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fancypants - trying to quit escitalopram


fancypants

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Hi everyone.

 

I've been on escitalopram 20mg for the last 2 years (for PMS).  I have been feeling for a while that I could stop taking it, but didn't want to test it out during winter.  So, now it's summer, I decided to stop taking it while I'm not at work. 

 

On the advice of my doctor I cut my pills in half and have been taking 10mg for the last 5 days.  I have had trouble sleeping and waking up, just feel so dopey in the morning!   I finally clicked that this is probably a side effect and so searched and found this site.  I have read the tapering info and now I don't know what to do!  Whether to persist in a half dose, or go back to 20mg and then cut down slowly.  I now wish I had researched this first!

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013  Fluoxetine 20mg (I think)

2014 - 2015 Escitalopram 20mg

28/12/15 - follow Drs suggestion and cut pills in half - 10 mg. can't sleep

5/1/16 back up to 15mg, ok so far

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Fancypants and welcome to s/a,

 

So glad you found us before things got any worse.  I think you could reinstate to 15mg and see if that relieves anything.  It can take at least 4 days for the new dose to register.  Here is our thread on reinstatement - there are no guarantees so have a read and see what you think.  Because you are only 5 days out, I think it's a good option for you. 

 

It's a good idea to keep symptom notes on paper so you can see if it's working or not.  Meanwhile you can try fish oil and magnesium and have a read around in the Symptoms and Self-care forum.

 

When you get fully stabilised again you can make a gentle tapering plan.  We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose each 4-6 weeks. 

 

There are a couple of us Kiwis here - you can leave a comment in the New Zealanders Check In Here thread if you like, to get local information.  Anyway, have a read of those links and then come back to this thread to ask any questions.  This can be your journal to record your tapering progress.  Remember - don't panic, it's just one decision at a time.

 

Hugs,
Karen.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

As it's only been 5 days, you could reinstate the 20mg, or maybe try 15mg and hold there for a while.  You could also try riding it out at 10mg, but as it's only been 5 days, it's possible things could get worse over the next few weeks.  It's usually better to updose sooner rather than later.  Once you've stabilised on a dose, you might want to make a plan to taper a lot more slowly.  For slow tapering, you can cut pills and use a jeweller's scale, or get liquid and use a syringe.  We can help with that once you're ready.

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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Welcome fancypants

 there are a bunch of kiwis here.

 

Just would like to point out if you are not happy with the medical professions prescribing of this drug and its side effects and withdrawal difficulty you might like to consider making a complaint. Especaily if you were not informed of this outcome.

Organisations to complain to are in the NZ link Karen gave you.

Dont worry you will not be the first to file a  complaint.

 

In the meantime the best thing is to get stable. Cant add to the great advice given above.

nz11

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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Hi Fancy,

Welcome.

Unfortunately , this is not an exact science. Everyone is different and react in individual ways.  If I were you , I would keep track of  your symptoms over the next week or two . It could help shed some light and help to figure out a tapering plan, for the long term as well as what dosage is best , right now.

http://Rate symptoms daily to track patterns and progress

 

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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Hey guys, thanks for the welcome and all the suggestions :)

Have spent quite a bit of time this arvo reading some of the massive amount of info on here!  Thanks Karen for directing me where to start.  Am so glad I found this site.

 

Am thinking I'll try to stabilize at 15mg  (am worried that if I go back to 20, that I'll get all the dopeyness and brain fog that I got when i first started taking it). Ok, so, decision made (I can be so indecisive and would have tortured myself with this for ages, so thanks again for the suggestions).

 

I am nearly out of 20mg pills (have about 2 weeks worth), so am thinking might be easiest to ask Doc for 10mg, or am going to have to cut pill in half, then in half again, which will be entertaining lol

 

Or, maybe would be easier to just take the 20mg as I had a crying fit on my walk today (went for a walk to try and make myself feel better... but wasn't so successful!)  Decision unmade.    But it's probably just the impending doom of going back to work tomorrow...  I'll try the 15mg (approximate) tomorrow morning.

 

Ok, glad that's sorted :)  Am off to find a notebook to record my symptoms before I go to bed

2013  Fluoxetine 20mg (I think)

2014 - 2015 Escitalopram 20mg

28/12/15 - follow Drs suggestion and cut pills in half - 10 mg. can't sleep

5/1/16 back up to 15mg, ok so far

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Good call deciding on the 15mg.  Another reason I suggested that is because your brain may have partially adapted to the lower dose, so going back to the original amount can sometimes be too much for it.  And sleeplessness is an alerting symptom, which also indicates you may no longer tolerate the higher dose.

 

Stick with 15, make your symptom notes and we'll see how it goes.

 

I guess you are at work right now - hope you are going okay.  Find ways to be gentle with yourself.

 

Crying is very normal in w/d.  Let if flow when it needs to, drink lots of water, be kind to yourself.  You'll get there, and you'll come out the other end a much stronger woman :P.

 

Hugs,

Karen

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

If you can get 10mg pills that would make it easier, as you'd only need to cut one in half to get 5mg and then take one and a half pills to get your 15mg dose.  Cutting 20mg pills into quarters can be done but could be a bit imprecise. 

 

In the longer term, you'll need either a jeweller's scale, or liquid and a syringe.  There are threads here about how to do those. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1596-using-a-digital-scale-to-measure-doses/

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7601-excel-spreadsheet-to-calculate-dose-weights-using-a-scale/

 

See the New Zealanders thread to see my post about how to get liquid made in NZ.

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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Going well so far on the 15mg, it seems to be helping to be back at work and in more of a routine.  Have been doing guided meditations to get to sleep and if I wake in the night and am sleeping better.

 

Requested 10mg pills on the Drs prescription line, so that should give me a month to find some scales etc.

 

Am feeling much more positive about this now :)

2013  Fluoxetine 20mg (I think)

2014 - 2015 Escitalopram 20mg

28/12/15 - follow Drs suggestion and cut pills in half - 10 mg. can't sleep

5/1/16 back up to 15mg, ok so far

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

You can often find scales on TradeMe - make sure they weigh down to 0.001g (not 0.1g or 0.01g).  I can see two listings at the moment.

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, I'll check that out :)

2013  Fluoxetine 20mg (I think)

2014 - 2015 Escitalopram 20mg

28/12/15 - follow Drs suggestion and cut pills in half - 10 mg. can't sleep

5/1/16 back up to 15mg, ok so far

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey Fancypants (that's a hilarious name btw),

 

Awesome to hear you are feeling better about this whole w/d thing.  You're going to be just fine. 

 

Karen

x

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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Thanks Karen.  

 

I should have made my name "fartypants" because that's what my fingers kept typing when I was trying to log in!

 

:)

2013  Fluoxetine 20mg (I think)

2014 - 2015 Escitalopram 20mg

28/12/15 - follow Drs suggestion and cut pills in half - 10 mg. can't sleep

5/1/16 back up to 15mg, ok so far

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