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Bubbles

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bubbles

Hi everyone

 

I'm in my pre-taper phase of going off 20mg of Lexapro, which I've been on for 5 years. I've got an appointment to get Lexapro in liquid form to aid the taper in a couple of weeks. I've tried this before, and not succeeded, but am determined to get off them this time.

 

At the moment I'm spending a few weeks setting myself up to have a good run at this. I'm:

 

* filling up my freezer with home made meals for bad days..

* getting really organized at home.

* taking a good multi, folate, magnesium and fish oil.

* lining up some distractions, like audio books and a (hobby) evening course.

* getting enough sleep.

* cutting out caffeine.

* doing clinical pilates as a way to transition into some more exercise.

* getting some sunshine and fresh air every day.

* introducing mindfulness meditations as a daily thing.

* might start that tapping EFT thing I've seen at Dr Mercola's website - just can't hurt!

 

At this stage I expect to start my taper at the end of the month. Or so...

 

Bubbles

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bruno2016

hi there,

 

nice to meet you here. I wish you the best of luck and am sure you will be successful because you have a great plan. Perhaps others can give you some more advice as well. I have been off for four months and its been rough. I came off pretty fast though and so could have some protracted withdrawal. I also may have some underlying issues that need to be addressed because I am in a pretty bad state at this time. Hopefully I can pull through. I am glad there are others who also have decided to get off pysch drugs. Makes me feel as though I did not make a mistake. May I ask why you decided to get off?

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bubbles

Thanks Zepplin. Side effects, basically. I'm realizing that a few things I thought were coincidental, were in fact at least possibly caused by the SSRI.

Bubbles

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Altostrata

Welcome, Bubbles. That's a very impressive plan. Would you consider opening a topic in our Tapering section about what to do in preparation for tapering?

 

If I might make one more suggestion, you might add sublingual vitamin B12 at this point, while your nervous system is still stable, just in case you're a bit low on it. Any excess is just excreted in urine.

 

I'm sure your taper will go well this time around.

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Karma

Welcome to the forum, Bubbles! Great plan!!! I would only add one more thing ... log and rate your symptoms daily http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1779-rate-symptoms-daily-to-catch-withdrawals-early/ to get an early indication of when withdrawal symptoms may be setting in. This can help you avoid an overly rapid taper that could leave you in an uncomfortable situation.

 

I wish you the best in your taper and want you to know that this community provides great support.

 

Karma

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bubbles

Alto, I'm not familiar with sublingual B12, though I'll check it out next week at the pharmacy. In the meantime, my multi contains "Vitamin B12 (cyanocabalamin) 50mcg)". I don't really know much about vitamins, but I have an idea that folate and B12 can affect each other, so I made sure there was some B12 in my multi.

 

I'm heading off now, but will start a new topic about the pre-taper preparations next time I'm on.

 

Karma, thanks for your welcome, and thanks for the idea about keeping a log of symptoms. I will do that.

 

Bubbles

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Rhiannon

Hi Bubbles!

 

I agree about the daily symptom log--it's proven really valuable to me. Somehow our subjective assessment of our symptoms, how they are now compared to how they were, is just wonky. I've seen it in myself and I've seen it in others. It really helps to have that little log. I don't use it as much now (after two years of tapering) but for the first year and a half it was really helpful.

 

Also, do remember to taper slowly. The single thing that ruins more tapers than anything else is impatience. Well, plus unrealistic expectations. Remember to taper slowly and slow down and take breaks whenever your symptoms ramp up. You'll be glad you did, and you will succeed this time around, for good!

 

Good luck. We'll be rooting for you!

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Altostrata

Bubbles, sublingual B12 is better absorbed than what's in your multivitamin.

 

Correct, you generally supplement with both folate and B12 because one can mask a deficiency in the other.

 

If you're over 40, there's a possibility your B12 is low-ish because it's absorbed more poorly as we get older. It's inexpensive and shouldn't have any side effects in a person with a stable nervous system. It's worth ensuring additional protection before tapering, as low B12 puts your nerves in a fragile state.

 

Agree with the daily symptom log.

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Jemima

Welcome! I've been off of Lexapro for just over two months and I can tell you that it's been a roller coaster. I tapered off over four months and, looking back, believe that was too fast. So take it very slow and easy.

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bubbles

I had my appointment with my doctor today and have a script for liquid Lexapro to make the taper easier. Doc recommended (starting point 20mg) to go down to 15mg for a week and then down to 10mg for a week, and then to take the rest of the taper over about 2 months. We talked about other things like magnesium etc.

 

I will take the advice with a grain of salt!

