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SickOfIt

SickOfIt: 25 years of Prozac

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SickOfIt

I have been on Prozac for about 25 years. I tried to taper few times in the past, but it didn't work. So what can be different this time?

I am hoping this board will make the difference. I know I can't do it alone. 

 

I am now taking 10 mg Prozac daily. I was on 40 mg about 2 years ago, and took it down very slowly, cutting 5 mg every few months.

One reason that it took so long was because I was also tapering clonazepam. Another reason was the failed attempts in the past.

 

What I learned from tapering clonazepam I hope to put into use while tapering Prozac. One lesson that I learned is that you need to do it slow. There is just no other way.

Another lesson is that you need support. I am looking for my next cut in a few months and my goal is to be completely drug free by the end of the year. 

 

I have been on disability during the last couple of years while recovering from clonazepam withdrawal. It's been hell and I'm still not completely recovered. I am looking to get back to work as soon as I can but I know it could still take more time.

 

The biggest challenge will be to deal with withdrawal and setbacks without going back on Prozac. My hope is that I will be able to do that with the help of this board.

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ChessieCat

Hi SickOfIt and welcome to SA

 

I'm going to give you lots of information and links to check out.  Please don't feel overwhelmed, just work your way through them one at a time as you feel able.

 

SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the previous dose followed by a hold at that dose for about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  This is because psychiatric drugs create a physiological dependence, not physical like caffeine or nicotine.

 

Patience is needed to get off these drugs.  We suggest throwing out the calendar and listening to your body and your symptoms.  If after 4 weeks you don't feel stable, are unwell or life circumstances are a bit more stressful than usual (for example the Christmas period, winter time, or job change) it is better to stay at that dose for a bit longer until things settle down.

 

We ask all members to create a drug signature.  This appears below every post you make.  Please update it whenever you make a change.  This is the preferred format which makes it easier for us to see your drug history at a glance:

 

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.

 

Before you begin tapering what you need to know

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

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


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable


Keep Notes on Paper

 

Rate Symptoms Daily to Check Patterns and Progress

Tapering Calculator - Online

 

It is best to make only 1 change at a time.  It is also better not to start taking a complex vitamin because if you experience issues you will not know what exactly is causing it.  B vitamins can be stimulating especially B6.  hypersensitive-to-b-vitamin-or-b-vitamin-complex  If trying anything new, start with a small amount to see how you react and build up to the recommended amount.  The only supplements which SA recommends are Magnesium and Omega-3 Fish Oil.  Try a small amount one at a time to see how you react.

 

Even with a careful and slow taper you will most likely experience times of discomfort.  It is best to learn and use Non-drug techniques to cope

 

There are many existing topics and discussions on this site.  You can use the site search function on the main page of the site at the top right, or use a search engine and include survivingantidepressants.org in your search string.

 

As I said, lots of information, but I really want you to have what you need.

 

This is your own Intro topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.  We suggest that members visit each others Intro topics so that can support and encourage each other.

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SickOfIt

Thank you for this information.

 

The biggest issue that I’m struggling with these days is fatigue. I’ve had some fatigue with Prozac in ten past but I am finding that in the last couple of years the fatigue has become quite severe.

 

I think my withdrawal from clonazepam may have been a factor but I’m almost done with the taper and the fatigue is still a problem.

 

My sleep is also not effective because I keep waking up every couple of hours. 

 

I’m wondering if other people have similar experience with fatigue coming off AD and benzos.

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peng

Sure did, SickOfit.

Try not to think it is due to something else, but maybe get a blood test, just in case.

I have been plagued with long bouts of extreme fatigue for 2 or 3 of the past recent years.  I do not know if it is gone, but will not be surprised if it returns.

 

I had a few blood tests over that time.  One did show that I had folic acid deficiency and a course of 5mg pills did work, at least for a period of weeks.

I look after my diet and supplements and do exercise when it is not liable to totally knacker me.

 

Countless people report problems with fatigue in our situation.  I would suggest not focusing on it - acceptance is good and will allow you to move on and look at other stuff.

