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Skeeter

Skeeter's Journey

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Skeeter

My signature pretty much covers my recent history.  For anyone reading this, if you have a short term bout of anxiety, and your doc suggests, Xanax, PLEASE, I BEG OF YOU, read up on how hard it is to come off of it, and consider that before you ever start the med.  I was put on it for short term anxiety, was on it for 4 months, and then my doc switched me from Xanax to less that half of the equivalent dose of Valium in one day (a process that should take several months, according to the Ashton Method, which most say is too fast- and I agree), so I ended up with over 50 signs and symptoms on top of the pain I already deal with on a daily basis that changed from day to day, even hour to hour.  April was when I did the switch, and I did not feel human until July sometime.  I am just holding now, before I am ready to start a very slow taper on my own, WITHOUT A CALENDAR!  I have been on valium for a long time, but at a dose that is still at least 5mg over what I was on for muscle spasms. I would like to get back to PRN (as needed). That is the reason I am here, but if we back up to October of 2016, my doctor took me off of 3 AD's, 2 of which I had been on over 7 years.  Wellbutrin (depression from chronic pain), and Trazodone (for sleep), then added Cymbalta for about a year, a clerical error, I was SUPPOSED to slowly switch from one to the other, but because I was feeling better, it got forgotten about.  I had 3 episodes of Serotonin Syndrome between September and December of 2015 (was set off by minor to moderate dehydration, I was hospitalized for 3 days, and remember only parts of it, I did not sleep in those 3 days, nor did I eat, but the hospital did not pay much attention to me..  So,I was suffering from poop-out of all of the AD's, and my doc agreed to take me off of the AD's and switch for a new one, only e weeks later, he changed his mind, and refused to switch me to a new one, and gave me the name of ONE psychiatrist.  I was suffering from severe anxiety first, and instead of giving me a simple AD, he thought somehow that it was SAFER to give me 2-3mg of Xanax every day (up from the 8mg of Valium I took for 7 years, a drop in the bucket compared to Xanax), then, by month 3, I started to have interdose WD.  I found out my GP would prescribe an AD (Lexapro), so I started that, and within a month, i felt human again.  I had severe suicidal ideation before I started Lexapro, and tht did stop the AD WD fully,  I was given a choice by 2 docs, 1 saud, 12 weeks, no longer, we will remove you from 3mg/day of Xanax. Knowing this might happen, I lowered down to 2mg a day (equal to 40mg/day of Valium.  Doc 2 said we switch you in one day from X to V, so of course I picked doc #2's plan.  it was awful, but the best of 2 choices.  I was lucky, I stayed out of the psychiatrists hands!

 

My biggest issue right now is stopping the messages that were firmly implanted in my head after belonging to other forums, where to me they seemed to clearly be saying in their messages, as I understood them, that if you are not moving forward with your taper, you are failing yourself and prolonging your agony. Again this is the message I took from it. This made no sense to me, because if you go too quickly with tapering benzo's, you are virtually guaranteeing a trip through hell via Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome/Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS).  And at one forum there are seemingly hundreds of people going through PAWS.  I am not saying the forum is wrong, but the only talks about going super slow I could find were years old or there was one forum that talked about taking prolonged breaks once in a while.  I also read the liquid micro taper area, where the main moderator in one forum seems to be very clear in her opinion (again if I understood correctly) in saying that not tapering daily (esp taking a break for 3 days or more) seems to be greatly frowned upon... As a result, I got it stuck in my head that I am failing myself somehow by not continually forcing myself to taper when I do not feel ready to, like I am somehow hurting my body.  My only remaining symptom out of over 50 at my peak is a severe sensitivity to artificial sweeteners like Sorbitol, Mannitol, Xylitol, etc.

 

I had to stop reading one forum because of all of the horror stories, and all of the people with Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome.  Seeing people talking and being so confused because they ended up with constant severe disabling symptoms leaving them bedbound for months to years, confused because they did what the forums considered a slow to average taper- following the directions laid out for them, during which they seemed to suffer greatly virtually non-stop only to end up with symptoms that ended up being MUCH worse than the taper itself( and lasting longer than the taper did!). I do not get why at that point you do not reinstate and stay on a very low dose until... 

 

I finally saw a ray of light (and felt my first hope since April!!) several days ago when I did a search on the internet named "How slow is too slow to taper off of Valium."  What came up was a link from this forum called "The slowness of slow tapers", which was started by Rhiannon.  It was the lightbulb moment I needed.  I am only 5 pages in, it was started in 2012, and is still going.  I also noticed you have a Benzo place here that I look forward to visiting!!

 

Thank you for offering the kind of support I have been looking for this whole time, when I first stated looking for help.  On other forums, I saw at least 20 comments from people on one forum who said that they cold not bear to read that forum because there were so many people suffering so awfully. Yes, all of the forums offer support, but I think that maybe with so many people suffering that maybe one might need to look at why so many people who follow the programs and taper schedules supplied end up in such a bad place for so horribly long after stopping the med.  I do understand that some of these people did a cold turkey stop of the meds, but so many I found had followed a taper schedule and followed the calendar vs how they were feeling.  Ashton is a great place to start, but maybe the schedules she provided prior to her passing are no longer applicable, and are possibly now far too fast for some with the understanding we now have of how the mind and body works, maybe? This is a general rhetorical question, I am not trying to slam any specific forum. I did not read just one forum, and I belonged to more than one.  I want to be very clear on this!

 

For the moderators and members offering gentle help and amazing support- thank you so much for your time!!

 

Thank you for reading about my experience, and my questions. I feel sorry that you had to suffer through al of this...lol!

 

UPDATE:  After switching Xanax for a low dose of Valium, I had waves of symptoms that lasted until I was 20 months out from my one day switch.  My doc even told me he knew the Xanax would not last long for me, and he knew  would have to see someone else to get an AD.  I loved my doctor, but I still have never forgotten the hell I suffered.  Yes I was feeling pretty well by the time I wrote this, but it did not last

Edited by Skeeter
tags added by Scallywag, Update and more details added by me

Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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scallywag

Hi Skeeter -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

 

Wonderful that you've stabilized your symptoms with a long hold, going from 50 symptoms to 1! That's impressive and persuasive.

 

Thanks for posting your experience about being attentive to your own body and using that to guide your taper, rather than the calendar or a schedule. 


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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Skeeter

Okay since this is for other people to read as well, I am going to give my 50 or so concurrent signs and symptoms I went through for 3 solid weeks- but these were just the worst weeks (but truthfully, these lasted for 4 solid months,{EDITED TO ADD, I had symptoms for 20 mos total} leaving me mostly bedridden this whole time) after my doctors ill-advised abrupt one day cross over from 2mg/day of Xanax to 20mg/day of Valium (note: 2mg Xanax = 40mg Valium according to the Ashton Manual). This is usually done over a period of many weeks!  My hell started right away, as we all  know that Xanax has the shortest half life of any benzo.  I was having interdose withdrawals so bad that I could not imagine that there was anything worse.  Note: if you are currently going through interdose withdrawal on Xanax, GET OFF YOUR BOOTY AND MOVE- GENTLY!  Start at 2 minutes stepping in place, or 1mph on a treadmill, and slowly work your way up, doing too much is worse than doing nothing, so start slow!!  It will make you feel better.  I started with 2 minutes of low impact just getting up and moving, and increased it to 15 minutes of moderate exercise the last month I was on it a few times a day. each 15 minute session at the end made me feel fine for 4 hours!  Laying there and doing nothing feels 10x worse!!! 

 

My hell started right away from my first switched dose. I will number my signs (things you can see) and symptoms (things you can feel) as I go... and so

