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The Brassmonkey Slide Method of Micro-tapering

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ryan1982

@brassmonkey

Thanks so much.  I've probably read your essay 10 times...it's actually screenshot on my phone so I can refer back to it.  Thanks for the reminder!

 

I guess I'm curious...how do I know whether I'm in withdrawals or whether I have new breakthrough symptoms?

 

Do you think I need a higher/lower dose or should I just hold?

 

Lastly, for the dose decrease of 2.5%, do you subtract 2.5% from the previous week or from the original dose of the 6 week cut?  i.e. if I start on 10 MG and then week 1 taper down to 9.75, do I subtract 2.5% for Week 2 from 10 MG or 9.75 MG? 

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Blandell
46 minutes ago, ryan1982 said:

@brassmonkey

Thanks so much.  I've probably read your essay 10 times...it's actually screenshot on my phone so I can refer back to it.  Thanks for the reminder!

 

I guess I'm curious...how do I know whether I'm in withdrawals or whether I have new breakthrough symptoms?

 

Do you think I need a higher/lower dose or should I just hold?

 

Lastly, for the dose decrease of 2.5%, do you subtract 2.5% from the previous week or from the original dose of the 6 week cut?  i.e. if I start on 10 MG and then week 1 taper down to 9.75, do I subtract 2.5% for Week 2 from 10 MG or 9.75 MG? 

Now what do I do? I don’t know why you are sending this to me...I’m so sorry but I can’t figure out how to use this site st times. 

Brassmonkey...I asked a question and message sent me to this post...what? 

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Blandell

Tried using but having trouble 

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Blandell
1 hour ago, DoctorMussyWasHere said:

I've tweaked the taper calculator to handle floating point numbers.

 

Click the three-dot symbol at the bottom

Set Taper Percent to eg. 2.5

 

FP.png

I’m unable to adjust this to 5%.  

Blandell

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DoctorMussyWasHere

Hi Blandell,

 

Thanks for pointing this out, however it seems to work fine for me.

 

I can type 5 into the field (without typing "%"),

and I can click the little ↕︎ arrows, which adjusts it by 0.1 on each click.

 

Could you elaborate on the issue you are experiencing?

 

Many thanks,

DM

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Blandell
45 minutes ago, DoctorMussyWasHere said:

Hi Blandell,

 

Thanks for pointing this out, however it seems to work fine for me.

 

I can type 5 into the field (without typing "%"),

and I can click the little ↕︎ arrows, which adjusts it by 0.1 on each click.

 

Could you elaborate on the issue you are experiencing?

 

Many thanks,

DM

I don’t see arrows🙁

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Blandell

I can’t see any arrows

was able to put 5 in

ill probably go with 10 but would like option of 5

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DoctorMussyWasHere

Thanks Blandell,

I'd like to fix this so it works for everyone.

Could you let me know which web browser you are using?

(eg. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera..)

 

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DoctorMussyWasHere

Perhaps you are using your phone or tablet.

No arrows on mobile devices. On my todo list..

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Pokeshaw

Hi Brassmonkey,

 

Been reading along here and your essay/posts on how long taper will take. It is helpful for me. I am currently in a bad wave of symptoms so have returned to the site for some support. I have been microtapering off Lexapro for several years after initial CT off 10 mg. I initially stayed off for 8-9 months and then reinstated at 5 mg and did a wonky taper by trying to cut the pills up into bits.

anyway - I started having it compounded and held a long time before i could make even a 1% reduction. Yrs have gone by and i am now at .09 mg. I just posted about this recent wave.

Once I got down to 0.1 mg the pharmacist had to change the way he compounded the med and is now doing an aliquot. So he makes batches of 100 caps of .01mg each and I now take 9 to make .09mg.  

I had been making 5% reductions ever couple of weeks over the few months before this change. Then I went from .1 mg to .09 and things went wavy after a couple of weeks. I have now been at .09 for 3 months. Have had a few good days recently but then back to the wave. 

Could it be that multiple reductions over a few months and then a 10% reduction has sent me into this wave? May also be compounded by stress - we have to move and have not found a place yet. 

