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  1. Hi Everyone, Well i am 36 years old and my journey with antidepressants started at the age of 16 (in 1999) when i started having panic attacks, i had always been a sensitive person and prone to bouts of anxiety as far back as i can remember. The list of medications went from Aropax, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Fluoxetine etc etc and i had tried numerous times basically since i first got put on them at 16 to stop them, i resented the fact that the doctor was telling me i would need them probably for the rest of my life and that i had a "chemical imbalance" which was determined through an extremely flimsy set of written questions, with no science at all backing it up! But unfortunately i was young and naive and this was back when you trusted what your doctor was telling you, so i reluctantly agreed. Every time i tried to come off this medication i would fail spectacularly and end up in severe distress at which point the doctor would use this as "proof i needed medication" when actually this was a withdrawal symptom all along which unfortunately took a lot of pain and anguish and time for me to come to understand, but i am where i am. I had been on the Fluoxetine for over a decade (can't remember exactly how long) and was tapering off in 2016 (before i knew anything about tapering), anyway i reached a point after a difficult breakup where i had a complete meltdown anxiety wise to the point where it was unbearable and the doctor put me on Mirtazapine where my weight ballooned to the biggest i'd ever been and i am only 155cm tall and since being put on antidepressants have put on close to 30kg! I used to be quite fit and active until this happened. Anyway at the end of 2017 after being on 15mg of Mirtazapine for a year as well as remaining on the reinstated 20mg of Fluoxetine i began tapering the Mirtazapine because the weight gain was making me even more miserable. The taper was going quite well and i had been tapering for 18months and was down to 0.5mg! and found out my mum needed to have some pretty serious surgery and lost my job which sent me into a spiral and unfortunately because i didn't know any better at the time i reinstated the full 15mg of mirtazapine again instead of just pushing it up 1mg or something and holding for 6 weeks (which seems to be the magic number for me). Anyway, after discussing with my doctor we decided to change the 20 mg of Fluoxetine over to 20mg of Vortioxetine after i had done a DNA test which supposedly tells you which medications may work better with your genetic makeup. So now i find myself on a new drug and also still taking the 15mg of Mirtazapine. The medication change was 10 weeks ago now and 5 days after the switch i did have some vomiting, diarrhea, headache and anxiety which passed but have had a steady stream of side effects including - intermittent Anxiety (sometimes panic), mild vertigo, some headaches, nausea, teariness and feelings of DEEP sorrow, irritability, ruminating thoughts the list goes on and on really but they all seem to pass quite quickly at this stage so i am hoping to power through and hoping that these side effects won't get any worse. Once i have had a solid period of time where there are no side effects and i feel physically and mentally ready then i will attempt at weaning from the mirtazapine (I wish i could do it immediately so i could finally fit into my old clothes again but alas the evil antidepressant side effects stop this from being a reality right now). I am being careful to keep a journal of my symptoms and become more aware of what my body is telling me, as well as learning from other people's stories from this website, which are immensely helpful as well as listening to James Moore's youtube channel called "Let's talk withdrawal" which i highly recommend to everyone who needs some encouragement. So glad to have found Surviving Antidepressants and reading all your experiences, it really helps to know I am not alone through this process
  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. Kristine

    Kristine: not alone

    Moderator note: link to Kristine's benzo thread - Kristine: Protracted clonazepam withdrawal? Hello, I am new to this site and would firstly like to extend my gratitude to all the people who have shared their stories and support. I now know I am not alone. My story is long and complex so I will attempt to condense it. I am 43 years old and was introduced to antidepressants 10 years ago after being diagnosed with MDD, GAD and PTSD (l do not feel comfortable with labels) by my psychiatrist. During the first 8 years of treatment multiple antidepressants and other psychotropic medications were prescribed. I will fast forward to October 2015 when I attempted to end my life (I had never been suicidal prior to taking antidepressants). I had to resign from work and was hospitalised for 1 month. At the time I had been taking citalopram for a number of years and had reached the maximum dose. My intuition told me it was not helping. I wanted to stop this medication and my psychiatrist was supportive of this decision. However, it is obvious to me now that she was inexperienced and uneducated with this process. The citalopram was ceased over one week and due to severe anxiety I was commenced on seroquel and diazepam. After leaving hospital I managed to taper off the seroquel and diazepam but became increasingly unwell both mentally and physically. My psychiatrist convinced me that my mental illness had returned and I was commenced on Parnate which was increased in dose over 3 months. Instead of improving my mental and physical ailments worsened and my psychiatrist sort a second opinion. I was hospitalised again in May 2016 under the 'care' of another psychiatrist. This was the beginning of an indescribable hell where I was treated like a human lab rat. Looking back the medications he prescribed were beyond belief and I was the victim of poly pharmacy without adequte professional rational. Unfortunally, like so many others, I was vulnerable and trusted his guidance. He treated me as both an inpatient and out patient over a one year period. Over this time I was prescribed over 14 psychotropic medication some of which were abruptly ceased and crossed over with other medications. If this wasn't enough I was subjected to 15 sessions of unnessaccery ECT. Not surprisingly, I was in a zombified state, unable to function and unable to return to work. My anxiety and depression was not alleviated and I was plagued with tremors, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and migraines. By April 2017 I ceased my appointments with this psychiatrist (he had little belief in withdraw symptoms or side effects of the medication he prescribed - he resorted to blaming me) and returned to my previous psychiatrist. Over the past eight months I have the mammoth task of withdrawing from multiple medications. These include escitalopram (completed reduction), Lithium (competed reduction), clonazepam (partial reduction), bupropion (completed reduction), seroquel (completed reduction), dexamphetamine (partial reduction) and fluoxetine (no reduction). My withdrawal symptoms are horrendous and relentless. My psychiatrist has been unable to advise me along a comfortable path. She appears to be in denial and her support has mostly evaporated. I feel abandoned, alone and frightened. I was forced to seek information independently (for which I am grateful), which continues to be a hideous realisation that for years I was in a constant state of drug withdrawal, side effects and drug interaction. I also feeling very angry about my treatment. I am tapering at the 10% rate now (one medication at a time) but even though I know road ahead will be long and rocky, I feel a sense of empowerment from educating myself. What I am experiencing is common and I am finally breaking free from the clutches of psychiatry.