  1. first off I felt so ill I was vomiting starting that first day. 
  2. I could not pay attention to anything- Including watching TV or listening to books on tape or radio or music or even TV noise, or speech.
  3. Time no longer passed as it normally does, and this lasted for to some extent for 3 months.  Every minute felt like 10, EVERY SINGLE MINUTE!!  
  4. I could not look at the computer or TV or lights because I was so sensitive to light, this was different from not being able to watch TV- I could not handle the movement and the colors.
  5. My feet started sweating profusely to the point that they were dripping wet, which made them freezing cold.  I switched out between 3 pairs of thick, wicking socks because my feet were so cold from that that they HURT.  I also used a heating pad on my feet because...
  6. my feet HURT, even when not sweating, as I had short breaks a couple of times a day from the sweating.
  7. I was so thirsty, I was drinking close to a gallon of water a day, however
  8. I could barely eat, was not hungry, and was still vomiting all of the time for the first 3 weeks.  Now I did have short windows each day where I could eat and drink (3-5am), and that is when I took meds.  But WHAT I was drinking was an issue, as we found out later... I was losing electrolytes, so I started drinking Gatorade.  We found out some weeks later that
  9. I was severely hypersensitive to all artificial sweeteners- which Gatorade is full of, plus I was chewing first Trident Gum, then Pur gum, which has Xylitol, and that gave me
  10. Constant "snakes in my belly" feeling 24/7.  Then of course, with the vomiting came clay colored diarrhea (well as close to it as someone on pain medications can come, but suffice it to say there was NOTHING in my gut!  Then
  11. the neck and shoulder tightness and pain came, followed closely by
  12. the headaches, so I was adding OTC Tylenol and Aleve whenever I could keep anything down.  I was still dehydrated despite all of the water and Gatorade, so I was applying a lip balm constantly, then the 
  13. bizarre lip buzzing sensation started whenever I applied certain balms to my lips. 
  14. My hands and forearms were burning and giving me pins and needles sensations on and off, no rhyme or reason.  I was I hell, and this was only day 4 or so.  To pass time I would lay on my back and pull my knees to my chest and scissor my right ankle over left, left ankle over right, and do that for hours to just try to distract myself from the pain I was feeling.  Thank gosh my pain med is via patch, or my pain would have been worse, it was off the scale, but it could have been worse.
  15. My teeth started chattering for no reason at all, I think this was a form of withdrawal-related lockjaw that some people get, would come and go.
  16. lost 20 pounds over the 3 weeks of this hell. 
  17. I had the aches and pains of the flu, felt like the worst flu I ever had in my life, honestly! 
  18. I could not sleep- at ALL for days at first. Then came the worst part by far...
  19. I would sleep in a max of 2 hour stints, and EVERYTIME I work up, my heart was racing along up to 150 BPM (normal is 60-100), and I would be confused, I could not speak, could hardly move, my hearing was muted, and this would last 15 minutes to almost an hour.
  20. I became afraid to sleep because of how I felt when I would wake up.  I was a trooper until this hit on about day 5.  No tears before this, I just grit my (chattering) teeth and beared it up to this point. 
  21. I felt a constant fullness to the point of pain in all of my joints, I felt like I was 110 years old, and with all of the water I drank, I was up peeing constantly, so I was reminded of this nonstop!
  22. Muscle spasms in my limbs like nothing I have ever felt before, was mostly annoying as the sensation was so uncomfortable (not charley horses, tho), and not the muscle spasms associated with my medical condition).
  23. Severe smell disturbances.  I could smell the smallest things like they were IN my nose, it was NAUSEATING, and nothing smelled normal.
  24. Followed by taste disturbances, the taste and texture of foods was different, and when food started to sound appetizing again, it was frustrating that it did not taste like it smelled.
  25. hand and foot numbness at times, plus areas on my face, this was just minorly annoying compared to the other things I had experienced.

    These things came and went as they wanted:
  26. Cold sweats,
  27. Shivering when I felt warm enough,
  28. Hot Flashes,
  29. Tongue Buzzing when I spoke,
  30. Would realize I was breathing rapidly for no know reason- I noticed as I would get lightheaded, happened when I would fall asleep sometimes.

    And oh yes,
  31. Constant jitteriness, I am not sure when it started or when it stopped, but it was for like fro day 1 to day 8 I was so jittery, then it would come and go after that,
  32. Confusion would come and go- I would notice things were not making sense in the middle of hearing my roommate talk,
  33. Severe trembling of hands, could not write or type at times,
  34. constant painful full gut not associated with gas,
  35. I felt like I was wearing ear plugs about half the time, even though I never wore them, it drove me up a freaking wall!!
  36. After vomiting passed, constant Nausea, save for 2 hours a day at 3am-5am.
  37. Blurry sight that would come and go,
  38. Slurred Speech, separate to times that my tongue was buzzing.
  39. Bruising (probably from malnutrition)
  40. Unsteadiness while waking, I had to hold onto everything (though I was careful, so I did not really run into much to cause the aforementioned bruising).
  41. The headaches went away after the first several days, then a couple of weeks later, migraines started.
  42. Shooting pains from out of nowhere happened pretty much everywhere, but not constant.
  43. At times had no control of my hands, I was able to type after the 10th day for short messages, but when I tried to read what I typed, the misspells were too severe for me to even fix it, it was like my brain and my hands were not communicating.
  44. Developed a sensitivity to different foods on a rotating basis as I went through the healing beyond one month.  I would be able to eat something one week, then the following week, it would make me very ill, so I had to go to a very basic diet of fruits and veggies, and then add foods very slowly.
  45. I found that going to the store was too much, even 8 weeks out- all of the sights and sounds were too much, I wanted to curl up in the fetal position and just cry- my mind was just overwhelmed, I was watching TV by this time in small amounts, and even reading a bit now and then and my light sensitivity had mostly gone, so finding this out was a big step back for me mentally.
  46. On and off, I could not even pet the dogs, even though we have one of the breeds that have what is commonly called hair instead of fur because it is that soft- and this was past when my hands had pins and needles.
  47. Skin hypersensitivity on the bottoms of my feet, but not the same time as my hands.
  48. Jaw pain not associated with teeth chattering, the muscles were sore to the point of being unable to touch them with my hands, exquisitely painful. Maybe I was grinding my teeth when I slept?
  49. Insomnia switched at some point to sleeping up to 16 hours a day.  I think my body just burned out, esp from me trying not to sleep for so long because of my terror of being so confused upon waking up.
  50. Severe itchiness on the mottoms of my feet after all of the sweating stopped, it drove me up a wall!  
  51. A band of tightness around my head that came and went, felt muscular.

I know I am forgetting at least 5, but this has been mentally exhausting to remember and go through all of this in my mind again.  This was horrific. 

 

NEVER EVER let your doctor switch you fro Xanax to any other benzo without a crossover taper.  My doctor told me flat out that he was not willing to let me take one bit more than I was on right then of the Xanax, as a paper had just come out come out about the higher risk of death with patients on opioids and benzodiazepines together, so he was non-yielding on that point.  His advice to me was to switch from one to the other and not go back.  I still have nightmares about waking up and not being ale to move or hear, my heart racing, as I lay there confused.  I would not be surprised if I have a touch of PTSD after going through this.

 

I am, however, only 4 months out from the start of the switch in meds, and I only have HALF of one symptom left.  I am about 50% better on my sensitivity to artificial sweeteners now.  I can again chew gum with artificial sweeteners with no problem.  I would say this is a victory for those of us who worry if long holds between tapering Valium doses can be a good thing. 

 

I will go on with my taper as soon as I feel my body is back to normal, and the last month I have made huge strides with the last couple of symptoms.  I can see why people go through protracted withdrawal when they go through a fully painful taper from the moment they start until the end. 

 

I think we need to wait when tapering, wait until your s/sx subside completely, or stabilize to an acceptable level, then take tiny steps toward the goal. This is no race.  If you want to see people suffer because they tapered too quickly, go to other boards and read the horror stories, it will change your mind!! 

 

I had 2 HUGE insults to my system within 3 weeks of each other, and 4 months later, I am almost back to normal.  I am sure most of you here are way more sensitive than I am, but I urge you to stop and hold and just relax when things get tough, it can get better.  Updose a bit if you need, suffering through it only invites, IMHO, PAWS at the end of your suffering, and I do not wish that on anyone!!  I never want to go through what I went through ever again, and I am not sorry if I repeated that!  Best of luck to you!!

Edited by Skeeter
put symptoms in numbered list for easier reading

Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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scallywag

Wow Skeeter -- that's quite a list. A cautionary tale about too short crossovers. I'm sorry you went through all that and then relived the experience some by posting it. Thank you for doing that even though it must have been difficult. 


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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RachelSusan

Skeeter,

Thank you for sharing your experience.  I am so sorry you had to go through it, however it helped me to hear it.  I had some of physical symptoms you did, although not as many.  For some reason it helps me to know I am not alone.  I had to reinstate to stabilize, I will start a very slow taper once I feel I am ready. Again, my thanks and gratitude for sharing.

Rachel


Find my story here:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12649-rachelsusan-my-zoloft-story-on-off-reinstated-in-trouble/?hl=rachelsusan

HISTORY

Feb. 2016 to June 2016  - Was on 100mg to 150mg Zoloft. 

Quit Zoloft (Sertraline) June  2016,  reinstated 50mg of Zoloft July 2016.  From July 2016  to October 2016 went from 50 mg down 2.3 mg. I up-dosed in November 2016 to 12.5 mg. Held there until January 2017 when I started a much slower taper.

