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Macadamia: Zoloft taper - when to finally quit?


Macadamia

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Hi, 

I've been tapering from Zoloft for almost 4 years now. I started at 150mg and am down to 12.7mg. I'm reducing 10% every 8 weeks. Except for minor withdrawals around week 6, so far so good. 

 

My question is - how far down is it necessary to go before you finally quit? 3mg, 1mg? Less than 1mg? 

 

Also, I'm using the Gemini 20 scale with the 10mg weight. How far can you go with this scale and be accurate enough? It seems like the scale is getting touchier the farther I go down. 

 

I saw someone on here say they bought a new scale every few years because of this. Sound like a good idea?

 

Or should I try switching to a liquid?

Edited by scallywag
tags added

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Macadamia -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA). Congratulations on your progress getting down from 150 mg to 12.7!
 
I've moved your post to the Introductions Forum so that more people will see your question. This is YOUR introduction and update topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community.

 
A request: 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. Please put your withdrawal history in signature

 

A tip: You may way want to follow this topic so that you get notifications when someone posts in your thread.  Click the gray "Follow this topic" button. A dialog box appears:  select one of the notify options, then click follow this topic in the dialog box.

 
The issue you're having with the scale will be the same if you get a new one. It has to do with the precision of the scale. If you want greater precision, the cost increases to over $1500. :o
Using a digital scale to measure doses
Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)
 Also, Making a liquid from a tablet or capsules. There is link to at least one "how to" video if you'd rather watch than read.
 
We usually suggest getting dosage below 1 mg before discontinuing.
When to end the taper or jump to zero
 
Lastly, Zoloft (sertraline) was one of the drugs covered in a study investigating the relationship between dose and the occupancy of a key serotonin transporter, "5HTT."  The paper is linked in the first post of the topic linked below. The first SERT occupancy curves are on page 4 of the paper.  The curves are very similar for the different drugs studied. It seems that at lower doses the impact of a change in dose is much greater than those above "therapeutic dose"  so we suggest that people consider slowing down their taper as they get to low doses.

Why taper paper: dose-occupancy curves

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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Macadamia -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA). Congratulations on your progress getting down from 150 mg to 12.7!

 

I've moved your post to the Introductions Forum so that more people will see your question. This is YOUR introduction and update topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community.

 

 

Thanks for your reply and moving the post to Introductions. I've been a member for quite awhile and mostly lurking. Didn't realize I had never actually posted before. 

 

I've updated my signature so people can see my history. 

 

I computed the time to get to 1mg or less - big bummer :-(   That puts an end date in 2020 or 2021. I thought I might be able to be done in a year or two. 

 

I will check out the other helpful links you provided. I suspect I will need to change to liquids at some point for accuracy. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Macadamia -- one of my favourite nuts! (I kid, but I do really like macadamia nuts. :) )

 

Yes the time it will take can be somewhat discouraging. The good news is that you're already at less than 25% of a low maintenance dose and less than 10% of the starting dose for your taper.  If you're concerned about the health impact of taking Zoloft, you've made massive progress in reducing the load of metabolizing it.

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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I chose the username as bit of a joke - it means both the delicious nut and then also a reference to how nutty withdrawal makes you feel.  :)

 

Thanks for the info. I gave myself a good pep talk the evening I found out how much longer I needed to go. I think it worked, and I'm feeling some acceptance about how this has to go. I sure don't want to get into a withdrawal syndrome again by ending too early. 

 

It's kind of like being in prison thinking you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and finding out your sentence has been doubled. But at least there is an end to it at some point. It's not like I'll be on this stuff forever. 

It would be ironic if this drug was blackboxed or pulled from the market before I got totally off. Where do I sign up for the class action lawsuit? lol

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Happy to see your sense of humour is still strong in the face of it all. :D

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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  • Administrator

Hello, Macadamia.

 

Congratulations on doing such a good job tapering.

 

As you still seem to feel withdrawal symptoms with a nice long interval between drops, it seems your nervous system is quite sensitive. You may be more comfortable with 5% drops, possibly every 4 weeks.

