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Alpha23: palpitations after switching from Prozac to Lexapro and back again

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Alpha23

Hello, I was hoping someone could give me some advice about some severe symptoms I've been experiencing since switching from Lexapro to Prozac and back again. Here is my story:

 

Diagnosed with OCD and depression at 18. Prescribed 60 mg Prozac which I eventually manage to reduce to 30 mg. Continue taking this dose of Prozac for about 20 years. At the end of last year Prozac seems to have lost its effectiveness so I speak to my doctor about switching to Lexapro which I've heard has less side effects. As instructed by my doctor I reduce my Prozac dose to 20 mg for two weeks, wait 5 days without medication, and then start on 10 mg Lexapro.

 

Soon after starting Lexapro I develop some very unpleasant side-effects, most notably heart palpitations and tinnitus.  I speak with the doctor who tells me not to be concerned because the side effects are caused by "anxiety". Against my better judgment I continue taking the Lexapro for a total of 25 days. At this point the palpitations are so bad I have to stop taking the Lexapro immediately. I wait two days and then reinstate the Prozac at 40 mg. Things seem to be reasonably okay for about 3 weeks before all hell breaks loose. I wake up in the middle of the night with such extreme palpitations and dizziness that I end up in ER. However, the doctors find nothing wrong with my heart, conclude its anxiety and send me home. Two hellish weeks of palpitation induced insomnia and intermittent akathesia follow.

 

During this time I have a number of medical tests but nothing abnormal shows up in the results. The palpitations are worse when I lie down and though they cause some anxiety I am convinced they are not caused by anxiety. It feels like the part of my nervous system responsible for controlling my heart has been physically damaged in some way. When I try to explain this to my psychiatrist and cardiologist they don't understand.

 

The psychiatrist gives me Valium and the cardiologist gives me a beta blocker. None of these seem to make much difference so I'm given some Ambien to help me sleep. I take the Ambien for about 5 nights before I decide I'd rather deal with the insomnia. Eventually I get some kind of sleep, but it is still very fragmented and the palpitations persist. My chest feels really tight as if my heart is being pushed up against my chest bone and the palpitations are worsened by lying down, eating or feeling cold.  I lose my appetite and drop from 78 to 69 kgs in weight. I start filming my sleep so that I can show my doctor what happens. The footage shows me suffering from hypnic jerks and muscle twitching. These jerks are accompanied by electric shock like sensations that wake me up.

 

During the day I am still tortured by this uncomfortable feeling in my chest and the ongoing palpitations. It feels like my heart has a mind of its own and has been knocked out of sync with the rest of my body. The tinnitus (a loud, high-pitched ringing) also continues. After 18 years at the same company I have to take sick leave for the first time. I have been off work for a month now and have no idea when I'll be able to go back. I continue to take 30 mg Prozac because I feel things would be even worse without it. During the day I walk because this seems to help with the palpitations. I've started taking Magnesium L Threonate and krill oil supplements. I desperately want my life back.

Edited by mammaP
Paragraph breaks

Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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mammaP

Hi Alpha, welcome to SA. Sadly this is a familiar story here. When a drug stops working often the best course of action is to reduce the dose.  Switching from one to another upsets the delicate balance of the nervous system. First the  cold turkey of prozac ( such a fast taper is almost c/t to us) Lexapro is a strong drug that you reacted to. Then going on to 40mg of prozac after 20 years at 30mg is far too high a dose. Add another 3 drugs and the result is chaos.

 

Are you still taking valium and the beta blocker? 

 

When did you reinstate prozac? Some dates would be good so we can see the timeline from when you reduced the prozac ready to switch. 

 

Wen we have that information we can see what would be the best way forward for you. 


**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Fox

What happened when you say "the Prozac lost its effectiveness?"

 

I ask this because that is what slightly happened to me, I was fine on Prozac until my dose was upped and then my symptoms are very similar to yours. You can read my introduction. But I think it's something with the Prozac, totally my opinion.


Prozac 10 mg 03-15 to 10-15.

Prozac 20 mg 10-15 to 12-15.

Taper prozac 01-16 to 03-16.

Last Prozac 03-14-16.

 

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Alpha23

Hi MammaP, thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. Here's the information you asked for:

 

Are you still taking Valium and the beta blocker?

No, I didn't like the idea of having so many drugs in my system, so I only took 2 doses of the Valium and 1 dose of the beta blocker.

 

When did you reinstate prozac? Some dates would be good so we can see the timeline from when you reduced the prozac ready to switch.

