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retiringfrompaxil

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retiringfrompaxil

As I write this, I have just retired from my work as a librarian after 16 years.   I have been taking Paxil for the same time frame.  After reading a recent study linking Paxil to dementia, I determined this was not the drug for me.  My mother was one of 6 siblings - she died before dementia set in, but all 5 of her siblings were diagnosed with it, and her one remaining sibling - her twin sister - is in a dementia ward currently.  So, with the drug linked to dementia and a likely genetic predisposition, I determined I no longer wanted to use paxil.  I should point out that it appears the paxil was working for my anxiety, but I think that is kind of irrelevant now.

 

I began weaning myself off of paxil a few months ago.  This was not really intentional.  But, I was taking 60 mg per day, which was 1 1/2 tablets.  I just got tired of cutting the pills in half, so dropped down to one, which was 40 mg.  This appeared over time to have very little effect on the impact of taking the drug, so I let the lower dosage stand.

 

Over the last couple of months, I determined I would try reducing it even further.  I dropped to 30 mg for a couple of weeks, 20 mg for a couple of months, and 10 for a couple of months.

 

I stopped taking it completely around June 1, 2016.  I retired from work on June 10, 2016.  Since about June 13 I have been really experiencing a lot of withdrawal symptoms, or what I believe are withdrawal symptoms - headache, rage episodes, head zapping, constipation, nausea, etc.  My doctor is not comfortable the symptoms I am experiencing are from the paxil, but we have tested for other conditions and nothing has turned up.  I may have weaned too quickly, or I am experiencing what it is like to no longer take the drug with my anxiety and depression returning.  I am hoping to find some answers with this group on Surviving Antidepressants.

Did not keep a record of time frames for meds used prior to July 2000.

Paxil prescribed in July 2000, began psychotherapy with a new therapist.

60 mg of Paxil taken until approximately January of 2016.

Wellbutrin added in 2015, stopped in February 2016.

Began weaning off Paxil in January 2016.

Completed weaning off June 1, 2016.

Started experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms June 13, 2016

Reinstated with one dose of 10mg but I am currently taking 5mg per day. 6/22/16

Treating nausea with DGL and ginger.  Experiencing problems with periodic constipation.

 

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  • Administrator

Hi, retiringfrompaxil.

 

Welcome to the forum. Congratulations on your recent retirement. Sounds like it's a great time to deal with Paxil so you can have a long and happy retirement. 

 

The symptoms you're describing - headache, rage episodes, head zapping, constipation, nausea - are all listed as withdrawal symptoms from Paxil, so it's very likely that's what is happening. 

 

Since you did a rather rapid taper and are just 18 or so days off, you may want to consider reinstating at a very small dose. Please read this link for more information about the reinstatement process:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms 

 

These links go into more detail about Paxil and the 10% guideline: 

 

Tips for tapering off Paxil (paroxetine)

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

And these links provide information about what to expect during the withdrawal and recovery process: 

 

What is withdrawal syndrome? 

 
The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

 

Kindly add a signature so we can easily see your medication history. Here's how:

 

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

 

While the articles you've read connecting psych meds to dementia are quite alarming, especially considering your own family history, there are many of us here who've had profound memory loss from these drugs but are slowly recovering. After I came off my last benzodiazepine, I experienced severe memory problems that are just beginning to clear 2 years later. So even though these problems can be profound, for many of us, it's not permanent. 

 

I'm glad you found us for information and support from people who know what you're going through. This is your thread to update symptoms and to ask plenty of questions. 

 

Reinstating at a very small dose may help with your symptoms, so I'll ask the other moderators who have more experience with Paxil to stop by your thread and weigh in and answer questions you may have. 

 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

retiringfrompaxil,

 

I'm sitting here at my table. In front of me is a library book, The Anti-depressant Solution, by Joseph Glenmullen MD (2005). While the book is about coming off all anti-depressants, the case studies are 5 people coming off Paxil.  The taper he recommends is the one you've done, 60 - (50) - 40 - 30 - 20 - 10 - 0.  He does discuss adjusting that plan when a 10 mg drop results in symptoms, updosing to x5. and x7.5 doses or making the next drops to x5.0.

