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RachelSusan: Zoloft - on, off and reinstated

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RachelSusan

Hi Skeeter,

 

I can answer your questions because I have my handy dandy excel chart, which I learned to do because of this website.  And see I still have a little bit of my humor intact. :rolleyes:

 

The pain started at the 6th day, and that includes the day of taper. The 7th day it got worse.  The pain level on the scale is a 6 to 7 (using scale 1 -10 - with 1 the lowest ). A lot of my joints hurt and I feel like I am about a 100 years old.  The insomnia started the first night I cut the dose but it stayed low, a 1 on the pain scale, until the 6th day and then it shot up to about a 6. I fall asleep with no problem but then around 2 or 3 a.m. I wake up.  I not sure if it is the pain waking me up, or something else. I do feel the pain when I wake up but it is no worse than during the day. I have a little headache, 2 on pain scale and the feeling of internal shaking (not real shaking, just the feeling of it) also level 2.  I had arthritis before I started taking this but it was on a pain scale of 2 to 4, so you can see I feel much worse with a taper then before I started the medication. 

 

For me, the symptoms of a Zoloft taper usually hit me anywhere from 4 to 10 days after I do the actual decrease in dosage..  I then tend to have an uncomfortable 7 to 10 days, but symptoms seems to stay on the pain scale from 1 to 4 and I just ride it out and then hold until I am ready again.  For some reason I thought Gabepentin would be easier than the Zolft and in same ways it is, and some ways it is not. I am also hoping that the Gabepentin taper reacts the same way the Zoloft taper reacts, just because I would then know what to expect. I never know if the mild taper symptoms are going to turn into full blown withdrawal or just fade away if I force myself to give it a little time.  :(  I was thinking of giving it a few more days to see if I follow my usual pattern, and if the symptoms start to wind down.  If they get worse then I might have to increase the dose. Since this is my first taper with the Gabapentin I really would like to know what you think and maybe you would be willing to share some of your Gabapentin experience with me.   If I do have to up the dose then that would be a separate conversation as to how much.

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Skeeter

RS,

Great job with the spread sheet!  I keep an ongoing diary on a word doc.  It is good to be able to easily see what is going on.  When I start to taper, I will do a spread sheet.

 

Okay, so first, what is your goal... For some reason I thought you were going to do Zoloft then do Gabapentin, not the other way around or in concert with each other?  Just curious.  They do suggest, quite rightly so, on this site, to taper only on one med at a time, as it can drive your system crazy to withdraw on more than one med at a time. It sounds like you will have some pain increase any way you cut it coming off of med. It should, however not be this severe, it sounds like you may have cut a bit too much...(see next paragraph). 

 

Now, this is a total joke, please take it as such; WOMAN!!! What the HECK?  You reduced by 300mg at once, ARE YOU NUTS??? LOLOLOL. Just teasing you!! Okay, is there a reason you made such a big jump? Now please know, I have not read what you read about this med, so you probably know more about withdrawing off of it and how much to do at a time more than I do.  I went and read the side effects to be expected when coming off of this med.  Well, the articles I read says this med changes how your body perceives pain, and many people noted that yes, their pain increased when coming off of this med, but your pain shot up pretty high. I would maybe suggest going quite a bit slower next time. Other possible side effects when withdrawing are depression, insomnia and night sweats, this is reported by multiple people who withdrew from the med on another forum, and they were also mentioned on another site, I believe it was web MD.   There is one thing to be noted, people who are hospitalized, and are unknowingly taken off of this med cold turkey, and they end up really out of it, and in a few cases it took then a while to figure out what happened, now these are just anecdotal, but they popped up when I was looking at gabapentin withdrawal. I did find out that Gabapentin has a short half life of 5-7 hours, so it should be taken several times a day, as you probably know! I will contact a moderator who has helped you in the past regarding the amount to reinstate, if non has replied by the time I have posted this.  I hope that works for you.

 

Regarding the Zoloft, it sounds like you at kicking bum and taking names!! Good job!!

 

I cannot help much with my version of coming off of this med right now. My own pain level, which shoots up without warning is 8/10, so I must break. Please forgive.  My mind goes foggy when I am like this.  Will still contact a mod for you!!

 

(((HUGS!))) Feel better!

S.

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ChessieCat

Hi RS,

 

It does seem like dropping the gabapentin by 33% is causing you issues.  I don't have much knowledge in this area so I have asked the other mods for their opinions.

 

Skeeter, thanks for looking out for RS.

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Altostrata

Yes, Skeeter, thank you!