The last time I had to hold for a long stretch was when I had a root canal a couple yrs ago. I was very sick with W/D symptoms and stayed at same dose for almost 4 months before things evened out.

So, i thought I would touch base with you since you have so much experience with this!  Any feedback would be much appreciated!

 

Thanks,

 

Pokeshaw in Brooklyn

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Blandell
5 hours ago, DoctorMussyWasHere said:

Thanks Blandell,

I'd like to fix this so it works for everyone.

Could you let me know which web browser you are using?

(eg. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera..)

 

I’m not sure...safari?

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Blandell

Yes it’s Safari

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brassmonkey

Hi Pokwshaw-- it's nice hearing from you again, it's been a while. Boy, you're really getting down there, sorry to hear that it's causing trouble.  From what you wrote I would say that you've gone too fast the last several months and it's starting to catch up with you'  So a nice long hold is in order.  All the IRL stress isn't helping either.  I think the last drop caused problems more from changing to liquid than from the size of the drop. BTW it's great that your pharmacist will work with you like this. If the symptoms are really, really bad you might consider going back up to .1mg to help stabilize and then resume your taper in a few months. 

 

Hope you find new digs soon and things start to settle down.

 

Brass

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brassmonkey

Hi Ryan-- unless you're taking a new drug the symptoms will almost always be from WD.

 

Your signature is showing that your last reduction was about a month a go, so it probably needs some more time to stabilize.  Unless your symptoms are unbearable there would be no need to updose. I would ride it out for a few months and then reassess.

 

Reductions are calculated on the amount of the "previous dose", or more accurately the dose you are tapering from.  So if you are taking 10mgai next week you would take 9.75 the third week would be 9.5 and the fourth through sixth weeks would be 9.25. In each case the new dose is 2.5% less than the one before it.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Brassmonkey

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brassmonkey

DoctorMussy-- thank you for all the help with the calculator, it's really appreciated.

 

Brass

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ryan1982

Thanks so much for your guidance, @brassmonkey. I went and saw my psych today and she’s convinced that it’s breakthrough anxiety as opposed to my nervous system being in withdrawal. 

 

Thanks so much for your help. I appreciate your time and help. 

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ryan1982

@brassmonkey

 

Hey Brass,

Last question- I took some magnesium last week and it seemed to have thrown my system off pretty bad. How long do you anticipate these waves should last? During waves, do you need to avoid sugar, alcohol, etc?

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Blandell
On 4/22/2018 at 12:07 PM, brassmonkey said:

The Brassmonkey Slide Method

 

Starting a taper can be a very scary proposition.  I’ve heard is mentioned repeatedly by our new members and even by members who have been on extended holds and are about to restart. The overwhelming concern is fear of the symptoms that can be unleashed by reducing the drug in question.  I was as bad as anyone else, I was scared to death before I started my taper, and just for that reason.

 

Most of us try to research our taper before we start, so we can make a plan and have some idea what we are getting ourselves into. That research often includes reading a lot of other people’s stories, which can be very upsetting.  This can be a source of a lot of misinformation, out of context statements and vivid details that are hard to ignore.  Which is why we have a large number of forums that give detailed information of how, when and why to taper.

 

The symptoms that are experienced during a taper can be far from pleasant and keeping them at a minimum is a prime goal of any taper plan. With this in mind, the protocol of reducing a person’s dose by 10% of the previous dose every four (4) weeks was established.  Over the years it has proven to be a good starting point and has been very effective for many people.  It does, however, prove to be too harsh for others.

 

The second option is the “micro-taper”.  This involves reducing a tiny amount every few days over a very long time.  It does a great job of reducing symptoms but is very tedious and takes a very long time to complete.  There needs to be something in between.  Something that can reduce the effects of the symptoms and yet doesn’t take forever to complete.  This is where the Brassmonkey Slide Method comes in.