 

If I were you, I would figure jumping off at 1mg or less, as low as you can measure. At the end, if you're down to one bead, you might take it every other day, then every 2 days, then every 3 days, etc.

 

You are calculating decreases based on your last dosage, right?

 

The scale may see more touchy because it has so much less to measure. Small margins of error are bigger at lower dosages.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hello, Macadamia.

 

Congratulations on doing such a good job tapering.

 

As you still seem to feel withdrawal symptoms with a nice long interval between drops, it seems your nervous system is quite sensitive. You may be more comfortable with 5% drops, possibly every 4 weeks.

 

If I were you, I would figure jumping off at 1mg or less, as low as you can measure. At the end, if you're down to one bead, you might take it every other day, then every 2 days, then every 3 days, etc.

 

You are calculating decreases based on your last dosage, right?

 

The scale may see more touchy because it has so much less to measure. Small margins of error are bigger at lower dosages.

Hello and thanks for replying. 

 

I will take into consideration doing 5% drops with a shorter interval. 

 

Unfortunately, Zoloft doesn't have beads. It's a small oval pill with a coating. I'm cutting it with an Xacto knife and sort of shaving off little chunks or powder where necessary. I'm using a 25mg pill and have just arrived to where I can get two doses out of that. 

 

Yes, I'm calculating decreases based on the last dosage. I'm using an Excel taper calculator, then hand checking to make sure it all agrees. Then calculate it several times to make sure I'm not making an error. 

 

I think you're correct about the reason the scale is touchy. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi M! I am on 0.65 mg of zoloft now and I am not ready to quit. I guess you have to listen to your body while tapering down. Everybody is different, and I am extremely sensitive. You might not be this sensitive.

Good Luck!

Current dose: 0! Free!  Quit June 2017.

 

2017: Last dose zoloft: 17 June 0,00065 mg 18 May 0, 001 mg 14 May 0,002 mg 9 May 0,003 mg 28 April 0,006 mg 19 April 0,009 mg 8 April 0,013 mg 25 March 0,019 mg 22 March 0,039 mg 18 March 0,052 mg 16 March 0,079 mg 4 March 0,086 1 March 0,099 mg 22 February 0,11 mg 15 February 0,13 mg 6 February 0,145 mg 24 January 0,15 mg 19 January 0,19 mg 10 January 0,20 mg 3 January

 

2016: 0,98 to 0,22 mg

2015: 2,35 to 1,01 mg

2014: 4,9 to 2,5 mg

2013: 9,1 to 5,1 mg

2012: 15,7 to 9,7 mg

2011: Started on 25 mg - then 50 mg- dropped to 25- to 12.5 mg - back to 25 mg - after 18.75 mg started tiny tapering to 16.6 mg

 

Started on 25 mg Zoloft in March 2011 due to stressrelated tinnitus that gave me panicattacks. Had a terrible reaction to Zoloft from start, but was told to "hold on". After four months I was stuck. Therefore the long taper. Crazy, I know... Super sensitive to drops and have dropped by 4-6 % from the previous dose.

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Hi M! I am on 0.65 mg of zoloft now and I am not ready to quit. I guess you have to listen to your body while tapering down. Everybody is different, and I am extremely sensitive. You might not be this sensitive.

Good Luck!

Hi and thanks for replying. Hooked after 4 months on a relatively low dose, requiring years of tapering - wow, that is sensitive. 

Are you using a liquid? 

 

Also, if you know, how do you reply or get the attention of specific members on this forum? Can you tag them like this - @AmyK - or do you have to quote what they wrote? I'm having trouble finding the info in the help section. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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Hello, Macadamia.

 

Congratulations on doing such a good job tapering.

 

As you still seem to feel withdrawal symptoms with a nice long interval between drops, it seems your nervous system is quite sensitive. You may be more comfortable with 5% drops, possibly every 4 weeks.

 

If I were you, I would figure jumping off at 1mg or less, as low as you can measure. At the end, if you're down to one bead, you might take it every other day, then every 2 days, then every 3 days, etc.

