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mdwstrx: Lexapro / escitalopram taper or not?

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Danalee13
On 7/31/2019 at 7:37 PM, mdwstrx said:

Thanks @Gridley.  So if I hold, would I hold another week and start the BM slide over for the next full four weeks?  

 

@Danalee13  Thanks for your encouragement Danalee!  I get easily discouraged only being able to drop so little when before the crash, it was much easier to drop.  

i cannot relate to this more. i was dropping easily or so i thought and then reached 5 mg and boom NOT OKAY.

 

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mdwstrx

Checking in. :) 

 

For the month so far (doing the BM slide), I've reduced escitalopram by 5.59% as follows.

                                      mg              %

7/19/2019 5.35 2.76
7/26/2019 5.30 0.93
8/04/2019 5.25 0.95
8/11/2019 5.20 0.95

 

Wd symptoms have been very manageable.  However, it's been 7 days since last taper and I'm now having some symptoms arise.  Is that unusual? 

 

I'm finding I can make a larger taper in the first week, followed by 3 smaller tapers.  Assuming this round of wd symptoms fades quickly, next month I will try to reduce by more than 5.6%.  Maybe try 7 or 8%.

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brassmonkey

It can be quit common for there to be a bigger spike in symptoms after the fourth reduction in the series.  Over the first three reductions the symptoms often don't fully resolve, There are some in the background that may not be felt that carry over to the next taper.  By the end of all four reductions it can become quite noticeable.  this is one reason why the additional two week hold period is so important, as it allows those symptoms to stabilize and resolve before continuing to taper.

 

I'm intrigued by doing a larger reduction followed by three smaller ones.  The original intent of the Brassmonkey Slide was to break up the symptom spikes associated with a large reduction and spread them over a longer time, thus smoothing out the peaks and valleys of the symptom spikes.  Do you get a bigger hit of symptoms with the first larger reduction and does it carry over into the subsequent weeks?

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mdwstrx

 Thank you for your reply.  I was surprised that symptoms appeared a week after the reduction.  Usually, for me, they show up by day 3 or 4  and are resolved by day 6.

 

6 hours ago, brassmonkey said:

Do you get a bigger hit of symptoms with the first larger reduction and does it carry over into the subsequent weeks?

No, so far the symptoms from the larger first reduction are minimal; as are the 3 smaller and subsequent reductions.  I suspect I may be able to increase the first reduction easier than the rest.  I intend to try after this 2 week hold. 

 

Full disclosure: :)

When I tried the following 10.22% taper in May, I had a sort of mini crash and had to hold for a month and a half.

 

5/1/2019 5.90 3.28%
5/8/2019 5.75 2.54%
5/15/2019 5.60 2.61%
5/24/2019 5.50 1.79

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Frogie
13 hours ago, mdwstrx said:

 Thank you for your reply.  I was surprised that symptoms appeared a week after the reduction.  Usually, for me, they show up by day 3 or 4  and are resolved by day 6.

 

No, so far the symptoms from the larger first reduction are minimal; as are the 3 smaller and subsequent reductions.  I suspect I may be able to increase the first reduction easier than the rest.  I intend to try after this 2 week hold. 

 

Full disclosure: :)

When I tried the following 10.22% taper in May, I had a sort of mini crash and had to hold for a month and a half.

 

5/1/2019 5.90 3.28%
5/8/2019 5.75 2.54%
5/15/2019 5.60 2.61%
5/24/2019 5.50 1.79

Sounds like you are doing very well.

 

 I’m very happy for you. You’ve got this!

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

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Carmie

Hi md, 

 

Great to see you’re doing so well with your taper.💚

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mdwstrx

Thanks Frogie and Carmie.  I am going very, very slowly until I get the hang of it. :) 

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Carmie
On 8/26/2019 at 10:18 AM, mdwstrx said:

Thanks Frogie and Carmie.  I am going very, very slowly until I get the hang of it. :) 

 

That’s definitely the way to do it md💚

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mdwstrx

Hello.  Checking in.  

I've been feeling very good thankfully.  Sleeping well and at about 95-100% most days. :)

 

However, made a 3% cut and today is day 5.  Symptoms have ramped up yesterday and today (it is consistently the case for me to see symptoms on day 4 following a reduction). 

I'll see how it goes in two more days as to whether I cut again or hold.  I realized I've only been holding a week after 4 weekly cuts.  I was thinking that the week following

cut #4 counted as one of the two hold weeks.  Not so I learned once I double checked on the site.  :( 

 

At 5 mg, this taper will take awhile.  I'm not sure how low below 1 mg. is a good stopping point so it's hard for me to calculate.  

 

Hope others are seeing improvements and finding strength to deal with waves.  🙏

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ChessieCat

When to end the taper and jump to zero?

 

The way I help stay patient is that it's my brain that needs the drug, not me.  I will go as slow and as low as I need to so that I don't get more than mild discomfort.

 

I also think about how far I've already come, not how far I've got to go.  And also I've done a lot of work getting this far, why mess it up when I'm so close to the end.

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mdwstrx

Thanks Chessie!  I've read the link and don't think I can decide until I get there... but that's awhile away.   I agree with your thinking!  Slow an steady.. 🐢🐢🐢🐢

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ChessieCat

I've just dropped to 2.25mg today.  It will take as long as it takes.  But I can imagine that making that last step will be both scary and exciting.  Probably a bit like stepping off the lunar module onto the moon's surface 50 years ago.  The difference for us is that others have gone before us.

