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Marcus1498 Hello - now how do I get off Lexapro?


Marcus1498

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I am a minor. I've made a lot of good progress in weekly psychotherapy and meds. I am on 10mg of Lexapro, and have been for roughly three months. However I think my psychiatrist will be more likely to diagnose me as a paranoid schizophrenic than take me off the lexapro if I ask for it. I don't take much and haven't been taking it long, but I don't want to take it, in fear of these horrible withdrawals and the fact I want to feel better without drugs. If I can't persuade my psych I may end up just slowly tapering on my own.... Thank you very much for having me. 

Meds

Lexapro (Escitalopram) 10mg since March of 2016 for Social Anxiety, MDD/SAD, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety

Concerta (Methylphenidate ER) 27mg for ADHD

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Marcus -- Welcome. I'm glad you found us. The fact that you're young is a great advantage as is the fact that you've been on Lexapro for "only" 3 months.  It's an absolute travesty that you -- a person whose brain is still developing -- were prescribed psychotropic drugs.

 

Have you read these threads about dealing with doctors?

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?

What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

There may be some ideas in there for your next meeting with the pDoc. I'd carefully assess the doctor's attitude about withdrawal, primarily what does s/he think about withdrawal symptoms: that symptoms are

  • real and potentially disabling, 
  • always minor and of short duration, or 
  • not withdrawal but a relapse of the original condition that requires increased or additional medication.

Questions you could ask to get at this in a sideways-manner:

  • How long do people like me usually stay on Lexapro?
  • Is there anything special about how to stop taking it? 
    You could mention anything that's in the consumer information that comes with a prescription.  If you don't have that document, you can ask your pharmacist. Many chain pharmacies have their own databases and can give you a print out for Lexapro/escitalopram. You could also search/google for "consumer information" lexapro.

Here's a thread with Tips about tapering off Lexapro There's a link to the FDA mandated package insert.  This could be useful to take with you when you meet with your doctor.  The information about going off Lexapro is on page 4, paragraph 2.4.

 

If you determine that they'll be unsupportive about your intention to taper off the Lexapro, you may need to do as you suggest: Smile take the prescription and taper on your own.

 

Some questions for you to answer in a post:

  • Why do you want to come off Lexapro?
  • Is Lexapro the only drug -- prescription or other -- that you take/use?
  • Do you have support from a parent/guardian? That would make things a lot easier for you. I suspect that you may not. Either way, let us know.
  • What was the condition that prompted the prescription of Lexapro?
  • Is your prescribing doctor the same one you see for psychotherapy?
  • If not, does the psychotherapist inform the prescribing doctor about your progress?

 

Also, help the moderators help you by Putting your drug history (all of them) in your signature

Sorry you're here, but your timing is good.  You'll have good information to taper in a way that will minimize symptoms. Again, welcome!

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Hey Marcus! Not everybody has problem getting off antidepressants, but some of us are more sensitive in changes that occur after we stop taking them. BUT if your psychiatrist gives you permission to stop taking them even he might tell you to go faster then this forum recommends. If you want to stop, please taper very, very slowly and listen to your body. Let your brain adjust to slight changes. Don't go cold turkey even if you're impatient like me hehe. It's also good that you've been taking it for only 3 months.

Still, go slow and don't be afraid.

All the best,

Serva.

CD off meds in July 2015, not on any medication since. Went through WD nightmare, now dealing with normal anxiety, but decided not to leave this forum yet because I want to support and give hope to others. ♡

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Some questions for you to answer in a post:

  • Why do you want to come off Lexapro?
  • Is Lexapro the only drug -- prescription or other -- that you take/use?
  • Do you have support from a parent/guardian? That would make things a lot easier for you. I suspect that you may not. Either way, let us know.
  • What was the condition that prompted the prescription of Lexapro?
  • Is your prescribing doctor the same one you see for psychotherapy?
  • If not, does the psychotherapist inform the prescribing doctor about your progress?

Thanks a bunch for those links, stuff like that was exactly what I was hoping for. 

1. I want to come off lexapro so I can live a more natural life, while also dealing with any real causes of depression/anxiety rather than it's symptoms. Also, of course, I am afraid of the withdrawals noted on this site and others. Benzo withdrawal or opiate withdrawal, although clearly horrible, does not scare me nearly as much as SSRI withdrawals - other drug's withdrawal's will be over eventually. I want to get off of the drug before it takes hold of me - even now if I forget to take it one day, I will be in a poor mood and unable to focus (not related to ADHD). 

