Jump to content

Hope: Discontinuation syndrome while cross-tapering?


Hope

Recommended Posts

I am currently cross-tapering from Zoloft to Viibryd. I've gone from 150 to 62.5mg of zoloft and 10 to 40 mg of Viibryd over a 7-week peripd. Throughout the process I've had periods of insomnia, mood highs/lows, body exhaustion/weakness and fatigue.  However, not until I went from 75 to 62.5 did it become extremely uncomfortable. My brain feels heavy, especially in the front. I've had crying jags. I'm exhausted. I'm having trouble thinking, if that makes sense. My brain feels slowed sometimes.  I've started having what they call hypnagogic hallucinations--hearing things right before falling asleep or while waking up, which I had while decreasing Zoloft last year. 

 

I've been on ssri's for 25 years. I was on paxil for 13 years, and attempted to cross-taper onto Celexa over a period of a month. I literally almost lost my mind and had to go back on Paxil. I cross-tapered from Paxil onto Zoloft successfully about 7 years ago because I wanted to get pregnant. I had to use the liquid Paxil and it took months. I don't remember having much withdrawal during that one. I attempted to decrease Zoloft last year and had a near crash.  I've not quite been the same since then. I will say I've not done nearly as well on zoloft as I did on paxil, but I don't want to be on a drug that is SO hard to come off. 

 

My question is...has anyone struggle with discontinuation syndrome even while cross-tapering? And if so, how long can I expect to feel this way? Will I get worse?  My plan is to stay where I am until I see my prescriber at the end of the month.  I can tolerate it I think as long as it doesn't get any worse. I work full time (in mental health of all fields) and I have a 5 year-old. 

 

I have some some friends that have been on medication, but none of them struggle with discontinuation like me. I just want to connect with someone who relates. 

Diagnosis prior to taking SSRIs: Dysthymia, Anxiety

~Currently cross-tapering off zoloft onto Viibryd

~on SSRIs for 25 years; 

~After 13 years on Paxil, severe discontinuation syndrome (decreased too rapidly) while switching to Celexa

~successful cross-taper from Paxil to Zoloft using liquid Paxil

~Severe discontinuation syndrome last year attempting to decrease Zoloft

 

Link to post
  • ChessieCat changed the title to Hope: Discontinuation syndrome while cross-tapering?
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Hope, welcome to SA. We do not advise cross tapering as it is better to taper the original drug. Statistics show that over 50% of people suffer discontinuation syndrome (withdrawal disguised with a less scary title) when trying to come off anti-depressants, and bridging with other drugs rarely helps. The longer you take these drugs the harder they are to stop, and after 25 years you will be very sensitive to changes.  We recommend very slow tapers so that the brain can adjust to the lower doses between cuts. 

 

It will help us if you can put your drug history in your signature for us, you can find instructions here.... 

 

About tapering zoloft..

 

**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

 

 

Link to post

Hi Hope,

 

I stopped 100 mg of Zoloft cold turkey in 2014 and had all the symptoms you had, especially the crying jags, insomnia and fatigue.  I still suffer from poor sleep and fatigue 3+ years later. I also suffer from hypnagogic hallucinations only in my case, it's dreaming while I try to sleep but am still conscious and it's quite maddening.  I will close my eyes and start to dream immediately and have to pull myself awake because it's usually awful images of walking up to the edge of a deep hole or precipice or one time, of a truck with headlights baring down on me.  usually I am totally exhausted, but because of these visions/dreams/hallucinations, i have to pull myself out of sleep and do things.  I have had them now for over 3 years and may have to take an anti depressant again to see if this will get rid of them.  I had withdrawn from Zoloft and zyprexa for a year in  2005 and had the same hypnagogia problem along with vivid depressed dreams and later reinstated a dose of the drugs and this seemed to help.  

 

Poetjester

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

Link to post

Thank you everyone for the responses. I have updated my signature to reflect my drug history. 

Diagnosis prior to taking SSRIs: Dysthymia, Anxiety

~Currently cross-tapering off zoloft onto Viibryd

~on SSRIs for 25 years; 

~After 13 years on Paxil, severe discontinuation syndrome (decreased too rapidly) while switching to Celexa

~successful cross-taper from Paxil to Zoloft using liquid Paxil

~Severe discontinuation syndrome last year attempting to decrease Zoloft

 

Link to post

Hi Hope,

 

Welcome to the forum. I’ll leave the med advice to the staff to answer. I do have a question for you though. Did you have any problems with pregnancy while on zoloft? What dose did you take back then? Do you remember?

 

Tim

Took my first SSRI sipralexa/lexapro/escitalopram in 2007 for depression. In 2010 the doctor switched me to paroxetine/seroxat/paxil for anxiety.

