretty much everything, my obsessional fears were so strong that I attempted suicide more than once, developed a bad cocaine/mephadrone habit, was a constant worry to my family. There were times, however, where the medication would help a lot. At 60mg of Prozac I went through some periods of being functional - I went to work, got into a relationship etc. These were a great relief but I can't say I was truly happy as the fears were never properly dealt with. My last hospital admission was in 2014 when I was 24. I had attempted to come off medication as I believed I had to deal with the underlying problems, and I hated the weight gain side effects. Looking back, this was doomed to fail as I was still using cocaine regularly, drinking a lot, and didn't have any proper support mechanisms in place. I was fine for 6 months then crashed, was borderline psychotic with the OCD symptoms, depressed and anxious beyond belief and desperately wanted to die (and believed I deserved to). I was in a psych ward for just over 2 months before new meds kicked in - clompipramine and (randomly, I don't know why) Epilum, as I was told it 'balanced moods'. A year later I went back on to old faithful Prozac and also came off the contraceptive pill. I had always been told the same about it, that it leveled out moods, and don;t think it's a coincidence that my symptoms became much more manageable a few months after stopping it. I then managed to stay at 40mg for 2 years and my life changed drastically for the better. to myself and everyone around me it was like a miraculous recovery - I stopped taking drugs, began volunteering at a Buddhist meditation centre, got my dream job, published a novel, did newspaper interviews about my experiences, ...I pretty much had my dream life. It was like being reborn after thinking everything was all over...forever. It was in January 2017 that I decided to gradually wean off Prozac. Over the following 10 months I reduced until stopping completely in October. In these past 2 years I have done extensive mind training and spiritual exploration, which has probably been the main factor in this recovery. My life is pretty much dedicated to this practice now - I still volunteer at the meditation centre, go on meditation retreats throughout the year, and have also completed a Reiki Mastership. It was always potentially on the cards after exploring my mind with psychedelic drugs in the past, doing past life regressions and also taking Ayahuasca twice in ceremonies. It was around the time of the reiki mastership that I was weaning off the last of the Prozac. Things became challenging - but at first I welcomed it. I was in a strong place mentally, and my mental health hadn't plagued me intensely for a few years. I was made aware that the Reiki energy can churn things up to be healed, but I think that the combination of this, a massive flare up of a back issue that left me not able to walk for weeks, family pressures and intensive mind exploration during retreat that has led me to my current situation. Since December just passed things have been incredibly difficult. I have experienced a return of old OCD obsessions, to the point where I've had panic attacks for days that made my vision blur, heavy depression, crying all the time, existential fears and experiences which medically would look similar to psychosis (although I believe that term can pathologize important and natural inner processes), identity confusion etc. I knew it would be hard, I just never expected to feel this level of horror ever again. Having said that, I know things are different this time round - I have a level of insight gained through spiritual practice that is keeping me going. Energetically, I'm aware that I am creating this reality on various levels, and that I need to relax as much as possible to allow it to pass through the way it's supposed to. I'm no stranger to facing the darkest parts of the psyche, but it's still terrifying and I'm struggling to cope day to day. To make matters worse, my Mum has gone abroad for cancer treatment and I'm now caring for my little brother and sister 4 days a week which is incredibly stressful (I'm used to having my own space and being able to retreat when I need to). My CBT therapist has discharged me as she feels I cannot engage with therapy under this amount of stress, but encouraged me to come back when my Mum gets back. To be fair, she never taught me anything I didn't naturally learn in meditation and I was only seeing her regularly to comply with services. I have however started going for reiki treatments with the person who facilitated the course I was on last year - he is exceptionally intuitive, knowledgeable and takes an all round, individual approach. One session with him last week was worth a year of 'traditional' therapy. So I'm hoping that continuing with this will help. Anyway, sorry for the essay. I don't have many people to talk to about all this. It's also weird for me to ask for help now as I haven't needed it in so long - I'm usually now the one that helps everyone else. It's a scary and heartbreaking thing to go back to a place you thought you'd left long in the past, but I do believe deep down that I have done so in order to face my demons fully and emerge stronger in the long run. Thank you if you made it this far, I'm looking forward to connecting with others on this site. You are all incredibly strong to be doing what you're doing, no matter what stage you're at. Much love x
  18. I'm ******. My signature pretty much sums things up, but leaves out the In-depth details of the journey with this drug. My biggest fear is that I began taking the med as a teenager and while my brain was still developing. I can't help but wonder about the impact Prozac had on my neuro- development and what that means for me now and in the futures he last time I kicked the Prozac habit it lasted 4 months before I finally gave in to the withdrawal symptoms and resumed taking Prozac again. It's so hard to describe how bad it was and what it felt like. The physical symptoms alone were unbelievable. I honestly wasn't sure I'd survive it. Right now there are periods of anxiety and fatigue and irritability, but they are tolerable and slowly abating. When they do I will decrease my dosage again. That's how I'm playing it this time. Decrease, survive withdrawal symptoms till they [mostly] abate, then decrease again... Then on like that. I don't ever want to experience what I did the last time.