STARTING SENSIBLE  ZOLOFT TAPERING USING GUIDELINES FROM THIS SITE

Dec. 10 2016  - switched to Liquid Zoloft (Sertraline) @ 12.5 mg.   Jan 19, 2017 reduced to 12.0 mg (4%).   Feb 9 2017 reduced to 11.0 mg (8%). March 1 2017 to 10.0 mg (9 %).  March 21 2017  to 9.5 mg (5%). April 1 2017  to 9.0 mg (5.3%). April 10 2017 to 8.5 mg (5.6%). April 22 2017  8.25 mg (2.9%). April 29 2017  8.0 (3.0%). May 6 2017  7.75 mg (3.1%).  May 14 2017  7.5 mg (3.2%). May 20 2017 to 7.25 mg (3.3%). May 27 2017 reduced to 7.0 mg (3.4%). June 10 2017  to 6.75 mg (3.6%). June 17 2017 to 6.5 mg (3.7%). June 24 2017 6.25 mg (3.8%). July 1 2017 reduced to 6.0 mg. July 8 2017 5.75 mg. July 15 2017 5.5 mg. July 22 2017 5.25 mg.  Aug 5 2017  5.0 mg.  Dec. 9, 2017  4.75 mg (5%).  Feb. 10, 2018 4.50 mg.   March 15, 2018 4.375 mg (2.8% decrease). April 3, 2018 4.25 mg (2.9%). May 14, 2018 4.125% (2.9%). June 16, 2018 4.0 mg (3.0%).  July 21, 2018 3.875mg. August 11, 2018 3.75mg (3.2%). Sept. 12, 2018 3.62mg (3.3%).  Oct. 13, 2018 3.5mg (3.4% decrease). Nov. 29, 2018 3.375mg (3.6% decrease). Jan. 20, 2019 3.25 mgFeb 16, 2019 3.125mg (3.8%). April 7, 2019 3.0mg (4.0%).  May 18, 2019 2.875mg (4.2%). June 22, 2019 2.75mg (4.3%)July 27, 2019 2.62mg (4.5%). August 18, 2019 2.5mg (4.8%). Sept. 14, 2019 2.375mg (5.0%) Oct.19, 2019 2.25mg.  Nov. 16, 2019 2.12mgDec. 7, 2019 2.00mg (5.9%). Jan. 4, 2020 1.875 mg (6.3%). Jan. 25, 2020 1.75 mgFeb. 29, 2020 1.625mg (7.10%).  Apr. 4, 2020 1.5 mg. May 9, 2020 1.375 mg. June 6, 2020 1.25 mg. (9.10%). July 4, 2020 1.125 mg. (10%).  August 15, 2020 1.0 mg.  Oct 24, 2020 .875 mg.

OTHER MEDICATIONS: Gabapentin - 900 mg since July 2016, Prednisone  5mg.  QVAR Inhalant,  Supplements: Vitamin D, Probiotic, and Fish Oil.

 

 

 

 

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Skeeter

Rachel,

Oddly enough, just hearing that what I went through may have helped one person, even a little bit, really makes reliving it through writing it all down very worth it.  I sincerely hope that when you choose to taper, that it will go as smooth as possible.  Many people on all of the forums seem to have a hard time with the hardness of going very slow, but after seeing the other side, that is not my problem AT ALL!

 

I have come off of Effexor XR and Gabapentin (not at the same time, of course.  I was a lab rat for nerve pain at a "pain clinic", and they put me on and off so many anti-seizure medications at exceedingly high doses that I ended up unconscious in the ER for 5 hours because they exceeded the dose my body could handle.  They would (and did) much rather give me very high doses of everything else, mixing different meds that should not be mixed rather than any pain meds for nerve pain.  Of course this has recently come out as one of the most painful conditions one can have. 2 years after my ER visit (for which I was awarded a diagnosis of a mental illness), it came out via the FDA that Gabitril in super high doses can make people fall unconscious for periods of time about a week after upping the dose..  They ignored the fact that none of the meds did ANYTHING for me. I do hope that Gabapentin works well for you.  I did come off of that with only minor issues, I really hope the same runs true for you!

 

I just changed from one generic version of Lexapro to another generic version, and spent 2 weeks in bed, sick as a dog, with nausea, increase of the burning pain I already endure daily in my limbs, and I could hardly make sense of anything.  I would have answered much sooner had this not happened.  At least I have recovered from THAT now.

 

Ever find yourself afraid as to when you will actually start your taper?  I am afraid to start now that I know how bad it can be!

 

I am very happy you were able to stop Klonipin, I cannot imagine how awful that had to be to come off of.

Skeeter


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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RachelSusan

Skeeter,

I am so sorry to hear that you suffered yet more pain with the swapping of one generic version of Lexapro for another.  In answer to your question, yes I am very fearful to start my taper. I do however feel that I have been given a lot of good information on this website which will help me. I plan to do it very very slowly.  First the Zoloft and then the Gabapentin. I hope that Gabapentin taper is not as difficult as the Zoloft, however I plan to do that very slowly as well. As painful as writing about your symptoms must have been, it really did help me to read about it, since I had some of the same ones. I have found it interesting that most people referenced the depression that hit them when they went through withdrawal, however for me it was the physical symptoms that were really bad. 

Take care of yourself,

RS


Find my story here:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12649-rachelsusan-my-zoloft-story-on-off-reinstated-in-trouble/?hl=rachelsusan

HISTORY

Feb. 2016 to June 2016  - Was on 100mg to 150mg Zoloft. 

Quit Zoloft (Sertraline) June  2016,  reinstated 50mg of Zoloft July 2016.  From July 2016  to October 2016 went from 50 mg down 2.3 mg. I up-dosed in November 2016 to 12.5 mg. Held there until January 2017 when I started a much slower taper.

STARTING SENSIBLE  ZOLOFT TAPERING USING GUIDELINES FROM THIS SITE

Dec. 10 2016  - switched to Liquid Zoloft (Sertraline) @ 12.5 mg.   Jan 19, 2017 reduced to 12.0 mg (4%).   Feb 9 2017 reduced to 11.0 mg (8%). March 1 2017 to 10.0 mg (9 %).  March 21 2017  to 9.5 mg (5%). April 1 2017  to 9.0 mg (5.3%). April 10 2017 to 8.5 mg (5.6%). April 22 2017  8.25 mg (2.9%). April 29 2017  8.0 (3.0%). May 6 2017  7.75 mg (3.1%).  May 14 2017  7.5 mg (3.2%). May 20 2017 to 7.25 mg (3.3%). May 27 2017 reduced to 7.0 mg (3.4%). June 10 2017  to 6.75 mg (3.6%). June 17 2017 to 6.5 mg (3.7%). June 24 2017 6.25 mg (3.8%). July 1 2017 reduced to 6.0 mg. July 8 2017 5.75 mg. July 15 2017 5.5 mg. July 22 2017 5.25 mg.  Aug 5 2017  5.0 mg.  Dec. 9, 2017  4.75 mg (5%).  Feb. 10, 2018 4.50 mg.   March 15, 2018 4.375 mg (2.8% decrease). April 3, 2018 4.25 mg (2.9%). May 14, 2018 4.125% (2.9%). June 16, 2018 4.0 mg (3.0%).  July 21, 2018 3.875mg. August 11, 2018 3.75mg (3.2%). Sept. 12, 2018 3.62mg (3.3%).  Oct. 13, 2018 3.5mg (3.4% decrease). Nov. 29, 2018 3.375mg (3.6% decrease). Jan. 20, 2019 3.25 mgFeb 16, 2019 3.125mg (3.8%). April 7, 2019 3.0mg (4.0%).  May 18, 2019 2.875mg (4.2%). June 22, 2019 2.75mg (4.3%)July 27, 2019 2.62mg (4.5%). August 18, 2019 2.5mg (4.8%). Sept. 14, 2019 2.375mg (5.0%) Oct.19, 2019 2.25mg.  Nov. 16, 2019 2.12mgDec. 7, 2019 2.00mg (5.9%). Jan. 4, 2020 1.875 mg (6.3%). Jan. 25, 2020 1.75 mgFeb. 29, 2020 1.625mg (7.10%).  Apr. 4, 2020 1.5 mg. May 9, 2020 1.375 mg. June 6, 2020 1.25 mg. (9.10%). July 4, 2020 1.125 mg. (10%).  August 15, 2020 1.0 mg.  Oct 24, 2020 .875 mg.

OTHER MEDICATIONS: Gabapentin - 900 mg since July 2016, Prednisone  5mg.  QVAR Inhalant,  Supplements: Vitamin D, Probiotic, and Fish Oil.

 

 

 

 

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scallywag

Skeeter, Are you currently taking Lexapro?  If yes, please take a moment to update your signature with the date you started and your dose.

 

When YOU feel ready to taper, go as slowly as you want. Your first dose cut could be less than 5% so that you can evaluate your sensitivity to changes. Your hesitation is completely "understand-able" given what happened at that pain clinic.


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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Skeeter

Scally,

Thanks, I never though of adding that here, because I have no intention right now of coming off of it.  

 

Thank you so much for advising me to start under 5%!!!  I have felt really overwhelmed with coming off of it that I cannot really think straight when it comes down to how much to drop it by. I have been struggling with how to ask that very question without getting the generic answer of :start where you are comfortable"!! 

