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Madeleine

Madeleine: tapering Zyprexa (then Zoloft)

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Madeleine

Hello:  I am new to this forum. I am tapering zyprexa. I was put on 10 mg in the hospital at the beginning of December.  In the first week of January, I cut down to 8.50, then 7.5. for 10 days. Right now I am at 6.25 mg, and have been at that level for 1 week.  

They decided to put me on zoloft in the hospital as it "works fast" the doctors said, and is being used "until the zoloft kicks in". 

 

I am very impatient to get off zyprexa, and figured if I join your group, I would get support from people to help me be patient and wait enough time between cuts.  Still figuring out how to do the signature. Will add it when I do.  

I am also on a whopping dose of 200 mg Zoloft, also given in the hospital.

 

Before that, I had been 6 months free of Zoloft after tapering it for at least 3 years or even more. It was a huge disappointment to end up in the hospital and to have to go on it again. 

 

Edited by scallywag
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nz11

Welcome Madeliene

i am so sorry you had to go to hospital in Dec. Tapering for three years is better than most efforts. And 6 months drug free as well. What a gut wrenching disappointment to be back to square one. What was the reason for ending up in hospital?  A family member thought it was a good idea?

How did you taper it for the 3 year period? Skipping doses? Alternating? Big drops and long holds?

 

I agree with you, that seems to me to be a high dose of zoloft you have been put on.

Were you on such a large dose prior ?  It might be helpful to put prior dosage in your drug sig along with start and stop dates.

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Madeleine

Thank you for the introduction.  I didn't put more info. as I am shy and don't want anyone to recognize me but I know that the members here will encourage me to taper slowly.  Because I was on the zyprexa for a short time, and because I have irksome side effects, such as almost constant twitching, I am impatient with the taper, and I know that tapering quickly will only make it worse. I tapered the zoloft using a water titration method.  

Yes it was gut-wrenching to have to go back on the drugs.  But, there is no going back, i.e. I can't change history, and I must simply brush myself off after this disappointment, and continue and try again. 

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PoetJester

Hi Madeline,

 

I am three years into a cold turkey withdrawal from the same combination of drugs, Zoloft and zyprexa.  I was on high doses of each also.  200 mg of Zoloft and 17.5 mg of zyprexa.  when I quit the drugs in feb 2014, I had tapered down to 100 mg and 7.5 mg at the time I went cold turkey.  It was a pretty traumatic 5 days in February as I went without sleep and vomited everywhere. 

 

these three years have been extremely difficult with poor sleep, fatigue and cognitive problems, but oddly enough I actually feel better than I did on the drugs.  I took both meds for 14 years and the last 8 years on them, I hardly ever left my apt and slept most of the day and put on all sorts of weight, now I am much more active, only the stress of 3 years of insomnia and depressed sleep is catching up with me. 

 

Did you have any wd symptoms when you tapered and how did you end up back in the hospital, if I may ask?  If you don't want to say that's ok, I have been committed quite a few times and most of those times had to do with wd psychosis or mania.

 

Poetjester

Edited by scallywag
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Madeleine

Poet:  Sorry to hear you had such a rough ride.  Last time, I tapered zoloft using a water titration and didn't have any symptoms. I was lucky. It went very smoothly because I tapered very very slowly.  I don't really want to talk about the hospital yet... maybe I will in time...

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Madeleine

P.S.:  Poet: Thank you for sharing your story with me.  

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PoetJester

hi Madeline,

 

No problem about not wanting to talk about hospitalizations.  Sometimes, I don't even know how to describe how I end up in those places.  It must be extremely frustrating to do such a successful taper of Zoloft and then end up being put back on the drug.  I withdrew from Zoloft and zyprexa for a year back in 2005 and had to go back on them after falling behind in rent and having to move into a group home where they required me to take the pills in exchange for giving me a bed to sleep in.  Knowing how difficult these pills are to come off of and how lousy they made me feel when I was on them, it was quite a setback at the time and took me another 8 years before I was able to get off of them again.  I didn't get internet service until 2015 so I never knew about tapering or titration when I withdrew.  I wish I had, going cold turkey is a terribly traumatic event and I have done it 3 times know.

 

Poetjester

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Madeleine

I'd be very interested in hearing other people's experiences too. I have been on zyprexa at 10 mg for only 1 month, December 2016.

