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Cosmonaut: 2 months after quick tapering of Lexapro


Cosmonaut

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    I'm a 32 year old bipolar female. Ive been on medication since I was 15 years old. I've been on Lexapro the longest. I've been on far more medication than I can remember and I was a vegetable for about 5 years as a teenager due to being put on way too many heavy meds before my family caught on to it and we switched to a new psychiatrist. I lost my charts from age 15 to the age of about 25 when I moved about 6 years ago so I don't have information of a very good memory of my past medications. I know Topamax was very bad for me as well as Wellbutrin, which gave me very bad sleep paralysis and nightmares. 

 

   I wanted to go off Abilify due to foreseen expenses at changing insurance so I brought this to the attention of my doctor. He didn't lower my Abilify but proceeded to up my dose of Lamictal quickly while halving my Lexapro and then I was pulled off after a week. He also slightly increased my Abilify from 5 to 7.5 to 10 mg.  All this happening at once seemed strange and I thought i trusted someone finally with my medications management.

    I have an IUD as well that was recently put in after my old one was taken out after 5 years. It doesn't help that I am now getting 2 periods a month while I already have severe depression related to my cycle. I am suicidal right now, so I called my psychiatrist to get an appointment or up my Lexapro and try again but he was unreachable. The first two days of going off the lexapro I felt really good. Then I got manic and couldn't sleep for about a month. Cycling between severe anger/anxiety and the worst depression.

 

   I told my doctor in my last appointment i thought it was because I got my period during the withdrawal and I needed it fixed before my next one. He upped my Lamictal again by 50mg. He says he wants me on 200mg of Lamictal by the end of the changes. Then have my period again after one week off. I don't know what to do. I can't sleep at night and I wake up worrying immediately. Panic attacks every night. The only thing that helps me relax at night is repeating "I'll be dead soon" in my head because thoughts about the future are tearing me apart. I'm taking Buspar every night and morning and then I need sometimes two more in the day to cover up panic attacks. 

 

    I have a supportive environment. I know it cannot be easy for them. I was googling information to figure out what could be going on with me. I'm extremely fatigued the last two days. I thought I might have autism my memory and attention span has decreased but it was bad before, too. It's not that I am not trying to listen but I pretty much have always only heard half of what people say. My mind wanders really badly. So I work around it with patterns and filling in between the lines so I can meet day to day functioning. But since that's something unrelated, it seems, to the Lexapro withdrawal, it's not needed. It's just something I am just realizing, so I mentioned it. I have no job right now. I really would like to work and need the money but I'm not able to "human" right now. One thing that does help, is I like to write and paint and it is not effected by the depression/mood swings/cycling/whatever and my husband and friends are being super supportive. I found a local therapist today and have set up an appointment so hopefully that will help. I am considered disabled as I was put on SSI for bipolar and I have a piddling work history. Im still trying to fix that. I am also diagnosed recently with Borderline Personality Disorder, but my therapist said, before she left the group I go to, she doesn't think I have it. I wasn't even told. I just looked at my check out sheet one day and it was added at the top as a new diagnosis in the header. 

 

   I found this site and I realized that it must be the withdrawal from Lexapro causing this problem. It gives me some hope that maybe it will get better. Thank you for making this site. It must take a lot of work. 

 

 

 

 

    

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Cosmonaut -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
 
I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us. You'll find that your experience with meds and p-Docs is shared by others -- regrettably. The good news is that with cautious gradual changes to medications people have stabilized and eventually discontinued meds if that's what they wanted.
 
Two requests:

  • It helps us answer your questions when we can see your medications history "at-a-glance." We use the board software's signature feature to do that.  Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-18 months particularly? Any drugs prior to that can just be listed with start and stop years. Diagnoses and symptoms are less important than what's happened with your prescriptions.

    Please put your withdrawal history in signature
    .
  • When a someone is taking multiple medications, we ask that that you post an interactions report.  The information is often thought-provoking. Follow the link below to get your report. Just select the text, copy it and paste it in a post here.

    Drugs-dot-com Drugs Interactions Checker.

The conclusion you've drawn about your symptoms being the result of the Lexapro cold turkey  seems bang-on to me. It's good you've had a look around the forums at different topics. For quick reference, here are a few links

What is withdrawal syndrome
How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - Brain remodeling

 

Here's some topics about the prescriptions you've listed in your first post. The information is relevant to tapering and to continuing to take them.