 

December 30, 2016: Reduce Prozac from 30 to 20 mg

January 13, 2017: Stop Prozac

January 15, 2017: One dose of 2.5 mg Valium because very anxious (doctor gave me Valium in case I needed it when tapering Prozac)

January 18, 2017: Start 10 mg Lexapro

February 12, 2017: Stop Lexapro due to adverse side effects

February 14, 2017: Start 40 mg Prozac

March 5, 2017: End up in ER with palpitations and dizziness

March 6, 2017: One dose of beta blocker

March 7, 2017: One dose of 5 mg Valium

March 7 to now: 30 mg Prozac

March 10 to 15: 10 mg Ambiem

 

I also have a few questions that I would be really grateful if someone could answer:

 

I only have 20 mg Prozac capsules so I have to take 20 mg one day and 40 mg the next to average out the dose at 30 mg. I always thought this was okay because of the long half-life of Prozac but now I'm wondering if see-sawing the dose like this is a bad idea. What do you think?

 

I'm taking Magnesium L Threonate to try to counter the palpitations and to help me sleep. I chose Threonate because it is the only magnesium supplement proven to cross the blood-brain barrier. Which types of Magnesium supplement have people on SA found most helpful?

 

On the subject of supplements. Do you think it is a good idea for me to take them at this time or just try to get as much magnesium and omega 3s naturally in my diet? I feel like my nervous system has been hit for six and don't want to put any unnecessary strain on it.


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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Alpha23

What happened when you say "the Prozac lost its effectiveness?"

 

I ask this because that is what slightly happened to me, I was fine on Prozac until my dose was upped and then my symptoms are very similar to yours. You can read my introduction. But I think it's something with the Prozac, totally my opinion.

Hello Fox, I read your introduction and it is uncanny that you also crashed 3 weeks after upping your dose of Prozac. I've been on a medication roller coaster ride the past few months so it`s really hard for me to say if Prozac is the culprit. The particular type of palpitations I'm experiencing now first started on Lexapro, so I assumed Lexapro was responsible. However, it may have been withdrawal symptoms from stopping Prozac or indeed increasing the Prozac dose. Certainly the worst symptoms occurred after increasing the dose. Like you I had my hormones checked but according to the doctor all values are within range. I was actually hoping they would find something that could explain the symptoms - the hardest thing is feeling like this but not knowing what I can do about it. I'm glad you managed to stop taking Prozac and I wish you all the best for a full recovery!


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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nz11

I only have 20 mg Prozac capsules so I have to take 20 mg one day and 40 mg the next to average out the dose at 30 mg. I always thought this was okay because of the long half-life of Prozac but now I'm wondering if see-sawing the dose like this is a bad idea. What do you think?

Its best not to see saw doses check out this great link on keeping things stable

 

oh yeah welcome to sa.

nz11


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

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

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

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

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

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

Recovering paxil addict

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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ChessieCat

Being very patient.  I'll get there - slowly.  ETA mid 2021

ADs:  25 years - 1 unknown, Prozac (caused muscle weakness), Zoloft/sertraline; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after)

Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (mild Serotonin Toxicity)

Began tapering Oct 2015  Current from 17 Oct 2020:  Pristiq 0.56 mg (compounded + liquid)

My tapering program

My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)

My website - includes my brief history + links to videos & information on the web

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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Alpha23

Hi Alpha, welcome to SA. Sadly this is a familiar story here. When a drug stops working often the best course of action is to reduce the dose.  Switching from one to another upsets the delicate balance of the nervous system. First the  cold turkey of prozac ( such a fast taper is almost c/t to us) Lexapro is a strong drug that you reacted to. Then going on to 40mg of prozac after 20 years at 30mg is far too high a dose. Add another 3 drugs and the result is chaos.

 

Are you still taking valium and the beta blocker? 

 

When did you reinstate prozac? Some dates would be good so we can see the timeline from when you reduced the prozac ready to switch. 

 

Wen we have that information we can see what would be the best way forward for you. 

 

Hi mammaP, I responded to your questions already, but I'd like to add some more information if that is okay.

 

Even though I'm back on Prozac and off the Lexapro it feels like my nervous system still thinks it's on the Lexapro (as if it's got stuck in Lexapro mode if that makes any sense).

I say this because the experience of being on Prozac and Lexapro were very different to me. For example:

 

On Prozac I had no trouble sleeping but on Lexapro I would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep.

 

On Prozac I would feel thirsty and need to go to the bathroom a lot. On Lexapro the opposite.

 

On Prozac I craved food but on Lexapro I had no appetite.

 

This situation continues even though I stopped Lexapro and reinstated Prozac almost two months ago. Do you think my nervous system will eventually adjust to the status quo of being back on Prozac?

Being on Lexapro was really hard and the thought of being stuck in "Lexapro mode" much longer really frightens me. Eventually I'd like to be able to live drug free, but for the moment I'd be happy to stabilize on 30 mg Prozac.

