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I'm just wild about Saffron


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A local Naturopath does some great newsletters and this one is interesting for a number of reasons.

 

While I am not advocating "snorting" anything I think it is important that we remember that smells affect us in many ways. This article talks about Saffron in terms of lessening anxiety and I have long used real essential oil (especially lavendar) to at least help with relaxing and promote sleep. Where cooking is concerned I think that some smells can be quite nurturing (baking bread, for example) and I personally know that smells can be powerful triggers in a negative way ( say Old Spice worn by an abuser)

 

so, in the spirit of wanting to cover all bases of best-case healing and relaxation I thought I would add this newletter section by a doctor who is quite thorough and good at research:

 

Sniffing Saffron www.DenverNaturopathic.com

Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO

November 1, 2011

 

A particularly curious paper was published in the June 2011 issue of Phytomedicine. In it, H. Fukui and colleagues tell us that sniffing at saffron is stimulus enough to trigger hormonal changes in young women. This was a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study involving just a short period of exposure ( 20 minutes) to the saffron. Forty-seven female college students took part in the study. Of these, 36 were randomly assigned to a saffron group and 11 assigned to a control group. Each sniffed at either a dilute solution of saffron or a for 20 minutes.

 

The experimental solutions of saffron were diluted in to such a degree that the smell of saffron could not be sensed. The control was 76% ethanol only. The way the experiment worked is that the women submitted saliva samples before and after a twenty-minute period of sample inhalation.

 

After the second sample was collected, they took a psychological test (the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory: STAI) to measure their anxiety levels. Their saliva samples were tested for levels of cortisol, testosterone and estrogen.

 

Honestly, who would think that sniffing at anything for twenty minutes would make much of a difference? But according to these researchers, sniffing this unrecognizable solution of diluted saffron had a significant effect on these young women. Their cortisol levels went down and their estrogen levels went up.

 

Sniffing the plain ethanol used as a placebo also caused changes; it increased cortisol and decreased estrogen levels. Anxiety levels went down in the saffron sniffing group. [1]

 

That smelling saffron had any effect comes as a welcome surprise. Saffron consists of the stigma of a small crocus named in Latin, Crocus sativus. Harvesting saffron is so labor intensive that typically saffron is considered too expensive to use as medicine. But if all a patient needs to do to get benefit is sniff the stuff, well than cost is not longer an issue. A research group reported about three years ago that taking 30 mg/day of saffron orally improved PMS symptoms. It took 3-4 menstrual cycles to see results.

 

So really saffron treatments are not that expensive. If you figure 30 mg/day for 100 days then the total amount of saffron needed is just 3 grams. Google tells me that saffron is currently selling online for $20/gram. Thus $60 should buy enough bulk saffron to try this experiment with patients.

 

Of course this is bulk saffron. Ground, diluted and encapsulated, the saffron would cost more.

 

There are at least four randomized double-blinded placebo controlled human clinical trials in which saffron was found effective in treating depression. Two of these studies, used 30 mg of saffron a day in 6-week trials. One compared saffron against placebo while the other compared saffron effect against the antidepressant Prozac. Saffron worked far better than the placebo, having a benefit comparable with Prozac. [3,4]

 

The studies just mentioned used saffron made from the flower stigma. Two newer studies used flower petals instead. The results were the same as those gotten using actual saffron. Flower petals from the saffron crocus work far better than placebos to control depression. [5] They too work about as well as Prozac.[6] There’s an obvious advantage to using the petals. They’ve got to cost less than saffron.

 

In a way all of these trials are a progression from most expensive to least expensive forms of saffron. Saffron is the most expensive, smell, well what does that cost? It’s not clear from this study whether smell alone will work as well as the stigma or flower petal treatments.

 

As strange as all this sounds, this study isn’t the only example of smells having medical impact. We can find other examples of benefits from smells when we search for research on ‘aromatherapy.’ Aromatherapy using lavender extracts lowers anxiety in both adult and pediatric surgical patients. [7,8]

 