 

You are calculating decreases based on your last dosage, right?

 

The scale may see more touchy because it has so much less to measure. Small margins of error are bigger at lower dosages.

 

Question - when you say 5% drops every 4 weeks, do you mean

 

1) Half of a 10% reduction amount  

 

2) 5% of the previous dose?

 

For example, let's say you were starting with 100mg. 

 

1) A 10% reduction would be reducing by 10mg to make 90mg. So would it be 95mg for 4 weeks, then 90mg the next 4 weeks? to reach the spot where you would have been if you would have reduced by 10%?  

 

2) 5% of 100 = 95mg for 4 weeks, then 5% of 95mg for 4 weeks  = 90.725mg

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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You should thank your lucky stars that you started tapering when stable and that the last 4 years were stable while tapering. I wish I had started tapering 4 years ago when I was stable.

Update 8122017

Zoloft  2004. Effexor 2004-2006. Paxil 20 mg for 2006-2010. Ct 2010, bad effects back on, stable by 2011.  Poopout June 2015. Zoloft with paxil for a while, stopped Zoloft.

Sep 2016 paxil 16.2 mg alone(295 mg pill weight). Started tapering 11/14/2016.

Took off 1 mg pill weight(total pill weight of 20 mg = 365 mg and 16 mg is 295 mg). Went down 1 mg per week of pill weight so down to 291 mg by end of November. Starting getting anxiety issues starting since 12/10/2016. Hoping that a faster taper will help.

12/14/2016 - 15.95 mg (291 mg pill weight)

12/16/2016 -  15.83 mg (289 mg pill weight)

12/23/2016 -  15.67 (286 mg pill weight)

8/12/2017 -  15.34 (280 mg pill weight)

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I am using using a scale and then make a dilution with water.

Yes, I am extremely sensitive. I had a burnout ten years ago, and I think that's why.

 

I have to "follow" (above the first post to the right) your topic to get the reply. Otherwise I just have to search for it. I also think you can decide in your settings when you want a notification about posts you have replied to.

Current dose: 0! Free!  Quit June 2017.

 

2017: Last dose zoloft: 17 June 0,00065 mg 18 May 0, 001 mg 14 May 0,002 mg 9 May 0,003 mg 28 April 0,006 mg 19 April 0,009 mg 8 April 0,013 mg 25 March 0,019 mg 22 March 0,039 mg 18 March 0,052 mg 16 March 0,079 mg 4 March 0,086 1 March 0,099 mg 22 February 0,11 mg 15 February 0,13 mg 6 February 0,145 mg 24 January 0,15 mg 19 January 0,19 mg 10 January 0,20 mg 3 January

 

2016: 0,98 to 0,22 mg

2015: 2,35 to 1,01 mg

2014: 4,9 to 2,5 mg

2013: 9,1 to 5,1 mg

2012: 15,7 to 9,7 mg

2011: Started on 25 mg - then 50 mg- dropped to 25- to 12.5 mg - back to 25 mg - after 18.75 mg started tiny tapering to 16.6 mg

 

Started on 25 mg Zoloft in March 2011 due to stressrelated tinnitus that gave me panicattacks. Had a terrible reaction to Zoloft from start, but was told to "hold on". After four months I was stuck. Therefore the long taper. Crazy, I know... Super sensitive to drops and have dropped by 4-6 % from the previous dose.

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  • Moderator

"2) 5% of 100 = 95mg for 4 weeks, then 5% of 95mg for 4 weeks  = 90.725mg"

 

This one. There will be a little rounding involved on some of the doses but depending on the total weight of the tablet you're working with the .725 part can be done. If you need help working out specific doses just ask.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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You should thank your lucky stars that you started tapering when stable and that the last 4 years were stable while tapering. I wish I had started tapering 4 years ago when I was stable.

 

I saw your signature. It is my understanding that it's ok to talk about supplements on here.