Made first cut beginning of January 2o17. Was on .75 for 2 weeks. And now at about 6 mg for 1 week. Given that I have been on it for such a short time I'm thinking I could taper a bit faster than 10 percent per month. Any thoughts on this from anyone who has been on zyprexa would be greatly appreciated

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scallywag

Madeleine -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

 

I'm sorry to read that you went through a forced hospitalization and were compelled back on Zoloft after your careful and lengthy taper.

 

It's important to let your symptoms guide your decreases, NOT the calendar or any impatience to get off the $&@% Zyprexa.  Please keep notes on paper of your symptoms and the times of your dose(s). This post has a useful format for a daily log:

Take notes of doses and symptoms.

 

You started decreasing dose after a month on the medication. Unfortunately although the drugs may not produce their full targeted effect in a month, they definitely have an effect on the CNS (central nervous system). When we start a psycho-neuro-active medication the CNS makes changes to the targeted neurotransmitter cells and processes. Drugs such as Zyprexa work on the dopamine receptors. When we decrease dosage, the CNS starts to "un-make" the changes. This process of "unmaking" the changes can cause symptoms if we decrease dose too quickly.

 

Please look at these two topics for lists of common symptoms:

What is withdrawal syndrome.

Glenmullen’s withdrawal symptom list.

 

Other topics that are relevant to your situation:

Tapering -- what you need to know.

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?.

Tips for tapering off Zyprexa (olanzapine).

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline).

 

Many people find omega 3 fatty acids and magnesium helpful before, during and after tapering. Start with one at a low dose and work your way up.

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil).

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker.

 

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.

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Madeleine

Just a quick update: I have reduced the zyprexa from 6.25 to 5.25 last night. So far so good. If anyone else is tapering zyprexa too and wants to share experiences I would be very happy to hear from you

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scallywag

Madeleine,

 

Please give yourself at least 4 weeks at this dose. You made a large reduction by percentage, 16%. 

 

It can take some time for symptoms to arise. Making a reduction when there are "hidden and lurking" symptoms is risky: at some point your CNS (central nervous system) can't keep up and symptoms come crashing through. Most people prefer to avoid that. ;)

 

Please read this topic:

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?.

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Madeleine

Thank you Scallywag.  I made that cut as I am cutting the dry pills.  I keep hoping, likely it's a false hope, that because I have been on the zyprexa for only 2 months, since the beginning of December, that I can get away with slightly larger cuts.  My fear, too, is that the longer I am on it, the more entrenched it will be in my system.

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scallywag

Oops, I forgot that you've been on Zyprexa for only 2 months. I hope your CNS responds favourably to the larger dose reductions.

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Simo

How you getting on Madeleine? I'm also tapering Zyprexa

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Madeleine

Thanks for asking.  I'm doing OK.  I've been at 5 mg for 2 weeks now, and have been toying with the idea of going down to 3.75 mg.  

 

I am a bit worried today that it is a bit too quick, but I was put on it at the beginning of of December, so haven't been on long.   Up to now, during the tapering I have been feeling quite good. 

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scallywag

Madeleine, you've been on mirtazapine for more than 2 months, a 25% decrease from 5 mg to 3.75 mg may be destabilizing. I understand that it's easier to do that way because you are cutting the pills and cutting the pill in quarters and taking 3 of them is easier than creating a 90% dose.
 
Have you considered making a liquid from your tablets using a compounding liquid, as discussed in
Tips for tapering off Remeron (mirtazapine)

Edited by scallywag
remove link to wrong topic

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herewego

Hi Madeleine,

I think scallywag meant to give you the link to 

Tips for tapering off Zyprexa (olanzapine) - sorry don't know the link.

You will find it in the tapering section, second page.

I too am tapering zyprexa. How are things going for you since your last post?

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Madeleine

Things are going fairly well for me. I'm tapering down with no major issues to report. Thank you for asking. How are things for you?

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herewego

Things are going ok. I kind of judge how I am doing by my sleep. Had some stress, so taking a bit to fall asleep, so not cutting for a while. Also the time change kind of messes things up for me. I think once I adjust to the time change I'll make another small cut.

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RachelSusan

Hi Madeline,

Thank you for posting on my thread.  It means a lot to me to hear from someone else in this group. I'll be following your posts from now on. I'm glad to read that your taper from zyprexa is going well. I've been through heck with the zoloft but think I finally got this taper thing worked out.  I am one of those people that just has to go very slowly.  Good luck to both of us.

