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Ness: Mirtazapine Withdrawal - Back to Baseline


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Hello,

 

The awkward challenge of writing my introduction.

I have a pretty extensive history in regards to medication (granted not as extensive as some people) and it's gotten to a point where I am both ready and wanting to be free from them. I want to be able to know what my baseline is mentally without these medications.

 

I started taking medication just after I turned 18. I had been in mental health services since the age of 14 but had managed to resist them up until that point. Things took a dramatic and devastating turn when I hit adulthood and it saw the complete dismantling of my entire life. I would pretty much lose the next 5 years in and out of acute psychiatric hospitals and then up until last year, various stays in specialist treatment centres. It's been challenging but I suppose it has just been what it is.

 

I started on fluoxetine and within a few weeks, I had lost it. That annoying little side effect of increasing suicide ideation in young people...yea that's how that played out. Psych services pulled me off it straight away and then began the string of medications (In my signature, you'll find a list of the ones I can remember I've taken). I don't remember how I felt of a lot of them. I can't remember who prescribed them or where I was when they were prescribed. I can't remember many of the side effects that I may have had, other than SSRI's which always made me worse.

 

Anyway in 2010, someone prescribed me Mirtazapine and it's the first drug that really did start to make a difference. I started to sleep a little bit better and my anxiety reduced. My mood didn't seem to have been impacted unfortunately but 2 out of 3, I could work with. I was also taking sleeping meds. In fact I hadn't had real sleep that was not medically induced since I was in my mid to late teens.

 

In 2013, during a hospital stay my meds got altered and I was pulled off of Nitrazapam, Hydroxizine and started on Aripripazol. It didn't not turn out very well. The withdrawals were horrific. I also wasn't sleeping so was prescribed Zopiclone again and I stopped the Aripripazol,

 

Things stabilised, I got stronger and better. So in 2015 I decided, after reading certain books that I wanted to give this medication free thing a try. I had no idea how my adult brain functioned unmedicated. I was curious.

 

I went from 7.5mg to 3.75mg of Zopiclone. I held it for 6 months. I had about a couple of weeks of withdrawals but nothing too horrendous.

In January 2016 I stopped the Zopiclone completely. Again I had two weeks of feeling rubbish but that was it. I actually started to sleep better. I began to dream, which was bizarre because I hadn't done that in years. It's been ok.

 

The next step was the mirtazapine. 5 weeks ago I began the process of tapering.

I went from 45mg to 30mg which I held for 3 weeks. I tracked my symptoms daily which were wide ranging but in total wasn't as bad as I was expecting and by day 11 was symptom free.

I then went down to 15mg. I've been here for 2 weeks now, with the intention of holding for a month. It's been a bit harder. Lots of weird and random side effects, some which trouble me. My anxiety has also stepped up a gear. I feel like I'm improving. Yesterday I had a day which was nearly symptom free...

 

So I guess that's where I am right now. Kind of terrified, kind of excited. I have an amazing doctor who is overseeing this and reigning me in when I think I should be doing better or wanting to go quicker. He is also offering reassurance about my weird little symptoms.

 

I will leave it there and I hope to see some of you around  the boards :)

 

 

 

 

Med History

 

2006 - 2010: Fluoxetine, Citalopram, Trazodone, Quetiapine, Olanzapine, Haloperidol, Lorazapam, Diazapam

2010 - 2013: Mirtazapine, Aripripazol, Risperidone, Zopiclone

2013 - 2016: Mirtazapine - 45mg, Zopiclone - 7.5mg

Stopped Zopiclone - January 2016

Currently Tapering Mirtazapine - Taper plan

45mg - 30mg - 3 weeks

30mg - 15mg - 1 month (2 weeks in to this)

15mg - 7.5mg - 1 month

7.5mg - 0mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hiya, Ness. Welcome to SA.

 

Congratulations on getting yourself off of the zopiclone. I can see from your intro that you've already experienced what can happen when you withdraw too quickly from psychiatric medication. I know you're eager to get off mirtazapine as quickly as possible, but patience is the key to success and you may want to consider reining yourself in a little bit more.

 

Withdrawal symptoms can be sneaky. You can feel fine during the early stages, race ahead with a too optimistic tapering schedule, only to find that things catch up with you in a couple of months time. 

 

We recommend tapering by 10% of your precious dose, with at least a month between cuts.  So, your schedule would look like this; 45, 40.5, 36.5, 32.8, 29.5, 26.6..... This is to allow your brain to slowly adjust and to prevent delayed withdrawal symptoms from catching up with you -  

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

 

You schedule looks too fast and may get you into some difficulties. Your first reduction was 33% and your next two will be 50%. I suspect that your doctor has suggested this because of the available tablet sizes. As he seems supportive of your efforts, you may want to print off some of the details about tapering and see what he thinks. It's always better to have your doctor on-board with your plan. He may be able to prescribe liquid mirtazapine which will make working out your doses much easier -

Tips for tapering off Remeron (mirtazapine)

 

Anyway, have a read of the links I've provided, look around the site, maybe introduce yourself to a few members who are also tapering mirtazapine. You'll find plenty of caring people here who will provide you with lots of good advice and answer any questions you may have. 

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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Hi Ness, 

 

Am just stopping by today welcome. I am pretty new here and just catching up to how withdrawal works after 

some difficult experiences. I am currently on Mirtazapine and Zopiclone but am holding for a while because 

I suffered from withdrawing from Effexor too quickly. I do think it is very good advice to take it gently. 

 

You are dong fantastically well. Take care and look forward to your updates/ 

 

Bruin

Anti Depressants for  25 years. Valium between 2006 to 7 tapered off over a month without too bad withdrawals.

For last 15 years 150 mg of Effexor and 30 mg of Mirtazapine. Occasional short term benzo use without habituation.

March 2015 stopped Effexor after rapid taper. 6 weeks. 

One month fluoxetine June 2015...stopped CT July 2015.

October 2013 to December 2015 Zopiclone 15 mg at night,

Dec 2015 to Early March 2016 Lyrica 75 mg at night. 

Stopped too quickly as  adverse side effects.

January to May 2016 tapered Zopiclone to 7.5mg 

Crossed over to Valium and now ..March 28th 2017 Benzo Free.

Also on 30 mg Mirtazapine and holding until have finished Benzo taper.

IN protracted WD from Effexor.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Ness,

 

Glad some members have already popped in to welcome you and direct you to the relevant links (thanks Dan and Bruin).  It's true that a much slower taper will serve you well.  It's all about taking care of your brain and nervous system, rather than getting off drugs fast. 

 

What side effects are you currently having?  Although can can be alarming, they may not be as weird as you think...http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2390-dr-joseph-glenmullens-withdrawal-symptom-checklist/.

 

There are many ideas for dealing with anxiety (and other symptoms) here:  Non-Drug Techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.  Also, many people find Fish oil and Magnesium useful generally during withdrawal.  

 

Hopefully things will settle down as you continue to hold at this dose.  You may like to extend your hold if you still do not feel well stabilised in two weeks time.  (Or if things get worse in the next weeks, you may wish to up-dose a little).  Then you could take some time to stabilise and begin tapering according to the 10% schedule.   

 

This can be your journal to record your tapering and healing progress, and to ask questions. 

Welcome to SA,

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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