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Can Raynaud's be caused by SSRI withdrawal?


FunkyBaboon
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Having developed this condition during my withdrawal from Citalopram I am wondering if there is a link.

 

I developed the phenomenon for the first time in my life at the same time as coming off Citalopram. As the weeks rolled by and my doses decreased I noticed that I became increasingly sensitive to the cold and started having trouble keeping warm during the latter part of that winter. For the first part of the winter I had experienced no problems whatsoever and actually went running outdoors in seriously cold weather, as I could have done the whole rest of my life up until this point. My feet were the first to present a problem, my toes became white and numb and I literally had to keep them on the radiator; even that didn't do a very good job of heating them up. Then the fingers started to become a problem a couple of months later. 

 

It seems way too much of a coincidence that the severity of my problems with temperature regulation increased as my dose of the Citalopram dropped to not draw the conclusion that the Citalopram was at least in part responsible for the sudden onset of my Raynaud's.

 

One hypothesis I have for this is that the part of the brain that deals with body temperature regulation (the hypothalamus) was subject to iatrogenic damage by the Citalopram and therefore left me with impaired body temperature regulation.

 

Of course, it's also possible this was coincidental and that I would have developed Raynaud's anyway. Or that the shock of withdrawal caused a change in my body that triggered my development of this phenomenon.

 

Body temperature problems have been discussed before on this forum and this post suggests that Punarbhava has experienced it too.

 

There is also a medical paper that suggests Citalopram can induce Raynaud's phenomenon.

 

I have also seen that SSRIs are being prescribed to people who suffer with Raynaud's to offer them relief their symptoms. A forum post that I read reports that a lifelong sufferer of the condition did find some relief when taking Citalopram. She said it was though her condition was almost cured. It is clear there is a link between the neurological action of Citalopram and pathology of Raynaud's phenomenon, so is it really that far fetched to consider it could also cause the condition upon cessation?

A convenient link to my introduction post

 

2003 Paroxetine (20mg I think) daily for 5 months due to extreme anxiety before final exams and stopped cold turkey. From 2003 onwards I have suffered with extreme anxiety, akathisia, severe muscle tension & digestive problems whenever off I'm off anti-depressants.

2007 Clonazepam (unsure of dose) - took approximately 100 tablets to try and self medicate for anxiety.

2007-09 Amitryptyline 10mg - was advised to take this "as and when needed" for anxiety.

April/May 2011 Diazepam 2mg - 2 week course followed by complete inability to sleep upon finishing so started Citalopram 40mg and I was able to sleep again.

Mid 2012 Diazepam 10mg - took approximately 100 tablets.

Mid 2012 Started Citalopram taper - 5mg reductions every month or two, severe withdrawal symptoms throughout taper.

Apr 2013 Completely off Citalopram and continued to have severe withdrawal.

Oct 2013 Completely fell to pieces mentally and alongside had a whole host of debilitating physical symptoms too. I went to the doctors who performed whole batteries of tests but had no idea what was wrong with me. They tried me on Sertraline and Amitryptyline to which I had terrible reactions which made symptoms worse. Eventually got put on Nortryptyline 25mg, which I tolerated and over 3 months withdrawal symptoms started to abate.

Mid 2014 discovered survivingantidepressants.org and hallelujah! I knew what was wrong with me - slow taper FTW!

Late 2014 & 2015 Reduced Nortryptyline 22.5mg & 20mg respectively in November & December of 2014. In 2015 Tapered Nortryptyline from 20mg to 10 mg in 2mg increments. Withdrawal symptoms with each dose reduction are debilitating but in a much different way to Citalopram.

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I have contacted the Raynaud's and Scleroderma Association with an email to this effect to see if they have had any reports of SSRI induced Raynaud's or knew of any studies looking into this relationship.

A convenient link to my introduction post

 

2003 Paroxetine (20mg I think) daily for 5 months due to extreme anxiety before final exams and stopped cold turkey. From 2003 onwards I have suffered with extreme anxiety, akathisia, severe muscle tension & digestive problems whenever off I'm off anti-depressants.

2007 Clonazepam (unsure of dose) - took approximately 100 tablets to try and self medicate for anxiety.

2007-09 Amitryptyline 10mg - was advised to take this "as and when needed" for anxiety.