 

Bubbles

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bubbles

Sorry, should have said... Doc's experience was that often it is easy to get down from 20mg to 10mg, but after that it got harder. Suggested going down in 1mg lots after that over 60 days.

 

Bubbles

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Altostrata

Sorry, should have said... Doc's experience was that often it is easy to get down from 20mg to 10mg, but after that it got harder. Suggested going down in 1mg lots after that over 60 days.

 

Bubbles

 

That may be so -- because the 50% drop from 20mg to 10mg catches up with you. Once you've destabilized your nervous system, tapering becomes much more difficult.

 

Minimize stress on your nervous system -- I suggest a 10% decrease every 4 weeks for 2 months to start. If all goes well, you might be able to make it 10% every 3 weeks for 2 rounds, then 10% every 2 weeks.

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bubbles

Alto, I also wondered if it was related to the therapetic dose. That is, I found something by the manufacturer which said that there was no improvement in symptoms from 20mg to 10mg, but many more side effects. I wonder if the ease of getting from 20 to 10 is to do with that?

 

Bubbles

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Altostrata

No, withdrawal is not related to the "therapeutic dose." The "therapeutic" dose is an arbitrary number set by the manufacturer. (This does indicate, however, that it's unnecessary for anyone to be taking 20mg of Lexapro -- it's way too strong.)

 

One might have a "therapeutic" effect from 10mg or 5mg or 2mg of Lexapro and still have problems withdrawing.

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Altostrata

I have no doubt your info is accurate, milligram for milligram, Lexapro is stronger than other SSRIs. 10mg Lexapro is equivalent to 20-30mg Paxil.

 

You cannot count on this "therapeutic" dose info to justify a 50% decrease from 20mg to 10mg Lexapro.

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bubbles

I know. Feel free to virtually kick me, but I did - for one day - drop to 15mg on the dr's advice. (The pharmacist was worse - she said to taper in 2-weekly drops over 2 months!) By the next dose time I was already feeling a bit spacey (though I think that's impossible after only 24 hours, I think it was either my imagination or just the bruxism headaches/muscle tension) and I abandoned that and went to 18mg. Even when I was taking the 15 I knew it wasn't a good idea. :(

 

I had a bit of a panic because I have been given a script for about 2-3 months of lexapro in liquid form, but that's silly, as I *know* dr will give me another script.

 

The liquid lexapro comes with a measuring syringe thingy (what are they called? I have no memory...) with graduations in 0.1 of a mg so I can get a pretty tiny taper. However, I've been splitting pills also (to use up what I have, and to make the liquid last longer) and that isn't as accurate, so I think I'll abandon the 20mg tabs I have and use up the 10mg pills I've got and add the liquid to get to the correct dose.

 

DH is very supportive of the slow taper and said he thought I should aim at taking a year. :)

 

Bubbles

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bubbles

I don't seem to be able to update my signature. :( I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I can't get into "My settings" at all, only "My profile". Any idea what I'm doing wrong?

 

Thanks

Bubbles

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Altostrata

Click on My Settings in the drop-down menu attached to your name at the upper right of the screen.

 

It's not impossible you felt a 25% drop in one day. It's a big drop. Not recommended.

 

You can stretch the tablets by cutting them up and weighing the pieces with a digital scale.

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Jemima

DH is very supportive of the slow taper and said he thought I should aim at taking a year. :)

 

Bubbles

 

I think your DH is smarter than the doctors and the pharmacists.

 

I got off Lexapro (10 mg.) in roughly four months, and that wasn't long enough. Any amount was too much - I got manic-y - but going from 2.5 mg. to nothing has caused all sorts of withdrawal symptoms. I took my last dose on December 14th, 2011, so I'm not going to go back on it and try tapering slower - the worst symptoms seem to have passed - but if I had it to do over again, I'd dissolve that quarter tab in water and take 1/8 dose for several months before quitting, maybe even 1/16th of a dose for a few more weeks.

 

Please take it slow and easy. I know the drug is practically poison, but getting off of something so strong has to be done very gradually.

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Altostrata

Just to be on the safe side, make a reduction no more than 1/10 of a dose. You may be able to make smaller dose reductions, such as 1/16th, more often -- but you need to find the rate you can tolerate first.

 

Making big, dramatic drops is definitely the wrong way to find out what your tolerance might be.

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bubbles

The my settings won't come up, only the profile. I'll try it again from another computer.

Bubbles

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Altostrata

When you see your Profile, click on the button on the upper right, Edit my Profile.

 

On the Profile tab, click on the second button at the left, Change Signature.

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bubbles

Thanks, Alto!

