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WilliamWallace: Fighting for freedom -- gabapentin after olanzapine nightmare


WilliamWallace

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Hi folks, 

 

I have been untangling the web that is meds now for a number of years. Its been a challenge to put it lightly. This is my last drug to come off after many years. 

 

I had a pretty devastating time coming off of olanzapine and it took me over a year to come off of that. i have been off for a little over a year now. had its ups and downs but my mind is relatively in tact now. im fairly convinced it gave me brain damage. i still have a lot of excess heat that i deal with and i have a handful of issues that i still deal with from that including pretty severe neuropathy. When i get sick, its most reminiscent of schizophrenia, which i didn't have before. concentration issues, balance and coordination issues, GI issues, wide awake all the time but tired as well, concentration issues. i don't feel like these things are going to get much better honestly. i don't get that 'going away' vibe. most of them i have had at varying degrees for at least two years now. i think i would have been better off had i fallen off a cliff. 

 

that said, i feel ready to start a taper on this gabapentin. my memory is beyond horrible and the cog fog is starting to get to me. i believe its starting to turn on me. ive been on since 2012 so a little over four years now. i was on a high dose for a while and a moderate dose now. ive been getting irritable, i have a lot going on but this is med irritability. ive also been feeling kind of seizure like before bed and ive never been seizure prone but i have had one before bc of drugs. but its time to get off now bc not being able to get this drug terrifies me. if i had to go through something like i did before with zyprexa i would lose it entirely. i am feeling some urgency but i know all too well to take it slow. 

 

im a little concerned with gabas absorption issues and how it will affect my taper. i take 300-600 mg in the morning and 900 mg at night. i used to stagger my dose so i would keep the same amount but have just been taking it all it once now. i think the key for me is a full stomach when i take it. ive cut down before and really i don't get too bad of withdrawals if any until 900 mg or less. below 900 is another story. after reading a lot on it, i think others have a similar reaction so im thinking the receptors must be saturated around that dose. i am working on just being at 900 mg at night and skipping my morning dose, which is how i used to take it. 

 

ive read most of your literature. i am going to make a solution using distilled water and dose volumetrically with an oral syringe. i am going to start with 50 mg every 3 weeks i think bc i can't afford to miss work and i can't ever deal with 'that feeling' again. once i get to around 500 mg i am going to drop my cuts to around 30 mg every three weeks. im still a little sensitive so i know to pay close attention to my symptoms. 

 

im kind of terrified of another withdrawal but will be so ecstatic to be free. FREEDOM!!!

 

gabapentin (neurontin) - 900 mg-1500 mg - currently tapering to 900 mg once a day. this is the only drug i take now

 

olanzapine (zyprexa) - 20 mg - 2011-2015 (discontinued in August of 2015)

vyvanse - 70 mg - 2012 - 2014 discontinued (fast taper)

xanax/clonazepam - 2007-2011 (rapid detox) 

short history with SSRIs, mood stabilizers, and other goodies over the years

 

currently taking magnesium chloride oil internally and externally. 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

WilliamWallace -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
 
Is your username related to the name you use in day-to-day life? It's more likely, given the photo that you've chosen, that you are an admirer of the Scottish freedom fighter.  Either way, please let us know in your next post.
 
I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

This post will be a bit long -- several questions + requests for you and more than a few links for you to read.
 
When did you take your last dose of olanzapine?
 
A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-18 months particularly?

  • Any drugs prior to 18 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years with a brief description of how you discontinued, e.g. "cold turkey" or "tapered to 0 over 6 weeks"
  • Please don't include symptoms. You can omit diagnoses; the initial condition that led to prescribing the first drug can be helpful information..
  • We ask for this information in your signature so that we can see it at a glance. A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs.
  • You can find instructions in this topic: Please put your withdrawal history in signature
  • If you are using a phone, the detailed instructions with screen captures are in Post #8 and Post #9

The symptoms you are experiencing are very likely withdrawal symptoms.
What is withdrawal syndrome
 
We work with people on the understanding that symptoms are the sign of instability in the CNS (central nervous system). There are more detailed explanations and good analogies a these two links:
How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"
Youtube video, 4 minutes: Healing from antidepressants
 
Please read the information on this page :
Before you begin tapering -- what you need to know

It's likely that your taper off olanzapine was faster than we suggest. (more about that below) Because your symptoms are probably those of withdrawal, you should assess whether your symptoms are stable -- no wild swings in intensity throughout the day or from day to day -- before tapering gabapentin.

