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Mellie: Almost 1 year off Prozac, new breast cancer diagnosis


Mellie

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Hi everyone, I've been a lurker on these forums since May and have found a lot of great advice and information. I'm posting now because I'm in a unique and difficult situation. Not sure which direction to proceed. 

 

First some background: I unwisely cold turkeyed off Prozac in early November 2015 at the age of 39 after being on it for approximately 8 years (at 10 mg for several years, then 20 mg for the remainder). During the final few years of use, I believe I was experiencing the well-known amotivational syndrome: nothing bothered me, but I had less and less motivation and drive and was getting to the point where I was doing the bare minimum at work and home. Not an ideal situation. This was why I discontinued, along with a desire to get pregnant.

 

I had done a previous 4.5 year stint of Luvox in my early 20s. My psychiatric at the time was very aggressive. When I complained of lingering fatigue (which was always my primary depression symptom), he increased my dosage up to well over the suggested dosage ceiling. I don't recall the precise dosage, but it was at least 450 mg, and perhaps 600 mg -- double the maximum recommended dose. I tapered off it over the course of a few months when I started to suspect it was making my fatigue worse, and although I experienced some mood lability and irritability, there was nothing disabling or unmanageable about the experience.

 

This time, I expected the same, especially since I was on Prozac which has a much longer half-life than Luvox. Plus, I had been taking a much lower dose. And at first, I got what I expected. I did suffer from increased fatigue and lack of motivation, but not much worse than what I'd been experiencing on the meds. However, that all changed in May 2016. Suddenly, I started experiencing severe generalized anxiety, dread, wanting to die, hopelessness, early morning insomnia (waking up at 4 am like clockwork with body buzzing ), loss of appetite, nausea, dizziness, bouts of crying, the whole miserable works. I finally went to see a doctor who, after a battery of tests that showed I was healthy, prescribed Xanax. I took one, slept for 12 hours, and then was back to normal for two weeks. Since I've never in my life suffered from anxiety or insomnia, I thought it was some weird aberration. But then the symptoms returned (and I finally connected them to withdrawal after finding this forum. They have continued in the classic windows and wave pattern ever since.

 

It's been tough, but I felt capable of sticking it out. Already by August, the suicidal feelings and early morning dread were much improved (the dizziness and nausea disappeared earlier). My appetite was better (sometimes even normal) and I could even drink the occasional coffee without going off the rails. Most importantly, my sleep was less broken. I've been primarily managing my insomnia with melatonin, magnesium, and lactium (I also tried tryptophan, l-theanine, and GABA, but the first didn't appear to make a difference and the latter helped but seemed to cause rebound anxiety the next day. When I'm truly desperate, I've also been taking the rare propanolol (20 to 40 mg) when my body feels like a vibrating tuning fork, and Xanax (0.5 mg) on a very, very rare basis when I'm desperate for sleep. 

 

(*As an aside: I am very familiar with the dangers of Xanax and the general advice on this board to avoid other meds and most supplements, but for me, it's been very helpful in reversing the worst waves of anxiety and I am very disciplined about using it only on rare occasions.)

 

But then I was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 days ago and the stress has brought my anxiety and insomnia back to May levels. It's bad. So bad that taking 0.5 mg of Xanax isn't even helping me sleep more than 4 hours. I'm facing surgery and radiation, the terror of the unknown (has it spread? etc) and the prospect of expensive medical bills—and I need to be able to work and function throughout. I believe I can deal with it all as long as I'm sleeping! But if I'm not, I don't think I can handle it. So I am truly torn as to how to proceed.  

 

It's tempting to try to reinstate. But I'm 11 months off Prozac (5 months since the symptoms started) and the thought of going back to square one sickens me. Plus, I know there is a risk that reinstatement won't work, although my hunch is that I would stabilize. However, how long would it take to stabilize if it does work? I'm in crisis mode now!

 

My father, who is a physician (although not a psychiatrist), recommends that I simply up my Xanax dose to 1 mg to get me through this short-term crisis. I see the wisdom of this. I'll get sleep and control my anxiety through the next few weeks, then I can taper from there. But I am nervous to go down the benzodiazepine road, even short-term. SSRIs seem the lesser of two evils. 

 

I would appreciate this community's input. I know there are no easy or definitive answers, but you're the only ones who truly understand how difficult SSRI withdrawal is. Now imagine adding cancer on top of that. I have to get through it. But what's the smartest course?

