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Vandal: Over 30 years on Paxil - want off - advice?

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Vandal

Started with postpartum depression 34 years ago - treated with imipramine. Went off it in a couple months.. Repeated four years later with next pregnancy. Again - off in a couple months. With third pregnancy 27 years ago I went on paxil and never went off. 10mg for 20 years and added welbutrin about five years ago.   I would like to go off of the Paxil.

Edited by ChessieCat
removed mod note

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mammaP

Hi Vandal, welcome to SA.  I am gad that you came here before starting to taper, most people come here after tapering too fast and finding themselves in withdrawal. 

27 years is a very long time to be on paxil so it will need a very slow and careful taper.  We recommend tapering no more than 10% of the CURRENT dose with at least 4 weeks between cuts in dose.  After so many years I would recommend a micro taper, smaller cuts but more often, so that your brain can adjust to the new dose.  

 

We require all our members to fill in their drug and tapering history,  it can be updated with each drop in dose so you and the moderators can see your progress. This helps us to see at a glance what may have caused any odd symptoms that may arise. This explains how to do the signature.

signature link

 

Here is the topic for tapering paxil 

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/405-tips-for-tapering-off-paxil-paroxetine/

 

Before starting to taper

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1789-preparing-to-taper/

 

Brassmonkey's sliding scale taper

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/17671-the-brassmonkey-slide-method-of-micro-tapering/

 

It is a lot to take in,  but it is important to understand why a slow taper is necessary.  Going too fast leads to withdrawal symptoms that can take a long time to settle down and going back on the drug. This usually means it takes longer overall than taking it slowly from the start. I wish I had known about slow tapers!! 

Happy tapering, any questions you can ask them here in your topic :)

Edited by manymoretodays
updated signature link

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Vandal

20 + years on 10 mg paxil

7/13/18  doctor suggested halfing the dose for a couple of weeks towards eventually coming off paxil completely

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ChessieCat

Your post was moved from another area of the site.  Please read mammaP's response above.

 

 

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Vandal

my doctor asked if I was ready to go  off Paxil.    The plan was half the dose for a few weeks and try without after that.    I am on week for of 5 mcg

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manymoretodays

Hi Vandal,

I moved your most recent post back here to your journal from the the signature instruction post.

Please bookmark this page for your convenience.  This is YOUR introduction page where you introduce yourself to other members, ask questions, keep a record of your tapering/withdrawal journey, and communicate with others.

 

How are you doing with what looks like a large decrease from ? 10 mg to 5 mg of Paxil.?   You had typed mcg not mg in your above post as well.  I am guessing you are on a 5 milligram(mg) dosage though.  A dosage of 5 mcg would be very tiny.

 

We do, very much still need you to do a signature for us, as asked above.  I've linked that for you as well.

Please do a signature

We need dates, dosages, and time frames.  And all your current medications.  I see that you are on Wellbutrin as well from your first post.

I'm wondering if you are posting from a phone device.  You can still do a signature from a phone.......but you can't see other members or your own signature that way.

 

Here at surviving antidepressants we recommend a harm reduction approach to coming off antidepressants like Paxil.

Why taper by 10%

Your doctor, like many, may mean well...... but may not have a clue about withdrawal syndrome.  Symptoms don't always hit immediately and after 20 years on your medication, you may be in for a woozy soon......as far as withdrawal symptoms go.  Please read:

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

You might consider increasing your dosage a bit.  A 50% drop is huge.......if that's what you've done.  I'll include the Tips for tapering off Paxil  link for you again as well.  It may help you in adjusting your dosage right now.

Try and give us some more information and get your signature done.  Read the links you have been given carefully, especially the first posts in each of them.   And we would love to help you further.

 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

mmt

Edited by manymoretodays
clarification, additional comments

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Vandal

Paxil 10 mg for over 30 years

Started withdrawl on July 13 2018

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ChessieCat

Hi Vandal, I've moved the above post from the Instructions for creating a signature topic.