 

It's larger cuts than we suggest, and the pace is calendar-based. It's possible that in his clinical practice Dr. Glenmullen makes smaller adjustments and advises longer holds; he may have simplified for a general audience.

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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retiringfrompaxil

Shep and Scallywag,

 

Thanks so much for your info and suggestions.  The first thing I read on this website was the info on reinstating.  I agree.  I think I may have done this way too quickly.  I just took a 1/4 tab (10 mg) and I am already feeling better.   I have really been suffering during the last week or so, and so has my husband.  When I spoke to my doctor, he agreed I was following a standard weaning, but I wonder if being on it for so many years might just mean to take it a lot more slowly.

 

Thanks for the welcome and I am so happy to have found you.

Did not keep a record of time frames for meds used prior to July 2000.

Paxil prescribed in July 2000, began psychotherapy with a new therapist.

60 mg of Paxil taken until approximately January of 2016.

Wellbutrin added in 2015, stopped in February 2016.

Began weaning off Paxil in January 2016.

Completed weaning off June 1, 2016.

Started experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms June 13, 2016

Reinstated with one dose of 10mg but I am currently taking 5mg per day. 6/22/16

Treating nausea with DGL and ginger.  Experiencing problems with periodic constipation.

 

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  • Administrator

I'm glad you're feeling better. Please note that 10 mg may be too high of a dose. For many of us, coming off these drugs makes our CNS extra sensitive, so even drugs we were on for years can cause problems. Some people find that reinstating at the dose they were on when they came off may rev up symptoms and they are able to reinstate at a much lower dose, even as low as 1 mg. 

 

Please keep a list of your symptoms over the next few days as that will guide you in your taper. 

 

Here is a good resource for tracking symptoms:

 

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist

 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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  • Moderator

Hey Retiring - congratulations on retiring!  You picked a perfect time to give up sniffing glue!

 

You've gotten off the big chunks of Paxil - also congratulations!  The last little bit is sometimes the tricky part, but it doesn't have to be a hardship.  

 

Please put the date and dose of your reinstatement in your signature, so we can track your progress wherever you go on site.  The other mods have taken good care of you as far as reinstatement.  I'm in the same boat as Shep, after your long taper, 10 mg may be too high, so let's watch and see how the next week goes.

 

What tells you so clearly that it is withdrawal, is you were made better by a slice of the drug that bit you.  That says a lot about your symptoms - so you don' t have to worry that you're going crazy.

 

You're a librarian, so you probably have better research skills than I do, but I thought I would mention a few things off the wall - addressing your fear of Alzheimers.  There is a huge correlation between Alzheimers and a number of things:   increased carbohydrates in our diet (especially wheat and corn), increased use of vegetable oils (often rancid, so chemically treated, and especially nasty at high temperatures, like frying), decreased use of saturated fats like animal and butter, coconut and palm oils, and decrease Omega3 in the diet (fish).  And oh yeah, statins.  I'm not a betting woman, but what are the chances that your Mum's siblings were on statins?

 

Here at SA, we don't talk much about total health, but we also recognize that, as we come out of our collective and individual fogs, we have to take better care of ourselves.  One of the things is to recognize other drugs which can cause psych-like symptoms, including statins, stomach acid drugs, certain antibiotics, blood pressure and cardio drugs - here's the topic for that one:  Non-Psych Drugs Causing Psych Symptoms

 

There's a fellow who's documented what the statins did to him (they basically starve the brain of cholesterol).  He's an MD and a former astronaut - so he's not chump change when he takes up his cause:  http://www.spacedoc.com  His story is quite an interesting read, and since then, he's been joined by thousands of others - much like what happened to Alto here at SA.

 

We do recommend Magnesium and Omega-3 fish oil to help your healing process, and if you are on any B-vitamins you might wish to discontinue them.  They can be stimulating, and you want to keep your nervous system smooth (magnesium) and oiled (omega-3).