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Mellie,

 

You are on the button about there being no definitive answers.  I can only speak to what I might do in your situation.  I would seek help in addressing the anxiety and sleep issues via counseling/talk therapy, and I'd complement that with learning skills like meditation, yoga, EFT or CBT.  In light of all you have faced and are now facing, I'd personally want to avoid adding any benzos or SSRIs. 

 

I see that as being the most likely way to regain stability.  You've just had a huge shock.  As you begin to process, your sleep may start to settle a little anyway. 

 

Stabilisation after reinstating at 11 months out would be a long-shot, and it could take weeks or months.  I guess you've read the relevant threads. 

 

In the end, you are the one who holds all the factors, who sees and feels all those subtle things we cannot.  As you mull things over and read responses on here, use your instincts as a filter, and don't rush to make decisions. 

 

I'm glad you've started a thread Mellie, and so sorry for the reason you have needed to. 

 

Hugs,

Karen

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Welcome Mellie

Sorry to hear of the cancer and wdl difficulties.

 

Well done on making it to 11 months prozac free. It can take several years for people to recover from wdl off these drugs. 

 

imo i would refuse to take any psychotropic drugs again. Period.

Whitaker talks about xanax in his book 'anatomy of an epidemic' i typed out his xanax back story here

 

How many hours sleep are you getting each night? Sleep issues are very common in wdl.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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Thanks for the input, Karen and nz11.

 

Wow. Whitaker's benzo story is frightening. I knew Xanax is addicting, but didn't realize it was quite that difficult to withdraw after just 8 weeks.

 

My sleep has not been nearly as bad as some people on these forums report, but for me -- used to sleeping 8 solid hours a night -- it's been tough and had a huge impact on my functioning (I'm a writer by trade, so I have to be creative and focused in my work. No phoning it in or going through the motions).

 

I'd say that on average over the summer I was getting around 5-6 hours of broken sleep. On a bad night, waking up every 1.5 hours or so. This was starting to improve, however. The middle of the night awakenings were decreasing in frequency, and I was often able to get right back to sleep. And I just recently had a night where I slept for a full 5 hours, then was able to go back to sleep for another 1.5 hours. Maybe this was just a window, but the progress felt more permanent. With this cancer shock, I took Xanax because I couldn't sleep at all, and I still couldn't drift off. Finally did and got about 4 hours. It's extremely tough for me to write at a professional level on 4 hours of sleep, so I'm quite worried about what this could mean for my work. I can't afford to take time off. But hopefully, as Karen said, after the initial shock my sleep will settle again.

 

I'm well-versed in CBT and am a new meditator. Not sure these are potent enough to get me through crisis-level anxiety, though. I've already been struggling to hold it together and am worried that this health crisis will send me over the edge. I'll try to white knuckle through it. Meeting with the surgeon tomorrow, so maybe I'll feel less anxious after I know more.

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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I dont want to sound like i am belittling your sleep issues.

I also have sleep issues, and i in no way will be swallowing something for it....and i am still alive  ...so you are not alone....but imo you are far better off  finding a way to just go with the sleep flow and do so refraining from reaching to swallow something for this situation.

 

I'm well-versed in CBT and am a new meditator.

Well here is an opportunity to use your meditiation and self soothing skills.

I  would say you are clearly in a very stressful worrying time and wdl can amplify these distresses.

I think meditation may be an  excellent technique to use at this time.

 

Check out the Claire weeks thread  for additional handles on coping drug free.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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I should clarify that the most difficult part of my anxiety is not the mental symptoms but the physical ones (akathisia): feeling like my body is vibrating internally, actual shaking and trembling when it gets really bad. The physical stuff is what wakes me in the night and keeps me up. I can control my thoughts, but I don't know what to do about the akathisia. 

 

I'm not worried about living through the insomnia. I know I can do that. I'm concerned about being able to function so I can work, meet writing deadlines, and continue supporting my family while getting cancer treatments. That is my main worry, even over the cancer itself. And it is directly linked to my vulnerable state in withdrawal. Pre-withdrawal (and pre-meds), I was always very good at managing stress and rising to challenges in a crisis. so I know that while facing cancer would be stressful no matter what, I could deal.

 

That's why I have been mulling reinstatement. 

 

I'm 11 months out from quitting, but only 5 since symptoms began. I saw in one of Mapleleafgirl's posts that on a previous reinstatement after 11 months off Paxil she stabilized in about 5 days. When she reinstated most recently after 20 months off, it took her several weeks to stabilize.