 

Please click on this link which will go straight to where you can make your signatue:  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

Type or copy and paste the drug history information into the box and then click on Save which is below the box.

 

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LexAnger

Hi vandal,

i wonder why why you wanted to get off?

 

lex

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manymoretodays

Vandal,

You might do a drug interactions check as well.  Go to Drugs.com  and plug in your current medications.  Copy and paste the results here if you can.

Just ask if you are having difficulties with the signature and we can guide you through it.  Ccat had a good idea above.......maybe that will help.

 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

mmt

Edited by manymoretodays

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Vandal

I wanted to go off Paxil so that I can "feel."   I want to see what I can be without the drugs.

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SkyBlue
2 hours ago, Vandal said:

I wanted to go off Paxil so that I can "feel."   I want to see what I can be without the drugs.

 That is beautiful. Keep that somewhere where you can see it often. It is a wonderful reason 

 

I was on Paxil 18 years and did 50% cuts like my doctor told me to; that was 3 years ago and I am still having withdrawal that consumes much of my life. I'm not saying this to scare you. But 50% cuts in Paxil is unimaginable. Please read and consider the posts MammaP shared with you above, including strategies for coming off safely and as gently as possible.

 

Your signature says that you started withdrawal in July, so that is when your doctor took you from 10 mg to 5mg? How are you doing with that? Please let us know what you think about the information MammaP and MMT have given you.

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Vandal

Well the taper did start July 13 going from 10 to 5 mg.    I do "feel" more.   I laugh more and I emote more.  (I tear up at sad things on TV or when my granddaughter grabs her great-grandfather hand.)     I am sleeping okay,  I am functioning okay, and I am glad to be moving in a good direction.

 

Having said that - I have had a couple days of morning dizzyness, a couple different days of headaches, and did have a couple days of feeling blah - physically.

So far, all of this is tolerable and manageable.

 

My plan is to stay on 5 mg until the spring.   I won't lie, the posts scare the hell out of me in terms of long lasting and delayed symptoms.   I honestly don't know what to do.

 

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Gridley
When you resume your taper in the spring, I, as the other moderators recommend, suggest you do it much more slowly.  See the link provided by manymoretodays, "Why taper by 10%?"  A slow taper is particularly important at the lower doses. 
 
The following link explains the importance of tapering slowly.
 
 
Please keep us updated on how you're doing.
 

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Vandal

Back in July,  I followed doctor advice to half my dose for a few weeks, but I didn't just stop the Paxil at that point because of the warnings I read here.  So I kept halfing the dose every four weeks until I was off Paxil after 30 years.   During the last four weeks prior to stopping completely, I could tell I was more emotional and easily irratated, but dismissed that as an adjustment period.   Well, Christmas Eve I got hit with a major panic attack like I hadn't experienced in ten years.   (Back then went off Paxil cold turkey - I didn't know any better   That situation resolved after a week of not sleeping, crying, and just taking the Paxil again.)  Back to Christmas Eve.   I stayed up all night.   Lying down made me feel like I was suffocating.   I cried, and my nervous system felt like I had caffinated myself beyond anything I could tolerate.  Have periodic hot flashes.  I had no appetite and couldn't eat.   Last night, I got a little sleep but again, very little and not much of it was in my bed.  Sat up most of the night.   Today is nervousness and stomach churning and tears.   I sent a note to my doctor in the middle of the night on Dec. 24 and didn't hear back from her yet.

 

Stopped at a pharmacist about the sleeping issue and whether of not to take Melatonin.   She said it would take too long for my needs.   So I am taking a sleeping aid tonight hoping for some solid rest.    I also have a prescprition for propranolol for situational anxiety, which I rarely needed.  I asked the pharmacist if I could take that to help through this very difficult time.   She said it could help with the stomach feelings.    

So I am waiting for the doctor to get back to her office and help me with a plan.

Questions:

                 Is this a relapse or is it withdrawl symptoms?

