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MNgal1960

MNgal1960: need to get off of 3 meds

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MNgal1960

mngal-want-to-try-again-but-not-sure

 

Hi. I heard this forum will help with other meds besides anti-depressants. I got off of those years ago but probably did myself some damage in the process.

 

I put in a signature so you can see how I got here and where I am. I was so tired from lack of sleep that I was just taking whatever the nurse or doctor said without thinking it through. Now I'm sleeping 5-6 hours and can think well enough to know that I'm in a bad place from these drugs and need to get off.

 

My biggest problem now is sedation/depression. I cannot drive most days. I've lost my job and most of my friends. I used to be much more active but now can't even walk around the block. I also have a lot of anxiety but not sure if it's life circumstances or meds or both. I can't figure out where to start. I'm losing hope that I will ever get better.

 

I do think I got much worse when I started the gabapentin. Actually, I'd say the anxiety got better but the sedation and depression and feeling hopeless got worse.

 

I don't know where to start but I figure I'm not going to ask my doctor for a plan given what happened with the anti-depressant taper he gave me. I wanted to rip my brain out of my head, it was that bad. Don't ever want to experience that again. But can't stay like I am, either.

Edited by ChessieCat

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brassmonkey

Hi MNGal-- welcome to the group. I'm sorry that you're feeling so poorly, but I an see why, the doctors haven't done you any favors.  I'm so glad you found us, we will be able to help. There are several threads that will give you a lot of information, so have a look at these:

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Tips for tapering off Neurontin (gabapentin)

 

That should get you started, have a read and then ask us a ton of question.  Thank you for adding a signature block, it really helps to make things clear.

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MNgal1960

Wow, thanks so much for those links, brassmonkey!

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MNgal1960

Well, no wonder I'm so exhausted. All 3 meds I'm taking are sedating. 

 

I'm actually now leaning toward trying to reduce the gabapentin first. See if getting it lower helps. It seemed like it was when I added the gabapentin that the extreme fatigue started. And I've been on it for less time so maybe I can get it lower easier? Does this make sense?

 

Also, I'm a little confused about making my own liquid. Is it OK to dump my capsule into water, shake it up, and pull out 10% to do a reduction?

 

Also, can I prep my liquid the night before and take it the next day? I would have to have my daughter do this for me when she is here in the evenings. I don't trust myself to do it right, I'm that tired.

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brassmonkey

Extreme fatigue is a symptom of being on and trying to get off of these drugs. But having all three as downers doesn't help.  You might want to run all the different drugs you're taking through the interaction calculator and see what comes up. If you do copy and paste the results here.

 

Drug Interactions Checker -- use it to reduce your drug burden

 

Doing the gabapentin first makes a lot of sense.

 

In rough terms yes, that is how you do the homemade liquid.  It helps to be very exacting in your measuring.  It is fine to make it up the night before, it will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

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MNgal1960

No surprise, it says they each interact with the others to increase dizziness, drowsiness, etc. Seems that the gabapentin was the proverbial "last straw" for my brain. So it will be the first to go, or at least be reduced.

 

I take the gabapentin now as 300mg capsules (I take 3 times/day) but they also come in 100mg capsules. Would subtracting a whole 100mg capsule from one dose be too much? Maybe I could get my doctor to prescribe the smaller capsules. I see him in a couple of weeks.

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Fresh

Hi MNgal , welcome to the site.

 

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

 

We recommend tapering 10% and waiting a month to see how you recover.  You take 900mg gabapentin , so ideally you don't want to drop more than 90mg , taking you to 810mg.

 

If you make a liquid solution and keep it in the fridge , it will last for a week.   You might make up the 810mg with 2 x 300mg caps.  and 210mg in liquid.

See the link on 'How to make Liquid from Tablets and Capsules"  here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2693-how-to-make-a-liquid-from-tablets-or-capsules/

 

best wishes ,  Fresh

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MNgal1960

Thank you for the link to that video. It was so helpful to actually see the process. Distilled water is a great idea because of how clean it is. Well, until you stick the syringe into it. Then I guess it's not so clean any more.