 

I am not full of self esteem right now, esp since one of the other forums moderator probably did not mean to treat me coldly (it was how I took it), like I should have known better than to ask what "kindling" was. Providing me to a generic web link that did not really apply to how it applied to benzo's was less than helpful.  Have been hesitant to ask a question or offer my 2 cents on any forum since! So thank you so very much for the hand holding at the moment.  :D

 

RS,

I do think (and hope) that you will have much less of an issue coming off of the Gabapentin than the Zoloft.  I came off of the G much more recently than the Z, so I have a better frame of reference- despite all of the different meds at the pain clinic, it was only one neuroleptic med at a I was reminded that this was the FIRST one they tried on me, so I do remember it a bit more clearly than others. This was before they started playing with (aka: dropping the dose on) the pain meds. If you are taking it for nerve pain vs another reason, I did not find any marked increase in pain coming off of it.  I asked my SO, and he verified that I felt more nausea than anything else when coming off of it, with a little vertigo- but that is common for me.  I thought it helped with pain in the beginning, but as the dose got higher the side effects became intolerable, & it did not help with pain any longer.  He says that I was on a higher dose than you are currently on.  He has an almost photographic memory about some things, and this is one of them. You and I shall play the waiting game, and see when we feel up to starting our taper... :unsure:


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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ChessieCat

Hi Skeeter,

 

You might find these helpful regarding going slower than a 10% taper.

 

Micro-taper instead of 10% or 5% decreases


Rhi's "Start Small, Listen to Your Body" Taper Plan


Slowness of slow tapers


REMINDER TO SELF:

I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

ADs:  25 years - 1 unknown, Prozac (caused muscle weakness), Zoloft/sertraline; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after)

Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (mild Serotonin Toxicity)

Began tapering Oct 2015  Current from 17 Oct 2020:  Pristiq 0.56 mg (compounded + liquid)

My tapering program

My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)

My website - includes my brief history + links to videos & information on the web

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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scallywag

Skeeter, I'm glad that idea was helpful. Please post your questions.

 

we all have moments when we're more sensitive to what others say, and other moments when we're less sensitive to how others might feel. Unfortunately sometimes one of our high sensitivity moments happens at the same time as another person's lower sensitivity moments.  I've been on both sides of that since starting to post here, and more often than I would like on the lower sensitivity side of the equation. :(


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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Skeeter

Chessie,

 

Thank you so very much! I found this forum while browsing for "how slow is too slow" regarding Valium Tapers, coming upon the last link you left.  I have already started on the others. So much appreciated!

 

Scally,

 

You are so very right.  I do need to keep that in mind myself when I am well enough to actually reply to other's posts.  My emotions have been all over the place, and am  sensitive again with this switch in brands of escitalopram throwing me for a loop. I do totally see that she was not TRYING to be cold on the other forum, but I was also not TRYING to be sensitive...lol.  I guess the ownership lies more with me, as I was artificially sensitive, but I was not aware of that at the time.  All I knew was that I was miserable and did not know the lingo.  I never ask for help, so it was a big step for me to even ask that question (and I had searched that forum before asking). I am not usually so thin skinned, but after so much misery, I was overly sensitive to EVERYTHING.  For you, after posting so many posts, I would be surprised if you had not become less sensitive.  You see the same thing day in and day out, so what it so new to others becomes not so much for you, I would guess, esp if your emotions have long since stabilized.  I still thank you for your kindness to me.  It has helped me so very much!


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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RachelSusan

Hi Skeeter,

 

Thank you for your kind words.  It helped me to hear that the Gabapetin WD as not as bad as the Zoloft WD.  I will do the Gabapentin taper last.

 

I read your post about being sensitive. I too am a sensitive right now. I refer to myself as raw or ragged. A lot of us here have been through some really rough times.  I'm pleased though with how supportive this group is.

 

Take care of yourself.

RS


Find my story here:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12649-rachelsusan-my-zoloft-story-on-off-reinstated-in-trouble/?hl=rachelsusan

HISTORY

Feb. 2016 to June 2016  - Was on 100mg to 150mg Zoloft. 

Quit Zoloft (Sertraline) June  2016,  reinstated 50mg of Zoloft July 2016.  From July 2016  to October 2016 went from 50 mg down 2.3 mg. I up-dosed in November 2016 to 12.5 mg. Held there until January 2017 when I started a much slower taper.

STARTING SENSIBLE  ZOLOFT TAPERING USING GUIDELINES FROM THIS SITE

Dec. 10 2016  - switched to Liquid Zoloft (Sertraline) @ 12.5 mg.   Jan 19, 2017 reduced to 12.0 mg (4%).   Feb 9 2017 reduced to 11.0 mg (8%). March 1 2017 to 10.0 mg (9 %).  March 21 2017  to 9.5 mg (5%). April 1 2017  to 9.0 mg (5.3%). April 10 2017 to 8.5 mg (5.6%). April 22 2017  8.25 mg (2.9%). April 29 2017  8.0 (3.0%). May 6 2017  7.75 mg (3.1%).  May 14 2017  7.5 mg (3.2%). May 20 2017 to 7.25 mg (3.3%). May 27 2017 reduced to 7.0 mg (3.4%). June 10 2017  to 6.75 mg (3.6%). June 17 2017 to 6.5 mg (3.7%). June 24 2017 6.25 mg (3.8%). July 1 2017 reduced to 6.0 mg. July 8 2017 5.75 mg. July 15 2017 5.5 mg. July 22 2017 5.25 mg.  Aug 5 2017  5.0 mg.  Dec. 9, 2017  4.75 mg (5%).  Feb. 10, 2018 4.50 mg.   March 15, 2018 4.375 mg (2.8% decrease). April 3, 2018 4.25 mg (2.9%). May 14, 2018 4.125% (2.9%). June 16, 2018 4.0 mg (3.0%).  July 21, 2018 3.875mg. August 11, 2018 3.75mg (3.2%). Sept. 12, 2018 3.62mg (3.3%).  Oct. 13, 2018 3.5mg (3.4% decrease). Nov. 29, 2018 3.375mg (3.6% decrease). Jan. 20, 2019 3.25 mgFeb 16, 2019 3.125mg (3.8%). April 7, 2019 3.0mg (4.0%).  May 18, 2019 2.875mg (4.2%). June 22, 2019 2.75mg (4.3%)July 27, 2019 2.62mg (4.5%). August 18, 2019 2.5mg (4.8%). Sept. 14, 2019 2.375mg (5.0%) Oct.19, 2019 2.25mg.  Nov. 16, 2019 2.12mgDec. 7, 2019 2.00mg (5.9%). Jan. 4, 2020 1.875 mg (6.3%). Jan. 25, 2020 1.75 mgFeb. 29, 2020 1.625mg (7.10%).  Apr. 4, 2020 1.5 mg. May 9, 2020 1.375 mg. June 6, 2020 1.25 mg. (9.10%). July 4, 2020 1.125 mg. (10%).  August 15, 2020 1.0 mg.  Oct 24, 2020 .875 mg.

OTHER MEDICATIONS: Gabapentin - 900 mg since July 2016, Prednisone  5mg.  QVAR Inhalant,  Supplements: Vitamin D, Probiotic, and Fish Oil.

 

 

 

 

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scallywag

Skeeter -- you might find the following helpful: Neuro-emotions


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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Skeeter

RS,

My mind ANY body were freaking out when I came off of the gabapentin, as I was having some very painful procedures done, and I got a diagnosis that I did not want because of the (diagnostic) procedures, so I could not have picked a worse time to come off of it. I hope if you do it after a break (hopefully after you maybe get back to normal after your first tapered med), and going at a snails pace, if that is what you choose, will hopefully help.  I have very high hopes for you!

 

I am astonished at the level of support here. 

 

I am glad that I am not the only thin skinned/sensitive/raw/ragged one here.  It has shattered the outgoing side of me for the moment.  SO FRUSTRATING!

 

I am so happy to see that you are close to feeling up to starting your taper. I will make a note to follow you.

 

Scally,

Thank you for the link!  It is on my list for the next one to read.  BTW, "Scallywag" with the accompanying pic had me laughing from the first time I saw it! LOVE IT!!! Despite usually running on the less sensitive side, you have been very kind to me. Will not be forgotten! I am a bit slow to getting to things at the moment due to GI s/sx that really take away my concentration but look forward to reading your intro post when I can wrap my head around it..


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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Skeeter

My depression started in about 2002 after receiving a diagnosis of a condition that lets me look normal, but my limbs (started with shoulder surgery, then the pain slowly moved to encompass all 4 limbs)I have pain that never goes away for one second. It has been nicknamed the most painful condition by a study done last year. Rates higher than amputation, non-terminal cancer, childbirth (both prepared and unprepared)amongst others. It is a neuropathy (nerve pain). To describe my pain, and mere words cannot sufficiently explain what I go through daily, but to try: burning/sizzling/frying my skin on a griddle all 4 limbs together (left arm is the epicenter, and deep bone crushing aches in certain bones and joints.

