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Kathee: Lexapro withdrawal


Kathee

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Hi,

I'm new to this site and this is my first post. I'm hoping to get some advice or shared stories as I am having a horrific time with Lexapro withdrawal. I was taking 10 mg for 20 years for depression and anxiety. Depression does run in my family but not sure if that has anything to do with why I was diagnosed as having it...probably not. How do you know if you are able to be without Lexapro after taking it for so long?

 

Of course, I would like to think that I won't always need it but not sure how to figure that out because I have been on it so long and did need it. Anyway, I have been totally off of it for 2 months and it is horrible. My family knows something is wrong. My anger is out of control...my depression, fatigue and don't care anymore attitude is way worse than before I started taking it.

 

I know this is part of withdrawal but at what point do I realize that I cannot go without it and to get back on Lexapro. I did have anger, depression and anxiety before I started taking it so maybe I just am one of the people that must take it. I have been on it so long that I am unsure whether trying to stop and see if I can cope on my own was a good decision. I do know that I cannot continue like this.

 

If I go back at a lower dose to ease withdrawal, I feel that I should just start taking it again and accept that Lexapro is a lifetime thing for me. As you can see, I am very torn and confused about what to do. Does depression and anxiety ever go way when you are diagnosed with it or is it a lifetime thing...any  replies or advice is most welcome!

Edited by KarenB
added white space

Kathee

Lexapro, 10 mg

Start date: June 2001

Discontinue date: May 9, 2017

Cold Turkey - no reinstate

Also taking Mercette from 1986 to current

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Hi, Kathee. I'm sorry that you are going through this horrific withdrawal after so many years on Lexapro. It can be an extremely challenging drug to taper off. How long did you taper for and what method was used? Was this on the advice of your doctor?

 

The symptoms you are currently experiencing are classic withdrawal symptoms and we often find a small reinstatement can help to ease the symptoms a little and create more stability. About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

To be able to help more accurately would you please put your withdrawal history in your signature. All drugs/dates/dosages etc. Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

 

These links may help:

What is withdrawal syndrome?

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

Neuro emotions

 

It may seem quite daunting right now but you can get off and stay off Lexapro if you choose to. It is not necessarily a lifetime thing. I was also told that by my doctor, as many of us are but I have been off these drugs for 3 years. Unfortunately, I was unaware of tapering and did it the hard way CT which is why I would recommend reinstating as a far gentler alternative.

 

Please have a read of the links and after we have a little more history we can recommend a starting dose if you choose to go that route.

Welcome to SA,

Ali

Edited by AliG
added white space

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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Hi Ali,

Thank you for your reply. I'm sorry, I didn't understand how to put the info requested under my signature.

 

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety by a therapist in 2001 and have been on 10 mg of Lexapro ever since. After she relocated to another state, the prescription has been written by my primary physician. I truly did need it and wonder if I am a lifer when it comes to antidepressants. I do have a tendency to be depressed, get frustrated and have anxiety. I will dwell on something when I should let it go. My dad was the same way.

 

However, this withdrawal is scaring me. I feel out of control, angry, have headaches and my anxiety is off the charts. Then there is the fatique...

 

I did exactly what I was told not to do by my doctor. I quit cold turkey on May 9. She told me to do half, then half every other day.

 

I was in hopes that I could handle depression and anxiety on my own but now I am scared that it is worse than I thought and need to stay on it. I could not handle it on my own before and needed the meds to even me out.  I only got about 3 hours sleep last night because my mind kept racing and dwelling on things.

 

Since I have been on Lexapro for so long, will it take years to get out of my system. Unfortunately, I do not trust my judgement right now as to what Is the best thing for me to do.  Is their any hope for me.....

Edited by scallywag
insert paragraph breaks for readability

Kathee

Lexapro, 10 mg

Start date: June 2001

Discontinue date: May 9, 2017

Cold Turkey - no reinstate

Also taking Mercette from 1986 to current

Link to comment
  • scallywag changed the title to Kathee - Lexapro withdrawal
  • Moderator Emeritus

Kathee,

 

Do you have any Lexapro leftover?

 

Here is the link to create your signature: Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

Your doctor should have been adamant and crystal-clear in warning you about the inadvisability of cold-turkey cessation; she clearly wasn't and has caused you unnecessary suffering. Even if you had followed your doctor's advice about how to discontinue Lexapro was, you might have wound up in the same situation. Most doctors, even psychiatrists, underestimate the risk of withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing these medications. Lexapro is probably the most potent SSRI anti-depressant and most people need to taper much more gradually than 50% decreases.

 

When starting these medications, our brain makes changes to adapt to them.  Those changes are not undone overnight when we stop taking the drug. It takes a considerable amount of time for our brain to re-adapt to its natural state in which no drug is affecting it.

