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M84: Lexapro withdrawals after 7 months


M84

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Hi. I am new posting to this forum although I've been reading for a long time.

 

I went on 10mg lexapro for post natal anxiety/depression 2 years ago. In the first few weeks of taking my anxiety and insomnia got worse. So my doctor increased to 20mg. I had a horrible reaction not sleeping and had a major breakdown. So my doctor increased to 30mg. At this point I feel brain dead and extremely fatigued but slowly rrecovered.

 

After 6 months on 30mg I tapered over 2 months to 10mg as sick of being brain dead. I stayed on 10mg for 4 months and then tapered off completely over 2 months. In total I was on lexapro nearly a year.

 

It has been 7 months now since I stopped taking but I'm still feeling withdrawals. Dry tingling mouth, bad insomnia, fatigue and anxiety. I know it can take a long time but just over it. Everything else in life is going great so I don't think it's rebound depression although my doctors/counsellers say it's definately not withdrawals after so long.

 

The doctor tried me on pristiq a couple of weeks ago and I had the worst reaction. I didn't want to go back on antidepressants but got desperate.

 

Anyone else had similar experiences with lexapro and how long did it take to get back to 'normal'?

Depression/insomnia during 2007 and 2009 during PhD: lexapro 10mg.

Post natal anxiety after first bub, Mar 2014- Dec 2014: lexapro 30mg then reduced Jan 2015- Jun 2015- lexapro 10mg. Tapered off over 2 months. Had bad withdrawals in 12 months since including insomnia, fatigure, anxiety, pins n needles in mouth and no sex drive/loss of feeling.

 

May 2015- Elavil 12mg to help with insomnia.

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Hi,

 

Welcome to SA -

 

A lot of people, on this and other websites, have reported difficult prolonged withdrawal from Lexapro and other SSRIs.

 

Insomnia, fatigue, and anxiety are all typical withdrawal effects from Lexapro, which can last for months and years.

 

I've been off Lexapro for two years, and I am still struggling from the physical damage caused to me by the use of Lexapro.

 

I have no depression or anxiety worth mentioning, just mainly physical symptoms. 

 

It's a good thing you figured out that these medications are the culprit of your current symptoms, and are able to stop this cycle of damage due to the use of these SSRI/SNRIs.

 

Most doctors still have no clue that these drugs often cause such horrific, long-term problems. They just blame it on "depression". Tragic, but true.

 

It would be worth your while to read more stories on here of those who are recovering from the the use of Lexapro, Pristiq, and other SSRIs.

 

You'll be able to confirm that what you are going through, is happening to thousands of other people also.

 

But since you say you've been reading for some time, by now it should be obvious to you the widespread damage these drugs are causing, with those here reporting more or less the same long-term difficult symptoms of neurological damage due to the use of SSRI/SNRIs.

 

There's no telling how long your recovery will take; it varies widely, depending on the individual.

 

Since you were on Lexapro only one year, your recovery will hopefully be shorter than someone like me that was on the drug for say, three or more years.

 

While it is still a difficult thing for you to be going through, again I say, the main thing is that you finally figured out to stay away from these SSRIs.

 

Your recovery will likely unfold like most everyone else, in a pattern of "windows" and "waves".

 

The windows are times when you will feel "normal" for a short time. The waves, or "worsenings", of symptoms will return, often changing ("morphing").

 

But always towards more healing as time goes by.

 

It is a difficult road, it takes patience, but you'll eventually get better. 

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi, M84,

 

Clearday has given you a very comprehensive response and is spot on.  You are going through something that is altogether too common because doctors provide virtually no guidance on dealing with these medications.  We are left on our own to deal with how to cease the medications even though it is clear they were never intended for long-term use. 