Other relatively recent studies suggest that saffron might be food for a range of medical conditions, in particular cancer. [9] In the last twelve months there have been a bunch of interesting papers published on saffron and cancer. An October 2011 study says the saffron extract crocetin increases the ability of the chemo drug vincristine to kill cervical, lung, ovary and breast cancer cell.[10] Another Another study describes using saffron alone to kill cervical and breast cancer cells. [11] A May 2011 paper reported that, “…saffron exerts a significant chemopreventive effect against liver cancer through inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis.” [12] An April 2011 paper, reported that crocetin, “… affects the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting nucleic acid synthesis, enhancing anti-oxidative system, inducing apoptosis and hindering growth factor signaling pathways…”[13] Papers from both May 2011 and 2010 suggest a potential benefit against lung cancer.[14] An October 2010 had reached a similar conclusion, “…. the extract exerts pro-apoptotic effects in a lung cancer-derived cell line and could be considered as a potential chemotherapeutic agent in lung cancer.”[15] A January 2011 paper reported that Crocetin inhibits invasiveness of breast cancer cells through downregulation of matrix metalloproteinases.”[16] Other papers have suggested possible utility in treating pancreatic cancer and lymphoma. [17,18, 19]

 

While the prospect of treating cancer through ‘saffron aromatherapy’ is tempting, the crocetin fraction used in these cancer studies is probably not delivered via aroma. The component likely responsible for the cortisol lowering effect reported by Fukui et al is in likelihood a volatile agent, such as safranal. Crocetin, the saffron fraction typically investigated for its cancer killing action, is the portion of the plant chemistry that acts as a color dye. It conveys color more than odor or taste and probably didn’t reach the nose of these women.

 

Thus, while it would be tempting to tell cancer patients to start ‘sniffing’ saffron, if we actually want to kill cancer cells, the patients will probably have to actually swallow saffron pills. At this point the truth is that there are no human published about using saffron to treat cancer. We can be pretty sure that saffron does work to reduce anxiety and treat depression. So we can suggest saffron to cancer patients to lower their feelings of depression. At the same time we can hope that as a side effect the saffron helps cure their cancer.

 

Though in theory it should be cheaper to use the petals of the saffron crocus than actual saffron stigma, who knows where we can buy these petals? It might just be easier and for the time, cheaper to use saffron. We certainly should not be surprised to discover some herb company selling capsules of saffron petal in the near future.

 

1. Fukui H, Toyoshima K, Komaki R. Psychological and neuroendocrinological effects of odor of saffron (Crocus sativus). Phytomedicine. 2011 Jun 15;18(8-9):726-30.

2. Agha-Hosseini M, Kashani L, Aleyaseen A, Ghoreishi A, Rahmanpour H, Zarrinara AR, et al. Crocus sativus L. (saffron) in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: a double-blind, randomised and placebo-controlled trial. BJOG. 2008 Mar;115(4):515-9.

3. Akhondzadeh S, Tahmacebi-Pour N, Noorbala AA, Amini H, Fallah-Pour H, Jamshidi AH, et al. Crocus sativus L. in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2005 Feb;19(2):148-51.

4. Noorbala AA, Akhondzadeh S, Tahmacebi-Pour N, Jamshidi AH. Hydro-alcoholic extract of Crocus sativus L. versus fluoxetine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized pilot trial. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Feb 28;97(2):281-4. Epub 2005 Jan 6.

5. Moshiri E, Basti AA, Noorbala AA, Jamshidi AH, Hesameddin Abbasi S, Akhondzadeh S. Crocus sativus L. (petal) in the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2006 Nov;13(9-10):607-11. Epub 2006 Sep 18.

6. Akhondzadeh Basti A, Moshiri E, Noorbala AA, Jamshidi AH, Abbasi SH, Akhondzadeh S. Comparison of petal of Crocus sativus L. and fluoxetine in the treatment of depressed outpatients: a pilot double-blind randomized trial. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Mar 30;31(2):439-42.

7. Braden R, Reichow S, Halm MA. The use of the essential oil lavandin to reduce preoperative anxiety in surgical patients. J Perianesth Nurs. 2009 Dec;24(6):348-55.

8. Nord D, Belew J. Effectiveness of the essential oils lavender and ginger in promoting children's comfort in a perianesthesia setting. J Perianesth Nurs. 2009 Oct;24(5):307-12.

Bathaie SZ, Mousavi SZ. New applications and mechanisms of action of saffron and its important ingredients. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Sep;50(8):761-86. Zhong YJ, Shi F, Zheng XL, Wang Q, Yang L, Sun H, et al. Crocetin induces cytotoxicity and enhances vincristine-induced cancer cell death via p53-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2011 Oct 10. doi: 10.1038/aps.2011.109.

Mousavi SH, Moallem SA, Mehri S, Shahsavand S, Nassirli H, Malaekeh-Nikouei B. Improvement of cytotoxic and apoptogenic properties of crocin in cancer cell lines by its nanoliposomal form. Pharm Biol. 2011 Oct;49(10):1039-45.