 

When I was in withdrawal and had lots of restlessness, agitation, anxiety and insomnia, I had my adrenals tested. Normally I have severe adrenal fatigue and suddenly it was five times higher than normal. Literally so high it was off the top of the chart. Some Relora for about 3 months was helpful to get things calmed down. Seriphos would also do the same. Other calming supplements like magnesium, etc. were also helpful. This was with the help of a naturopath.

 

More recently, I've done Neuroscience Neuroadrenal testing which tests both adrenals and neurotransmitters. It's helpful to see what's actually going on so you can take 5htp if serotonin is low, or GABA, if glutamate is high and GABA is low, for example. I did it through integrativepsychiatry.net. The nurse practitioner there seems pretty knowledgeable and she told me she helps people with withdrawal. The two suggestions she gave for adrenals and neurotransmitters were very helpful. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Macadamia,

 

Your mention of the neurotransmitter testing had me curious as to other people's experiences and I found these:

 

invalid-urine-testing-for-neurotransmitters-in-the-brain  Post #18 - Even Alto got scammed

 

https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/bogus-diagnostic-tests/

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full 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.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

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Hi Macadamia,

 

Your mention of the neurotransmitter testing had me curious as to other people's experiences and I found these:

 

invalid-urine-testing-for-neurotransmitters-in-the-brain  Post #18 - Even Alto got scammed

 

https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/bogus-diagnostic-tests/

 

I've seen people say that. It seemed accurate for me. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Question: has anyone else had episodes of racing, pounding heartbeats waking them up from sleep? Especially towards morning. 

 

Not skipping heartbeats. My heart can hurt the next day and sometimes I feel like I lack oxygen. Doing several minutes of long slow deep breaths is helpful to alleviate those symptoms. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Others have discussed this here: Waking with panic or anxiety - cortisol surges

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 comment

Others have discussed this here: Waking with panic or anxiety - cortisol surges

 

Forgot to mention. There is no anxiety or panic. Although if it gets severe, it's pretty disconcerting. I've learned to just sort of sit tight and stay as calm as possible until it passes. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Early morning waking with symptoms of stimulation, such as elevated heart rate, is most likely caused by a cortisol surge. Even though you don't experience anxiety, the information about coping with it and finding remedies to minimize it may still be helpful.

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 comment
  • 4 months later...

I'm getting to the point to where I need to switch to a liquid system. Does this sound right?

 

I'm using a 25mg Zoloft pill. This is for 8.3 mg of Zoloft.

 

Dissolve 25mg of Zoloft into 250ml of water. 

Take 83ml of this mixture. 

 

I should be able to get 3 doses out of each batch. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Yes, that looks right to me.  And I hope you don't feel silly for asking.  Many of us here understand cognitive impairment.

 

I'm tapering using compounded capsules.  I have used permanent marker and written the dose on each bottle in large writing and have them lined up again the back of the bench.  As I take one out I put it into the lid of a jar.  I then put that bottle back in its place and take out the next one.  When I have all the capsules I need out, I step away from the sink and the drain in the floor to take them.  I'm worried that I will drop one and it goes down one of the drains and I won't know which capsule I lost.

 

But it's better to be careful and double check than to be sorry.

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full 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.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

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Yes, thanks. I had looked at the instructions and video maybe a half a dozen times and it still wasn't computing.

 

So I sat down and logically thought it out, and that's what I came up with.

 

Good to know at least some parts of my brain are still working :-)

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • 5 months later...

Well I guess I found out the hard way how low you can go with weighing pills on a scale and still be accurate. 
 

July 3 (2017) I went from 7.5mg to 6.8 mg (a 10% reduction, which would be going from a "24" to a "22" on the scale. But the smaller you go with the scale, the more approximate the numbers are. When I computed what doses I was really taking I realized that going to "22" could actually make more than a 10% reduction which would be bad. 

 

So what I (stupidly) decided to do was a "fat 22" which is go to "23" then shave off a bit a powder until it just hit "22". 

I did this for about 2 weeks. (forgot to write exact date down) Then I got scared about how unstable the scale was and how hard it was to hit this amount. 

 

So around July 17, I went back up to "23". 