 

Also, I used to run a lot on Prozac and found this very helpful in boosting my mood. Do you think it's okay to keep running even though when I run I can feel the palpitations first triggered by Lexapro?

 

Sorry to ask so many questions but all this is very new to me and I am a bit lost at the moment. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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MollyN

Hi Alpha, I'm so very very sorry for your suffering. Unfortunately, it's not a rare story around here, you've come to the right place to receive the right sort of help and support. There is A TON of info here - all awesome, just start working your way through the links at your own pace and you'll start to understand how it all fits.

 

I read the 40mg one day, 20mg the next situation you're in and my heart sank. That's really difficult for your poor brain. Can you cut the 20mg tablet in half easily enough?  - I remember mine came with a groove I think - and take a constant 30mg very day?

 

Better yet, and useful when you get to taper to smaller doses, a sensitive scale is very helpful. If you google this website and recommended scale, you'll find a link to good ones. I used a compounding pharmacist to make up a liquid, so I'm no help with the scale brand sorry.

 

If it makes you feel any better, then although what you've experienced is really horrible, it really is, you're not alone, these drugs have harmed a lot of people and the great news is that it's not always going to always be like this, and with an understanding of your situation and how to taper safely (and lots of other awesome self help tips) you'll find yourself on the way to recovery. 


 

Drug history

  • 20mg paxil in 2001 - 4 months use  
  • 20mg paxil in 2003 - 2 months use 
  • 20mg paxil in 2008 - 8 years continuous

Withdrawal history:

  • March 2014 - disastrous alternate day taper
  • Jan 2015 - 15mg to 10mg. Disaster
  • Sept 2015 -  10mg to 5mg. Disaster. Reinstated to 6mg. Relief
  • Oct 2015 - started slow 10% taper 
  • Oct 2016 - at 4mg- stop taking paxil (not recommended)

 

I'm not a medical professional. Seek advice from a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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Petunia

Even though I'm back on Prozac and off the Lexapro it feels like my nervous system still thinks it's on the Lexapro (as if it's got stuck in Lexapro mode if that makes any sense).

Hi Alpha23, I understand what you are suggesting is happening. But I think its more likely that your nervous system became destabilized by the sudden withdrawal of Prozac. Lexapro didn't fix this, nor did reinstating Prozac.

 

A sensitized, destabilized nervous system is going to function chaotically and will take time to settle down. It may not tolerate drugs or dosages which previously were fine.

 

If your symptoms are not getting worse, I suggest you don't make any changes for now. Take the same dose of Prozac at the same time every day. If symptoms get progressively worse, you may want to try taking a slightly lower dose. Prozac is a very activating drug and in a sensitized NS, this effect can be magnified.

 

If running causes increased symptoms, don't do it for now, but find a gentler exercise which doesn't have this effect. Perhaps walking for now, you will be able to resume running when you have stabilized.

 

Here are some links with information relevant to your situation:

 

The rule of 3KIS: Keep it simple. Keep it slow. Keep it stable.

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization


I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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mammaP

Hi Alpha, sorry I didn't get back to you, real life got in the way unfortunately.  Chessie has given you the link to tapering prozac, and Petunia has nailed it that your nervous system is struggling after the changes. It is also correct that alternating doses will not be helping.  As Petunia said you need the same dose every day and would be best to take 30mg.  You can make a liquid from capsules, you can find out how to do that here... http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2693-how-to-make-a-liquid-from-tablets-or-capsules/ 

 

I haven't tried L threonate, and prefer magnesium glycinate. it seems to be the best one for me from the many that Ive tried. Also epsom salts baths are amazing, the magnesium from the salt is absorbed through the skin and is very calming.  We have a topic  on magnesium where people share their experiences. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Things will settle down when you are taking regular doses but it will take time.  


**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Alpha23

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Will check out the links.


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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Alpha23

 

Even though I'm back on Prozac and off the Lexapro it feels like my nervous system still thinks it's on the Lexapro (as if it's got stuck in Lexapro mode if that makes any sense).

Hi Alpha23, I understand what you are suggesting is happening. But I think its more likely that your nervous system became destabilized by the sudden withdrawal of Prozac. Lexapro didn't fix this, nor did reinstating Prozac.

 

A sensitized, destabilized nervous system is going to function chaotically and will take time to settle down. It may not tolerate drugs or dosages which previously were fine.

 

If your symptoms are not getting worse, I suggest you don't make any changes for now. Take the same dose of Prozac at the same time every day. If symptoms get progressively worse, you may want to try taking a slightly lower dose. Prozac is a very activating drug and in a sensitized NS, this effect can be magnified.

 

If running causes increased symptoms, don't do it for now, but find a gentler exercise which doesn't have this effect. Perhaps walking for now, you will be able to resume running when you have stabilized.