9. Amin A, Hamza AA, Bajbouj K, Ashraf SS, Daoud S. Saffron: A potential candidate for a novel anticancer drug against hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatology. 2011 May 23. doi: 10.1002/hep.24433.

10. Gutheil WG, Reed G, Ray A, Dhar A. Crocetin: an Agent Derived from Saffron for Prevention and Therapy for Cancer. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2011 Apr 5.

11. Samarghandian S, Tavakkol Afshari J, Davoodi S. Suppression of pulmonary tumor promotion and induction of apoptosis by Crocus sativus L. extraction. Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2011 May;164(2):238-47.

12. Samarghandian S, Boskabady MH, Davoodi S. Use of in vitro assays to assess the potential antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) in human lung cancer cell line. Pharmacogn Mag. 2010 Oct;6(24):309-14.

13. Chryssanthi DG, Dedes PG, Karamanos NK, Cordopatis P, Lamari FN. Crocetin inhibits invasiveness of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells via downregulation of matrix metalloproteinases. Planta Med. 2011 Jan;77(2):146-51. Epub 2010 Aug 27.

14. Bakshi H, Sam S, Rozati R, Sultan P, Islam T, Rathore B, et al. DNA fragmentation and cell cycle arrest: a hallmark of apoptosis induced by crocin from kashmiri saffron in a human pancreatic cancer cell line. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2010;11(3):675-9.

15. Dhar A, Mehta S, Dhar G, Dhar K, Banerjee S, Van Veldhuizen P, et al. Crocetin inhibits pancreatic cancer cell proliferation and tumor progression in a xenograft mouse model. Mol Cancer Ther. 2009 Feb;8(2):315-23. 16. Bakshi HA, Sam S, Feroz A, Ravesh Z, Shah GA, Sharma M. Crocin from Kashmiri saffron (Crocus sativus) induces in vitro and in vivo xenograft growth inhibition of Dalton's lymphoma (DLA) in mice. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2009;10(5):887-90.

xxxx

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And it tastes so delicious, too!

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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I didnt read those studies as I cant focus very well, but I recall reading somewhere that saffron has an effect on serotonin.

 

I just googled - and here's an article that mentions it:

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/04/18/us-saffron-pms-idUSCOL86301620080418

 

The findings, according to the researchers, support the idea that saffron may affect serotonin activity -- and help alleviate not only depression symptoms, but PMS as well.

Off Lexapro since 3rd November 2011.

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  • 1 year later...

I'd like to share my success with ingesting saffron.

 

For my anxiety and depression from withdrawing from Effexor 9 months ago, my doctor put me on replacement hormones, saying the progesterone has a calming affect. It did help greatly but was still not enough to live like that. Then she suggested I try saffron. I am able to cope and function and live using the saffron. I would love to see if others using this site could gain similar benefits. I am still suffering but if I take the saffron regularly AND keep stressors to a minimum, I can do quite well. The symptoms are reduced to tingles, and weak legs, and much of the time no symptoms at all. I am now able to eat since my stomach is not tight with stress. My (12 lbs) of (needed) weight loss has stopped, and just in time since I was about to become too thin and bordered on looking sickly. It's so good to feel hungry and enjoy food again. If I get highly stressed, or don't take enough saffron, I do get the tight stomach, horrible anxiety and depression, muscle twitches, shakes and jitters and strong tingles/numbness. The worst is the emotional gloom, dispair and anxiety.

 

I've had several good weeks where being busy with work, no big stress going on and staying on a routine, exercising and taking the saffron I feel highly functional, productive, happy, and upbeat a lot of the time, as long as I don't think too much about the future or things that worry me. I'm also going to counseling and trying to get more support from friends which is helping. My husband has taken over some of the cooking so that relieves a lot of stress.

