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sebastian A diary on tapering off zyprexa


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I have been on Zyprexa for 2.5 years.  I was started on 2.5mgs of Zyprexa and .5mgs of Klonopin during a hospitalization for major depressive disorder.  I have tried to get off Zyprexa twice and I am on my third try.  The first time, I went down to 1.5mgs but the withdrawal symptoms were severe even though I went down very slowly (2.5, 2.0, 1.75, 1.5).  Well, it was not slow enough for me.  I went through major symptoms (confussion, depression, dizziness) and had to go back to 2.5 mgs again.  The second time, I was only able to go down to 2.0mgs.  i got the symptoms back.  The only difference was that the second time, I used a liquid suspension whereas the first time I compounded.  After the second failure, 2.5mgs was no longer stabilizing me and i went to 3.75mgs and, from there, following another bout of depression, to 5mgs.  I am now again trying to taper down. I went from 5.0mgs to 4.5mgs and then 3.6.  During every taper, I hold on the dose for a month.  But the taper to 3.6 mgs has been a bit difficult.  I am dizzy most of the day.  It feels like the dizziness is starting to go away earlier during the day, but I am still struggling.  Not sure whether to go back up to 4mgs or just keep at 3.6mgs for a longer time (it has not been a month yet).  Any thoughts are truly appreciated.  It is a trying time. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey there Sebastian,


Sorry it's all being so very difficult for you - you must be frustrated as anything by now.  Glad you've found this site. 


You made a really good attempt to taper slowly, but sadly not quite slowly enough.  We recommend tapering by no more than 10% each 4-6 weeks, in order to lessen withdrawal symptoms. 


Each time you go up or down in dosage, your central-nervous-system becomes a bit more sensitised.  So it will be more important than ever for you to try these lower reductions.  Some people use smaller drops than these.  It's better to start small and reassess later if all goes well, than start big and crash again. 


Your latest drop from 4.5 to 3.6 was a 20% drop.  How long ago did you do that?  You might find some relief in reinstating to 4mg, and holding at that dose for at least 6 weeks.  Then see how stable you feel.  You may like to hold longer.  When you do get stable you can look at making a gentle plan to taper.  Tips for tapering Zyprexa.


Would you be able to put your tapering and drug details in a signature so we can easily see your situation whenever you post? 


It is a trying time - have a look in the Symptoms and Self-Care forum for some ideas.  Many people do well with magnesium and fish-oil


Well, have a read of those links and then you can come back to this thread to ask any questions you may have.  This can be your journal to record your tapering progress.  It's good to have you here.  Let us know what you decide about reinstating.


Best wishes,


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.

2023 Now on 7 micro-beads of Effexor. Minimal symptoms but much more time needed between drops.

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

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The thing that was really eye-opening for me, is how important it is to slow down the taper as you get to small amounts. It is really counter-intuitive! You'd think that a drop of 1 mg or so is not that much, but plasma levels really drop off a cliff as you get down lower. 10% of your current dose will drag on for quite a while, but should be much easier on the system. I'll find the graph that really was instructive for me regarding this.



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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