Tips for tapering off Abilify (aripiprazole)
Tips for tapering off Lamictal (lamotrigine)
Tips for tapering off Buspar (busipirone)

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

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


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

Link to post
  • Moderator

Hey Cosmo - I'm sorry you had to look for us, but like Scallywag, glad you found us.

 

We don't buy much into labels here, "bipolar" is overused, and often, when drugged, escalates into other diagnoses as well.

 

You were 15 when you were put on the drugs (probably caught up in Biederman's "campaign for adolescent bipolar treatment")  - you have spent your entire adult life with your neurotransmitters chemically altered.

 

There is an excellent book by Robert Whitaker called "Anatomy of an Epidemic" which explains the history of how we came to believe in the drugs, and why they really aren't good for long term use.  Another one I recommend highly, especially for women, is Dr. Kelly Brogan's new book, "A Mind of Your Own."  (it may also address some of the issues you have with your IUD).  She talks about natural ways to adjust your mood through diet, exercise, support, etc.

 

I can't really say more until we get your signature lined up.  Are you wanting to come off all the drugs? Or just some of them?  Do you think you will go back to that psychiatrist?  

 

Thank you for sharing your story - let us know your thoughts, and when we get your signature (and drug interactions) we'll be able to be more specific.

 

This is a big site with a lot to learn.  I've been here 3 years, and still find things I didn't know!  So take your time, visit the links you are sent (we moderators are really just fancy librarians who point you to the section we believe you're looking for), and find others who have had similar experiences to your own for support.

 

One last thing - a toolbox.  If you intend to change your drug load, you will need to find other ways to manage your mood.  This is a good place to start:

Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms

 

Welcome to SA!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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


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

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

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

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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    I'm sorry. i don't have most of my information except for the last 6 months, I suppose. To be specific I would have to get my charts and figure out what exactly has been going on. I see my psychiatrist on the 31st of this month. I plan on changing doctors after my next visit. My memory is not all there right now, but I know I am currently on the dosages I told you and that I was tapered off Lexapro around mid June of this year, when they told me to half my dose from 10 mg to 5 mg for a week and then go off completely.  I don't know my exact dates. I'm really just trying to take it one day at a time right now. If this is not ok and i need a specific signature, it's ok.

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Cosmonaut - The question of adding a signature depends on what you want from the site. If you'd like answers and suggestions about your situation, then we'll need a signature. 

 

Having only the last 6 months is fine. Actual dates are best, and approximations ("mid-March") or just month & year (March 2016) are good. 

 

Let's start with the last 6 months:

 

early 2016: took Abilify, Lamictal & Lexapro

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify from 5 mg to 10 mg

increased Lamictal from ___  to ____ mg

discontinued Lexapro from ______ mg to 0 in two weeks

added Buspar _____ mg 2x daily

added Vistaril ____ as needed

 

current Aug. 2016

Abilify ____ mg

Lamictal _____ mg

Buspar ________ 2x daily

Vistaril _____ as needed

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

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


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

Link to post

It would not allow me to add this signature because it takes up too many lines, but here is the information.

 

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal from 300mg to 0mg

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify from 5 mg to 10 mg

increased Lamictal from 75  to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks

added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current Aug. 2016

Abilify 10 mg

Lamictal 125 mg

Buspar 5 mg 3x daily

adding Lexapro 10 mg, tonight

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

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    I had to get an emergency appointment with my doctor. I am going back on the Lexapro at 10mg, starting tonight. I'm sorry I wasted your time, but this was becoming a life or death situation for me. It was helpful to know why it was happening though, and that I needed to make a change. This site still helped me a lot in the end. Thank you for making it, but I guess I really cannot take that plunge. At least not yet. Too much environmentally and hormonally going wrong all at once to be making these huge multiple med changes. I feel better just knowing things will hopefully get better soon. 