  4. 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.
  5. Hi all, thank so much for this forum. Here is my introduction. Since I was 16 years old I was put on Fluoxetin in a clinic, after a crysis and traumatic experiences. Clinic helped me a lot, but probably not because the medication. I tried to get off it when I was 19 years old because I felt more stable. I made a CT with Fluoxetin. I started to get panic attacs in certain situation (thought its because I stopped Medication). So I went to the doctor and he gave me Citalopram. First weeks of this drug were very difficult and horrorfiying. Lots of anxiety even with mild paranoia. After a few weeks I got better. On this Med it was the first time I had to fight with fatique. Moreover I had because of CT of Fluoxeitn or Citalopram agressions and moreover a lot of anxiety that drove me crazy in certain situations. This symptoms was always worst in the morning and earlier hours, especially the fatique. I moved into a new town to study. I just tried to accept this fatique, thought it was a kind of normal or blamed myself for it (go earlier to bed, get a regulary bed and wake-up time etc.) or thought it was something psychologically. Also had a lot of anxiety. Dont know if it was influenced by medication. Somehow I managed to get a Bachelor degree. I was also prescriped with Opipramol in that period and had a CT from it. At some point I thought this fatique can not be normal - to be always tired like that. I went to a doctor made a blood test. Doctor said its is psychologically. I went to a Psychatrist and told him I am always tired and want to try another medications. I asked for Fluoxetin, because I had less fatique on that one. He gave me that and I had a CT with Citalopram and took Fluoxetin. In that time I went abroad to work for a few month. I had terrible fatique and anxiety, shocks and twiches in my head and body when I was drinking coffee with my colleauges while putting the cup to my mouth. It was really uncomfortable. On some days horrible depressions with suiciadal thoughts. I was quieter than I used to be and mostly very depresssed. Somehow i knew it could be connected to Fluoxetin but did not thought of WD of Citalopram. When I come back to my country after a few months. I told doctor about this fatique and some symptoms and CT from Fluoxetin again and was prescribed with Paroxetin. I was very depressed, full of anxiety, desperated and fatique and suppossed to find my first full time job. Somehow I managed it and I was getting better. After a year on some point I was really ok. However, the fatique become worse and worse - from year to year. Again a blood test and even a test for sleep apnea in labour showed no result. Again I was told it is psychologically. I thought i could be connected to Paroxetin. One Doctor in sleep labour even agreed. I decided to get off it. I made a lot of research on the Internet, I understand I had to taper it slowly. But since the fatique was probably a side effect I decided to go more quickly and tapered in 6 Months from 10 mg to 0 (since May 2019 0mg). There was specially a lot of fatique (like always) later also more anxiety. First week after 0 mg was very good. Later I become worse and worse. Especially the anxiety. Sometimes the anxiey, sometimes the fatique is more on the foreground. I just feel like I want to rest and relax more. I have to work which is biggest challenges with this symptoms and also triggers a lot. I also started are Psychotherapy. She believes me that my state is coming from stopping AD and accept my decision not take them anymore. Fatique and anxiety are by far the most difficult symptoms. Moreover I have: - Problems with my eyes, especially with light - Back pain and tensions - Depressions with suicidal thoughts (think its caused by the other symptoms) - have to be very carefully with exercises (hobby) and all other activities cause it can trigger symptoms - weather changes trigger symptoms. Freezing a lot. - Situation that normally just makes me a bit nervousness, now gives me almost panic attacs I am taking omega 3 fish oil and sometimes zinc. Dont know if it has an effect. Tried in the last months these supplements: 5-htp, L-Tryptophan, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola rosea, Magnesium It could have triggered symptoms, so I stopped all of them. I am going to give Ginseng a chance (I know I have to be careful). It is incredible hard to get up in the morning and feel so fatique and tired, sometimes it is even hard to breath and every action needs so much energy (e.g. taking shoes on). I am sleeping very well. I just feel like i need much more sleep (I cannot get earlier too bed) and rest at the moment. In the evening I get better. Sometimes there are very clear and good moments in the evening, which give me hope. I really hope it gets a bit better in the next 6 months when I am one year off meds. I am thankful for every tip, hint, similiar experience and hope.