 

Please keep notes on paper of your symptoms and the times of your dose(s). The last post in the "what you need to know" topic provides a useful format for logging symptoms:
Take notes of doses and symptoms

 

Despite the title of this link, the information is also relevant to stabilizing *after* coming off medications:
How long to stabilize after reinstating or updosing

Once you have confirmed that your symptoms are stable, we suggest that people taper using a harm or risk reduction approach. Specifically, that means reducing dose by a small amount, no more than 10%, and then holding at that dose for 4 weeks before reducing again.
Why taper by 10% of my dosage?
Tips for tapering off Neurontin (gabapentin)

 

This is YOUR introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community.

 

Again, welcome. Please read the topics I've linked above. Post any questions you have back here in your introduction.

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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no, my name is not william wallace lol. 

 

i officially got off of APs around last august. I have taken a dose here and there prn if things have gotten bad. but haven't taken it in a few months now. it doesn't effect me the same anymore and i wont be taking it again. 

 

I wouldn't dare try to taper if i didn't feel ready. im stable, most of my symptoms now are physical which i can tolerate. i don't think my symptoms are withdrawal anymore. i did most of the damage in a short couple of months. the physical symptoms are still there and its been over two years that i have had them. i also was having issues on the poison. i feel good about starting my taper now and its important for me to get off bc i think this drug is making things worse among other things. APs are a special class of poison esp zyprexa. my whole nervous system feels fried but mentally im fine now for the most part. 

 

im purchasing a 100 ml graduated cylinder and an oral syringe. going to store suspension in a mason jar. i was looking up the solubility of gabapentin and it looks like it was something like 4 mg/ml but not sure (in h2o). the suspension they sell is like 100 mg/ml so now im confused. maybe i should use another solvent besides water but id rather use water if it works bc i don't like to waste money. i can do math just fine but was hoping to get at least 5 mg/ml but don't know if thats possible. i like to keep the numbers simple to avoid confusion (like 5-10mg/ml). so if anyone has any experiece making a gaba solution/suspension thatd be great. maybe i should use propylene glycol instead? 

 

ive started taking magnesium again. im fairly certain im deficient as gabapentin depletes magnesium and ive read zyprexa withdrawal depletes it as well. so im stocking up on it. i take b12 too occasionally. possibly deficient in that and who knows what else from these drugs. ive been thinking about getting some blood work done but my doctor is basically just a drug dealer. so if anyone can think of any helpful tests that might point to deficiencies that would be helpful. i know not to overdo it on supplements. 

 

ive never found melatonin to be helpful at all. but i sleep okay. (avg 6 hours or so a night sometimes a little more)

 

thanks for all your help. 

gabapentin (neurontin) - 900 mg-1500 mg - currently tapering to 900 mg once a day. this is the only drug i take now

 

olanzapine (zyprexa) - 20 mg - 2011-2015 (discontinued in August of 2015)

vyvanse - 70 mg - 2012 - 2014 discontinued (fast taper)

xanax/clonazepam - 2007-2011 (rapid detox) 

short history with SSRIs, mood stabilizers, and other goodies over the years

 

currently taking magnesium chloride oil internally and externally. 

 

 

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hi WilliamWallace,

 

Glad to see you have come off so many drugs. I am currently tapering an anti psychotic, and have a question for you since you have come off one.

 

Did you have a lot of withdrawal anxiety during your taper of zyprexa?

 

Good luck with your gabapentin taper.

 

Thanks

Been taking paroxetine 20 mg for 20+ years for depression. Taking 300 mg of wellbutrin since October 2015 for adhd and depression. Take fish oil, calcium, and a multivitamin. Started taking risperidone late January 2015 3mg for a misdiagnoses of bipolar. Started tapering risperidone late July 2016. As of late September tapered down to 2mg at 5% a week off current dose. Oct 21/2016 1.58 mg Nov 21/2016 1.26mg No withdrawals so far.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

WW, You may not be in "acute" withdrawal, but it is possible that you are experiencing Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, aka PAWS.
 
