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Yvie: Zoloft Withdrawal


Yvie

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Hi,

 

I'm hoping you can help me.  I have an aunt who was on Zoloft for 17 years before she decided to stop taking it on her own approx. 2 years ago. Since then, she has been severely depressed. She's not able to get out of bed most of the days, has no appetite and has lost a lot of weight. She is currently taking 200mg of Zoloft, which is double the dose she was originally taking.  Within these past 2 years, she stopped working, was hospitalized, has tried acupuncture, started seeing a psychiatrist and is also currently taking supplements which are helping with her anxiety.

If you have any advice/recommendations, please share. 

Edited by scallywag
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Hi Yvie,

 

I am not a moderator but I am sure they will want to know what dose your aunt was on, and when and how she re-instated. If you fill out a signature, that will get the ball rolling. Your aunt is lucky to have you as an advocate.

 

Best,

Grace

amitriptyline from 1980-2002, along wi/ intermittent, infrequent use of benzos over 2 decades

2002-2010 Klonopin 1-2 mg., ambien 10--20, mg, remeron 4 mg. and  trileptal 300 mg

2011 Stopped ambien and crossed over to valium 17.5 mg. (updosing 2.5 mg. to cover ambien C/T ) tapered valium w/ long holds to 12.74 mg.

2015-present  tapered from 300 mg. trileptal to 103 mg.;  12.74 valium,  4 mg. remeron

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Yvie, 

 

It is wonderful that you are a concerned niece looking after your aunt's interests. Does she know that you are inquiring on her behalf?

 

When possible, we prefer that the person of interest start an account for themselves and give us a first-hand accounting of their situation.   Is she able to come on SA and report for herself? 

 

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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Thank you for your responses.  My aunt has an account and is aware that I am inquiring on her behalf.  Unfortunately, at this time she is not able to log on because she is not well.  I will fill out the signature. Kindly advise if there is anything else I should do in order to continue to receive feedback.

 

Thank you.

 

Yvie

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Yvie,

 

We will do what we can to help, but it is challenging when an intermediary is trying to help because the specific details are often the key to piecing together what went wrong. Knowing dates and dosages is critical. If you have access to her on a real-time basis and can fill in requested information we can certainly try.

 

E.g., how much was she on when she stopped? Sounds like 100mg but not sure. How did she get back on 200mg and when especially in relation to when she got off? Did she taper off or just stop cold turkey?

 

The more you can tell us the more help we can provide.

 

Best,

 

Andy

Sertraline 50mg and Clonazapam .375mg from 2000 -- symptoms of dizziness Spring 2012

increased to .5 Clonazapam and 100mg Sertraline -- no improvement

Benzo microtaper from November 2012 to November 2014 (followed benzo sites "taper benzo first")

Started Sertraline taper in December 2014 cut by 25mg to 75mg; 62.5mg 1/1/15 and 50mg on 2/1/15

Held at 50mg through April 5 to use liquid 
Reduced dosage in 10% or less drops from 50mg to 25mg -- at single tablet of 25mg on 10/5/15

Transitioned to all liquid for accuracy while tapering -- Horrible insomnia -- back to 25mg liquid and held until October 1, 2016

10/16 -- 11/18 tapered very slowly to 10.6mg.  No real improvement and never really stable so updosed to 12.5mg (1/2 a pill) for convenience and long hold.

After 8+ months of holding with no noticeable improvement decided to add .4ml of liquid Prozac (about 1.5mg) to see if that improves the situation

Supplements, Magnesium, D3, Omega 3, curcumin, Valerian, 81mg Aspirin, L-Theanine, Vit. C,

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Ok, thank you, Yvie.  I'm sorry your aunt is so unwell.

 

First, we'd like for you to fill out the signature block with details of your aunt's med history:  Please put your Withdrawal History in Signature

 

So could you please clarify:

 

1.  She went off by what method 2 years ago:  cold turkey or taper of some kind, and if the latter, what was the taper?

2.  When did she resume the Zoloft, and at what dosage?  I'm assuming the dosage was raised as it wasn't working?  What time span between dosage increases?

3.  Is she on any other medications, aside from supplements?  Which supplements is she taking?

4.  All of the symptoms you mentioned are despite the 200 mg Zoloft?  Is she bedridden because of depression, or are there other symptoms?

 

Please take an account of all her symptoms and when they arise.  What time does she take her Zoloft?

 

What was her reason for coming off the Zoloft to begin with?  Chronic antidepressant use leads to treatment resistant depression, and that is likely where she is at now.  It is also known as tolerance withdrawal, or "poop out."  Studies show that patients do worse and worse as they stay on the drugs.  

 

The best option for her would actually begin to do a very slow taper off of Zoloft.  When people are in tolerance, they often find that they begin to feel better as they slow taper off the med.   We recommend no more than 10% per month, calculated on the previous month's dosage.  I'm going to give you some links to help you get set up and understanding what is going on.

 

Introduction to AD Withdrawal Syndrome

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

This video helps explain what was happening to your aunt when she first came off Zoloft:

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

More info about what is going on with protracted withdrawal:

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)

 

Info about tapering;

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

Preparing to taper

 

About the only supplements we recommend are Magnesium and Omega-3 Fish Oil.  Many find they can't tolerate supplements such as the B vitamins and others, as well as caffeine, alcohol, sugar, etc.  Would you let us know which supplements she is taking and finds helpful?

 

It is likely that your aunt's emotional problems are caused by the drug.  These links are written with withdrawal in mind but are relevant to tolerance withdrawal as well:

 

Neuro Emotions

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

I'm glad that your aunt did not end up polydrugged, which is usually how it goes as the first AD fails and causes symptoms which the docs then treat with more and more drugs.  So, that makes her situation much simpler.

 

So, is that what your aunt hopes to accomplish, to come off of Zoloft?  There are very many long-time AD folks on here, myself included. There is hope for her to get her life back.

 

Please bookmark this page so you can easily find it.  By clicking "Follow" above, you will be notified of any responses here.

 

Please ask questions after reading the materials I provided :-)

 

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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