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merlin78: Been on 20mg paxil for a few years...


merlin78

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I took my last pill 4 days ago with the intention of quitting cold Turkey. Really hoping I can make it!! Going through the whole vertigo/brain zap phase right now...no fun.

 

One day at a time.

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merlin -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
 
I strongly urge you to reconsider your cold-turkey stop of Paxil, and to take your regular dose when you normally would have tomorrow. People often experience a "honeymoon" period of feeling great for 2-6 weeks and then crash into severe, uncomfortable, and distressing symptoms. Paxil is a wicked little devil of a drug and withdrawal symptoms are very, very common. 
 
Before you begin tapering
What is withdrawal syndrome
 
For specific information about Paxil, please read  Tips for tapering off Paxil (paroxetine). You'll see in that topic excerpts from the FDA approved patient information that specifically advises patients and physicians to gradually discontinue Paxil and not to stop abrubtly, i.e. cold turkey.

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  


Psychoneuroactive medications including antidepressants like Paxil change/stop/start certain functions in your brain while you're taking them.  When you stop taking the drug, your CNS (central nervous system) starts to restore itself to a non-drug state.  This restoration shows up as symptoms. Here are two links that gave me a better understanding of what is going on with antidepressants and other psych drugs.

 

How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"
Youtube Video: Healing from antidepressants

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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Please take it from me...cold turkey I'd the worst thing that you can do. I did it and felt great for about a month and them got slammed.

Paxil 20mg from 1998-2011 

Paxil 40mg from 2011-2012 while experiencing poopout

October 2013 quit cold turkey

Oct-mid Nov 2013 great window

Late November WD nightmare 

Windows and waves pattern 

Now: 28 months cold turkey...doing decent learning to deal with the windows/waves pattern fighting it every step of the way. 

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Several years ago I cold turkeyed a drug (citalopram) and felt great to start with.  Not long after I was very sick in bed for about 2.5 weeks and lost 8 kgs because I didn't have an appetite.  It felt like the flu but I didn't have a cold.  I now understand that it was withdrawal.  Unfortunately I didn't know about reinstating the same drug to reduce the withdrawal and ended up being prescribed Pristiq at 50 mg which was then increased to 100 mg.

 

Ahhhh.  If only I'd known then what I know now.

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.

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DO NOT do what you are doing... While you may be one of the lucky ones, it's much more likely you'll end up on this website for the next 12-36 months screaming about what a terrible decision you made in CT'ing of Paxil. I would give ANYTHING to go back to the place you are at now and slow taper from 20mg.

Medication before problems: Took Paxil 60-100mg from 2003 to 2014 for OCD.
1) Last pill taken November 2014, horrendous withdrawal started six weeks later.

2) Re-instated successfully @ 20mg May 2015, but accompanied by severe anhedonia, loss of emotion, apathy, and fatigue

3) Switched to Prozac, Viibyrd, Zoloft, Nefazadone, Cymbalta, Nardil in attempt at abating WD symptoms while not re-introducing anhedonia. Each one either failed to relieve WD or brought back anhedonia. So re-stabilized on Paxil at 15mg

4) Tapered down to 7.5mg as of October 2016. More energy, anhedonia/loss of emotions remains apart from short windows.

5) May 2017 - down to 3.5mg of Paxil (no other meds)
6) Early 2018 - added 8mg of Prozac
7) January 2019 - down to 1.05 Paxil / 5mg Prozac and continuing

8) October 2019 - down to 0.2mg Paxil / 3mg Prozac

9) November 2019 - down to 0.1mg Paxil / 3mg Prozac 

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Also, something to be aware of --- assuming you go into a nasty withdrawal state, you may not be able to reinstate and have the torture end. And in many cases, including mine, re-Instating doesn't take you back to the current mental and emotional environment you left before crashing off of it. I ended up with severe anhedonia, apathy, and emotional anesthesia mixed with withdrawal symptoms. It's a nightmare that could have easily been avoided by a really slow taper.

 

THERE BE DRAGONS IN THESE HILLS...

Medication before problems: Took Paxil 60-100mg from 2003 to 2014 for OCD.
1) Last pill taken November 2014, horrendous withdrawal started six weeks later.

2) Re-instated successfully @ 20mg May 2015, but accompanied by severe anhedonia, loss of emotion, apathy, and fatigue

3) Switched to Prozac, Viibyrd, Zoloft, Nefazadone, Cymbalta, Nardil in attempt at abating WD symptoms while not re-introducing anhedonia. Each one either failed to relieve WD or brought back anhedonia. So re-stabilized on Paxil at 15mg

4) Tapered down to 7.5mg as of October 2016. More energy, anhedonia/loss of emotions remains apart from short windows.

