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Sarabera: Ready to be free of Elavil after 34 years


Sarabera

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I'm so glad to have found this forum, I think this is just what I need to finally get free of the tricyclics that I've been on for most of my life. It's really amazing to me that I've actually been on drugs for so long, without any really serious attempt to break free until last June. I always assumed that I could get off it fairly easily if I wanted to, after all, I had missed a night or two now and then, and aside from disturbed sleep and sweats, it was totally bearable. I didn't really get the fact that I wasn't going to get the real effects of withdrawal until I was about a week out. Then the s*** really hits the fan.

 

Amitryptiline was my way of dealing with low-grade depression, and the 4 o'clockies that came along with that. A few years ago I started dealing with perimenopause, and the insomnia issues become much more severe. Eventually I started on progesterone, which was a godsend for me, and my depression has completely lifted. At the beginning of last year I got very serious about the insomnia issue, and getting very healthy in all ways--the list of things I have done for insomnia could fill a book. Suffice it to say that I'm very healthy otherwise (great diet, sleep hygiene, etc..) and I'm tired of being on this drug! I know it is messing with my blood sugar and interacting with the hormones. I've got to simplify things.

 

In June I made my first real attempt to get off. I was only taking 6 mg. at the time, so I naively thought jumping off would be fairly easy. The first week wasn't bad, just light-headed and spacy, a bit of an upset stomach. But by week two, my stomach was in a total uproar, insomnia came back with a vengeance, and I started to feel positively ill. Then I finally did some research and realized this was not going to be easy. I have some experience with tapering off of a benzo, so I know the principles. Can believe I was so clueless! I bounced my dosage up and down for years, never really understanding what I was doing to my body.

 

Currently I'm on 12.5 mg. amitryptiline. My sleep is still very unsettled with the hormone changes and addition of estrogen. I'm going to try to stabilize and get my sleep settled, on the estrogen for a while longer, as the sleep I do get is much better quality (very deep and restful). If I can't (too much reliance on sleeping pills) I'll have to drop the estrogen and reevaluate. Once I am stabilized my plan is to start a very slow taper. I figure it will probably take about a year. If anyone has feedback on this plan, or familiarity with a tricyclic taper, I'd love to hear from them! The idea of finally being drug free is very exciting to me.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Sarabera,

 

Welcome to SA.  It's great that you've found this site and you'll get lots of support and information.  It is recommended that you taper by 10% of the dose (you need to recalculate each time so it remains 10% of the last dose).

 

Thanks for filling in your signature block.  The following are links that might help you:

 

Video: Healing from Antidepressants: Patterns of Recovery

 

          Brain Remodelling

 

          Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

          tips-for-tapering-off-amitriptyline/

 

Please ask any questions in your Topic and use it as a journal of your progress.  If you click on the Follow this Topic (top right) you will be notified when someone replies.

 

Wishing you all the best, CC

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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Thanks for the welcome CC. It looks like it will be pretty easy to make a liquid and titrate down. That will be a lot easier than trying to cut pills into tiny pieces! I'm having a hard time getting a photo small enough for my avatar--do I need to go to a cartoon?

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

You're welcome.  Glad you managed to work out what you need to do.  There is another topic about liquids that you might like to check out, storage etc.

 

I had trouble getting my pic down to a suitable size (it was a photo).  Someone else might have some ideas about what to do.

 

CC

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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Dang, I just confirmed that estrogen and amitryptiline do interact. Estrogen potentiates the ami. and makes side effects worse. I highly suspected this was the case. About 1 1/2 hours after applying the estrogen, I can feel my body getting "zingy" and heart palpitations. Eventually they fade, but i'm getting more and more headaches. I'm going to have to drop the estrogen. Really a bummer as it was improving my sleep quite a bit, and other parts of my body also appreciated it. Makes me want to get off the amitryptiline even more. At least I can tolerate the progesterone!

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Sarabera

 

Well it's not good news, but at least now you know, which means you can do something about it.

 

If "other parts of my body" means a personal area, weekly intra-v cream might be worthwhile trying.  I was having issues there when I would roll over in bed or move to get out of a recliner chair and internally it would feel a bit like a chinese burn.  That's the only thing I can liken it to!  I haven't had it since I started the cream.

 

CC

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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 If "other parts of my body" means a personal area, weekly intra-v cream might be worthwhile trying.  I was having issues there when I would roll over in bed or move to get out of a recliner chair and internally it would feel a bit like a chinese burn.  That's the only thing I can liken it to!  I haven't had it since I started the cream.

 

 

Yes, that's one of the issues. Sex was becoming quite painful. Unfortunately the estrogen is taken up systemically even if only applied there (tried without success). I did read somewhere that the synthetic estrogens may not interact with the tricyclics, so I'll have to look into that (even though I am much more sold on bio-identicals).

 

I had a really bad night last night, without any sleep at all and was feeling quite dreadful. I finished an entire book (though a rather depressing one on criminal justice). But I got two hours of sleep this afternoon which made all the difference. Took 15mg flurazepam last night and it did absolutely nothing. I have found that taking progesterone makes it much less effective, I'm assuming the GABA receptor sites are bound up with progesterone instead and not available for the benzos. Ambien works okay, but I really don't like the "bounce back" from it. My doctor only gives me 15 pills for 6 months, that might become a problem soon if I can't stabilize.