 

I have a few extra gabapentin capsules. My daughter and I have practiced with one and got the hang of opening it and mixing it in water without making too big a mess.

 

I googled around and found that gabapentin is actually water soluble, so it will actually dissolve in the water (not just disintegrate). That's reassuring. The fillers do not seem to be water soluble, though, so I will be shaking well to make sure they are evenly distributed before measuring my dose.

 

I read your signature and I'm so sorry for what you've been through. I hope you are doing OK now.

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MNgal1960

I cut my gabapentin 10% following the directions and now, 2 days later, I developed a red face for maybe 20-30 minutes and then it went away. I wouldn't have even known about it except my daughter was here and told me to go look in the mirror. Can flushing be a withdrawal symptom? I used to get flushing when I was going through menopause, but I am several years past that.

 

BTW, no other symptoms of withdrawal. Is it too soon to notice anything?

 

Thanks.

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KarenB

It's not too soon to notice symptoms.  They can show up anything from hours to a week or so after a change.  Usually it takes 4 days.  Has the red face been just the once?  I guess you weren't feeling hot or you would have noticed it.  Here is a useful checklist of symptoms:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2390-dr-joseph-glenmullens-withdrawal-symptom-checklist/

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MNgal1960

Thanks KarenB.  Since I wrote that about the flushing (no, not hot, just red), I just got a wave of something else. Really sharp pains moving around rapidly all over the center and right side of my body, all above waist, that went on for about half an hour and then rapidly went away. I have a fuzzy recollection of experiencing something like this in a previous withdrawal, but not sure. It was a long time ago.

 

I have no idea if I had other episodes of flushing because I wouldn't have known even of the one if my daughter hadn't been over and pointed it out. :unsure:

 

Weird stuff going on for sure!

 

Feeling much better now, just a bit "off" and some chest tightness.

 

Perhaps relevant, perhaps not, over 20 years ago I had surgeries and chest tubes on the right side of my body, too many tubes to remember, because I had a congenital defect in my right lung. But this did not feel anything like that kind of pain. Just interesting that it was on the same side of my body as all the scars.

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KarenB

Something I've noticed is that people express pains or difficulties in widely differing ways. 

 

My husband and I are both tapering Effexor.  My main indicator-symptom (the one that tells me I'm in a wave, or doing too much) is sore ears - and ears have always been my 'weak' point even before ad's.  My husband's main symptom is itchy, hot skin - and he has always had skin issues of one type or another.

 

Aside from how horrible w/d is, it really is quite fascinating as a way to see more of how our bodies function. 

 

Glad you are feeling a bit better.  Just keep holding at that dose and letting it all settle. 

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MNgal1960

Thanks. The physical stuff all settled very fast. Yesterday I felt fine, got quite a bit of yard work done with my daughter's help. Today I'm just feeling very down/hopeless/crying a lot/no interest in anything, but no physicial symptoms whatsoever, not even feeling sore from the yard work. (Weird at my age! ;) )

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KarenB

Do you have some nice soothing things?  A hot bath with epsom salts ... a soft cuddly blanket ... favourite music.

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MNgal1960

Thank you, Karen. Nothing seems to help much. I'm so jittery now. I had one "good" day and then have been feeling jittery and crying again.

 

Some bad stuff has happened, too. I didn't want to write about it because it's upsetting and off-topic, but I don't know what to do. A month or so ago my 20-year-old son (who was commuting to college from home and really struggling academically because of significant learning disabilities) abruptly moved out and had some kind of mental collapse. At first he would still come by and ask for help with things (taxes, banking, laundry). Now he doesn't want to come by or talk to me at all and I don't know what's going on.

 

From what little he has said and from his Facebook posts, he has pushed away everybody and everything. He says he hates life. He hates school. He posted a picture of someone slitting their wrists on Facebook. I'm afraid he may harm himself. But he won't respond to me.