April/May 2011 Diazepam 2mg - 2 week course followed by complete inability to sleep upon finishing so started Citalopram 40mg and I was able to sleep again.

Mid 2012 Diazepam 10mg - took approximately 100 tablets.

Mid 2012 Started Citalopram taper - 5mg reductions every month or two, severe withdrawal symptoms throughout taper.

Apr 2013 Completely off Citalopram and continued to have severe withdrawal.

Oct 2013 Completely fell to pieces mentally and alongside had a whole host of debilitating physical symptoms too. I went to the doctors who performed whole batteries of tests but had no idea what was wrong with me. They tried me on Sertraline and Amitryptyline to which I had terrible reactions which made symptoms worse. Eventually got put on Nortryptyline 25mg, which I tolerated and over 3 months withdrawal symptoms started to abate.

Mid 2014 discovered survivingantidepressants.org and hallelujah! I knew what was wrong with me - slow taper FTW!

Late 2014 & 2015 Reduced Nortryptyline 22.5mg & 20mg respectively in November & December of 2014. In 2015 Tapered Nortryptyline from 20mg to 10 mg in 2mg increments. Withdrawal symptoms with each dose reduction are debilitating but in a much different way to Citalopram.

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I'm freezing all the time, my feet are bad, have to double socks, too the point they go numb. Ali.

10 years citalopram 30mg- tapered down in December 15/2015- Jan 15/2016 to 20mg for two weeks, ten for one week and five for another week, then stopped, less then two weeks later, sheer hell broke lose with debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

 

Update-- reinstated 5mg of celexa on feb 5-- within hours noticed immediate difference in WD symptoms-- Holding holding and more holding.

 

Updose- March 23/16 too 10mg- relieved the harsher head symptoms- current symptoms headaches, dizzy, numbness and tingling in my head.

 

Benzos- 2015-Ativan on and off for 6 months 2mg- switched to clonazepam nov 2015- 2mg till Jan 2016 Zopiclone 7.5mg nov-dec 2015- was tapered off over 4weeks- Currently in protracted withdrawal. ????????????????????????????????

 

Update- ended up in the hospital April 18/16 major suicidal ( never had that before) was admitted/ been there ever since, put me back to full dose celexa 30mg no drugs added, IAM FINALLY STABLE AFTER 3 months of tortuous hell. Got a great physiatrist that new all about WD, he will help me taper properly in a couple of months at 5% deductions holding 8 weeks. I never want to relive that hell again.

 

Udate- stable and holding, doing things slowly is key.

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I got it during my withdrawal but I did a colt turkey. Not fun, feels terrible! It's lessened now.

Paxil 20mg from 1998-2011 

Paxil 40mg from 2011-2012 while experiencing poopout

October 2013 quit cold turkey

Oct-mid Nov 2013 great window

Late November WD nightmare 

Windows and waves pattern 

Now: 28 months cold turkey...doing decent learning to deal with the windows/waves pattern fighting it every step of the way. 

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Hey Ali4 - did you ever suffer with anything like this prior to tapering from Citalopram, or was it the first time you experienced this too?

 

coldturkmama - Sure does suck... I'm really glad that your condition has improved now. Here's hoping that the rest of us can get some relief one day too !  :D

A convenient link to my introduction post

 

2003 Paroxetine (20mg I think) daily for 5 months due to extreme anxiety before final exams and stopped cold turkey. From 2003 onwards I have suffered with extreme anxiety, akathisia, severe muscle tension & digestive problems whenever off I'm off anti-depressants.

2007 Clonazepam (unsure of dose) - took approximately 100 tablets to try and self medicate for anxiety.

2007-09 Amitryptyline 10mg - was advised to take this "as and when needed" for anxiety.

April/May 2011 Diazepam 2mg - 2 week course followed by complete inability to sleep upon finishing so started Citalopram 40mg and I was able to sleep again.

Mid 2012 Diazepam 10mg - took approximately 100 tablets.

Mid 2012 Started Citalopram taper - 5mg reductions every month or two, severe withdrawal symptoms throughout taper.