My paroxetine story from then on:

 

2010-15 from 10mg up to 20mg

jan 2016 30mg

may 2016 0mg cold turkey (don't!)

dec 2016 symptoms: anxiety, tremor (could barely stand)

jan 2017 reinstated at 7.5mg to taper in steps of 10%

...

Dose changes from may 2017 to now: 

5.0/4.7/4.4/4.0/3.7/3.5/3.3/3.1mg

Link to post

Looking back, Zoloft was not as effective as Paxil. I was depressed mildly during pregnancy and had pretty severe-post partum depression. As far as the drug itself, I didn't have difficulties and my daughter is fine. 

Diagnosis prior to taking SSRIs: Dysthymia, Anxiety

~Currently cross-tapering off zoloft onto Viibryd

~on SSRIs for 25 years; 

~After 13 years on Paxil, severe discontinuation syndrome (decreased too rapidly) while switching to Celexa

~successful cross-taper from Paxil to Zoloft using liquid Paxil

~Severe discontinuation syndrome last year attempting to decrease Zoloft

 

Link to post

If I'm already in the middle of a cross taper and having difficulties what do I do?  I am crosstapering from Zoloft to  Viibryd. I al afraid to make ANY changes for fear of getting worse. I just learned that I have a variant in the serotonin transporter gene so My brain apparently doesn't clear serotonin the way it normally does.  I was doing okay will little difficulties until I got down to 62.5. I am uncertain what to do. I am extremely sensitive to these drugs, having been on them for 25 years. I'm starting to get more anxious and having trouble sleeping. I plan to talk with my prescriber next week about it.

Edited by scallywag
split from ebean's intro

Diagnosis prior to taking SSRIs: Dysthymia, Anxiety

~Currently cross-tapering off zoloft onto Viibryd

~on SSRIs for 25 years; 

~After 13 years on Paxil, severe discontinuation syndrome (decreased too rapidly) while switching to Celexa

~successful cross-taper from Paxil to Zoloft using liquid Paxil

~Severe discontinuation syndrome last year attempting to decrease Zoloft

 

Link to post

Hope, I understand what you are going through.  I remember the Terror of making any little change - for fear of it getting worse.

 

My psyc, years ago, used prozac to get me off of paxil.  I did not have my chemistry looked at...

 

Do you have a psyc?

Link to post

I have a psychiatric nurse practitioner who helped me make thee switch from zoloft to Paxil. It took MONTHS but I was able to make that transition without the problems I'm currently having. I'm pretty sure I made the drop on my Zoloft too suddenly. I went from 150mgs to 62.5 in about 8 weeks. I didn't start feeling bad until I dropped from 75 to 12.5 62.5. I had two really good days over the weekend so dropped to 55. Not good. I'm feeling a little better now that I'm back up to 62.5. I wish there was a whole team of medical and mental health professionals all in one place who specializes in this sort of thing. It's such a major ordeal for so many people. 

Edited by scallywag
correction as requested ↓

Diagnosis prior to taking SSRIs: Dysthymia, Anxiety

~Currently cross-tapering off zoloft onto Viibryd

~on SSRIs for 25 years; 

~After 13 years on Paxil, severe discontinuation syndrome (decreased too rapidly) while switching to Celexa

~successful cross-taper from Paxil to Zoloft using liquid Paxil

~Severe discontinuation syndrome last year attempting to decrease Zoloft

 

Link to post

(Moved from second created topic)

 

After posting in a couple of other forums I realized I needed to post here first. I've been on SSRIs for 25 years. If I had it to do over again I would have never started them. My history should show up in my signature. 

 

My current struggle is this: last year I decreased my Zoloft on my own after about 7 years. Unwise, I know. After about 3-4 months noticed I was feeling depressed and anxious and went back on the full dose. I got exponentially worse and thought it was still depression and anxiety. I am now thinking it was actually a heightened sensitivity to the medication because the withdrawal had already started.  In fact, up until I found this site a couple weeks ago I thought I was just getting mentally ill. In April I started a cross-taper from zoloft to Viibryd. I've had horrible bouts of depression, anxiety, exhaustion, all kinds of things that I thought was just zoloft not treating my depression and anxiety anymore.  