 

The idea behind the Brassmonkey Slide Method is to maintain the speed of a standard 10% taper while reducing the symptom load by taking the reductions in smaller bits.  When I was researching my taper, I observed that there was a large hit of symptoms that occurred several days after the reduction was made.  These symptoms would then peak and decrease over the next several weeks until the person would return to an average state of feeling bad.  My idea was that if the reduction were taken in smaller pieces fairly close together you would experience reduced symptoms for a shorter period of time and by doing reductions back to back, as the symptoms resolved, a person could maintain a 10% reduction and experience reduced symptoms.

 

The basic Brassmonkey Slide Method consists of four (4) weekly reductions of 2.5% in a row with an additional two (2) week hold.  This gives a total reduction of 10% ever six (6) weeks.  Although it isn’t the standard reduction plan it is very close.  The extra two (2) week hold is very necessary to let the cumulative effects of the four (4) reductions settle out and things return to baseline before attempting the next reduction.

 

So, the reduction schedule looks like this:

 

            Week 1 reduce 2.5%

            Week 2 reduce an additional 2.5% (for a total of 5%)

            Week 3 reduce an additional 2.5% (for a total of 7.5%)

            Week 4 reduce an additional 2.5% (for a total of 10%)

            Weeks 5,6 Hold at the last reduction level

 

This schedule proved very effective for the duration of my taper and has been used by many others with great success.  But, it’s not the only way to do it.

 

Some people find that even on this schedule the symptom spike after each drop is just too great.  For them the answer has been to take even smaller reductions.  Any combination of four (4) small reductions and a hold can be used. A reduction of 1.25% a week will yield a total drop of 5% or a reduction of 0.625% would give a total drop of 2.5%.  A very popular method is to reduce by 1% a week. 

 

We need to keep in mind though, the lower the reduction percentage the longer the taper will take to complete. The half-life of a standard 10% taper is six months.  Meaning that six months from now you will be at half of your current dose. If the taper is reduced to 5% the half life doubles to a year. Like wise a 2.5% taper would have a half-life of two years.

 

No matter what the reduction rate is it is very important to maintain the two (2) week hold every round of four (4) reductions. The symptoms that we feel after a drop are only a small part of what is happening to us.  Psych drugs work by making physical changes to the body.  As we taper these changes need to be undone in an orderly manner, so the body can continue to function the way it is meant to.  If we don’t allow time for these changes to be made properly they pile up and pile up until there are just too many of them.  The body then gets very confused and a crash occurs.  That crash will take a long time to correct and stabilize.

 

This behind the scenes repair work is one of the keys to the Brassmonkey Slide Method.  By making smaller reductions the bodies “to do” list is kept to a manageable size and most of the tasks can be completed before the next reduction happens.  Giving the body an extra two (2) weeks helps make sure it has enough time to get it all done. If the reduction is too large then the “to do “ list is also quite large and the body has a much tougher time getting started on the jobs and figuring out what to do first.

 

Another benefit to the Brassmonkey Slide Method is that it feels like it is very proactive.  I see a lot of comments from members who feel like they are not doing enough to help themselves get better.  Making any decision and sticking to it is being proactive with a taper but the long periods of time between decisions can cause people to lose track of that.  By making a controlled reduction in dose every week it makes it appear that things are progressing faster, even though the total reduction is the standard 10%.  This can be quite a boost for people who “want to take control of the situation”.

 

With all these changes being made it is a good idea to keep written records.  This will help track your progress, but it will also help keep things from getting confused.  With a constantly changing dose it is very easy to lose track of where you are and start making mistakes.  The records don’t have to be elaborate. I tracked the date of the reduction, the amount of the reduction, the strength of the dose in mgai and the weight that I would measure on the scales in mgpw, on a weekly basis.

 

Mgai, milligrams active ingredient, being the strength of the dose starting with the full strength listed on the bottle and reduced by the percentage of the reduction each week, i.e.33.2mgai.  While mgpw, milligrams pill weight, being the weight of the dose that is measured on the scales, starting with the weight of a whole tablet and decreased by the percentage of the reduction each week, i.e.265mgpw.

 

Example: October 23; 2.5%; 33.2mgai; 265mgpw

 

As with any taper it takes a long time to get off these drugs.  Using the Brassmonkey Slide Method is a way to keep that time as short and as painless as possible, while maintaining a feeling of control and allowing your body to make the changes necessary to heal in an orderly fashion.