 

I found a very interesting set of graphs on this site (sorry, can't recall where), illustrating the percentage of receptors bound up with citalopram and fluoxetine, based on the dosage. What is quite remarkable is the "fall off" from roughly 15 mgs. on down. If amitryptiline has a similar profile (which seems quite likely), this would explain several things--including why I didn't have a lot of problems bouncing my dosage around from 12.5 to 24 mgs. rather arbitrarily. This would also explain why it was such a shock to my system to go from 12.5 mgs. to 0 in the space of a month earlier this year, and why I could never stabilize on 6 mgs. this summer. My insomnia has been all over the place--could never predict whether I would get 0, or 4 or 8 hours of sleep that night.

 

So hopefully I can stabilize at 12.5mg with just progesterone (also interacts with amitryptiline, but apparently not as bad), and start a slow taper from that point again. I was quite depressed about being back up at 12.5mg, rather than the 6mg I was at earlier, but now in retrospect I don't think my body ever adapted to that dosage and it was doomed from the start. Now if I can squeeze some more Ambien out of my doctor I will feel a lot more confident.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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Had very good sleep last night--such a relief after a night with no sleep! Feeling a lot better about how to proceed. Estriol is currently on the shelf for now, back to just bio-identical progesterone at about 5 mg/day (I can "feel" the interaction of the recommended dose of 20mg/day, suggesting interaction with amitryptiline).

 

I've been trying to find a chart with the dosage of amitryptiline (or another tricyclic) and the relationship to plasma levels or better, 5HTT occupancy (serotonin receptors). I think this would be a very helpful way to schedule my withdrawal rate, for minimum chance of withdrawal symptoms. If I can get an idea of an acceptable drop (such as 5%), and an acceptable rate (between 2-4 weeks), I can chart the dosage drop for that period, that would give me the acceptable rate of drop. If anyone has done this, I'd love to know.

 

It's very clear to me now that going from 12.5mg to 6mg was a very unacceptable drop. Intuitively, it would seem that with lower dosages like that, it wouldn't be a big deal. But my body has shown me otherwise. I am having a problem with teeth grinding and tapping, in a way that seems uncontrollable and is on the verge of painful at times. Apparently those "tic" type movements are quite common with withdrawal from anticholinergic drugs, and amitryptiline is very anticholinergic. The word used by one site is "parkinsoniism", which I am very familiar with as my mother died of that. It will be interesting to see if this goes away (hopefully!) as I stabilize at 12.5 mg., and could be a good indicator for whether my withdrawal is proceeding to quickly.

 

Another thing I am looking into is why amitryptiline is associated with weight gain. I've been able to lose weight on a low-carb, high-fat diet, and I suspect that the weight producing effects of this drug are due to it's effects on blood sugar and/or insulin. I've done quite a bit of testing of my blood sugars, and they seem much more volatile than would be expected for my level of exercise, weight, health etc...A low-carb diet helps reduce a lot of this volatility, thus I think that is the reason why I've been able to lose weight. But another good reason to get off the drug.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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I'm copying this from a post  by nz11--so true! (i think I have only briefly gotten past the hypomanic stage at any one time)

 

Consider :

 

The curious phase; Symptom (S) thinking ‘Should I really still be taking this drug after 10 years use’ ‘Why do I feel so numb to life’ Lasts until next docs visit.

 

The enquiry phase; S, Asking doc questions like what the heck is this crap im swallowing anyway. Are you sure this is not addictive? Lasts for one consultation and about two weeks after.

 

The confused phase; S- Unhappy with doctor blitherings and a desire to start to do ‘googling’ 

 

The humiliation phase; S- after 10 mins of googling a sense of horror begins to descend and a tsunami of shear unbelief emerges…..timeframe -after 5 years I am still in it.

 

The urgency phase; S- A desire to tell the doctor ‘get me off this crap!!’ Lasts until next doctor visit and during his predictable kamakazi taper schedule.

 

The uninformed taper phase; S- On the doctors instructions you become drug free within a month often sooner.

 

The hypomanic phase; S- I am so glad I got that poison out of me  ….i feel much more alive. Timeframe about 1 week to 2 months.

 

The crash phase; S – a sense of wanting to die emerges. Occurs about 2-3 months once off the drug.

 

The akathisia phase; S- uncontrolled restlessness and uncontrolled psychological panic suicidality topped off with crying spells. 2-3 years.

 

The doc help me phase; S- a sudden urge to run to the doc / anyone in order to take away the suffering. 2 -4 years.

 

The terror/unimaginable/ I want to scream horror phase; S –PSSD, may last forever.

 

The un-patient me phase; S- A sudden realization sinks in that the doctor has no idea what he is doing, peddling or promoting. Comes on very quickly and may last for the rest of your life. It’s a major paradigm shifting phase. Can be triggered by experiencing full blown ssri withdrawal. Some are incapable of passing through this phase .

 

The im not taking anymore bullsh#t phase ; S- the growing of two antennae, ones called Blinkin and the others called Stupid or BS for short. Growth begins during the 10 mins of googling.

 

The uncontrollable anger phase; S- When the neighbours dog barks one time too many, one is overcome with a desire to nuke the neighbor, the neighbours house and pets. And that family member who criticizes me …oh boy you just started a cold war and the resurrection of the Berlin wall. 2 years maybe 3 years. A desire to say things that people can get put in jail for saying. If not careful collateral damage could last a life time.

 

The out of control manic/psychotic phase; S- A desire to persue self destructive actions and reckless spending and foolish impulsive decision making. 3 4 years...and anytime while on the drug.

 

The I cant take this anymore in the mornings phase; S- A desire to go to bed and never wake up again. 4 years

 

The windows and waves phase; S- windows and waves, years.

 

I am not going to make it phase; S- about 3-4 years.

 

I am outraged about what has happened to me  phase; S writing letters of complaints prolifically ….kicks in at about the 2 year stage…

 

The diarrhea and flatulence phase; S – diarrhea and flatulence , ongoing may last for years.