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bubbles

Hi again

 

If I've got the right information about the half-lives, I should be at a point where the amount of Lexapro in my system is now at the lowered point. I think I've felt a few small prickly feelings in the back of my head, and it did seem to be worse at about the time the next dose was due for the first few days, but with all the muscle tension from the bruxism it is hard to say for sure. My mood is fine and I've experienced no anxiety or depression. I feel very stable. I'm continuing to take all of the supplements (and have ordered a sublingual B12 to swap for the tabs that were all I could find locally).

 

After doing lots of reading, I'm feeling very angry. I originally raised the issue of SSRIs not working better than placebo with my therapist when she started pressuring me to take an AD, and was told that there was lots of evidence that they do work. I also mentioned that I'd never met anyone who'd really got off the drugs (though since then I have) and was pooh-poohed. My Dr told me that they were "in no way addictive". I now realise that the reason so many don't get off them are just that they can't tolerate the withdrawal (probably because it is worse than it needed to be due to poor advice) or are - like me - told by their Dr that the depressive symptoms were not anything to do with withdrawal and that it meant that it wasn't time to be off the meds. I'm debating printing off a stack of reports/studies and taking them to the therapist and asking her to read through them before I meet with her. But I'm not good at confrontations...

 

Thanks for listening to my waffling. I needed to vent.

Best wishes to everyone

Bubbles

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bubbles

Hi again

 

Quick update. I'm doing well. Virtually no w/d at this point and by and large my mood is better than it has been in quite a few months. I'm having a few prickles in the back of my head a few days after dropping (both the 2mg drop and the 1mg drop) which kick in after a few days pass after a few more days. The thing that horrifies me the most, though, is that at that time I'm having cravings for the Lexapro. Again it only lasts a few days and I must emphasise that it is mild, but I thought that wasn't supposed to happen with SSRIs.

 

I had two nights of insomnia, but one of them was accidentally self-inflicted (I've given up caffeinated coffee, but have been enjoying decaf... One day I realised I was really jittery and checked... And the pot of coffee I'd just enjoyed was caffeinated... I was up until 3:00am!). I had a few days of feeling down, but there was a trigger, and it passed. This is okay, everyone has a few down days here and there.

 

I'm keeping up with all the supplements (fish oil, B12, folate, magnesium, a multi and vitamin c - I have a sublingual B12 to start when this bottle is finished). Exercise is a bit limited due to general busy-ness, but I am walking the kids to and from school virtually every day which is about a 1km walk twice a day. Better than nothing and now that the weather has improved it is quite pleasant.

 

I've had a few small improvements with the side effects, even after the first drop which is encouraging. The headaches are still all day, every day, but I feel that they aren't as bad as they were, though that could also be to do with having got a mouthguard for night or the supplements I'm taking.

 

Because I was doing so well with the drop, and because the side effects are awful, I felt safe enough to drop another 1mg after a bit over 2 weeks. Today I've dropped again 1mg after almost 2 weeks. This is probably not a textbook taper, but I have a need to get off the drug that is causing me side effects, but not so fast that I jeopardise the end goal, so it is a bit of a juggle. I think for me these smaller drops more often are probably better.

 

Bubbles

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Altostrata

Because I was doing so well with the drop, and because the side effects are awful, I felt safe enough to drop another 1mg after a bit over 2 weeks. Today I've dropped again 1mg after almost 2 weeks. This is probably not a textbook taper, but I have a need to get off the drug that is causing me side effects, but not so fast that I jeopardise the end goal, so it is a bit of a juggle. I think for me these smaller drops more often are probably better.

This makes sense, Bubbles. You know best what your tolerance is. If withdrawal symptoms get to be too much, you can slow down.

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bubbles

Hi again

 

Quick update. I'm doing very well. No w/d at all from this drop, which was a week or so ago. I'm at 16mg, a month and a bit after starting. No PMS depression, either, which was an issue even on 20mg of the drug. I continue to take all the supplements.

 

My mood is better than it has been in some time, though it is early days yet, and I was okay at this point in my previous taper. (My previous taper was too rigid - 2mg drop per month, even when I got lower in the dose.)

 

Best wishes to all

Bubbles

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bubbles

Hi everyone

 

I haven't updated for a while. I'm doing very well. I'm having zero withdrawal at this point, and am getting some relief from side effects, which is welcome. Today I took 11mg of Lexapro. This is not a textbook taper, and not something I am suggesting anyone else do, as it may still come back to bite me.

 

I continue to do well with each drop, and my mood is very stable. I'm having a minor down at present, but that coincides with my cycle and is much better than when I was on 20mg which I find interesting.

 

My thinking is that if I get any w/d at all, I will immediately backtrack to the previous dose and slow down from there.

