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LHarmony

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I have been taking 20 mg Fluoxetine for around 7 years, it was prescribed for me to treat IBS (who knew) and it worked.  Anyway I decided that maybe now was a good time to come off the drug and see if IBS was still a problem.  My Dr advised that I continue with the 20 mg but on every other day and then 20 mg every 3 days so on and so forth until I was finished.  Months later I discover this was not good advice and have been suffering delayed withdrawals for sometime.  The symptoms came on slowly and started with distorted vision in so much as I could still see but everything was fuzzy and my eye balls fell like they were popping out of their sockets,  this then moved onto major dizzy spells, making me nauseous and sometimes fainting and vomiting, some anxiety issues, trembling,  hot and cold body temps, now I have lost my appetite and have severe indigestion, diarrhea and it feels like something is trapped in my solar plexus and my head still feels like I don't own it.   I am currently taking 10 mg everyday and am holding at this until things sort themselves out although I have been advised to go back up to 20 mg but having come this far I am not sure that would be a good idea, I really don't want to have all these symptoms back again.  Unfortunately I had no prior knowledge of tapering or of the effect of withdrawals, so am very grateful that I have found this forum and maybe someone has some advice that they might want to share.  Knowing I am not alone is a blessing.

Fluoxetine 20 mg from 2010 till July 2017

Fluoxetine 20 mg alternate days until Dec 017 bad medical advice

Fluoxetine 10 mg everyday since Dec 2017

Taking Friendly bacteria since March 2018

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  • Moderator

Hello, Harmony, and welcome to SA.

 

I'm sorry you received such bad advice and are now suffering as a result.  We don't recommend tapering by alternating doses. The half-lives of almost all psychiatric drugs are too short for this to make any sense. It causes the amount of the medication in your bloodstream to go up and down, battering your nervous system, and makes withdrawal worse.

Your brain likes stability, to be treated gently.  It is ideal if you can accommodate it to lower and lower dosages. Move it slowly down a ramp by gradually decreasing dosage by an amount it may hardly notice. SA recommends tapering by 10% of your current dose with a hold of at least 4 weeks before your next decrease.The 10% taper method is a harm reduction approach to going off psychiatric drugs.
 This is explained in the attached link:
 
Here is some excellent information on withdrawal.  The symptoms you describe are typical of withdrawal.

 

When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  Some people have found the information and explanations at these links helpful:

 

To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly. Please includes the dates and dosages of your taper.
  • 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.  

How many months has it been since the withdrawal symptoms began?  Reinstatement of a very small dose of the original drug is the only known way to help alleviate withdrawal syndrome.  It doesn't always work.  The only other alternative is to try and wait out the symptoms and manage as best you can until your central nervous system returns to homeostasis.  Unfortunately no one can give you an exact timeline as to when you will start feeling better and while some do recover relatively easily, for others it can take many months or longer.  Please read the first few posts of this topic:

 
If reinstatement is an option to want to pursue, please let us know and we can suggest a dosage.  I would not go back up to 20mg, since in the months since you began diminishing your dose, your brain has adapted somewhat to the lower dose, and reinstating all the way back to 20mg could be counterproductive.  Depending on the information we see when you fill out your signature, the amount we recommend to add to your 10mg would be likely be in the area of an additional 2mg.  Then, once you have stabilized on that dose, you can begin a slow, safe taper of 10% or less.
 
In the meantime, the techniques described in these links have helped many members to cope with withdrawal.
 
Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 
Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. 
 
This is your introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community. 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 I am glad that you found us.
 

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.   

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8mg and shift to Imipramine taper

Aug. 5, 2022: shift back to Valium taper.  

Current dose as of Dec. 2, 2022: 2.6mg

Taper is 86% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Aug. 5: 9.5mg 

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg


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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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello and thank you for replying,

 

I started having disturbed vision in August 2017, this was only once or twice and I put it down to the incredible heat we had been having at the time, it was late Sept into October that I started to have indigestion on and off but each time it reappeared it got a little stronger, this then dissipated and I started to have dizzy spells  begging of December 2017 for a few days and then back to indigestion coupled with dizziness and sickness or nausea by Christmas I  had a dose of flue for a couple of weeks and then thinking i had recovered suffered a full blown dizzy spell where I collapsed and vomited and had to go to bed for the rest of that day, this was 31/12/17.   I have been experiencing these symptoms for a few days at a time,  some days it's all head,feeling of being smacked in the head with a frozen cricket bat, and then followed by  a  few days of stomach issues, I am either not able to eat and barely wanting to drink and then the exact opposite, bananas, boiled chicken and rice seems to be making repeat appearances at my table, then I get maybe a good day where I am actually upright all day.   My sleep is now being disturbed but that could also be down to the fact I have not had a cigarette since Dec 31st purely lost the craving for it so at least something good has come out of this so far.   I wish I could be more precise about when  my dosage was halved but it was probably around June 2017.  I have managed to acquire soluble flouxetine so at least I can cut them in half which is a lot easier than trying to cut a capsule.  It seems crazy that I am struggling so badly when I am only on one pill and I read on this site about other people who are having the same struggle from multiple pills.

