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bluecup: Starting Paxil taper


bluecup

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Hi Everyone - I was put on Paxil 16 years ago, when I was 19, for generalized anxiety. I tried to get off it once, when they tapered me off 20 mg over two weeks after I had been taking the drug for a year. This was, clearly, a disaster, and I never tried again. Now I am deeply, deeply regretting not starting the taper earlier. I had NO idea how long it would take. I was thinking *maybe* a year. It seems like this will not be the case for me. 

 

I started at 15 mg in February 2018, and I'm now down to 8.8 mg, or rather 4.4 mL, as I've switched to liquid. I started by tapering 1 mg a month, which went fine for the first month. However, the next month I started experiencing panic attacks - even though I had never experienced a panic attack before. So I did some research and switched to tapering at 0.5 mg every two weeks. Once I went to liquid, because of the measuring syringe I had, I switched to tapering 0.2 mL (0.4 mg equivalent) every two weeks. This went fine until I got to 4.2 mL. I was rendered non-functional - so dizzy, couldn't remember ANYTHING for more than a few seconds, forgetting words, etc. It was horrible, and I couldn't do my job. 

 

So I went back up to 4.4 mL, where I have been for the past two weeks. I need to figure out what to do next. On a side note, but a super important one, I'm freaking out about how long this is going to take because I was thinking maybe I wanted kids, and I can't have kids on Paxil. I'm not sure what to do about that. I'm 35, and I don't have five years to try to get off Paxil and then have children. Maybe I can cross taper to Zoloft? I have no idea.

 

So I'm lost. And looking for support. Already super excited about the information I've found here. My psychiatrist is not super helpful, and I've developed the schedule myself. She originally suggested a much faster one. Sigh. 

 

Thanks for reading!

  • July 2002 - Started Paxil CR 25 mg 
  • July 2003 - Tapered off Paxil over two weeks 
  • October 2003 - switched to Lexapro
  • October 2003 - Started 20 mg Paxil 
  • October 2003 - December 2018 - 10 mg/20 mg Paxil alternating days
  • December 2018 - 15 mg Paxil daily
  • February 15, 2018 - Taper begun. Reduced 1 mg/month for two months. 
  • April 2018 - Switched to liquid. Taper rate changed to 0.4 mg reduction/2 weeks
  • September 13, 2018 - Reached dosage of 8.4 mg 
  • September 18, 2018 - Went back up to 8.8 mg
  • Currently on hold at 8.8 mg while researching. Considering Brass Monkey Microtaper slide method.
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to bluecup: Starting Paxil taper
  • Moderator

Hi bluecup and welcome,

 

Has the Paxil ever been effective for your symptoms of anxiety?

 

I'm sorry for your struggles with this medication, Paxil, and with the anxiety/fears.  One thing that will be really important now in your journey off of it, it does sound like you have decided on this........is going to be really honing up on some tools and skills.  Building up a toolbox that you can draw from to deal with symptoms of W/D(withdrawal) as well as the the symptoms that got you started on the medication in the first place.  We've got a lot of stuff collected in our Symptoms and Self Care forum so do go take a look there soon.  Meantime, let's get you started here.

 

We generally recommend a much slower taper than you have been doing.

Why taper by 10% of my dosage

the 10% is based on each previous dose, not the starting dose.  So......tapering using a drop of 1 mg or 0.5 mg each time may be too much right now.

Tips for tapering off Paxil(paroxetine)

 

What is withdrawal syndrome

Dr. Glenmullens withdrawal symptom checklist

Quite likely you are now experiencing some W/D symptoms

Often when in W/D emotions are enhanced a bit.

neuroemotions

The Windows and Waves Pattern of stabilization

 

I'm going to include this link, as well.......on doing a Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac

Post # 7 in ^ is very informative.

When you do get to that link and information, please also go back to the start of the topic there as well and read the first post.

 

This is your introduction page bluecup, you've now introduced yourself to the community.  Consider this like your "home page", a place for you to ask questions specific to your situation, and keep a record of your W/D journey, as well as to communicate with others about your situation.

 

Really important and the next thing that I'd like you to do is:

Please put your withdrawal history in a signature

this is the portion that you see below other's posts when you are signed in here(unless using a phone device).  Just read and follow the instructions in that link to create your signature.  This is really helpful to moderators as well as others on the site, so that we may see your situation at a glance.  You can create a signature from a phone device......again follow the instructions in that link, which will take you to a link for account settings, so that you can do this.  Thank you.

 

The only 2 supplements that we recommend are:

Omega 3, fatty acids( fish oil)

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

It's best to just start one new thing at a time however,  start low, then keep records as to what you are adding or changing.

 

Welcome again bluecup.  Good to have you here.