 

Anyway, here is how to use the saffron. I found out the suggested dosage on some internet chat board- I bought saffron from the spice section of the grocery store. It must be high quality - and I think the site said the kind from Spain is best. A $20 bottle has lasted me at least 4 weeks. I sprinkle about 20 stems (estimate 2 or 3 small ones as one stem) into a cup. Add a little water and then microwave it for 30 seconds. This softens it which might help it digest better, but might not be needed. I then add some cold water to cool it down. Maybe wait a minute so you are not eating something that still has microwaves in it. Then swallow it all. I used to put it in some yogurt but now I just swallow it by itself. It seems to help a little right away, because of the infused water that hits the blood stream quickly. But I notice I definitely feel better after about 2 hours. I think it takes that long for the stems to digest and enter your system. It should probably be taken with some food so your digestive juices are working on it. This lasts me about 10 to 12 hours. I found sometimes I need more before 12 hours is up, especially since there is that lag for digestion. So now I sometimes take more (maybe a half dose) if the jitters start to build up again. I am still working out my scheduling. I think it depends on how stressed the day is and if you are having a natural "window" or not. My doctor suggested I buy capsules, saying the brand Life Extension was good. I got that but ended up going back to the store spice since I could control the dosage better and it just seemed to work better. It doesn't have much taste so you don't need honey or anything with it but you could add that if you want.

 

It could probably be ground up and might digest faster in a powdery form. I'm sure there are other ways of taking it.

 

If I take too much, I feel sleepy and kind of weird. Sometimes I felt so good I did not feel I needed more even after 12 hours. But in general I don't like to go too long. I think it builds up in the system perhaps but if you go too long without it, it will take a while to get back on track and feel stable again. Hard to say. I guess the doses should be geared to how you are feeling. But it seems I do best when I take it regularly, about 10-12 hrs apart, even if I don't particularly feel a need when the 12 hours are up.

 

This saffron helps with my anxiety AND depression. I plan to keep using this and taking one day at a time. I feel I can cope and function with this and not have to use a medication. I'm terrified of having to go back on any pharmaceutical med that effects the brain. I do find if I'm under severe stress with family or work, the saffron cannot address all my stress and I can still feel miserable.

 

In general, it has been a wonderful help to me. Granted I might be getting extra benefit since I'm also on replacement hormones. I also take a good bit of fish oil, ferretin and vit D, and pregnenalone. But the saffron is written up in books, and on Dr. Oz, etc. as being known to help with mood.

 

Has anyone else tried it?? Let us know.

2002? zoloft.  Start of synthroid unknown.

2002? switched to paxil  - Developed restless leg syndrome. stopped all caffeine which helped for many years.

2003? switched to effexor XL 75 mg. May 2012 began taper

July 2012 stopped all effexor . Usual WD symptoms, lost excess weight, had more energy. RLS stopped immediately!

Sept 2012 depression off and on, increasing. Tried tryptophan and acupuncture

Dec 2012 severe anxiety began

February 2013 used magnolia bark for anxiety - helped but developed central sleep apnea, so I stopped it

by April 2013- stopped tryptophan, using saffron herb successfully and started HRT

June 2013 doctor noticed bradycardia. I tried very small dose cytomel sev days for hypothyroidism but seemed to strain my heart.

July 2013 stopped saffron due to slow heart and palpitations - did not help.

July 2013 Increased synthroid from 50mg to 75mg. depression and anxiety improved. Heart problems continue.

September & October 2013 - 2 month course of antibiotic for possbile lyme disease - mood and anxiety improved further.  Heart pvc's flair up at times. 

 

 

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I've been reading a little bit about saffron on these boards, and also did some research. I would like to try it for myself, but am concerned about a couple of warnings of side-effects. I was wondering if anyone experienced side effects. It's a huge issue for me, as that was the main reason I stopped taking the ADs.

 

Here are the links with the snippets:

 

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-844-SAFFRON.aspx?activeIngredientId=844&activeIngredientName=SAFFRON

 

SAFFRON Side Effects & Safety Saffron seems safe for most people when used as a medicine for up to six weeks. Some possible side effects include dry mouth, anxiety, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, change in appetite, and headache. Allergic reactions can occur in some people.

 

http://www.livestrong.com/article/356173-saffron-capsules-for-depression/

Drug Comparison Saffron was as effective as the drug fluoxetine in the treatment of mild-to-moderate depression, according to an Iranian study published in the March 2007 "Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry." Participants received 15mg of saffron extract twice per day for 8 weeks. A remission rate of 25 percent was obtained in both the saffron extract and fluoxetine groups. However, the researchers reported that side effects were similar for the two groups.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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I just wanted to give an update on saffron. I decided to try it and bought the spice at the grocery store. Thanks to Janie for your very thorough explanation of how to take it. I took a little last evening and some this morning. I really felt better very quickly, and actually felt some of the negativity I've been feeling lately dissipate. It was really quite amazing! As far as I can tell, I had no side effects. I felt a little dizziness, but nothing like being on Prozac. It got me thinking about other foods and spices that might have the same or similar effect. I'm going to research it and play around with it. If I can incorporate these types of foods into my daily diet, it may help immensely with the withdrawal effects and depression. Good luck with the saffron, fish oils, Vitamin D, and hormones, Janie. I've taken fish oils, Vit D, and HRT and they've all helped me. And thanks, again, for sharing your experience with saffron! :)

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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  • 2 weeks later...

gettingstuck how did you take it?