 

Here are some links with information relevant to your situation:

 

The rule of 3KIS: Keep it simple. Keep it slow. Keep it stable.

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

 

Hello Petunia, thanks for the advice. I stayed on 30 mg for a while but palpitations and restlessness got worse. I felt like my system was overloaded so in consultation with my doctor took a 5 day break from medication during which time I started to feel quite a bit better. Now I'm back on a lower dose of 20 mg but symptoms are returning. I feel trapped because I know I can't quit cold turkey. On the other hand I don't want to continue taking a drug I can't seem to tolerate any more. I know I could start tapering but 20 mg is already a low dose for me and original psychological symptoms are getting worse as well. Do you think bridging to another SSRI like Zoloft is an option?  


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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Alpha23

Hi all, I had four good days of relative peace and then Thursday night I had really bad symptoms at night. These symptoms are really hard to describe - they are like mini explosions in my chest but they run through my whole body from my brain to feet. My whole body jolts as if it has been electrically shocked, and then I wake up.

 

The next day my Akathisia returned. I could feel all this tension in my body and my brain stem and back of neck was in an energized state. My heart palpitations also returned. My heart doesn't beat that fast (only around 70 BPM) but it beats really hard against my chest-bone and starts to get painful. Sometimes it beats so hard I can feel my whole body shaking.

 

Just wondering if anyone else has experienced symptoms like these and has any idea what to do about them.

 

Thanks,

 

Alpha


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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mammaP

Alpha I can't imagine why your doctor told you to stop for 5 days, then lower the dose by 33% .  People often feel great after stopping a drug, and think it's going to be fine but it affects the nervous system and symptoms return, often worse than before.  It will take time to stabilise and again we have to emphasise that taking the same dose, same time every day is very important.  We can't recommend any other drug to replace or add to what you are taking. It would likely make things even worse than they are. Your brain and nervous system are struggling and need stabitity. 

You will settle down in time, but need consistent dosing and stopping for 5 days has not helped. I am sorry that you are in this awful state but there are no quick fixes, it is like having an accident,  bones need to heal in their own time, a brain recovers from injury in it's own time. And your brain will recover in it's own time, but you have to give it that time. 


**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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MollyN

'a 5 day break' that's truly horrible advice, what on earth.

 

I'm so sorry - it's little wonder you felt so dreadful xx


 

Drug history

  • 20mg paxil in 2001 - 4 months use  
  • 20mg paxil in 2003 - 2 months use 
  • 20mg paxil in 2008 - 8 years continuous

Withdrawal history:

  • March 2014 - disastrous alternate day taper
  • Jan 2015 - 15mg to 10mg. Disaster
  • Sept 2015 -  10mg to 5mg. Disaster. Reinstated to 6mg. Relief
  • Oct 2015 - started slow 10% taper 
  • Oct 2016 - at 4mg- stop taking paxil (not recommended)

 

I'm not a medical professional. Seek advice from a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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Alpha23

Alpha I can't imagine why your doctor told you to stop for 5 days, then lower the dose by 33% .  People often feel great after stopping a drug, and think it's going to be fine but it affects the nervous system and symptoms return, often worse than before.  It will take time to stabilise and again we have to emphasise that taking the same dose, same time every day is very important.  We can't recommend any other drug to replace or add to what you are taking. It would likely make things even worse than they are. Your brain and nervous system are struggling and need stabitity. 

You will settle down in time, but need consistent dosing and stopping for 5 days has not helped. I am sorry that you are in this awful state but there are no quick fixes, it is like having an accident,  bones need to heal in their own time, a brain recovers from injury in it's own time. And your brain will recover in it's own time, but you have to give it that time. 

 

Thanks mammaP. I've bought an oral syringe and glass jar so that I can make a liquid from my 20 mg capsules and stabilize my dose at 30 mg per day. The only concern I have is that I don't know whether my symptoms are caused by:

 

(1) A generally destabilized nervous system or (2) An adverse reaction to reinstating Prozac at too high a dose after my failed Lexapro switch.

 

If it's (1) then stabilizing at 30 mg per day makes sense. If it's (2) then I'm not sure what I should be doing.

 

Would you agree that stabilizing at 30 mg is the best course of action for now?


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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mammaP

You could stay at 20 since you were off for 5 days then restarted at 20.  It will take time to stabilise so try to be patient and not change anything for a while. Adverse reactions and withdrawal both cause  nervous system instability, the more chsnges there are the more unstable the CNS becomes. . Sadly an adverse reaction doesn't always get better when a drug is stopped as you have discovered. It can take a long time even after the drug is out of the system.  Reducing slowly means your body adjusts as the doses lower. 