 

I think I have decreased the zoloft too fast, the Zoloft too fast I think.  I'm now on a full dose of Viibryd and 62.5 of zoloft. I feel like I probably should have stayed on Zoloft and waited for my system to have balance out, I was having "windows" as is described on this site. I had one just three days ago. But I can't change that now. I'm just not certain where to go from here. Do I stay at my current doses and see if I level out?  I plan to talk with my doc about it, but I'm just wondering if there has been any experience with this kind of dilemma? I'm scared. I've had terrible experiences with withdrawal, but I didn't recognize the full extent and consequences of it until I started reading this site. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat

Diagnosis prior to taking SSRIs: Dysthymia, Anxiety

~Currently cross-tapering off zoloft onto Viibryd

~on SSRIs for 25 years; 

~After 13 years on Paxil, severe discontinuation syndrome (decreased too rapidly) while switching to Celexa

~successful cross-taper from Paxil to Zoloft using liquid Paxil

~Severe discontinuation syndrome last year attempting to decrease Zoloft

 

Link to post
  • 2 months later...

Has anyone had an experience with being in the middle of a cross-taper and successfully reinstating the original drug to get relieff from withdrawal? I am currently struggling with a cross-taper from zoloft to Viibryd.  And wanting to hear experiences/thoughts.  My head is a very dark and scary place  sometimes. 

 

TIA!!!

 

-on Paxil for 13 years, with one unsuccessdul withdrawal attempt; symptoms dissipated completely after a couple months of reinstatement 

-cross-tapered from Paxil to zoloft successfully about sever years ago; the process took about six months

-attempted Zoloft decrees last year with terrible consequences, particularly after reinstating about 4-5 months after decreasing; leveled out some and the worst of the withdrawal dissipated, But never fully stabilized; I didn't realize at the time that the not stabilizing may be related to withdrawal an not to the zoloft not working well

-currently trying to crosstaper from zoloft to Viibryd and not doing well; considering reinstating Zoloft but uncertain how to do this. 

-recently learned I have a genetic variant which causes my brain to not get serotonin where it needs to go.  

 

 

Diagnosis prior to taking SSRIs: Dysthymia, Anxiety

~Currently cross-tapering off zoloft onto Viibryd

~on SSRIs for 25 years; 

~After 13 years on Paxil, severe discontinuation syndrome (decreased too rapidly) while switching to Celexa

~successful cross-taper from Paxil to Zoloft using liquid Paxil

~Severe discontinuation syndrome last year attempting to decrease Zoloft

 

Link to post
  • 3 weeks later...

(Moved from second created topic which is now merged here and this post is a response to this post.)

 

I didn't see anyone post in your thread yet. Have you heard from any of the Mods on the other threads you've posted on? It sounds like your system is reeling from changes perhaps? I have never heard of Viibryd, but I just looked it up. Are you trying to be on only Viibryd? 

 

Totally understand why you are fearful. The unknown, especially in withdrawal world, is quite scary as you just have to make a decision one way or the other and see how it turns out while being as informed as you can be. How long have you been on Viibryd? I'm sure it would be best to stay where you are until you stabilize completely and then see about continuing your taper. I'll let the Mods take it from here!

 

I do have a personal question for you - I saw on another thread you had a daughter while taking Paxil. Can I ask how long you had been on it when you had her and at what dose?

 

all the best to you!

 

Edited by ChessieCat

Sep '18 - became pregnant  in late August, then on 9/5 insomnia/anxiety went THROUGH the roof. I tried a lot of things but here is what is current: 

Paroxetine: 6.2mg (began 9/5/18, and there was a new manufacturer of which I just found out 2 days ago) during the day

Olanzapine 7.5mg at night

Ambien: 5-10mg at night

Xanex: 5-10mg at night

Fish Oil: for prenatal things

 

  • Aug '18: Paroxetine 6.6mg, (30mg thyroid hormone, fish oil, vit D3, SBI protect, probiotic. Following AIP diet)
  • Mar '16: began taper from 20mg. Decreasing .75mg or less each month or more. Sporadically used Ambien &/or Trazodone for insomnia. 
  •  Sep'15: tried to come off slower. Used fish oil, vit D3, and regular exercise/healthy diet to assist. (Taper sched= 18mg for 60days, 15mg for 60d, 10mg for 30d, 8mg for 30d) At my 3rd week of 8mg in Nov '15, insomnia and panic attacks began. Back up to 20mg after a month of horrible withdrawal. 
  • Oct'12-Sep'15: 20mg Paxil
  • Sep'12: 1st attempt to get off, naively tried cold turkey per Dr. suggestion. Couldn't work for 2 months. Another Doc upped dose to 20mg.
  • Jun '09-Aug '12: 10mg Paxil for severe insomnia due to anxiety. Also took Ambien/Trazodone for sleep.  Other meds taken sporadically: Ativan, Abilify, Xyrem 

 

My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness. 

 

 

Link to post
  • ChessieCat changed the title to Hope: Cross tapering

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy