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cupcake - almost ready to come off lexapro


cupcake

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Hi there,

I've been on 10mg Lexapro for a year. Recently my doctor suggested dropping to 5mg to start tapering off it but that went badly (nausea, crippling anxiety, etc) so I've gone back up to 10mg for the time being while I research and prepare myself better for a slower taper. My doctor made it sound easy but I'm realising I'll need to do a fair bit of preparation to take care of myself.

Edited by scallywag
tags added

Intro thread

 

Been taking escitalopram (10mg) for one year.

10 November 2015 - went down to 5mg on doctor's advice but found it too sharp and went back up to 10mg

28 November 2015 - down to 9mg

18 December 2015 - 8mg

8 January 2016 - 7.2 mg

22 January 2016 - 6.5 mg

Continued reducing 10% every 3-6 weeks depending on additional symptoms. Stopped getting reactions to reduction in doses below 1mg. Last dose at 0.2 mg.

27 July 2016 - stopped taking it altogether

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome cupcake,

As you have found out, unfortunately most doctors are pretty clueless about how to safely stop taking antidepressants.

 

We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising. Please read through this which will explain why:

  

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

and

 

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

Are you currently taking any other medications? Is lexapro the only antidepressant you have taken?

 

I'm glad you found us, you will find a lot of friendly help and support here, and some good information too.

 

Petunia.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Hi and Welcome Cupcake.

 

Like Petunia has said slow and steady when you are ready.

 

Namaste.

1997 - 2001 Seroxat 10mg

2001 - 2013 Escitalopram 10mg

Gradual taper from 10mg to 5mg over 2.5 years (between 2011 - 2013)

Last taper from 5mg to 0 under advice from doctor done in 1 month (too damn fast!) - included missing out days.

Have been drug free since Oct 2013.  - Yep 5 years drugs free

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Thanks guys, yes, lexapro's the only thing I've taken. I'm not on any other medications except occasional antihistamines for allergies, which have the nice side effect of helping me sleep. Persistent insomnia was the main reason I started taking lexapro, and it really helped - but there are lots of other ways to deal with sleep disturbances and I'm kind of angry my doctor convinced me to do this in the first place.

Intro thread

 

Been taking escitalopram (10mg) for one year.

10 November 2015 - went down to 5mg on doctor's advice but found it too sharp and went back up to 10mg

28 November 2015 - down to 9mg

18 December 2015 - 8mg

8 January 2016 - 7.2 mg

22 January 2016 - 6.5 mg

Continued reducing 10% every 3-6 weeks depending on additional symptoms. Stopped getting reactions to reduction in doses below 1mg. Last dose at 0.2 mg.

27 July 2016 - stopped taking it altogether

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  • 2 weeks later...

Four days into my first 10% cut and feeling ok so far! Only strange symptom so far is an occasional ringing in my ears.

 

I'm excited about starting but jeez it makes me want to get this stuff out of my system. I play a team sport and had an amazing win last week, a season victory, trophy-winning game that will probably be the high point of my sporting career, and I was happy, but... I've felt happier about lesser achievements. It was like my joy was under a blanket - there, but dampened and softened and dim. And maybe it's not the lexapro, maybe it's just me getting older, but I think the lexapro has something to do with it.

Intro thread

 

Been taking escitalopram (10mg) for one year.

10 November 2015 - went down to 5mg on doctor's advice but found it too sharp and went back up to 10mg

28 November 2015 - down to 9mg

18 December 2015 - 8mg

8 January 2016 - 7.2 mg

22 January 2016 - 6.5 mg

Continued reducing 10% every 3-6 weeks depending on additional symptoms. Stopped getting reactions to reduction in doses below 1mg. Last dose at 0.2 mg.

27 July 2016 - stopped taking it altogether

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Welcome, cupcake.

 

Good to hear a gradual taper seems to be working for you.

 

A very common side effect of antidepressants is emotional anesthesia. You might say that is the way they "work."

 

See Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems

 

Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I'm at day 5, which is the point where I started getting terrible withdrawal during the stupid 50% cut my doctor suggested. And feeling okay! More fatigue than usual and had some numbness and tremors in my hand, but none of the crippling panic that I got during a larger cut.

Intro thread

 

Been taking escitalopram (10mg) for one year.