 

Hello, RachelSusan. If I were you, I might increase the gabapentin by 100mg, canceling out part of that 300mg cut you made. Please keep track of your symptoms.

 

I hope this helps.

 

I think you have found you're sensitive to such large cuts in gabapentin. Please consider reducing by much smaller amounts.

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RachelSusan

Hi Skeeter, Why you ask?  One word...  Doctor.  enough said.  And yes I took it as a joke.  After all we have to laugh. Thanks Chessie and Altro.  I will not be reducing the Gaba again until I am off the Zoloft.  I will stand firm with this.

 

Altro,

Since I take Gabapentin 3 times a day, would you suggest something like, 200 mg morning,  200 mg mid-day and perhaps 300 mg at night?  As opposed to 200 mg, 200 mg and 200 mg?  Is it ok to up dose like that one time at night or will it continue to play havoc with my body with the going up and down during the day?

 

Thanks all.

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RachelSusan

By the way Skeeter, you made me laugh, with your "WOMAN, What the HECK?"  That's just how my sister would talk to me.  I am sorry to hear your pain level goes up so high. I think I confused you with someone else on these site who had finished a Gabapentin withdrawal. Well if you do decide to do a Zoloft withdrawal and need an excel spread sheet let me know and I can send you mine.

RS

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Skeeter

RS,

Been off the forum for a few days.  Lost my grandmother.

 

Am wondering how you are doing?  Same pattern with the Zoloft taper? I hope your symptoms are going, at a highest 4/10, as you explained before.  If they go higher, you may want to hold or lessen your percentage of drop each time.  I know you know this, but worry that you might get used to tapering on a rigid schedule, and not realize that you are feeling worse right away. I may jus be projecting here, because I KNOW that will be a tendency of mine, is a character flaw, has to do with how I was brought up, but you are probably way smarter than I!!!

 

I honestly do not think you will have as rough of a time coming off of the Neurontin as you are worried about.  Yes, your pain will increase some.  That is normal, you just have to find you happy taper schedule and amount for you so it is tolerable, nothing like the first (doctor recommended) try.  Just remember you are in control, and can hold as long as you need, or even updose.  You did so well until the dosing change really hit you because of the big drop this first time, and add the second med to it, tapering 2 meds at a time, and it is extra hard on your CNS. How did your updose go on the gabapentin?  Did you level off okay?  How long did it take, and how did you do the doses?

 

I hope you are doing okay!!!

Skeeter

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RachelSusan

Hi Skeeter,

 

Great to hear from you.  I am so sorry you lost your Grandmother.  It's difficult to go through the loss of a loved one. 

 

As to tapering on a rigid schedule, yes that is something I have tried to do in the past, and you are 100% correct about it.  I am however learning to listen to my body.  I have stopped tapering the Gabapentin and will not start again until I am completely off the Zoloft.  I don't know exactly how long it will take me to get off the Zoloft but my guess would be at least another 3 months. However it could go faster or take longer, it all depends on how my body reacts.

 

Right at the moment I am doing great.  I am due for a Zoloft taper this weekend.  10% drop.  I'll let you know how it goes.

 

How are you feeling medically? I know you had a terrible time of it last spring.  I hope the symptoms you had don't ever come back.  These medications can be so dangerous.

 

RS

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Skeeter

RS,

I am THRILLED to hear that doing whatever you did with the gabapentin was only a temporary roadblock, and that everything smoothed out for you.  I was very concerned. 

 

I am so glad that your taper is proceeding so well. I am curious to see if at any point you will have to slow down to less than 10% as your dose gets lower, like so many people experience.  I I am very pleased that your symptoms are staying at the low end of the scale.  I am pleased you are progressing so very well. Now if you behave, I won't have to act like your sister again...lol!! I hope that you are able to resume your regular life as you do this.

 

My rollercoaster of symptoms stopped!  I will be brief, so I do not hijack your thread, (will update mine). My GI symptoms cleared, & my low self esteem, lack of confidence, and other odd personality traits (for me) all disappeared.  My regular sense of humor is coming back.  My best friend keeps laughing at me, because I am being my own quirky self for an extended period for the first time in over a year.  It is not constant, but I can tell he is loving every minute.  This is who he knows me to be.

 

Thank you for your kind words about "Gram".  She was ready and not in pain.  The most you can ask for.

 

Please keep me updated!! I will let you know when I begin my taper.  Scared to death still!

S

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Skeeter

Okay, YOU!