5) May 2017 - down to 3.5mg of Paxil (no other meds)
6) Early 2018 - added 8mg of Prozac
7) January 2019 - down to 1.05 Paxil / 5mg Prozac and continuing

8) October 2019 - down to 0.2mg Paxil / 3mg Prozac

9) November 2019 - down to 0.1mg Paxil / 3mg Prozac 

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Merlin, 
 

Please!    Please! ! ! ! ! ! Please! ! ! ! ! Do not go off Paxil cold-turkey. Please. You have nothing to lose by slowly tapering.

You have a lot to lose if you don't.

Current: 2019: 0.04 mg Paxil!! This is real. Soon, after taking Paxil my entire adult life, I will be free.

Long story short: After 18 years on Paxil, "tapered" almost completely off over a month, at doctor's advice in July 2015.

Self-care includes magnesium, reasonable exercise, mindfulness, this forum and nutrition/eating enough food.

Also on 100 mg Zoloft unfortunately!! (which I now will have the knowledge to taper properly)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Longer version: On Paxil since 1996--anxiety & depression caused by (undiagnosed) under-eating / eating disorder.

Doctor kept increasing dose, up to 60 mg; it never really helped but said it really was the best "med" for me.

Rapid doctor-led "taper" July 2015, down to 5 mg, with Zoloft as a "cross-taper" = Essentially a cold turkey. 

Severe withdrawal but didn't know it; believed it was my "underlying condition," and kept tapering, 5mg to 4 to 3  to 2 to 1.  

Feb 2016: Found SA! As of June 2016, tapering from 1mg at rate of 5-10% per month, Brassmonkey Slide! 

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I echo what everyone else is saying here. You are playing with fire if you go through with cold turkey. My last three attempts to get off Paxil while not "true" cold turkey, just incredibly short tapers. Which in my honest opinion were one in the same.

 

I have been in the throes of acute withdrawal, it has deeply scarred me. If I can help just one person not go through what I have and others have, I feel I am doing a service. We can not make the decision for you, but we at least gave you the information.

Paxil 20-30mgs since 2004.

Three previous withdrawal attempts 2008,2012 and 2015 all cold turkey.

Reinstated 10mg February 20th 2016

3/20/16-9mg 4/5/16-8mg 5/5/16-7mg 5/25/16-6mg 6/25/16-5mg 8/7/16-updose to 6mg 9/7/16 5.5mg 10/10/16-5mg 11/10/16-4.5mg

One thing that helps me is to see your withdrawal process as your own personal journey. Do not internalize someone else's withdrawal as your own. 

  

"I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better."  - Maya Angelou

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Hi Merlin,

 

Just wondering what you have decided to do.

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.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

 

 

If I can help just one person not go through what I have and others have, I feel I am doing a service. 

 

Exactly. I am on pins and needles -- I hope you will decide not to cold turkey.

Current: 2019: 0.04 mg Paxil!! This is real. Soon, after taking Paxil my entire adult life, I will be free.

Long story short: After 18 years on Paxil, "tapered" almost completely off over a month, at doctor's advice in July 2015.

Self-care includes magnesium, reasonable exercise, mindfulness, this forum and nutrition/eating enough food.

Also on 100 mg Zoloft unfortunately!! (which I now will have the knowledge to taper properly)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Longer version: On Paxil since 1996--anxiety & depression caused by (undiagnosed) under-eating / eating disorder.

Doctor kept increasing dose, up to 60 mg; it never really helped but said it really was the best "med" for me.

Rapid doctor-led "taper" July 2015, down to 5 mg, with Zoloft as a "cross-taper" = Essentially a cold turkey. 

Severe withdrawal but didn't know it; believed it was my "underlying condition," and kept tapering, 5mg to 4 to 3  to 2 to 1.  

Feb 2016: Found SA! As of June 2016, tapering from 1mg at rate of 5-10% per month, Brassmonkey Slide! 

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Look it at this way. If you cold turkey, you may feel better and not get withdrawal. But if you taper, you will definitely not get withdrawal. You don't LOSE ANYTHING by tapering.

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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Take it from someone who tried CT and failed and took one year to restabilize. Get back on meds right now and hope you can stabilize faster than me. Then taper 5-10% and thank your stars you didn't go into protracted withdrawal , tolerance.

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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