Apr 2013 Completely off Citalopram and continued to have severe withdrawal.

Oct 2013 Completely fell to pieces mentally and alongside had a whole host of debilitating physical symptoms too. I went to the doctors who performed whole batteries of tests but had no idea what was wrong with me. They tried me on Sertraline and Amitryptyline to which I had terrible reactions which made symptoms worse. Eventually got put on Nortryptyline 25mg, which I tolerated and over 3 months withdrawal symptoms started to abate.

Mid 2014 discovered survivingantidepressants.org and hallelujah! I knew what was wrong with me - slow taper FTW!

Late 2014 & 2015 Reduced Nortryptyline 22.5mg & 20mg respectively in November & December of 2014. In 2015 Tapered Nortryptyline from 20mg to 10 mg in 2mg increments. Withdrawal symptoms with each dose reduction are debilitating but in a much different way to Citalopram.

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It only hits once in a while now :)

Paxil 20mg from 1998-2011 

Paxil 40mg from 2011-2012 while experiencing poopout

October 2013 quit cold turkey

Oct-mid Nov 2013 great window

Late November WD nightmare 

Windows and waves pattern 

Now: 28 months cold turkey...doing decent learning to deal with the windows/waves pattern fighting it every step of the way. 

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i seem to have a genetically transmitted susceptibility reynaud's, but i would not at all be surprised if antidepressants or withdrawal caused it in some people.  it seems related to the proliferation of vasculature and such as well as neurological elements...antidepressants/withdrawal can have some profound side effects impacting vascular and cardiopulmonary functioning, growth and regeneration, etc.

 

in withdrawal, i developed carpal tunnel and diabetic-type features in my hands and fingers (amongst other areas---my insulin situation is crazy, for instance).  i attribute this to withdrawal complicating the already present reynaud's.  meds and withdrawal also gave me moderate temperature dysregulation issues that were more extensive---problems with body temperature and my extremities, problems with overheating, and whatnot.

 

in growing up, i demonstrated a constellation of auto-immune and related conditions, like reynaud's, cystic acne, dandruff, chronic canker sores, and possible tie-ins like gastroesophageal reflux disorder and keratosis pilaris.  immune regulation can be a big part of side effects and withdrawal, as well as the things antidepressants are prescribed for, so i dont know if we can neatly separate particular systems or causes in all of this.  but, in short, i think you may have a case.

from 2005-2012, i spent 7 years taking 17 different psychotropic medications covering several classes.  i would be taking 3-7 medications at a time, and 6 out of the 17 medications listed below were maxed or overmaxed in clinical dosage before i moved on to trying the next unhelpful cocktail.
 
antidepressants (SSRIs, SNRIs, NDRIs, tetracyclics): zoloft, wellbutrin, effexor, lexapro, prozac, cymbalta, remeron
antipsychotics (atypical): abilify, zyprexa, risperdal, geodon
sleep aids (benzos, off-label antidepressants & antipsychotics, hypnotics): seroquel, temazepam, trazodone, ambien
anxiolytics: buspar
anticonvulsants: topamax
 
i tapered off all psychotropics from late 2011 through early 2013, one by one.  since quitting, ive been cycling through severe, disabling withdrawal symptoms spanning the gamut of the serious, less serious, and rather worrisome side effects of these assorted medications.  previous cross-tapering and medication or dosage changes had also caused undiagnosed withdrawal symptoms.
 
brainpan addlepation

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First time experience with it funky.

10 years citalopram 30mg- tapered down in December 15/2015- Jan 15/2016 to 20mg for two weeks, ten for one week and five for another week, then stopped, less then two weeks later, sheer hell broke lose with debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

 

Update-- reinstated 5mg of celexa on feb 5-- within hours noticed immediate difference in WD symptoms-- Holding holding and more holding.

 

Updose- March 23/16 too 10mg- relieved the harsher head symptoms- current symptoms headaches, dizzy, numbness and tingling in my head.

 

Benzos- 2015-Ativan on and off for 6 months 2mg- switched to clonazepam nov 2015- 2mg till Jan 2016 Zopiclone 7.5mg nov-dec 2015- was tapered off over 4weeks- Currently in protracted withdrawal. ????????????????????????????????