RS

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Madeleine

Hi Everyone:

I've been posting on everyone else's thread and have not updated mine for almost 3 months. So here goes:  I've finished the zoloft zyprexa (corrected as per Madeleine's post) taper almost 3 weeks ago. So far, the only "symptom" is waking up around 3 a.m., but mostly I can go back to sleep.

I am still on 200 mg zoloft.  I had tapered off that amount over 7 years!!!  The last 2 years I was on 25 or less.   I got down to 12.5, but then there was a death in the family, and I went up to 25 mg again, then tapered down slowly again. 

But then last December 2016, about 5-6 months after getting off totally I I had an "episode" after a lot of stress, maybe it was a panic attack?, with a great deal of anxiety, crying, etc. maybe, or probably/very likely it was delayed withdrawal and I should have ridden through it.  My taper had been very smooth.  I tapered progressively, approximately 10 per cent at a time, and held according to symptoms. But there were no really bad symptoms of note to complain about at all.  A bit of sleeplessness now and then, a bit of anxiety, etc. But I was totally functional.  So, I might have gotten over that wave in fairly quickly.  But, instead,  I panicked and took one 25 mg of zoloft and my anxiety did not get better, but worse, and I went to the hospital.  In hindsight a mistake, but that's what happened, and there I was given zoloft, and got extremely agitated. I mean extremely, and could not sleep and was pacing, couldn't sit still, couldn't read, etc. etc. I guess it's called akasthasia?  

 

And, so they kept upping the zoloft thinking that would help, when it more than likely made me worse -- it was increased extremely rapidly, from 0 - 200 in just a few weeks.  If only I had read on this site that one should reinstate at a low dose, I likely would have not gotten so agitated, and I wouldn't be in the position that I am now, having to start from square one tapering off such a high dose.  But, that's water under the bridge. Anyway, since I was so agitated. they gave me zyprexa, up to 10 mg, in the hospital and then a benzo too, which thankfully I stopped soon after I got out of the hospital.

I was in the hospital for 2 weeks, and on the 10 mg zyprexa about 6 weeks, before I started tapering it downwards. Since I was on it only a bit over a month, I went down bit faster than recommended on this site.  But, now I sam still on zoloft.  I've been on it 6 months now. 

I don't want to take 7 years again! Especially since the latter years I'd only been on 25 mg, and I had been on the highest dose for only a small portion of the entire time I was on it.  Perhaps I must go this slow this time around, and I know it's not good to put a timeframe on it, but I hope I can get off within 2 years.   What do you think? I am scared though, of the process, of having delayed withdrawal. It was really horrible last time in the hospital, but this time I will know if I feel bad, that it's likely delayed withdrawal and will ride it through.  

Edited by ChessieCat
made correction

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ChessieCat

"I've finished the zoloft taper almost 3 weeks ago. ... I am still on 200 mg zoloft."

 

I think you might mean that you have finished Zyprexa.  Thank you for updating your signature.  If you confirm that this is correct I will amend your post for you.

 

Yes, you have been doing a lot of posting on other members' threads.  Your posts are very thoughtful and encouraging. :)

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Madeleine

Yes chessie. That was a typo I'm still on Zoloft. Finished zyprexa taper. Thanks for your reply!

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Plshelp

Yes chessie. That was a typo I'm still on Zoloft. Finished zyprexa taper. Thanks for your reply!

You've finished the zyprexa taper? When did you finish? What was your original dose and how did you taper? Have you noticed any improvements since being off the zyprexa? I'm glad to hear that you don't have insomnia and are working on tapering off the zoloft.

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RachelSusan

Hi Madeline,

I wanted to say congratulations on your taper of zyprexa.  It's a belated congratulations but still heartfelt.  Yay!!! Way to go, you got off.

RS

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Madeleine
On 6/3/2017 at 1:51 AM, Plshelp said:

You've finished the zyprexa taper? When did you finish? What was your original dose and how did you taper? Have you noticed any improvements since being off the zyprexa? I'm glad to hear that you don't have insomnia and are working on tapering off the zoloft.

Hi Plshelp: Thanks for stopping by my thread.  I finished the zyprexa taper 3 weeks and 2 days ago.  The original dose I was on was 10 mg. I was on that dose for just over a month -- so not very long at all, which is why I think I could taper a bit quicker thant he 10  % every month recommendation.  I started tapering (dry cutting the pills) by 1.25 mg every 2 weeks. Once I got down to 2.5 mg, I tapered by .6 mg.  