 

The insomnia phase; S - cant get a regular nights sleep, should resolve itself  usually takes  about 9 years

The OCD phase; S – OCD; usually only realized with hindsight and insight. Maybe 5 years.

 

The chronic fatigue and muscle weakness phase; S - fatigue and weakness, Not sure how long it lasts but i hope it resolves soon cos at 5 years this phase truly sucks. 

 

The I found SA phase; S- Overwhelming thankfulness and relief one is not alone, also a sudden desire to welcome every newbie...with a flood of opinions, Can last a long time and may become  an addiction...after 5 years im still in it. Hoping to taper sometime soon.

 

oh yeah one more ...The i'm getting on with my life phase ; S- forgetting to check in to sa because i have a life to live  ...hopefully kicks in sooner rather than later.

 

There are heaps more but this is just a couple that came to mind!

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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Glad to report that I have slept well the last three nights, hopefully tonight will go well, as tomorrow will be challenging (big family thing, lots of travel). I have a very rough log of diet, meds, sleep etc...but I need something much more structured. I'll probably print up something on the computer. The log I have has already proven quite valuable and also helps keep me from jumping around and doing stupid things. 

 

Stopped by a pharmacy, and talked with the pharmacist about amitryptiline. I told him my situation and asked for his input on tapering. He looked up some stuff and I was a bit surprised that he told me a 10% dosage reduction per month (expecting a much more aggressive taper response). He even volunteered to write it out for me. He's going to see if he can find a chart of amitryptiline with dose and plasma levels, or dose and receptor binding levels. I'm going to also plot out the dosage reduction schedule I calculated to see what that looks like. 

 

Currently on a diluted estrogen--.08 once a day. I'm torn about how to proceed with that, as it definitely improves my sleep quality, but it is interacting with the ami. Also irritates the bladder somewhat (don't know what is up with that).

 

Ami is currently about 11.5mg (using smaller piece from halved pills). I'll probably get a digital scale to begin with (get an accurate measurement), then switch to a liquid titration further on. Tried the 10mg pills once, and for some reason they seem to feel different, don't know, may be superstitious thinking. Cutting down the 25s should work okay.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Once I am stabilized my plan is to start a very slow taper. I figure it will probably take about a year. If anyone has feedback on this plan, or familiarity with a tricyclic taper, I'd love to hear from them! The idea of finally being drug free is very exciting to me.

It's great that you are going to slow taper.  I wouldn't put a time frame on it, though - a year really isn't that long.  I think it's better to adapt your plan according to how your body responds, and let it take however long it takes.  After so many years, your body will have a lot of adjustments to make.  It is interesting to see that many of the issues you've experienced with a TCA are similar to those common for SSRIs (teeth-grinding, sleep issues, stomach problems, etc.).  I'd recommend being very careful with Ambien and other sleep meds, as extended use of z-drugs can also lead to dependence issues.  Have you tried melatonin?

 

Great to read of a pharmacist who has some idea about slow tapering!  I met one pharmacist who told me he was an expert on SSRIs, who went around the country giving lectures on them to doctors and so on, who told me that when you're ready you can just stop taking them!  If you have any problems, it means you still need them and you're not ready to come off.  I don't go into his pharmacy any more.

 

Good luck with your taper - you sound very organised, with logs and everything!

 

2001–2002 paroxetine

2003  citalopram

2004-2008  paroxetine (various failed tapers) 
2008  paroxetine slow taper down to

2016  Aug off paroxetine
2016  citalopram May 20mg  Oct 15mg … slow taper down
2018  citalopram 13 Feb 4.6mg 15 Mar 4.4mg 29 Apr 4.2mg 6 Jul 4.1mg 17 Aug 4.0mg  18 Nov 3.8mg
2019  15 Mar 3.6mg  21 May 3.4mg  26 Dec 3.2mg 

2020  19 Feb 3.0mg 19 Jul 2.9mg 16 Sep 2.8mg 25 Oct 2.7mg 23 Oct 2.6mg 24 Dec 2.5mg

2021   29 Aug 2.4mg   15 Nov 2.3mg

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Thanks, Songbird--yes, the more I read here, the more I realize I will probably be tapering for more like 2 years. Kind of a bummer to process, but I guess 2 years isn't much time in the grand scheme of things. And I really, really want to avoid some of the terrible withdrawal symptoms that I am reading about. I feel incredibly lucky that I am fairly stable and not dealing with depression right now, don't want to upset that ball cart!

 

Tricyclics are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, but they also inhibit norepinephrine reuptake. The SSRIs inhibit only serotonin reuptake (hope I got all that right!). So yes, many of the symptoms are very much the same.

 

I did at one point (almost immediately) develop tolerance/dependence on Temazepam (benzo). That was quite dreadful. I had to titrate it and take small doses around the clock to fend of withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately i got good advice and was able to taper off without too many issues. I have a lot of theories about why that happened so quickly (having to do with GABA receptors) but I won't go into that. I try to be extremely disciplined with Z-drugs, even if it means doing without sleep. But I know they are no good for my brain--memory zappers. 

 

Melatonin has a very strange effect on me. I get absolutely NO sleep the first night I take it. Tried again with a much smaller dose, once again zero sleep 1st night. But I noticed a strange pattern--the next few nights I had fantastic sleep, fading progressively back to insomnia. Tried it again, rinse and repeat. It's not worth the "killer night" and I worry what it does to my brain (being such a potent hormone). I've never heard of this reaction before, if anyone has a plausible explanation, I'd love to hear it.

 

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and looking forward to a New Year of being less (or no) drugged!!

