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  1. Hi, my teen has been on Prozac 7 months. On 40mg for 9weeks. Before that she was on Zoloft for 5 months. So a total of a year on a SSRI. She is being tapered off prozac. She has been on 35mg for close to 4 weeks with no withdrawal problems. Her psychiatrist said to taper and be off in 6 weeks. I felt that was too fast. One site I was on had her tapering and getting off close to 2 years. Want to taper her so she has as few problems as possible.
  2. Hello, I will run through my history as quickly as possible. In my early 20s after having moved for probably the 15th to 20th time with my parents I was having a lot of stress and crying fits. I started on Prozac which I took for a year or two and then stopped taking it for a few months. Unfortunately I had anxiety after doing so and fearing a relapse (I didn't know this could be a withdrawal symptom) started on it again. I began to feel like my skin was numb and it wasn't working so I was switched to Paxil. The Paxil gave me the worst headaches if I didn't take it exactly on time and I ended up switching about a year ago to Lexapro. Lexapro made me very constipated and I felt my anxiety get far worse. The last few months I switched off the 20 mg of Lexapro to 20 mg Prozac. I've been back on just Prozac for 2 weeks. It wasn't hard during the switching process but my first period on just Prozac was extremely hard. I was crying for the last few days nearly 10 times a day and feeling very anxious. I did cave two days ago and took Xanax after panicking all day just to sleep. My goal is to not increase my Prozac dosage because I specifically went onto it so I might have an easier withdrawal. I plan to stick to this dosage for another few weeks and try to slowly withdraw. I'm having a lot of trouble even going outside or getting out of bed without panicking. I am not sure why it is like this now when Prozac was generally effective for me before.
  3. 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.
  4. Hi all, I am so glad I found this site. I am dealing with what I now know is ssri withdrawal and this place has given me hope, knowledge, and peace of mind. It’s crazy what these drugs can do. To start, I will give you my story. Looking back, I grew up with low self esteem and emotional issues that I never faced. Through school and going into college, I still managed to adjust well, make friends, and didn’t have especially bad anxiety or anything. In high school and college I abused alcohol frequently, probably due to emotional distress. I never was addicted, but was a binge drinker. In my 2nd year of college, even drinking became stressful and not fun. I began to have a lot of social anxiety, and couldn’t handle any alcohol. Depression started to set in, and I was in denial for a long time. Because of this, I let it get worse, I let people hurt me, and I ended up in the ER because I realized I couldn’t function and was suicidal. There they decided to send me to an outpatient treatment facility, and there my medication history began. I first was given seetraline, then Effexor, neither for longer than a week. The side effects were too much. So the doc deicided to try Prozac with me. That one seemed to have me feeling better, so I stayed on that for the time being. Started at 20mg around May 2017, 40mg for a few months, then 60mg for a long duration. I was only at this outpatient thing for a couple months, then I started seeing a new doctor. She basically just kept giving me the Prozac, and I’d just say I’m fine. I guess I felt fine, but I was more or less a zombie that just went to work and slept. The thing is though that Prozac is what lifted me out of the horrible depression I was in, and helped my anxiety. I thought of it as miraculous. The one thing that made it a lot less miraculous was that I gained nearly 100 pounds in a year! This prompted my doctor to lower my dose to 40mg, which made me realize how much Prozac dulled me out. I felt so much more awake and clear headed, so I figured I should get off the meds totally! It’ll only be good news, or so I thought. So I went down to 20mg a couple months later around November 2018. Afterwards is when withdrawal started to hit. I really noticed it while visiting family for Christmas. I just wasn’t myself. The anxiety was back in full force, and that was enough to hinder my social ability. It sucks to think family members see me like that and don’t know what’s going on, that maybe they just think I’m mentally ill. Oh well. I went down to 10mg in February, and jumped clear off in March. I now know this was far to fast of a taper, but I didn’t know this at the time. My doctor obviously didn’t either, but she probably also thinks Prozac doesn’t give people withdrawals. Once at 10mg I started to have the very sever symptoms. Extreme anxiety, irritability, anger, sensitivity to movement light and sounds, depersonalization, tightness in chest and neck, paranoia, numbness, and headaches (sometimes long lasting). Once I went to 0 they got a little worse for a bit, and it was gradually improved since then. I’ve only been totally off the Prozac for about a month right now. My god has it improved since a month ago! I still wouldn’t say I’m doing well by any means but I at least feel kind of normal. I felt like everybody was staring at me when I went outside or drove around at first (still kind of do sometimes), so much so that I just felt overwhelmed and crazy. I quit my job, not super important since it was just a silly job to pay rent. All I can really say about the symptoms is that they are still there, and it feels like they’ve been gradually receding ever so slowly. I seem to have the windows and waves, but mine have been short, maybe only hour long windows sometimes. I just pray that I will not only feel normal again but find real happiness and relief. I’m currently taking D3 and fish oil daily, nothing else. Does anyone have any advice about those supplements and others I could try? That would be great. I’m also just wondering if my story sounds familiar to anyone and what to expect. But most of all, it’s just nice to get this all out. Feel free to ask me questions!
