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Niima Attempted to taper zoloft. 3rd day brought on debilitating chills, sweats, back pain. Help?


Niima

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My typical dose of zoloft is supposed to be 75mg/day. I decided to drop from 75 to 62.5, by splitting a 25mg in half. On the third day of the taper, I suddenly got colder and colder to the point where it was unbearable to stand, my back muscles were so tight that I was in immense pain, I felt the pins and needles sensation in my face, I had a crying spell, and after lying in bed meditating for a few hours to disconnect from the back pain, I was drenched in sweat, but didn't feel hot. I took the other half of the 25mg before lying down in bed, and have been taking my regular 75mg dose ever since the symptoms first hit 3 days ago. I still get unbearably cold at night and then the sweats, along with the tightness and pain in my back, and I don't know what to do or what to expect. My boyfriend is a doctor at the local hospital and tries to tell me it's simply a viral infection, but I know that's not the case, so I'm reluctant about going to the hospital when many of the doctors here have the same attitude as my boyfriend and don't take the time to consider that they could be wrong.

Feb 5, 2016 - began sertraline. Dose eventually increased to 75mg

Decided to begin tapering when I began noticing adverse side effects, including feeling as if I would have an emotional breakdown at any moment

April 13-15: took 62.5mg

On the 15th began debilitating chills and back pain, crying spells, pins and needles, night sweats, lack of appetite.

Up-dosed to my regular dose of 75mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Niima, 

 

Welcome to SA - I'm glad you found us!

 

I'm sorry even your boyfriend couldn't understand what was happening to you, so typical of doctors.  They are trained to think horses, not zebras when they hear hoof-beats, so AD withdrawal must be zebras to them!  Very frustrating and most here have run into that with doctors, including psychiatrists who are supposed to know the most about these drugs since Rx'ing them is their specialty!  I guess fessing up to WD would be fessing up to causing a patient harm when they tell the patient to taper too fast or CT!

 

Anyway, you cut your med just a tinch too steeply, I'd say.  The symptoms you described are definitely withdrawal symptoms.  At SA we recommend no more than 10% per month, which would be 67.5 in your case.  Another 5 mg might not seem like a big deal but according to your system, it is!

 

The longer one has been on ADs, the higher the dose, and the more switches/stops/starts one has experienced, the more sensitized the central nervous system becomes to future changes.  Long term users, such as myself at 20 years, need to go very slowly to allow the nervous system to adapt to life without the drug gently.

 

You were wise to up-dose to your regular dosage, but it will take some time for the repercussions to settle out.  It takes four days for the drug to become steady state in the blood, so that long if not a little longer to feel better again.  You will recover, and in the mean-time be kind and nurturing to yourself.

 

What would be helpful in the meantime is if you could fill out your signature block for us regarding your drug-taking history, Dates, dosage changes, med changes, etc, as best you can.  This allows everyone including the moderators to see your history at a glance, since as your thread grows, it will be hard to tease the info out.  Instructions for doing so are here:

 

Please put your Withdrawal History in Signature

 

It would be good for us to know why you decided to come off your meds to begin with, side effects, etc.  You will be able to come off Zoloft if that is what you'd like, but you are sensitive so you may need to try 5% per month.  Here is the link for the 10% taper, but for you it would perhaps be 5%:

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

I'm including some other good links for you to explore as you prepare for trying again.

 

Introduction to AD Withdrawal Syndrome

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

Symptoms:  Important topics about symptoms

 

Come back here to ask questions after reading up on those links.  This is your place to journal your experience and keep us updated.  Bookmark your thread so you can find it easily.  By clicking "Follow" above, you will be notified when you get responses on your thread.

 

We hope to see you back here soon!

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Nilma, welcome from me too, nothing to add to SG's excellent advice but just wanted to say hi. :)

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Thank you for the warm welcome and support, it's very greatly appreciated!

Yesterday I got a professional 1-hour massage to see if it would help the back pain, but it only helped temporarily after leaving. Thankfully today I was pain free the entire day, Hallelujah, and haven't had any chills, though I have been sweating more than is typical. Whatever, I'll take it.

I'm just thankful to be almost back to normal and today I spoke with my therapist and decided to stay at my current dose until I go through EMDR for my PTSD (not entirely sure when she plans to do that, but I think soon), though I did call my doctor's office to request my zoloft to be filled as a liquid rather than in tablet form.