 

The symptoms you are experiencing are almost certainly caused by withdrawal from Lexapro and not your original "condition." Please have a look at the lists in these two topics:

What is withdrawal syndrome.

Glenmullen’s withdrawal symptom list.

 

Please also read the topic AliG posted about reinstatement. Here's the link again: About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms .

 

This quote is from the FDA information to doctors prescribing escitalopram:

Quote

If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered.

 

Reinstating your previously prescribed dose, 10 mg dose of escitalopram, *may* be too high for your CNS (central nervous system). Too high a reinstatement dose could cause further nervous system destabilization because for the last 2 months your brain and CNS have been in the process of un-doing the changes they made when you were on escitalopram. 

 

Are you open to considering a reinstatement of a very low dose of escitalopram (Lexapro)?

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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Kathee. There is so much hope. We all have a tendency to be down at times and also anxious. We are human and that's life but it doesn't mean we need to be medicated for it as it is a perfectly normal part of living and surviving in this world today. Without drugs, it is usually temporary and we tend to move on naturally, however, drugs can complicate and often stall matters leading to general health decline long- term. I would advise reading Robert Whitaker's Anatomy Of An Epidemic. ( or You - Tube). Just google There are some great videos: "Psych Drugs Harm" Series 1/2. 

 

Cold turkey is the very hardest way to quit the drugs and I would never advise anyone to do it as it literally takes all your life and strength to get through it.

What are your thoughts on reinstating a small, very minute dose of Lexapro?

 

EDIT: posted at the same time as Scallywag.   

Edited by AliG

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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Hi,

I do have almost a full bottle left and refills. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I was in tears trying to figure out what to do. You are so correct that people don't understand how bad the withdrawals are. I sure didn't think they would be this bad. I am just scared that I can't control my anger, depression and anxiety without them now.  I wasn't very good at it before I started taking Lexapro. Do you recommend half a pill and for how long? 

Kathee

Lexapro, 10 mg

Start date: June 2001

Discontinue date: May 9, 2017

Cold Turkey - no reinstate

Also taking Mercette from 1986 to current

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Kathee, Please do not take a half-table of Lexapro just yet. We need to see your medication history in a signature.

 

Here is the link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature..

 

Here's a list of what should be in your signature and some suggestions about how best to format it:

  • Please summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly
  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs.

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

Link to comment
  • ChessieCat changed the title to Kathee: Lexapro withdrawal
  • Mentor
On 7/11/2017 at 0:13 AM, scallywag said:

Kathee, Please do not take a half-table of Lexapro just yet. We need to see your medication history in a signature.

 

 

Scallywag, I believe that Kathee is waiting for advice on how much she should take to re instate..........?/

 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Aug  2022❤️ loving life  ❤️ 
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Yes, I am waiting on advice as to what I should do. Tks, Happy2Heal.

Kathee

Lexapro, 10 mg

Start date: June 2001

Discontinue date: May 9, 2017

Cold Turkey - no reinstate

Also taking Mercette from 1986 to current

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Since you have been off for over 2 months I would start with 0.5 mg to test the waters.

 

Lexapro is a very nasty drug and 16 years a long time so I would definitely to all I can to reinstate.

 

Do you have the info on how to make the liquid suspension to be able to take only 0.5?

 

Once you do it keep a detailed log of your symptoms so that we could see what suggest next.

 

Sorry that it took so much time to get back to you. If you don't get a reply within one day just bump the post so that it stays on the first page.

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Thank you. When they give it to you there is no mention of the hell you go through when you try and quit!

Kathee

Lexapro, 10 mg

Start date: June 2001

Discontinue date: May 9, 2017

Cold Turkey - no reinstate

Also taking Mercette from 1986 to current

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

What is even worse, they deny it and say it is a 'relapse'.

 

For years I was convinced that my 'mental illness' which only manifested for the first time after I stopped the drugs was getting worse. And I was initially put on the AD benzo combo by a neurologist to treat a headache. I agree it was psychosomatic and it was horribly debilitating but still... I try not to think about that...

 

Let us know what you decide to do and how you go.

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi,

Is sweating all night long a side effect of Lexapro withdrawal or have I just completely lost it?

Kathee

Lexapro, 10 mg

Start date: June 2001

Discontinue date: May 9, 2017

Cold Turkey - no reinstate

Also taking Mercette from 1986 to current

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

I am assuming that you have reinstated.  Whenever you make a change please update your signature with the date and dose so it remains current and we can see your drug history at a glance.  Thank you.

 

Under the Less Common side effects you can find increased sweating:

 

https://www.drugs.com/sfx/lexapro-side-effects.html

 

Sweating is also a withdrawal symptom - #31 on this list of withdrawal symptoms Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

And this is a discussion on SA:  body-temperature-dysregulation-fever-chills-shivering-too-hot-too-cold

 

Edited by ChessieCat
Added additional info

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

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

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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