  5. Hi, I thought I would introduce myself. Have joined this forum after experiencing horrendous withdrawals from anti-depressants. I am 34, female. Currently 3 months completely off of Prozac which I took for 6 years at the highest dose I understand is allowed to be prescribed in the UK (60mg daily). I weaned down from 60mg to 0mg over 5 months. Have had 3 months of pure hell since stopping taking Prozac completely - symptoms ranging from suicidal depression, nausea, migraines, loss of appetite, the most debilitating anxiety and panic. Weakness, crying spells, the most excruciating emotional and psychic pain that I have ever had to endure. All the symptoms I have read others have experienced except I haven't had brain zaps - not sure why. Am determined to stay off of Prozac and just go through what I need to. Very grateful to have come across this forum and hopefully to be able to share how I am getting through and to hear how others have managed and hopefully to offer support too. I am aware that there seems to be no other way that through this - keen to connect with others who are finding a way through. Very keen to connect and speak further to anyone else having to go through this. Very determined to get through although very aware it feels like you just don't know what each day will bring or when you really are finally on solid ground. Very keen to hear others experiences. I am using the idea of windows and waves to navigate through currently. Very keen to connect with others. Natalie
  6. I have been on Prozac for about 25 years. I tried to taper few times in the past, but it didn't work. So what can be different this time? I am hoping this board will make the difference. I know I can't do it alone. I am now taking 10 mg Prozac daily. I was on 40 mg about 2 years ago, and took it down very slowly, cutting 5 mg every few months. One reason that it took so long was because I was also tapering clonazepam. Another reason was the failed attempts in the past. What I learned from tapering clonazepam I hope to put into use while tapering Prozac. One lesson that I learned is that you need to do it slow. There is just no other way. Another lesson is that you need support. I am looking for my next cut in a few months and my goal is to be completely drug free by the end of the year. I have been on disability during the last couple of years while recovering from clonazepam withdrawal. It's been hell and I'm still not completely recovered. I am looking to get back to work as soon as I can but I know it could still take more time. The biggest challenge will be to deal with withdrawal and setbacks without going back on Prozac. My hope is that I will be able to do that with the help of this board.