  6. Hello. My story is somewhat strange and I could really use some help and advice. I have been on fluoxetine from age 25 to 38. I did try and taper off it twice during that time and it didn't turn out well. It was originally prescribed for anxiety by a PCP. Right away I noticed muscle spasms, tics and twitches, and brain zaps but doctor said this wasn't a big deal. It made me feel better to be on it, so I stayed on it. About 4 years ago I had a bad period of depression and suicidal thoughts while on this drug. It was very unlike me as I had never really been a depressed person, mainly an anxious person. I started drinking too much wine to cope. Then dose was raised from 20-40mg. Over the last few years I noticed I often felt "keyed up" and aggravated, which I thought was anxiety, but didn't really feel like regular anxiety. I had to do a lot of physical exercise to exhaust myself and relieve the feeling. Then I started having parathesia and muscle pain, which was diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Then I developed what seemed to be a movement disorder starting in 2018? Tremors, muscle weakness, coordination problems, and being shaky and wobbly all the time. I suspected the prozac and planned to get off of it. In June 2019 I had a vaccine reaction, was prescribed prednisone 20mg tablets for 3 days, and had a horrible reaction to it which sent me to ER with hallucinations and many other symptoms including worse tremors and balance issues and hyperarousal. I have been extremely ill ever since. After the prednisone episode, due to continuing symptoms I wanted off the prozac too, so was tapered over a month. I originally did ok until I hit the 1-2 month mark. The akathesia that started after prednisone (I'm not sure if that is what I have. I can hold still but feel jittery inside, shaky inside, with constant internal tremors all over) got worse, tremors inside and out are worse, brain zaps, fatigue, parkinsonism and possible dystonia in my hands, trouble walking, migraines, smaller pupils, nausea, etc. I feel like I am going through a horrible withdrawal, and I don't know what to do. I have been seeing neurologists to rule out diseases and have had MRI, emg, nerve conduction study, etc. (which have come back normal.) Have had extensive bloodwork. Doctors blame the drugs. Psychiatrist wanted to put me on Gabapentin but I have been holding off because I am worried about side effects and withdrawal from that as well. I have migraine and am very sensitive to prescriptions. The doctors I am seeing are at Mayo clinic and appts are a month or more apart. I feel like I am not getting the treatment I need. I am also having some neck and spine issues on top of this which could be causing some of the numbness, but MRI'S aren't showing anything that could cause all the coordination problems I am having. At this point I am having trouble walking and functioning. It is terrifying. I am extremely stiff. Everything cramps up when I try to do things. Especially if I tense up even a little. I am extremely hyperaroused. Everything bothers me, sounds, lights, etc. I have no stress tolerance, no cold tolerance. I am fatigued and jittery at the same time. I have insomnia, poor appetite and I keep losing weight. I hurt all over. I am tingly all over. I have blurred vision (had eyes checked too). My hands and arms feel disconnected from my body. The tremors just keep getting worse. So... I do not know what to do here. The withdrawal is horrible. The tremors are getting worse in my face, tongue, eyes and neck. I am worried what they will progress to. I am scared to go back on prozac, but what else can I do? If I go back on, how much do I start with? Worried this is just going to keep getting worse, but since the prozac was probably causing or exacerbating a movement disorder, should I go back on? Also, doctors don't seem to know what to do with me and I'm worried about taking the wrong treatment. Should I stay off prozac and take the Gabapentin? Thank you for reading this and for any help you can give. I am only 38, with a young son. I am going through hell and very scared.
  7. Hi Guys. I have been on every SSRI over the past 2 years, apart from Paroxetine. This all started from some situational anxiety at work. Each time i took a medication i was on them for about 3 month without any benefit at all. I would loose time at work, cold turkey and return back to work. Each time i did this i was getting worse and worse. I would then return back to the doctor and ve started on something else. This has basically gone on for 2 years. All this time i have got worse. I have now come to understand withdrawal and the fact i could have well been prescribed numerous medications due to an illness been mistaken for withdrawal. 8 weeks ago after stopping my second attempt of Escitalopram for 3 months i decided to stop for good with a fast taper. I feel anxious, dizzy, fatigued, poor cognition and inability to focus. I know if i take a dose of SSRI that this will improve however i will return to the Zombie state of meds. I am finished with medication!!! On reflection my problems i encountered prior to any medication was far easier than the problems i have had the past 2 years on medications. I think i have been a victim of Psychiatry! I dont think i ever needed medication! My chemical imbalance was created by meds! If i had no knowledge of this i would be stuck in Psychiatry! I just want to know ppls experiences and can i still be in withdrawal at 8 weeks after 2 years of messing about with meds. Thanks Lee
  8. I tapered of Prozac in early 2014. I tapered over 4 weeks by taking every other day so basically ct. I had taken Prozac for 17 years for anxiety and depression. It took almost 4 months to get very bad by which time Drs had prescribed me sertraline and citralopram both of which exacerbated things tremendously. I only took a single dose of each. It never occurred to me or Drs to put me back of Prozac and by this time I was too terrified to take anything. The last 3 years have been horrific, losing my husband, my health and my income. I was unable to work for 2 years and now work part time from home which I still struggle with. I'm diagnosed with cfs fibro and severe depression all caused by protracted withdrawal. Iv seen dr Healy a few times and a neuropsychiatrist who both back my cause. I haven't taken a drug in 28 months but am about to start imipramine on their advise. I hope to get some relief from the crippling depression and pain and then hopefully taper off. I know this is a risk but desperate times call for desperate measures. I have terrible tinnutus caused from the destabilising effect of ct Prozac. I also have vertigo and chronic insomnia, especially early morning waking and sleep maintence. I use magnesium glycinate and lactium but Iv not noticed a noticeable difference. I have learned to not panic too much during extreme anxiety, instead of it breaking me completely like in the old days, I open the door and invite the beast in. This also helps with odd flare up of akathesia that was relentless in the beginning. I'm completely amazed at the lack of knowledge from Drs about the dangers of drugs but I have also found at leat 3 who are well very knowledgable. It gives me hope at least that we are not completely alone.
  9. 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?
  10. Hello all! I will try to make this nice and short. I have been on lexapro 20mg for about 5 years with great success. However, I recently had been constantly tired, sleeping 10 hours at night, and 3 hours during the day. I got blood work and a sleep study, all negative, so i suspected my medication. This had made things difficult, so i decided to talk to my doctor, who recommended reducing the dose to 15mg. This had went well for the most part, but i began to feel foggy, so he recommended switching to prozac. Here is how he switched me: Week 1: 15mg lexapro, 20 mg prozac Week 2: 10mg lexapro, 20 mg prozac Week 3: 5mg lexapro, 20 mg prozac Week 4: 20 mg prozac only I have been on 20mg prozac only for ~1 weeks, and it has been hell. I have had insomnia, increased depression/anxiety, but most severely, I have had intense brain fog. I have trouble remembering anything. I am in my final year of physical therapy school, in my final clinical rotation, and it has 100% affected my performance. I struggle with simply remembering what my patients have already done, remembering their names, remembering techniques I have learned, etc. I am thinking this intense brain fog is mostly due to coming off the lexapro so quickly after being on it for so long, combined with a small amount of prozac side effects. Sooo, my question is this: Do i stick it out with the prozac and hope my body gets used to it? Do i jump from 20mg of prozac to 40mg (my doctor said it is up to me?), Or do i go back to taking my 20mg of lexapro, and gradually tapering my medication properly using the 10% rule. I am leaning to doing this, but feel terrible, as its like I am addicted to these medications to simply function. But at the same time, this is the most important part of my young career, as suceeding in clinical rotation leads to job offers and is necessary to even graduate. Any advice is greater appreciated!!