 

I miss him so much it hurts like physical pain and my brain even hurts so bad I can't stand it. I want to scream and scream to try to block out the pain. I don't know if that makes sense. I think this withdrawal is just making everything worse worse.

 

I'm afraid I have lost him forever and I don't even understand what happened. Just that he is very, very anxious and depressed. He was seeming to be that way when he was here, but he is so much worse now. The counselor at school said he should go on an antidepressant! So far he refuses all help, counseling, tutoring, medications and just is anxious, angry, and more and more desperate sounding. I don't know what to do. All I get from professionals is "talk him into taking an antidepressant."

 

This is all just too much. My brain can't even believe it's happening. It's like it's a whole new grief and horror every day. It doesn't let up. And I want to get off these awful meds myself. I can't help him if I can't function. But trying to get off seems to be making me worse. Or is it just the grief? I don't understand. :(

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Fresh

I'm so sorry to hear that M , a terrible situation at the best of times.

 

If you feel the fallout from the reduction is too much at this point , you could bump it up so that your

total reduction is 5% rather than 10%.  You would do this by adding 45 mg of liquid.

You need to be as calm as possible to manage issues relating to your son , so up-dosing might be a

good move.

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MNgal1960

Thank you, Fresh. Isn't it too late to updose now? I thought you had to do that right away.

 

Yes, I would be calmer, maybe, but I'm afraid I would be back to being half asleep most of the time. That has improved a bit so I can actually drive most days. though not far. I thought if I was on less meds and could be more awake I could deal with this better. I don't have him to drive me places or help set up my meds or get groceries. The gabapentin was so sedating I usually couldn't do those things.

 

Also, Fresh, could you tell me what is CES therapy, I see in your signature?

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Fresh

It looks like you did the cut o the 17th , so a week ago.    It should be fine to bump it up if you want to.  Not all the way back up , just half way.

 

Gabapentin will make you drowsy , especially in the morning.  Drowsy is a better option than jittery and

crying , so you need to work with "which is less bad?"

 

CES is Cranial Electro Stimulation therapy , sending little electrical currents across the brain to stimulate

recovery.  I use a Sota Bio Tuner.   Am taking 21mg pristiq now and have had minimal w/d symptoms for

the past 12 months since tapering from 50mg.

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MNgal1960

Yes, drowsy is the word. Almost brain dead, actually, and most of the day. I needed my daughter to come over and put food in front of me and make sure I ate it. She would make me smoothies when I was too tired to chew. I think I was just started on way too high a dose of gabapentin, for me anyway. Since this I've been reading that some doctors believe you should very low and work your way up, much lower than I was started on.

 

I'm not sure which is less bad. I do get breaks from the jumpiness and anxiety sometimes and then I think I'm over it, but it always comes back.  :( And then I want to updose. And then I remember what a burden I was to my daughter when I was so exhausted and I want to stick it out. She has a life and can't be over here all the time trying to take care of me.

 

If i stick it out, it will settle down eventually right? I am concerned that my two previous iantrogenic disasters with the antidepressants may have super-sensitized me to med withdrawal and I won't ever get better. But I don't know if that's just worry or a real possibility.

 

That's very interesting about the CES. I had never heard of that before.

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Fresh

This isn't permanent , and yes , it will settle down.

 

Thinking about your decrease , are you taking 10% less for each of your doses , i.e. each dose is now 270mg?

Is there any correlation between the times of the day when agitation is worse , and times of dosage?  

If you can keep notes for the next week , we can see if moving the dosage times a little might help.

 

CES certainly is interesting.  I first learned about it from a member called bloodrush living in the Ukraine , where it's

standard out-patient treatment for drug withdrawal.

Anne Blake Tracy wrote about it in her book "Prozac: Panacea or Pandora's Box" published 22 years ago.  

I haven't seen it yet , but she says there are before and after photos of the brain with significant changes

after CES therapy.