  7. Lollypops

    Lollypops

    Hi, I was on cymbalta for 7 years and previous to that I was taking Effexor for 3 years. It was very hard to withdrawal from Effexor (at 21 years old), it 6 took months of rest and klonipin to stop panic attack, brain zaps, irritability, anxiety, agoraphobia, anger, abnormal sensation in my body, dizziness, nausea.. the list goes on. I don’t remember the exact dose I was on because it was so long ago but my new psychiatrist at the time mentioned it was too high for someone with my body weight and severity of depression. The doctor said I needed to establish my routine and force myself to follow through with getting through work each day while I withdrew. Needless to say, I got passed the withdrawal but by far that was the worst I ever felt in my life. I was 29 when I came off of cymbalta( 90mg), it only took 2 months to withdrawal. I had severe mood swings and excessive hunger... I did not have any sensation issues or brain zaps. I was taking a prenatal vitamin because my husband and I were planning to have another baby (one baby came out being twins btw) I think that what made it easier to withdrawal from cymbalta was the vitamins I was on. I still remember 2 days after being off cymbalta, I was having really bad temper problems! I also suffered from memory issues and slight paranoia but it was fairly quick to get rid of those symptoms. I don’t think I mentioned this already but I suffer from major depressive disorder, fibromyalgia, and really terrible panic and anxiety disorder. I was able to successfully withdrawal from the cymbalta and Effexor with routine, vitamins, plenty of rest, and a lot of encouragement from family. I am now 35 and have been on Prozac for about 5 years. About 3 weeks ago, my psychiatrist took me off of the Prozac (60mg) cold turkey and put me on Wellbutrin. I have to say, I was feeling really good until about a week ago when I started experiencing the brain zaps, dizziness, sleepiness, frequent body pain, headaches, and vertigo. Today I started having irritability issues and feel like I am going to snap at anyone who talks to me in any sort of way that I feel is aggressive, almost like someone else is taking over!! I really hope that I am successful getting off of prozac because I almost feel like I could go off the deep end when I start to feel the irritability coming on. Personally, I think cold turkey is the wrong move for me coming off Prozac.
  8. Hi, Been on Effexor 75 XR for almost 17 years. in May, 2018 I started tapering, but I think I have done it too quickly...by August I was on 37.5mg XR (after alternating 75 and 37.5) Prozac to "bridge"...December, 2018 I started taking 37.5mg every other day for 3 weeks and on Feb 8th, 2019 I went to ZERO (per dr. instructions). Memorial day weekend withdrawals hit me like a ton of bricks...high anxiety, some depression, nervousness and fatigue. I am now taking .05mg ATIVAN as needed. I take vitamin B Complex, D3, iron, probiotics, formula 303, cortisol Manager, Fish Oil, Magnesoim bisglycinate. I started taking 800 mg SAM-E last week and I have just started taking 800mg holy basil. I sleep fine at night, bust as soon as I open my eyes, I start feeling anxious. I am thinking about reinstating the 37.5mg XR tonight...is that too much? Any advice? PLEASE?????????????????????????
  9. I'm sorry if this winds up being kind of nebulous or rambled, but that's kind of how things are/feel right now. I might be in the minority here but i'm actually sort of thankful for Prozac. My OCD tendencies and anxiety were eating up a huge chunk of my life, and after starting Prozac, the tapping, counting and constant checking and rechecking stopped. I started out on 20 a little over two years ago, moved up to 30 after six or so months, then stayed at 40 until about two months ago. I'd been taking .5 mg of Ativan every few days for some sudden, terrible anxiety following an extreme panic attack. I was on it every few days two months and stopped fairly abruptly not wanting to be on it for any long period of time. Now, my Psych and I still aren't sure if it was some kind of prozac poopout or ativan withdrawal but i went through two weeks of some pretty unpleasant symptoms. Jittery to the point that i couldn't sit and do anything, no more than 4 hours of extremely uncomfortable sleep a night, zero appetite, anxiety and general lack of ability to enjoy much of anything. To elaborate a bit, i could only manage boost/ensure type meal replacements and paced *constantly* up until the point it was 2am or so, and time for my few hours of sleep. By the time i got in to see my psych i had been dealing with it for a week and she said given the low and infrequent dosage of my ativan she didn't want to reinstate , so she upped my prozac to 60mg and we decided i'd bear with what we thought might be ativan withdrawal and see if it lessened in the coming weeks . Over the next two weeks after she upped my Prozac the symptoms went away gradually and i I found some semblance of feeling semi normal, if