Do, though, consider a blood test.

 

Best wishes!

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SickOfIt

I have done a few blood tests in the last couple of years and everything seems to be fine. I am hoping that as time passes, and the drugs are out of my body things will improve.

 

As far as Prozac tapering, my plan was to cut down to 5 mg in July, and then jump off in January 2019.

I have 10 mg capsules so the idea is to take one capsule on alternating days in order to achieve 5 mg.

However, after doing some research this plan may be changed to 10% a month reduction with liquid Prozac.

 

Tapering Prozac in the past was much easier than tapering clonazepam so I'm not too worried about withdrawal. The challenge will be to stay off the drug after jumping.

 

 

 

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Rob66

Hi sickofit,

Happy to hear you found out slow is the way to go early on.  Doctors have no clue what slow means.  I used to have fatigue often, then discovered my vitamin D and testosterone levels were very low.  Since I fixed those two items my energy is back to normal.  I get sick much less these days also.  Win/win.  Hope you can find some resolve for the fatigue.  It's quite common during withdrawal.

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SickOfIt

My fatigue is at the point where I cant do much anymore and I am unwell most of the time. I am going to take one 10 mg pill every other day and see how it goes. Enough is enough.

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ChessieCat
12 minutes ago, SickOfIt said:

every other day

 

Skipping days is not recommended.  Your brain likes consistency, which is getting the same dose at about the same time every day.  Skipping Days vs Every Day Dosing Graph

 

I assume that you are referring to Prozac.  Even though Prozac has a long half life some people are sensitive to dosage variation so it would be better to take it daily.

 

I am also assuming that you are planning on making a 50% reduction in your Prozac dose.  It would be better to try a smaller reduction.  10% is the recommended amount.  You could always reduce by 10% and see how you feel and if it goes okay reduce again in 3 weeks' time.

 

Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

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SickOfIt

I have tried to taper off Prozac in the past and I have not found it to be too  difficult. The challenge came after I got off the drug completely. A combination of stressful life events coupled with a severe panic disorder didn't go too well with my brain that was dependent on SSRI.

 

I don't know what is the source of my fatigue but clearly my body tells me something is wrong. I was planning to cut down in a couple of months but the fatigue is unbearable. Something has to give.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SickOfIt

I increased my Prozac to 20 mg from 10 mg. I also gone back to Clonazepam. Feeling hopeless about coming off the meds. 

Everytime I try to taper my meds I have to go back to them because I start to feel sick.

I am going to see my doc next month to try and switch to zoloft.

Everyone says that my fatigue is because of the depression and maybe they are right.

I hate these meds but maybe if you have severe depression and anxiety they help even if they are placebo.

I just want to get better. I tried everything else and nothing worked.

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Carmie

SickOflt, 

 

How are you doing?💚

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SickOfIt

I have gradually tapered the Prozac then stopped and tried Zoloft. It made no difference. I was also prescribed Gabapentin to help with Benzo withdrawal but again, none of it made any difference. So Finally I got fed up and tapered gabapentin and Zoloft. This was about a month ago. I also am tapering Clonazepam from 1 mg. I am now at 0.25.

 

I also take Remeron 30 mg and plan to taper that too. I am also taking CBD 20 mg and may increase it depending on the severity of the symptoms. I have been feeling sick for over 4 years unable to work. Symptoms include fatigue and flu like symptoms. I need to get all these drugs out of my system. I have been told that my fatigue is due to depression and my flu symptoms are due to flu... So I have been prescribed Luvox to “try it out”. I’m tired of trying out. I’m tired of being sick and tired. The only logical conclusion is that these symptoms are a result of my body trying to adjust to all this poison. The only way to find out is to be “medication” free. I don’t see another way.