  19. 9 months ago today I took my last Prozac and I am still dealing with withdrawal. I took 15 mg of Fluoxetine for 12 years from PAR pharmaceuticals. In July 2015 the fluoxetine I received from the pharmacy was from TEVA pharmaceuticals, apparently PAR pharmaceuticals discontinued the tablets I was taking. Well, my body did not react well to the TEVA brand. I started having nausea and tremors. After a couple of days on the TEVA brand I switched to the MYLAN brand but nothing changed. Realizing my body was not going to handle the change I decided to taper but it seemed pointless because my body was in withdrawal from the PAR pharmaceutical fluoxetine my body was use to taking. On August 27th 2015 I took my last pill. From July to November I dealt with nausea and tremors and then all hell broke loose. On top of the nausea and tremors I developed a bad smell in my nose that only I can smell, internal shaking that is constant, the nausea got much worse, I started having hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and chills. I also have cried almost every day since November. In December I had a gastric emptying study done due to the nausea and lack of appetite. I discovered I now have delayed gastric emptying. To date I have lost 44 pounds from the nausea and not being able to eat. I have also had a CT scan and an MRI for the tremors and internal shaking. Those results were normal. I have seen an ENT for the bad smell in my nose, but they can find nothing wrong. I have noticed that I am feeling a tiny and I stress tiny bit better but I still have the internal shaking, nausea, bad smell in my nose and crying. I have read about internal shaking in withdrawal but how long does it go on. I was put on Prozac for panic attacks and the constant internal shaking is making me feel panicky and anxious. Does anything help with it? Has anyone else experienced a bad smell in their nose or heard of anyone having a bad smell in their nose during withdrawal? Thank you for any advice or help anyone can offer me.
  20. Note from site administrator: 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 drug, usually of a longer half-life, is a recognized way to get off antidepressants, particularly those that people find difficult to taper. 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. Fluoxetine (Prozac) has the longest half-life of any of the modern antidepressants. Because it takes about a week for a dose to be metabolized completely, if a switch to fluoxetine is successful -- that is, does not cause withdrawal symptoms from the original drug -- a careful taper off fluoxetine is easier for most people -- see information about Tapering off Prozac. And, at least fluoxetine comes in a liquid. (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. The drawbacks and advantages of switching to another drug to get off the first drug, described below, apply to a switch to citalopram or escilatopram as well as fluoxetine.) While going off fluoxetine usually has less risk, one might still develop withdrawal symptoms going off fluoxetine. No bridging strategy is risk-free. 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. 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.) Sometimes when people go down to a low dose of an antidepressant (such as paroxetine), they find further reduction is very difficult. Substituting a longer-acting SSRI such as fluoxetine may be worth the risk. 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. Risks of bridging For most people the switch goes smoothly but for some it doesn't. A bridging strategy has the following drawbacks for a minority of those who try it: Adverse reaction to the bridge drug, such as Prozac. Dropping the first antidepressant in the switch causes withdrawal symptoms even though you're taking a bridge drug. If withdrawal symptoms are already underway, switching to a bridge drug doesn't help Difficulty tapering off the bridge drug. All of the bridge drugs can be difficult to taper themselves. So, like anything else, the Prozac switch is not guaranteed to work. But if you are having intolerable withdrawal from another antidepressant, it may be worth risking the worst case in the Prozac switch: It doesn't help and you have withdrawal syndrome anyway. 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 exactly how to do the Prozac switch. 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. 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 much easier than tapering off Effexor. WARNING Serotonergic effects of an SSRI such as Prozac, Celexa, or Lexapro are ADDED when you are taking an SNRI such as desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor), venlafaxine XR (Effexor XR), milnacipran (Savella), and levomilnacipran (Fetzima). You run the risk of serotonergic toxicity if you are taking an SNRI, particularly at a high dose, with an SSRI. This is why doctors familiar with the Prozac switch will add in a LOW DOSE of Prozac to an SNRI. In addition, escilatopram (Lexapro) is several times stronger, milligram for milligram, than the other SSRIs. If you add 10mg Lexapro to, for example, the high dose of 60mg Cymbalta, you will run the risk of serotonergic toxicity -- 10mg Lexapro is equal to approximately 30mg Prozac. 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 SNRIs, it's probably safest to err on the lower side of a Prozac dose "equivalent" -- such as 5mg -- to your original drug. 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. 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 the 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.