still kind of fatigued. Seeing as how it seemed that I had "gotten lucky" by getting off Ativan before i was on it for too long and the symptoms of withdrawal were hell level severe and super long lasting, i decided it was time to get off Prozac. I still had a bunch of 40mgs leftover and just switched to taking those. This was about two weeks ago and about 4 days after doing so i started to experience some pretty hefty fatigue, mild anxiety and decreased appetite. Unlike my last withdrawal (or whatever it was) i can sleep a full 8 hours, can sit and watch stuff, enjoy things to a degree and even force myself up to the gym. I wake up after sleep feeling pretty exhausted, but i'm able to eat and don't feel the overwhelming urge to pace. My psych is one of the ones who said it would be fine for me to taper down over the course of a month or so, but at the same time she's very accommodating if I ask to go slower with stuff, so i wont have a problem getting liquid. I guess right now my plan is to bear with this 20mg drop since its already been almost two weeks, and then try liquid and dropping 10% a month. I guess i'm here for a bit of support and maybe reassurance that even if things are protracted it will eventually end, and i will have good windows throughout the experience. Another thing i guess i'm here for is to see if anyone thinks its wise for me to reinstate back to 60 and taper at 10% from that point. The symptoms i have now aren't unbearable, but they for sure aren't a good time. Side note: I'm also on TRT because tests showed that my body wasn't making enough of it naturally. I get pretty frequent blood work for it and both my estrogen and testosterone levels are in the green as of yesterdays blood work.
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. Hey there! My name is Deanna. I'm 26 years old, and I live in Canada. Besides having depression, I'm an artist and graphic design student. I've always been a visual learner and a creative person, and now on my second run through college, I'm hoping to make art my career. I also enjoy video games and movies. I love animals; my parents have six cats that I love very much, and I look forward to adopting a dog one day. Now to get down to business. I apologize in advance for how long this is going to be. In my defence though, this is more than 15 years of mental illness history here. I've been on some form of antidepressants since the age of 9 (~2001). I was started on Effexor (which is definitely not recommended for children...) and stayed on that for several years. My first experience with tapering happened within a few years of that, under the supervision of my psychiatrist. It was great to be medication free! Most kids don't have to worry about medications, and for a while, I didn't either. After about one year though, my depression seemed to be back. So back on the medication I went. I went back to seeing that same psychiatrist for a few more years, until I was no longer considered a child, since he was a psychiatrist for kids. I didn't question the medication for a long time after that. It helped me be functional. It wasn't perfect, no, but I could get through my days. It might sound obvious now, but it took me a while to realize that a fascination with violence and serial killers wasn't normal. For several years at least, I read nothing but true crime and fictional serial killer stories. I was fascinated by them. Disturbingly, I also realized that I wanted to be like them. I would think a lot about violence, and kind of came to accept that one day, I would be a killer, and that I'd either end up dead or in prison. Not only that, but I experienced intrusive violent thoughts. I'd be standing behind my sister as she bent down to take laundry from the dryer, notice a pair of scissors on the counter, and see myself using them to hurt her. I didn't want to. But I couldn't stop that thought from happening if I tried. I remember another time one of my cats jumped onto my bed, and I noticed that from the side, a cat's eye looks a lot like a bubble. I couldn't help but picture what it might look like if I tried to pop that bubble. That one really bothered me. Of course I didn't want to hurt my sister or any other person either, but that image of hurting an animal felt especially intrusive, because I know I would never hurt an animal. After realizing how harmful thoughts like those were, I told my psychiatrist. (It's worth mentioning that between 2010 and 2013 or so, I had two different psychiatrists. Neither felt helpful, and they spent our (very quick) appointments asking a couple of questions, then prescribing a new dosage or different medication altogether, and hurrying me out of the office. One of them left the hospital where I saw him, and didn't refer me to anyone else. He basically just said he was leaving, goodbye. The other psychiatrist seemed to be open to the idea of me trying to taper off the medication again around 2013, but then did more or less the same thing; he said goodbye and went on with