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

Link to post

Also I did the drug interaction report and it says way too much to copy paste into this window, but what stands out the most is that my buspar and lexapro have an interaction that can cause a rare chance of serotonin syndrome. Also I am on basically on  too many (CNS) meds than is recommended. I should be taking a maximum of 3 and I'm taking 4. Anyways, here's the link if that helps:

 

https://www.drugs.com/interactions-check.php?drug_list=1486-0,233-109,441-206,1430-848,1013-565,1991-1283

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

drug list:

 

loratadine

Abilify (aripiprazole)

BuSpar (buspirone)

Lamictal (lamotrigine)

Lexapro (escitalopram)

Zantac (ranitidine)

 

Interactions between your selected drugs

 

Major

Applies to: BuSpar (buspirone), Lexapro (escitalopram)

Using busPIRone together with escitalopram can increase the risk of a rare but serious condition called the serotonin syndrome, which may include symptoms such as confusion, hallucination, seizure, extreme changes in blood pressure, increased heart rate, fever, excessive sweating, shivering or shaking, blurred vision, muscle spasm or stiffness, tremor, incoordination, stomach cramp, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe cases may result in coma and even death. You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms while taking the medications. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Your doctor may already be aware of the risks, but has determined that this is the best course of treatment for you and has taken appropriate precautions and is monitoring you closely for any potential complications. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

 

Moderate

Applies to: BuSpar (buspirone), Lamictal (lamotrigine)

Using busPIRone together with lamoTRIgine may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some people, especially the elderly, may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, and motor coordination. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications. Also avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medications affect you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

 

Moderate

Applies to: BuSpar (buspirone), Abilify (aripiprazole)

Using busPIRone together with ARIPiprazole may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some people, especially the elderly, may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, and motor coordination. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications. Also avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medications affect you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

 

Moderate

Applies to: Lamictal (lamotrigine), Lexapro (escitalopram)

Using lamoTRIgine together with escitalopram may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some people, especially the elderly, may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, and motor coordination. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications. Also avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medications affect you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.


 

Moderate

Applies to: Lamictal (lamotrigine), Abilify (aripiprazole)

Using lamoTRIgine together with ARIPiprazole may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some people, especially the elderly, may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, and motor coordination. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications. Also avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medications affect you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

 

Moderate

Applies to: Lexapro (escitalopram), Abilify (aripiprazole)

Escitalopram may increase the blood levels of ARIPiprazole. This can increase the risk and/or severity of side effects such as drowsiness, seizure, Parkinson-like symptoms, abnormal muscle movements, and low blood pressure. You may need a dose adjustment or more frequent monitoring by your doctor to safely use both medications. Contact your doctor if you experience agitation, aggression, confusion, convulsions, muscle spasm, or movements that you can't stop or control such as lip smacking, chewing, puckering, frowning or scowling, tongue thrusting, teeth clenching, jaw twitching, blinking, eye rolling, shaking or jerking of arms and legs, tremor, jitteriness, restlessness, pacing, and foot tapping. Also be alert to symptoms of low blood pressure such as dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, and/or increased pulse or heart rate. Avoid driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how these medications affect you, and use caution when getting up from a sitting or lying position, especially at the beginning of treatment or after an increase in dose of ARIPiprazole. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

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

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


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

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Ok Cosmonaut. All the best as you get stabilized back on Lexapro.

 

Let us know how things go.

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

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


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

Link to post

          Just to let you know it's been my fourth night on Lexapro. Still not back to normal, but I'm not despondent like I was. I might try to get off it someday in the future but slower. It's making me extremely tired and my appetite is not good. I forgot to eat today until 3pm and even then it was hard to think of food as being palatable. I kind of have to pick my poison until I stabilize and have the will to try again. Also, getting what I can only describe as mild night terrors. I keep dreaming in a half sleep that there is something bad happening (ie. spiders in my bed) jumping up and realizing I'm awake and there's nothing there.

          Not sure how long that will last, but i did, for one day, stop the Buspar hoping to avoid serotonin syndrome and after the first night of worrying all night and then the spider freak out together convinced me maybe it was worth trying at a low dose just at night. Tried to call my doctor to ask about the seratonin syndrome risk with Lexapro and Buspar together, but he is, as usual, pretty hard to get hold of when I need to ask a question. That's the update. Thanks again. 

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Sometimes there are the typical start-up symptoms.  Usually they resolve within a week or two. Keep letting us know how you're doing. It does get better.