 

But as I said, I'm really torn. A big part of me wants to just try to power through, but the consequences if I can't ultimately manage it are serious. I'm the sole provider in my family. I can't afford to fall down with work.

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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oh ok now i understand.

yes sleep issues is one thing but sleep issues with akathisia is another.

I am sorry you have to experience this. 

All i know is that for me it receded in time. Also akathisia has good and bad days so often i found when it was unbearable a better day would follow.

 

I don't know your job situation but is it possible to consider options like lesser duties...just thinking out loud.

 

Wishing you strength.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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Thanks for the positive thoughts. I'm feeling better today. Trying to stay strong!

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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Karen, you were right that the initial shock has subsided and I'm dealing pretty well with the cancer diagnosis. I've got a great support system (including two surgeons in the family who have my back) and a top-notch medical team. My sleep is still not good, and the inner agitation/akathisia has definitely ramped up from what it was before the diagnosis, but I think I can manage without reinstating the fluoxetine. 

 

But I'm wondering if anyone has experience with how surgery might affect withdrawal symptoms. I know others have experienced horrible waves after taking things such as antibiotics. I'm probably looking at a double mastectomy which means general anesthesia and pain killers. Of course everyone is different, but in general, is this something that is known to worsen symptoms or trigger waves? Just want to be mentally prepared.

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Mellie, you may want to have a look at this topic: Surgery and Anaesthesia

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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Thanks, scallywag. I'll take a look.

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone, so I'm a little over 3 weeks post-surgery (I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, plus a full axillary lymph node dissection). For the first couple of weeks I pretty much slept 24/7 (a really nice change from my usual withdrawal insomnia). I was on several different medications, including an antibiotic and the pain pill Norco. I took probiotics to minimize the antibiotic effect, and did not take much Norco at all in comparison to most patients who have this surgery (this, according to my surgeon). I've been totally off the Norco for 1.5 weeks. 

 

However, although I'm feeling better physically, mentally I've crashed. I'm extremely depressed (feeling almost suicidal) and also having anxiety issues again (although these aren't as bad as they were before). I'm in a really bad emotional place to the extent where my husband and parents are urging me to see a psychiatrist to talk about reinstating antidepressants. I'm scared about how I'm feeling, too. They've been extremely supportive of me as I've struggled through symptomatic SSRI withdrawal since May, so this is not a matter of reflexively wanting me on pills. 

 

I'm torn about what to do. I'm now 13 months off Prozac, so I hate to toss all that progress away. However, I am in a horrible place. Plus, I'm facing chemo and possibly radiation. I need to be strong to get through my treatment, keep my immune system strong, and fight cancer. Does anyone have any experience with how they felt after surgery? Could this be a temporary reaction to the trauma of that, plus the pain pills I had to take? Any advice would be appreciated. 

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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Hi, Mellie. So terribly sorry to hear about all your troubles. You are clearly a brave person to endure the agonies of withdrawal while also going through this illness. 

It really infuriates me to see so many people being harmed by these psychopathic drug companies, as we see on this site and elsewhere. It is like a modern day scourge, which is why I wanted to write to mention to you to be careful about the drugs you are being persuaded to take for your cancer treatment. Please be clear I am not telling you to not follow your doctor's advice. But just like we all wish we'd been fully informed before ever being prescribed these antidepressants--how we would turn back time  and never take that first dose--I would suggest you look closely at the down sides of chemo and radiation before proceeding and read about all of the alternative treatments that are showing good results with cancer at all stages.  Please google "The Truth About Cancer" and go to their website. Note:  I am not affiliated with this site or organization; I've just have been very impressed by the incredible information they have amassed from alternative cancer researchers and practitioners all over the world.  They have produced a video program about the realities of modern cancer treatments and some very promising alternatives. Again, not saying don't go down the straight medical route if that's what you feel is right. Just take a close look at the alternatives. I wish you fast healing and deep peace.

Drugfree Prof

Psychologist and Psychotherapist

Prozac 20 mg for approx 3 months during 2000, withdrew, no w/d sx

Prozac 10 - 30 mg Jan. 2008 - Dec. 2014

Ritalin 30-40 mg Jan. 2008 - Mar. 2015

W/d sx from Prozac started around 3 months after cessation--crying spells, depressed mood, lethargy; resolved in 8 - 12 mos. post cessation

Used and continue to use a TON of alternative methods--meditation, mindfulness, nutrition. supplements, exercise, etc.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

You could keep the psychiatrist and pharmaceutical treatment as a last or next-to-last resort.