 

I went from a person who was a dancer since age 5, lucky enough to get to dance for Prince a long time ago after I moved to MN, working with their dancers several times before I moved. His recent death made me very sad. I always had 2-4 jobs at a time, and I loved working. I was fired from 2 jobs (after never being fired before this was devastating to me, but I could not handle the pain AND work. I am still not working, though I want to start part time after I see how my SLOW taper from Valium goes. I continued to lightly dance (ballet and hip hop until about 5 years ago. I had been on low levels of antidepressants before this, as I had PMDD way before they coined it with than name, it was called severe PMS until then. I have been on so many antidepressants to try to help that I cannot remember them all. The one difference at that time was Zoloft, as I had to get on a higher dose of that to get it to work, and then it still did not work so well, so I called it quits after a year. Very hard to come off off!!!

 

FF to current times: My condition has been under control as much as possible, as nerve pain is very hard to treat... About September 2015 I realized that I had been falling slowly into a deep depression for over 2 years. I was on Wellbutrin (high dose), Pristiq 50mg, and trazodone at bedtime. I was in a Cog Fog, so I did not realize my depression very easily. So starting in October, my doc pulled me off of my Wellbutrin over 2 months. It was uncomfortable. I reached deep depression and anxiety went thru the roof. Not really had anxiety issues before this I stopped Pristiq over a month. My doc placed me on Xanax for the anxiety, then gave me the news that he was not going to prescribe my antidepressants anymore (the spoken plan was to wean off of the current ones, then try something different). He instead would only give me the name of ONE doctor, a psychiatrist, and refused to refer me to anyone else. The doc did NOT take my insurance. I found out later that my doc was not helpful in the least because he got some recent awful news about a very close family member who I think is terminal. The Xanax started in December (biggest mistake in my life), helped with the anxiety, but the depression had me suicidal at 2 points. I finally chose to see my GP since it was now March, and I had been in a very deep depression since October, when I started decreasing the Wellbutrin. I finally gave up on a psychiatrist, because I could not find one that took my insurance, and I am glad because I think I had never needed one, so I went to my GP. She prescribed Lexapro, and within a week, my depression started to lift. I felt so good that I was feeling ready to come off of the Xanax. I did not need a psychiatrist, I just needed a single antidepressant for gosh sake!! WTH!?!?

 

XANAX- the word for SATAN in my house. I managed to get from 3mg a day down to 2mg a day on my own. The interdose withdrawal was hell. I changed the dose from 1mg 3 times a day to .5 mg 4 times a day. My life was awful. The med would work right away upon taking, but wore off by hour 4, so I was up and exercising for 20 minutes, would feel a little better, then redo that an hour later (hour 5, and then it was time to take the next dose. I never slept more than 3 hours. I felt like I was on a hamster wheel that I had no way to get off of. I found out the hard way that lay in bed and just suffering through the time when the jitters hit you for the next dose (interdose withdrawal) felt much worse than when getting up and exercising every time you feel bad is MUCH preferable to the sickness felt from laying there and squirming in bed. Before I thought of going off of it I read about tapering. I knew it needed to be a long taper, and that I needed to be in control. With how my specialist was treating me on a personal level (at one point I asked for an increase in Xanax (3mg/day, 1 every 8 hours), he was very harsh and said no in a mean way, this was how I found out initially that something was wrong, because he has never spoken to me like that before. My friend was with me and was shocked in how he spoke to me. He did explain though, that a major study or paper had just come out, and with the mix of meds I was on, he would NOT increase my dose AT ALL. I knew he would not be helpful in coming off of this drug he put me on. I was in hell every day every 4 hours. I wrote to my GP, and asked her if she would help. 2mg, she said since she never prescribes it, SHE was only comfortable with doing a 12 week taper, no more, period. MY comfort was never even thought of. She is a kind doctor, but gosh, not everyone fits a cookie cutter mold. So still very uninformed on my part,I wrote to my specialist, and it was clear that a crossover taper was not happening, as during this MORE benzo's are added to your system, then you are eased off of the first. I did not know that this was done over 6 weeks or more. I wrote to him and told him that I could not stand being on it one more day, and I DID say that I heard that 20mg of Valium (my maximum allowed daily dose)that I was on for 6 years before starting Xanax 4 mos earlier, was equal to 20mg of Valium. I asked if there was a way to switch over from one to the other. He said yes, it is okay to just stop taking it, and start the Valium. I would have a hard time for a little while, but I needed to stay on the Valium and not go back to the Xanax- PERIOD. April 6 was the beginning of hell. I was bedridden with depression from October until starting the generic Lexapro in early March (or late Feb?). But then I was feeling awful the interdose issues, so I had energy to burn, so I was up and active. Well that stopped as of April 6th. The 50 signs and symptoms I endured from April until Late July were awful. That is a nice way to say it. Every minute felt like 10. Agony was my only thought. I could not care for myself except bathroom visits, and snacks that involved no prep, but I was not hungry, so it was not a problem. I will never forget being so afraid to sleep because I would wake up paralyzed, unable to see well, unable to comprehend the sounds around me, my ears not working normally, it felt and sounded like I had ear plugs in, and my heart was racing anywhere between 130-150 beats per min (60-100 is normal). Terrified to sleep, and when I did it was a very short time, and I would spend 15-45 minutes STUCK in limbo with my heart racing for the first few minutes. I was able to count my heart rate when the STUCK feeling started to fade a few weeks after starting, so I used a pulse oximeter to count my hear rate. I still have nightmares where I wake up like that, but it is part of the dream. By the end of July, I think all of the signs and symptoms had faded except my sensitivity to artificial sweeteners, which had greatly improved by the middle of September.

 

Middle of September, I switched the brand of generic Lexapro, and have been sick as a dog since then to present.

 

Now my biggest issue is that I am detached from life still. I do get up to exercise moderately 3-4x a week. I do not feel depressed, yet I am detached from life. I spend my time on the couch or my adjustable bed doing crosswords/crafts, but not wanting to go anywhere. I was more active when I was depressed and on Wellbutrin and Pristiq. I will start seeing a therapist soon.

 

I think being on 20mg of Valium may actually be the cause of my issue. I have read that it can take away your drive to do things. I have no oomph to clean or do laundry. I am exercising just to keep from losing all of my muscle mass. Do not enjoy it, do not hate it. Could Valium make me not want to do much? I just have this - disconnect from life.

 

Sorry if I repeated anything from above, but I know my whole story had not been told well. I also want it down so I can follow my progress.

 

I do not remember them all, so here is a partial list of antidepressants I have been on, some were for PMDD, the rest were for depression. PMDD: Zoloft, Celexa (there were 2-4 more but I cannot remember the names). Depression: Effexor XR, Paxil, Cymbalta, Wellbutrin, Pristiq, now on Lexapro. For sleep: Trazodone (not taking now).


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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BlueLeader

Skeeter, I found the Ashton manual very helpful in terms of tapering but you are also correct in that you have to listen to your body.

Just keep in mind you are in fact tapering a benzo-it won't be pleasant.  The trick is to find what you can handle and hold to without being overrun.

 

I was on benzos for several years. Tapered 10% or so every 2 weeks. If I had an extremely rough patch I'd hold for a bit longer.

Can definitely say I felt so good being off the benzos.  Yes, your body will be off but light exercise helps, especially for benzo withdrawal.

 

Hope this helps and good luck


Mid 2006-Early 2013  Celexa 40 MG, Xanax .50, Trazadone 50 MG - No problems with side effects

Very fast-few weeks taper in Early 2013 off all medication.

Crashed summer 2013 Went back on all meds same dosage (different brand of Celexa) Sept 2013. 

 

Sexual Side Effects (which I never had before) begun December 2013.  Off Celexa February 2014.  Xanax remained while Trazadone done in August 2014.

Continue to experience complete PSSD to this day with sadly no signs of improvement yet.

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Skeeter

Skeeter, I found the Ashton manual very helpful in terms of tapering but you are also correct in that you have to listen to your body.

Just keep in mind you are in fact tapering a benzo-it won't be pleasant.  The trick is to find what you can handle and hold to without being overrun.

 

I was on benzos for several years. Tapered 10% or so every 2 weeks. If I had an extremely rough patch I'd hold for a bit longer.

Can definitely say I felt so good being off the benzos.  Yes, your body will be off but light exercise helps, especially for benzo withdrawal.

 

Hope this helps and good luck

 

Blue,

Thank you for your response. I was just commenting a couple of days ago that I am very sensitive to what other people say right now, and not due to you, but due to me, just your reminding me that it won't be pleasant sent me into an absolute panic. I have been very careful with my research, finding out how long a dose takes to clear the body, and chose to do my first taper (not yet) at a very low 2.5%. If I have no problems by days 9-11 (by my informal poll, the days with most people tapering Valium report "feeling it" the most), I may up that to a TOTAL of 4 or 5% if do not feel it, but starting at the point(the date) of the new dose change, hold for 6 weeks and until I become asymptomatic again, whichever comes LATER, before I taper again. It takes the normal body about 40 days to get rid of about 96-98% of Valium according to the drug info I read, which is how I landed on 6 weeks. Learning this, do you think I will have an easier time coming off than you did, possibly? it is most important to me to continue being functional than it is for me to be off the med more quickly. What do you think?