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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I put a few stems in the bottom of a cup, microwaved it in a little water, let it steep, added a little cold water, then drank it down, actually chewing the saffron. I started out with maybe 10-20 small stems, but am up to probably about 30, now.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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It looks as though this should only be used for up to 6-8 weeks at a time.

 

Should it be taken every day?

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!



****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******

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Basildev,

 

I've been taking it every day. Do you have a link where it says it should only be taken 6-8 weeks at a time? I would like to read more about it.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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Hey gu,

 

I read it somewhere in the link you provided yourself under the 'uses' section:

 

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-844-SAFFRON.aspx?activeIngredientId=844&activeIngredientName=SAFFRON

 

I think somewhere in those links it said you shouldn't take it all the time. I'm not sure where though.

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!



****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I've read about saffron... very expensive as I recall?

 

Oh. I'm just MAD about saffron!!! GREAT Donovan song. Check it out. LOVE his shirt!!!

 

SAFFRON!!!

Fall 1995 xanax, zoloft. switched to Serzone

1996- spring 2003serzone/ xanax/ lightbox.

b]Fall 2003- Fall 2004? Lexapro 10 mg. Light box /4 mg. xanax.[/b]

2004 - Fall of 2009 10 mg Lex, 150 mg Wellbutrin XL % 4 mg xanax

November 2009- Sept. 2011 10 mg lex., 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax [/b

Sept.2012- July 2012 20 mg Lex 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax

My mantra " go slow & with the flow "

3/2/13.. Began equal dosing 5 Xs /day xanax, while simultaneously incorporating a 2.5 % drop ( from 3.5 mg/day to 3.4 mg/day)

4/6/13 dropped from 300 mg. Wellbutrin XL to 150 mg. Difficult but DONE! Down to 3.3 mg xanax/ day / 6/10/13 3 mg xanax/day; 7/15/2013 2.88mg xanax/day.

10/ 1/2013...... 2.5 mg xanax… ( switched to tablets again) WOO HOO!!!!!! Holding here… cont. with Lexapro.

1/ 2/2014.. tapered to 18mg ( by weight) of a 26 mg ( by weight) pill of 20 mg tab. lexapro. goal is 13mg (by weight OR 10 mg by ingredient content) and STOPPED. Feeling very down with unbalanced, unpredictable WD symptoms.

1/2/2014- ??? Taking a brain-healing break from tapering anything after actively tapering something for 1.5 years. So… daily doses as of 2/2/2014: 18 mg by weight Lex, 150 mg Well. XL, 2.5 mg xanax, down from 26 mg by weight Lex., 300 mg well. XL, 4 mg xanax in August, 2012. I'll take it. :) 5/8/14 started equivalent dose liquid./ tabs. 5/13/14 1.5 % cut.

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Thanks, Basildev. I'll take a look. And thanks for posting the YouTube video link, areyouthere. I love it! It is expensive so I'm probably taking less than the recommended dose. I see that they sell capsules and they seem to be a little cheaper and may go a longer ways. I'll see how the spice from the grocery store works over the next couple of weeks.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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keep us posted :)

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!



****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******

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I'm wondering what happens when you stop taking the saffron as recommended. Do the same unpleasant moods come right back?

 

I'm really hesitant to get enthusiastic about ingesting or inhaling something to get happy. It seems to me that that's just another variation on taking a pill rather than figuring out what in our situation is distressing and going about fixing it as best we can.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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I totally understand that Jemima and have the same concerns. I think the difference is that I still feel the highs and lows, unlike when I was taking Prozac. And I have none of the physical symptoms. So far, I think I'm more capable of doing the things that help resolve the issues that cause depression such as exercise and meditation. So my hope is that someday I can be free of saffron, 5htp, or any of these other things that I've tried.

Getting Unstuck

1999 – Zoloft for about a year. Stopped cold turkey.

2003 – Lexapro for about 5 years. Tapered off slowly for about 3 months, then stopped.