In addition to Clearday's response I would ask whether you are using Fish Oil and Magnesium as many members report theses supplements ease the withdrawal process.  See the links below.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Best,

 

Andy

Sertraline 50mg and Clonazapam .375mg from 2000 -- symptoms of dizziness Spring 2012

increased to .5 Clonazapam and 100mg Sertraline -- no improvement

Benzo microtaper from November 2012 to November 2014 (followed benzo sites "taper benzo first")

Started Sertraline taper in December 2014 cut by 25mg to 75mg; 62.5mg 1/1/15 and 50mg on 2/1/15

Held at 50mg through April 5 to use liquid 
Reduced dosage in 10% or less drops from 50mg to 25mg -- at single tablet of 25mg on 10/5/15

Transitioned to all liquid for accuracy while tapering -- Horrible insomnia -- back to 25mg liquid and held until October 1, 2016

10/16 -- 11/18 tapered very slowly to 10.6mg.  No real improvement and never really stable so updosed to 12.5mg (1/2 a pill) for convenience and long hold.

After 8+ months of holding with no noticeable improvement decided to add .4ml of liquid Prozac (about 1.5mg) to see if that improves the situation

Supplements, Magnesium, D3, Omega 3, curcumin, Valerian, 81mg Aspirin, L-Theanine, Vit. C,

 

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Clearday

 

Do you mind me asking what your physical symptoms are? I have taken two yers to reduce Lexapro from 10 mgs to 1.5 mgs. I have had to increase slightly on a few occasions. I have had some emotional WD including sadness, insomnia, fatigue and horrendous moodiness but the physical symptoms right now are my problem. I suffer from awful pain in my back, hips, and joints and this makes my mood worse.

 

M84, tapering very very slowly as been absolutely the only wy I have managed to withdraw. Many people appear to run in to real problems with Lexapro and this may be because it is a very strong SSRI. Your taper was quite fast, some may advise reinstating a very small amount of Lexapro to stabilise and then try again but there is no guarantee. Others will be along no doubt to advise you further. All I can offer is sympathy and support from a fellow Lex victim.

 

PN xx

1995-1998 various SSRIs then withdrawal

2000 Sertraline

2003 Sertraline then changed to Prozac to attempt withdrawal.

2004 failed at withdrawal so Citalopram.

2010 attempted slow withdrawal over 12 months but failed- sever episode depression 2012

2012 3 days of Mirtazepine with bad reaction so started escitalopram 20mgs

2013 started very very slow taper with a number of slight reinstatements

Currently on between 0.5 and 1mg escitalopram drops at day.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

M84, tapering very very slowly as been absolutely the only wy I have managed to withdraw. Many people appear to run in to real problems with Lexapro and this may be because it is a very strong SSRI. Your taper was quite fast, some may advise reinstating a very small amount of Lexapro to stabilise and then try again but there is no guarantee.

 

Pocketnurse raises an interesting notion of reinstatement at a low level and a slower taper.  Perhaps I'm reading between the lines, M84, but my sense is that while you are somewhat uncomfortable and irritated at your symptoms, on the whole you are managing and improving.  Given that you are 7 months off and a low-level reinstatement at that point would be "dicey", I would suggest you continue on and try to use as many palliative measures (yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, qi gong and supplements per the above) to deal with your symptoms.  If I am wrong and you are suffering more than you can deal with reinstatement might be a consideration.

 

the physical symptoms right now are my problem. I suffer from awful pain in my back, hips, and joints and this makes my mood worse

 

PN,

 

I share your pain in that I have had horrible hip pain that is most noticeable in the groin area (bad on left but worse on right).  My orthopod, of course, says I have degenerative OA and wants to do hip replacements.  I think there is some OA but that it may well be a function of the withdrawal and meds as to why it is so bad.

 

Wondering if you've found anything that helps in this regard?  If you have any thoughts please advise on my thread.  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/8152-apace41-tapering-sertraline/#entry127067

 

Thanks (and sorry to do a small hijack M84),

 

Andy

 

 

Sertraline 50mg and Clonazapam .375mg from 2000 -- symptoms of dizziness Spring 2012

increased to .5 Clonazapam and 100mg Sertraline -- no improvement

Benzo microtaper from November 2012 to November 2014 (followed benzo sites "taper benzo first")

Started Sertraline taper in December 2014 cut by 25mg to 75mg; 62.5mg 1/1/15 and 50mg on 2/1/15

Held at 50mg through April 5 to use liquid 
Reduced dosage in 10% or less drops from 50mg to 25mg -- at single tablet of 25mg on 10/5/15

Transitioned to all liquid for accuracy while tapering -- Horrible insomnia -- back to 25mg liquid and held until October 1, 2016

10/16 -- 11/18 tapered very slowly to 10.6mg.  No real improvement and never really stable so updosed to 12.5mg (1/2 a pill) for convenience and long hold.