  21. Hi, I have been in protracted withdrawal from Prozac for 6 solid months now (from September 1-present March 4). While I have noticed an improvement in the 6 months, it is not enough that I can live a normal life. I cry all the time, I'm exhausted, exercise absolutely wears me out, and I cannot handle the slightest amount of stress. I have been considering reinstating at perhaps 1 mg of prozac but am terrified of either 1) it getting worse or 2) going through withdrawal all over again when I try to stop in the future. Lastly, I am in Europe which means when I come back to the US the manufacturer of the fluoxetine will be different and I am concerned that even the slightest variation in the chemical could cause additional problems. thank you
  22. I actually have recovered from two separate episodes of taking Prozac. The first time I took around 20 mg for several months during a very difficult divorce. I remember Prozac working very quickly--literally feeling better within a few days (I know, it doesn't make sense). I went into therapy for about a year and a half and in the meantime, went off the Prozac without any real difficulty. I stayed off Prozac for about 5 years, until one of my children became depressed and took her own life. This is actually the second child death I experienced, as I also lost a newborn to death about 20 years earlier. I went for about eight months post-suicide loss until things felt really intolerable (although I was practicing meditation and other psycho/spiritual approaches during this period), then surrendered and got on between 10-30 mg Prozac plus 10-40 mg Ritalin. I remained on this regimen for eight years. Tried once or twice to go off the Prozac but changed my mind when depressive symptoms re-emerged. Around eight years post-beginning Prozac (the second episode), I finally went off by tapering from 20 mg down to 10 mg a day for approximately six months, then skipping every other day for a few weeks, then off completely. Stayed on Ritalin alone for several months afterward, then tapered down to 10 for several weeks, then off completely. I did this during a period when I was on a sabbatical from my job as a professor. I felt fine for the first month or two, then began to have symptoms, especially crying spells, depressed mood, some suicidal thinking (but no plan), lack of motivation, loss of pleasure, etc. However, at this point I was having more good days than bad, and the symptoms slowly but surely lifted. I am now about a year and a half off Prozac and about 15 months post-Ritalin, and I am doing fine--nothing worse than the occasional day of feeling down (somewhat realistic, given the state of the world, to which I pay probably too much attention. My explanation for my success in getting off the antidepressant and stimulant--despite the fact that I probably did both too quickly-- is that I have been a long time meditator and regular aerobic exerciser and that I continue to do those things regularly. Other things I did simultaneously with going off the drugs: I became extra careful with nutrition, eliminating most if not all sugar, artificial sweeteners, and gluten from my diet. Took multiple supplements, especially tumeric/pepper capsules, Vit. D, omega 3s, black seed oil capsules, CurQ-10; use coconut oil and try to eat organic. Also practice mindfulness and other kinds of cognitive strategies, along with Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping). I cannot say exactly what helped the most, but all of these in combination, practiced regularly, have kept me feeling normal. (I also happen to be a psychologist and psychotherapist and I share these ideas with many of my clients.) So please everyone, throw everything you have at this drug-withdrawal syndrome and keep the faith!