 

See also:

Micro-taper instead of 10% or 5% decreases

Making a liquid from a tablet or capsules .

Using a digital scale to measure doses.

Thank you for your help Brassmonkey and dr mussy 

 

 

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brassmonkey

Hey Ryan-- waves have a mind of their own and are totally unpredictable so there is no way of telling how long one will last.  It's a good idea to avoid alcohol all the time during a taper.  It's the best way to derail a good taper.  Many people report having trouble with sugar and caffeine so they are a good thing to avoid also. Too bad about the magnesium, like everything else it helps some people and not others. Maybe when things calm down a bit it could be useful.

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DoctorMussyWasHere
7 hours ago, brassmonkey said:

DoctorMussy-- thank you for all the help with the calculator, it's really appreciated.

 

Brass

 

Thank you, Brass. I thought my 2-year journey had failed, but the suggestion of gentler taper has been well-received,

and I am eternally grateful that essentially we are all working together to map the escape-route.

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Pokeshaw
22 hours ago, brassmonkey said:

Hi Pokwshaw-- it's nice hearing from you again, it's been a while. Boy, you're really getting down there, sorry to hear that it's causing trouble.  From what you wrote I would say that you've gone too fast the last several months and it's starting to catch up with you'  So a nice long hold is in order.  All the IRL stress isn't helping either.  I think the last drop caused problems more from changing to liquid than from the size of the drop. BTW it's great that your pharmacist will work with you like this. If the symptoms are really, really bad you might consider going back up to .1mg to help stabilize and then resume your taper in a few months. 

 

Hope you find new digs soon and things start to settle down.

 

Brass

Hi Brass,

 

Thanks so much for replying. You have no idea how much I appreciate it! 

 

I think you may be right about going too fast the last few months. I will definitely hold awhile.  The change was not to liquid though.  My doctor did not think switching to liquid would be a good idea.

The pharmacist was previously making me capsules at 5% reductions but when I wanted to go from .1 mg to .095 he said he couldnt do that and offered to make an aliquot by making 100 caps of .01 mg each so that I would take 9 to make .09 mg. The content is the same - Lexapro, microcrystaline cellulose, Methocel E4M.  I have been on .09 mg (9 caps) for 3 months now and it has been very wavy.  Gut  moves too fast and dizziness, nausea and vertigo are bad along with weight loss and mood issues.

 

Questions when you have time -

 

The pharmacist assures me that the aliquot is as accurate as he can get (within 5% range) but I just keep thinking the problem is the aliquot - since this bad wave began in the weeks after starting with the multiple caps of .01 mg each. 

 Re your suggestion of going back up to .1 and either go back to the .1 mg caps that he can make or take 10 caps of .01mg . do you think it is wise to updose after 3 months at .09?  I have never done this before and dont want to rock the boat. 

When the time does come to start tapering again - I wonder how I can do it? If I go back up to .1 mg caps or use 10 of the aliquot .01 mg caps. The ingredients are not really water soluble.

 

Thank you again!

 

Poke

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Pokeshaw

Hi Brass,

 

Not sure best way to respond - Do I hit Reply to Topic?  Or Quote and reply?  Sorry, confused.

 

Thanks so much for replying. You have no idea how much I appreciate it! 

 

I think you may be right about going too fast the last few months. I will definitely hold awhile.  The change was not to liquid though.  My doctor did not think switching to liquid would be a good idea.

The pharmacist was previously making me capsules at 5% reductions but when I wanted to go from .1 mg to .095 he said he couldnt do that and offered to make an aliquot by making 100 caps of .01 mg each so that I would take 9 to make .09 mg. The content is the same - Lexapro, microcrystaline cellulose, Methocel E4M.  I have been on .09 mg (9 caps) for 3 months now and it has been very wavy.  Gut  moves too fast and dizziness, nausea and vertigo are bad along with weight loss and mood issues.

