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Didi: Lyrica withdrawal questions, feel the worst I've ever felt


Didi

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Hello,

 

In 2006 I was prescribed Lyrica by a neurologist for minor epileptic seizures (I call them blanks) Dosage was at 50mg a day. This dose seemed effective and it helped greatly with my sleep. However in October of 2015 I started to experience more "blanks" and my dosage was increased to 75mg. Around November 2015 I began experiencing unusual side effects (feelings of dying, erratic behavior, feeling cold in the body, skin felt different). These became too difficult for me to tolerate and so at the beginning of the year on January 9, 2016 I reduced my dosage, per my neurologist by 25mg, with the goal of getting back to 50mg and staying at that level. However I am experiencing terrible withdrawal symptoms that I have to believe are caused by Lyrica, much like what is described in online forums.

 

I am unable to get a straight answer from the different medical professionals that see me (Neurologist, General Practitioner, Endocrinologist) with regards to how Lyrica should be tapered. The neurologist told me to reduce by 25mg immediately. My GP and endocrinologist believe that these effects are "all in my head" because, I had a difficult year personally in 2015. My GP has since come around to being more supportive. I have a very small frame, 5 feet tall and normally weigh 102 lbs but now I'm down to 94. I suspect I am probably very sensitive to dosage changes. The primary symptoms I have now are the following:

 

  • Shortness of breath (tight chest)
  • Loss of weight
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle pain (never have had this before)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

 

I now require constant support which is wearing my family down, my job has been impacted (having discussed the possibility of leave of absence), and I feel above all else that I am never going to make it out of this. As of this date, January 24, 2016, these effects have not stopped and sometimes I feel like I am worse than two weeks ago. What makes it the hardest is that my mother thinks it is all in my head, while my father believes that what I'm feeling is in fact a result of the Lyrica. Almost all of my friends have abandoned me because of my negativity and depression. My work colleagues avoid me. This "social deterioration" that is happening in my life is one of the hardest things for me to absorb.

 

My questions are:

  • Is there anyway to gauge how long this might last?
  • I read about the 10% solution/reduction this morning. Would it be better for me to actually raise the dose by 10mg, remain on that for a while, and then step down by 10%?
  • My GP prescribed Lorazepam for me so that I can sleep at night which thankfully works for the most part. She insists that it is OK for me to take this with the Lyrica. I feel she may be right but with so many symptoms it may be hard to know. Is it OK to take Lorazepam while I struggle through this?
  • My GP also prescribed the lowest dose of Zoloft for the depression but I am reluctant to begin taking it. Has anybody taken an antidepressant while going through the Lyrica withdrawal process?

Thank you so much for this forum and for reading this. I really appreciate the help.

 

Didi

 

Jan. 9, 2016: Lyrica 75-->50

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Hi Didi.  Welcome. I'm glad you found your way here. We will be able to get you through this. You will find a lot of support, encouragement and information , here. You dropped a huge amount of drug , very quickly  so your brain is in turmoil . You can't get a rational answer out of your doctor's because they really don't know. You most likely are in withdrawal , but there is no way of knowing how long it will last . Everyone is different.  I would stay away from any sleep drugs or A/D's. As to whether to updose, I will leave that for someone else to answer. If it were me , because you dropped such a large amount quickly, I would  possibly updose by a small amount ,( to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms)  stabilize for a good while and then taper off at the recommended 10 % taper. Have a read through some of these links and see what you think .

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2381-tips-for-tapering-off-lyrica-pregabalin/

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/555-tips-to-help-sleep-so-many-of-us-have-withdrawal-insomnia/

This is your thread to journal your progress and address any questions and/or concerns. Please have a read  around and come back with any additional questions.

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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Be careful with Lorazepam. I had been using it briefly to cope with insomnia spells during my Effexor taper, but no longer touch the stuff. I didn't think much of it at first, but later I learned that your body can become physically dependent on it even if you don't take it often. And it can be extremely difficult to wean off of. It would seem counter productive to finally come off one medication, only to become addicted to another.

 

I personally do not agree with taking other medications to help with tapering. Some people here might disagree with me. None the less, you've come to the right place, you will get some solid advice, and you will get through it!

 

I wish you all the best with your taper! :)

Effexor XR:

July 2008: 150mg | June 24 2015: 145mg | July 28 2015: 130.5mg | Sept 4 2015: 117mg

Nov 10 2015: 105mg | Jan 24 2016: 94.5mg | Feb 28 2016: 85mg | Mar 27 2016: 76.5mg

Apr 28 2016: 69mg | Aug 14 2016: 62mg | Jan 19 2017: 56mg | Feb 21 2017: 50mg

Mar 30 2017: 36mg | Apr 2 2017: 45mg | Sep 1 2019: 27.5mg | April 9 2020: 25.2mg

Oct 30 2021 | 16.875mg

 

Vitamins & Supplements:

MegaFood Women's One Daily | Metagenix D3 5000 IU | Barlean's High Potency Omega 3 1500mg (Liquid)
Thorne Deproloft-HF (during weans)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Didi , welcome to the site.  