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baquejohn

i think you are just going thru protracted withdrawal because you were on meds for such a long time. i am 2 years and 7 months off of prozac. i recovered at least 50%. It will probably take me another year to fully recover. i am always exhausted. i also can't sleep thru the night. i sleep 3 hours wake for a few hours and go back to sleep for another 3 hours. maybe take an hour nap during the day. that is my average sleep pattern. it is 100% due to withdrawal. i never had this problem before hand. i also have no energy to do anything. i get up, take a shower and do the basics of what has to be done. maybe go for a walk. and then i am done for the day. this is hell but not as bad as 2 years ago when i first quit the meds. i used to wake up every 5 minutes during the night. it was ridiculous. these drugs are poison.. i did a very fast taper after being on a cocktail of drugs for 6 and a half years. i was taking the meds for a physical illness and was told they are harmless with no withdrawal.and i could stop once i recovered my physical health no problem. knowing what i know now i would have tapered very slow. since it took my brain 6.5 years to build up to such high doses it makes sense that it would take a few years to recalibrate back to normal. 

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SickOfIt
Posted (edited)

I agree. I had sleep problems as well. I would wake up few times during the night. Sleep quality was terrible. Always felt tired in the mornings. I had a sleep study done that confirmed it was due to medications. I had no deep sleep and my REM sleep was also messed up. I was put on Remeron which helped but I am planning to taper that as well. Perhaps after I am done with the Clonazepam. I am hoping that taking CBD before bed would help to replace the Remron as well.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
reduced font

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manymoretodays
Posted (edited)
On 6/1/2019 at 2:40 PM, SickOfIt said:

I have gradually tapered the Prozac then stopped and tried Zoloft. It made no difference. I was also prescribed Gabapentin to help with Benzo withdrawal but again, none of it made any difference. So Finally I got fed up and tapered gabapentin and Zoloft. This was about a month ago. I also am tapering Clonazepam from 1 mg. I am now at 0.25.

 

I also take Remeron 30 mg and plan to taper that too. I am also taking CBD 20 mg and may increase it depending on the severity of the symptoms. I have been feeling sick for over 4 years unable to work. Symptoms include fatigue and flu like symptoms. I need to get all these drugs out of my system. I have been told that my fatigue is due to depression and my flu symptoms are due to flu... So I have been prescribed Luvox to “try it out”. I’m tired of trying out. I’m tired of being sick and tired. The only logical conclusion is that these symptoms are a result of my body trying to adjust to all this poison. The only way to find out is to be “medication” free. I don’t see another way.

 

Hi SickOfIt and welcome back,

 

Could you update your signature a bit for us please? 

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.

 

 

How did you taper the Prozac?

And then how did you taper the gabapentin and Zoloft?

I noticed that you said that you had finished the taper of both of the above a month ago.

How are you doing now? 

 

It looks like you are presently on just Remeron 30 mg and Clonazepam is at 0.25 mg.

How have you been tapering the Clonazepam?

And then how long have you been on the CBD 20 mg?

 

Here's our topic on that too.  Cannabis, marijuana, THC, and CBD or hemp oil.

In general, the only 2 supplements we recommend are Magnesium and Omega 3's (Fish oil).  Links to more information on that are here, in the 2nd post down in your introduction topic(this).

 

Tapering multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

Tips for tapering off mirtazapine(Remeron)

 

Also, if you go back up in your introduction here, you'll see more links in the second post to you, which include some important information, as far as tapering goes.

I'm a bit concerned that you may have been going a bit fast with tapering, and then may have made drug/medications changes that may have been destabilizing to your nervous system.

Can you give us a bit more information?

Also, again let us know how you are doing too?  Any symptoms that you attribute to WD(withdrawal) now?

 

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.  The CNS likes stability. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.

 

I'm hoping that you are just in a HOLD period now, as it sounds like you have made quite a few changes in the last year with medications.

 

Again, welcome back, 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

manymoretodays(mmt)

(hopefully not too much information here at one time, or too many questions)

 

 

 

 

Edited by manymoretodays

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SickOfIt
4 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

This link has some information which you might find helpful:

 

are-we-there-yet-how-long-is-withdrawal-going-to-take

 

Thanks, it has some good information. I think what helps a lot is knowing that my symptoms are most likely because of withdrawal and not because of a mysterious illness. Also once I know that this is really withdrawal then I can accept it and deal with it rather than wonder what is this and fight it.