his life.) Over the period of a year or two, I was prescribed a few different anti-psychotics and other medications that I'm really not sure of, to try and deal with the violent thoughts. None of them seemed to help, and some of them had some awful side effects. Most of those medications did not last longer than a few doses. I was taking Risperdal for a year or so, but then that one starting having negative side effects too, so I stopped with the help of my family doctor. Thankfully, that seemed to end the intrusive violent thoughts. After this point, I had no psychiatrist. In 2013, I had a suicide attempt. Besides the homicidal thoughts, I would also experience suicidal thoughts. Most of the time I was able to resist those in much the same way as the others; I didn't want to die, so they stayed as thoughts only. I think it might've been a really bad combination of depression and my intrusive thoughts that made me actually consider hurting myself. I'd have intrusive images of stabbing myself in the stomach, and my parents finding me. It was like my depression saw those images and said "wow, good idea". One night I was feeling very low, and my dad had to physically stop me from using the knife in my hand. After that, my parents took me to the hospital and I stayed in the Mental Health Inpatient Unit for one week. That's the worst my depression has ever been. Besides this one incident, I would occasionally have passive suicidal thoughts such as "I don't deserve to be alive" or "there's no future for me", but not actually want to act on them. My dad helped me do some research on Effexor, and we didn't like the side effects we were seeing. We thought my violent thoughts might even be caused (or worsened) by the medication, so I started seeing a naturopathic doctor to begin tapering again. I used a natural supplement called TrueHope EmpowerPlus. I made it down to 0 medication, and felt pretty good for about a year before I started experiencing an eating disorder. I've always had anxiety, but over a period of a few months, I lost at least 70 lbs (I was overweight to begin with, but still) because of some serious anxiety around food. Deciding what to eat made me very uncomfortable. Not eating was easier. I also had some trust issues with food. If a food I normally enjoyed was gross one time I had it, I would decide not to eat it again. I ended up with a very limited diet. In mid-2014 I was at a point where I'd feel physically ill from being so hungry. I was weak. My parents were (understandably) very worried. I started seeing a psychiatrist at CAMH (the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health). She suggested that I go back on medication so that, at the very least, I could start eating again. She prescribed 80mg of Prozac. She also referred me to a month long inpatient program for anxiety. I did the program, which included CBT and group therapy, and made a lot of improvements with my eating disorder. After leaving the hospital, my medication and depression have since been monitored by my family doctor. Last fall, I decided I wanted to try lowering my dose. My doctor suggested I go from 80mg to 60mg, and that went fine. When I went down to 40mg, however, I started feeling depressed, assumed it was a relapse, and went back up to 60. Now I think it may have just been withdrawal caused by tapering too quickly. So I approached my doctor about tapering again last month, suggesting I go much more slowly this time, after finding survivingantidepressants.org and reading about other peoples' experiences. Right now, I'm alternating between 50mg and 60mg daily, and by the end of this week, I'll be taking 50mg every day. Each month I plan to take another step down (from 50 to 50/40, to 40, to 40/30, etc.). So far, things are going great. Since 2014, I was also taking Dexilant, for heartburn caused by the Prozac. I've managed to stop taking that medication most days (taking it only occasionally) and haven't had any problems. My biggest concern is that I'll experience withdrawal sooner or later, and I might panic and go back on my progress. I don't want that to happen this time. I'm hoping the third time really is the charm for me, and that this time, I'll be able to be medication free and actually dealing with any problems I might have, instead of taking the medication and hoping it solves everything (which it definitely doesn't). In the past, I was very lonely, socially anxious, and I kept to myself. Now, however, I'm engaged, I'm doing well in school and working towards a career that I'm passionate about, and I recently started talking to my sister again after a few years of falling out. I've also realized how toxic my mom is in my life, and I no longer live with my parents. I'm really hoping that this time, a much better environment and a better understanding of withdrawal will help me succeed 🤞 If you read all this, thank you for sticking with me until the end, and I look forward to keeping you updated ☺️
  13. 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.