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

mmt

 

Edited by manymoretodays
additional

2022 May- continuing with limited activity on site, just something I need to do right now

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016.  And.....I quit smoking 11/2021.  Can you say Hallelujah?(took me long enough)💜

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider. manymoretodays

 

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Hi Many More Days -

 

I am so, so deeply (speechlessly) appreciative for all this information and all these resources. Perhaps the most disconcerting/upsetting aspect of this process is realizing that my psychiatrist really doesn't know about tapering, and I can't afford to pay for one out of pocket, so she's it. It's empowering to feel like I have support and some real, good information. This is exactly what I've been looking for.  I'm almost crying with gratitude, and I don't think it's just one of my crying spells!

 

Yes, Paxil was at some point helpful for my anxiety, but really I think it stopped doing anything years ago. I've learned to manage anxiety I still had on Paxil by investing myself in mindfulness and really, just growing up and learning coping skills. 

 

I will definitely add my withdrawal history in the signature - will do that now. Thank you. SO much. There are no words. 

 

With gratitude, 

bluecup

  • July 2002 - Started Paxil CR 25 mg 
  • July 2003 - Tapered off Paxil over two weeks 
  • October 2003 - switched to Lexapro
  • October 2003 - Started 20 mg Paxil 
  • October 2003 - December 2018 - 10 mg/20 mg Paxil alternating days
  • December 2018 - 15 mg Paxil daily
  • February 15, 2018 - Taper begun. Reduced 1 mg/month for two months. 
  • April 2018 - Switched to liquid. Taper rate changed to 0.4 mg reduction/2 weeks
  • September 13, 2018 - Reached dosage of 8.4 mg 
  • September 18, 2018 - Went back up to 8.8 mg
  • Currently on hold at 8.8 mg while researching. Considering Brass Monkey Microtaper slide method.
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  • Moderator

Hi Bluecup--  welcome to SA, I'm so glad you found us.  MMT has give you a lot of good information, but it will take some time to sort through it all and have it make sense.  Ask a lot of questions if you need to.

 

The sudden increase in symptoms you just experienced is an indication that you need to take a break for a while.  The taper you've been doing has been fine, but it does work out to being right at the fastest tat we recommend.  I would let things settle out for 6-8 weeks before continuing with your taper.  I highly recommend the Brassmonkey Slide Method, we've been having very good results with a lot of members who use it.  When the time comes to restart your taper we can help work out the details.

 

Because we deal with so many different drugs and dosages it would be really helpful if you could keep your notes here in milligrams.  It can be really difficult for us to find the proper conversion factor to switch back and forth between mg and mL.  We don't want to accidentally make a mistake when recommending things.

 

Brassmonkey

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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Brassmonkey - Thank you so much! I have adjusted all my notes to milligrams. Thank you for the information. I appreciate also your recommendation of letting things settle for a few weeks. I have been feeling rushed for several reasons: 1) the desire to not let Paxil have any more years of my life, (2) the desire not to feel "off" for years and (3) the desire to potentially have children. I had NO clue a taper would take this long, so I thought I had time. Now I'm 35 years old, and after doing a LOT of reading, I'm thinking maybe having my own biological children will not be a choice for me due to the risks to the child being too high. So I'm dealing with that anger and grief too. 

 

ANYWAY - that all said, I think I don't really have a choice except to take it slow, give the taper the years that it will take, and make peace with the consequences of having been put on this drug when I was too young and too uninformed to really understand what I was agreeing to. I don't want to permanently damage my neurological system.

 

I feel like I may need help check my math when I start to taper again, so I will look for the right forum to ask questions about my taper schedule. I've looked over the Brass Monkey method, and I feel like it would really work for me. That said, I will continue to hold at 8.8 mg until the end of October, to allow for about 6 weeks to settle. 

 

I am so grateful. Thank you. 

  • July 2002 - Started Paxil CR 25 mg 
  • July 2003 - Tapered off Paxil over two weeks 
  • October 2003 - switched to Lexapro
  • October 2003 - Started 20 mg Paxil 
  • October 2003 - December 2018 - 10 mg/20 mg Paxil alternating days
  • December 2018 - 15 mg Paxil daily
  • February 15, 2018 - Taper begun. Reduced 1 mg/month for two months. 
  • April 2018 - Switched to liquid. Taper rate changed to 0.4 mg reduction/2 weeks
  • September 13, 2018 - Reached dosage of 8.4 mg 
  • September 18, 2018 - Went back up to 8.8 mg
  • Currently on hold at 8.8 mg while researching. Considering Brass Monkey Microtaper slide method.
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Hi there - tapering was going fine until I hit about 8.8 mg (4.4 mL) - that's when I remembered starting to feel really bad. I didn't understand anything then (just found this site!) and so I went ahead and tapered to 8.4 mg (4.2 mL). Then I felt AWFUL, so after four days, I went back up to 8.8 mg (4.4 mL) and the symptoms definitely subsided some. However, I am now ten days into being 8.8 mg, and I still have wooziness, derealization, nausea, diarrhea. It's crappy and is disrupting my whole life. That said, I appear (as far as I can tell) functional to other people. The pretending to be totally fine is exhausting.