**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Alpha23

Hello MammaP, As advised I've stabilized my Prozac dose at 20 mg/day. I'm also taking Omega 3 Krill oil, Magnesium Glycinate and L-Theanine. I've definitely seen some improvement in sleep quality and a reduction in heart palpitations. However, I'm experiencing quite a bit of agitation and anxiety during the day. I've tried walking and yoga but these only seem to provide temporary relief so about 2 times a week I've had to resort to taking 5 mg Valium. I know the advice on here would be to try to tough it out and wait for things to get better but I'm under a lot of pressure to return to work soon and don't think I'll be able to handle it with my current level of agitation and anxiety.

 

There is also the issue of 20 mg Prozac being a very low dose for my OCD so I have been considering some other options. I saw a new psychiatrist last week who says I could try cross-tapering to Zoloft. He thinks cross tapering would be safer than stopping Prozac abruptly. I know you stated on my thread that adding another drug could make things worse, but do you think this is an option I could consider - starting out on a very low dose of Zoloft and gradually increasing it so that I can carefully monitor any adverse reactions?

 

A second option would be trying to slowly increase my Prozac dose back up to 30 mg/day. Maybe I will be able to handle a higher dose now that my CNS has settled down somewhat but I'm also aware that I've taken Prozac for a very long time and it appears to have lost a lot of its effectiveness for me.

 

A third option would be continuing on 20 mg Prozac but adding a low dose of another drug to try to balance out the anxiety and agitation. I do feel quite balanced when combining 5 mg Valium with 20 mg Prozac but of course am concerned about the long term risks. I really wish that I could function drug free but my OCD can be quite severe and Prozac did offer me a good measure of relief for a long time. Whatever decision I make will be my responsibility in consultation with my psychiatrist but it would be great to hear your opinion. Thanks, Alpha

Edited by AliG
added paragraph breaks

Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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AliG

Hi Alpha. There's an inclination to want to do something to improve your symptoms but the best action right now is to do nothing. Your poor CNS is struggling as a result of all the changes it has experienced recently.

 

You have had many drug changes as seen here :

 

 December 30, 2016: Reduce Prozac from 30 to 20 mg

January 13, 2017: Stop Prozac

January 15, 2017: One dose of 2.5 mg Valium because very anxious (doctor gave me Valium in case I needed it when tapering Prozac)

January 18, 2017: Start 10 mg Lexapro

February 12, 2017: Stop Lexapro due to adverse side effects

February 14, 2017: Start 40 mg Prozac

March 5, 2017: End up in ER with palpitations and dizziness

March 6, 2017: One dose of beta blocker

March 7, 2017: One dose of 5 mg Valium

March 7 to now: 30 mg Prozac

March 10 to 15: 10 mg Ambiem

 

Prozac 20 mg is a considerable dose and it would be wise to stabilize at this amount for now. As mentioned already, the more changes you make the more unstable your CNS can become.

 

You have seen some improvement in sleep quality and reduction in heart palpitations which is a positive sign but it's still early days and it will take some considerable time for your CNS to stabilize fully after the erratic see-saw dosing pattern you have been following not to mention the 5 day break that you recently went through.

 

Cross tapering or adding another drug at this stage could and probably would just add to the instability that you are already experiencing.

 

If you can take the same dose at the same time each day and keep a consistent routine it will give your system a chance to settle from the chaos it has been going through recently. Your body is always trying to reach homeostasis and by allowing calm and stability you will be giving it what it needs the most. 

 

Deep breathing and meditation help anxiety as does magnesium. These links have some valuable tips and ideas for dealing with these symptoms.

 

Guided Meditations, Calming Videos, Sleep Hypnosis

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1355-breathing-for-mood-and-well-being-yoga-and-other-techniques/


Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Alpha23

Thanks AliG, as you say I do feel an inclination to do something to make myself feel better. I'm under pressure to return to work - partly financial pressure, but also pressure from people around me who don't fully understand what I'm going through. Part of me is tempted to try another drug because I was in a very bad state before Prozac and it did allow me to function well for a long time before losing effectiveness. On the other hand I'm wary about destabilizing my CNS even more.


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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AliG

Alpha. It can often take some time to realize is that sometimes doing nothing is doing more for you than anything else. Keeping stable is of paramount importance during this process and ultimately leads to decreasing symptoms in the long term.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6632-the-rule-of-3kis-keep-it-simple-keep-it-slow-keep-it-stable/

 

I understand how tempting it is to try and find the perfect drug. This is what originally lead me to SA. I searched for the perfect antidepressant with no side effects. Unfortunately it doesn't exist. All medications have effects and it's accumulative. You may want to read Robert Whitaker's Anatomy Of An Epidemic. There are also you - tube videos. Psych Drugs Harm. Pt 1 Robert Whitaker. Pt 2 Peter Gotzsche.