 

This is a minor setback.  With any luck, your reinstatement can go smooth, and you can gently taper down from here.  Already, you should be feeling more "yourself" after coming down off of the big doses.  Is this true?  Are you more awake than you were in January?  What kind of symptoms made you understand that you were going too fast?

 

Welcome to SA!  

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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  • Administrator

Hi, Retiring.

 

Just checking in to see how your reinstatement is going. 

 

Hope all is going well. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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retiringfrompaxil

Hi Shep - yes, I followed your advice.  Although I took 10 mg the first day, I have stepped down to 5 mg and I am feeling better.  I am still struggling with some nausea, but found some licorice root tablets that are helping me feel a lot better.  Today I would day I am at about 80% of normal.  So, for now, I think I will go with the 5mg for a few weeks before making another cut.

 

JanCarol - Thanks for your info.  I should point out that Alzheimer's is only one form of dementia, and it is not the form experienced in my family.  Nor is it the form linked to Paxil.  Therefore, the research on Alzheimer's does not apply in this situation.  My family has had genetically low cholesterol levels and I would find it surprising if any of them were on statins.  So, I would willingly take your bet  ;)  But, I appreciate your info, and more importantly your concern.  Thank you!

Did not keep a record of time frames for meds used prior to July 2000.

Paxil prescribed in July 2000, began psychotherapy with a new therapist.

60 mg of Paxil taken until approximately January of 2016.

Wellbutrin added in 2015, stopped in February 2016.

Began weaning off Paxil in January 2016.

Completed weaning off June 1, 2016.

Started experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms June 13, 2016

Reinstated with one dose of 10mg but I am currently taking 5mg per day. 6/22/16

Treating nausea with DGL and ginger.  Experiencing problems with periodic constipation.

 

Link to post
  • Administrator

This is great news, retiring. Please keep good notes on your symptoms and allow at least 4 days for your system to fully register the reinstatement. Hopefully 5 mg is the right dose. And holding for a few weeks sounds like an excellent plan. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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  • Moderator

That's great news, Retiring, that your reinstatement is helping!

 

Licorice - be careful because whole root can have cardiac effects.  If they are Deglycinated Licorice (DGL) however, they are terrific for reflux and nausea!  (but again, you've got great research, I'm just throwing in 2 cents in case you hadn't heard that or experience side effects)

 

I hope you can hold for at least a month before beginning the slow crawl down from 5 mg.  Paxil is a wicked beast, and the last few milligrams seem to be the most challenging.

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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retiringfrompaxil

Thanks, JanCarol - good info.  It is the DGL I am using.  Do you know anything about Zofran prescribed by my Doctor?  I am not all that excited to take another drug.

 

One more thing.  I have been on a daily dose of Omeprazole  Here is the latest on this drug:  Researchers found that those who used proton pump inhibitor drugs (PPIs) at least once every three months were 44% more likely to develop dementia in later life than those who did not take the drugs.  PPIs are commonly found in heartburn tablets such as omeprazole and lansoprazole. They are often prescribed to treat issues such as acid reflux and stomach ulcers.

 

So, I am not overly happy with my chances of developing dementia.  

 

The good news is, that since I have been working on my nausea problem, I have not been having acid reflux issues.  I may just stop taking that drug as well.

Did not keep a record of time frames for meds used prior to July 2000.

Paxil prescribed in July 2000, began psychotherapy with a new therapist.

60 mg of Paxil taken until approximately January of 2016.

Wellbutrin added in 2015, stopped in February 2016.

Began weaning off Paxil in January 2016.

Completed weaning off June 1, 2016.

Started experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms June 13, 2016

Reinstated with one dose of 10mg but I am currently taking 5mg per day. 6/22/16

Treating nausea with DGL and ginger.  Experiencing problems with periodic constipation.

 

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Retiring,

 

Here's a link for you:  Tapering PPIs They can be tapered by 25% per week.  It would be a good idea to add that drug to your signature too. 

 

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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