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

Link to comment

Thanks, Songbird--yes, the more I read here, the more I realize I will probably be tapering for more like 2 years. Kind of a bummer to process, but I guess 2 years isn't much time in the grand scheme of things. And I really, really want to avoid some of the terrible withdrawal symptoms that I am reading about. I feel incredibly lucky that I am fairly stable and not dealing with depression right now, don't want to upset that ball cart!

 

Tricyclics are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, but they also inhibit norepinephrine reuptake. The SSRIs inhibit only serotonin reuptake (hope I got all that right!). So yes, many of the symptoms are very much the same.

 

Don't worry if it takes you two years. You are going to be on them anyway, so take it as slow as you need to.

 

I'm on Elavil's cousin Pamelor (Nortriptyline). I'm down to 1.6mg and holding until the new year. I've been holding since Nov 1. It appears that you need to slow down when you get to the lower doses.

Prozac 1999-2009 quit semi cold turkey.

 

2012 Placed on Seroquel 25 mg, Tranxene (Clorezepate) 3.75 mg 3x a day, Remeron 30 mg for anxiety/akathesia.

 

Weaned off Seroquel and Tranxene .to Remeron 15 Mg.

In May 2014 tried quitting Remeron at its lowest dose. Had severe withdrawals.Reinstated Remeron at 30 mg by doctor. August 5 2014 entered hospital. Doctor pulled the Remeron and bridged it to Pamelor (Nortriptyline) 40mg and Zyprexa 2.5mg.After removing the Remeron all my bad symptoms went away and I am stable.

 

9/11/14 - 7.5 mg tranxene, 40mg Pamelor, Zyprexa 2.5mg

12/29/14 -  20mg Pamelor, 1/6/15,  7/31/15 3.5mg, 8/10/15 3.2 mg, 9/15/15 2.2mg, 10/15/15 1.8mg

(Feb 2016 - 1.4mg Pamelor only -  OFF OF TRANXENE AND ZYPREXA SINCE DEC 2014 BENZO FREE Since 2014. Nortrityline (Pamelor) .8mg Aug 2016

March 2017 DRUG FREE

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I was irresponsibly told to cold turkey off of a tricyclic by my former doctors. All the best with your taper.

 

Please note that tricyclics are known to affect the thyroid, so yes, hormone stuff may be icky. My stupid doctors never warned me about that ahead of time.

*I'm not a doctor and don't give medical advice, just personal experience
**Off all meds since Nov. 2014. Mentally & emotionally recovered; physically not
-Dual cold turkeys off TCA & Ativan in Oct 2014. Prescribed from 2011-2014

-All meds were Rxed off-label for an autoimmune illness.  It was a MISDIAGNOSIS, but I did not find out until AFTER meds caused damage.  All med tapers/cold turkeys directed by doctors 

-Nortriptyline May 2012 - Dec 2013. Cold turkey off nortrip & cold switched to desipramine

-Desipramine Jan 2014 - Oct. 29, 2014 (rapid taper/cold turkey)

-Lorazepam 1 mg per night during 2011
-Lorazepam 1 mg per month in 2012 (or less)

-Lorazepam on & off, Dec 2013 through Aug 2014. Didn't exceed 3x a week

-Lorazepam again in Oct. 2014 to help get off of desipramine. Last dose lzpam was 1 mg, Nov. 2, 2014. Immediate paradoxical reactions to benzos after stopping TCAs 

-First muscle/dystonia side effects started on nortriptyline, but docs too stupid to figure it out. On desipramine, muscle tremors & rigidity worsened

-Two weeks after I got off all meds, I developed full-blown TD.  Tardive dystonia, dyskinesia, myoclonic jerks ALL over body, ribcage wiggles, facial tics, twitching tongue & fingers, tremors/twitches of arms, legs, cognitive impairment, throat muscles semi-paralyzed & unable to swallow solid food, brain zaps, ears ring, dizzy, everything looks too far away, insomnia, numbness & electric shocks everywhere when I try to fall asleep, jerk awake from sleep with big, gasping breaths, wake with terrors & tremors, severely depressed.  NO HISTORY OF DEPRESSION, EVER. Meds CREATED it.

-Month 7: hair falling out; no vision improvement; still tardive dystonia; facial & tongue tics returned
-Month 8: back to acute, incl. Grand Mal seizure-like episodes. New mental torment, PGAD, worse insomnia
-Month 9: tardive dystonia worse, dyskinesia returned. Unable to breathe well due to dystonia in stomach, chest, throat
-Month 13: Back to acute, brain zaps back, developed eczema & stomach problems. Left leg no longer works right due to dystonia, meaning both legs now damaged
-7 years off: Huge improvements, incl. improved dystonia

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Don't worry if it takes you two years. You are going to be on them anyway, so take it as slow as you need to.

 

I'm on Elavil's cousin Pamelor (Nortriptyline). I'm down to 1.6mg and holding until the new year. I've been holding since Nov 1. It appears that you need to slow down when you get to the lower doses.

 

 

 

Nice to hear from someone else who is doing well on a tricyclic taper! I have to admit I feel a bit out of place here, as so few are on tricyclics, I'm not in a desperate place, and I seem to be the only one who has been drugged for this long. I will definitely keep an eye on your progress.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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I was irresponsibly told to cold turkey off of a tricyclic by my former doctors. All the best with your taper.

 

Please note that tricyclics are known to affect the thyroid, so yes, hormone stuff may be icky. My stupid doctors never warned me about that ahead of time.

Hi Wigglelt--Sorry to hear you were given such bad advice and it has been so difficult for you. I've never known that tricyclics affect the thyroid, so I'll have to look into that (learning something wonderful every day, like why my gums are receding!). Best wishes on continued recovery!