 

These drugs usually always lose their effectiveness because their effect wears off just like alcohol or a street drug. It's usually just a matter of time before they do. It's different for everyone as to the time span.They are in effect disabling.

 

I had to educate some of those around me so as to have some small level of understanding. Like anything in this process, it can take time but is worth it if you can gain positive reinforcement. It helps a lot.

 

Please read the links and in the meantime stay where you are for now, at least.


Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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mammaP

I agree with Ali, staying where you are is the very best thing to do. Doctors are always happy to write prescriptions for one drug after another and eventually, the brain says it has had enough. There are many ways of coping with the symptoms while stabilising and we have all had to learn them. It is not easy but will pay off in the long run. I know several people who are taking psych drugs and they swear they need them but they are unable to work because of side effects or because they are depressed / OCD / anxiety even while they are taking the drugs. This is because they have all started taking other drugs trying to get that perfect sweet spot and ended up with a toxic cocktail. I was also in this state for years, believing the lies that I needed the drugs like insulin. This is your chance to stabilise and learn to cope without drugs.  You will get there with patience, we all will. 


**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Alpha23

Thank you Ali and mammaP. Just thought I would write an update. I continue to take 20 mg Prozac per day, though I made the mistake of taking one Benadryl to treat my hay fever and hopefully help me sleep better. Unfortunately, I had a bad reaction that triggered another bout of extreme restlessness and insomnia that lasted 3 days. I've since learned that the active ingredient in Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) works like an SRI, which might explain the paradoxical reaction I experienced.

 

Apart from this, each day continues to be a struggle against various symptoms such as chest tightness, nervousness and inner restlessness. My doctor says 20 mg is too low a dose to be effective against anxiety and is suggesting that I try raising it. I don't know what to do because I suspect raising the dose will make me feel worse - at least in the short-term until my body adjusts to the change.

 

My parents think I should listen to the doctor because he is "qualified", but I originally got into this mess by listening to another "qualified" doctor. Do you think my current symptoms could be caused by lowering the dose too quickly? And if I do try raising the dose, does the 10% rule apply also when increasing dosage?


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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Alpha23

Just wondering if any of the mods could give me some support because I'm starting to feel desperate. Still on Prozac 20 mg but feel really bad and wondering if I can ever recover. Do I have any options other than staying at 20 mg for the foreseeable future? I understand that stability is very important but things have been close to unbearable these past few days.

 

 


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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Alpha23

Just wondering if anyone knows of a doctor I could see in the UK who understands AD withdrawal and adverse effects. I live overseas now but am considering returning to the UK for treatment. I know about Dr David Healy but understand that he is difficult to see. Does anyone know of any other options. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Alpha


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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scallywag

Alpha, I hope that some of our UK members have suggestions of doctors who have been helpful.

 

The only options are decrease dose, continue at the same dose, or increase dose. 

 

Continuing at the same dose is the lowest risk option. The only way to find out if your CNS (central nervous system) will react negatively to a dose change is to make the dose change and suffer the consequences.  You -- and many others -- find themselves in a highly intolerable and nearly impossible situation. I wish I had better news.


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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Alpha23

Thanks Scallywag. I can't believe that I consulted two doctors before trying to switch medications and neither of them warned me of the potential risks. If I had known there was a possibility of ending up in this situation I would never have attempted to make the switch.

 

Just a few questions about potentially increasing or decreasing the dose.

 

1. One of my worst symptoms at the moment is inner restlessness. I find it very difficult to sit still and concentrate on anything. If this can be alleviated somewhat by changing the dose, which is more likely to be successful: increasing or decreasing the dose?

 

2. With the long half-life of Prozac how long should I wait before judging the effects of a dose change?

 

3. When raising the dose is it okay to jump from say 20 to 30 mg, or should I taper up as well as down?

 

Thanks,

 

Alpha

 

 


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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scallywag

Your questions about changing the dose:

  1. I can't tell you what will happen with the inner restlessness as a result of a dose change.
     
  2. A negative reaction to a dose change will arise quickly. Positive effects likely won't be noticeable until after the medication has reached a new steady daily cycle, which with Prozac is at least 6 days. It can take several weeks more for your CNS to react.  So give it at least 2-3 weeks.
     
  3. We suggest that people take small steps when titrating upwards, i.e. not going from 20 mg to 30 mg all at once.

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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Alpha23
6 hours ago, scallywag said:

2. A negative reaction to a dose change will arise quickly. Positive effects likely won't be noticeable until after the medication has reached a new steady daily cycle, which with Prozac is at least 6 days. It can take several weeks more for your CNS to react.  So give it at least 2-3 weeks.
 