After 8+ months of holding with no noticeable improvement decided to add .4ml of liquid Prozac (about 1.5mg) to see if that improves the situation

Supplements, Magnesium, D3, Omega 3, curcumin, Valerian, 81mg Aspirin, L-Theanine, Vit. C,

 

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Given that you are 7 months off and a low-level reinstatement at that point would be "dicey", I would suggest you continue on and try to use as many palliative measures (yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, qi gong and supplements per the above) to deal with your symptoms.  

 

Agreed. The general guideline on this website is that reinstatement is NOT advised once off the drug for more than three months.

 

M84 -  since a "reinstatement" of an SSRI/SNRI - Pristiq - failed for you a couple weeks ago with a bad reaction, I'd say that sensitivity to SSRI/SNRIs has already developed for you. From your case history, you had a bad reaction to Lexapro from the start, so it seems these drugs were never good for you in the first place.

 

I have read a half-dozen "late" reinstatements on this website recently, people reinstating five months to over a year off the drug. Most of them all had a bad reaction to the SSRI immediately upon reinstating, and stopped the drug after a few days, and regretted trying the reinstatement. 

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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I have been "reinstated" for 27 days after a cold turkey back in June/July 2015. From what I understand once it hits the CNS reinstatement it is not as successful. I did it anyways. My symptoms of anxiety, fear, insomnia and cognitive challenges remain. The cognitive issues frightens me the most. The only thing I can say is my anxiety level the last couple of days is toned down a little.  Enough for me to run errands, get a haircut, etc. It was still challenging but not as unbearable. At some point I guess I have to decide what to do about this reinstatement. That scares me. I defer to the more experienced folks for proper guidance for you. Just giving you my perspective from someone who is dealing with reinstatement. I hope you feel better.   

Lexapro: started in 2002 at 10 mgs.

Ambien: started as a as needed sleep aid in 2010.

Quit Lexapro cold turkey in June 20015 due to contributing to low sodium issues.

Restarted Lexapro in late November for a week (only 5 mgs) but quit due to dizziness side effects. Side effects worsened for 3 weeks until

12/24/15: Protracted WD hit, experienced extreme anxiety, insomnia lack of full concentration and social challenges.

Reinstated Lexapro on 1/1/16 at 5 mgs. Increased per Dr to 7.5 MG. Tapered off Lexapro in March 2016.

Started 50MG of Seroquel in late January 2016 for bedtime to help in eliminate Ambien. Tapered off both Seroquel and Ambien in March 2016.

2/14/16: Prescribed both Remeron (15 MG) and Temazapam (15 MG) for sleep. Also use Klonopin and Ambien again in place of Temazapam to avoid addiction. However I did take Temazapam 60 straight days

6/15/16: Stopped use of all benzo's and now use Belsomra 1-2 times a week. Still on 15 MG of Remeron

10/11/16: Off all psych medications

 

After kindling, trying to regain my strength suffering from severe mental and physical fatigue.

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Hi everyone. Thanks so much for the amazing support in such a short time frame.

 

I am angry at myself for trying the pristiq. I have been fighting the withdrawals for months and caved in. My doctor told me that I should be fine on pristiq as it has no side effects. bullsh*t right! I've since read about it's withdrawal and sounds like it would be a nightmare.

 

I guess the main reason I tried it is that I want to have another baby but don't feel like I can cope with pregnancy and a baby and that maybe a different antidepressant might not have the same side effects. But I really don't want to put my baby through that! Or myself again ethier. I think I just need to wait and give myself recovery time.

 

The insomnia is really the worst symptom but it is liveable. I have been going to the gym 2-3 times week, taking omega 3, magnesium, multi vitamins and b12. I think I will try acupuncture as well.