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Altostrata

Good to hear you're doing well with a micro-taper, Bubbles, and you're listening to your body to customize your taper.

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bubbles

I did an experimental additional drop a few days after the drop to 11mg, and although it wasn't unsuccessful, I don't feel the need to do that again. :) There was a *huge* psychological need to get to half way. :) I have had a huge improvement in so many side effects, and in my mood.

 

I am feeling well. Yesterday I felt blah and down in the morning, BUT - I'd slept poorly the night before, and it was gray and cold in my house. I turned on the heater and once I warmed up I felt better. Interesting... Still, ups and downs are part of life and it passed, and I need to be able to cope with them. I have dropped now to 9mg. I'd almost decided not to when I felt blah yesterday, but once I started to feel better I realised it was just transient. I slept well last night and I am realising that I need to do more to wind down in the evenings. I sleep best if I go to bed early, get comfortable, and read a book for a while. ...Which sleep experts tell you not to do but, frankly, they don't live in my house. :)

 

So, I've been doing very well on weekly "micro" drops (no rollercoaster effect, which I had the last time I tried to quit), but now they're not so micro any more. A 1mg drop yesterday to 9mg was 10% of the previous dose. Now I have to decide what to do, whether to drop in half miligram drops for a bit, or to do 10% from here. I seem to be doing well on a weekly drop regimen, so I'd like to keep that up, though now that I'm feeling so much better it doesn't matter if this next stage takes longer - even much longer. My options as I see them are to just cut the 1mg in half and do that weekly for a while (until that becomes 10%), or to start a 10% weekly drop if I can still tolerate it as well as the proportionately smaller drops.

 

My rush to get to 10mg was because of the side effects, and so far that gamble (and it was a gamble, I'll be totally honest about that) has paid off. They have lessened, and I have - so far - had no ill-effects. :) I don't want to shoot myself in the foot at this stage of the game! I think I will do 10% this week and next and see how it goes. If it doesn't go well, I'll start doing 5% drops. I like the weekly drop thing, and I seem to tolerate it, but if I find that I can't cope I'll go slower and with smaller drops.

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Daisy

Bubbles,

 

Good to hear you are doing well with your tapering. I have been dropping 1mg of Effexor Xr every few days and have not experienced any symptoms I can not tolerate. I am down to 9 mgs now and could not be happier with my success.

 

Hugs to you Bubbles

 

Daisy

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bubbles

Thanks, Daisy

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bubbles

I think I won't drop this week. I have had a couple of wobbles this week, and I don't need to ask for trouble... I did miss a day's dose, and that might be contributing. The wobbles were too minor to consider reinstating a higher dose, but enough to leave it for a bit.

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bubbles

Just a note to myself, here. I think the lex liquid is upsetting my stomach. I've noticed it a few times. I need to try to take it with food.

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bubbles

I will update my signature shortly, but this is a quick note to say that I have now discontinued the SSRI. Monday was my last 1mg. Against my previous decision, I continued to drop weekly in 1mg drops. (I'm *so* good at making a decision and sticking to it. LOL at myself.)

 

I am feeling well. No euphoria, no withdrawal, just normality. I have had an improvement in all my side effects, even the bruxism (which I do not expect to stop as it was only worsened by the SSRI, not caused by it). The apathy has improved and I am now feeling motivated to do something about the weight that I have gained over the last few years. I am not sleeping as well as I could be, but I am not at all convinced that this is withdrawal - we are at the pointy end of building a house and I am a bit stressed about it, especially the things that I am not happy with, and with which I will have to live. I think I would be sleeping poorly even on 20mg. Good nights and bad nights, but even my worst are *nowhere* near some of the awful w/d insomnia that I've heard about here.

 

I have felt motivated to arrange a nice school holiday for my kids (and me!) making artwork for our new home. I'm not at all an artist, I've found a source of downloadable art lessons with a teacher who shows you step by step how to make something nice to hang on the wall. I'm thoroughly enjoying it and the kids and I are producting stuff that we'll be happy to hang on our walls. Art therapy! Much cheaper than any other kind of therapy!

 

I want to say again, that ***I am not encouraging anyone to taper at my pace***, which was 4.5 months. It was a gamble and so far I have had an improvement in my side effects, with effectively no w/d. ***It is still possible that I will regret it***; time will tell. I have two unopened bottles of liquid Lex and half a packet of tablets in my cupboard, which I will keep until they expire.

 

This lack of symptoms this time around is interesting, as my previous attempt was awful, and ultimately unsuccessful. In retrospect, I think that I destabilised myself by an early (accidental) almost-CT and doomed that attempt. Just goes to show, better to start slow and speed up if tolerable.

 

B

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