 

You are in SO MUCH TROUBLE with me!!!! (LOL)

 

Why in heaven's name did you make such a big cut, you silly lady?  I did not think you liked to cause yourself these awful symptoms.  I know you really hate for them to come on- and cannot wait for them to leave.  Please updose a bit if you need.  It is better for you not to suffer, okay??  I would not say anything except you wrote me that you updated your signature, and I will admit, my BP climbed a few points in horror!!

 

Yikes!!!  I hope you come through this okay, I really do.

 

Sent you a PM, too.

 

Let me know how things go, okay?  Remember, we are NOT in a hurry here!  How can I follow your example in my taper if you do this to yourself???  I cannot even imagine how high your symptoms are, my guess is 7/10 right now, am I close??

S.

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RachelSusan

Hi Skeeter,

I am at about 4 right now with symptoms.   Yes you do sound like me sister, and trust me, she is a good one.  Very caring like you. I will send you private answer.

RS

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RachelSusan

I know I cut too much.  I am on a scale of 5 of symptoms. Yes I told Skeeter I was at a 4 in my above post but I have since revised my opinion. Internal vibrations, anxiety, and headache. Feeling hot comes and goes. It's been 9 days since the cut. I am planning on up-dosing tomorrow morning to 3.0 mg.  Unless someone that is more knowledgeable than I am has any suggestions.

Thanks,

RS

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RachelSusan

I wanted to mention a tip I got here on this website about weighing our small amounts of medication if we are using a scale. The reason I am repeating it is because I think a good tip should be listed in several places to give a person more chances at seeing the tip. As we get to smaller doses of medication the scale sometimes has a hard time reading it.  Somewhere on this site it was suggested that we put the 10g weight on the scale and then add the small piece of medication, get the reading and then of course subtract the 10g of weight from the reading.  I've been doing it for a  few weeks now and it works so much better than just putting that tiny amount of medication on the scale.  A big thank you to whoever posted this idea to begin with.  Happy taper or happy stabilization to all.

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RachelSusan

I woke up with far less symptoms this morning.  On a scale from 1 to 10 all symptoms have gone down to a 1 or 2 so I have decided not to up-dose. In the future though I will not make a cut that is so big.  You ask how big?  I went from 3.6 mg to 2.3 mg.  That may not sound like a lot but it is huge as one gets to the lower doses.  Looking at my handy chart, I see I cut on October 16, started to feel the effects by the 3rd day.  Day 7 through 10 were difficult, and then today, day 11, I woke up with the symptoms very diminished. Diminished enough that I am willing to wait a few more days before I decide if I need to up-dose the medication. 

 

I am definitely making some mistakes along the way but I am also doing some things right, I think....  My bag of tools have helped.  Mild to moderate exercise does a lot for me, along with Epsom salt baths.  This past week I rode my stationary bike 35 minutes every day.  By the time I would finish on the bike a lot of the symptoms decreased in severity. 

 

I also wanted to give a shout out to Skeeter who has been very supportive and is keeping an eye on me.  Skeeter, I promise no more big cuts like the last one. From now on all cuts will be 5% or 10%. 

 

Happy tapering, stabilizing, and healing to everyone on this website.

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Tattycorum

Thank you for sharing so much about your symptoms and tapering.  I'm currently stabilizing on 25 mg and have some similar symptoms ... your story is helpful to me in preparing to taper. Good luck in your continued process!

I put my sertraline withdrawal symptoms in my introduction.

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RachelSusan

Hi Tattycorum,

Thank you for your message.  I read your introduction, you have gone through a lot. I am so sorry that your husband passed away.  If my story can be of any help to you I'm pleased.  I put it up here specifically for anybody else that is going through something similar to what I am going through. I even put my mistakes up here hoping that someone else might not make the same ones.  For me, patience has been hard.  If you need support, I offer it. If have any questions I am very comfortable answering anything about my journey.  I see Scallywag, one of the moderators, responded to your post.  Scallywag is the same person that answered me when I first posted.  Scallywag helped me a lot, along with others here.  I'm also going to post on your page because I want to make sure you get my message. It sounds like you are doing everything right, please continue to take care of yourself. Thank you again for your note, it made me very happy.

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RachelSusan

The symptoms from the last cut continue to decrease.  Yesterday was a good day.  The only symptoms I had came late in the afternoon.  I got the hot sweats for about 15 minutes.  I rode my stationary bike for 20 minutes and by the time I finished they were gone.  I had some anxiety after that. I just lived with it.  I woke up this morning with no symptoms. For me, the two symptoms I hate the most are what I describe as the feeling of tremors or vibrations and the hot sweats.  Thankfully the tremors are gone, at least for now... :D

 

I still am being very careful about how I care for myself.  No caffeine, keep the sugar and carbs low, no alcohol, plenty of sleep and when I can tolerate it, exercise.  