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

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


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

Link to post

       I've been exhausted since the second day of Lexapro restart, so i halved my dose from 10mg to 5mg hoping that I can balance out being manic vs sleeping all the time. The day after I halved the dose (today) i slept in super late and now I'm manic at midnight about. Spent the rest of the day cleaning after getting up at 2pm. Also having bouts of anger but trying to keep it under control since it was expected this time.  I experienced a more prominent issue with the first time when i went off completely. My doctor said I could try 5mg but it usually isn't enough to work medicinally for most patients. I'm monitoring my mood to decide if it will work well enough to balance out the side effects.

   

     Also started buspar up again ,but only 5mg at night. i was taking 3x a day, but now I only take one dose at night and it has stopped any nighttime panic attacks or the whole night terror stuff. I may start up my fish oil and vitamin D3 again. The fish oil pills are huge and the vitamin D3 disolved like packed sand in my mouth. Was taking 5000 IU a day and it helped a little. i was deficient of vitamin D on my blood work about two months back so i got weekly prescription dose D3 and then lowered that after the bottle ran out out to OTC D3 vitamins as per my psychiatrists orders.  

   

    I saw that scallywag was on some similar vitamins. Any recommendations of supplements that might help the transition from 10mg lexapro to 5mg lexapro would be appreciated. I really don't want to go back to sleeping all the time. 

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Cosmonaut, the only thing that is going to assist you with those large adjustments (0 to 10 mg, 10 mg to 5 mg) is time.
 
Your doctor is undereducated if not entirely uneducated in the matter of SSRI withdrawal.  The symptoms you are experiencing were -- and still are -- the result of your CNS (central nervous system) adapting to the drastic reduction in Lexapro in June. 
 
I'm sorry I didn't catch that you were reintroducing Lexapro at 10 mg on August 23. We would have suggested a much lower dose.
 
At any rate, you are now taking 5 mg Lexapro and 5 mg Buspar. That is 3 changes within a week, which could be a lot for your CNS (central nervous system) to cope with. I strongly urge you to MAKE NO MORE CHANGES to your medications.  Doing so poses the risk of further destabilizing your brain and CNS.
 
Some suggested references and reading:

3KIS: Keep it slow. Keep it simple. Keep it stable.
How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"

 

Regarding your signature:

The list you compiled in your post is easy to scan. One idea: you could get your sig to under 12 lines by putting the

  • Feb-March info as one line/paragraph, and
  • June information as one line/paragraph

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

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


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

Link to post
  • 3 weeks later...

     Thank you! I took your advice and stopped switching my meds around and so far so good. I still want to get off my lexapro eventually but I will take it much slower with my doctor. Gained the 7 lbs back that i lost off the lexapro, which is unfortunate but expected, as my meds have always caused huge weight gains which bipolar meds are just notorious for.

     

       Still hoping getting off lexapro someday will get me back to the healthy weight I was for a long time before my medications were introduced. Thanks again. Will update if I change anything else with my doctors guidance. Got into therapy with a new therapist as well and its really helped but i think its most helpful with environmental issues but doesn't really dent the more chemical mood swings. 

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

    OK, I updated my signature so that it works for the site. Also having severe tiredness after going back on Lexapro, even at 5mg. I'm thinking, even though I am trying to take a break from moving my medications around, I also direly need some income and a job, so I may try lowering it to 2.5 mg Lexapro and add supplements to counteract the withdrawal that will surely follow. I was thinking a multivitamin and Fish Oil as well as vitamin C.

 

    Is there any suggestions anyone has for supplements? I've had several deficiencies before. Vitamin B, D, folic acid and iron. in the past 3 years I found out through regular blood tests and I was always deficient in one of those. I think it may have something to do with Abilify and Zantac causing some sort of issue with absorbing nutrients. Anyways, the above vitamin supplements were suggested to me by my friend who is in school for alternative wholistic medicine. I'll keep updating but I really need to figure out how to stabilize soon without being tired or feeling sick, as I do when on Lexapro. 

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

The supplements that we've found helpful to most people are
Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker
Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

 

Vitamin B can be stimulating to the CNS (central nervous system) and should be avoided unless specifically required to address a deficiency. In that case, it's best to supplement a single nutrient -- B12 or folic acid -- than a complex that combines multiple nutrients. During withdrawal, it's best to add one individual vitamin or mineral at a time so that any effect or interactions is clearer. Of course, start low and increase slowly with any supplement including magnesium & omega-3s.

