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rhino87: Taper Questions

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Hey everyone,

Hope you all are doing well! So, I've been taking sertraline since I was 19. I started at 50 mg and ended up at 100 mg for a couple of years. I weaned down to 50 mg until I had a severe depressive episode at age 23 and worked up to 200 mg combined with risperdal. I came off the risperdal within a year but stayed on the sertraline.


About 3 years later, I started to taper down. I went down 50 mg at one time and felt truly awful but stuck with it. I then tried a 25 mg drop but got really sick, not realizing that it was the medicine causing it. I went back to 150 until I was over my "sickness."


After realizing that the withdrawals were making me sick, I tried different rates of drops over the course of a year. Sometimes 10 mg, sometimes 5 mg, sometimes 1/3 mg until I reached 100 mg. That was about a year ago; I'm now 29 and I still don't feel right. I'm anxious, fatigued, cloudy-minded and sick most of the time.

So here are my questions: When should I expect to "level out?" I would like a period of feeling normal before I start back on my taper, but is that naive? Should I just keep tapering now? Furthermore, if these withdrawal side effects are permanent, shouldn't I stop tapering to prevent further damage? Any practical advice would be helpful.


Edited by scallywag
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Hi rhino and welcome to SA,


There is lots of excellent information and support here and I will give you some links to read which may help you to understand how psychiatric drugs change our brains.  SA recommends a taper of no more than 10% of the previous dose to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.


I can't find the link at the moment, but stabilising doesn't mean being without withdrawal symptoms completely but that the withdrawal symptoms are fairly steady over a period of time rather than getting different symptoms of varying intensity.  Brassmonkey calls it "withdrawal normal".  It's a good idea to Rate Symptoms Daily to Check Patterns and Progress so that you can see improvements because when you aren't feeling okay, it can be hard to work out if there has been improvement.


I found SA after I had tried to reduce my dose by 50% (100mg to 50mg Pristiq) and ended up with bad brain fog and after 3 weeks at that dose I couldn't type.  I am a professional typist so I had a benchmark to go by.  Within 4 hours of updosing I was able to type again.  Since then I have stabilised and have been succesfully tapering slowly and I am now down to 37.5mg.

It will be helpful if you would Please put your Withdrawal History in Signature.  Please include details for the last 12-18 months of  all drugs, dates, doses and discontinuations & reinstatements.  If you can't remember dates, please write it as "early March" or "mid-August".  Please provide a summary of any drugs prior to that which can just be listed with start and stop years. Please include all prescription, non-prescription drugs and supplements you are currently taking.


Before you begin tapering what you need to know


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms


Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)


These helped me to understand SA's recommended method of tapering:


Brain Remodelling

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery


Check out the links I have provided and then ask questions here in your Intro/Update topic and journal your progress. To search the site I use google and type in survivingantidepressants.org + topic.

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Hey Rhino - 


I agree with Chessie, and she's given you a lot of info - I just wanted to add - that it is important to know how you made all those changes.


If you were making the changes more frequently than every 3 weeks, you are likely to have destabilised further.  That is why your signature is so important to us - we can learn (and so can you) about the ways your choices have affected your stability and wellness.


What have you decided to do with the information Chessie gave you?  You are young enough that, if you can get out from under the drugs now, you can look forward to a productive and healthy life.  The drugs are not tested long term, and over time they tend to cause implications in a number of systems, including endocrine, digestion, muscle & nervous system, as well as restructuring your brain.  You may wish to read Robert Whitaker's excellent "Anatomy of an Epidemic" to understand how these drugs can turn a state of mind & emotion into a chronic illness.


Let us know what you would like to do!

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Thanks for the responses! I've updated my signature to reflect my antidepressant history more accurately.

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Hey everyone,


I have a tooth infection that I'm pretty sure is spreading because I have flu-like symptoms and feel really sick. I'm about to schedule an appointment, but I'm really concerned that the antibiotic they prescribe will interact with my sertraline. I currently take 100mg daily and am very affected by interactions.

Do any of you know what a safe antibiotic would be so that I can tell the dentist?


Thank you in advance!

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Stay away from Fluoroquinolones, like Cipro.  They are very strong can have a bad effect on people in withdrawal.  These links provide more information:






Edited by Gridley

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