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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Had two bad nights in a row, I guess the estriol is going to have to go--even at the very tiny dose of .08mg.. I can feel when it gets into my bloodstream (about 1 1/2 hours after application), and I had pretty strong heart palpitations last night. I ended up going with a half an ambien, cutting my supply down to 3 1/2 pills. I seriously don't think that ambien is even working that much (I think I would have fallen asleep eventually anyway) so I need to be stronger/more patient. Slept in late so I did get enough sleep fortunately. I'd really like to feel that I have stabilized, and not having a lot of insomnia issues before I start my taper. Very frustrating.

 

I've been thinking a LOT about how the he** I got here, and having a bit of an existential crisis. I've been drugged my entire adult life! The longest I've ever not been on a drug was for a 2 week "washout" period before starting on something else. I mean, I'm not even sure who I would be if I wasn't on drugs! I've defined myself as a depressive, someone who needs a crutch to get by, someone with a fragile mind that needs coddling (my brain that is). I kid my husband and tell him I might be a different person if I wasn't drugged, but seriously I'm not really confident of getting off and being "normal". Trying hard not to talk with others about this, as I don't think many would understand, only those of us who have been there.

 

I'd really like to hear more success stories about people who have been on ADs for a very long time, and have gotten off and continued with life feeling fairly "normal". Having normal sleep patterns and not struggling with insomnia would be a bonus. I guess the successes aren't going to be hanging around here.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Have you read all the links in the recovery section?  Be advised that there are recovery links WITHIN links, so you can't always tell what something will be about just from the title.  I do recall some success stories in there for people who had been drugged their whole lives.  While they still struggled with depression after withdrawal—because they had it BEFORE meds—some had expressed that they learned to cope with depression better when off the meds.  Maybe that can give you a bit of hope...

*I'm not a doctor and don't give medical advice, just personal experience
**Off all meds since Nov. 2014. Mentally & emotionally recovered; physically not
-Dual cold turkeys off TCA & Ativan in Oct 2014. Prescribed from 2011-2014

-All meds were Rxed off-label for an autoimmune illness.  It was a MISDIAGNOSIS, but I did not find out until AFTER meds caused damage.  All med tapers/cold turkeys directed by doctors 

-Nortriptyline May 2012 - Dec 2013. Cold turkey off nortrip & cold switched to desipramine

-Desipramine Jan 2014 - Oct. 29, 2014 (rapid taper/cold turkey)

-Lorazepam 1 mg per night during 2011
-Lorazepam 1 mg per month in 2012 (or less)

-Lorazepam on & off, Dec 2013 through Aug 2014. Didn't exceed 3x a week

-Lorazepam again in Oct. 2014 to help get off of desipramine. Last dose lzpam was 1 mg, Nov. 2, 2014. Immediate paradoxical reactions to benzos after stopping TCAs 

-First muscle/dystonia side effects started on nortriptyline, but docs too stupid to figure it out. On desipramine, muscle tremors & rigidity worsened

-Two weeks after I got off all meds, I developed full-blown TD.  Tardive dystonia, dyskinesia, myoclonic jerks ALL over body, ribcage wiggles, facial tics, twitching tongue & fingers, tremors/twitches of arms, legs, cognitive impairment, throat muscles semi-paralyzed & unable to swallow solid food, brain zaps, ears ring, dizzy, everything looks too far away, insomnia, numbness & electric shocks everywhere when I try to fall asleep, jerk awake from sleep with big, gasping breaths, wake with terrors & tremors, severely depressed.  NO HISTORY OF DEPRESSION, EVER. Meds CREATED it.

-Month 7: hair falling out; no vision improvement; still tardive dystonia; facial & tongue tics returned
-Month 8: back to acute, incl. Grand Mal seizure-like episodes. New mental torment, PGAD, worse insomnia
-Month 9: tardive dystonia worse, dyskinesia returned. Unable to breathe well due to dystonia in stomach, chest, throat
-Month 13: Back to acute, brain zaps back, developed eczema & stomach problems. Left leg no longer works right due to dystonia, meaning both legs now damaged
-7 years off: Huge improvements, incl. improved dystonia

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Yes, Wigglelt, I'm finding this place is kind of a labyrinth! I start chasing down threads and links and then I can't recall at all how I got to the one place!

 

Had a dreadful night/day yesterday--only 3 hours of sleep early in the night and felt awful yesterday. I couldn't take a sleeping pill because it was time to take a break. We had to go to a party and that was not fun. Last night I took a whole Ambien, then slept 9 or 10 hours! it was delicious and I feel sooo much better, but I've only got 2 Ambien left. I'm hoping that the flurazepam will work again when I get the estrogen out of my system, plus cutting back progesterone to the smallest working dose. The flurazepam quit working when I updosed the progesterone (hoping it would help insomnia). I've got 30 flurazepam, so should be good for quite a while.

 

Stopped by the compounding pharmacy to talk with the pharmacist about options for tapering. She really tried to talk me into having the doses compounded individually by them, but at $45 each drop (prescription), no way I'm doing that. Another option is to have amitryptiline compounded into a liquid--should last at least 60 days, longer if I ignore the FDA guidelines (which were recently drastically shortened, due to problems with that compounding pharmacy back east). I think I would prefer to pick up the suspension liquid (Ora-plus or similar), with a prescription, and make up my own mixtures. She tried to steer me away from that, but I don't see why that would be an issue (I can do math!).