 

The emotional stress of diagnosis added to the physical insult/stress of 2 major surgeries adds up, not to mention the CNS (central nervous system) effects of anesthesia.

 

Have you considered looking for a therapist/psychologist who supports your decision about medication?

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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DrugFreeProf, thanks for the advice. Yes, I'm exploring my options. It's a tough call. There's a lot of conflicting information. Even traditional oncologists disagree on many things. But I am worried about the long-term effects of chemo and Tamoxifen on the nervous system. I'm doing my best due diligence to weight the benefits against the risks.

 

Scallywag, I've got tons of support from family and friends so I haven't feel the need for a therapist. But maybe I should rethink that. However, I'm not sure how much talk therapy can help with my main concerns, which are the physical withdrawal symptoms.

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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If I was to reinstate Prozac, any advice on dosage? I CT'd 13 months ago off a 20 mg dose. Major withdrawal started 6 months later (anxiety, insomnia, akathisia). 

 

I have not found that I'm particularly sensitive to medication or supplements since withdrawing, other than having to be careful with coffee (I can still drink tea with no problems). So, although I know there's no guarantee, I think there's a good chance that reinstatement might work for me.

 

I'm so reluctant to go back on an SSRI, but I know the stress of withdrawal is horrible for my immune system. My husband is particularly concerned because of the research showing that depression is strongly linked to increased mortality rates in cancer patients. In recent weeks, my depression has gotten really bad.

 

Any thoughts or advice?

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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  • Administrator

Hello, Mellie. What are your current symptoms that you attribute to antidepressant withdrawal?

 

Please put ALL the drugs you currently take in the Drug Interactions Checker http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html
and copy and paste the results in this topic.

 

After all you've been through, it's normal to feel down. Your body, including your nervous system, has been under enormous stress. Just the antibiotics alone could have a side effect of "depression."

 

Personally, I would not add any psychiatric drugs to the mix. Instead, I would focus on learning self-care in every way. A therapist can help you with that.

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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My primary symptoms of antidepressant withdrawal are insomnia, anxiety/dread, and akathisia (feeling of inner vibration). They are actually better now then they were when they first started. But my depression has gotten much worse in recent weeks. You may be right that this is a reaction to the physical trauma of the surgery and the stress of the cancer diagnosis (plus coming off pain meds, the antibiotics, etc.). I have been considering the same thing myself. I was feeling almost suicidal last week -- thus the reinstatement question. But I'm feeling better now, so I'm going to hold out and see if things continue to improve.

 

Right now the only prescription med I'm still taking is Keflex (an antibiotic). I also take ibuprofen pretty regularly for managing post-surgical pain, but have reduced it significantly in the last few days. I have propranolol on hand for when akathisia gets bad, but haven't taken it during my surgical recovery.

 

Running Keflex, ibuprofen, and propranolol through the checker, I got this:

 

Interactions between your selected drugs: Moderate

Applies to: ibuprofen, propranolol

If you use propranolol for the treatment of high blood pressure, talk to your doctor before using it together with ibuprofen. Combining these medications may reduce the effects of propranolol in lowering your blood pressure, especially if you use ibuprofen frequently or regularly (for example, to treat arthritis or chronic pain)...
  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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I'm taking a probiotic to help counter the course of antibiotics (I've been on them for a month now to prevent infection -- hopefully will be able to stop tomorrow after seeing my surgeon).

 

Any advice on how long to keep taking the probiotic to restore my gut health? Other tips to combat the effects of the antibiotics?

 

Thanks as always!

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'd take them for at least a week after the last anti-biotic dose.

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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  • Moderator

Hey Mellie - in my experience the antibiotic kills the probiotic, and it's better to save your money and wait until the antibiotic is done.  Then, boost up your probiotics for maybe 10 days.

 

I'm sorry to hear what you've been through.  It's oh so much.

 

 

There are a number of non-drug things that would be good to try before resorting to reinstatement.  

 

Akathisia - Akathisia vs. Restlessness & Agitatation and Akathisia Nightmare and http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2016-tremors-shaking-body-vibration/

 

Akathisia and insomnia are probably the hardest to wait out.