When you take a psycho-neuro-active medication, any psychiatric medication not just anti-depressants, your CNS (central nervous system) makes adaptations to neurotransmitter processes. When any psych drugs is discontinued or doses are rapidly decreased, the CNS has to adapt by undoing all the previous changes. It is the imbalance between the level of the medication and the CNS's state that is the source of symptoms. The links above "Brain remodeling" and the "healing" video talk discuss this in more detail.
 
Here's another topic that might shed some light on what's going on: One theory of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome
 
I strongly urge you to take things slowly with your gabapentin taper to minimize the risk of your physical symptoms worsening and of new emotional or cognitive symptoms arising. When we're ready to taper, we just want OFF THE DRUG NOW.  You are functioning in your life now. Please don't risk that by starting too soon or going too quickly.
 
Magnesium can be a very helpful supplement while taking these drugs and while tapering off them.  Another that many people find helpful is Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. If you want to try that, please read about it first. Here's our discussion:
Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

B vitamins can be overstimulating for many people in withdrawal. If you have a B-12 deficiency, supplementation should take into account your sensitized CNS (central nervous system). There's very little information about supplementation of anything for a person who is going dealing with CNS recovery from psych medications. Naturopathy, functional and/or integrative medicine assume autonomic nervous system stability when prescribing treatment.

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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hi WilliamWallace,

 

Glad to see you have come off so many drugs. I am currently tapering an anti psychotic, and have a question for you since you have come off one.

 

Did you have a lot of withdrawal anxiety during your taper of zyprexa?

 

Good luck with your gabapentin taper.

 

Thanks

yes. lots of anxiety. take it slow esp when you get below 5 mg. if you are only experiencing anxiety, thats not doing too shabby. 

 

i really understand your concerns scallywag. this will still take a couple of years at least to get off of so im not rushing things too much. my plan is to go 5%. im aware of PAWs, this feels more like brain/CNS damage, ive dealt with lots of withdrawal. some things haven't really improved AT ALL in over two years. this is something that needs to be done sooner or later. i am going to take it really slow and keep tabs on myself, i can't be on these drugs another 5 years. i appreciate the concern but this is something i have to do.

 

in a perfect world, i might do it even slower and/or start later. its not guaranteed that we will always be able to get these drugs, in which case, i would be more than a little bit out of luck, i need to be at least lowering my dose. i know that sounds paranoid, but with the state of affairs in the world, that doesn't seem unreasonable to me even if it sounds crazy to everyone else. i understand the risks pretty well at this point, but i feel okay and wont let things get out of hand. if i get cutoff, im literally done. This is basically a life or death situation for me akin to having a loaded gun to my head. its pretty much a miracle that i got off of zyprexa alive as it is. 

 

it seems gaba is much more soluble in glycerin so im going to pick up some VG for making a stronger solution. im going to get down to 900 mg before i start messing with any of that. but for reference for others tapering gaba, it seems you can make a much stronger solution with VG (water is only 4.5 mg/ml). thats whats used in the oral solution they sell for five times the price of the capsules. then i can do 10 or 20 mg/ml or even stronger. prob 10 mg/ml is a good place to start for most people. 

gabapentin (neurontin) - 900 mg-1500 mg - currently tapering to 900 mg once a day. this is the only drug i take now

 

olanzapine (zyprexa) - 20 mg - 2011-2015 (discontinued in August of 2015)

vyvanse - 70 mg - 2012 - 2014 discontinued (fast taper)

xanax/clonazepam - 2007-2011 (rapid detox) 

short history with SSRIs, mood stabilizers, and other goodies over the years

 

currently taking magnesium chloride oil internally and externally. 

 

 

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WilliamWallace,

 

Thanks for your response. I read that you took a year to taper your zyprexa. That seems very fast.

 

Did you make weekly cuts monthly cuts, and how much did you cut your dose each time?

 

Would you have gone slower, if you knew how hard of a time you were going to have, or were you just in a hurry to get off it?