Thank you!

Skeeter


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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Skeeter

TAPERING LEXAPRO

 

I hit a hard reality today. The new brand of escitalopram I am on must be stronger or different. I am very listless, and my affect is very flat. After reading one of the threads on Tapering meds and which to taper first, I realize that I need to slowly lower my dose of Lexapro. I am talking snails pace slow, just like I had intended on my Valium Taper. Luckily I read the tip about coming off (or for me it might just be lowering the dose initially)of the AD FIRST, as the Valium will help me cope. I am SO GLAD this forum exists.

 

Now I do not know where to begin. I will be crushing the pills and mixing them in water. I do have 1cc/1ml syringes. I do not want to upset my body much. Just like 10% per month of Valium is far too much for me to taper at one time, I am thinking 10% may be too much for me to handle with Lexapro. I suppose it will be easiest to crush the 20mg pill in 20ml of h20 and toss out 10%. If it works well for me, I will buy the suspension liquid and mix up a batch that equals 1mg/ML and just take what I need.

 

Now let me I throw this in the pot for some opinions... I have only been on Lexapro since March. I was off of SSRI's for 4 months. Started at 10mg, and 2 weeks later went to 20mg. I am very interested in lowering my dosage, and do notice that people seem to handle the beginning of the taper really well with AD's vs Benzo's (I know way more about benzo's then AD's), so is it truly easier to handle the taper down Lexapro initially, vs benzo's? I noticed that on the Lexapro thread, many people did not notice much problems with the initial taper, only after they have gone off of the med did they really suffer. Right now I want to work to get down to 15 mg, and then I will hold there. I am not in a rush, but will I be safe dropping 1mg per month for 5 months, and then sit there? I can be switched to 15mg in pills at that point, or should I be just as cautious as I am with benzo's and drop less than 5% at a time?

 

HELP!!! I am usually very reserved in asking for help, but I just realized that at the beginning of the escitalopram I was reading books again, inhaling them in fact, interested in all sorts of things again- and now, my urge to do anything is very low. Did some research, and it sounds like it is the AD causing this....

 

Thank you!


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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bubble

I just wanted to say hi Skeeter.

 

As you will see it from my signature, I'm on the same combo as you (before you bridged to Valium). I will answer your questions from my experience when I have more time but for the time being just wanted to touch base.


Current: Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Skeeter

I just wanted to say hi Skeeter.

 

As you will see it from my signature, I'm on the same combo as you (before you bridged to Valium). I will answer your questions from my experience when I have more time but for the time being just wanted to touch base.

Bubble,

Whenever you have time would be wonderful. Still waiting for my body to settle down, so waiting right now is no issue. Thanks for stopping by!

S


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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Skeeter

HMMM, Time for some more musings... I deal with SAD (not diagnosed, technically, but my doc said it sounds like it, as my depression is much worse in the winter, and it is not hard to exactly match with my symptoms), so do I want to leave my Lexapro where it is right now, and only slowly lower my Valium over the winter? I will be going at a snails crawl, as that is what I am comfortable with. Notable comfort...lol- it is my main concern by 90%. So my 2.4% first taper sounds ridiculously slow to the logical part of me, but only if I allow myself to think of the math, and how long it would take me to come off of the med at only that pace, but honestly, I do not let myself go there. I am not worried about the snails pace, I am thrilled by it. It is a way out without the awfulness being at a severity that I cannot handle- since I would rather be at least slowly working towards a goal than be stagnant. Am still a bit spooked by the kind person who left a message - was totally able to successfully do an Ashton taper (10% every 2 weeks, slowing as needed)BIG APPLAUSE for completing the Valium WD!!! But also reminded me of the fact that it is not easy. I am not expecting easy, but I al also curious to see if it will make the HUGE difference I am hoping for finding my own perfect taper schedule and dose percentage. it cannot possibly be as bad as the Ashton method, right?

Then I have done the reading about the Lexapro taper, I have no slow how slow I need to goo, and do I start now, when in Minnesota cold weather is creeping u within a matter of weeks, honestly, by Oct 31st we will have been wearing coats. Halloween costumes are normally won with coats, that is the honest severity of it. My pain also increases as well. So how do I want to stress my system this winter? With the Lexapro Taper, which I do want to do slow and steady, with the goal to just reduce my dosage to only what I need, vs coming off totally. SO how slowly do I need to come off to find my happy spot? And to tell you the truth, my body will not tolerate me being off of Valium 100% either, due to the muscle spasms that are caused my my sympathetic nervous system issues. The Valium keeps the spasms at a tolerable level. it is ghastly watching the little muscles jumping around under the skin with the pain they cause.

So, with my history of being on Lexapro since March, and Valium a whole lot longer which does it make sense to start slowly dropping first? I do not know if SRI's mess with GABA or not, but if they do, I am thinking that I must slowly drop, just as carefully as I will be the benzo. Luckily with the dulling affect the Lexapro seems to have given me, (a the Xanax did not do this, and though I am on a higher dose of Valium than ever, it does seem as it is more of a symptom of the Lexapro, given its strength compared to other SSRI's. I am not lost in rumination, just trying to figure out how to make the best decision on this.

Edited by scallywag
deleted distracting typo at poster's request

Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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bubble

Hello again,

 

You have another option: hold on everything until spring. Especially since you are feeling quite symptomatic at the moment what with crossing over to Valium, being in a bad Xanax withdrawal before that, reacting to a different brand of Lexapro... This also is an indication of a very sensitive brain which is struggling. It probably needs more healing before it is ready to deal with more tapers.

 

For us with long histories of being on drugs, stopping, starting, changing... it is not about an individual drug and its reactions. They don't work in isolation and the general state of our central nervous system is more telling then attributing various symptoms to effects of individual drugs. So we can't really say this is being caused by Lexapro or by Valium. It's caused by both and also by your whole drug history if that makes sense. I'm trying to rad your drug history: Before starting Xanax in 2015 you were on Wellbutrin for 7 years and Pristiq for 3 - at the same time or before Wellbutrin?

 

This means that although you have been on Lexapro in particular for a relatively short time you brain has been exposed to and dealt with antidepressants for much longer. Your drug history is unique to you so noticing that some people don't have difficulties with initial reductions doesn't mean much for you. Some people do. And you won't know what category you are in. That's why we advise going slowly to test the waters.

 

If you enter the drugs you take in drug interactions checker you will probably recognise symptoms you experience among interactions:

https://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.php

 

I will end for the time being by posting my favourite explanation of how these drugs work which made me see them in a whole new light:

 

Rhi on how drugs change our brains/regowing a new brain through tapering

 

A lot of people, including healthcare practitioners; in fact, I guess, most people-- are operating from entirely the wrong paradigm, or way of thinking, about these meds. They're thinking of them like aspirin--as something that has an effect when it's in your system, and then when it gets out of your system the effect goes away.

That's not what happens with medications that alter neurotransmitter function, we are learning.

What happens when you change the chemistry of the brain is, the brain adjusts its chemistry and structure to try to return to homeostasis, or biochemical and functional balance. It tries to restabilize the chemistry. 

For example: SSRI antidepressants work as "serotonin reuptake inhibitors." That is, they cause serotonin to remain in the space between neurons, rather than being taken back up into the cells to be re-used, like it would be in a normal healthy nondrugged brain.

So the brain, which wants to re-establish normal signaling and function, adapts to the higher level of serotonin between neurons (in the "synapse", the space between neurons where signals get passed along). It does this by removing serotonin receptors, so that the signal is reduced and changed to something closer to normal. It also decreases the amount of serotonin it produces overall. 

To do that, genes have to be turned on and off; new proteins have to be made; whole cascades of chemical reactions have to be changed, which means turning on and off OTHER genes; cells are destroyed, new cells are made; in other words, a complex physiologic remodeling takes place. This takes place over time. The brain does not grow and change rapidly. 

This is a vast oversimplification of the amount of adaptation that takes place in the brain when we change its normal chemistry, but that's the principle.

When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay.

When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse.

SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. 

It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. 

I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long. 

With multiple drugs and a history of drug changes and cold turkeys, all of this becomes even more complicated. And if a person is started on these kinds of drugs at an early age before the brain has ever completely established normal mature functioning--well, it can't be good. (All of which is why I recommend an extremely slow taper particularly to anyone with a multiple drug history, a history of many years on meds, a history of past cold turkeys or frequent med changes, and a history of being put on drugs at a young age.)

This isn't intended to scare people, but hopefully to give you some idea of what's happening, and to help you respect and understand the process so you can work with it; ALSO, because you are likely to encounter many, many people who still believe these drugs work kind of like aspirin, or a glass of wine, and all you need to do is stop and get it out of your system. 