 

Starting on August 2 (week 4), I started having worse than usual withdrawal symptoms - depression, anxiety, restless feeling, OCD death thoughts, feelings of unreality etc. Things have been gradually improving the past, say 4 days, although I'm not quite back up to snuff yet. (Today is August 15 - the beginning of week 7.)

 

Normally I get withdrawals around week 6 and I wait until the end of week 8 to make the next reduction. 

 

Question - do you think I'm out of the woods, or could I have another round of withdrawals? How long should I stay on "23"?

 

One complication - I'm using Greenstone generic which are short fat pills, but I have maybe 4 weeks left in this bottle. I have a new bottle, also Greenstone generic with long skinny pills. Both pills weight out to have 3.12mg of pill per 1mg of Zoloft. I don't anticipate any trouble with switching if I need to, but just running it by people here just in case. 

 

My plan for the next reduction is to go to compounded Zoloft and repeat the same target amount, 6.8mg for 8 weeks. It will actually end up being maybe a 5% reduction. Then I will be using compounded amounts from here on out. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Macadamia, a big congratulations on doing everything right and getting down to 7.5mg of Zoloft, very impressive!!!  You have come such a very long way and wanted to suggest that you hold for at least another month at your current dose just to play it safe.  I ran into trouble earlier this year and decided to do a three month hold so that I was more than confident that my CNS was stable before I started tapering again.  As well, because my withdrawal symptoms seem to ramp up after the third decrease, I've decided that I'm going to do a two month hold after two consecutive decreases.  The way I look at it, yes, it's going to add to the length of time it will take to get off of these drugs but if I'm not cautious and end up running into trouble, it's going to take me even longer to stabilize before I can restart the taper, so best to be on the cautious side.  Good to hear that you will be using a compounding pharmacy for the rest of your taper as it takes all of the guesswork and stress out of measuring doses.  Wishing you continued success.

 

 

Current Prescription Drugs for Hypothyroidism:  Synthroid 100mcg / Cytomel 5mcg (15 years Pristiq/Effexor)

Tapering Schedule
September 15, 2016 - switched from Pristiq 50mg to Effexor XR 75mg; November 10, 2016 - reduced to 67.5 Effexor XR
December 9, 2016 - reduced 60.75
January 5, 2017 - reduced 54.67
January 30, 2017 - reduced to 49.0
February 20, 2017 - reduced to 44.0 
May 20, 2017 - reduced to 40.25 (holding for additional month due to late onset of withdrawal symptoms after this taper)
July 17, 2017 - reduced to 38.24
August 15, 2017 - reduced to 37.5 (50% of my original dose)

October 15, 2017 - reduced to 35.6

November 12, 2017 - reduced to 33.8
December 15, 2017 - up-dose to 35.6
December 28, 2017 - up-dose to 37.5

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Thanks for your reply. Yes, I would agree at least a month. I like to start my reductions at the beginning of a month, it helps me keep track of where I am. So maybe Oct. 1 (about 6 weeks from now) if all is settled down by then. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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I was measuring out my pills today, and the scale is wonky again. I've already done 2 weeks with "23" on the scale and things seemed fine. I try to measure out 3 to 5 pills at a time. Some days are fine, and some days the scale is kind of unstable. I think it could be humidity or something. Today is very humid. 

 

I moved the scale to another room that's more stable and the scale seemed snappier and didn't jump around as much. I just made up one pill for today. 

 

Question - should I try to go to a compounded pill now if I can figure out how many milligrams a "23" is, or should I just stick with what I'm doing for the next 6 weeks or so?

 

I'm another notch better today. 

 

 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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To answer my own question - I talked to the compounding pharmacy today and they can't do a compounded pill if they don't know a milligram amount. So my plan is to continue with my scale in the most stable room and hope for the best.

 

I'm feeling maybe even a bit better today, so I think what I've been doing is ok, and I should be ok to continue with it. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

HI Macadamia, glad to hear you are feeling a little better today.  Unfortunate about the compounding, too bad there isn't a way for them to determine the milligrams based on how much powder is left once you prepared the dose.  You have been doing amazingly well even with the minor bumps along the way, I don't often see positive posts, and when I do it makes me very happy.  Wishing you continued success.    