 

Questions when you have time -

 

The pharmacist assures me that the aliquot is as accurate as he can get (within 5% range) but I just keep thinking the problem is the aliquot - since this bad wave began in the weeks after starting with the multiple caps of .01 mg each. 

 Re your suggestion of going back up to .1 and either go back to the .1 mg caps that he can make or take 10 caps of .01mg . do you think it is wise to updose after 3 months at .09?  I have never done this before and dont want to rock the boat. 

When the time does come to start tapering again - I wonder how I can do it? If I go back up to .1 mg caps or use 10 of the aliquot .01 mg caps. The ingredients are not really water soluble.

 

Thank you again!

 

Poke

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brassmonkey

Hi Pokeshaw-- "aliquot " I thought it was a typo for liquid, my bad.

 

The best way is just to "Reply to Topic".  Quoting is best for a very specific question, and I find it tricky to use.

 

It's such a small updose that I don't think the timing would be a problem, but I'd only do it if the symptoms are really bad.  It would be a way of determining if the aliquot  is the problem.  Going up to ten caps for a few weeks to see if anything improves.  If it doesn't then try the 1mgai pills for a month and see if there is any change.  If there is then its the aliquot causing the trouble.  You mentioned that the content is the same for both capsules, that would tend to indicate that the taper speed is the problem and not the medication itself.  I think for right now a nice long hold would be best.  Once things are stable using the aliquot  shouldn't be a problem.

 

Brass

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ryan1982

@brassmonkey

 

Hey Brass,

Is it normal for something as small as 25 MG of glycinate to throw my system off for over a week?

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Pokeshaw

Thanks, Brass!

 

Yeah, aliquot was a new one for me too!  Amazing what a compounding pharmacist can do.

 

I appreciate your suggestions. I think, maybe (fingers crossed) I just might be past the 'really bad' period and in the 'sometimes really bad and sometimes there is hope' period! 

Early part of day seems to be worse since it all starts after and with any bowel activity.  So today was a rough morning with nasty vertigo/nausea until after lunch and symptoms reduced by 60- 70%.  So if you had asked me earlier today I would have said 'Really Bad'!

The last time this happened things started to even out around 3 months of holding. I have just hit 3 months. Have had a couple of nice windows here and there but mainly it has been wavy.

I guess I will play it by ear for the next few days and then decide about updose.  And, I really like your suggestion re approach to updose to help determine if aliquot is the problem.

 

Will let you know how it goes.

 

Thanks again!

Poke

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Rabe

@Pokeshaw Hi Poke,

I am tapering and just switched compounded Clonazepam capsules from .1mg (taking 2 and 7) to a .2 and a .7 to save money.  I was tapering the Viibryd and was on the upside and then started the new capsules and hit a pit!  Called the pharmacy and they said the ingredients were all the same...called couple days later and they said there can be a variance of 3%.  For me personally that would and has made the difference I think.  I have 3 months of them which is good.  What I am realizing is that there can be a difference in the compounded things, so when I make a change or get a new batch I am going to get it for a longer period of time so I dont have to worry about that variance so often if that makes sense.  

 

In any case I think if can be the compounded change and you will adjust...it is hard and Im sorry you too found out that way.  We are so sensitive!  Take care!!!

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Pokeshaw

@Rabe

 

Hi Rabe,

 

Thanks for reaching out. It is so good to hear from someone else using a compounding pharmacy for micro taper.  I really appreciate being able to connect with others who understand! 

 

Yes, going from individual caps at 5% reductions like .110, .105, .100 to the aliquot where I have to take 9 caps of .01 mg was definitely a change. I have decided to updose from 9 caps (.09 MG) to 10 caps (.1 mg) to see if things improve. I have been in a bad wave for over 2 months now and between work and having to move in 2 weeks it is all a bit much. I need to do something and will start with this. As Brass said - try the updose with the aliquot for a few weeks to see if I stabilize.  Hoping I do because then I will be able to continue using the aliquot for remainder of taper. Dont want to have to make any other change of delivery method!

 

Will post updates here for sure.

 

Best,

 

Poke

 

 

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Pokeshaw

@brassmonkey  Hi Brass, So I decided to updose from 9 caps of .01 mg to 10 caps .01 to see if things even out over time.  Started today. 