 

Has anyone had any luck with St. John's wort? It definately does help but worried it could slow up the brains recovery. After all it works similar to ssris. I don't get the bad side effects apart from heartburn.

 

Thanks again everyone, I will get reading tips and focus on natural methods.

Depression/insomnia during 2007 and 2009 during PhD: lexapro 10mg.

Post natal anxiety after first bub, Mar 2014- Dec 2014: lexapro 30mg then reduced Jan 2015- Jun 2015- lexapro 10mg. Tapered off over 2 months. Had bad withdrawals in 12 months since including insomnia, fatigure, anxiety, pins n needles in mouth and no sex drive/loss of feeling.

 

May 2015- Elavil 12mg to help with insomnia.

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I don't think I'll try he reinstatement due to the time frame but was thinking of staying on the St. John's wort then weaning of that. I seem to get very bad side effects on start up if ssris so worried that could happen on even a small dose lexapro.

Depression/insomnia during 2007 and 2009 during PhD: lexapro 10mg.

Post natal anxiety after first bub, Mar 2014- Dec 2014: lexapro 30mg then reduced Jan 2015- Jun 2015- lexapro 10mg. Tapered off over 2 months. Had bad withdrawals in 12 months since including insomnia, fatigure, anxiety, pins n needles in mouth and no sex drive/loss of feeling.

 

May 2015- Elavil 12mg to help with insomnia.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi M84 ,   welcome to the site.

 

Unfortunately , a dose like 50mg of pristiq would have blown out your system and given you another adverse reaction.

As it did.  

 

If you read our thread on reinstating here   http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/

you'll see that a starter dose of 1 or 2 mg is recommended.  That is often enough to take the edge off w/d symptoms ,

so that you can stabilize then taper off slowly.

 

You might be saving yourself many months of disability if you should decide to try to reinstate a tiny dose. 

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

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

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

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

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

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

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

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

March 2016 , 21mg

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  • 3 months later...

Hi.

 

I am after opinions on going back on antidepressants. I realise taking into account everything above, as well as everything on this message board it may seem like a stupid choice.

 

I am one year out from stopping lexapro. I don't feel like I am improving on the whole. I can see a windows and waves pattern but the waves seem to be getting longer and worse to the point I am thinking it is more a relapse.

 

Nb. I am taking St. John's wort for last 6 months.

 

My worst symptom is terrible insomnia, I think I have tried everything to help with this. I have constant anxiety and been getting panic attacks- I feel like I can't breathe and cry uncontrollably. These panic attacks are getting worse to the point I feel sucidal during them, more common too now 2-3 times a week. B

 

So the doctor suggested endep (amitripyline) at a low dose to help with sleep.

 

On one hand I am scared for all the side effects and the fact I have struggled through a year of withdrawals already. On the other hand I don't know if I can cope longer. :-(.

Depression/insomnia during 2007 and 2009 during PhD: lexapro 10mg.

Post natal anxiety after first bub, Mar 2014- Dec 2014: lexapro 30mg then reduced Jan 2015- Jun 2015- lexapro 10mg. Tapered off over 2 months. Had bad withdrawals in 12 months since including insomnia, fatigure, anxiety, pins n needles in mouth and no sex drive/loss of feeling.

 

May 2015- Elavil 12mg to help with insomnia.

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Hi M84.      It's probably not a wise move to go back on antidepressants. Apart from anything else , your system is probably very sensitive as you have already experienced with your reinstatement of Pristiq,  about 12 months ago . Also , if you're planning on having a baby , it would be best to remain drug - free , if possible.

The other factor is the St John's Wort, that you've been on for 6 months. Adding an antidepressant to that could possibly cause serotonin syndrome and is not recommended.

Endep ( amitripyline) is a tricyclic  antidepressant, that has a lot of side effects and will be hard to taper off in the future.

 

Your worst symptom is insomnia . What is your sleep pattern  ?  Have you tried Melatonin ?  

These links might help :

Sleep problems - that awful withdrawal insomnia

Melatonin for sleep

 

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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