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

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


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

Link to post
  • 1 month later...

i've been on 2.5 lexapro, by cutting a 10 mg pill in quarters, since late september 2016. I've been ok for the most part but due to my period be longer and super frequent due to my IUD and seasonal depression coming on with the winter season I'm not sure that will last. I will probably drop lexapro completely this coming spring or summer. I don't want to make any changes while im dealing with two other factors. Also started keeping a health records journal so i have proof to show my doctor of the IUD not working the way it should and any medication notes that should be taken. It helps me organize my thoughts and notice patterns that I otherwise may not. Just an update :)

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Cosmonaut,

 

It's a good idea to not make any changes whilst you have other things going on.  I am concerned that you are not going to taper, but cold turkey off 2.5mg.

 

SA recommends a 10% or less taper of the previous dose with a holding period of about 4 weeks to allow your brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  This is a harm reduction method which generally keeps withdrawal symptoms at a tolerable level whilst getting off the drug.  Many members find that the lower their dose gets the slower they need to go.  At the bottom of Post #1 in the Tips for Tapering Lexpro topic there is information about how to make your own liquid from tablets to get lower doses.  I suggest you read the following links: 

 

Before you begin tapering what you need to know

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

When to end the taper and jump to zero?


Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?


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

 

These helped me to understand SA's recommendations:

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Feb 2021:  Pristiq 0.365 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

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

Link to post

ok, I looked at all the sites and they really cleared up a lot of my doubts. I think I will, when I am ready to begin tapering again in the spring or summer taper slower. however the lowest dosage my pill comes in is 5 mg I believe. I'm cutting my 10 mg pills in quarters because i already have a lot but I can get a 5mg prescription now and still id have to cut them into weird amounts to taper the way these articles are saying. I saw filing or cutting the pills down as an option...but i didn't see it link to anything that explained how to. it just takes me back to the top of the original page when i click the blue underlined word, cutting or filing down. is there a non expensive way to do this process for Lexapro 5 mg pills. i could not find an explanation but i may just not be tech savy enough.

 

I feel very grateful you on this site are so patient with newcomers! I'm sure it feels like a lot of repetition before I make progress but I'm listening and I'll try to figure out what you are trying to say and follow it if i think it's correct for me. Thanks again :)

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm pleased to read that your doubts have been cleared up.  My last post contained a lot ;) and the information about getting small doses got overlooked.  I've highlighted it in the truncated quote.  It is under the heading Do-it-yourself liquid.

 

If after reading the information (there is an additional link in this post) please ask questions here in your Intro/Update topic.

 

 

Hi Cosmonaut,

 

It's a good idea to not make any changes whilst you have other things going on.  I am concerned that you are not going to taper, but cold turkey off 2.5mg.

 

SA recommends a 10% or less taper of the previous dose with a holding period of about 4 weeks to allow your brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  This is a harm reduction method which generally keeps withdrawal symptoms at a tolerable level whilst getting off the drug.  Many members find that the lower their dose gets the slower they need to go.  At the bottom of Post #1 in the Tips for Tapering Lexapro topic there is information about how to make your own liquid from tablets to get lower doses.  I suggest you read the following links: 


Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

 

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Feb 2021:  Pristiq 0.365 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

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

Link to post

      Yes, i did miss the fact that you could make your own liquid. I also think I see that in the US there is a 5mg 1:1 liquid available. I'm only wondering if insurance will cover that. I'll have to mention it to my psych doc next visit. really rather afraid to try and make my own suspension. I was really bad at chemistry. I must have broken about 4 pieces of glass equipment and my number recognition is terrible. I just don't understand literal numbers the way most people do so conversions nand math in general is not easy. 1:1 should be fine of course if I don't mess that part up. Hopefully they will cover a pre-made immersion with insurance. Thanks!

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

Link to post
  • 2 months later...

I have my dosage of lexapro steadily at 2.5 mg still. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder so winters can be rough but i started a women's multivitamin as well as vitamin C and D3. With that and using my sun lamp i have had the best winter yet. Not as tired or depressed and no panic attacks at night. Started a minor diet and getting more exercise has helped too and given me hope I can lose some of the weight I've gained due to the medications. I even have started to quit any coffee as our machine broke and I took it as a que to start weening off of it. I think I have a slight dependency because the first week was rough and i was really tired. But now it's fairly smooth sailing. 