 

To everybody on this site, you can heal.  You can feel better.

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AliG

Rachel. That's great news. Well done. You had a " blip" due to a sharp drop but have learned from it. Hopefully, it will be smooth sailing from hereon in with perhaps only a " ripple " or two occasionally eventually dwindling to permanently calm waters.

 

You sound like you're starting to look to self - care rather than drugs and that is the key to maintaining a happy and drug free life in my opinion.

I hope you can keep the slow tapering going after a long hold to stabilize.

Ali

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RachelSusan

Hi AliG,

Thanks so much for your post on my thread. It really means a lot to me.  So glad we both are on the road to recovery. I will slow taper with a hold in between. Emphasis on SLOW. Posted this on your thread as well, I wanted to make sure you saw it.

Rachel

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RachelSusan

On day eleven of my taper the symptoms started to decrease, but then yesterday, day 14 and today, day 15 the symptoms came back, with a vengeance. Yesterday I knew I was in trouble but I wanted to give it at least 24 hours.  I didn't want to up-dose, I was trying to hold steady and not bounce around, however  today I up-dosed to 3 mg.  Hopefully it's enough to get me out of this situation.  Let's see what happens....

 

BTW, the symptoms that came back are: headache, hot, sweating, insomnia, and feeling like I have the shakes.  Feeling a little tiny bit woozy.  Yep, I have had all these symptoms before, but much worse on the severity level.  I just hope they don't increase in severity.

 

I feel a profound sense of disappointment. Not in me, just sadness that I had to take a step back and I'm not even sure that this will do it.  SSRI, the gift that keeps on giving long after you've unwrapped the package.  That's a joke by the way.

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Skeeter

R, I am so sorry that this came back to get you again. I had hoped you ere through the worst of it. I have heard of this happening to a LOT of people. to go through the woods once, then have them come back again,

 

As you know, you have to try the updose for a little while to see if it worked, as it takes a bit for your system to get used to the new dose. This is a major reason I went all "sister" on you (lol) when you did such a drastic cut. I knew if you had to updose you would see it as a failure. Please realize that this is NOT a failure on your part, IT NEVER IS!!! Your body can only process so much of a cut at once. It is up to you as to how much you want to "feel" it. How much you suffer is literally in your hands.

 

Back to sister mode: "All right, Miss Rachel, I want you to PM me before you taper again, so we can have a little discussion!!" I know you are still a fan of the "10% or less" taper, with you favoring the "10%, NO LESS" taper, but I still wonder if you could or would consider, just once, to join the "5% club", just to see what you think of the difference in side effects... AND... end of sister mode. LOLOLOL!

 

Try not to let any other issues with meds stress you out. I am thinking myself about this, will let you know if I come up with more. Try not to be overwhelmed knowing you have a 2nd med to taper off of. I think it will be easier than this one, as long as the tapers stay below 10%.

 

Keep going, pal, you can do this!!!

S.

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RachelSusan

Well Howdy Ms Skeeter,

 

I need someone to go "sister" on me. I just spoke to my biological sister and she said rather the same things you are saying.   I'm trying to view this last little incident as a minor bump in the road.  Let's see if this up-dose does work. Fingers crossed.  I've been feeling rather rotten the last two days. In fact this situation has kicked my butt. And yes my next cut will be only 5%, but I don't want to even think about cutting right now, I just want to stabilize.  And yes I will PM you before I make that future cut, which won't be for a while.   See how humble and agreeable I am when I've been in "mini withdrawal."   I will take your advice and not even think about the second medication yet.

 

But let's get onto you for a minute.  How are you feeling? Is the GI track still behaving?   How are your pain levels?  Take care of yourself my friend!

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RachelSusan

It's day 6 from the little up-dose. The symptoms have been slowly subsiding.  I think I noticed the improvement start around day 3 or 4.  They aren't completely gone, but much better.

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scallywag

Good to read that your symptoms are settling down.  I hope that you'll hold at your current dose for 6-8 weeks before trying another decrease.

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RachelSusan

Hi Scallywag, Thanks for the tip, I will go with your suggestion. Originally I was thinking of 4 weeks after the last day of symptoms, however I appreciate the experience you bring, and will go with your suggestion. I am learning patience!!!

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scallywag

4 weeks after last symptoms or 4 weeks of symptom stability (no wild daily swings or day-to-day swings) is much better than using the simple calendar measure I suggested!  Go with your idea ;)

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Skeeter

RS,

SO happy to hear that you are doing better!!!

 

Great job!!

