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nineyears: Nine years taking SSRI/SNRIs


nineyears

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As an introduction, I guess the best thing is to get straight to the point.

 

9 years of SSRI/SNRI

 

I am suffering from symptoms that puts my liveliehood at risk.

 

I feel betrayed by my doctor(s) although I'm working with a psychiatrist to figure out the way forward.

 

Anyone with similar experience, I could sure use some support/encouragement...I'm sure there's plenty of people out there worse off than me, but it's hard to imagine how you can feel worse than this and still keep going.

 

9 years of SSRI/SNRI

2-3 yrs per medication, medication loses efficacy - doctor never suggested I should come off, just kept changing - red flag went up when doctor doubled my dose of Cymbalta+abilify...that's when I searched out a psychiatrist.

Medications range from Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Effexor, CYmbalta+Abilify, Pristiq+Lyrica.

Currently 17 days off Pristiq 50mg (3 days of prozac to help ease symptoms - only partially successful), 10 days off Lyrica.

SYmptoms - blinding headache, anxiety/panic attacks, confusion, memory problems, unable to concentrate, crying spells, depressed mood

 

Additional - discovered low testosterone (about 25% of normal) about a year ago - could this be due to prolonged SSRI usage?

Recent - Sleep study last week uncovered pretty severe sleep apnea - treatment likely to be CPAP.

Started acupuncture last week....too early to tell if it will help.

 

I'll leave it there for now because I just broke down and cried for 5 mins...feeling pretty hopeless.

 

My sincere best wishes to all of you out there who are going through this.

 

Nineyears

___________________________

9 years of SSRI/SNRI

2-3 yrs per medication, medication loses efficacy - doctor never suggested I should come off, just kept changing - red flag went up when doctor doubled my dose of Cymbalta+abilify...that's when I searched out a psychiatrist.

Medications range from Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Effexor, CYmbalta+Abilify, Pristiq+Lyrica.

As of 1/31/12 off Pristiq 50mg (3 days of prozac to help ease symptoms - only partially successful)and Lyrica 150mg.

SYmptoms - blinding headache, anxiety/panic attacks, confusion, memory problems, unable to concentrate, crying spells, depressed mood

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  • Administrator

Hi nineyears and welcome to the forum. Alto or one of the other moderators will be along soon to ask some questions and give some suggestions. It appears to me that you are suffering withdrawals from all of the switching of drugs without sufficient weaning from them ... unfortunately the pharmaceutical companies don't acknowledge withdrawals and so doctors tend to remain uneducated about the symptoms or how to manage them.

 

I, too, have been challenged by withdrawal symptoms, but I continue to work. Hopefully with support of this forum and some suggestions we can get you to a place where you can find your way out of the headaches, anxiety, confusion and depression and able to work.

 

Hang in there.

 

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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  • Administrator

Hi, nineyears. Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants, which you've done for 9 years!

 

That is an appalling list of drugs.

 

What is emerging in the journal literature is that switching from antidepressant to antidepressant seems to lead to the heinously labeled "treatment-resistant depression," which means your nervous system doesn't want you to take psychiatric medications anymore.

 

Your symptoms are textbook withdrawal syndrome.

 

Do you have any Prozac left? If I were you I'd go back on it right away, stabilize for a month or so, and use liquid Prozac for a more gradual taper to get off it altogether.

 

Don't worry about the testosterone. That's not your primary issue now.

 

What were you taking Lyrica for?

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

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi nineyears--

 

Many of us have stories similar to yours.

 

It sounds to me like you have recently completely discontinued an AD and Lyrica both. Is that correct? Would it be possible for you to reinstate and then taper off at a safer pace, and not quit more than one med at the same time?

 

I agree with Karma--frequent changing of meds and dosages can cause some nasty symptoms. But quitting without a taper is the worst thing you can possibly do to yourself. And quitting two meds at the same time, without a slow taper, is kind of a recipe for disaster.