10 November 2015 - went down to 5mg on doctor's advice but found it too sharp and went back up to 10mg

28 November 2015 - down to 9mg

18 December 2015 - 8mg

8 January 2016 - 7.2 mg

22 January 2016 - 6.5 mg

Continued reducing 10% every 3-6 weeks depending on additional symptoms. Stopped getting reactions to reduction in doses below 1mg. Last dose at 0.2 mg.

27 July 2016 - stopped taking it altogether

Link to comment

I didn't feel much like talking about my reasons for using lexapro when I started this thread, but I was thinking about it today because it's December and the Salvation Army band are playing on the street outside my work and it reminds me how far I've come.

 

I started talking lexapro a year ago to deal with the therapy for my PTSD symptoms, which had gone untreated for a long time. I don't know if it was worth it - it doesn't stop me from having PTSD episodes when I'm triggered, but it did make the re-traumatising experience of therapy easier. And between that and meditation I'm way better at handling episodes. Going off the drug might make that harder, but I don't know. I feel like it's learned technique as much as drugs that make me manage this better now.

I think of this because one of my triggers is being approached by strangers on the street, and it's especially bad with people like the Salvation Army collecting money for charity because they're so persistent. But I realised today that while they still make me agitated and uncomfortable, I can stay mentally present and in control of my body when they approach me now and that's fantastic. I can't know for sure that I'll still be able to do that without the drugs, but right now I feel pretty good about it.

Intro thread

 

Been taking escitalopram (10mg) for one year.

10 November 2015 - went down to 5mg on doctor's advice but found it too sharp and went back up to 10mg

28 November 2015 - down to 9mg

18 December 2015 - 8mg

8 January 2016 - 7.2 mg

22 January 2016 - 6.5 mg

Continued reducing 10% every 3-6 weeks depending on additional symptoms. Stopped getting reactions to reduction in doses below 1mg. Last dose at 0.2 mg.

27 July 2016 - stopped taking it altogether

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Sure, you'll be able to do it, you'll be even better at it. Just go slow and steady, let your body adjust and your mind learn.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi cupcake , welcome to the site.  

I have no doubt that you'll be able to manage fine without the drugs . . . look at all the years you were okay

before you started lexapro.   Just go slowly , don't be tempted to rush it.

 

Ear-ringing is a common symptom , like all the others it may come and go.

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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Thanks you guys, it's a big unknown to me but this site helps so much to make me feel prepared for whatever comes!

 

I do feel like I'm developing a fear of facebook but I don't think that's anxiety coming back so much as it's common sense, haha. (Because my feed has some unhealthy stuff in it right now, I mean; obviously facebook isn't necessarily full of crap.)

Intro thread

 

Been taking escitalopram (10mg) for one year.

10 November 2015 - went down to 5mg on doctor's advice but found it too sharp and went back up to 10mg

28 November 2015 - down to 9mg

18 December 2015 - 8mg

8 January 2016 - 7.2 mg

22 January 2016 - 6.5 mg

Continued reducing 10% every 3-6 weeks depending on additional symptoms. Stopped getting reactions to reduction in doses below 1mg. Last dose at 0.2 mg.

27 July 2016 - stopped taking it altogether

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Spending time on facebook usually makes me feel worse these days too, so you're not alone there. :)

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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  • 7 months later...

I haven't been here in a while! I've kept reducing my dose over the last six months, very gradually, and somewhat by feel. Once I got below 1mg/day (probably two months ago) I stopped getting withdrawal symptoms when I reduced the dose further, and yesterday I stopped taking it completely.

 

It's only been two days, but so far going to 0mg feels very different to reducing dosage while still taking some of the drug. I'm tired, which is normal for a dosage change, but I have a headache, which is new, and, well, my sex drive is back. Like, loudly, aggresively back. Much more suddenly than I expected! I would have thought that would be difficult to feel when I'm so tired, but NOPE.

Intro thread

 

Been taking escitalopram (10mg) for one year.

10 November 2015 - went down to 5mg on doctor's advice but found it too sharp and went back up to 10mg

28 November 2015 - down to 9mg

18 December 2015 - 8mg

8 January 2016 - 7.2 mg

22 January 2016 - 6.5 mg

Continued reducing 10% every 3-6 weeks depending on additional symptoms. Stopped getting reactions to reduction in doses below 1mg. Last dose at 0.2 mg.

27 July 2016 - stopped taking it altogether

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Thanks for coming back with an update cupcake.  It's interesting to hear the differences you are noting even two days out, and I'll be very keen to hear how things go over the next wee while.  Also intriguing that symptoms stopped when you got below 1mg. 