 

In your case, because of your surgeries and the total shock to your system, I would wait until at least 3 months after your surgery to consider reinstatement.  The whole traumatic experience is a huge drain/shock/insult to your system.  This is like a "cold switch," and it is a life changing event.

 

I reckon the first thing you need is lots of rest and calm.  Can you reduce your obligations right now?  Can you reduce your stimulus, to get your nervous system to calm down?  (noise, lights, movement, go for quiet, calm, nurturing)  

 

Do you have a rocking chair?  For akathisia, some people pace, perhaps you'd prefer to rock in a rocking chair.

 

The biggest one is waiting, but while you are waiting, keep throwing non drug techniques out there.  Maybe a bunch of tiny things will help.

 

If you want to take l-theanine, try it in a tea instead of a supplement (lemon balm tea).  It is much gentler, and whole-plant herbs are more like food, and less like drugs.  You can also do this with a Tulsi (Holy Basil) tea, and chamomile.

 

Make sure you are getting magnesium.  For akathisia, and insomnia, too, it may be best to dissolve some in water, and sip it throughout the day, to induce calm.  Magnesium chloride or epsom salts baths help, too.  I keep a bucket of water with epsom salts in my bathtub, and just plunge my lower legs into it.  The water is cool, and really grounds out my pain and restlessness.  It's great to do before sleep.

 

There are myriads of ways to approach insomnia.  The first one is this:  just lay there.  Release yourself from the pressure to sleep and give yourself permission to just lay there.  Use your meditation or CBT to help "clear the slate" before sleep, and just give your body permission to rest, whether you sleep or not.  I have a number of countdown or visualizations that I use, and I now am conditioned to fall asleep before I get to the end of them!  But it takes a little discipline for these methods to work.

 

Try walking at least 10 minutes a day - or more, up to an hour if you are up to it.  Being outdoors, the tick-tock of your steps, are all good for mood and stabilizing the brain.  

 

If you are not taking Omega-3 fish oil, consider taking it (read the topic for suggestions of dose and type).  It seems to smooth the nerve endings, acting as like a neural lubricant so that nerves fire more smoothly.

 

Sing.  Dance.  Play.  Have a cuppa herb tea. Take a walk.  Watch old TV shows (the new ones are often too stimulating) or even children's shows.   Wait.    Wait some more.  Do anything you can to survive this minute, then the next one.  I believe if you wait this out, you will be better for it.  I think your worst symptoms are a reaction to a traumatic life-changing situation and experience.  I see it as an extra big wave, but it, too, will pass.

 

Just keep doing things that you can, try to find ones that you enjoy.  Here is one I enjoy, excellent for calming the nervous system:

Legs on the wall - switch off your nerves, calm and heal

 

I stopped by to see if you could be helped by aminos, and after reading your posts about akathisia, I think it would be foolish to try any stimulating supplements at this time.  So you'll have to put the non-drug engine into action, and find how many different ways you can survive the next part.  And the next one.  

 

As you know, the windows will start coming again soon, and hopefully, the dues you've paid in the past year will mean that they will come sooner and more easily.  

 

You can do this, and it does get better.

"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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Thanks so much for the advice, JanCarol. Lots of good stuff to explore here!

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

Link to comment

I'm still hanging in there, but I've had a setback with a wound from my surgery that reopened. The doctors are really concerned about infection, which would mean two more surgeries. They put me on the antibiotic Levaquin (levofloxacin), which is in the same class as Cipro called fluoroquinolones. Now I'm seeing that fluoroquinolones can cause serious psychiatric side effects. Has anyone here taken these antibiotics?

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Mellie, others have posted about their experiences with that specific antibiotic and with others in the class.

You can find them by searching the website with a web search engine such as google. To put results from this site at the top of the list, include
site:survivingantidepressants.org as a search term.

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

Thanks Scallywag. I took a look at the various anecdotal experiences. It's so hard to know how each one of us will react and my father (who is a physician) assures me that the fluoroquinolones rarely cause the kind of horror story damage you hear about (he's only seen peripheral neuropathy in one patient). But according to what I've read, the side effects can show up later so many patients may not be connecting the two.

 

In addition to the FDA's black box warnings about increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture, it also includes a warning about potential adverse effects on the central nervous system including, “dizziness, confusion, tremors, hallucinations, depression, and, rarely, psychotic reactions have progressed to suicidal ideations/thoughts and self-injurious behavior such as attempted or completed suicide.” This sounds a lot like many antidepressant withdrawal symptoms, so I'm wondering if someone in withdrawal is at a higher risk of adverse effects from this class of antibiotics.