Thanks again Scallywag. Just an additional question related to your answer above. If I experience a negative reaction to a dose change, is it worthwhile to ride it out for at least 2-3 weeks to see what the positive effects might be? I understand this has to be my decision, I just want to know if it's possible for initial negative reactions to subside and be replaced by positive effects.


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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scallywag

It depends on the negative reaction. If it affects your ability to breathe, waiting 3 weeks isn't a good idea. Read the patient information for side effects and monitor for the serious ones. If you don't have a patient information pamphlet, look up the medication on drugs.com for the U.S. FDA approved patient information on side effects.


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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Alpha23

Thanks, will do...


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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grandmaD

I thought I would drop by and read your journal.  so sorry that just like so many others, in the same boat. 

 

Don't trust doctors, they don't have a clue.  You will get advice on this site.

 

In a nutshell, my opinion - and I am not a moderator, so correct me if I am wrong, but I would sum it all up with the CT from the Paxil.  Just because you switched to another drug, that will not stop the w/d affects from the Paxil (the ingredients are different). 

 

Before my slow taper, I was switched to THREE different drugs and had horrendous, hellish results.  I blamed those 3 drugs at the time, but I realise now, it wasn't those drugs, it was the w/d from the Paxil.  When I went back on it to a full dose, I was fine again.

 

After CT Paxil and being on it for 20 years, and re-instating after the 3 swtiches, it took me AT LEAST 6 MONTHS to get out of the hell hole I was in.  I WOULD NOT introduce any more drugs, and confuse the brain even more.

 

When we are suffering, we just want "to do" something - "anything" like Ali said, but what she said was SOS GOOD, that do do NOTHING, is doing something and the best thing to do.  You just have to ride it out and give it time.  I wish i could offer something more encouraging for you, but I am afraid there is nothing encouraging about this rotten process!

 

Every time I hit a bad patch - I am off to the doctor for help, despite knowing he doesn't have a clue - the last time I did that, just recently, he wanted to switch me to another a/d and a sleeping pill (for anxiety).  I tore the script up!


1995-2007      20mg Aropax/Paxil for pain.  Years of up and down doses

2008                Endep, Lexapro and then Esipram (hell!) CT (oh dear!)

2009                20mg Aropax.  Tried skipping doses for a year (more hell!)

                        2010                10mg.  10% taper.  Lasted 4 months. Crashed again

2011                5% taper. 9mg-7mg (hell got even worse!)

2012                2.5% taper.  6.6mg – 5.6mg (worser still & unbearable)

2013                5% taper.  Big mistake.  5.5mg – 4.6mg  (even worserer)

2014                2.5% taper.  4.9mg – 4.5mg;    2015 2.5% taper 4.4 - 4.0mg

2016                2.5% taper.  3.9mg  Feb 3.8   Mar 3.7  May 3.6   Jul 3.5

2017                2.5% taper.  Jan 3.4;   Mar 3.35;  Apr 3.3; Oct 3; Dec 2.9;

2018                2.5% taper. Jan 2.8; Mar 2.7; Mar: 2.75; Jun 2.7; Aug 2.6; Oct 2.5; Nov 2.4; Dec 2.3

2019                Jan 2.2; Feb 2.1;

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Alpha23

Hi grandma D,

 

Yes, I think stopping my original drug too fast is a large part of why I'm in this situation. Unfortunately, my doctor didn't warn me of the dangers - he made it sound like switching from one SSRI to another would be fairly simple - I might experience some initial side effects, but everything would be okay after a few weeks. When things didn't turn out as expected, he immediately blamed it on anxiety and prescribed even more drugs. Sadly I think that is the standard response - blame the patient when things go wrong, never the drugs!

 

Thanks for the advice about riding it out and giving it time. I haven't hit 6 months yet so hopefully things will start to improve soon!


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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Alpha23

Thought it was about time for an update, so here goes. Any help/advice from the moderators would be greatly appreciated.

 

I'm still on 20 mg Prozac per day but finding it very difficult to function. Have tried up-dosing slightly but never get beyond a few days before going back down. Most difficult symptoms at the moment are chest tightness, shallow breathing and pounding heart. The other night it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest - like an asthma attack but without the wheezing. It feels like something is wrong with my cardiovascular system so that I can't get enough oxygen into my body. My doctor thinks my symptoms are caused by GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) but psychologically I'm not that anxious - any anxiety I feel seems to be triggered by the physical symptoms rather than the other way round. When things get unbearable I've had to resort to taking 0.5 mg clonazepam. I've fought hard to avoid this, but fear I might harm myself if I don't get some relief. On the days I take clonazepam I'm much better able to function, so the thought of taking a low dose regularly is tempting. On the other hand I suspect I've already become reliant on clonazepam to some extent and it's a double-edged sword because my symptoms rebound once it has worn off.