 

:)

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MNgal1960

Thanks, Fresh. I guess I knew it would settled down, but I worry. It's good to hear it from someone who knows. My daughter is saying to ride it out rather than updose and she will help me. She knows I got through much worse during my divorce and loss of house and my savings and everything when I got sick. But that was when I was not on these meds that have messed up my mind. I was so much stronger then.

 

Actually, I took the 10% off the two daytime doses and left the night dose alone. My doctor originally prescribed the gabapentin as 600mg at bedtime because it was helping my restless leg syndrome. But I found myself getting agitated and having neuropathy in the daytime. So, very quickly she added the daytime doses. When she did that, it sounded like way too much, so at the same time, I cut down my night dose and made it an even 300+300+300. I didn't realize that was still a lot of gabapentin.

 

I also sometimes take a larger dose of gabapentin at bedtime (OK-ed by doctor) and skip the Seroquel so I don't get habituated to the Seroquel, too. My sleep is really awful, though. The Valium was started as a sleep aid but now does nothing for that. I knew nothing about benzos at the time and was so tired I just did what the doctor said without looking into it. Biggest mistake of my life, but I had no other options at the time. I seemed to habituate to the Valium really quickly. Finally, as I got worse and worse from the Valium disaster, my daughter drove me quite a distance to see a psychiatrist who gave me the bad news about benzos. He prescribed the low-dose Seroquel as a "safer" sleep aid (according to him) to take and encouraged me to reduce the gabapentin and get off the Valium. A couple of doctors were involved with the gabapentin, a neurologist and my primary who disagreed with each other about dosing and tapering. It's all so darn complicated I don't know if I'm even remembering right!

 

I have been trying to figure out a pattern for the anxiety, but really, the anxiety goes up and down all the time. I think it affected by many things. Very poor sleep. Life stressors. (What I mentioned about my son is just the tip of a huge iceberg. Too upsetting to write details.) Grief over other losses. Social isolation. Neuropathy flares, etc. Throw in the gabapentin and the Valium screw up and I have a long, long way to go to get out of this mess.

 

Thank God for my daughter. She is here cleaning right now.

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MNgal1960

BTW, Fresh, when I was a kid, we had an exchange student from Australia live with us for a year. Happy memories. :)

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MNgal1960

Oh crumbs!!! My daughter was here today and pointed out that my math was all wrong. I didn't cut by 10%. I cut by 20%! When she showed me, it was so obvious. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm putting that extra 10% back on immediately. I hope it's not too late. And I hope I'm not over-sedated again.

 

When my son lived here, he either set out my meds in their little pill boxes or checked to make sure I didn't mess them up. I should have known I would mess this up!

 

My daughter wrote it out on a card how to dilute and pitch from the two daytime doses so I take the correct 10% off of my total dose. She also said she is thinking about moving in with me when her lease is up in May. She's worried about me. I guess she's right. I swear between the meds and the taper I've lost 20 IQ points. :o

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MNgal1960

Hi Poet, don't I wish! I'm much further south. But I'm sure you'll be able to get a group together in that area if you keep looking. So many people and resources in the big metro areas. 

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KarenB

For how long had you been accidentally reducing by 20% instead of 10%?  (It would be good to also note this blip in your signature). 

 

If it's been quite awhile you may not need to go right back to where you were.

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MNgal1960

It was nearly a week at the 20%. And it was a pretty miserable week. Spent most of every day trying to cope with spikes of anxiety. I'm going to try to go back to 10% today and see if I feel better. Is that right?

 

Added the recent blip to my signature and an earlier one I also had (a short, failed Valium reduction that a doctor tried on me, some giant cut, can't remember how much, but I nearly fell apart at the seams).

 

BTW, when my daughter was here, she pointed out again that I had redness on my face. This time only my nose. I looked like Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer. :P Again, this lasted about an hour or so.