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Every medical intervention carries a risk. The current best explanation for withdrawal symptoms is a destabilized CNS (central nervous system). The CNS could be considered part of a super-system comprising also the endocrine and immune systems.  All you can do is what you're doing -- asking questions, researching information -- getting informed/educated.

 

I have a relative who's practiced as an orthopedic surgeon for 30 years. I was very surprised when he recommended to two different members of my immediate family to AVOID surgery if possible -- knee replacement in one case, titanium plate for a fracture in the other. I've never asked him why, but I assume it's because it's generally better to avoid risk than mitigate 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

Link to comment

I'm in a really bad place and need advice. I was going into a really dark place: not functioning, not getting work done, feeling suicidal, so I took the advice of my psychiatrist and started on Lexapro at 5 mg a week ago. This was supported by my oncologist too, since I'm going to be going on Tamoxifen for my breast cancer which can cause depression and mood swings (good times!). She thought with my history of depression I would need medication.

 

Within a few days of starting the Lexapro I was feeling and functioning much better, but now my akathisia is worse and I'm starting to feel depersonalization and lack of appetite again (which I haven't felt since the earlier stages of my original Prozac withdrawal). Feeling really scared! But I have so much other stuff going on it's hard to know what's causing what. I'm on a really potent antibiotic and still recovering from surgery and dealing with the stress of cancer. I'm feeling so guilty about turning back to meds, but desperate. 

 

Is it too early to tell if the Lexapro is causing these increased symptoms? Should I give it a little longer to see if I stabilize, or does it seem obvious this is a failed SSRI reinstatement? If I do discontinue, can I cold turkey since I've only been taking it a week? Or do I need to taper?

 

I'm a hot mess at the moment, so any help would be appreciated.

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

If anyone could offer some advice, I'd be so appreciative! I'm struggling so much both with withdrawal and cancer and the decision on my SSRI reinstatement is really weighing on me and adding to my fears.

 

After reading the threads on reinstatement, I decided to go down to 2.5 mg of Lexapro since I was feeling agitated about an hour or so after taking the 5 mg dose. I've been on it for a week (following a week on 5 mg). I'm still feeling horrible, but not more horrible than I was when I was off it. It doesn't seem to be easing my withdrawal symptoms yet (insomnia, anxiety, akathisia). How long does it take to see if reinstatement helps?

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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Also, I had a couple of really bad waves over the holidays (following reinstatement), but also a couple of windows where I felt relatively normal. But it's so hard to sort out what's due to what. 

 

About a week in, I thought the meds might be making me worse, but I also had some medical setbacks that were major stressors that could have triggered symptoms (I'm now facing 2 additional surgeries due to an infection from my reconstruction). On top of that, I've been taking levofloxacin for 3 weeks (after taking another antibiotic for over a month) which in itself can cause CNS symptoms. I'm also pretty anxious about starting tamoxifen for my breast cancer treatment, since it often causes insomnia, depression, fatigue, and mood swings.

 

It's so hard to know what to do, and I know there are no clear-cut answers, but if anyone has any personal experience or insight they can offer regarding the Lexapro reinstatement, I can't tell you how much it would mean to me.

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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Hi Mellie, I'm so sorry you are going through all these!

My experience with dose increase of Lexapro is horrifying -- caused long term severe reaction with mental dysfunction, severe DR, and all others that is much worse than my original WD. I also Read quite many having similar reactions from reinstating.

 

But for you, you never took Lexapro before, so I am guessing the situation could be different. Lexapro is a much more potent ssir than others, and a very low dose for reinstating is the way to go. So 2.5 mg is a huge amount still for this situation. 0.5 or even lower mg might be a more appropriate dose to start with.

 

There has been a successful reinstate of lex (user name Catnapt) who started with 0.2 mg I think. You may want to check out her thread.

