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MonaC11: Prozac or 'A Puzzle' - Anyone quit Prozac cold turkey? My Story.


MonaC11

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Hi all,

My name is Mona. I was given Prozac in December of 2011, following several panic attacks will palpitations. I was told to gently begin taking Prozac, so I started with emptying the contents of the pill and taking 1/3 a day (approx 4mg). I noticed that when I tried to increase my dose I would feel more anxious. So I never did. For over 4 years I was on aproxx 4 mg a day. Doctors laughed when I told them how much I was taking and would all say 'that's not enough to have a significant effect'. But I know my body and I know it is very sensitive to medication but also tolerates it fairly well. 4 years later, December 2015, I began getting night shifts and day shifts (mix) at work so naturally I began forgetting and skipping doses. I didn't think it was a big deal. In December I noticed 'facial tightness' and like my throats was tight and I was choking. I saw the ENT specialist and he said it's probably anxiety, take more Prozac. Over the next few months, and into the current year, my anxiety began creeping up on me. I kept seeing the doctors and they kept telling me to take more Prozac. I never mentioned my inconsistency with the Prozac but at this point I'd only take it when I remembered. In July 2016, I finally gave in. I slowly increased my dose and by July 15th I was taking an entire 10mg capsule. Think it's too little to make a difference?.....within 3 days of me taking an entire 10mg capsule a day I had my first panic attack in 4.5 years. Heart palpitations and all, couldn't breathe, pins and needles on my lips face and legs. I quit Prozac cold turkey after that.

15-ish days later (August) , I began having very strange sensations I still have as I am writing this. They're not constant but come and go, fluctuate in severity and seem to have no cause for flare and no cure.

Numbness and tinglyness of palms, arms, legs
Migraines and headaches (never had these in my life prior!)
Nausea
Stiff neck and painful upper back (chronic)
Heat sensations at random points on my arms
Brain fog
Fatigue and muscle weakness (sometimes so severe I feel I'm being crushed by an invisible stone)
Stomach pains
Tingling lips
Random twitches (of muscles that never twitched before)



The fatigue scares me the most. It feels debilitating. My life in the last 2.5 months has been very different than before. I haven't enjoyed or done many things I normally would. The doctors are puzzled. All my tests come back clear, even my heart. The doctors want to leave it all at Fibromyalgia and General Anxiety Disorder. But I believe I have having withdrawals. There's not much on withdrawal symptoms I have found.....not as much as on side effects. Does anyone here, based on their own story, think that it could be the Prozac?


Your answers are invaluable to me at this point of my life. I greatly appreciate any feedback, suggestions and encouragement.

I cry in frustration and sadness almost everyday. I feel the only anxiety in my life is from these debilitating symptoms.

Please help.

Edited by Shep
Added username to title and added tags

Prozac

Dec 2011-Dec 2015 4mg

Dec 2015-Jun 2016 Skipping doses of 4mg

July 2016-slowly increased dose to 10mg

July 15 2016 quit

August - symptoms

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  • Administrator

Hi, Mona. Welcome to the forum. 

 

Yes, the symptoms you are describing are all on the list of withdrawal symptoms, so it's quite possible it may be the Prozac. Unfortunately, doctors do not understand withdrawal from antidepressants very well. We have quite a number of members with a fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue diagnosis with symptoms that resolve as they come off the offending drug and give themselves time to heal. It's quite common. 

 

Here are a couple of links to give you more information:

 

What is withdrawal syndrome

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Glenmullen’s withdrawal symptom list  

 

 

This is a video that I've watched many times to reassure myself that my symptoms are indeed withdrawal. It may help you, too. 

 

Healing from antidepressants. Patterns of recovery

 

 

You sound like someone who is really tuned into your body and how you are feeling and did well to keep your dose so low. It's possible you may do well with a very, very small reinstatement. 

 

Here is some information on doing so:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms 

 

 

Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

 

Here is your history so far, from what you have written:

 

  • December 2011 - approximately 4 mg Prozac per day
  • December 2015 - began skipping doses
  • July 15, 2016 - increased to 10 mg a day - had panic attack - quit Prozac after 3 days

 

Is this is correct?

 

I'm not sure exactly what dose to recommend if you do decide to reinstate, especially since you are coming from such a low dose. It sounds like you are very sensitive to meds, so you'll definitely want to keep to an extremely low dose. I'm going to ask the more senior moderators to check in with you for dose recommendations. 

 

In the meantime, have a look at the links. Also, please be so kind as to fill out your signature:

 

Please put your withdrawal history in signature

 

I'm glad you're here for support and information. Please use this thread to list your symptoms, ask questions, and provide updates. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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  • Moderator

Hey Mona - 

 

It sounds like you are in withdrawal.  Shep has given you all the best links for you to learn how this works.

 

The best way to stop the extreme symptoms is with a reinstatement.

