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HelloMyNameIsLuke: Lexapro 10mg, do I need to restart from full dose?


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Long story as short as possible; I have been on Lexapro 10mg for about 13 years.  I stopped it abruptly about 10 years ago after being on it for about 3 years.  Within the span of 6 months (maybe?) after stopping (most likey 3-12 months, unclear as it was so long ago) I had sudden onset illness that I have had to this day which is best described as fatigue, dizyness, lightheadedness, and brain fog. A lot of my symptom overlap with Mal Department syndrome, CFS, and dysautonomia.  Shortly after the illness symptoms started I started back up Lexapro to help manage the stress of the illness and never really thought Lexapro could be contributing to this illness until I was alerted to this forum from a illness group on Facebook which focuses on Maldepartment syndrome.  My illness has made me extremely sentitive to medications, smells, and stimulus.

I have tried to stop Lexapro once about 4 years ago before I know about the need for extremly slow tapering and had to get back on as the withdraw symptoms were very bad.

My goal is to get fully off Lexapro and see if my other illness symtoms change.  I started this process a few months ago by dropping Lexapro from 10mg to 7.5mg for a month and a half, and then dropped from 7.5mg to 5mg two weeks ago.  I now know about the 10% method and that my dropping was too much and too fast.  I did have withdraw symptoms the first 3 weeks on my initial drop and then stablized.  It has been two weeks since I dropped from 7.5mg to 5mg and have low level withdraw symtoms that seem to be getting worse the past few days.
Do I need to go back up to my original 10mg dose and slowly taper down in 1mg steps to properly get off Lexapro for my brain to adapt properly or should I just slow down the taper from this point? Not sure how to proceed.
Thanks to everyone for being awesome
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to HelloMyNameIsLuke: Lexapro 10mg, do I need to restart from full dose?
  • Moderator Emeritus

Luke -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)


I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.


Some people can cope with the 25% dose reduction in Lexapro that you took; many others find themselves having withdrawal symptoms. I would not suggest that you return to 10 mg, which you last took in mid-June.  Your CNS (central nervous system) has probably made some adjustments to the dose decrease and a return to 10 mg could be further destabilizing.  Your options at this point are either

  • holding at 5 mg and riding out the symptoms until they settle down (they usually do, but it may take many weeks)
    -- or --
  • sneaking up on a dose that will ease your symptoms, one small increase at a time held for several weeks.

If you want to "sneak up on an optimal dose," then you'll need to make dose adjustments in amounts that can't be done by eye, by a knife, or with a pill cutter.  People either crush and weigh tablets/powder or make a liquid:

Using a digital scale to measure doses.

Making a liquid from a tablet or capsules .

Using an oral syringe and other tapering techniques].

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)


Your symptoms are your guide in this process of updosing and in any eventual taper you do.  Please keep notes on paper of your symptoms and the times of your dose(s). This post has a useful format for a daily log:

Take notes of doses and symptoms.


To start, I'd suggest that you try a dose of 6.25 mg (halfway to your first step-down dose of 7.5 mg). Stay at that dose and monitor your symptoms for at least 2 weeks, preferably 3-4.  If no improvement, then you might consider another step up to 7.5 mg.  Please read this topic:

How long to stabilize after reinstating or updosing.


Time to taper down again will come after you've had either few/no symptoms or a steady "withdrawal normal" for a month or more. To minimize setting off new symptoms or intensifying existing symptoms we suggest making decreases of no more than 10% once per month.  One calculates that reduction for the next dose from one's current dose so that the amount of the decrease in mg is not the same each month: 10, 9 (↓1.0), 8.1 (↓0.9), 7.3 (↓0.8), 6.6 (↓0.7). For more details about this, please read:

Before you begin tapering -- what you need to know.

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?.


A request: Would you 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.
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

I've given you a fair amount of reading and at least one thing to do, so I'll wrap up this reply.   Please feel free to ask any questions and to let us know how you're doing. Asking questions in new post (reply) in this topic is usually the best and fastest way to get an answer.  Again, welcome.

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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  • 5 months later...

Luke how are you doing these days , any update?

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.


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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