  11. 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!
  12. I was put on fluoxetine 20mg about 2 years ago during a dark period in my life. I had experienced depression and anxiety before in my life but always was able to manage. This dark period came at a time when I had been struggling pretty bad for a couple of years. When I say bad I was still able to function at work and all that, but it was really really hard. After years of considering I decided I’d try them as I had tried just about everything else. Initially it was great. My depression started to lift. I was suicidal at the time and that started to go away. About 1 or 2 month in I started to feel much better. So much so that I decided to stop taking the medication cold turkey. I know now what a foolish move this was. The first month I felt just fine. Life was really great. I told my doctor. He expressed no concerns. After about a month is when things started to change. Mainly my anxiety and insomnia started to get really bad. I thought it was just withdrawl symptoms and that they would resolve after a few months. They didn’t. In addition to that I started to get really wierd symptoms. Just weird sensations in my head and with my vision that I had never experienced before. I started to experience what is what is best described as depersonalization or disassociation. At the time I started some trauma therapy and that wasn’t helping either. I just started to feel like a shell of my former self. This went on for about 2 years. During that time I thought I had everything from TBI or PCS, concussion like symptoms, CPTSD, BPD, low testosterone, chemical sensitivity, auto immune issues, celiac, inflammation and neuro inflammation. That what would come up when I googled my symptoms or spoke to a medical professional. Then I found these communities and it started to make sense. I never releazed that taking such a low dose of an SSRI for a short time could cause such chaos. Quitting cold turkey was a dumb move on my part for sure, but I thought since it only had been 3 months and at the lowest dose of 20mg it wouldn’t be that bad. Boy was I wrong. The last two years, I have been a completely different person. My sleep was completely destroyed. I was tired and irritable all the time. No libido what so ever. I was just sensitive to everything. A word or a look from anyone would drive my crazy. I was scared of everything. Some how I managed to get to work everyday and perform my duties but it was hard. I couldn’t look at the screen for more than a few dozen minutes at a time without getting a weird headache that felt like something was crawling around in my brain. My eyes would start to hurt. Exercise was really, really hard. I couldn’t read. Even books would cause a huge headache. If I turned my head a certain way or tried to look out of the corner of my eye, I would get a headache and be totally exhausted from it. Like I said somehow I survived these few years. I managed to make new friends, I bought a new home and started to live on my own. I tried new hobbies, pass times. But it was hard. I didn’t enjoy anything. Things started to change once I started to take supplements. Longvida, fish oils, magnesium. But it was all still really hard. After a while I decided to go back on the fluoxetine. It had been two years, and I was exhausted. The symptoms got much better as a result. I started to sleep better, my mood improved. Strangley my libido is back. I can think clearer. I can read now, and perform better at work. It’s not perfect and I still feel far from my normal self but much better than I was before. Once this happen I started to do more research and realized that the issue was the CT of my SSRI a few years ago. The symptoms just matched up perfectly. All the other medical conditions had some alignment with my symptoms but they didn’t add up. BPD? Why now? I’ve never had it before. TBI? From what? Minor bumps to the head? It just didn’t make sense. But being on these websites and reading peoples experiences, its like a light went off. It all started to make sense. So now I don’t know what to do. My symptoms have abated since reinstating 20mg of fluoxetine. I am still very new to these communities so I am trying to educate myself. I want to taper badly but not sure when to start. I am also worried about permanent damage that I have done to myself by stopping cold turkey so long ago. I feel much better since the reinstatement but I am still not 100% I would say I am at 75% to 80% up from 20% to 30% for two years. I find also now that I can’t miss a dose. Back when I first started taking it, I could miss a day or two and not feel anything. Now if I am late taking my dose the following day I start to feel these terrible symptoms come back. My basic plan right now is to keep taking the medication and track my progress. Eventually I want to start a taper a slow as possible. I am thinking like 1mg and waiting and seeing how it affects me. Holding at 1mg reduction for about 4 weeks. If all is good then another 1mg for 4 weeks and so one. I want to take it a slow as possible to allow my body to adapt. Any advice or feed back would be much appreciated.
  13. 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.
  14. Arcticjessy

    Arcticjessy: Please help

    Hi I'm 31 years old I have taken prozac since I was 18 for mild depression. I have not had a relapse in all this time so I'm unsure why I was left of it but I was. For the last 6 years I have taken 20mg every other day so in June last year when I saw my GP and said I wanted to quit she said I could just stop so I did. I was in a very good place in my life new job, I was a very keen sportswoman and in a good relationship. Over the course of the summer I noticed I was getting more stressed but put it down to life without ADs my sleep was also getting worse I would toss and turn for hours unable to settle. In October I started with what I thought was a virus I ached all over could not walk very far felt weak like I had ran a marathon, I also had chest pain and felt very anxious, this got worse and worse until I went to see my gp who said I was having a relapse of my mental illness I pleaded with her saying this felt nothing like my original illness but she would hear nothing of it and gave my prozac again, I took one and within hours I felt ten times worse my jaw clenched shut and I slept maybe 2 hrs in 48 hrs. Since then things have got worse I have a fear I find hard to put into words it is like torture, A simple act of looking up or going to speak fills me with a terror I never new possible. I find it hard to sit for long but soon as I stand I'm exhausted and have to sit again, I have had hrs when things lift slightly but then bang it's back, my sleep is horrendous I manage maybe 3-4 hrs. I wake often in the night unable to move my body but my mind it writhing around in some kind of anxious agony. I have days I know I will die if not from this from myself as I cannot stand to stay like this one more minute. This is not me I'm not a suicidal person I have so much love in my life I have always considered myself extremely lucky. I have read a scary article saying this May be permanent, my rational science mind says this is not possible what evidence is there for this, ssri have only been around 30 ish years so how can they say this is a permanent damage ? But my terrified mind says what if? I have a young son who is being cared for by my parents as I cannot care for him. I no longer get paid from my job as I have been absent so long I'm losing everything yet 1 year ago I was completing in bike races, working and loving my son and family. My dr wants to to try mirtrazapine low dose, I have put this off for 3 months thinking this nightmare will end but It has not. Please someone tell me what to do. I don't want to die I love life.