S

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RachelSusan

SKEETER!!!  I'm happy to hear from you.  I hope you are well.

RS

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AliG

 Rachel.  I hope it goes well.  Hopefully , you have this " sorted " now.  HOLD.  :)

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RachelSusan

Hello any Moderators out there,

I need a little help.  As you can see from my thread on 10/16 I up-dosed a little on my Zoloft because the previous cut was too much.  I was starting to feel better. About the same time I up-dosed on the gabapentin. Also started to feel even better with that.  Over the last 10 days I've been slowly developing symptoms of what I feel are full scale withdrawal, and they seem to be getting worse as the days go by, rather than better.  Headache, flu-like symptoms, shaking, hot, chills, insomnia, nausea, Could be Gaba could be Zoloft. Any suggestions? Gaba is up to 800 mg.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

RS

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RachelSusan

Hi Scallywag,

Good to hear from a familiar name.  Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. It's worse when I wake up from sleep, and was worse in the afternoons, however yesterday and day before the afternoon thing didn't apply, it was bad all day long. But still worse when I wake up. I've been up most of the night and feel very nauseous. Feel like I am fairly close to vomiting. No sick, no flu, just flu-like symptoms, recognize them as WD symptoms, at least for me.

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scallywag

Please post notes that you have taken over a few days.  Memory isn't the best capture tool at the best of times. :)

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RachelSusan

HI Scallywag,

 

I have an excel spread sheet I keep with daily notes of the symptoms broken down and rated with a number as to severty, and a few of the types of notes you are talking about.  I had to copy them off of the sheet and here they are.  I will continue to keep them.

 

Nov 14

6 a.m. Woke with inner vibrations, sweating
9 a.m. Took 3.0 mg & Sertraline & 300 mg of Gabapentin
9:30 at breakfast

Symptoms continues, sweating is a little less

12:00 p.m. Ate lunch

2 pm hot sweats increase, headache

2 pm 200 mg of Gabapentin
Symptoms continue to get worse, sweats, hot, shaking, inner vibrations, headache, nausea, what I call flu-like symptoms - which to me means generally feel bad like the flu, but different. Hard to explain.
6 p.m. Ate dinner

8 pm 300 mg gabapentin
All symptoms continued to rotate and generally feel terrible physically.

10:00 p.m. – Feel asleep

 

 

Nov 15

2 a.m. Woke with inner vibrations, hot sweats, headache, nausea, sinus pressure (yawning & sinus pressure are symptoms I have a lot during withdrawal),

7 am took 3.0 mg Sertraline
9 a.m.  300 Mg of Gabapentin
9:30 at breakfast

10:30 Sweating is a little bit worse

12:00 p.m. Ate lunch

All symptoms of above continue, but add acute yawning

2 pm 200 mg of Gabapentin

6:00 to 7 pm took nap

7 pm – ate dinner
Symptoms continue

8 pm 300 mg gabapentin
All symptoms Continue

10:00 p.m. – Feel asleep

2 a.m. Woke up

 

 

November 16

2 a.m – woke up with vibrations, headache, hot and sweating, nausea, sinus pressure very bad, Yawning a little less.  Normally for me the symptoms seem to rotate, so I don’t have all at once, but I will have a few going on and any given time when I am in what I think of as WD.

7 am took 3.0 mg Sertraline

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RachelSusan

Hi Scallywag,

The rest of Nov 16

 

2 a.m – woke up with vibrations, headache, hot and sweating, nausea, sinus pressure very bad, Yawning a little less.  Normally for me the symptoms seem to rotate, so I don’t have all at once, but I will have a few going on and any given time when I am in what I think of as WD. No appetite.

7 am took 3.0 mg Sertraline

7:15 a.m. took .125 Klonopin because I couldn’t stand it.

8 am – ate breakfast inspike of not being hungry.

9 am – Most symptoms still there but bearable. It feels like symptoms are a little less because of Klonopin. Sweating gone, currently have a small amount of inner shaking, a few external hand tremors, headache, sinus pressure.

12:30 lunch

2 pm – 300 mg Gabapentin

Symptoms still persist but lighter

4:00 pm Klonopin starting to wear off.  Tremors returning.

6:30 Dinner

Evening, reading and watching TV

7:30 symptoms getting bad again: tremors, sinus pressure, headache, yawning, hot, sweats

Feel asleep at 10 pm

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AliG

7:15 a.m. took .125 Klonopin because I couldn’t stand it.

 

What were the symptoms that you couldn't stand ?

 

How long have you been on it ? There is no mention of it in your signature. Without reading back through all of your thread , do we know about this, already ? 

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