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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Another bad night with ZERO sleep. I took a full flurazepam about 4 AM, that was not a good idea, I really need to keep my exposure to the z-drugs down. Of course it did absolutely nothing! I can't for the life of me figure out why a full 15mg flurazepam does nothing now, when I used to be "lights out" on only 5mg. It's not tolerance--have only taken 2 in the last month. Now I don't have a clue what to do--2 Ambien left, my doctor probably won't give me any more, my sleep button is completely fried right now. I just feel groggy now, but I'm sure I'll feel pretty awful as the day goes on. Can't even think about tapering until I get my insomnia ironed out somehow.

 

I've got to figure out another activity besides reading, I'm tired of reading. The computer screen seems to wake me up too much. Maybe take up crochet again?

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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Hi Sara,

 

I understand the " no - sleep " thing. It's 3.33am here & no sleep. Apparently you can get Blue- blocker glasses, for the computer. I have to look into that as well , obviously . I'm not sure about the Flurozepam, or Ambien ( which is not mentioned in your sig. ). How long have you been on that ?  The more information given here, the better we can help you. Do you feel the progesterone lifted the depression ?

 

Best wishes,

Ali.

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Hi Ali,

I've got a pair of blue-blocker goggles, but they are in pretty sad shape now after being thrown around the bed, etc...I need to order a new, better pair. I do think they help when I put them on in the evening, if I take them off for any reason, the light seems way too bright and irritating. I'd like to switch more of the bathroom and hallway lights to the newer blue-blocking bulbs.

 

Regarding progesterone--I can't think of what else would have made such a profound difference at the time. My depressive periods became less severe as I got older, but I still had quite a bit of seasonal depression (fall/winter) that was very hard to deal with. I started using a bio-identical progesterone (OTC topical cream) very gingerly at first, but once I was using it continuously, my episodes of depression completely disappeared. The only time I get depressed now, is the day before I get ill (cold, flue, UTI etc..), just enough to remind how dreadful it was. It took me a year before I completely believed that it was gone.

 

I've made other changes in the last year or so, such as quitting artificial sweeteners, quitting sugar, and completely revamping my diet to a low-carb, high-fat, primalish, "real food" diet. But these changes came about a year after I started seeing my depression completely lift. I can't say 100% for sure it was the progesterone, but I know that it does make me calmer, less anxious, less irritable and less impulsive, more thoughtful. So overall it has been a very positive thing. I've heard that progesterone can exacerbate depression in some people, but I believe that is the synthetic progestins that you would get via prescription. I'm leary of recommending it for that reason--but at the least, get hormone testing done if you suspect it might be an issue. I use a very small dose of about 5mg (1/4 of the recommended dose of 20mg). It does seem to interact with my amitryptiline, which is obvious at higher doses, so it is possible there is a chemical reaction in my body producing this result--I guess I won't know until I'm off the amitryptiline.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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Last night I was feeling a little desperate--no sleep the night before, only 2 Ambien left that need to last me 3 months, I kind of made up my mind that I had to get through the night without "help" even if it meant no sleep. Reading on here and BBuddies about people that had no sleep for days on end, I felt a bit of a "wuss" and knew it wouldn't kill me. Plus not having to work for a few days is helpful. No better time than now to see what happens.

 

So I set up my husbands Ipad with sleep sounds--I had no idea that there was so much available for free on you-tube! Hundreds of different combos, waves, rain, babbling brooks, campfires, zen music, anything you could imagine for sleep music, and many of them run for 8-11 hours. With a pair of noise-blocking headphones, the sound quality was very good. OMG--that was the ticket! After I found the perfect rainstorm, within a minute I felt so relaxed that I didn't even mind that I wasn't asleep! Almost a feeling of being drugged and not wanting to move a bit. I had bought a couple of CDs of sleep sounds years before and it didn't work for me (I don't think I really had the perfect sounds for me), but with so much available, there's got to be the perfect soundtrack for anybody! Slept a few hours, woke up and fiddle-farted with headphones and sleep buds, slept another hour, woke up and read for a couple hours, then slept another 4 hours. Altogether a very successful, z-drug free night. I would recommend trying this for anybody with sleep issues.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Thanks for sharing this Sara! Very happy for you. I have also discovered the power of you tube sleeping and relaxation videos.

 

What better way of entering the new year than with a great new habit in formation :)

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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Hi Bubbles, Happy New Years Day! My only resolution is to safely taper down off of this drug. Probably not off completely, but hopefully down around 1mg.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

Link to comment

I just committed myself to making my own taper liquid. Ordered the Ora-plus suspension "vehicle". I like having control over the dilution and not having to pay for compounding. Also ordered graduated cylinders and small measuring spoons (for something else). Sounds like the Ora-plus is not very tasty--is anyone using this? Do you mix it with something else or just swallow as-is? I'm also wondering if the drug hitting my system all at once will be unpleasant, maybe try taking it in two doses about a half-hour apart.

 

After three nights of fairly decent quality sleep, I feel ready to begin soon. If all goes well, as soon as the Ora-plus arrives I'll do a switch over (same dosage) for a bit and see how that feels.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Good luck.  Hope it goes well.  CC

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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Thanks, Chessie!

 

Wow, these threads sure move down fast if you don't update! Sleep has been rather up and down, mostly down. I'm dropping progesterone to simplify things. The hot flashes have not been unbearable. The amount I was using was very small and I'm pretty sure it is interacting with both the amitryptiline (definitely was at a higher dosage) and the flurazepam (benzo) as they bond to the same receptors. I really need the flurazepam to work well right now, so I can quit worrying about sleep. I finally noticed that the flurazepam was actually making me feel a bit wired, but eventually kicked in early morning, and made me really groggy if I got up then. Hopefully removing the progesterone will take care of that, and the flurazepam can kick in right away, at a lower dose. Still don't have the Ora-plus, but tonight I'm switching to the 10mg pills with an added 1mg dissolved in water.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Sarabera,

I just read through your thread and have to say you remind me of myself before I found this site. I was trying to figure out what to take and what not to take so I could sleep and stay calm and continue functioning. I was continually adjusting doses of my own bio-hormones, benzos,  and other medications and supplements. But I was already in withdrawal from a too fast taper off an antidepressant, so you are way ahead of me by finding this site before you start.