 

Thanks

Been taking paroxetine 20 mg for 20+ years for depression. Taking 300 mg of wellbutrin since October 2015 for adhd and depression. Take fish oil, calcium, and a multivitamin. Started taking risperidone late January 2015 3mg for a misdiagnoses of bipolar. Started tapering risperidone late July 2016. As of late September tapered down to 2mg at 5% a week off current dose. Oct 21/2016 1.58 mg Nov 21/2016 1.26mg No withdrawals so far.

 

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it took longer than that...it was really more like 18 months - two years to get completely off of it but its kinda fuzzy and was mostly trial and error. at first, i was told there was no withdrawal and my doctor and i did a bit of a kamikaze taper. after a few months i had done some pretty severe damage. i kept expecting it to get better but it never did really. after the damage was done, there wasn't really much i could do and the drug didn't help very much no matter how much i took. it was just a battle to control the symptoms. i would have gone back on if it would have stabilized me. i wasn't any much worse off just not taking it or taking it sparingly. im fairly certain it was giving me brain damage on the drug bc i was having a lot of issues while on it as well. 

 

there isn't any easy way to come off zyprexa no matter how slow you go, i think at some point you may just be prolonging the pain. its the hardest drug ive had to quit by a lot and ive quit benzos cold turkey after being on them for years at a high dose. it was the mother of them all for me. im fairly convinced eli lily are the scum of the earth and worship satan lol. 

 

going slow is the way to go but almost two years isn't exactly a rapid taper either. my cuts werent exact just taking smaller pieces based on symptoms, i know better now, but i wasn't exactly thinking clearly either and had very little help. ive lost all faith in doctors and modern medicine in general. 

gabapentin (neurontin) - 900 mg-1500 mg - currently tapering to 900 mg once a day. this is the only drug i take now

 

olanzapine (zyprexa) - 20 mg - 2011-2015 (discontinued in August of 2015)

vyvanse - 70 mg - 2012 - 2014 discontinued (fast taper)

xanax/clonazepam - 2007-2011 (rapid detox) 

short history with SSRIs, mood stabilizers, and other goodies over the years

 

currently taking magnesium chloride oil internally and externally. 

 

 

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Hi William Wallace,

 

Thank you for sharing your story about tapering with zprexa. I'm doing that now, on a dose of 2.5mg. My pdoc said that he's never heard of anyone having trouble coming off zyprexa :-/ I quit cold turkey a few weeks ago and had quite significant wd symptoms. Explained by the doctor as my original symptoms coming back. I don't think so! It's just a way of keeping people on psychiatric drugs. When I was in hospital this year they handed out zyprexa to everyone. Just like candy.

 

I'm going slow with the taper, but figure at some point jumping off a small dose might still trigger wd symptoms. And that I'll just have to try all sorts of strategies to get through those wd symptoms. But I'm determined to give it up! Even if eli lily are the scum of the earth and satan worshipers ...:))

 

Good luck with the gaba taper!

 

Lucy

Citalopram 40gms - July 2016 (replaced by Effexor)
Valium and tamazapan - July 2016 -prn - (replaced by zyprexa for insomnia)
Zyprexa - since August 2016
Effexor 225mgs - since August 2016
Doses given and then tapering off zyprexa -
5mgs 2weeks/7.5mgs 2weeks/10mgs 2weeks/7.5mgs 3weeks/5mgs 2weeks/ 1.25mgs 3days/0mgs 3days (self managed after advice from psychologists -reinstated after withdrawal symptoms) /2.5mgs 3 weeks/ 1.87 2 weeks/1.25 2 weeks from 22 Nov - 6 Dec/ currently on .625

Currently on: Zyprexa .625mgs from 6 Dec 16

                      Effexor 225mgs

 

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Hi WW,

 

Thanks for your story.

 

I am trying to withdraw from Zyprexa also. i have been on/off Zyprexa for a long time, and many times my doctor would just CT off it, with really bad results.

 

Most recently, I have been taking Zyprexa since August this year, and got down to 2.5.

 

I tried a taper of 10% per week alongside tapering Epilim, and that didn't work either.

 

I held onto to 2.5mg for a month and then got a liquid formula to taper slowly, but the liquid formula made me very sick and I ended up in ER with pains down my head neck after a week of using it. It was horrible. I had all sorts of neurological symptoms within 30 mins of administering a dose via the oral syringe.