  15. Hello SA, As you can see from my signature, I have a long history of starting, stopping, and switching numerous drugs. Largely due to SA, over the past month or so I have truly awoken to the dangers of these drugs, and I am devastated over what I now know they have done to my brain and body for the last nearly 18 years. However, I do have faith that I will heal. At age 17 I unwittingly walked right into Big Pharma’s lair and became ensnared when a psychiatrist prescribed me Effexor for OCD (which apparently should not even be a first-line treatment for OCD). When I tried to fill it at a new pharmacy in my new state as a college freshman about 1.5 years later, I was told that my insurance would not fill the prescription because the dosage was too high (I don’t remember what it was). Frustrated, I decided to just stop taking it since it wasn’t helping me. I didn’t know any better. When withdrawal hit me, I contributed my symptoms to the cold turkey but didn’t fully understand I was experiencing withdrawal. Over the next 15 years I went on and off multiple drugs to try to manage my OCD and accompanying depression, not fully realizing that my unsuccessful attempts to stop the drugs were due to tapering too quickly and subsequent withdrawal as opposed to relapse. In October of 2018 I was on 10 mg of Prozac and had been holding there for about a year while seeing a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I was struggling at that dose, most likely due to delayed withdrawal from a too fast taper from 60 mg. Due to my struggles, I decided to attend an outpatient OCD program where I foolishly allowed the attending psychiatrists to take me off the Prozac and put me on a cocktail of Abilify, Anafranil, and Luvox. I did not notice any improvement with the cocktail over the 10mg of Prozac. Once I discharged from the program three months later, I returned to seeing the psychiatric nurse practitioner. He instructed me to cold turkey the Luvox (I had been taking 25 mg for 2.5 weeks). I hesitated at the cold turkey approach but thought, "I've only been taking it 2.5 weeks." He continued me at 5mg of Abilify and increased me from 75mg to 100mg of Anafranil. At my next visit one month later, I said I would like to discontinue the Abilify and Anafranil as they were not helpful. His instructions were to cut the 5mg Abilify pills in half for 6 days and stop. This seemed too fast to me, but he told me that anti-psychotics do not need to be tapered as slowly as anti-depressants. Regarding the Anafranil, I was to take 50 mg for one week, 25 mg for one week, then stop. This seemed too fast to me as well, but I told myself that it was still a taper and not a true cold turkey. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I am here now because I have found myself in “one of the worst places to be during withdrawal”, according to @brassmonkey in his Reinstatement post. I am seriously considering reinstatement after 8 months off of all drugs because I am completely non-functional, and my symptoms have only gotten worse during this time period. What concerns me perhaps the most is that I have not experienced any windows since my last dose. I want to believe that I am healing, but it feels I've only deteriorated over the last 8 months. From what I’ve read here on SA, I understand that reinstatement may or may not work and may even cause an adverse reaction since I’ve been drug-free for so long. Even so, I would sincerely appreciate any advice on reinstatement (for or against) in regards to my particular situation. Also, if I were to reinstate, which drug should I reinstate? I was on Luvox for 2.5 weeks and both Abilify and Anafranil for approximately 4 months. Before that, I was on Prozac (on and off at various times) for 13+ years. So although Abilify and Anafranil were my most recent drugs, perhaps it is Prozac that my brain and body are most used to? I am grateful for any advice, suggestions, and encouragement. Peace, Love, and Faith, HopeforHealing
  16. Hello, I was started on Effexor 75 mg a year ago for anxiety and OCD. I tried cutting my dose in half 2-3 months ago to 37.5 mg not realizing about withdrawal symptoms. I have never struggled with depression but since changing the dose have been really depressed. 3 weeks ago my doctor added Prozac saying it would help but it doesn’t seem to. I am so frustrated and feel like Effexor has caused me more problems than good. Since I tapered so quickly I don’t know if I should go back up to 75 on Effexor or increase my Prozac or what to do. I feel like my doctors aren’t sure what I should do either as he told me it’s up to me to decide my taper on my own thanks for your time and help in advance
  17. Cymbalta comes in 20 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg capsules. Full prescribing information: http://pi.lilly.com/us/cymbalta-pi.pdf Cymbalta is tricky to taper. It does not come in liquid form and cannot be compounded into a liquid. To protect the drug, each bead inside the gelatin capsule has an enteric coating to protect the drug from stomach acid, which would destroy the drug. (It is absorbed further down in the digestive tract.) The pellets cannot be dissolved in any liquid without destroying the active ingredient. You cannot crush the pellets (see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/275-do-not-crush-list/page__view__findpost__p__3021 ) or dissolve them in a solution -- the drug would never get into your system, it would be destroyed in your stomach and you would have immediate cold-turkey withdrawal. Of course, the range of dosages from the manufacturer is inadequate for very gradual tapering. Like all psychiatric drugs, do not skip doses or alternate doses to taper Cymbalta. Its half-life is very short, about 12 hours. It is metabolized via the liver enzymes P450 1A2 (substrate, inhibitor) and 2D6 (inhibitor). This post has a chart that shows what happens with the level of Cymbalta in your bloodstream when skipping doses. See Doctor is shocked at severe Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms and testimony by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen regarding Cymbalta withdrawal syndrome: http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/pdf/DrGlenmullenDeclarationSupportofCymbaltaClassCert.pdf (PDF) Reduce by 10% per month to start As with any neurologically active drug, a conservative taper is the safest way to go off Cymbalta. Some people find they can go faster and some people find they have to go slower -- they can only tolerate decreases of a fraction of a milligram at a time. A conservative taper for Cymbalta, like other psychiatric drugs is: Reduce