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MNgal1960

Fresh, regarding your question about patterns, I have been trying to see a pattern of the anxiety and only notice what I have known for a long time, that I tend to feel the worst in the morning. That was before I even started to make cuts. I just dread getting up and trying to face another day. I'm hung over from the night meds. I'm anxious about getting through the day. I may or may not feel better in the afternoon. Around the time I'm supposed to be settling down and going to bed, I'm the most awake.

 

My dosing schedule right now is:

 

7AM 5mg Valium and 255mg gabapentin. After an oops subtracting the 10% (90mg) twice for a week, I'm now subtracting 5% (45mg) twice, once off of each daytime dose.

3PM 5mg Valium and 255mg gabapentin.

9PM 25mg Seroquel most nights but about twice/week skip the Seroquel and take a larger dose of gabapentin instead (1,200mg). The Seroquel aggravates my RLS something awful but I had completely stopped sleeping when I was given the Valium, which then stopped working pretty quickly. (Which caused the original prescriber to keep upping the dose.) The Seroquel was a move of desperation and has given me some sleep back. Without a sleep aid, I have night panics over and over and get almost zero sleep.

10:30PM Valium and 300mg gabapentin

 

My doctor would like me to take 600mg gabapentin at bedtime for my restless leg syndrome, but I am resisting even though the 300mg isn't really enough. I still wake up several times a night and have trouble falling back asleep because of the creepy crawly feelings in my legs.

 

As I think about this, I remember that before I started taking the gabapentin daily, I did the occasional large bedtime dose thing (skipping the Seroquel) and did not have any ill effects except that it's not a great sleep aid so I would be tired the next day. Now it seems that the day after I skip Seroquel and take extra gabapentin at 9PM, I am more and more anxious as the day goes on and start to feel better around 5PM. I've noticed this many times over the past month or so.

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MNgal1960

I am so zonked out now that I corrected to the 10% reduction of the gabapentin. I wonder how I am going to drive to the doctor tomorrow morning. Too tired to type more.

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KarenB

Yes, take it back to just a 10% reduction.  Give it at least 4 days to settle - though it may take a week or so.  It will be interesting to note if your anxiety lessens, and also what happens with the fatigue.  Are you keeping notes?  It really helps you to work out what's causing what symptoms. 

 

Thanks for updating your signature. 

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MNgal1960

Thank you, Karen. I do write down a few words on my meds card about how the day has been, especially if there's been something unusual.

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MNgal1960

Feeling wobbly but not terrible. Hope to get through this rough patch and get back to my taper. Not sure if I want to keep going on the gabapentin or switch to tapering the Valium.

 

My daughter came over for Easter dinner. Got a nice card from my older son in TX. (Military and moves around a lot. Thankfully he's not oversees.) Talked to my youngest. He seems to maybe be a bit better emotionally. It's hard to say. I found a therapist who does CBT. If anyone knows anything about it and if it's helpful during withdrawal, I would love to hear from them.

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KarenB

CBT is used by many members here, and seems to help a lot.  I've learned a little of it too, and found it very useful. 

 

Not a good idea to switch while you are still unstable, and it's usually best to avoid a switch if you can.

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MNgal1960

Thanks, Karen. I am going to start the CBT sessions next week, or at least the discussion of the CBT sessions. Very good to know it is helpful since it takes me so much effort just to get to the therapist.

 

Yes, I am not going to switch tapers until I am more stable. My primary doctor wants me to stay on the gabapentin at whatever dose I can tolerate because it is treating my neuropathy (supposedly) and restless leg syndrome (definitely). The Valium is treating nothing. It was a mistake from the start. I just need to get lower on the gabapentin and get stable on it. Then I really want to start on tapering the Valium. I guess I am thinking way too far ahead, though. I am barely getting through each day.

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coldturkmama

Hope today is a GOOD day! :) 

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coldturkmama

I am having a pretty good day! :) Will PM you later! 

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MNgal1960

Thanks for stopping by, CTM!  So very glad to hear you're having a good day. :)

 

Yesterday was very high anxiety for me. Today my brain is full of mud and I'm exhausted. Guess I should get off the computer and get some stuff done around here. ;)

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