Now you can explain to them that no, getting it out of your system is not the issue; the issue is, you need to regrow or at least remodel your brain. This is a long, slow, very poorly understood process, and it needs to be respected. 


Current: Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Skeeter

Bubble,

Thank you for the kind and thoughful message. and esp the info you pasted.Bad gew GI days so I did not have the energy to respond. I also needed time to consider your opinion, which I appreciate.

 

Knowing myself, I KNOW that I cannot stay here until Spring. I am virtually housebound in the winter due to the pain the cld causes, and my state is one of the codest (Minnesots, northmost central US). I Will NOT make any changes until everythng calms down for sure. The GI symptoms are not new, they come from the lactose intolerance that the Lexapro generic causes. No neuro s/sx (only the ones I am SO very used to from my medical condition.

 

But knowing that I deal with seasonal depression, I do think I will leave the AD where it is until spring. That said, if I am having no other symptoms, and I have not have any odd neuro symptoms since July, once my gut calms dowm as slow as I am planing on going on the benzo, I will know within that 6 weeks if I can handle any change or not, as 2.5% is miniscule, and I will be staying there for so long that I think I will be okay. I am terrified of suffering, so believe me, baby steps are the only to go for me. I will not go any further until I am feeling better COMPLETELY!

 

I just bought a nook book about coming off antidepressants that is quoted on another thread here "The Antidepressant Solution" by Joseph Glenmullen, MD via Nook. It will help, along with the info you added above, aid me in coming off with as few issues as possible. The author actualy speaks about coming off with NO symptoms, which I do not think is possible, but am intrigued in reading.

Thanks!!

S


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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scallywag

Skeeter -- something to keep in mind: Dr. Glenmullen talks about a linear taper with larger dose reductions (25%ish) than we and other peer support groups have found prudent. The rest of what's in that book is great!


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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Skeeter

Skeeter -- something to keep in mind: Dr. Glenmullen talks about a linear taper with larger dose reductions (25%ish) than we and other peer support groups have found prudent. The rest of what's in that book is great!

 

Scally,

Cog fog (due to pain flare, so I am a bit slow currently...lol), as much as I am embarassed to admit it, I am not sure I get the jist of what you said...  Are you saying that his book states that one should start with a 25% drop, as opposed to the 10% drop advocated here?  I have been studying benzos for so long,  am still new to the AD withdrawal side of things (other than reading the threads here including the 10% thread and other threads that are commonly suggested to new members).

Thanks!

Skeets


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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ChessieCat

Hi Skeeter,

 

Linear tapering is tapering by reducing the drug calculated on the starting dose.  Non-linear (I can't think of the correct term ;) ) is reducing the drug calculated on the previous dose.  Found it!  non-linear = exponential


REMINDER TO SELF:

I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

ADs:  25 years - 1 unknown, Prozac (caused muscle weakness), Zoloft/sertraline; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after)

Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (mild Serotonin Toxicity)

Began tapering Oct 2015  Current from 17 Oct 2020:  Pristiq 0.56 mg (compounded + liquid)

My tapering program

My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)

My website - includes my brief history + links to videos & information on the web

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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scallywag

Skeeter -- There are 2 differences between what Glenmullen describes in his book and what we suggest:  the type of taper (linear vs exponential) and the size of the dose cuts.

 

Chessie defined the exponential vs. linear,  words that describe the shape of the line or curve if we plotted the doses in a chart.

 

If I recall correctly, the book presents several cases of people starting at 20 mg paxil and follows them through their dose reductions. The first cut is 5 mg, 25%. Some do well on it, others need adjustments on subsequent stages of the "taper."


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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Skeeter

Chessie and Scally,

Thank you kindly for your explanations.  Without having read all of the posts/threads I obviously NEED to on this before I begin the taper, and having not yet started the book these are very important things for me to know. I will read more here before I begin the book.

A Hearty THANK YOU! To the both of you!!!

 

On a different subject, I accidently took 2- 20mg tablets of escitalopram yesterday.  It was the first day in the weeks since I changed brands on this med that my stomach was calm,  Now it was a 50% chance that I took 2 tablets (or no)t yesterday until this morning.  Yesterday, I had little to no stomach issues, but the day before I was only uncomfortable for about 4 hours of the day, so there was no way to know.  Then I got up this morning, took my med (ONCE), and went back to bed.  Stood up 3 hours later, and "lost" the contents of my stomach within 10 seconds of being upright, and I had not eaten for 10 hours at that point (med can be taken on an empty stomach).  Today, I was back to "my" normal (but worse stomach today than in a couple of weeks. so closer to feeling like I did the date I changed brands).  I am not sure what it is telling me.  Most articles on the internet say that the lactose intolerance that a small percentage of people end up with (ME!) as a result of taking this med is due to the coating,  Apparently there are some of us that are close to lactose intolerance, but our bodies are still doing okay until this is added to our diet.  Makes sense to me as I slowly improved the longer I was on the generic made by Camber. Now on the generic made by a company in India called Aurobindo, and this one has me in a tizzy, as I keep saying. No neuro effects, but my gut is constantly upset, and is NOT calmed like it could be with Lactase before.  I will write the pharmacy to see if they can get the other generic. Tired of suffering, and it has stopped my exercising in its tracks since I started.  Any thoughts as to why I would feel so awful?  With the Camber, I was able to take Lactose enzyme pills and not feel sick all of the time.  I am very tired of feeling nauseated with my guts churning seemingly all the time. So I wonder what taking 2 of the pills one day with no gut problems all day for the first time since changing brands means. Since generics can have up to 20% less of the active ingredients (thanks FDA) of the med, I wonder if it means these pills have less of the active ingredient than the other? I am so sick of feeling SICK!!! GRRR!


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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Skeeter

Went to my doc yesterday, and after almost 3 weeks of severe GI distress from the coating on the escitalopram, she happily changed me to Lexapro.  Since I know the ingredient that I am sensitive to in the pills which made me 100% lactose intolerant, and it lasts about 24 hours on me, at 28 hours after my last dose, I had my first real dairy with no enzymes (since they did not work anyway), and oh sweet happiness, only a bit of upset gut, very minor was the worst of it (and a minor headache)! YAY!!!!!  WOOHOO!  I wait about a week, but ICE CREAM CONE, which I have not been able to have all summer, HERE I COME!!  My Lexapro got here about an hour ago, and I took my first dose, NO NAUSEA!!  YEAH BABY!! WOO HOO!! Party!!  I finally feel like I am on the track to recovery.  On top of this, I got the okay to lower my dose slowly on my OWN schedule, once my gut settles.  What a feeling of freedom.

 

I have had no truly good time since before October of 2015, so I feel very lucky to be  where I am right now.

 

Also think I got past what I went through April May, June, then recovered to near normal through July.  I told the LPS what I went through because of my docs recommendation that it was fine to switch from Xanax to Valium IN ONE DAY.  Just telling her what I went through and explaining the distress it caused me, and how I lost most of my summer to this was hard.  I went out to my car and wept.  I am not much for self pity, but I do not think that this was what that was,  I think I finally accepted and got past what I went through in those months, finally. I can even chew gum with Xylitol again (a sugar made from corn, though highly processed), Severe sensitivity to artificial sweetener was my last remaining symptom from the X to V switch, and it is at least 75% better.  That means out of over 50 signs and symptoms, I have 1/4 of one left!!!

 

I finally am looking forward to something in a long time as even the first escitalopram brand I was on made me feel awful.  I am feeling better today than I have since before October of last year.  YAY!!  Makes the celebrations of even little things feel so much sweeter!!

 

A positive post from me, who'd have "thunk"?!?!?! LOL!!!


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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Skeeter

Day 2 on the "real" Lexapro, and I slept 18 hours.  it was lovely, but I woke up with a tiny bit of depression, but my dosing schedule got thrown off yesterday- though it disappeared pretty quickly (within 10 mins) The vivid dreams x 3 nights before I changed to Lexapro (that I may not have reported here) disappeared last night, instead, I had one of my usual "adventure dreams", this one with Tom Cruise (whom I hate as a person, but love as an actor), and in my dream, I told him he was a jerk...lol- very satisfying. I have not had an adventure dream in over a year, so that is good!  My stomach felt raw yesterday, but better than before. Today, not so raw, and gut upset did not wake me up every few hours because I felt SO unwell!!! YAY!


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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Skeeter

OMG!  I made a HUGE mistake in refilling my weekly pills container.  I replaced Valium with hydromorphone, as one is white, and one is now off white instead of pink (valium).  I could not figure out what was going wrong, because my posts were all screwed up. and I made a couple of really unusual mistakes for me on another person's topic, which was luckily caught by admin.  I am not sure exactly how many days I screwed up my meds, I was confused, but did not realize how impaired I was, and now I am sick, just after recovering from another med change.  I have now temporality upped my daily Valium dose for several days so that I do not go into withdrawal. I still do not feel "normal" so I am not sure if I filled the med container wrong last time as well.