by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? Cymbalta CANNOT be crushed, compounded into a liquid, or dissolved in a liquid The pellets in the capsule cannot be dissolved in a liquid; this would destroy the active ingredient. High-dosage Cymbalta: Using different dosages to decrease to 40mg If you are taking as much as 120mg Cymbalta, see this topic for an example of how to taper to 40mg using existing capsule dosages and a few compounded prescriptions: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7060-razzlesf-off-abilify-tapering-cymbalta/?p=129252 To taper from a dosage of 40mg, you're going to have to either open up 20mg capsules and count beads, or get custom compounded dosages. The bead-counting method Like Effexor XR, some people have tapered by opening the Cymbalta capsule and taking out the beads to gradually reduce the dosage. (See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tapering-off-effexor-venlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__2985 for the technique.) You can do this if you have brand-name Cymbalta or generic capsules containing hundreds of tiny beads rather than 4-12 "mini-tablets" (see below). The number of tiny beads in each Cymbalta capsule will vary within a given dosage, across dosages, and from different manufacturers. The capsules are filled by weight. To find an average number of beads per capsule, you will have to carefully count the beads in several capsules. Then you can estimate how many beads amount to 10% of the dosage and manage your taper accordingly by keeping notes on paper showing the number of beads removed and equivalent Cymbalta dosage. Take out 10% of the beads at each step of the taper. Put unused beads into a clean, dry, capped prescription bottle marked with the dosage of the original capsule and expiration date. You might want to use them later. Do NOT mix beads from capsules of different dosages, such as 30mg and 60mg. NOTE When you are taking loose beads, put them in an empty capsule to swallow them. Gelatin capsules and vegetarian capsules are available at health food store. The FDA reports here http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm103473.pdf there have been some instances of the beads causing throat irritation when swallowed without a capsule. Dividing Cymbalta beads into empty gelatin capsules To make counting of the beads easier, this technique may work with Cymbalta, see details at http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__3033 Opening capsules and weighing beads Eventually, as you remove more and more beads, it may become too confusing and time-consuming to count out them. You may wish to weigh them instead, see Using a digital scale to measure doses and Counting beads in a capsule versus weighing. Have a compounding pharmacy make up capsules of smaller dosages For precise dosing, a compounding pharmacy will accurately weigh the doses and put the right number of beads into capsules for you. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__3001 Dividing Cymbalta beads into apple juice or applesauce Follow the instructions above for dividing the beads in a capsule and put your reduced dose apple juice or applesauce. --------- It has been scientifically demonstrated that the Cymbalta pellets survive being put into apple juice or applesauce but NOT chocolate pudding: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18691989 Clin Ther. 2008 Jul;30(7):1300-8. In vitro stability, potency, and dissolution of duloxetine enteric-coated pellets after exposure to applesauce, apple juice, and chocolate pudding. CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study found that the enteric coating of duloxetine pellets mixed with applesauce or apple juice was not negatively affected. The pellets were stable at room temperature for < or = 2 hours and should quantitatively allow delivery of the full capsule dose, provided that the pellet integrity is maintained (ie, not crushed, chewed, or otherwise broken). Therefore, mixing duloxetine pellets with applesauce or apple juice appears to be an acceptable vehicle for administration. However, exposing the pellets to chocolate pudding damaged the pellets' enteric coating, suggesting that pudding may be an unacceptable vehicle for administration. --------- Tapering generic Cymbalta (duloxetine) capsules containing "mini-tablets" The generic forms of Cymbalta may contain beads, like brand-name Cymbalta, or 4 to 12 "mini-tablets" rather than beads. From Lupin Pharmaceuticals http://medlibrary.org/lib/rx/meds/duloxetine-3/ The "mini-tablets" cannot be split or dissolved to make a liquid. Suggestions for gradual tapering: If you are taking 20mg, 30mg, or 40mg (two 20mg capsules) per day, switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing tiny beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking 50mg (20mg plus 30mg) per day, reduce by one mini-tablet from the 30mg capsule (5mg, or 10%) initially for a month, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking one 60mg capsule per day, reduce by one mini-tablet (5mg) per month for 2 months until you are taking 50mg per day, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking one 60mg capsule plus any of the other dosages per day (at least 80mg), reduce by one mini-tablet (5mg) from the 60mg capsule per month until you get to 45mg total daily dosage, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. You can combine brand-name Cymbalta or generic beads with generic duloxetine mini-tablets to taper. (This would cost less than using brand-name Cymbalta for your entire taper. A prescription for 60mg brand-name Cymbalta capsules will go further.) You could take part of your dosage in brand-name Cymbalta beads and the rest of your daily dosage in generic mini-tablets. For example: If your 30mg generic duloxetine capsules contain 6 mini-tablets, each mini-tablet contains about 5mg duloxetine. Let's say you want to reduce 10% from 30mg to 27mg. You can take 5 mini-tablets (25mg) and add 2mg in beads to it. If a 60mg capsule of brand-name Cymbalta contains 200 beads, each bead contains about 0.3mg duloxetine; you would take 7 beads (2.1mg) to total a daily dose of 27.1mg. (BE SURE TO COUNT THE TOTAL NUMBER OF BEADS IN YOUR CAPSULES -- THEY CAN VARY FROM THIS EXAMPLE.) When you are down to 5 mini-tablets (25mg) per day, take 4 mini-tablets and the rest in beads to reduce another 10%, and so forth. Reduce by micro-taper The very smallest dose of brand-name Cymbalta is one bead. Some people find they can better tolerate a reduction of one bead at a time rather than a 10% decrease. You may be able to make reductions of one bead more frequently; try reducing by one bead a week for a while to see what your tolerance is. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2878-micro-taper-instead-of-10-or-5-decreases/ Do not reduce by one additional bead per day. This is too fast, you may develop withdrawal symptoms before you know what's happening. Here is an example of a micro-taper from cymbaltawithdrawal.com http://www.cymbaltawithdrawal.com/topic/8325-dose-down-bead-counting-chart-anywhere/?p=50499 Switch to Prozac Like its fellow SNRI Effexor, withdrawal from Cymbalta can be very difficult. Recently, I asked a knowledgeable doctor about how he switches patients to Prozac. He said if the dosage of Cymbalta is "normal" -- 30mg-40mg -- he would switch to 10mg Prozac with a week of overlap. In other words, take both medications for a week and then drop the Cymbalta. Later, taper off Prozac. He acknowledged Prozac can have its withdrawal problems, but given Prozac's long half-life, gradual tapering should be much easier than tapering off Cymbalta. And, at least Prozac comes in a liquid. He confirmed that Cymbalta cannot be compounded because the pellets are enteric-coated to get the medication past the stomach acid, which destroys it. Other than the Prozac switch, he said counting pellets is the only way to taper. See more about the Prozac switch http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1463-the-prozac-switch-or-bridging-with-prozac/ Here is more discussion about switching from Cymbalta to Prozac: NOTE Also see 2009: FDA hears testimony about Cymbalta discontinuation syndrome Study finds some Cymbalta withdrawal "severe and persistant" Doctor is shocked at severe Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms Cymbalta Withdrawal Lawsuits Progressing in US
  18. I was given amitriptyline for severe insomnia and fluoxetine for cognitive function 30 years ago, after 6 months bedridden with Epstein Barr/Chronic Fatigue. Both were very successful, and I was able to return to work and later retire. I stopped amitriptyline a few years ago, no longer needed. Kept taking fluoxetine, which may not have been needed anymore. Fluoxetine "pooped out" early this year and I became very apathetic and anhedonic. I was put on 75 mg Effexor mid-April, without any washout period for the fluoxetine - neither I nor, apparently, my doctor, knew any better. It was very good at mood and energy improvement, but I had fairly bad physical side effects, and asked for lower dose. 37.5 mg still caused bad side effects. Like a fool, I stopped cold turkey one month ago. I knew I should count beads and taper, but simply could not force myself to put one more mg of this stuff into my body. Now I am paying the piper, and paying a lot. I found this site a few weeks ago, and have been looking for others who have severe physical WD symptoms. I may be lucky in that I have no emotional or cognitive symptoms, or unlucky in that I seem to have all of the physical ones. First 3 days off, my feet and calves swelled up like water balloons, along with neck and shoulder pain 24/7, which is still ongoing, but better. Muscle spasms in thigh muscles that made me actually scream one night during first week off. Chest tightness (muscle spasm?) that almost sent me to the ER several times. Shortness of breath has not gotten better so far, and insomnia is very severe. I feel terrible in the morning and all day until around 5 PM, then I seem to have a surge of wakefulness that lasts until 1 or 2 AM. Fatigue will not let up. I can't reinstate Effexor, as the side effects while taking it were much the same as WD, only less severe.
  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. It has been years since I took medications, I was 16 when I took them in 2009, and went through a few different brands. I have copied some of my introduction story to make things easier for me. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5232-%E2%98%BC-hello-charliebrown-script-free/#entry67166 Starting with Fluoxetine 10mg for 1 month. Then Venlafaxine for 1 month at 75mg then, 3 months at 150mg. 1 month of Clonazepam 0.5mg as I was tapered off Venlafaxine and onto Sertraline 50mg. Then I took Sertraline 100mg for 4 months. Still experiencing panic attacks, agoraphobia and paranoia. I went to the hospital during a panic attack and was given Lorazepam 1mg for 1 week. This is when my psychiatrist added Risperidone on top of the Sertraline. Risperidone started at 0.25mg for 3 days, then 0.5mg for one week, raised to 1.0mg for one week. After two weeks I had a check-up I told the Dr. I wasn't feeling anything and I believe he may have misinterpreted that as "no effects" but when I said it I meant that I felt no emotions. My dose was raised to 1.5mg daily. After 3 days of 1.5mg I began experiencing Akathisia with no relief of anxiety. With no options in perceived sight I took all of the remaining Risperidone. Approx forty 0.5mg pills. My Parents caught me and called 911. At the hospital I was given charcoal and passed out, waking hours later. After being discharged I continued to take Sertraline as prescribed for 2 months. With no reduction in my anxiety and my emotions being basically non existant I decided to "take the good with the bad" and feel some kind of emotion. Over the next month and a half I slowly weaned myself off Sertraline. Popping open the capsule and throwing away 3-5 tiny XR beads a day. So that's my age, meds and taper strategy. How long it took to regain all my emotions and bodily functions is a hard one to answer. It took about 6 months before I felt much of anything. Then the bad emotions came back, sadness, anger. Slowly over the next two years I had many days that were blank and void of anything, days full of sadness, but also days where a light would shine and I would be happy. Feelings were coming back in waves and leaving again. I joined this website in late 2013 and at that point I had some emotional range, a libido but no sexual pleasure. So i guess it took about 3 years off medications to regain a good emotional range and my youthful lust. I'm finally writing this success story because in the past year the lack of sexual pleasure and anhedonia are not a problem for me anymore. The feelings slowly came back in waves, sometimes weak, but getting stronger and stronger. Now I feel great when I hug someone or see a friend smile. Sometimes the feelings can even be overwhelming. Like my heart is ready to burst. I don't know what else to add except, it's been almost 7 years since I took medications and I am a whole new person! Don't give up hope! Things are constantly changing, even if you don't notice. I didn't notice the change until it was right in my face!