 

You were stable for several years on 4 mg, but increased this year on doctors orders (because you'd been skipping doses).

 

This sounds like a kindling reaction - skipping doses bounces your brain like a basketball, and can be destabilising.

 

Limbic Kindling - Hardwiring the Brain for Hypersensitivity

 

Because you got kindled, even though you were once stable on 4 mg, it would probably be a good idea to start with the tiniest possible amount.  0.5 mg.  one-half milligram.

 

Do you still have capsules?  

 

How to Make a Liquid from Tablets or Capsule

and

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-using-an-oral-syringe-and-other-tapering-techniques/

 

Please consider 0.5 mg reinstatement, and we can always increase it from there.  Because of your sensitivity, I doubt you will need to increase over 1 mg.

 

You have experience with the low doses already, and the way your doctor scoffed at the low doses.  But it worked for you.

 

I'm hoping that a tiny tiny reinstatement will work for you too.

 

If you are suffering too much and cannot get to the shops to get a syringe, you can open a capsule and take a miniscule amount of powder - say - use a flat toothpick as a "scoop" and take just that tiny amount of powder on the end.  Or the tine of a fork.  Just to get you stable enough to get to the shops. 

 

It's very important to take the same dose at the same time every day.  I think you've learned that one the hard way, but I had to say it out loud to confirm it for you.  

 

3 KIS's Keep It Simple, Slow, Stable

 

The "tine of a fork" method is not very precise, but it might help in an emergency, to get you back on your feet again.

 

Yes, doctors would like to diagnose you with all kinds of awful, chronic, "incurable" things for them to treat.  And the usual treatment - is antidepressants!  

 

How much of a prozac supply do you have?  How long can you avoid going back to a doctor?  If we can get you stable enough, you can then go back and ask for liquid prozac, which will be easier to taper in the long run, citing that you were doing so well on a small dose, but that you don't want to try another drug.  Doctors will often think that if you had a "reaction" to this drug, then you should try another - but that just complicates things.

 

You have one added ingredient to your brain soup; it's best to keep it that way.

 

One more thought:  Prozac is one of the easier ones to come off of, because of its long half-life.  Switching to another will only make your journey more difficult.  Doctors may say "short half-life is better" but that is not true of antidepressants.  There's a direct correlation between short half-life and withdrawal difficulties.  So stick with the devil you know, it's one of the better options anyway.

 

Let us know what you decide to do.

"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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Mona and welcome to SA from me too.

 

Here are a few more links that you might like to check out.  I particularly like the comment by one member who tells their doctor that they want to be on the lowest possible dose, with the intention of getting of the drug completely.

 

What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?


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

 

Brain Remodelling

 

Members can feel reluctant to reinstate the drug they have been on and that is completely understandable.  However the brain has become physiologically dependent (not physically) upon the drug.  It's important to learn about your options so you can make an informed decision.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

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

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

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

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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Thank you all for your welcome! I'm overjoyed seeing the amount of resources, help and encouragement. I was just about to call it a night and I checked to see if perhaps someone replied at all. Thank you, immensely! I'll be reading into every resource in the morning and let you know which route I decide to go with. It's such a disappointment to know doctors aren't well informed about withdrawals. And JanCarol you were right, I was offered Cymbalta to help 'ease' my mystery symptoms.....to which I say Heck No!

 

I will say I read somewhere that if you've been off of an antidepressant for more than a month, reinstating it has a significantly lower chance of having the 'weaning effect' or being able to accomplish it because at this point the nervous system and Brain are trying to reset. Anyone heard or read something similar?

 

Anyways thank you again, Shep, JanCarol and ChessieCat!

Prozac

Dec 2011-Dec 2015 4mg

Dec 2015-Jun 2016 Skipping doses of 4mg

July 2016-slowly increased dose to 10mg

July 15 2016 quit

August - symptoms

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

"I will say I read somewhere that if you've been off of an antidepressant for more than a month, reinstating it has a significantly lower chance of having the 'weaning effect' or being able to accomplish it because at this point the nervous system and Brain are trying to reset. Anyone heard or read something similar?"

 

The information about this is in the Reinstating and Stabilizing link.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

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

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

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

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

Link to comment
  • Moderator

I will say I read somewhere that if you've been off of an antidepressant for more than a month, reinstating it has a significantly lower chance of having the 'weaning effect' or being able to accomplish it because at this point the nervous system and Brain are trying to reset. Anyone heard or read something similar? 

 

The chance for reinstatement success does go down over time.  We tend to recommend trying it up to 3 months out - and some people have had success 6 months - 1 year out.  Some people have not been successful just 1-2 weeks out (because of kindling or other hypersensitivity).  It's always a roll of the dice, and the odds favor the Big Pharma House the longer it's been - but we've had good success with tiny reinstatements here.

 

From where I'm standing right now, 1 month seems like a good chance to be helped by reinstatement.

 

Please let us know what you decide to do.

"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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