  14. I’m having a very hard time with a withdrawal situation and I’m grateful this site is here. After dropping my Prozac dose to nothing, I came off 2.5 mg of Zyprexa last summer, very quickly. I tried to tough out the worsening withdrawal symptoms. I was getting manic until I became psychotic for three months.During the psychosis, I was often extremely restless, sometimes wanting to jump out of my skin. But I was also delusional and euphoric.When I got out of my second hospital stay, I was on Risperdal and Depakote. I’d come out of my delusional state, and was no longer restless, but I was still confused and just beginning to heal. Also, I didn’t have a psychiatrist, just refills. I’m sad to say that I was still eager to be off meds and thought I could titrate myself. I went off very quickly and, though the delusions didn’t come back, I soon became very agitated. I ended up messing with my meds on my own for three months. It was like I was trapped, unsure of what dose to take every night, wanting to stay on one dose but scared it was the wrong one. I was experiencing agony, including emotional fits and depression. I couldn’t sit still, and learned the word “akathisia.”I finally found a decent doctor who tried to keep me on a steady dose of Risperdal, as it could be worsening the akathisia, but I’d get back to a good place with it. When that didn’t happen, he switched me to 5 mg of Zyprexa, and, when that wasn’t enough, 10 mg (which I’ve been on a few months) That alleviates most of my suffering, but I still have trouble sitting still, reading, verbally communicating, and keeping my attention on one task. I also just don’t feel like the same person I was before this dreadful year, which is very frightening.Now my doctor isn’t sure if I have akathisia or agitation, or both. But my fear is how long it’ll last. I met someone who experienced this kind of condition for 10 years after coming off an anti-psychotic. I don’t want to be on 10 mg of Zyprexa that long, and I’m not even functional on that dose.Thank you for reading. I’m looking for some hope, or advice.
  15. 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!
  16. hello i was on prozac for 6.5 years with addition of effexor, welbutrin and geodon for breif times. i am 2.5 years off and still in withdrawal. i was prescribed the meds for physical illness after getting epstein bar virus. the prozac, effexor and welbutrin were used for stimulant effects. the geodon was used to combat the side effects of the other meds.( like taking a downer to take edge oof of the uppers).i did not have mental illness before this i now dont know how much of the way i feel is from epsten bar virus? or if i recovered from the virus? is what i am feeling from med withdrawals. the only thing i do know is i have extreme anxiety, insomnia and akathesia now and i NEVER had this problem before the meds. i just dont know how much of my flu like symptoms/ feeling like i have a hang over is from the med withdrawal? anyone with expierence please let me know? i also get a lot of joint cracking and popping sounds. anyone else get this? does anyone feel flu like symptoms get worse after exercise. thanks for any info
  17. I'm new here. I began a (too fast) taper of 40 mg Prozac at the end of January 2018. Had been on for many years (at least 10+). As a sidenote, I also have Lyme disease which muddies the waters of symptoms and will explain why I didn't catch that I was declining once I started tapering. In looking back at texts I was writing to friends at the time, it is (now) clear to me that I was declining mentally very soon after I reduced the dose of Prozac, but I was attributing it to Lyme disease (not discontinuation of the drug), so I never connected the dots. I started reducing Prozac end of January 2018, and took my last dose end of April 2018 because "it's easy to come off of." During that time, my mental health declined rapidly and my sleep became awful. Again, I attributed these symptoms to Lyme and not discontinuation of the Prozac--it didn't even cross my mind. I finally connected the dots in December 2018, but had stopped the Prozac way back in April 2018. I still sleep only about 2 hours per night for the last 6 months and it's horrible. I used to sleep 7-8 easily before all of this. I've tried everything for sleep and nothing works, both Rx and natural. It scares me.My personality has changed, and I feel on the verge of cracking very soon. In August 2018 my doc put me on Lexapro, but after 3 weeks on it I felt like it made me more anxious, so I tapered over a couple weeks and went off it. I also tried Ambien several times (maybe 8 tablets total) from maybe Sept to November to sleep and it gives me suicidal thoughts upon waking, and never gave me much help--maybe 3 hours tops, but often just one hour of sleep. Tried the Ambien CR, and that gave me suicidal thoughts as well and never many hours of sleep. Mid-Novemember a doc put me on Ativan for sleep, but