 

I'm surprised that you are dropping your progesterone because from reading, I get the impression that was the one thing which really helped your original depression.

 

Something I wanted to mention is to be careful with taking benzos irregularly. While your nervous system remains stable, its probably fine to take them 1 - 2 times a week, but in a NS sensitized by withdrawal, its much easier to build up tolerance, get rebound withdrawal or have them turn paradoxical.

 

Here is another topic with great information about successfully tapering: The rule of 3KIS: Keep it simple. Keep it slow. Keep it stable.

 

Good luck, it sounds like you are very well organized, I'm sure you will do fine and we are here to support you.

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 Petunia,

Thanks so much for your input, I will definitely check out your story. Best wishes on your continued improvement! I try to be organized and calm, but really underneath I am all over the place. So for instance last night I decided to add back the progesterone. I'm having a lot of problems with heart palpitations, and I think it helps that. I know I need to quit fiddling with stuff and just stay the course, but after a bad night it is hard not to reevaluate. I don't want to use the benzos, but I get panicky after a couple of nights with 0-2 hours of sleep, and feel so much better with more sleep. But it may be a moot point, as the flurazepam doesn't seem to do much for me anyway, and Ambien is gone.

 

Had a colonoscopy the day before yesterday and was seriously sedated. Came home and slept 12 hours. So I guess it is not surprising that I only slept about 3 hours last night. GRRRR if I could just get my sleep to a somewhat better place!

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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Hi Sarah I just wanted to stop in and

Give you a virtual hug. I'm 6.5 months post part and have been suffering from extreme insomnia since I first became pregnant. There's no predictability with mine- I've had waves and windows. I totally feel like I'm in the same boat as you. I was taking mirtazapine for sleep but it stopped working. I can't take ambien as I've had some nasty experiences with it. It might sound weird but it's good to know I'm not the only person functioning on very little sleep sometimes. I wish I had some words of wisdom. I've learned I can function on 2-3 hours if I have to. Are you able to work?

11/20/14-Found out I was 8 weeks pregnant
1/30/15-Went to ER for panic attacks, insomnia. Put on Lorazepam 2 X daily and Trazodone 50mg for 2 weeks
Started seeing psychiatrist 2/10- told to CT Lorazepam and trazodone increased to 100mg. Began Zoloft 25mg Zoloft increased 2/16 to 50mg, Trazodone increased to 200mg.

2/20- CT trazodone-lots of GI stress, increased anxiety

2/25 Reduced zoloft to 37.5mg no problems

3/12 reduced to 25mg  no problems

3/19 reduced to 12.5 mg. Hit by a 3.5 week wave-insomnia, Intrusive thoughts, depression, stomach cramps

Reduced to 11mg using liquid taper on 4/10 after a week of a great window. Started another wave 4/13-hoping it's a much smaller wave

Jumped off at 2mg 4 days after the birth of our baby on 6/16/15-massive crash

Tried 5mg Lexapro for 4 days July 2015-it didn't help

7.5-15 mg mirtazapine 1-2X week from August-January 2016 for insomnia. Sometimes used more, sometimes used less during sleep windows/waves. Quit being effective for insomnia in January 2016. 

Have a perscription for alprazolam .5mg PRN but it doesn't work on me for sleep

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm surprised that you are dropping your progesterone because from reading, I get the impression that was the one thing which really helped your original depression.

Progesterone affects a number of neurotransmitter systems, including serotonin.  I would have thought it would be a better idea to keep the natural progesterone rather than the benzo!  "Quit fiddling with stuff" as you put it, is probably a good idea. 

 

Have you tried relaxation exercises, or a sleep CD?

2001–2002 paroxetine

2003  citalopram

2004-2008  paroxetine (various failed tapers) 
2008  paroxetine slow taper down to

2016  Aug off paroxetine
2016  citalopram May 20mg  Oct 15mg … slow taper down
2018  citalopram 13 Feb 4.6mg 15 Mar 4.4mg 29 Apr 4.2mg 6 Jul 4.1mg 17 Aug 4.0mg  18 Nov 3.8mg
2019  15 Mar 3.6mg  21 May 3.4mg  26 Dec 3.2mg 

2020  19 Feb 3.0mg 19 Jul 2.9mg 16 Sep 2.8mg 25 Oct 2.7mg 23 Oct 2.6mg 24 Dec 2.5mg

2021   29 Aug 2.4mg   15 Nov 2.3mg

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After a night of one hour sleep (that's five total in the last 3 days) I'm pretty fed up. I started doing some research on the sedative that they gave me for the colonoscopy. The drugs I was given were:

6 mg. midazolam (Versed)

200 mcg. fentanyl

50 mg. diphenhydramine

 

I'm pissy because I checked on the drugs a few days before the procedure, and they told me that none of them were benzodiazephines. Midazolam is a benzo, and a short-acting one--I had a very bad experience with a short-acting benzo before (Temazepam) and developed almost instant tolerance/withdrawal symptoms. The doctor told my husband that they had to give me a ton (like 3 times normal) of sedation, and that next time I would need to be put under. I'm not sure if that was because it took so long (I have an overly long colon with twists and turns, and nine polyps), or just not easily sedated (I was watching the whole time, commenting, asking questions).