 

Update- ended up in the hospital April 18/16 major suicidal ( never had that before) was admitted/ been there ever since, put me back to full dose celexa 30mg no drugs added, IAM FINALLY STABLE AFTER 3 months of tortuous hell. Got a great physiatrist that new all about WD, he will help me taper properly in a couple of months at 5% deductions holding 8 weeks. I never want to relive that hell again.

 

Udate- stable and holding, doing things slowly is key.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Mmmm,

 

That's really interesting.  My mother had been on Zoloft which I think she stopped taking.  She later developed Raynauds.  I can't ask any questions because she died a couple of years ago.

 

Apparently there are people in there 20's who get it.  Thankfully my mum only had it in about the last 5 or so years of her life.

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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I think it is caused by blood flow the ssri type drugs cause the blood to change and when we stop our bodies are use to thinner blood I can't recall the right term for it... 

it is the same thing that causes people on ssri drugs to have heavy periods and other sorts of bleeds like brain bleeds 

 

 

Antidepressants May Cause Abnormal Bleeding - WebMD
www.webmd.com/.../news/.../antidepressants-may-cause-abnormal-bleedi...
  1.  
  2.  
Nov 22, 2004 - In addition to affecting mood, serotonin also plays a role in blood clotting.... Stomach and intestinal bleeding accounted for 16%, brain ... Those patients takingantidepressants with the strongest affect on serotonin had a  ...
Antidepressants Increase Risk of Bleeding in the Brain and ...
www.drugwatch.com › News › Dangerous Prescription Drugs
  1.  
  2.  
Oct 19, 2012 - Study: Antidepressants Increase Risk of Bleeding in the Brain and Stroke ... drugs decrease the number of platelet blood cells that stick together to form clots ... it can lead to bleeding in the brain and stroke, explains U.S. News  ...
SSRIs Increase The Risk of Stroke -- Natural Health Blog

 

so when we stop the blood does not flow the same way ...

I have had trouble with this too tho when I was on drugs I was the opposite

://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?app=core&module=search&do=search&fromMainBar=1

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

My feet are cold all the time, like blocks of ice and the skin is white. Never had this before drugs, used to walk about the house barefoot and never felt cold.

 

Interesting theory about the blood getting thicker as ssri's are removed, that makes sense.

2001: 20mg paroxetine
2003-2014: Switched between 20mg citalopram and 10mg escitalopram with several failed CT's
2015: Jan/ Feb-very fast taper off citalopram; Mar/ Apr-crashed; 23 Apr-reinstated 5mg; 05 May-updosed to 10mg; 15 Jul-started taper; Aug-9.0mg; Sep-8.1mg; Oct-7.6mg; Nov-6.8mg; Dec-6.2mg
2016: Jan-5.7mg; Feb-5.2mg; Mar-5.0mg;  Apr-4.5mg; May-4.05mg; Jun-3.65mg; Jul-3.3mg; Aug-2.95mg; 04Sep-2.65mg; 25Sep-2.4mg; 23Oct-2.15mg; 13Nov-1.95mg; 04Dec-1.75mg; 25Dec-1.55mg.
2017: 08Jan-1.4mg; 22Jan-1.25mg; 12Feb-1.1mg; 26Feb-1.0mg; 05Mar-0.9mg; 15Mar-0.8mg; 22Mar-0.7mg; 02Apr-0.6; 09Apr-0.5mg; 16Apr-0.4mg; 23Apr-0.3; 03May-0.2mg; 10May-0.1mg

Finished taper 17 May 2017.

Read my success story

 

I am not a medical professional. The information I provide is not medical advice. If in doubt please consult with a qualified healthcare provider.

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Hey Dan - sorry to hear you're suffering too mate. It seems that the severity of my raynauds is linked to my emotional state and the quality of my sleep.

 

Now if I could find a way to be happy and content throughout the rest of my nortryptyline withdrawal I'll be in a better place.

 

I have developed a fear of my body temperature and raynauds symptoms and every time I experience them I feel myself tense up, my stomach knots, my mouth dries out and I feel a bit nauseous. Does anyone else fear these symptoms or are you more matter of fact about them?