Good to hear you've been doing some reading and have a handle on what's going on for you.

 

As Ali said , there's no way to know how long this will last.  It may even get worse over the next

weeks and months.  That's what a 30% drop can do.

 

"Would it be better for me to actually raise the dose by 10mg, remain on that for a while, and then step down by 10%?"

 

As it's only been 14 days since you dropped the 30% , I'd suggest bumping it back up to the dose you were on i.e. 75mg.

This will be the quickest way to facilitate stabilizing. Then you can begin a slow , safe taper.

Your system is now seriously destabilized , and raising the dose by 10mg , still makes the dose around  20% less than what it's become used to.

 

Starting an antidepressant as your doc. has suggested (zoloft), is opening a whole new can of worms , 'specially for someone with a sensitive nervous system.

 

bw ,  Fresh

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

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

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

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

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

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

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

March 2016 , 21mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It doesn't really make sense to add two new meds to deal with the effects of reducing the original one too much.  Whether you increase by 10mg or back to the 75mg, either way is likely to help to alleviate the withdrawal effects you are experiencing now, though it may take some time to feel significantly better.  Lorazepam isn't really a sleep drug, it can be addicting and can cause tolerance problems and rebound effects.  If you need it to sleep at the moment, I would take the minimum effective dose and begin tapering off it once your sleep is reasonably stable.  I would avoid the Zoloft.

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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Hi everyone,

 

Thank you very much for your replies. I got the sense that yes, I might be in this for the long haul when I began reading online and the replies above seem to confirm that. It's good to at least know what you're facing rather than complete uncertainty.

 

I stopped the Zoloft, which thankfully I had not been on very long and I am currently cutting the lorazepam in half at night. I guess the phrase pick your poison is very apt with choices like this.

 

I think I will try to make a suspension as described on this website, to go back up and then hopefully begin a more gradual descent. I really wish the manufacturer would offer more dosing options. I imagine this will take some practice to get right.

 

I thankfully had a better day today, but as mentioned above, I am wary and know that tomorrow may be worse.

 

It's nice to feel I am in a place that "gets" me. Thank you all.

 

Didi

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Didi,

I'm glad you have found the information here helpful. Going back up in your dose of Lyrica, then beginning a slower, safe taper sounds like the best idea to me.

 

Once you have increased, give it about a month to give yourself a chance to re-stabilize before attempting to taper again. Wait until any symptoms have settled down, and then start with the 10% reductions off the current dose.

 

I'm also concerned about your daily use of lorazepam, this is a benzodiazepine and can be very addictive. With regular use, a physiological dependence can develop in as little as 2 weeks, then it will also need to be carefully tapered from. Benzo withdrawal can be as bad as, if not worse than Lyrica withdrawal. As Songbird mentioned, it can have some unpleasant effects including increasing anxiety when your dose wears off.

 

How long have you been taking lorazepam?

 

We don't recommend tapering two drugs at the same time, so if you decided to taper off lorazepam first, you would need to wait to start your lyrica taper.

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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Wow!  Lyrica addiction.  Well, I can be glad for one thing - that I stopped taking that med when I did!  I was put on it for the burning pain I get in my legs.  I think another one was Siffrol - is that addictive also?

 

I'm so sorry to hear you have an addiction to this, but at least you are in good hands now and will get good support and advice from this site.  All the best!

1995-2007      20mg Aropax/Paxil for pain.  Years of up and down doses

2008                Endep, Lexapro and then Esipram (hell!) CT (oh dear!)

2009                20mg Aropax.  Tried skipping doses for a year (more hell!)

                        2010                10mg.  10% taper.  Lasted 4 months. Crashed again

2011                5% taper. 9mg-7mg (hell got even worse!)

2012                2.5% taper.  6.6mg – 5.6mg (worser still & unbearable)

2013                5% taper.  Big mistake.  5.5mg – 4.6mg  (even worserer)

2014                2.5% taper.  4.9mg – 4.5mg;    2015 2.5% taper 4.4 - 4.0mg

2016                2.5% taper.  3.9mg  Feb 3.8   Mar 3.7  May 3.6   Jul 3.5

2017                2.5% taper.  Jan 3.4;   Mar 3.35;  Apr 3.3; Oct 3; Dec 2.9;

2018                2.5% taper. Jan 2.8; Mar 2.7; Mar: 2.75; Jun 2.7; Aug 2.6; Oct 2.5; Nov 2.4; Dec 2.3

2019                Jan 2.2; Feb 2.1;

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