Quick question - The pharmacist had suggested taking 9 caps one day and 10 the next to achieve an approximation of .095 mg but I know that is not recommended here. Can you verify if I should avoid doing this and stick to 10 caps a day til stable and ready to make a reduction?

Thanks!

 

Poke

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brassmonkey

Alternating doses, even little tiny ones, isn't a good idea.  It really plays havoc with the blood serum levels.  Because of all the variables, hours to peak concentration, half life, bio availability etc. it never works out that alternative day dosing becomes an average of the different doses.  It's always best to pick a dose ans stick with it.

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Pokeshaw

Thanks, Brass. As I thought.

I have up dosed to 10 caps of .01 mg  Lexapro taking me back to .1mg and will see how this goes.

 

Poke

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Pokeshaw

@brassmonkey  

 

Hi Brass, I wanted to ask how long you think it should take for me to notice a difference with the updose from 9 caps of .01 mg to 10 caps? This is day 3 and no difference yet.  I understand it may take some time but just wanted to ask.

 

Thanks,

 

Poke

 

 

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Pokeshaw

@brassmonkey 

 

Meant to also include this question -

If I would rather simply go back to the .1 mg capsules rather than using the aliquot 10 caps of .01 mg to see if things improve or not -  how soon could I safely do that?

I have been 3 months on the aliquot - 9 caps of .01 mg and just 3 days on updose to 10 caps of .01mg. 

 

Thanks again for your help!

 

Poke

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brassmonkey

Any change in dose takes four days to a week to become steady state in the blood.  Until that happens your symptoms can be very unpredictable.  Once things are steady state the symptoms can start to sort themselves out which could take several days to a few weeks.

 

I'd let things settle out for a few weeks before trying the different capsule. Any change is considered a dose change and needs to settle fully before the next one is tried.

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PH1

Brassmonkey,

 

I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for your words of wisdom and willingness to share your experiences with all of us.   You are truly a blessing to me and thousands of others.   

 

God bless you!

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Surfchick
On 4/22/2018 at 12:07 PM, brassmonkey said:

The Brassmonkey Slide Method

 

Starting a taper can be a very scary proposition.  I’ve heard is mentioned repeatedly by our new members and even by members who have been on extended holds and are about to restart. The overwhelming concern is fear of the symptoms that can be unleashed by reducing the drug in question.  I was as bad as anyone else, I was scared to death before I started my taper, and just for that reason.

 

Most of us try to research our taper before we start, so we can make a plan and have some idea what we are getting ourselves into. That research often includes reading a lot of other people’s stories, which can be very upsetting.  This can be a source of a lot of misinformation, out of context statements and vivid details that are hard to ignore.  Which is why we have a large number of forums that give detailed information of how, when and why to taper.

 

The symptoms that are experienced during a taper can be far from pleasant and keeping them at a minimum is a prime goal of any taper plan. With this in mind, the protocol of reducing a person’s dose by 10% of the previous dose every four (4) weeks was established.  Over the years it has proven to be a good starting point and has been very effective for many people.  It does, however, prove to be too harsh for others.

 

The second option is the “micro-taper”.  This involves reducing a tiny amount every few days over a very long time.  It does a great job of reducing symptoms but is very tedious and takes a very long time to complete.  There needs to be something in between.  Something that can reduce the effects of the symptoms and yet doesn’t take forever to complete.  This is where the Brassmonkey Slide Method comes in.

 

The idea behind the Brassmonkey Slide Method is to maintain the speed of a standard 10% taper while reducing the symptom load by taking the reductions in smaller bits.  When I was researching my taper, I observed that there was a large hit of symptoms that occurred several days after the reduction was made.  These symptoms would then peak and decrease over the next several weeks until the person would return to an average state of feeling bad.  My idea was that if the reduction were taken in smaller pieces fairly close together you would experience reduced symptoms for a shorter period of time and by doing reductions back to back, as the symptoms resolved, a person could maintain a 10% reduction and experience reduced symptoms.