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Yep, stopping caffeinated coffee gives most people a rough week. Glad you're through it. Last but not least -- smart of you to hold through the winter. I considered holding from November through February; impatience won out.

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

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


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

Link to post
  • 1 month later...

I am on 1.25 mg Lexapro now. i have upped my Abilfy to 15 mg. So far so good. It's been a week and only the first day was bad. My psych doc wanted to replace my Lexapro with another antidepressant which seemed super weird since I've been struggling for a year to get off this one. I think I'm going to look for a new psychiatrist. He says if the Abilify doesn't fix it as I taper off Lexapro to nothing then we will up my dosage of Lamyctal by 25mg. So if that happens I'll be on 150mg total from the 125 mg I am on now. . Wish me luck because I'm getting off the Lexapro this spring completely, come hell or high water. 

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Cosmonaut: What is the Abilify meant to fix?

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

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


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

Link to post
  • 2 weeks later...

It's an antipsychotic, so I imagine it's to fix a psychotic trait, lol. I have bipolar but I'm not entirely sure why the Abilify is being prescribed specifically in relation to bipolar. I do know it helped a lot when I was first put on it. However it was while i was in my late teens to early 20s and going through the thick of a breakdown in a bad environment causing a lot of stress, so it may have been a self righting issue anyways because I was gotten away from the stressor and so it may just be it seemed to help because the environment causing the breakdown was eliminated. It was a fairly new drug, designer i believe it was called, and my mother specifically requested it as it was being lauded fro helping people with bipolar as well as schizophrenic diagnosed people.

    Honestly at the time I was prescribed it my former therapist/ meds doctor...she practiced both out of her home office, who had me so overmedicated I very nearly a vegetable. My mother freaked out finally and decided she needed to fire her after I was hospitalized yet again. The head of the psych department for that hospital put my mother on the spot and told her to fire my doctor over the phone in front of him. So she did and in the end I think the head of the psych ward was actually just enacting a power play but it was for the best. I missed quite a few years were I was not able to remember where I was or hold my head up right. It was almost criminal. 

  Ok, short answer....I really don't know why it's being prescribed other than it is an antipsychotic. It's rather embarrassing to be so ill informed. Guess I'll be doing a bit of googling tonight. Also, why do you ask? 

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

I asked because you said you'd increased the dose from 10 to 15 mg and wondered what prompted that.

 

Would you take a moment to update your signature to note that change?

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

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


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

Link to post
  • 2 months later...

Information on my history is now updated. i upped the abilify to brace for the impact of dropping lexapro. Same for the addition of two more buspar. I am now off the lexapro but have added lithium. it was fine for the first four days, the change over. I had no worrying and i worry all the time about everything. I then had a night where the worrying came back and it was really bad. i had a very bad panic attack and then I had two days and one night where I didn't sleep at all. Now things have evened out and I'm doing fine. Obsessive worrying gone, not sleeping as much which is not great but i was sleeping 10 hours a day on the lexapro. it's only been about a week and a half with no Lexapro and added Lithium. I dropped the buspar because it an as needed thing and I dont need it since the one panic attack.  My doctor says if it goes well i can start to drop abilify too slowly but i need more time to see. So,  since i started this group I have dropped Trileptal, Buspar and Lexapro with doctor guidance. My psych doc says I should be able to only take Lamyctal and Liithium if it goes well. I don't think i'll be medication free ever but I want as little medication as possible. i have significant weight on me, all gained when I started medications. I have been fighting against it for a long time so I'm hoping that dropping some of my medications will help me combat this problem. 

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

Link to post

Sorry i meant 150mg lithium right now. I'll change it in my history as well. 

Late 2015: Trileptal 300mg, Abilify 5mg, Lexapro 20mg

February to March 2016: 

dropped Trileptal

added Buspar 1x daily

added Lamictal 75mg

mid-June 2016:

increased Abilify to 10 mg, increased Lamictal to 125mg

discontinued Lexapro from 20 mg to 10mg to 0 in two weeks, added Buspar 5 mg 3x daily total

current May 2017

Abilify 15 mg, lamictal same, Lexapro to 5mg sept 2016, then 2.5 to 1.25mg (currently on 0mg, drop buspar, add 150mg lithium

 

 

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