 

So apparently that sedation has completely thrown my body out of whack. I think I'm going to have to taper using flurazepam, so maybe I'm moving to the benzo forum, I can't function like this any longer. I'm trying to get ahold of the gastro doc's office to see what they have to say about it. Obviously the amitryptiline taper is totally on the back burner right now, and I'm fighting the urge to updose.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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Hi Sarah- Just wanted to say I'm feeling like you're a kindred spirit with the sleep stuff. It's so hard not to panic when it goes badly, and feel like you have to "do something" after a few bad nights. I'm bugged for you that you were given a benzo when you specifically did not want that ugh. I too am pretty impossible to knock out, I think some people are just wired that way. Probably a cave-man thing, maybe it was a useful trait way back when. Who knows. I'm hoping you get some answers soon. I've gone through long stretches of insomnia and then been surprised by a life saving good night out of nowhere. How are you coping after several bad nights? Are you able to function/work/etc? 

11/20/14-Found out I was 8 weeks pregnant
1/30/15-Went to ER for panic attacks, insomnia. Put on Lorazepam 2 X daily and Trazodone 50mg for 2 weeks
Started seeing psychiatrist 2/10- told to CT Lorazepam and trazodone increased to 100mg. Began Zoloft 25mg Zoloft increased 2/16 to 50mg, Trazodone increased to 200mg.

2/20- CT trazodone-lots of GI stress, increased anxiety

2/25 Reduced zoloft to 37.5mg no problems

3/12 reduced to 25mg  no problems

3/19 reduced to 12.5 mg. Hit by a 3.5 week wave-insomnia, Intrusive thoughts, depression, stomach cramps

Reduced to 11mg using liquid taper on 4/10 after a week of a great window. Started another wave 4/13-hoping it's a much smaller wave

Jumped off at 2mg 4 days after the birth of our baby on 6/16/15-massive crash

Tried 5mg Lexapro for 4 days July 2015-it didn't help

7.5-15 mg mirtazapine 1-2X week from August-January 2016 for insomnia. Sometimes used more, sometimes used less during sleep windows/waves. Quit being effective for insomnia in January 2016. 

Have a perscription for alprazolam .5mg PRN but it doesn't work on me for sleep

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I've had four nights of just delicious, over-the-top (like 10 hours plus!) sleep. Making up for lost sleep I guess! I think most of it is due to a largish (30mg.) dose of flurazepam that I took Tuesday night, and the "dead cat bounce" effect from that. Flurazepam is very slow to metabolize, stays in the system for quite a while, which is why it is no longer used much. This gives it a natural taper, but is also a bit sedating during the day (never bothered me). So I'll have to see how things shake out as it works it's way out of my system. Hopefully my benzo exposure has not been enough to create problems for me. I've used a lot of zoplicone and ambien lately, plus the large dose of imovane that they gave me for the colonoscopy, much more "stuff" than I usually use. I'm done with zopiclone, never want to use that stuff again.

 

The only good thing from that is that I finally figured out how to use the flurazepam effectively--it's all about timing, taking it at 2 AM is not going to help. Just knowing that I have that as a back up when I get into a serious sleep "hole" is very reassuring to me, and makes sleepless nights now and then bearable. I'm back on the progesterone at a very low dose of 2.5 mg in the morning so it doesn't interact with the amitryptiline.

 

I'm working more on the theory of insomnia as a circadian rhythm disorder. One thing that I have noticed is that if I get sleepy after dinner, the old "dozing on the couch with TV in background", my sleep is often ruined for that night. It's as if my body has used up all the "sleepy juice" for the night. So I'm working on keeping my carbs at dinnertime to a more minimal level, around 20g or so max. Absolutely no sugar or alcohol as those are rapidly metabolized and will definitely bring on early sleepiness. Last night I had to really fight it after a large dinner, getting up and walking around a bit. If I then read in bed until my eyes can't even focus, I'll fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow, which is fantastic.

 

I've also picked up Rockingchaircat's light box and am using that for about 20 minutes in the morning. I find it very irritating unless I can get it up quite high (more like sunshine I guess?). Using the blue blocker glasses more consistently from 8 pm on. The weather has improved somewhat, so I'm working outside a lot more and I'm sure that helps. It will be interesting to see how my sleep shakes out as the benzo continues to work it's way out, and I get caught up on sleep. I can't be staying in bed until 9AM every morning! (for now it is really nice though....)

 

Once again I realize, after reading the stories here, that I really am lucky and am able to function at a pretty good level. I know how fortunate I am, and realize that there is no good reason for me to muck with my AD level at anything but the most conservative of rates. My heart goes out to all here that are struggling so hard, and especially those who have given up the fight. Wishing for all to get to a peaceful place soon.

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I've used a lot of zoplicone and ambien lately, plus the large dose of imovane that they gave me for the colonoscopy, much more "stuff" than I usually use. I'm done with zopiclone, never want to use that stuff again.

 

I'm a bit confused here:  Imovane = zopiclone

2001–2002 paroxetine

2003  citalopram

2004-2008  paroxetine (various failed tapers) 
2008  paroxetine slow taper down to

2016  Aug off paroxetine
2016  citalopram May 20mg  Oct 15mg … slow taper down
2018  citalopram 13 Feb 4.6mg 15 Mar 4.4mg 29 Apr 4.2mg 6 Jul 4.1mg 17 Aug 4.0mg  18 Nov 3.8mg
2019  15 Mar 3.6mg  21 May 3.4mg  26 Dec 3.2mg 

2020  19 Feb 3.0mg 19 Jul 2.9mg 16 Sep 2.8mg 25 Oct 2.7mg 23 Oct 2.6mg 24 Dec 2.5mg

2021   29 Aug 2.4mg   15 Nov 2.3mg

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