  23. Hi i wanted to ask if anyone in here experienced extreme fatigue ? All day I feel so tired and the only activity I can manage is an hour walk but even through walking I feel very weak.. the mornings are the worst when I wake up after 10 hrs sleep I have no energy my body just lies in bed but have absolutely no energy did anyone experienced something similar ? Thank you in advance
  24. Lissakasey

    Lissakasey

    So hey all brutal year. Was on zoloft for like 10 years. Last march I got really bad anemia and started having crying spells. Doc upped my Zoloft dose and I became suicidal. Doc then changed me to lexapro which cause severe anxiety. Then briefly Paxil. Doc then said she thought I am bipolar so started lithium and zyprexa. Ended up hospitalized the end of september. They added Prozac and gabapentin. Depression got worse and anxiety restarted with Prozac introduction. Spent 3 months on Prozac only for it to make me feel lifeless and depressed. I got off the lithium, zyprexa, and gabapentin in that three months. Doc changed me to Effexor two and a half weeks ago, only now I'm having anxiety and extreme rage and irritation. So I'm planning to stop the Effexor. How bad do you guys think withdrawal will be for me. I really just want to get off the med wheel.
  25. BilboBaggins

    BilboBaggins: hi!

    Hi! I found this website when googling around and reading articles about how to taper off your antidepressants, mainly because I have tried several times (gotta be around 5 or 6 times by now), but I have failed miserably time and time again. Here goes my sad little life-story (I will try to keep it as short as possible but suspect I will not succeed). So, I have always been a pretty depressed and sad person, even as a kid, due to low self-esteem, being very sensitive, et.c. I think you get the picture. Anyway, my perfectionistic, self-hating and insecure personality led me to developing crippling OCD during a stressful job I had three years ago. It was the type of OCD that is called Pure Obsessional OCD, or in more understable terms; obsessive rumination, 24/7, everyday. It is like living through hell everyday, or at least that's how it is for me. Anyway, my OCD which was filled with horrible images and thoughts that I, unknowingly and in total panic-mode, tried to fight (which of course made them a million times worse). This led to me, six months later, quitting my job out of necessity (I was all but fallen apart completely emotionally), and telling a relative that I had to be driven to the psychiatric emergency ward. There, they took me in for two weeks, immediately starting to give me Fluoxetine. Fast forward, I get home, my mind's a complete fog and a lot of the horrible images and thoughts luckily shut off, which was exactly what I needed (and still need). It was a scaring yet necessary feeling for me if I wanted to even survive and not take any desperate measures to get away from my own mind (aka suicide). Right from the get go of my Fluoxetine-dosage, I was struck by insomnia. Of course, a month later or so when I met a new doctor, I was prescribed an evening pill to be able to sleep. In Sweden it is called Mianzerin, but I'm not sure as to what the English term for the same medicine is. So from that day on, I've been on 30 mg Fluoxetine, 10 mg Mianzerin. The doctor wanted me to take an even higher dose of Mianzerin when my insomnia didn't dissappear right away (of course, that's what doctors want, as rushed and unthought of medication as possible), but I refused a higher dose, and I'm happy that I did that because a couple of days later I started being able to sleep again. Now, the sad part is, that Mianzerin made me instead having to sleep waaay more to feel satisfied waking up (which still doesn't do the trick, no matter for how long I sleep). I'm always tired from this medicine, and the sleep that I have been getting for the last couple of years on these medications have not been even anything close to as satisfying and recharging as a normal, pre-drug, sleep session was. Of course, when I try to explain this sort of ungraspable change in my sleep-feelings, no one of my friends and family understand what I mean. It always seems like they're thinking; "Well, you sleep a good amount of hours right, so that means you're getting a good sleep, right?" Nothing could be farther away from the truth. This message became, as I had suspected, a bit longer than I had meant for it to be, but to try to sum things up; My side-effects on 30 mg Fluoxetine + 10 mg Mianzerin: 1. Worse quality of my sleep. Never feeling like I've slept enough. 2. Much higher need of sleeping (because of the Mianzerin). It has, these last couple of years, been almost completely impossible for me to get up early in the mornings. If I set my alarm too early, I either shut it off without even remembering having done it, or I wake up hung-over, almost paralyzed, and insanely tired, from the Mianzerin, making it close to impossible to not just go back to sleep again. If it is something really important that happens in the morning, an appointment or something, I can sometimes force myself to sort of float up through the Mianzerin-fog by immediately reaching for my laptop which I have right next to the bed. Staring at the bright screen for a period of time usually works. But to get as far as that is sometimes impossible, and I've missed out on a number of my university lectures because I could just not muster up the energy to get up in time for school. 