I felt better once I got to lower doses, about 3.75 downwards, above that I felt very drugged as if my mind was in slow motion, and I had all sorts of twitches.    My sleep is not 100%, unfortunately, but much better than at the beginning of the taper. 

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Madeleine

Hello all who read this:

I've made the first cut of zoloft. Unfortunately, I only have 2 x 100 mg pills.  I took 1x 100, and dissolved the other one in 100 ml of water. I then took out 2.5 ml out with a syringe, threw that away and drank the rest.  It would be much easier if I had smaller denominations but this is what I have right now so will try to see how it goes with what I've got.

Any thoughts?  

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Madeleine

Forgot to say that when I drank the suspension, I got what felt like a head rush, and it tasted really bad.  But, I feel OK now.

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TikkiTikki

Hi Madeleine,

 

Belated congratulations from me too on kicking the zyprexa - big ups!!

Fingers crossed for the zoloft. Hopefully it won't take as long as last time because you've been on a shorter time? 

I've been reading your thread. I understand about looking back and wondering if you could have 'ridden it out' back in Dec last year. Since I found this site and read about withdrawal I've questioned much of my drug history, certainly my "relapses". After a seven year taper, it was definitely withdrawal. And you were so patient! But that just means you can do it again.

How do you feel on Zoloft? You mentioned that you felt drugged on higher doses of Zyprexa - does Zoloft make you feel that way? I just wonder because if you don't feel terrible taking it, perhaps you can just put the taper in the background, so to speak, and then having to do it again won't be so disappointing. (Though I completely understand!) I have a tendency to see the end of my taper as my focus, but really, many of the effects I was hoping for (being more motivated, alert, social, connected to myself, active etc) have already begun, so the 0mg point is more just some date in the future that I don't need to rush.

That's just my two cents :-)

fingers and toes crossed for your first cut...

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Madeleine

Hi Tikki:
Thanks for the congrats and for visiting my thread.  I feel generally OK on the zoloft, and don't feel drugged in the same way as I on the zyprexa.  I really hope it won't take me 7 years again. :rolleyes:  I  wasn't sure what you meant about putting it in the "background" but I think you mean just taper slowly and not think about it too much... is that right???  If so, then that is really good advice for me.  Thanks again! 

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TryingToHoldOn

Just wanted to congratulate you on recently being zyprexa free!  You have been a source of encouragement to many on these threads.  Always calm and positive.  I wish you well on your Zoloft taper.  If it takes 7 years, so be it.  Do whatever it takes to avoid WD symptoms. It's nearly impossible for me to manage.  Be well.

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powerback

congrats off Zyprexa madeleine ,i had a narrow escape from  Zyprexa in December ,GP gave me prescription ,I've had a tough time but at least i don't have to add it to my taper .well done and wish u well .

PB

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JanCarol

Hey Madeleine - well done on getting the Zyprexa out of your system!

 

Maybe you can get off the Zoloft in under 7 years - but here's a few things to consider...


First off, those of us who get drugged, tend to be more sensitive to begin with.  There are a number of videos on YouTube addressing the Extra Sensitive Person.  You might see if that fits you:  Anxiety and Highly Sensitive People  (the whole channel is excellent)

 

When we take the drug for the first time - it changes us.  The drugs make us more sensitive to the things that put us on the drugs in the first place.  There are studies to back this up - but I'm talking off the top of my head right now.   So - if you take an anti-anxiety agent (a benzo) - it makes you sensitive to anxiety.  If you take an antidepressant, it makes you more sensitive to depression.  I think the term is "increases chronicity."  The more drug (time and dose), the more chronic the condition becomes.

 

This can happen with the first pill, and the longer you are on the drug, the deeper and more lasting the changes are.  I do believe in neuroplasticity - but I also believe that we have never dealt with anything like these drugs in the history of Humanity.  There are many researchers who say that whatever it is they do - we can recover from it - but there is a change.

 

I'm finding in my own journey - that even when totally off the drugs - there is still a certain amount of vigilance I must maintain.  That any stressor, anything out of the ordinary - a change in routine, an event, a bad phone call, or just getting too tired, can throw me for a bigger loop than a "normal" person would experience.  That if I feel like I'm "slipping," or my energy drops out, or I begin to notice bad habits slipping in (like right now, I'm up at 5 am.  Whups!) - then I need to immediately take measures to address these things.

