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Seandempsey: Might have made big mistake with stopping Abilify and Gabapentin together


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Hello, I am Sean. Long time depression and anxiety sufferer. 36y/o, male. Have been on various meds since being a young teenager. Have taken most types of psychiatric drugs at some point. Recently been dealing with hard depression and possibly BP2 diagnosis (if that matters), and am currently on lamictal, Wellbutrin, Gabapentin and Abilify. Sadly I stopped Abilify and Gabapentin improperly a month ago, and now am worried I am going through serious withdrawals and don’t know what to do.


I have been on the Lamictal for about 6 years, and 1mg of clonazepam for sleep (or bad anxiety) for maybe 7-8 years. 


Recently, I had been taking 5mg Abilify since last summer (mid 2017) as an adjunct to treat depression and some psychosis, and also was given gabapentin for anxiety at the same time. I took the Abilify 5mg for a while, then would stop and start as I felt it wasn't doing anything to help, but eventually took is steadily throughout the last few months of the year. I would also take the gabapentin usually in the afternoons for anxiety attack flare ups. The gabapentin was prescribed as taking 1-3 300mg capsules 3x a day (for a potential max of 2700). I usually would only take 900mg a day, and that seemed to help me feel better. 


For the new year, I wanted to stop the Abilify and Gabapentin, and I had been tapering down the Abilify from 5mg a day to 2.5mg, but then forgot to take it with me on my christmas trip (December 22-28) and had to just stop.  I also tried to minimize the gabapentin use and don't quite remember how much I took it over the christmas break, probably semi regularly. 


I came home from christmas on the 28th (2017) and wanted to be off so many meds as they weren't helping the original intent. I was still on the Wellbutrin, but also had these thoughts of stopping/tapering that down too.


Well as of today it's been about 4 weeks without the Abilify, and maybe close to 4 weeks without gabapentin, and I am feeling very strange. Upon returning home, I have developed early morning awakening at around 4am every day (even when taking the 1mg clonazepam for sleep) and have extreme fatigue, obviously, through the day. But as I read more about the Abilify (and then gabapentin) withdrawals, I realized that I might have screwed up bigtime in thinking I could stop them.


The gabapentin I was never told had to be tapered down, I thought it was an "As needed" for anxiety med, and I had been taking only 1/3rd of what was prescribed (900mg daily instead of 2700mg). So I've been nearly a month off that. 


At the same time, in my goal to reduce my drug cocktail, I also thought I could take the Abilify down to 2.5mg for a few weeks, then just cut that down to zero. That's been about a month now as well.


But, now that I've read all through these forums, I realize that I may have screwed up real bad. It has definitely been a rough month of emotions and symptoms, but I attributed it mostly to some emotional strain over the holidays and a general continuation of my original depression/anxiety. But now I am wondering if I have thrown myself into a total loop by cutting off those two drugs so improperly, without doctor's supervision or advice. I thought I would be ok.


So right now, my quandary is: it's been a month, do I restart the drugs and try tapering over again, or do I just realize that I made a big mistake and push through it now instead of starting back over? This is what I'm afraid of, I feel stuck! And I am not sure how much my pdoc knows or is informed on these withdrawal syndromes. Plus it's really hard to get an appointment with her. I just had one this week and I didn't explain myself well (and hadn't read these forums) so I wasn't aware of the 10% rule and the other possible effects of stopping. 


I could use some advice or insights. I realize if I'd read these forums before, I wouldn't have stopped like this. But now that I'm a month in, I don't know if it's better to try and start back up, and then taper down, or just figure I need to live through it. I am happy to answer more questions here or in other threads. Please help, thank you!



Edited by Shep

Current: 200mg Lamotrigine, 1mg clonazepam at night, Wellbutrin 300mg XL

Withdrawing: Foolishly stopped Abilify 5mg to 2.5mg then 0mg quite suddenly, at the same time 900mg of gabapentin without realizing the possible extreme withdrawal effects.

History: Have tried many psychiatric drugs over many years to battle depression and anxiety from since I was a youth. Still battling. 

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  • Administrator

Hi, seandempsey.


Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants.


You may benefit from reinstating the Abilify and / or gabapentin. Here is some basic information on reinstatements:


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms 


And some information on polypharmacy and which drug drug to taper first:


Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?


And some general information about withdrawal:


How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


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


Healing from antidepressants. Patterns of recovery video (4 minutes)


Your polypharmacy situation is very complicated. The best way to sort this out is for you to keep a drug and symptom journal. This will allow you to see how each drug is effecting you and it will allow moderators to help guide you in a taper. A good format for a journal is here:


Keep notes on paper about your drug dosages and daily symptom pattern


It's important to keep track of how much sleep you are getting, as well. 


Please add some more information to your signature. The dates that you started each drug will be very helpful. Also, the dates that you discontinued the ones you are no longer taking also should be in your signature. Also, please list any supplements you are using. 


As you list your journal over the coming days, we'll be able to discuss if reinstatement is a good idea or not. 


Please use this thread to document your symptoms and to ask questions. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 


My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"


And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.


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  • Administrator

Welcome, sean.


What time of day do you take lamotrigine? What effect does it have on you?


How much sleep do you get? Do you have any other symptoms other than early awakening and fatigue?


In the last couple of weeks, have your symptoms been getting better, worse, or have they changed?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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