2008 – Prozac for about 4 years. Tapered off slowly for about a year and stopped completely December 2012.

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Found this under the 'side effects' tab for saffron on the WebMD posted link:

 

Saffron seems safe for most people when used as a medicine for up to six weeks. Some possible side effects include dry mouth, anxiety, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, change in appetite, and headache. Allergic reactions can occur in some people.

 

Taking large amounts of saffron is UNSAFE. High doses can cause poisoning, including yellow appearance of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes; vomiting; dizziness; bloody diarrhea; bleeding from the nose, lips, and eyelids; numbness; and other serious side effects. Doses of 12-20 grams can cause death.

 

Note under dosages that what is being talked about is:

 

Possibly effective: Depression. Taking specific saffron extracts (Novin Zaferan Co, Iran) seem to improve symptoms of major depression after 6-8 weeks of treatment. Some studies suggest that saffron might be as effective as taking a low-dose prescription antidepressant such as fluoxetine or imipramine.

 

Ok, so I have been feeling tired lately. I bought some B12 (subling tabs) and decided to give the saffron a whirl too. Found some Spanish saffron (Badia brand) at the local Publ*x and am going to start at 1 strand tonight. Hoping for only a gradual increase in low mood, if what I am feeling is a continuation of depression. Although I feel really well overall, the lack of motivation and tiredness is interfering with getting some projects at least STARTED.

 

I have been feeling an undercurrent of unease lately which I have attributed to some of the reading I have been doing. While out today, (and away from the magnesium powder), I was feeling a little too uneasy. So I took a hydroxyzine and over time the unease faded. Makes me think I could benefit from regular supplementation if what I am having is elevated cortisol level anxiety. I am due for a real physical this month and plan to get some guidance in case there is something clinically amiss.

 

I'll try to post back about my saffron use and general well being.

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

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Be very gradual with the B12, it can be activating.

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

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Thanks for the note, Alto. I bought the lowest SL dose CV$ had, 500mcg (8,333%DV). Some source said to start out gradually (where do I read these things?), 5 to 18 gms/day. I figure keeping at 1 sl tab a day to start, I can feel pretty safe. I feel less tired, anyway. Did not notice any effect 'cept a mild tingle on my tongue from the saffron yesterday. I nuked ~5 strands (ah, need a TWEEZER to get at the little buggers!) in about 1 tbsp h2o, steeped then sniffed the liquid, drank it and chewed the stamens.

 

I am still feeling my heart go ka-THUMP in my chest off and on. I am hoping to find a way to get the mag, B12 and any other vits at doses high enough eventually to correct any sub-clinical vitamin deficiencies I may have without being too ennervated by them.

 

Saffron is still something to try. If it has a mood lifting effect, however minute, at a very low dose over a long period of time (to avoid toxicity), I can see it as being a very cost-effective supplement. Hard to tell when taking very small doses, tho. Is a little B12 or crocus sativus better than none at all?

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

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Please read the B12 topic http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1392-vitamin-b12-essential-for-mood-nervous-system/

 

It sounds like whatever you've read is suggesting excessive dosages of B12.

 

Also see our topics on magnesium, fish oil, and potassium.

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

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I don't plan to take anywhere near 5 to 18 gms (I may have read that that is a starting point to correct a subclinical deficiency since B12 is somewhat poorly absorbed). I am staying at .5 (point 5) gm for at least a week to start. I do not seem to tolerate vit supp well (the all in one type). And the B 100 I bought gives me an ill feeling for hours afterward (may have to crush or shave off some from the tabs to use them up or pitch them and start with a way lower complex). I do tolerate the T@rget gummy vits pretty well so I'll keep taking them. I am up to 1/2 tsp. mag powder once a day, it is 325 mg/2 round tsps (at 81%DV per label).

 

I will have to start a food diary as I have a sneaking suspicion that I am being well nourished by WHAT I am eating now as opposed to what I used to eat on AD's. That is why I am using the supplements so cautiously. I think I am getting enough K+. I think I'll put my supplements in my sig so I don't have to keep listing them.

 

Thanks for keeping an eye on me Alto!

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

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Many people with withdrawal sensitivities do not do well with ANY mixed B vitamin supplements. If the B 100 tablets you're talking about contain a bunch of B vitamins, it might be a good idea for you not to take them at all.

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

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That's what I think, too. Years ago when I was on tricyclics I had to take about 5 GRAMS of a B complex just to keep those cracks at the side of my mouth from appearing. So painful! Anything less that the 5 gms brought them back. (I helped pay for my local Trader Joe's!)