 

I read the whole post about reinstatement, and I still don't quite follow. Should I reinstate back up to 9.2 mg (4.6 mL) or stay at 8.8 mg (4.4. mL)? I understand that it might not work. I understand that reinstatement can actually make things worse. I'm just trying to figure out if I should try to stabilize (even for months, which is fine) at 8.8 mg (4.4 mL) or try to go back up to 9.2. mg (4.6 mL), where I felt okay? I got freaked out by the idea that I might do permanent damage. Any help with this would be so appreciated, I can't even explain. My psychiatrist is useless, but she's what I have with insurance. She told me yesterday that she hasn't tapered anyone from Paxil since 1990 - this dumb, old drug.

 

Thank you. 

 

  • July 2002 - Started Paxil CR 25 mg 
  • July 2003 - Tapered off Paxil over two weeks 
  • October 2003 - switched to Lexapro
  • October 2003 - Started 20 mg Paxil 
  • October 2003 - December 2018 - 10 mg/20 mg Paxil alternating days
  • December 2018 - 15 mg Paxil daily
  • February 15, 2018 - Taper begun. Reduced 1 mg/month for two months. 
  • April 2018 - Switched to liquid. Taper rate changed to 0.4 mg reduction/2 weeks
  • September 13, 2018 - Reached dosage of 8.4 mg 
  • September 18, 2018 - Went back up to 8.8 mg
  • Currently on hold at 8.8 mg while researching. Considering Brass Monkey Microtaper slide method.
Link to comment
  • Moderator

Even though you felt okay before at 9.2mg doesn't mean that's a good dosage for you at this point.  Your system got accustomed to some degree to the two lower does (8.4 and 8.8) and 9.2 very possibly would be too much for you now.  I would hold at 8.8mg and try to stabilize there.  It can take months.

 

You have not done any permanent damage.  Worse case, you may have to endure some unpleasant symptoms and delay in your taper, but it will work out in time and you'll be able to resume your taper.

 

If you do the Brassmonkey taper (I'm doing it now), you need to wait to stabilize before tapering further.  

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current Valium dose as of Feb 22, 2022: 4.8mg 

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8 and shift to Imipramine taper

Taper is 74% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of May 17: 10.5mg 

Taper is 86% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Thank you so much, Gridley. That really helps. That was my instinct, but after reading through the forums, I still wasn't sure. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I do want to try the Brassmonkey taper, and I think that will be a good method for me. It's upsetting, to some degree, to have to delay my taper, but I know it's necessary. I just ordered a good omega fish oil and magnesium, so hopefully both those will help with the withdrawal symptoms while they pass. I just need to be patient. I had one of those moments where I thought, "I can't bear this." But I can, even though I don't want to. Thank you for the guidance. I'm so grateful. 

  • July 2002 - Started Paxil CR 25 mg 
  • July 2003 - Tapered off Paxil over two weeks 
  • October 2003 - switched to Lexapro
  • October 2003 - Started 20 mg Paxil 
  • October 2003 - December 2018 - 10 mg/20 mg Paxil alternating days
  • December 2018 - 15 mg Paxil daily
  • February 15, 2018 - Taper begun. Reduced 1 mg/month for two months. 
  • April 2018 - Switched to liquid. Taper rate changed to 0.4 mg reduction/2 weeks
  • September 13, 2018 - Reached dosage of 8.4 mg 
  • September 18, 2018 - Went back up to 8.8 mg
  • Currently on hold at 8.8 mg while researching. Considering Brass Monkey Microtaper slide method.
Link to comment
  • Moderator

You're welcome, bluecup.  Start the omegas and magnesium one at a time and at a low dose.

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current Valium dose as of Feb 22, 2022: 4.8mg 

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8 and shift to Imipramine taper

Taper is 74% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of May 17: 10.5mg 

Taper is 86% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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  • 1 year later...
  • Moderator

Hi @bluecup

 

As I'm currently stabilizing on Paroxetine, I'm curious of others taper le this med. 

 

How are you doing now ?

 

Wish you my best!

2006 : 20mg Paxil + Bromazepam 2008 : cold turkey of both

2010 : Reinstatement 20mg Paxil + Bromazepam

2014-June2017 : Switch from Bromazepam to Prazepam, slow taper to 0mg.

2018 to August 2019 : Paxil 20mg taper (3% every 15 days).

- 22 Aug 2019 updosed To 10mg (was at 8.4mg)

25th Sept 2019 To April 2020 : found SA, holding at 10mg Paxil. 

April 2020 : Paxil 10mg to Prozac 7mg bridge. Details topic/21457-

 

Current Supplements : magnesium citrate/ fish oil/ evening primrose oil 

Current medication :

* Diazepam Shortage : 0.95 mg (24 April 2022) / 1mg Diazepam (since 29 Aug 2020)

* Prozac : 6.64mg (4 Nov 2021) / 6.72mg (8 oct 2021) / 6.8 mg (15 Sept 2021)6.88mg (14 Aug 2021)/ 6.92mg (23 Jun 2021)

 

I am not a professional, I don't give medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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