 

I believe my failed switch to Lexapro and reinstatement of Prozac at too high a dose have upset the balance of my autonomic nervous system. Normally the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous systems should be balanced. However, in my case the sympathetic nervous system is dominant so my body feels really tense and I cannot relax. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to restore the balance? I've tried magnesium and L-theanine supplements. They have helped to some extent but not enough to restore equilibrium. As stated above, clonazepam does relax me but rebound symptoms are worse. I haven't tried beta blockers but understand they may be an option. I know that ideally I should just wait for my CNS to heal naturally but that can be so hard when the symptoms are so tortuous and you have no idea when if ever they are going to stop. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Alpha 


Prozac 30 mg for many years.

Short two-week taper to 20 mg followed by 5 day washout period. (January 2017)

Lexapro 10 mg for 25 days. Stopped due to intolerable side-effects, notably palpitations and tinnitus. (February 2017)

Two day washout period before reinstating Prozac at 40 mg. (February 2017)

3 weeks later end up in ER due to severe palpitations and dizziness. (March 2017)

2 weeks of insomnia and intermittent akathesia. (March 2017)

Currently on Prozac 20 mg (just trying to stabilize, not ready to taper yet).

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grandmaD

I saw your post some time ago, but I have not been able to respond due to my own difficulties.  I am sorry that no mods have responded as yet.

 

I can only verify that the symptoms you have like something extremely heavy sitting on your chest, the tightness, difficulty breathing, etc. are symptoms I have had from the word go and still have them after 6+ years.  It is very disconcerting and not much you can do except relaxation exercises and deep breathing.  Have you read Claire Weekes book, it is very helpful because the fear and anxiety of these symptoms can cause secondary fear and anxiety, ramping it all up worse.  I do jig saw puzzles as a distraction which is somewhat helpful.

 

I think you can be pretty sure they are not from GAD but are withdrawal symptoms and adding more meds will only confuse your brain more. 

 

Continue to take the time to stabilise, it looks like you were only off for 1 month, but I cannot see how you got from 30mg to 20mg???  Did you do that too fast and that is also causing these problems?

 

I also have palpitations which is scarey when you first get them.  I had my heart checked out and was okay and a stress test, which I failed, but that was due to the breathless, heavy chest, etc thing more than my heart I suspect.  You can get these things checked also if you are worried and then it is one thing less to worry about!

 

Dizzy is a common issue.  I still get that, but not every day now and it doesn't worry me much, my other symptoms are a pain in the butt and cause me more suffering.

 

Be patient, I know that's easier said than done, sorry!  But it's about the only thing apart from resting, relaxing, walking is good, and any distractions you can find!

 

Oh, ok, just read your signature and saw you did a 2 week taper from 30mg to 20mg!!!!  THAT IS WHY YOU HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS!!!   WAY,  WAY TOO FAST!  I tried that too, so many times over about 10 years before I found this site.

 

Like you, I tried small up-doses which never worked, but every time I went back to a full dose, I was great!  It's up to you whether you want to go back to a full dose and stabilise again and then do a slow taper.  If you are going to self-harm, I would advise this course of action.  A more happy medium might be to go up to 25mg, a compromise and see how you go? 

 

Beta blocker was suggested by doc for me too, but can't remember now why I didn't go for that one.  Can a Moderator advise here???

 

Docs also prescribed me benzo to help calm nervous system, but ended up with rebound affect so they made things even worse in the end... and I was only taking 1/2 to start with once a week and then 1 once a week but soon I needed more and more often, and combined with the rebound affect, I decided to put them in the garbage.


1995-2007      20mg Aropax/Paxil for pain.  Years of up and down doses

2008                Endep, Lexapro and then Esipram (hell!) CT (oh dear!)

2009                20mg Aropax.  Tried skipping doses for a year (more hell!)

                        2010                10mg.  10% taper.  Lasted 4 months. Crashed again

2011                5% taper. 9mg-7mg (hell got even worse!)

2012                2.5% taper.  6.6mg – 5.6mg (worser still & unbearable)

2013                5% taper.  Big mistake.  5.5mg – 4.6mg  (even worserer)

2014                2.5% taper.  4.9mg – 4.5mg;    2015 2.5% taper 4.4 - 4.0mg

2016                2.5% taper.  3.9mg  Feb 3.8   Mar 3.7  May 3.6   Jul 3.5

2017                2.5% taper.  Jan 3.4;   Mar 3.35;  Apr 3.3; Oct 3; Dec 2.9;

2018                2.5% taper. Jan 2.8; Mar 2.7; Mar: 2.75; Jun 2.7; Aug 2.6; Oct 2.5; Nov 2.4; Dec 2.3

2019                Jan 2.2; Feb 2.1;

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