 

Just one more note then I'll stop hijacking this thread: I found out by accident about the addition of 'ma huang' being added to multivits (don't think it is done anymore) and why I had to stop taking them. I would get the worst jaw and head ache a day after I started them. One time went to dentist and had him excavate a tooth because I thought I had bruxed so hard I thought I cracked it (not). I can tolerate children's vits ok, just not the adult multivits. It has been this way even before w/d. And nothing with iron in it, ever! Licking a cast iron skillet is probably too much, too.

 

Thanks again, Alto.

 

And I forgot my saffron yesterday......

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

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  • 2 years later...

From all these herbs the best is saffron.

The way it works is  inhibiting three of the four neurotransmitters in the brain known to cause depression, Seratonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. 

Clinical studies have even compared it to immipramine and flouxetine.

 

I've been taking Citalopram (Celexa) for the last 10 years and experiencing most of the side effects.... I started taking the saffron supplement with my normal citalopram dosage 40 mg, after a couple of months I drop to 20 mg and now my doctor recommended to take 10 mg for two more months and discontinue the Celexa. I'm taking  the saffron as nutritional supplement 30 mg of saffron extract for depression for the last 10 months.  No side effects so far.  Make sure it is the 2% safranal, which this is the one link to clinical studies.  

As with anything else, please consult your doctor before taking anything.

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Hello saffron believers.

I'm taking a saffron supplement and really works!  yes there are already saffron supplements in the market.  I started taking saffron about 10 months ago and tapering my Celexa, so far I'm down from 40 mg to 10 mg and my doctor just recommended to stop the Celexa en the next couple of months and just keep taking the saffron supplement.

 

The way that saffron works is by inhibiting three of the four neurotrasmiters in the brain known to cause depression, Seratonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.  According to clinical studies you need at least 30 mg of a saffron extract 2% safranal to treat depression and anxiety.  These clinical studies have compared the effectiveness of saffron to 100 mg of immipramine and 20 mg of flouxetine.  All this information is available online.

saffron offers the least side effects and it is safe up to 5 g.

 

If you decide to try make sure is the saffron extract 2% safranal and a min. of 30 mg dosage.

Good luck

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Good to hear saffron works for you. There is no such thing as "the four neurotransmiters in the brain known to cause depression." See Again, chemical imbalance is a myth. Stop the lies, please.

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

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I have done 4 years of research about saffron (Crocus sativus L) there is plenty of published scientific evidence that saffron works no only with mild to moderate depression but recently there is a study done in the University of Florida have proven that saffron works with mayor depression as well.

I've taking citalopram for almost 10 years and I'm very familiar with the symptoms of depression and anxiety. I decided to give it a try and it really works. If the neurotransmitters in the brain do not cause depression then the chemical composition of saffron which are safranal, crocin and picrocrocin may help the symptoms of whatever is causing my depression and anxiety.

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I wish I had more information - I had a drug name a few months back.

 

A friend of mine trialed a pharma manufactured saffron based antidepressant.  For her (situationally) the trial failed.  But I think the trial was run through a local university.

 

I will try to find out more. 

 

It kind of worried me (like the melatonergic antidepressant agomelatine) that big pharma was looking to patent a saffron antidepressant....but I cannot find any Google info on it now.

 

And I do love the way India sues when she thinks her long standing healing traditions have been violated.

"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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  • 1 year later...

One of the big takeaways here is that our doctor's could have told us to have a 1/2-teaspoon of saffron a day for a few months and we could have avoided all of the hell caused by these drugs!

 

SJ

Main thread: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/14472-shakeyjerr-say-hello/

History: Prozac & Lithium from 1999 to 2003. Ended up back on after 4 months because taking a beta-blocker caused immediate depression (just 2 doses - turned out I didn't even need it; I had no other withdrawal symptoms - I might have ended up med and withdrawal-free otherwise :(). - Switched to Effexor (75mg 3/day) and Seroquel (50mg 3/day) in 2010. - Did a self-taper during 2016. - Developed Discontinuation Syndrome 02/17.

Supplements: Magnesium-Glycinate 400mg split into 4 100mg doses throughout the day. Vitamin C 500mg - once per day. Fish Oil 1360 mg (950 mg Active Omega-3) - twice per day.

I'm not a doctor. I use the internet, experience, and trial & error. Seek medical advice if necessary.