I hate benzos, so I took only a total of 7 .5mg tablets over a 12 day period and stopped. It always gave me at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep, but I was not willing to stay on it (addictive), and it exacerbates my depression as well. Also in November I tried (for 6 days) Remeron for sleep, (7.5 mg), but it didn't help and I didn't want to stay on it, so I tapered over a couple weeks and stopped. Tapering instructions of all these drugs was given by my medical providers, so none of the tapers were probably anywhere close to what I should have done. When I was done with this conglomeration of short-use drugs from August- November 2018, I felt like my brain was fried. I used to be a funny, silly, hilarious, fun loving person. I've become horribly depressed, anxious, and withdrawn....and often have thoughts of suicide that I cannot get out of my mind. I also am pretty convinced that my brain cannot handle psych drugs at all anymore. It's too sensitive and does not seem to rebound. I seem to be especially sensitive to benzos and the sleep meds. I am terrified to ever use another psych drug. I'll add: in 2014 (while on Prozac) I went through heavy anxiety, so was referred to a psychiatrist who (from July through December 2014) put me on a slew of different antidepressants and antipsychotics-(-introducing one, while withdrawing another), none of which worked, but it ended with clonazepam. I was on a small dose of .25-.50 mg intermittently over a few (maybe 3) months, put on too fast a taper, and went through HELL withdrawal. I was bedridden for at least 6 months, and still had symptoms up until I started coming off of Prozac last January 2018. What a mess. So this is my second time in 4 years of going through withdrawals from psych drugs, and I was never completely through with my first withdrawal episode (but was improving very very slowly). I am not taking any drugs right now, BUT I am a horrid mess. Not sleeping AT ALL (unless 2 hours per night counts as sleep); severe severe severe depression, depersonalization, feeling like I need to jump off a bridge all the time; I've become very angry and combative; I have hardly left the house in 6 months. I have tingling and numbness all over my body and face, panic attacks often, heavy heart palpitations, my brain often feels damaged, and suicidal thoughts are ever present in my mind. I also have difficulty breathing often--like labored breathing. My anxiety is off the charts constantly. My symptoms do not wax and wane--they are always there 24/7 and never subside. And obviously I cry a lot. I grieve the full life I used to have. I have a hard time taking care of myself: showering, eating, etc, but I manage to make it thru. I am 5 feet 1, and down to about 89 lbs (from probably 112). It's rough!! Any advice for me? I feel hopeless and un-fixable. I can't imagine that re-instating Prozac would help at all at this point, since it's been so long. What do you think? Feeling very very discouraged.
  18. Hello, I am 63 and past ready to give my 25-year use of Prozac the boot. I did stop way back for a couple of years, I don't recall any major WD. I've tried several times since but the irritability is overwhelming, for me and my husband. I started on 20mg and have taken as much as 80mg, presently taking 40mg. I have had never tapered, wasn't aware I needed to. I did wean a 25-year addiction to Xanax a couple of years ago and am finally starting to learn how to sleep again. I would appreciate a plan I can work with. I also have hypothyroidism and adrenal issues which can exasperate my the symptoms of irritability. Thanks for your time and help, Robyn22
  19. 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.
  20. Hi everyone, I am new and super happy to be here. I have been on Prozac 20mg and Wellbutrin XL 300 for twenty five years. I have tried to get off a few times but was not successful. I started to taper in Jan and was down to half doses on May first. The withdraw, specifically anger and self hate became too intense and I went back to old doses two weeks ago. Now I feel like crap. Side effects are harsh and benefit little. I feel like I have let an angry tiger out of the cage and can't get it back in. I am thinking of going back to the half doses and just dealing with the emotional stuff by working out. I started yoga in Jan but maybe harder cardio is the way to get the anger out. Problem is that I am also very tired. I work and come home and go to bed. I journal, go to AA meetings been sober over 15 years. I feel like I am a mess. I am wondering about some of the natural antidepressants like SamE or 5HTP? I just feel like my brain is raw and hurts. Any ideas on how to supplement and sooth my brain? thanks, and I also will stop the taper and work with my doctor but can't see him for another month so that is why I am thinking of going back to the Prozac 10 and Wellbutrin 150 that I have been taking for the past couple of months.