2. No, I also take 27mg of Concerta during the week. I do not use any other drugs. 

3. Unfortunately, no. My mother takes lexapro as well. So does my sister. We're a psychotropic family, I suppose. 

4. GAD, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety, MDD/SAD. Had multiple run ins with benzo and stimulant drug use, really just self medicating. 

5. No

6. Yes - they work at the same clinic, and are very in touch. 

 

Thanks again, this is very helpful. 

Meds

Lexapro (Escitalopram) 10mg since March of 2016 for Social Anxiety, MDD/SAD, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety

Concerta (Methylphenidate ER) 27mg for ADHD

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Marcus 1948, welcome to SA!

 

Wow, I am so impressed with your self-awareness!  I wish I had been like you at your age!  There is much available to you these days via the web compared to when I was a youth.  Fortunately, you haven't been on the meds long, and if they are ever to be used for anyone, it should be short term.  So, you are at the perfect time to reduce and shake yourself free of Lexapro.

 

scallywag has done a wonderful job of informing you, so there won't be much for me to add.  Just know that if you complain of emotional symptoms to your doctor, he will be prompted to prescribe - that is what they do.  So, be careful about what you share unless of course you are in great distress and need immediate assistance.

 

I am glad that you have made a lot of good progress.  Though this thread is geared toward those in withdrawal, there is much to be learned here about non-drug coping mechanisms to deal with painful emotions:  Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Thank you, scallywag, for covering the bases - well done!

 

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 Marcus,

 

Thanks for answering the questions. Sorry that your mom probably won't be 100% supportive of you tapering off the "lex". And remember: just because 2 other members of your family take psychotropic drugs, it doesn't mean that you'll have to do the same for the rest of your life. 

 

Also: There's variety in people's experience while on and while tapering off the same drug. People who come to post here and other boards are people who have had problems for which they wanted/needed support from other "prescribees."   I started looking for information because I had a moment where I realized that my doctor's advice of skipping doses wasn't working for me. I found the recommendations here and am following them.

 

It's early for me in my taper off Cymbalta and I've been on it for 4 years (not 3 months), but stabilizing back to a consistent daily dose then reducing 10% has worked well. Maybe I'm in the medium-luck group -- I get withdrawal insomnia if I skip doses or do 25%/week, but seem to be ok with 10%/month. I hope that when you're ready your experience is as good as if not better than mine.

 

SquirrellyGirl & I gave you a lot of information to read and consider.  If you have questions, ask them here. 

 

How's the long weekend going for you?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Welcome, Marcus.

 

How does the Lexapro make you feel?

 

As a minor, you probably would do well to get your mom on your side, before discussing this with a psychiatrist.

 

SSRIs such as Lexapro have many adverse consequences. Here are some papers:

 

Hosenbocus, 2011 SSRIs and SNRIs: A review of the Discontinuation Syndrome in Children and Adolescents

 

Kennedy, 2009 Sexual dysfunction, depression, and the impact of antidepressants.

 

Opbroek, 2002 Emotional blunting associated with SSRI...

 

Price, 2009 Emotional side-effects of selective serotonin...

 

Sansone 2010 SSRI-Induced Indifference

 

From a child and adolescent psychiatry journal:

Elbe, 2010 How Does This Happen? Part I: Mechanisms of Adverse Drug Reactions Associated with Psychotropic Medications

 

Garland 2016 Update on the Use of SSRIs and SNRIs with Children and Adolescents in Clinical Practice.

Regarding this last paper

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) have endorsed this position statement.

 

It urges "We strongly suggest that medications should not be prescribed outside of a comprehensive treatment approach that includes supportive, problem-focused psychotherapeutic interventions...."

 

You might calmly and firmly explain to your mom (and the psychiatrist) that you want to try psychotherapy before starting drugs. You may need to repeat this many times. You need to be calm and very adult about this -- no crying or yelling, or they will take that as a sign you need the drug.

 

As for going off Lexapro, it comes in a liquid form that makes tapering easier. As you've been on it for 3 months, you are at risk for withdrawal syndrome. See Tips about tapering off Lexapro (thanks, scallywag).

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

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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