 

I think it's the thought that the problem is permanent that strikes the fear into me.

A convenient link to my introduction post

 

2003 Paroxetine (20mg I think) daily for 5 months due to extreme anxiety before final exams and stopped cold turkey. From 2003 onwards I have suffered with extreme anxiety, akathisia, severe muscle tension & digestive problems whenever off I'm off anti-depressants.

2007 Clonazepam (unsure of dose) - took approximately 100 tablets to try and self medicate for anxiety.

2007-09 Amitryptyline 10mg - was advised to take this "as and when needed" for anxiety.

April/May 2011 Diazepam 2mg - 2 week course followed by complete inability to sleep upon finishing so started Citalopram 40mg and I was able to sleep again.

Mid 2012 Diazepam 10mg - took approximately 100 tablets.

Mid 2012 Started Citalopram taper - 5mg reductions every month or two, severe withdrawal symptoms throughout taper.

Apr 2013 Completely off Citalopram and continued to have severe withdrawal.

Oct 2013 Completely fell to pieces mentally and alongside had a whole host of debilitating physical symptoms too. I went to the doctors who performed whole batteries of tests but had no idea what was wrong with me. They tried me on Sertraline and Amitryptyline to which I had terrible reactions which made symptoms worse. Eventually got put on Nortryptyline 25mg, which I tolerated and over 3 months withdrawal symptoms started to abate.

Mid 2014 discovered survivingantidepressants.org and hallelujah! I knew what was wrong with me - slow taper FTW!

Late 2014 & 2015 Reduced Nortryptyline 22.5mg & 20mg respectively in November & December of 2014. In 2015 Tapered Nortryptyline from 20mg to 10 mg in 2mg increments. Withdrawal symptoms with each dose reduction are debilitating but in a much different way to Citalopram.

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  • 6 months later...

I developed a blood clot in my leg following an ankle fracture. I just posted the topic. It is unusual as it happened a few days after the fracture and I wasn't in a cast. I've noticed since I stopped the drugs I have bad circulation in my legs sleeping at night. I was wondering if the withdrawal had anything to do with the blood clot formation. And my weaker bones actually.

On supplements currently...May 9 2016

Started Lamictal 50 mg for two weeks and of April 2016. Stopped again.

Tried Lexapro 5mg for a week in April 2016. Had intrusive thoughts and anxiety. Stopped again.

Stopped 50mg Lamictal end of January 2016

Stopped Cymbalta from 20mg Jan. 10, 2016

Went down to 20mg from 40 mg Dec. 2015

 

Have been on and off anti-depressants for 18 years. Started with Wellbutrin, which made me feel crazy, Prozac, Effexor, Lexapro with Lamictal, Lithium (not for very long), and Cymbalta. I believe there were more. These are the ones I remember.

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raynaud is : when cold, the center nervous system reacts to give more hot blood on vital organs such as brain, heart, lungs, kydneys, to make this he constricts the tiny blood vessels peripherics, the result is péripheric such as hands become more cold, and internal organs such as brain, are hot and have enough blood

 

antidepressants and benzodiazepines act on neurones, they are known to tense muscles when we stop them, muscles become rigid,

 

eyes have tiny muscles, hands have tiny, so the tiny muscles are tensed, constrict(because antidepressants/benzos dilate)

 

parasympthetic and sympathetic system off balance

 

part can be genetic, but drugs can also be the culprit

 

i have it

for anxiety 

12 years paxil - cold turkey 1,5 month - switch celexa 1 year taper; total 13 years on brain meds 

67 years old - 9 years  med free

 

in protracted withdrawal

rigidity standing and walking, dryness gougerot-szoegren, sleep deteriorate,

function as have a lack of nerves, improving have been very little 

 

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  • 1 year later...
  • Moderator

Lizabeth,

 

Hi and welcome to SA.  Could you please write an Introduction about yourself and post in the Introductions and Updates forum.  Here's how:

 

Please start a topic about yourself in this forum

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.   

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8mg and shift to Imipramine taper

Aug. 5, 2022: shift back to Valium taper.  

Current dose as of Dec. 2, 2022: 2.6mg

Taper is 86% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Aug. 5: 9.5mg 

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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