Drug free Sep. 23 2017

2009 Mar.: lexapro 10mg for headache for 2 weeks.

2009-2012: on and off 1/4 to 1/3 of 10mg

2012 June--2013 Jan,: 1/4-1/3 of 10mg generic, bad jaw pain

2013 Jan-Mar: 10 mg generic. severe jaw and head pain;

2013 Mar--Aug. started tapering (liquid ever since) from 10 to 5 (one step) then gradually down to 2.25 mg by July. first ever panic attack, severe head/jaw pain

2013 Aug.: back to 2.75 mg; Nov: back to Brand Lex. 2.75mg -- 3mg,

2014 June: stopped PPI, head pressure/numbness. up-dosed 4.5mg, severe reaction mental symptoms added on

2014 Aug--2015 Aug: Micro taper down to 3.2mg, .025mg (<1%) cut holding 2-3 weeks.

2015 Aug 15th, Accidental one dose of 4.2mg. worsening brain non-functional, swollen head, body, coma like, DR

2016 Feb., started dosing 10am through 11 pm everyday 2/13--3.2mg, 3/15-- 2.9mg, 4/19-- 2.6mg, 6/26--2.2mg, 7/22 --1.9mg, 8/16--1.8mg,8/31--1.7m g, 9/13--1.6mg, 9/27--1.5mg, 10/8--1.4mg, 10/14--1.3mg, 11/1--1.2mg, 11/29--1.1mg, 12/12--1mg, 12/22--0.9mg

2017: 1/7--0.8mg, 1/15--0.7mg, 1/17--0.6mg, 1/20--0.52, 1/21--0.4mg, 1/22--0.26, 1/23--0.2, 2/13--0.13mg, 2/20--0.06mg, 3/18--0.13mg, 6/1--0.12mg, 7/6--0.1mg, 7/14--0.08mg, 8/17--0.04mg, 8/20--0.03mg, 8/28--0.02mg, 9/6--0.0205mg, 9/8--0.02mg, 9/17--0.015mg, 9/20--0.01mg, 9/21--0.0048mg, 9/22--0.0001mg,

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Thanks so much, Lex. I had heard Lexapro was potent, but didn't realize how much!

 

Do you have any idea how long it might take to see if Lexapro is indeed helping? And when you had your bad reaction, how quickly did that happen?

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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When I'm in WD after too fast or too much reduction, holding can be effect quite quickly like in a day or two. It seems my body reacts to the drug immediately. Others have different experience though.

 

As for the reaction, I felt great in the week following the dose incraese then started feeling lots new and severe symptoms which lasted for a long time as I thought it was from WD so I was holding for better, but things got real bad about 4 months holding since the incraese then I realized It was the drug as each time I took the drug I got knocked off like into a coma status. I then started fast tapering since then until now. It has been a hellish year dancing between the two opposite evils. I was functional all those years tapering with various symptoms mainly physical, but the mental issues since the dose incraese ware much more severe and difficult.

 

I'm still in the battle now even at this low dose, but I think I'm better than the majority of the 2016 when I was bed ridden many days like a complete lost soul.

 

Not everyone got the IR reaction but to be safer it's an good idea to start low. It's also good for the brain to adjust the changes. You can always increase if needed. Once you are hit by the big dose, it's the worst situation in my opinion which we should try the best to avoid.

Drug free Sep. 23 2017

2009 Mar.: lexapro 10mg for headache for 2 weeks.

2009-2012: on and off 1/4 to 1/3 of 10mg

2012 June--2013 Jan,: 1/4-1/3 of 10mg generic, bad jaw pain

2013 Jan-Mar: 10 mg generic. severe jaw and head pain;

2013 Mar--Aug. started tapering (liquid ever since) from 10 to 5 (one step) then gradually down to 2.25 mg by July. first ever panic attack, severe head/jaw pain

2013 Aug.: back to 2.75 mg; Nov: back to Brand Lex. 2.75mg -- 3mg,

2014 June: stopped PPI, head pressure/numbness. up-dosed 4.5mg, severe reaction mental symptoms added on

2014 Aug--2015 Aug: Micro taper down to 3.2mg, .025mg (<1%) cut holding 2-3 weeks.

2015 Aug 15th, Accidental one dose of 4.2mg. worsening brain non-functional, swollen head, body, coma like, DR

2016 Feb., started dosing 10am through 11 pm everyday 2/13--3.2mg, 3/15-- 2.9mg, 4/19-- 2.6mg, 6/26--2.2mg, 7/22 --1.9mg, 8/16--1.8mg,8/31--1.7m g, 9/13--1.6mg, 9/27--1.5mg, 10/8--1.4mg, 10/14--1.3mg, 11/1--1.2mg, 11/29--1.1mg, 12/12--1mg, 12/22--0.9mg

2017: 1/7--0.8mg, 1/15--0.7mg, 1/17--0.6mg, 1/20--0.52, 1/21--0.4mg, 1/22--0.26, 1/23--0.2, 2/13--0.13mg, 2/20--0.06mg, 3/18--0.13mg, 6/1--0.12mg, 7/6--0.1mg, 7/14--0.08mg, 8/17--0.04mg, 8/20--0.03mg, 8/28--0.02mg, 9/6--0.0205mg, 9/8--0.02mg, 9/17--0.015mg, 9/20--0.01mg, 9/21--0.0048mg, 9/22--0.0001mg,

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Mellie, it can take many weeks for symptoms to lighten after reinstatement. Sadly, some people experience little improvement. What has the prescribing doctor advised?