Feb 5, 2016 - began sertraline. Dose eventually increased to 75mg

Decided to begin tapering when I began noticing adverse side effects, including feeling as if I would have an emotional breakdown at any moment

April 13-15: took 62.5mg

On the 15th began debilitating chills and back pain, crying spells, pins and needles, night sweats, lack of appetite.

Up-dosed to my regular dose of 75mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Niima , welcome.

 

If you're transferring to liquid , you may want to do that by taking half liquid , half tablets for a week or two.

The liquid is absorbed faster and can bring on symptoms whilst adjusting to the change.

 

In the meantime , magnesium is recommended to assist your body during this period. It has a calming

effect and helps with aches and pains. It also helps all your organs function easier , so has numerous benefits.

See our magnesium thread here "Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker" http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/?view=findpost&p=87190&hl=magnesium

Also "King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)" http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/?view=findpost&p=100596&hl=magnesium

 

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

Hi Niima,

 

Welcome from me too.  I am sure that once you stabilise after your first attempt, you'll be able to begin a gentle taper.  There is a lot of info on this site which can help you with all aspects of managing withdrawal.  Knowledge is power :)

 

Take it real easy for the next wee while, lots of rest, lots of water, eat well etc.  You can soothe your way through this.  SG gave you all the good links, but this is one I always give people here cause it's my favourite:  Non-Drug Tools for Managing Emotional Symptoms.

 

Welcome to s/a,

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

Further thoughts:

 

1. "Feb 5, 2016 - began sertraline. Dose eventually increased to 75mg"

 

Is this your first time taking any psyche meds? So you've been taking sertraline for less than 3 months?

 

2. Your drop from 75mg to 62.5mg was way than 10%. Your first drop should be to no lower than 67.5mg.

 

It was a very sensible thing to do to go back to 75mg. Please stay on this dose for at least 6 to 8 weeks

after this hiccup before decreasing again.

Your central nervous system needs time to stabilize and strengthen before you taper , or you'll

get another dose of bad w/d symptoms.

 

If you click FOLLOW at the top right , you'll receive an email each time someone posts here.

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

Link to comment

Further thoughts:

 

1. "Feb 5, 2016 - began sertraline. Dose eventually increased to 75mg"

 

Is this your first time taking any psyche meds? So you've been taking sertraline for less than 3 months?

 

2. Your drop from 75mg to 62.5mg was way than 10%. Your first drop should be to no lower than 67.5mg.

 

It was a very sensible thing to do to go back to 75mg. Please stay on this dose for at least 6 to 8 weeks

after this hiccup before decreasing again.

Your central nervous system needs time to stabilize and strengthen before you taper , or you'll

get another dose of bad w/d symptoms.

 

If you click FOLLOW at the top right , you'll receive an email each time someone posts here.

 

Yes, this is my first time on psych meds other than adderall or focalin if you would even count those. I don't intend to take anymore psychiatric meds once I've successfully gotten myself off zoloft

Feb 5, 2016 - began sertraline. Dose eventually increased to 75mg

Decided to begin tapering when I began noticing adverse side effects, including feeling as if I would have an emotional breakdown at any moment

April 13-15: took 62.5mg

On the 15th began debilitating chills and back pain, crying spells, pins and needles, night sweats, lack of appetite.

Up-dosed to my regular dose of 75mg

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  • 1 month later...

Okay, so a few weeks ago I switched to liquid sertraline to gradually help myself taper off. Using the dropper, I've gradually decreased the amount that I take each week and I estimate that I take about 67mg each day at this point and I'm doing well. Apart from feeling like I need multiple naps throughout the day and having cramps and my menstrual cycle returning, everything is fine. Sometimes I sweat in my sleep, but nowhere near the extent that I did before and everything is very tolerable unlike before

Feb 5, 2016 - began sertraline. Dose eventually increased to 75mg

Decided to begin tapering when I began noticing adverse side effects, including feeling as if I would have an emotional breakdown at any moment

April 13-15: took 62.5mg

On the 15th began debilitating chills and back pain, crying spells, pins and needles, night sweats, lack of appetite.

Up-dosed to my regular dose of 75mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm glad things are tolerable Niima.  Are you keeping yourself within the 10% monthly reduction rate?  Just wanting to check, as I don't want things to catch up with you.  Gently, gently...

 

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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