  21. Hi, you can call me AprilShowers. I was put on Venlafaxine (Effexor) in the millenium due to a period of depression. Was on it two years and tapered off with no problem and gradually depression got managable and life went on. Then my mother died of cancer and my depression came back more suicidal and severe. I tried citalopram with horrible side effects and continuous suicidal feelings before being changed to venlafaxine which had worked for me before. And it worked again, more or less. I got stabilised and although it took a long time the suicidal thoughts receded and I just had bad depression. Last year after five years on venlafaxine I was having bad heart palpitations and my psychiatrist thought it might be beneficial to change medications as I thought it might be being caused by being on an SNRI. I switched to mirtazapine which I was on a couple of weeks and felt good at first before it made me very suicidal. Panicing and needing to not feel that way anymore I stopped taking it cold turkey. After I began to have withdrawal issues I tried to get onto prozac (fluoxetine) in the hope that it would help, it didn't, it exacerbated the symptoms. I was in full withdrawal syndrome, massive dumps of cortisol turned my body to acid, I was urinating blood, I couldn't eat or sleep and the shakes were exhausting. It was completely debilitating and I did little but lay on the sofa for five months trying to distract myself with TV shows. Life got a little better in increments and with the help of this site which I read without joining I was able to understand what was happening to me and try to support my body. I thought maybe I'd been lucky to have gotten through this and was hoping to build my life back to some semblance of normal. I managed to get back to the point I'd been on while I was on the antidepressants. Still depressed, still not coping well with life but able to function a bit. I had hoped to build on that. A couple of weeks ago I started getting mad anxiety, possibly triggered by the shock of the news of terrorist attacks in Paris although I guess if I'm honest I was feeling a bit overwhelmed before that. Whatever happened, I was having a hard time and took a couple of small doses of lorazepam two nights running to get some sleep and mellow the panicy feelings. Of course they got worse after that and now I have the full cortisol dumping into my system again and I'm back on the sofa wishing for a different life and a better body. I've been in touch with my care co-ordinator who isn't seeing me until next week and she says that without me being willing to take medication there's not much she can do. I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow to try to rule out any underlying medical reasons (I had an infection before all this happened and have recently become diabetic, have PCOS and have had previous anemias, heart palpitations and thyroid blips) but I'm not holding out much hope and unsure how to try an explain to the doc what is happening with cortisol dumping into my body. I know all they can offer for the symptoms is lorazepam or similar drugs and I think that would just make my problem worse. The early morning shuddering and feeling of waking in abject terror is the pits, the shudders are exhausting, like parkinsons and then taper off during the day but still with a low level of tremor and feeling of panic. I've got no saliva, I go hot and cold, my stomach is acid, I'm wetting myself with the level of fear hormones in my system and am having to wear pads and I'm constantly going to the bathroom, I'm not doing very well at all. The fact that this is happening for the second time is extremely disappointing, I've had thoughts of not wanting to live like this. I feel very alone, I live alone and I'm scared of losing all I've gained. I'm here to find hope. I need to give this awful life I'm forced into some value and give myself some value. After five years living on benefits, trying to overcome depression and not really coping with life I feel like I have nowhere to turn but here to find people who believe and understand what I'm going through. I am desperate to believe this is just a blip and won't last as long as before but it's been getting worse every day like the reverse of when it happened the first time when it was very bad and I gradually felt relief. I'm finding it hard to trust I will recover. I have nothing to do but hope I can again. Supplements I take omega 3 in a high dose which has helped me manage my depression. vitamin C magnesium with calcium. Occasional other supplements. Am thinking of just stopping all but the omega 3.
  22. Hello, my name is Mike. I am a 52 yo man who was first put on psych meds over 12 years ago. I'm sure my story is similar to many of yours: go to the family doc depressed, get a scrip for an antidepressant, get worse, get sent to a psychiatrist, get put on more meds, get worse, go inpatient.... It goes on and on. I have been hospitalized 5 times in the past 12 years and at my worst I was taking 6 meds daily (14 pills). I have been on 24 different meds and nothing has worked. For the past year my pdoc has been pushing ECT. I am diagnosed Bipolar II, GAD, and OCD. About a year ago I started reading on the internet about iatrogenisis on mental patients and decided with the help of my pdoc to start whittling down some of these meds. It has taken all that time but I am now down to two meds, both low dose (geodon and Luvox) and I am tapering both of those now. Geodon will be last to go because it has been the only one that has had a positive effect, it will be hard to quit I think. It has been tough but I am feeling better, more stable than in years and I've even lost a bunch of weight that the meds put on. I happily stumbled across this site today and hope to get and give help to others who are in a similar situation.
  23. 2010- Two years of severe headaches. Bad vision in one eye. Muscle pains. The doctors did not say anything. 2012- anxiety appeared. the first drug sertaline - a paradoxical reaction. I got depression, ss thoughts and other bad symptoms. 2012- 2016 paroxetine - - I tappered slowly, but I did not know yet that it should be stopped more slowly. 3 months without paroxetine and withdrawal syndrome appeared. Return to the drug worsened the matter. I crashed. Bridge with fluoxetine. A year passed. at the end of September 2016 I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I did test in two different laboratories. 08/08/2016-now fluoxetin 20 mg 01/05/2016- now- triticco / trazadone 75 mg clonozepam - 04.03.2017. from 20.11.2017 I started tapper from 0.5 to 0.125 mg- when I got some relief from Lyme treatment. Now I am treated with ILADS ( Lyme and bartonella) and also tapper psycho drags. I want to not rule out the syndrome and stop the drugs safely. I am asking for support and exchange of experience, especially people who suffer from Lyme disease. I need to make plan. How to discontinue: clonazepam 0,125 mg, fluoxetine 20 mg and trazadon 75 mg How I feel now: Antibiotics have sustained discomfort from the urinary tract and improved the results of cytology. I have more windows, but I still experience strong hits of depression and pain in small joints, a specially neck. Through complicated diagnostics of Lyme disease and the syndrome, I do not know which symptoms are from what. Thank you for your attention, sorry for mistakes.
  24. Hi All, I'm feeling so fortunate to have stumbled upon this site. I've read several books, research papers, and blogs over the past two months. I haven't had a chance to do a signature or proper intro yet, but will get to that as soon as I can. I'm tapering prozac and lamictal and down to 20 mg and 150 mg, respectively, and so far so good. There are weird symptoms that I wonder if others have experienced and will get to that later. Right now I'm wondering if anyone has found something to ease the alcohol cravings? While the prozac was at 40 mg beginning of August, and it's down by half, I feel like such a lush still. While it is a relief to know it's probably due to the bleeping prozac, I don't want to keep drinking a 6 pack of 9% beer on weekend nights...sometimes during the week too. Thank you in advance for any info you can provide.
  25. 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
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