 

What was your lowest dose before jumping to zero?

 

And a huge congrats getting down to zilch!! 

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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My lowest dose was 0.2mg. Yeah, the end of symptoms below 1mg does seem unusual even to me, but maybe it's because I was tapering by such small amounts. Early in the process, when I was dropping the dose by 0.5 to 1mg at a time, I had a reliable pattern of being okay for the first three days and then being fatigued and crying non-stop for the next two. Below 1mg that all seemed to just stop.

Intro thread

 

Been taking escitalopram (10mg) for one year.

10 November 2015 - went down to 5mg on doctor's advice but found it too sharp and went back up to 10mg

28 November 2015 - down to 9mg

18 December 2015 - 8mg

8 January 2016 - 7.2 mg

22 January 2016 - 6.5 mg

Continued reducing 10% every 3-6 weeks depending on additional symptoms. Stopped getting reactions to reduction in doses below 1mg. Last dose at 0.2 mg.

27 July 2016 - stopped taking it altogether

Link to comment

Oh, and my mouth is watering all the time, even when I'm not hungry. That's a new symptom too.

 

It'll be interesting to see how this goes. I know that withdrawal could get a lot worse, but as early symptoms go this isn't too bad.

Intro thread

 

Been taking escitalopram (10mg) for one year.

10 November 2015 - went down to 5mg on doctor's advice but found it too sharp and went back up to 10mg

28 November 2015 - down to 9mg

18 December 2015 - 8mg

8 January 2016 - 7.2 mg

22 January 2016 - 6.5 mg

Continued reducing 10% every 3-6 weeks depending on additional symptoms. Stopped getting reactions to reduction in doses below 1mg. Last dose at 0.2 mg.

27 July 2016 - stopped taking it altogether

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Thank you for updating us and big congrats! I hope your recovery continues well and I look forward to hearing more from you including your success story when you are ready. It means so much to us who are still struggling.

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Thanks bubble. I hope I get to a point where I feel like I can talk about a success story!

 

Day 7 at 0mg and the last few days have been a grab bag of symptoms. Some days feel like I'm in a brain fog, but not quite - I keep describing it as feeling like someone moved all the objects in my house slightly while I was away, so everything seems slightly off but I can't tell why, except that's what reaching for my thoughts and memories feels like.

 

Days 5 and 6 were "I need to cry a whole lot for no reason" days as well, which is normal for most dosage changes for me. Maybe it'll last longer than usual when I'm off completely, maybe not.

Fatigue is still there but getting easier, I think.

Intro thread

 

Been taking escitalopram (10mg) for one year.

10 November 2015 - went down to 5mg on doctor's advice but found it too sharp and went back up to 10mg

28 November 2015 - down to 9mg

18 December 2015 - 8mg

8 January 2016 - 7.2 mg

22 January 2016 - 6.5 mg

Continued reducing 10% every 3-6 weeks depending on additional symptoms. Stopped getting reactions to reduction in doses below 1mg. Last dose at 0.2 mg.

27 July 2016 - stopped taking it altogether

Link to comment
  • 2 months later...

So roughly 9-10 weeks after stopping completely, I hit a bit of a wall. I felt FANTASTIC when I first stopped, settled down to a sort of equilibrium afterwards, and then fairly suddenly my mood dropped and I had a week of really bad anxiety, lots of thoughts about being a bad person and thinking my partner was going to leave me.

 

I'm not really sure what it means or what to do about it. Maybe it's my brain adjusting, maybe this is a thing that happens now - while I had anxiety before going on Lexapro, I can identify triggers for those episodes and it's hard to tell with this one. Hard to tell whether it means I need to change something I'm doing or whether this is just what my brain does now.

Intro thread

 

Been taking escitalopram (10mg) for one year.

10 November 2015 - went down to 5mg on doctor's advice but found it too sharp and went back up to 10mg

28 November 2015 - down to 9mg

18 December 2015 - 8mg

8 January 2016 - 7.2 mg

22 January 2016 - 6.5 mg

Continued reducing 10% every 3-6 weeks depending on additional symptoms. Stopped getting reactions to reduction in doses below 1mg. Last dose at 0.2 mg.

27 July 2016 - stopped taking it altogether

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

The pattern you describe is very common: discontinue medication, feel great for a while, at some point symptoms creep in and linger for a bit. The part you haven't gone through yet is the symptoms diminishing. Be patient. You are healing.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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