3. Night time sweats. These have fortunately become less and less frequent with time. When I first started taking Mianzerin it was every night, now it's only every once in a while (for example, last night I woke up covered in sweat again). 4. Impaired eyesight, in the sense that I have a really hard time reading books for long times (and, on many days, even a whole single page if the textfont and size doesn't fit my broken eyes). This has made it a necessity for me to take a break from my University-studies, which I really didn't want to do, but I just couldn't keep up with school when we got assignments like "oh, read these 35 pages as preparation for the next lecture, would you?". I think my eyesight-problems stems from the fact that my medications makes my eyes insanely dry. I have tried regular eyedrops as suggested by my optician, but they didn't do any difference at all. 5. I also believe that it has worsened my pre-existent IBS and anal leakage (sry for the yukky details), which then of course makes my social anxiety even worse, which leads to more isolation (I haven't seen any old friends for over a year now), which of course leads to more depression. I am aware however that my worsening of my stomach problems doesn't necessarily have had to become worse because of my medications, since they were there pre-drugs, but since I started taking these drugs I've been walking around in my tired zombie-mode which means very little physical activity or any activites at all that doesn't involve sitting in front of the computer and staring at meaningless youtube-videos. This, I believe, is why my IBS/leakage-problems have skyrocketed in the last couple of years. Inactivity and tiredness is not a healthy living imho. So, reading this, you might ask yourself, "Why the hell wouldn't you taper off your drugs? It makes your life so much worse!" Basic answer: I can't. About five days/a week or so after starting to tapering off with a 10 mg-decrease (which I have now from this message board learned is a way to big cut-down if you're sensitive to it), I get extremely low, my OCD starts once more to attack me more fervently and convincingly (it's always there even on my meds, but it becomes so much worse again), and last time I tried these huge decrease at once I woke up one day feeling totally, utterly; empty, cold, hateful, mean, hopeless, sad, everything bad that you can feel just came over me at once, like a dark cloud, and I rushed home from my morning walk and immediately gulped down that extra 10 mg of fluoxetine again. The sad part is, that besides all the side effects from my drugs, I had been having a couple of really good weeks prior to my dosage-lowering, which is why I, in my desperate attempt to get back to the "real" me, rushed to the conclusion that I was ready to start trying to taper off once again. Ever since that horrifying morning, I have not been able to get back to the good state that I was in prior to it. But, since my wish to get rid of these drugs is so huge, I tried once more a couple of days later after this morning to taper off, but this time after having read that a 10%-lowering was more sensible and should work better if you're sensitive. Again, this didn't work, and I failed after five days or so once more. Now, I'm back at my regular dose, stuck in my unhappy zombie-mode again, a mode that at least keeps my OCD from getting uncontrollable and the bad voices in my head to become so strong and convincingly once more, and my depression to lead me to the poisoned water of suicide. I realize, with a great unhappiness, that I'm definitely not ready for the moment to try to taper off, since I live in miserable isolation from people and the rest of the world (how I could even think it would work to taper off when I basically spend all my days devoid from friends or any social activities is beyond me). At the same time, I feel like I'm sort of caught in an incredibly irritating and heartbreaking paradox. It goes like this; I can't begin my tapering off until I have achieved a happy, fulfilling, and rock-steady life filled with normal and joyous social activities and hope for life, et.c., but I feel like I have such a hard time moving towards that goal because of my drugs and the way that they make me a tired, lethargic zombie that just lets the days pass without having the energy to do anything about it. This paradox makes me so frustrated I want to tear my own hair out haha. I can't get healthy on my drugs, but I can't quit my drugs because I'm not healthy enough. I guess that's what they call a moment 22? End note: Woooow, this became so much longer than I had expected, it was just suppose to be a little introduction haha. Well, what can you do, I applaud those of you who have the willpower to at least skim through it. Now you know how my life situation is. I am not tapering off my meds right now, but I hope to be sometime in the distant future (although that seems extremely distant and impossible right now). I just was happy to find a message board filled with others who seem to have encountered similar problems, and who are too, just like me, struggling to put one foot in front of the other and maybe (hopefully!) transform from being in a constant survivor-mode, to actually starting to enjoy and experience a "normal", happy and fulfilling life. PS. I apologize for any spelling-errors or weird and incomprehensible usage of words. I'm from Sweden, so my English has it flaws. PPS. I forgot to mention that I see a psychiatrist on a regular basis, just thought you guys should know so that I can spare you the obvious suggestion of me going to one haha.
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