 

Maybe you could've gotten through December if you had a Wellness Bank Account (a daily practice built up that you could fall back on), or a toolkit to use to help you through the rough times (I keep a list of things to choose from when I cannot seem to function like I want to). 

 

Or maybe (because this is hindsight after all) the best toolkit in the world wouldn't have saved you from that cliff.  But here's the good part - the more times you live through this kind of stuff - the more resilient you get.  I won't say that the worst days are "just symptoms," but thinking of them as "just symptoms," helps.  And after you've lived through a few of those "worst days," you find - hey - I've done this before.  It's temporary, it will pass.

 

Maybe you didn't have that in December - but you will have it the next time the old shocker sneaks up on you again.  Then, you can learn what to do - the vigilance to keep - to prevent it happening again, or to mitigate the damage when it does "catch you."    Highly Sensitive People - Low Tolerance / NO tolerance list

 

As far as the nuts and bolts of your taper goes - Zyprexa is a big dog, with fangs and bacteria in its bite.  I would wait 2-3 months before starting your Zoloft taper, just to make sure you are out of the woods with that beast, before taking on the next one.

 

I was looking at your signature - is that 197.5 mg Zoloft - June 2017?  It's not clear from your signature when that drop was made.  Please, while you are updating, tell us when your last dose of Zyprexa was, as well.  That's a milestone you're going to want to celebrate!

 

You've got the tapering techniques, you know how to do it.  Maybe we can help you with some Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms to help you bolster yourself for future stressors.

 

I hope you see the sun today!  (that was my first tool in my toolkit:  a 10 minute walk in the sunshine every day)

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Madeleine
21 hours ago, JanCarol said:

Hey Madeleine - well done on getting the Zyprexa out of your system!

 

Maybe you can get off the Zoloft in under 7 years - but here's a few things to consider...


As far as the nuts and bolts of your taper goes - Zyprexa is a big dog, with fangs and bacteria in its bite.  I would wait 2-3 months before starting your Zoloft taper, just to make sure you are out of the woods with that beast, before taking on the next one.

 

I was looking at your signature - is that 197.5 mg Zoloft - June 2017?  It's not clear from your signature when that drop was made.  Please, while you are updating, tell us when your last dose of Zyprexa was, as well.  That's a milestone you're going to want to celebrate!

 

You've got the tapering techniques, you know how to do it.  Maybe we can help you with some Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms to help you bolster yourself for future stressors.

 


Dear PowerBack, TryingToHoldOn. Thank you both for your congratulations. I regularly read your posts so it was nice to see you posting on mine :-)

JanCarol: Yes, you are definitely right with your assessment and advice.  I had a lot of stress in December that had been creeping and building and I did not protect myself from it, thought i could handle it, and didn't take into account that especially as I had gotten off an AD within the 6 months preceding my tolerance for stress was low, and even before I used to push myself too hard. I will need to be vigilant as you suggested. I have been going to a therapist that does CBT with me, and I am learning a lot. Before I just went to a psychiatrist to whom I "talked" i.e.  just chatted about whatever was going in my life without proper analysis, direction.  Seeing the therapist is helping a lot.

I stopped the zyprexa on May 7, and started the zoloft taper 1 month later. You are right, that waiting would be good, but I had for the last few years of being on zoloft, six-months prior to December 2016 had been on 25 mg or less, and had not been on such a high dose, i.e. 200 for about 5 years or so.   It would have been better I now know to reinstate at a much lower dose, but the psychiatrist insisted that I needed "more and more" and I gave in.   And, I've been on 200 mg six months only and I am worried about being on that high dose for long as I worry that the longer I am on 200, the more my brain will get used to that high dose.  I made a first cut of 2.5, and this week another 2.5, so I am tapering at a rate of 5 % a month.  I'd rather start with these small amounts and at least make a little bit of headway downwards, to get to a lower dose, and slow down and hold at the lower doses.   Hope it works out OK.  So far I'm feeling OK.  

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JanCarol

Hey Madeleine!

 

The first part of the taper is the easiest part.

 

There's an article about it here:  The importance of tapering on plasma concentration

 

It shows that the difference between the top 30% of your dose is pretty level, i.e., a small change in dose makes very little difference.

 

But as you get lower in dose, it becomes exponential.  

 

So if your first few months of 5% go okay - you might be able to go to 10% for a few months until you reach that "ut-oh" point, then slow down.

 

Psychiatrists.  Geez, like more is better?

 

I hope you see the sun today!

 

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