Current Prescription Drugs for Hypothyroidism:  Synthroid 100mcg / Cytomel 5mcg (15 years Pristiq/Effexor)

Tapering Schedule
September 15, 2016 - switched from Pristiq 50mg to Effexor XR 75mg; November 10, 2016 - reduced to 67.5 Effexor XR
December 9, 2016 - reduced 60.75
January 5, 2017 - reduced 54.67
January 30, 2017 - reduced to 49.0
February 20, 2017 - reduced to 44.0 
May 20, 2017 - reduced to 40.25 (holding for additional month due to late onset of withdrawal symptoms after this taper)
July 17, 2017 - reduced to 38.24
August 15, 2017 - reduced to 37.5 (50% of my original dose)

October 15, 2017 - reduced to 35.6

November 12, 2017 - reduced to 33.8
December 15, 2017 - up-dose to 35.6
December 28, 2017 - up-dose to 37.5

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I finally figured out a lot of my symptoms were from acid reflux. Talked to the doc and I'm doing Gaviscon as needed. It's helping a lot. 

It's still not all puppies and rainbows, but at least the pain is a lot better. 

 

I've had reflux before from withdrawal and also another bout from a lot of stress. I saw somewhere that reflux is one of the side effects of Zoloft. 

 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

You might want to consider making your own liquid from Zoloft tablets.  The lower your dose gets the more accurate you are going to need to be.

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full 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.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

Link to comment

I had already considered liquid and it was too much. I have other issues to manage, the main one being ME/CFS. I'm mostly housebound with it. 

So my choice was to do compounded. 

But I have to get stable first before considering any more tapering. 

 

Any idea of how long it might take to get the reflux to stop? The Gaviscon is helpful, but mornings are still rough. I'm doing 2 tablets upon waking up and with each meal. I feel weak from dealing with the pain, and not sleeping well. 

 

Going to trial 3 Gaviscons tomorrow morning. I can go up to 4 per the instructions on the bottle. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

Link to comment

Three Gaviscons was bad - made me feel very weird - nauseous like I might hurl, a little on the faint side, weak. Burping helped, as did sipping some water. Won't be trying that again. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

Link to comment

The Gaviscons have been helpful over several days. I was starting to have some semi-ok days. I had some family and a close friend visit over the past several days to help take my mind off things. 

Had a kick up of reflux last night and a huge increase in OCD death thoughts. I get hot flashes in the middle of the night that wake me up, and can have waves of feeling warmer than normal during the day. That's on top of underlying (not officially diagnosed) sleep apnea waking me up. 

I've been on stable dose of Zoloft for about 6 weeks. 

Any idea how long for this **** to settle down?

 

edited to add - if it's a bad answer like months, maybe nobody should tell me. There probably is no set answer anyway. 

I need encouragement that I'm on the right track and things will get better. 

 

I hate how this rips off everything that was normal and makes you question your whole life. 

late 1990's - Xanax for anxiety. tapered off successfully
2001 to Dec. 2010 – Zoloft 150mg (for anxiety)
Dec. 2010 – too fast one month taper off Zoloft
Aug. 2011 – horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Dec. 2011 – back on 150 mg Zoloft, tapering off clonazepam
Oct. 2012 Starting taper #2 - 125 mg Zoloft

July 2017 - 6.8 mg Zoloft - taper has been going well with only minor occasional symptoms

Sept 2017 - horrible crash - reinstating Zoloft, taking clonazepam
Jun 2018 - tapered off clonazepam, stable on 100mg Zoloft

Jan 2019 - stable on 100mg Zoloft. not trying any more tapers until I have completed chelating out mercury with the Cutler protocol. 

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  • Moderator

Have you tried sleeping with your head and shoulders raised about 7 or 8 inches?  Using a bed wedge sometimes can help with the reflux at night.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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