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. Hi everyone, this is my first time posting here, hope that I am doing everything correctly. I am recovering from fluoxetine (Prozac), I took it for about 8 months and I have been off it for about 3 months now. I have searched a lot on the internet and this forum but I was not able to find anyone who suffers from similar issues, so I was hoping for some kind of support from here Every morning, I wake up with horrible anxiety and a feeling of "depersonalization", it is kind of like sitting in the back of your head and having some kind of tunnel vision. Apathy is a big part of it and there is a weird feeling of having to supress a panic attack at any moment. The weird thing about it is that this feeling goes away in the afternoon and I feel completely fine the entire evening until I wake up the next day. I think this might be related to cortisol levels rising in the morning but I am not sure. Does anyone have similar experiences or tips to share with me? Thank you so much
  24. 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 or a liquid by a compounding pharmacy Compounding pharmacies can crush the tablets and put the powder into smaller capsules by weight. Like cutting up tablets or crushing, this destroys the time-release quality, but the compounded method is much more exact. In your body, crushed Pristiq is similar to regular immediate-release Effexor, with an 11-hour half-life. You may wish to have your dose compounded to take twice a day. If you are taking 50mg Pristiq, for example, you would have 60 capsules compounded per month. Each capsule would be 1/2 of 45mg (a 10% reduction of 50mg) or 22.5mg. You would take two capsules per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The next month, you would have 60 capsules compounded, each capsule being 1/2 of 40.5mg (a 10% reduction of 45mg) or 20.25mg. And so forth, for each reduction. (According to my compounding pharmacy, they can put in a slow-release additive distributing absorption over 8-10 hours. This is not as long as the Pristiq time-release coating, but at least it's something. Check with your compounding pharmacy about this. See getting-custom-dosages-at-compounding-pharmacies-us-uk-and-elsewhere ) If this does not work, you may wish to switch to Effexor XR and use the bead-counting method. Regular Effexor probably wouldn't be an advantage over Pristiq compounded to custom dosages. One of our members had a desvenlafaxine liquid made by a compounding pharmacy. Most likely, this compounder used pure desvenlafaxine succinate powder to make this liquid, as desvenlafaxine tablets contain a glue that might resist being made into a liquid. But he may have a way to grind tablets up to make a suspension. A liquid would have to be immediate-release, with a half-life of around 11 hours. Generally, you'd take a drug with that short a half-life twice a day. Crush Pristiq tablets, weigh powder with a digital scale This is similar to cutting up tablets -- Pristiq is a "do not crush" medication, as it is a time-release drug. The Pristiq powder becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you pulverize the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. In principle, this would be a more precise way of tapering than cutting up tablets: Crush the tablet Make sure the shell fragments are evenly distributed in the powder Weigh the powder for a dose with a digital scale Put the powder into an empty gelatin capsule to make it easier to ingest Peer discussion of this method starts here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__27417 Switch to Effexor or Effexor XR Note: If you've had an adverse reaction to Effexor before, do NOT switch from Pristiq to Effexor. "Desvenlafaxine (O-desmethylvenlafaxine) is the major active metabolite of venlafaxine." Since the relationship is so close, switching to regular immediate-release Effexor tablets, which you can cut up or make into a liquid, this may be the best way to taper off Pristiq. Because it has a mean half-life of 5 hours, you'd have to take regular Effexor twice a day. Alternatively, you might substitute Effexor XR, which is released gradually like Pristiq and needs to be taken only once a day. You'd have the difficulty of tapering off Effexor or Effexor XR -- themselves notorious for withdrawal difficulties -- but at least you can do that gradually. See Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine). According to FDA Prescribing Information for venlafaxine (Effexor), the usual dose of Effexor is 150mg per day. Since 150mg Effexor and 50mg Pristiq are both "normal" dosages of their respective drugs, they may be roughly equivalent. (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.
  25. 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
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