                 Should I go back on a small dose to get over this hump while waiting to hear from my doctor?

 

I hate this.

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ChessieCat

You've reduced too quickly and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms.  Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

I'm assuming that your drug signature is up to date and that you last took 0.75mg Paxil mid December 2018.

 

The only known was to reduce withdrawal symptoms is to take the same drug that you were last taking.  (Please see my assumption about date, dose and drug above).  Because you have been off for about 2 weeks you won't need to go back on 0.75mg Paxil because your brain will have made some adaptation since you have been off.  It is better to take a lower dose and increase if necessary.  It takes about 4 days for a dose to get to full level in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.  You will need to keep daily symptoms notes so you can see how reinstatement is affecting your symptoms. 

 

The idea of reinstating isn't to get rid of withdrawal symptoms completely but to bring them to a bearable level.  The lower the dose you can stabilise the less drug you will need to taper off after you stabilise.

 

My suggestion would be to immediately start taking 0.5mg Paxil (please refer to my assumption above). 

 

Please read Post #1 of this topic:  About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

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Vandal

How can I survive this?  What can I do to bear staying up all night-crying - etc... I will go back on the Paxil, but what else can I do?

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Marmot

Breathe, deep belly breaths. Talk to someone. Exercise. These are all things I've done today. They help a little, but not entirely. 

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ChessieCat
40 minutes ago, Vandal said:

I will go back on the Paxil, but what else can I do?

 

When I reduced my Pristiq from 100mg to 50mg for 2 weeks I suffered extreme cog fog.  It got so bad that I was unable to type.  I have been a professional typist for 40+ years so I know something was wrong.  Thankfully I had joined SA a few days before and they had suggested taking extra Pristiq.  I did this and after only about 4 hours I was able to type again and the cog fog was lifting.

 

Now it may take a bit longer for things to improve for you than it did for me but you might feel a bit of improvement in the next day or two.  You will need to try and stay as calm and patient as possible.  You will need to take each day at a time, each hour at a time or even each minute at a time if needed.  It might be tough and you will need to dig deep.  Try your best to find things to distract yourself during this time and keep reminding yourself that you have done what needs to be done by taking the drug (which is what your brain needs and is why you feel so bad) and soon you will start to feel a bit better.

 

Nobody can do this for you, you will have to do it yourself.  We can help support you over the next few days by posting encouragement and suggestions but you will need to make the effort to do what needs to be done.  The calmer you can remain means there will be less stress on your nervous system and the easier it will be for your brain to concentrate on what it needs to do.  If you stress out and get anxious your brain will be trying to cope with what it perceives as a threat and danger.  This is the fight/flight reflex.  Understanding what is happening can help you with the second fear, or fear of the fear.

 

Check out these:

 

LINKS:

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)

 

The labelled diagram in this link explains how anxiety affects different parts of the body:

 

https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/AnxietySelfHelp.pdf

 

Dr Claire Weekes suffered from anxiety and learned and taught ways of coping.  There are videos available on YouTube.

 

Claire Weekes' Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System

 

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Vandal

So, I took a sleeping aid last night - that helped a lot.    I have propranolol that I rarely used - but talked with a pharmacist about using it for the stomach storms.   That seems to calm things down a bit.   I went back on the tiniest dose I can cut up - shooting for .5 mg    (Will talk with Dr. about switching to liquid for better dosing.)

The anxiety is still there but breathing helps - and the improvement from yesterday to today is making hopeful.

 

Can I be honest?   Reading other people's stories on this site makes it worse for me - like I am doomed.    Not to be taken personally.

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ChessieCat
15 minutes ago, Vandal said:

Can I be honest?   Reading other people's stories on this site makes it worse for me - like I am doomed.    Not to be taken personally.

 

Yes, reading others experiencing can be triggering.  We need to keep ourselves as calm and stress free as possible.  I had to stop playing Angry Birds Friends for a long time at the beginning my taper because it just increased the adrenaline and made me anxious and edgy.

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