 

The basic Brassmonkey Slide Method consists of four (4) weekly reductions of 2.5% in a row with an additional two (2) week hold.  This gives a total reduction of 10% ever six (6) weeks.  Although it isn’t the standard reduction plan it is very close.  The extra two (2) week hold is very necessary to let the cumulative effects of the four (4) reductions settle out and things return to baseline before attempting the next reduction.

 

So, the reduction schedule looks like this:

 

            Week 1 reduce 2.5%

            Week 2 reduce an additional 2.5% (for a total of 5%)

            Week 3 reduce an additional 2.5% (for a total of 7.5%)

            Week 4 reduce an additional 2.5% (for a total of 10%)

            Weeks 5,6 Hold at the last reduction level

 

This schedule proved very effective for the duration of my taper and has been used by many others with great success.  But, it’s not the only way to do it.

 

Some people find that even on this schedule the symptom spike after each drop is just too great.  For them the answer has been to take even smaller reductions.  Any combination of four (4) small reductions and a hold can be used. A reduction of 1.25% a week will yield a total drop of 5% or a reduction of 0.625% would give a total drop of 2.5%.  A very popular method is to reduce by 1% a week. 

 

We need to keep in mind though, the lower the reduction percentage the longer the taper will take to complete. The half-life of a standard 10% taper is six months.  Meaning that six months from now you will be at half of your current dose. If the taper is reduced to 5% the half life doubles to a year. Like wise a 2.5% taper would have a half-life of two years.

 

No matter what the reduction rate is it is very important to maintain the two (2) week hold every round of four (4) reductions. The symptoms that we feel after a drop are only a small part of what is happening to us.  Psych drugs work by making physical changes to the body.  As we taper these changes need to be undone in an orderly manner, so the body can continue to function the way it is meant to.  If we don’t allow time for these changes to be made properly they pile up and pile up until there are just too many of them.  The body then gets very confused and a crash occurs.  That crash will take a long time to correct and stabilize.

 

This behind the scenes repair work is one of the keys to the Brassmonkey Slide Method.  By making smaller reductions the bodies “to do” list is kept to a manageable size and most of the tasks can be completed before the next reduction happens.  Giving the body an extra two (2) weeks helps make sure it has enough time to get it all done. If the reduction is too large then the “to do “ list is also quite large and the body has a much tougher time getting started on the jobs and figuring out what to do first.

 

Another benefit to the Brassmonkey Slide Method is that it feels like it is very proactive.  I see a lot of comments from members who feel like they are not doing enough to help themselves get better.  Making any decision and sticking to it is being proactive with a taper but the long periods of time between decisions can cause people to lose track of that.  By making a controlled reduction in dose every week it makes it appear that things are progressing faster, even though the total reduction is the standard 10%.  This can be quite a boost for people who “want to take control of the situation”.

 

With all these changes being made it is a good idea to keep written records.  This will help track your progress, but it will also help keep things from getting confused.  With a constantly changing dose it is very easy to lose track of where you are and start making mistakes.  The records don’t have to be elaborate. I tracked the date of the reduction, the amount of the reduction, the strength of the dose in mgai and the weight that I would measure on the scales in mgpw, on a weekly basis.

 

Mgai, milligrams active ingredient, being the strength of the dose starting with the full strength listed on the bottle and reduced by the percentage of the reduction each week, i.e.33.2mgai.  While mgpw, milligrams pill weight, being the weight of the dose that is measured on the scales, starting with the weight of a whole tablet and decreased by the percentage of the reduction each week, i.e.265mgpw.

 

Example: October 23; 2.5%; 33.2mgai; 265mgpw

 

As with any taper it takes a long time to get off these drugs.  Using the Brassmonkey Slide Method is a way to keep that time as short and as painless as possible, while maintaining a feeling of control and allowing your body to make the changes necessary to heal in an orderly fashion.

 

See also:

Micro-taper instead of 10% or 5% decreases

Making a liquid from a tablet or capsules .

Using a digital scale to measure doses.

 

i am excited to report my engineer husband is building an app for BrassMonkey's micro taper slide method which includes the two week hold.  Will post soon! 

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