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Firstly the cost alone makes the use of saffron out of the question.  The best price I could find was $6.50 a gram for limited supplies and the dosing requirements call for 2-5 grams several times a day for several months before any improvements might be seen.  6.5 X 5 X 60 = $1950.00

 

Next is that all the positive information on the web comes from people and companies that are selling it.  Big Red Flag there. They are notorious for spinning the available information and just plain ignoring anything negative.

 

Then there are the limited number of actual studies.  Some of which indicate that saffron "may" be helpful in treating male ED and "statistically"  it "may" help women with the physical aspects of penetration.  All of which is misquoted and aggrandized  by the people selling the product.

 

We are all looking for the golden bullet to help with PSSD and SSRI induced sexual problems. but this isn't it.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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On 6/23/2017 at 1:48 PM, brassmonkey said:

Firstly the cost alone makes the use of saffron out of the question.  The best price I could find was $6.50 a gram for limited supplies and the dosing requirements call for 2-5 grams several times a day for several months before any improvements might be seen.  6.5 X 5 X 60 = $1950.00

 

Next is that all the positive information on the web comes from people and companies that are selling it.  Big Red Flag there. They are notorious for spinning the available information and just plain ignoring anything negative.

 

Then there are the limited number of actual studies.  Some of which indicate that saffron "may" be helpful in treating male ED and "statistically"  it "may" help women with the physical aspects of penetration.  All of which is misquoted and aggrandized  by the people selling the product.

 

We are all looking for the golden bullet to help with PSSD and SSRI induced sexual problems. but this isn't it.

 

I had this sinking feeling that it was too good to be true...

and I knew saffron was uber expensive.

 

:(

oh well, sorry if I got anyone's hopes up.

 

 
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  • 4 years later...
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"Firstly the cost alone makes the use of saffron out of the question.  The best price I could find was $6.50 a gram for limited supplies and the dosing requirements call for 2-5 grams several times a day for several months before any improvements might be seen.  6.5 X 5 X 60 = $1950.00"

 

To update my post from a few years ago the current cost of saffron is currently 9.3 euros or 11USD.  11 X 5 X 60 = 3,300USD. 

 

Please read the whole post just above for more comments.

 

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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I doubt saffron is any kind of panacea but a couple of strands are delicious in rice or noodles. Sure, go ahead and try it!

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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I tested saffron for about nine months. It was suggested to me by my ex psychiatrist to help drug discontinuation. Firstly I took 30 mg (for a pack of 30 pills it costs about 25 euros so it is very expensive) and then 20 mg. Unfortunatly it didn't help with my WD (I had a sort of placebo effect around month 3 but only because my psychiatrist said that I could see effect after this period and I was at the beginning of WD and I needed to believe in something).

One thing that I think is important to say is that I was so scared about the discontinuation of this spice but I hadn't adverse effect when I stopped it.

July 2015: the 20mg citalopram for great stress begins

After two years I start tapering (slow but without medical advice) and I guess wrongly. First up to 10 mg, then 5 mg and 2 mg (liquid solution) and skips

January 2020 (I don't remember exactly the day): off citalopram (last dose 2mg).

June 2020: adrenal crash. The beginning of Hell on Earth

 

Current supplement:

- saffron pill (20 mg) + vit. E, omega 3 (EPA + DHA) 2g, magnesium bisglycinate 300 mg, iron , vitamin D3 (2500ui) +K7 (50 ui), vitamin C (1g) + quercitin (25 mg), theanine (as necessary).

 

Try meditating / mindfulness, walking every day, CBT/ACT, massage.

 

"E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle" ("And so we went out to see the stars again")

(Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy , Inferno, XXXIV, 139)

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  • 1 year later...

Saffron

 

Thinking of trying saffron to help alleviate the depression I am struggling with I cannot go back on another ad after this long nearly 6 years off I have read good things about it but I know that 6 years ago I was kindled from multi drugs and tapers has anyone used it to find any benefits I cannot shake this horrible depression 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added topic title before merging with existing topic

2001 to jan 2015 Effexor 150 mg 

jan 2015 15 mg mirtazapine 20 mg quetiapine 

feb 2015 quetiapine stopped 

feb 2015 30 mg of citalopram added 

feb 2015 mirtazapine increased to 30 mg 

july 2015 citalopram stopped 

sept 2015 200mg of pregabalin 

jan 2017 mirtazapine stopped

jan 2017 20 mg fluoxetine

march 2017 all meds stopped 

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