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JMSS: How long will these side effects last?


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I have been on prozac for 25 years.  40mg, once a day.  I gradually eliminated the drug by myself without my doctor.  I did fine for the first 3-4 weeks.  Now, I am experiencing numerous adverse side effects.  I was looking for some support and input from anyone else in my situation.  I want to know how long things will be bad.  

Panic attacks; heart pounding/racing; brain fog; overly sensitive/sad/crying/sobbing; unbearable muscle aches; sweating for no reason; headaches; insomnia; uncontrollable anxiety; tingling fingers/feet/face

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to JMSS: How long will these side effects last?
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi JMSS and welcome to SA,


I'm really pleased that you have found this site.  What you are experiencing are withdrawal symptoms from having got off the drug too quickly.  SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the previous dose with a hold of about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.


The first thing we would like you to do is to complete your drug signature which will appear below every post you make.  Please follow these instruction:


A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature - ALL drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?

  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • 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.
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.


Unfortunately withdrawal symptoms can last for months and sometimes years.  The only known way to reduce the withdrawal symptoms is to reinstate the drug which you have stopped.  I'll give you a link to read and if you decide you want to reinstate we can suggest the smallest dose for you to try.  Please do not go back on the last dose you were taking because your brain will have already made some adaptations and the previous dose will probably be too much.  It is better to start with a small amount and then take a tiny bit more if needed than to take a larger dose which might be too much for your brain.


You may be feeling reluctant to go back on the drug, and it is common for members to feel this way, and totally understable.  I will tell you my own experience which may help you to understand that we become physiologically dependent on the drug (not physically).  I reduced my Pristiq from 100mg to 50mg and suffered very bad cog fog for 3 weeks.  Everything I did required my absolute full attention.  At the end of the 3 weeks I was unable to type.  Because I am a professional typist of 40+ years I knew that something was very wrong.  Fortunately I had joined SA a few days before and they has suggested that I increase my dose.  When I couldn't type I went and took extra Pristiq and about 4 hours later I was able to type again and my foggy head was clearing.  Since then I have been following SA's recommended slow taper and have only experienced minimal withdrawal symptoms and I am now down to 18mg.


Here are some links for you to check out:


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms


Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)


How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?

What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?


These really helped me to understand SA's recommendations:


Brain Remodelling

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery


This is your own Introduction topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.

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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  • 4 weeks later...

Welcome JMS,

please don’t be worried your in a great place. Just follow this websites advice.


1995 started Paxil 20mg slowly increasing to 50mg until 2014

-2014 I decided to tapper myself not knowing how too and crashed , DR added 50mg Seraquel

-2015 tried tapering again and crashed

Seroquel Taper

2/11/16 43mg  1/09/17  37.5mg  10/03/10 36.25mg. 17/3/19 35mg 26/3/19 33.75mg  4/4/19 32.5mg  21/4/19 30mg

16/7/19 28.75mg  5/8/19 27.5mg. 19/8/19 25mg   4/8/20 23mg 18/8/20 22.5mg  12/10/20 18.25mg  10/1/21 15mg  3/8/21 UPDOSE 16mg

Paxil Taper

2/11/16 40mg 12/10/17 37mg  28/10/17 36mg  10/1/18. 35mg  24/05/18 33mg  28/8/18 31mg 16/12/18 30mg 20/10/19 29mg  17/11/19 28mg 7/1/20  27mg 12/2/20  26mg 7/3 /20 25mg  11/4/20 24mg 4/5/20 23mg  5/6/20 22mg 23/6/20 21mg 15/7/20 20mg


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  • 1 month later...

JMSS are you okay out there.

Many people taper too fast with or without doctor support. 

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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