 

I feel so stupid, and now feel like I will not be able to redeem myself here. I made dumb mistakes due to this med mixup and my self esteem is already at the bottom of the barrel.  I wonder if my posting privileges have been taken away, as a new person had posted, and no one had replied, so I did a simple welcome reply, and when I tried to post, I got a message that I had no posting privileges.  But I also had other problems with this site not loading at the same time.I also see that a moderator was replying at the same time. I do not know if that would cause a problem.. I assume I would be warned if my posting capabilities were taken away.

 

I have no motivation to do anything ever, but this has been since my starting to withdrawal off of multiple AD's last October.  My social circle is very small now, and after only a week of having a pretty normal gut for the first time since at LEAST April, I am back to feeling sick 24 hours a day x 2 days now. I feel hopeless, when I can feel anything at all. I am a useless lump of flesh.

 

Is this the Lexapro being too high a dose?  Will I feel better when I start my taper? I noticed that many people have no problems with their Lex taper until they get down to lower doses, so should I taper faster in the beginning, so maybe I can feel something again, and then slow down once I hit 10-15mg, and go at a snails pace beyond that, or should I go at the 10% a month from the get go?  I am tired of feeling nothing.  My house is a disaster, and I so badly want to WANT TO clean again, like I used to. Is no motivation normal. or am I just lazy, something I have never been in my life?? This really sucks!  Luckily my pain levels came down as soon as I started the Valium again. I am not really depressed, I just feel low.  I miss having energy!!!


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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scallywag

That's an important thing to have figured out.  Give your CNS (central nervous system) time to settle down after the mixup. 

 

These unintentional med switches probably happen far more often than we know; some unintentional and dangerous substitutions are made by medical professionals.

 

Please forgive yourself for the mistake. Be gentle with your CNS and your psyche. (((((hugs)))))


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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Skeeter

That's an important thing to have figured out.  Give your CNS (central nervous system) time to settle down after the mixup. 

 

These unintentional med switches probably happen far more often than we know; some unintentional and dangerous substitutions are made by medical professionals.

 

Please forgive yourself for the mistake. Be gentle with your CNS and your psyche. (((((hugs)))))

SW,

I made a mistake on someone else intro forum.  I cannot forgive myself for that. Alto caught my error, of all people - but I am grateful for that(!!) - tail between the legs time, however.  Had I been myself, I would not have made that mistake, but how does one redeem themselves after that? Rhetorical question!  Thanks for reminding me that forgiving myself is an option. I will try.

 

Thank you so much for your kind comment, and the hugs, esp!!

S


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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Skeeter

Forgave myself for mistake I made, but once bitten- twice shy.  I have been commenting, but am not stepping in unless I truly have something to add, not so quick to welcome new posters, am a bit afraid I will say the wrong thing, as things are just not coming out quite right as I write them.  WHat I meant is just not coming out right.

 

I chose to check in with the people I did talk back and forth with when they first started here, then fell off the map, just to make sure they are okay.  I am fine if they never respond.  I know I would appreciate it if I fell off the map and someone asked after me when I was in a bad spot.  I am sure there is a huge population that comes in, asks a couple of questions, never to he heard from again, but no problem.  Takes me less than a minute to reach out.  If it makes someone's day, so be it!!

 

So, am trying to figure out how to work on my self esteem, and to trust in myself.  Caught what might be an unrecognized issue in a post today, and am proud of myself for noticing the possible issue, it made me feel like my old self a little.  Happy that this old brain can still work once in a while.  Too shy to leave the comment myself, so sent a message to a moderator.  Hope will not be to harsh with me for being to unsure of myself to know if I should insert myself in an established convo that was going well.  I guess  will find out.  My intentions were pure, however. I hope my comment is taken in the spirit in which it was offered.  Evveryone is kind here, so I do not see that it will be an issue.

 

My gut is not calm yet.  It feel better, but am not feeling wonderful.  Am wondering if I am just going to be lactose intolerant forever now.  I am thankful that the enzymes work.  They were not working on the 2nd brand of generic Lexapro/escitalopram, so I should be thankful for that, and I truy am.  The bad days still really suck, though.

 

My best friend grabbed me and hugged me a couple of days back.  It felt so nice to he touched in that friendly way.  I forgot how lonely if gets, and being touched in a friendly way is quite nice.  In that moment, I noticed a little bit of pleasure from the simple gesture.  Does that mean there is hope for me to feel emotions again?  I keep running through my head what I read about how SSRI's are a chemical lobotomy, and did not expect to feel anything good, ever, until I start t drop my dose, something I do not feel healthy enough to do right now.

 

S


Current meds: Lexapro 20mg, Valium 6.25mg
Current status: September 2018 forced to go down to 10mg of Valium/Diazepam from around 15mg, with the plan to have me totally of in 2 more months. I was not given a chance to give input at tapering at this speed, please go much, much slower. Luckily I found a new doctor, but was thrown off course by my rapid taper, as of 2/19 am down to 6.25mg, and am stable. Will update with dates of taper ASAP.
Read my history here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12819-skeeters-journey/

   
I am NOT a doctor. My opinions are just that- MY opinions, based on my personal experiences and research, but your experience and reactions may differ greatly, we are all different! I maintain that a doctor educated in withdrawal is the best place to get info or to get the "go ahead" before changing your medications in any way!

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RachelSusan

Hi Skeeter,

I just thought I would say hello again.  It's been a while since I last wrote anything on your thread. In answer to your last post, yes I think there is a lot of hope for you to feel again.  Just take your time, you will know when you the time is right for you to decrease your dose.  Sending you hugs as well.

RS


Find my story here:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12649-rachelsusan-my-zoloft-story-on-off-reinstated-in-trouble/?hl=rachelsusan

HISTORY

Feb. 2016 to June 2016  - Was on 100mg to 150mg Zoloft. 

Quit Zoloft (Sertraline) June  2016,  reinstated 50mg of Zoloft July 2016.  From July 2016  to October 2016 went from 50 mg down 2.3 mg. I up-dosed in November 2016 to 12.5 mg. Held there until January 2017 when I started a much slower taper.

STARTING SENSIBLE  ZOLOFT TAPERING USING GUIDELINES FROM THIS SITE

Dec. 10 2016  - switched to Liquid Zoloft (Sertraline) @ 12.5 mg.   Jan 19, 2017 reduced to 12.0 mg (4%).   Feb 9 2017 reduced to 11.0 mg (8%). March 1 2017 to 10.0 mg (9 %).  March 21 2017  to 9.5 mg (5%). April 1 2017  to 9.0 mg (5.3%). April 10 2017 to 8.5 mg (5.6%). April 22 2017  8.25 mg (2.9%). April 29 2017  8.0 (3.0%). May 6 2017  7.75 mg (3.1%).  May 14 2017  7.5 mg (3.2%). May 20 2017 to 7.25 mg (3.3%). May 27 2017 reduced to 7.0 mg (3.4%). June 10 2017  to 6.75 mg (3.6%). June 17 2017 to 6.5 mg (3.7%). June 24 2017 6.25 mg (3.8%). July 1 2017 reduced to 6.0 mg. July 8 2017 5.75 mg. July 15 2017 5.5 mg. July 22 2017 5.25 mg.  Aug 5 2017  5.0 mg.  Dec. 9, 2017  4.75 mg (5%).  Feb. 10, 2018 4.50 mg.   March 15, 2018 4.375 mg (2.8% decrease). April 3, 2018 4.25 mg (2.9%). May 14, 2018 4.125% (2.9%). June 16, 2018 4.0 mg (3.0%).  July 21, 2018 3.875mg. August 11, 2018 3.75mg (3.2%). Sept. 12, 2018 3.62mg (3.3%).  Oct. 13, 2018 3.5mg (3.4% decrease). Nov. 29, 2018 3.375mg (3.6% decrease). Jan. 20, 2019 3.25 mgFeb 16, 2019 3.125mg (3.8%). April 7, 2019 3.0mg (4.0%).  May 18, 2019 2.875mg (4.2%). June 22, 2019 2.75mg (4.3%)July 27, 2019 2.62mg (4.5%). August 18, 2019 2.5mg (4.8%). Sept. 14, 2019 2.375mg (5.0%) Oct.19, 2019 2.25mg.  Nov. 16, 2019 2.12mgDec. 7, 2019 2.00mg (5.9%). Jan. 4, 2020 1.875 mg (6.3%). Jan. 25, 2020 1.75 mgFeb. 29, 2020 1.625mg (7.10%).  Apr. 4, 2020 1.5 mg. May 9, 2020 1.375 mg. June 6, 2020 1.25 mg. (9.10%). July 4, 2020 1.125 mg. (10%).  August 15, 2020 1.0 mg.  Oct 24, 2020 .875 mg.

OTHER MEDICATIONS: Gabapentin - 900 mg since July 2016, Prednisone  5mg.  QVAR Inhalant,  Supplements: Vitamin D, Probiotic, and Fish Oil.

 

 

 

 

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