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SickOfIt
Posted (edited)

Thanks or the information. I am going to change my signature.

 

For the last couple of months I have been feeling like I have the flu. Fatigue, muscle pain, headaches are the main symptoms. I have gone to the doctors to see if was indeed a flu but they didn't know. All they did was prescribe a couple of rounds of antibiotics. That, of course, did not help.

 

What I find most difficult is not knowing. There is no test to find out that my symptoms are due to withdrawal. Could it also be because of the side effects of the Remeron? Maybe. In any case, after a process of elimination all causes point to withdrawal.

 

25 years of various doses of SSRI and benzos is a long time, so withdrawal is to be expected after discontinuation. Sure, I could have gone slower, but I was already feeling sick from 4 years of failed tapering so as long as symptoms are stable, I should be able to manage it.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed quote

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SickOfIt

Update... 52 days since the last time I took Zoloft. Last week of taking Clonazepam. Currently at 0.125 mg.

Symptoms have become worse. Feeling a bit out of it. Muscle tightness is worse.

If symptoms are not going to get better, I will increase my CBD from 20 to 40 mg.

Perhaps I should have waited a bit more before tapering the Clonazepam, but I had enough.

4 years of severe fatigue due to various attempts at SSRI and Clonazepam tapering, have only made a mess out of an already compromised nervous system.

I will keep the Remeron at 30 mg for now.

Hopefully this hell is not going to last long.

 

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Nelly

Slow down on your tapering 

Good luck x

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manymoretodays
On 6/10/2019 at 11:46 PM, SickOfIt said:

Update... 52 days since the last time I took Zoloft. Last week of taking Clonazepam. Currently at 0.125 mg.

Symptoms have become worse. Feeling a bit out of it. Muscle tightness is worse.

If symptoms are not going to get better, I will increase my CBD from 20 to 40 mg.

Perhaps I should have waited a bit more before tapering the Clonazepam, but I had enough.

4 years of severe fatigue due to various attempts at SSRI and Clonazepam tapering, have only made a mess out of an already compromised nervous system.

I will keep the Remeron at 30 mg for now.

Hopefully this hell is not going to last long.

 

Hi SickOfIt,

Yes, I agree with Nelly.  You may be going too fast.  A quicker taper is unlikely to reduce your current WD symptoms.

How long have you been on the clonazepam?

How long have you been at the 30 mg dose of Remeron?

How's your sleep?

 

Are you aware that we have a Benzo tapering and recovery forum?  You might want to head on over there. 

 

Also see:  Cannabis, marijuana, THC, and CBD or Hemp oil

 

We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system.  

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

I had good results with the Epsom salt baths relieving much of my muscle tightness.  Take a look at the links above and perhaps just try one or the other, start low, and keep notes as well.

 

It may just be that you need to give your nervous system some time to settle before the addition or subtraction of any further psychotropic drugs.  Are you able to do some simple stretches or walks outside?

 

All for now,

L, P, H, and G,

mmt

 

 

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SickOfIt

I went back today to 0.25 mg of Clonazepam.

The anxiety was too much to take.

I can handle physical symptoms, but when my anxiety takes over, I'm done.

 

I have been on a daily dose of Clonazepam since 2012.

Since 2015, I have tried to to taper a few times, but always came back to the original dose of 1 mg.

I have been taken 30 mg of Remeron since December 2018.

Before taking Remeron, I had a sleep study done, and was told my poor sleep quality was due to medication, not sleep apnea.

The Remeron seemed to have helped with sleep.

 

What I can do now is maybe stay on 0.25 mg until I feel better, then taper at a slower rate.

I will leave the Remeron at 30 mg for now.

If I do not feel better on 0.25 I guess the following options are:

 

1. Increase Clonazepam to 0.375 mg.

2. Try different supplements that help anxiety.

3. Try another SSRI to help with anxiety.

4. Try Gabapentin again.

5. Try again different things that are said to help with anxiety like mindfulness.

 

I sometimes take a short walk in the evenings, but often after the walk I feel worse because of muscle weakness and fatigue.

 

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