 

I too am at a point where Zyprexa is not working for me and doing more harm than good. In an attempt to feel better, I went back to using the 2.5mg tablet and just took 3/4 of it.

 

It has been 6 days since using the tablet at a dose of 1.875 and I feel a lot better.

 

May I please ask, what did do once you got down to the 2.5mg tablet?

 

Thanks,
Rico

1997 - Diagnosed Bipolar 1 after stressful life events and hospitalised, discharged on multiple drugs.

1997 - 2014: Polypharmacy treatment, predominantly Zyprexa, Epilim and Lithium (at high doses), ~30 hospitalisations.

2015: Back to cocktail of Zypreza, Epilim, Lithium and dealing with aftermath of injection

2016: Decided to withdraw from psychiatric drugs due to side effects.

2017: Withdrew from Zyprexa, Epilim and just placed on lithium (~1800mg)

2017, 2018: Multiple failed withdrawals from lithium and hospitalisations involving short term antipsychotic use.

2019: More failed lithium withdrawals resulting in hospitalisation

April 2019: Started seeing new psychiatrist who suggested replacing Lithium with Latuda, hospitalised within 5 days.

April to July: tapered lithium down to 600mg and new psychiatrist is supporting me to get off lithium completely.

Aug 25 2019: Discontinued Lithium, completely drug free. March 2020: Hospitalised, Abilify/Lithium for a short time. Drug free since July 2020.  February 2021: Hospitalised, Lithium 750mg

May 2022: Last dose of Abilify Depot, Lithium 1250 -> tapered to 750mg by July 2022.

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Hey William Wallace

 

I just wanted to send you a quick message of commiseration.  I quit high doses of both Zoloft (200 mg) and zyprexa (17.5 mg) cold turkey in feb 2014 and have been suffering from insomnia and fatigue since then.  It's that same wide awake and completely tired at the same time thing you mentioned.  Like you, I don't feel a lot of hope of it going away, but who knows.  I am pretty run down these days from all the poor sleep which has compromised my health pretty seriously.  Heart palpitations, rising blood pressure, huge bags under my eyes, and of course, the depression that goes along with suffering that long without a change for the better.  I also have all the cognitive problems, too.  it sucks.  forgetting names, losing track of what I was saying in conversations, zoning out all the time, continually screwing up things in the kitchen and for a while going out in public with my fly down almost every day.  i feel like a walking wreck most days.   Even though this may sound strange, i actually feel better than i did on drugs.  Anyways, i hope you see some improvement sometime, i know how discouraging this all is.  i feel like i could be an extra on the Walking Dead most days.  

 

Poetjester

Court committed to take Prozac, Paxci, and Respiradol from 8/95 to 3/96.   developed severe akithisia and brain damage.  Was unable to speak and walking in circles 15 hours a day.  Went in for 5 sessions of ECT during a 10 day period in March of '96 and my forced medication was discontinued at that time.  My akithisia and brain damage cleared up within a few days of stopping the meds.

 

On Zoloft (200 mg) and Zyprexa (17.5 mg) March 1998- Feb 2014

In between was placed on Effexor 200 mg and Abilify for six months in 2004.  Developed mild akithisia which went away once I stopped the Abilify.  Developed severe GI issues in Dec 2001 and from that time on suffered from fatigue and hypersomnia where I would sleep between 12 and 20 hours a day and rarely ever left my apartment. 

 

Had tapered to 100 mg of Zoloft and 7.5 mg of Zyprexa at the time of going cold turkey Feb. 2014

Went 5 days without sleep at the beginning while vomiting all over my apt.  Had brain zaps for a number of weeks and also lightheadedness which both eventually went away.  However 2 1/2 yrs later I still struggle with insomnia, depression, and fatigue.

 

 

 

 

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Hey there my fellow celt wallace. Wellcome and good luck. Zyprexa is horrible to come off. 9 weeks of extreme stormach pain after being taken off 2,5 mg cold turkey by a doc.

I am off all meds 16 months I had been on olanzapine, Effexor zanex and assorted sleeping meds for approx 2 years.

Weaned off 375 mg effexor over two years, I had previously come off xanax, rivotrill and olazapine. Reinstated 75mg of effexor on the 22/12/16

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