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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Scallywag, the prescribing doc wanted me to start on 10 mg, but doesn't know anything about withdrawal. I emailed an expert and was advised to start with 2.5 mg for two weeks, then if I feel nothing or feel better, go up to 5 mg. I was advised to stop immediately if I experience akathisia. But as I've had that on and off since this whole ordeal started, it's tough to say if the med is influencing it. Is it a wave or a med-induced symptom?

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

If a low-dose reinstatement doesn't seem to be helping after a couple of weeks, is it necessary to taper or can you stop immediately?

Please put the date of your reinstatement in your signature. And eventually, please add the date you discontinued to 0 and how you discontinued.

 

If I were in your situation, I'd do a fast taper of 25%:

  1. Decrease by 25% of reinstatement dose, 25% of 2.5 mg is 0.625 mg
  2. Observe symptoms for 4-5 days
  3. If no symptoms after a 5 days, reduce by another 0.625 mg (25% of reinstated dose)
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the dose is down to 0.

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

I already stopped the Lexapro. The psychiatrist I talked to said to stop immediately if I felt akathisia was getting worse, so that's what I did. 

 

Agonizing over whether I gave it enough of a trial, but I'm so scared of reinstatement backfiring! I'm already having so much trouble and I can't afford to get worse. I need to be able to work and function while getting through my cancer treatments.

 

Trouble is, I'm still a mess. I know the occasional benzos I've been resorting to for insomnia can't be helping, but I'm just so desperate for sleep.

 

I'm also worrying myself in circles about the hormonal therapy, tamoxifen, I'll have to take for my cancer. It blocks estrogen, so it will send me into a menopause-like state. Common side effects are insomnia, mood swings, joint pain, hot flashes, etc. Good times! And the way they help most women deal is by prescribing an antidepressant! Effexor and Lexapro are the ones that are safe with tamoxifen. Over on the breast cancer boards, so many women rave about how they've made all the difference. 

 

I'll be starting tamoxifen soon and I'm so worried it will make my withdrawal worse! As crazy as this may sound, I'd way rather deal with breast cancer than antidepressant withdrawal. I feel so lost and hopeless right now.

  • 1998-2002 - High dose of Luvox for 4.5 years. Rapid taper over a couple of months in early 2002. Not much withdrawal issues, other than increased irritability and mood lability for a few months.
  • 2005 - Brief trial of Wellbutrin. Stopped taking it after a few months with no problems.
  • 2008 - Started fluoxetine (Prozac), 10 mg. Took this dose for several years. At some point upped the dose to 20 mg and maintained until late 2015.
  • November 2015 - Cold turkeyed off of Prozac 20 mg. Experienced low energy, lack of motivation, irritability, but these were symptoms I was experiencing while still on the SSRI (albeit to a lesser degree).
  • May 2016 - 6 months later, late-onset withdrawal symptoms appear. Severe anxiety, insomnia, dread, unprecedented feelings of hopeless depression, suicidal ideation, bouts of crying, nausea, loss of appetite, akathisia (feeling like I'm vibrating internally, but no need to move).
  • June - September 2016 - Symptoms continue. Mostly waves, but some windows. Some recovery.
  • October - November 2016 - Diagnosed with breast cancer. Handled fairly well, but resorted to benzos for sleep in the week prior to surgery. Following surgery, was pretty out of it for 3 weeks on pain pills and antibiotics.
  • December 2106 - Withdrawal symptoms back with a vengeance, especially anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation, and depression. Oncologist prescribed 10 mg Lexapro. Took 2.5 mg for 2 weeks, but felt it was making anxiety worse, so stopped. 
  • January 2016 - Restarted 2.5 mg Lexapro after realizing it was the antibiotic I was taking that was making things worse, not the SSRI. Have stabilized to a large degree.

 

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