Thank you for your time and  I am ever grateful for any advice that you may have to offer.

Fluoxetine 20 mg from 2010 till July 2017

Fluoxetine 20 mg alternate days until Dec 017 bad medical advice

Fluoxetine 10 mg everyday since Dec 2017

Taking Friendly bacteria since March 2018

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  • 5 months later...

Hello to anyone that may be reading this, having been a while since I last posted anything to be honest I just haven't felt like it. My symptoms are still with me, however I have noticed that I can get nearly a one and a half days which are fairly normal before I take a nose dive back into dizziness or head fog.  I have had odd moments where I feel myself veering to the left when out walking and having to sit down until the feeling passes, this led me back to the Dr's, this time I actually got a Dr that I thought was listening to me, said something along the lines of "Oh yes we are getting a lot more information out of America regarding Fluoxetine withdrawals" and then promptly gave me a prescription for more of the same drug but back to my original dose. Hmm giving that a bit of thought as having come this far do I really want to go back to the beginning?  I am keeping a journal and have realised I have other smaller symptoms going on that the head spinning has blotted out, aches and pains in my shoulders and arms when doing simple tasks like hanging the washing out what's that about?  On a good note my digestive symptoms seem to have settled down for now so I am able to eat and drink again and have gained some weight back, I now have some colour back in my cheeks and have still not had a cigarette.  Feeling light headed today so might just have to go for a nap, something I never really did before.  Has anyone else gone a year and then had to up their medication back to the original dose?

Fluoxetine 20 mg from 2010 till July 2017

Fluoxetine 20 mg alternate days until Dec 017 bad medical advice

Fluoxetine 10 mg everyday since Dec 2017

Taking Friendly bacteria since March 2018

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to LHarmony

just chime in about the veering to left while walking.

i had a similar sensation first time when I dropped lex dose from 0.8 to 0.2mg the next day my head was turning to right. That lessoned with the left side numb, tight ever since but not much turning. And then about 5 months off lex, and after a back injury, I found my entire upper body turns to right, that didn't last for long either. 

 

Now im 10 months off, both of the above aggregated 10 times with whole body muscle spasm and tingling and extreme tightness. I have been researching a lot and now convinced they are dystonia. 

Drug free Sep. 23 2017

2009 Mar.: lexapro 10mg for headache for 2 weeks.

2009-2012: on and off 1/4 to 1/3 of 10mg

2012 June--2013 Jan,: 1/4-1/3 of 10mg generic, bad jaw pain

2013 Jan-Mar: 10 mg generic. severe jaw and head pain;

2013 Mar--Aug. started tapering (liquid ever since) from 10 to 5 (one step) then gradually down to 2.25 mg by July. first ever panic attack, severe head/jaw pain

2013 Aug.: back to 2.75 mg; Nov: back to Brand Lex. 2.75mg -- 3mg,

2014 June: stopped PPI, head pressure/numbness. up-dosed 4.5mg, severe reaction mental symptoms added on

2014 Aug--2015 Aug: Micro taper down to 3.2mg, .025mg (<1%) cut holding 2-3 weeks.

2015 Aug 15th, Accidental one dose of 4.2mg. worsening brain non-functional, swollen head, body, coma like, DR

2016 Feb., started dosing 10am through 11 pm everyday 2/13--3.2mg, 3/15-- 2.9mg, 4/19-- 2.6mg, 6/26--2.2mg, 7/22 --1.9mg, 8/16--1.8mg,8/31--1.7m g, 9/13--1.6mg, 9/27--1.5mg, 10/8--1.4mg, 10/14--1.3mg, 11/1--1.2mg, 11/29--1.1mg, 12/12--1mg, 12/22--0.9mg

2017: 1/7--0.8mg, 1/15--0.7mg, 1/17--0.6mg, 1/20--0.52, 1/21--0.4mg, 1/22--0.26, 1/23--0.2, 2/13--0.13mg, 2/20--0.06mg, 3/18--0.13mg, 6/1--0.12mg, 7/6--0.1mg, 7/14--0.08mg, 8/17--0.04mg, 8/20--0.03mg, 8/28--0.02mg, 9/6--0.0205mg, 9/8--0.02mg, 9/17--0.015mg, 9/20--0.01mg, 9/21--0.0048mg, 9/22--0.0001mg,

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  • 1 month later...

Hi LexAnger,

this whole veering to the left is very disconcerting, thankfully it has subsided for now, have just recently had a vertigo type attack which had me laying face down on the floor room spinning and laying in my own vomit.. very scarey, took me three days of bed rest to recover and left me with the brain fog and head aches for a couple of weeks.  This week however has bee kinda special as my head has been almost clear, so not used to this that it left me feeling very unstable on my feet and the digestive problems I had experienced at the beginning have now come back, not as violent but just as annoying. I am also feeling very sleepy.. I wouldn't mind but I have only just got up for the day.

Fluoxetine 20 mg from 2010 till July 2017

Fluoxetine 20 mg alternate days until Dec 017 bad medical advice

Fluoxetine 10 mg everyday since Dec 2017

Taking Friendly bacteria since March 2018

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