 

If it's at all possible to reinstate the Lyrica, you might find some relief of your symptoms. Most people find that Lyrica needs to be tapered just as carefully as benzos or ADs. And reinstatement with Lyrica (and its cousin, gabapentin) usually clears up the Lyrica withdrawal symptoms within a few days to a week. It's an easy drug to taper once you're stabilized.

 

If it's possible to stay on the Prozac longer--three days is pretty much useless, it usually takes a month or two for it to help--that might help cover some of your AD withdrawal symptoms, if you give it time.

 

Or if you can reinstate directly onto the Pristiq and taper at a more reasonable rate, that also might work.

 

--Rhi

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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So...the Lyrica was started to combat anxiety. 150mg and moved up to 300mg a day then back to 150mg per day when the cognitive side effects were too much to tolerate.

 

I was only on it for 3 months.

 

I'm an engineer - and without my memory and my cognitive abilities I'm pretty much useless.

 

We discontinued the Pristiq 50mg completely 17 days ago (no where to taper to)...kept going with Lyrica for about a week to help the transition, but it didn't work frankly. From reading through the forum it sounds like 3 days worth of Prozac is a bit ridiculous as a tapering mechanism.

 

I just talked to my doctor. ...having a really bad day....and reading through the information and experiences on this site has me scared witless that I'm doing more harm than good quitting abruptly. He's putting me on 30mg Prozac daily initially, intending to titrate to stabilization then a slow taper.

 

Thanks so much for the advice.

 

Nineyears

___________________________

9 years of SSRI/SNRI

2-3 yrs per medication, medication loses efficacy - doctor never suggested I should come off, just kept changing - red flag went up when doctor doubled my dose of Cymbalta+abilify...that's when I searched out a psychiatrist.

Medications range from Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Effexor, CYmbalta+Abilify, Pristiq+Lyrica.

As of 1/31/12 off Pristiq 50mg (3 days of prozac to help ease symptoms - only partially successful)and Lyrica 150mg.

SYmptoms - blinding headache, anxiety/panic attacks, confusion, memory problems, unable to concentrate, crying spells, depressed mood

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  • Administrator

In my opinion, 30mg of Prozac is excessive, to replace 50mg Pristiq? He's over-reacting. At most, I would say 20mg.

 

This is typical. You only need enough Prozac to reduce withdrawal symptoms, not enough to clobber your nervous system into submission. Watch out for this doctor, and being loaded up with more drugs.

 

If you don't want to take the full 30mg, you can make your own Prozac solution, see Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

Even if you were on Lyrica for only a few months, you can have withdrawal symptoms from that. You may wish to go back on that as well.

 

Lyrica can be made into a solution for gradual reduction: Open the capsule, add contents to lukewarm water, mix; will keep for 5 days in refrigerator. Titrate with an oral syringe.

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

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thanks Alto.

 

He's starting me on 20 intending to go up to 30mg...not sure of the reasoning. If I feel fine on 20mg I might just stick there.

 

Nineyears

___________________________

9 years of SSRI/SNRI

2-3 yrs per medication, medication loses efficacy - doctor never suggested I should come off, just kept changing - red flag went up when doctor doubled my dose of Cymbalta+abilify...that's when I searched out a psychiatrist.

Medications range from Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Effexor, CYmbalta+Abilify, Pristiq+Lyrica.

As of 1/31/12 off Pristiq 50mg (3 days of prozac to help ease symptoms - only partially successful)and Lyrica 150mg.

SYmptoms - blinding headache, anxiety/panic attacks, confusion, memory problems, unable to concentrate, crying spells, depressed mood

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Hi Nine Years,

 

Welcome!

 

I don't have much to add except to say that recently, I have also been diagnosed with sleep apnea after being on psych meds for 15 year, including withdrawal time. I can't prove it but I suspect these meds either worsen an already existing apnea condition or cause one to develop

 

It sounds like you have other things to worry about but if you need support regarding apnea issues, pm me.

 

CS

Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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