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mdwstrx
2 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

I've just dropped to 2.25mg today.  It will take as long as it takes.  But I can imagine that making that last step will be both scary and exciting.  Probably a bit like stepping off the lunar module onto the moon's surface 50 years ago.  The difference for us is that others have gone before us.

Well done and said!!! :) 

I'm happy for you that you are getting there...

Yes, it will be scary given some research but the alternative can be more scary.  

...And believe me, I'm watching some of those others closely and praying for their continued

success and very happy new beginnings... 

 

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mdwstrx

This morning I took a calculated risk and dropped another 2%. 

I dropped 2 weeks ago by 2.9% for the first drop of the 4 weekly. 

It's taken awhile for symptoms to resolve. They weren't overwhelming

but troublesome nonetheless.  This morning, I woke feeling some slight

anxiety and pins and needles in my arms.  I am still trying to

assess what is wd normal.  

 

I'm not known for being absent minded and easily distracted  but it's more often been the case during this taper.

My friend says I often see shiny quarters...lol. 🤔🤷‍♀️

Hope it's not permanent.

 

God bless all on this site. 

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Frogie

Hi:

 

Just thought I would drop by and see how you were doing.

 

 I hope you have good news!

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

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mdwstrx
14 hours ago, Frogie said:

Hi:

 

Just thought I would drop by and see how you were doing.

 

 I hope you have good news!

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

 

Hi Frogie! 

So nice of you to stop by and check on me. 🙂I've been thinking of you too! 

I know you were having some symptoms of late but hopefully they resolve as you 

recover from each cut.  You're such an inspiration to me💜.  

I'll stop in on your thread to post more...

 

As for me, I'm doing well, thanks.

So, yes, good news mostly! 

I've reduced a total of 7.95 % this month... so far.  It's gone smoothly up until this week. 

It took 5-6 days for the 3rd drop of the month to kick in so by yesterday, I felt kinda funky. 

Symptoms aren't overwhelming but I feel a shift in my normal mood for the worse.

Today is a bit better. I cut another 1% for the above total this morning.  May try another 

before week's end if all goes smoothly for a grand total of 9% for the month but we shall see.

 

Thank you for checking in and asking!  It really helps to know others are encouraging 

us along on this thorny path. 🌼

 

 

 

 

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Frogie
1 hour ago, mdwstrx said:

 

Hi Frogie! 

So nice of you to stop by and check on me. 🙂I've been thinking of you too! 

I know you were having some symptoms of late but hopefully they resolve as you 

recover from each cut.  You're such an inspiration to me💜.  

I'll stop in on your thread to post more...

 

As for me, I'm doing well, thanks.

So, yes, good news mostly! 

I've reduced a total of 7.95 % this month... so far.  It's gone smoothly up until this week. 

It took 5-6 days for the 3rd drop of the month to kick in so by yesterday, I felt kinda funky. 

Symptoms aren't overwhelming but I feel a shift in my normal mood for the worse.

Today is a bit better. I cut another 1% for the above total this morning.  May try another 

before week's end if all goes smoothly for a grand total of 9% for the month but we shall see.

 

Thank you for checking in and asking!  It really helps to know others are encouraging 

us along on this thorny path. 🌼

 

 

 

 

I’m so glad to hear you’re doing well. Lexapro is such a beast to get off of as you know.

 

Just look how far you have come.

 

You are truly an inspiration to me and everyone on here, doing your taper the correct way. And not as many symptoms as you could have. You are so lucky!

 

I will jump over to my thread in a minute and answer you. 🌼

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

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mdwstrx

Hello.

Checking in with a question. For the month of September, taper was as follows:

 

                                    mg              percent drop

  5.15  
8/31/2019 5.00 2.95
9/14/2019 4.90 2
9/21/2019 4.80 2
9/28/2019 4.75 1.05
     Mo. Total   8

 

Last drop was 9 days ago.  I have felt some relatively light symptoms but they seem to be picking up a bit in intensity.  The last couple of mornings I woke early (3:30-4:00) and tossed and turned til I got up.  Lots of hot flashes.  Inner buzzing and a light feeling of wd fear.  Is it unusual for wd to hit so many days after and grow a bit in intensity?  Hoping it settles down quickly.

 

Thanks.

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Frogie

Just wanted to pop in and see how you were doing?

 

 I hope everything is going well. 
 

You are getting lower and lower😊awesome!

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

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Frogie

Are you doing ok?

 

 I just haven’t heard anything from you and I was concerned.

 

 I hope you are doing 😊

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

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mdwstrx
On 11/10/2019 at 9:29 AM, Frogie said:

Are you doing ok?

 

 I just haven’t heard anything from you and I was concerned.

 

 I hope you are doing 😊

 

 

Hi Frogie! 💜

 

I'm doing very well.  Thank you for checking!  I don't check my own profile often so I apologize for not replying more timely.

 

I continue to taper and am down to 4.30 mg.  My routine seems to be following a pattern similar to what Brass Monkey posted (see below).

 

Quote
For the majority of my taper symptoms would hit me on day three after the first cut.  These would generally clear back to WDnormal by the end of day six. The second and third cut would be pretty much the same.  The fourth cut frequently was different with the symptoms hitting again about the third but sometimes the second day but not clearing back to WDnormal until around the tenth thru sixteenth day.

 

I will check your thread.  In the meantime, I hope you're feeling a bit better today and that things are calming down. 

Continuing my prayers for you and all on this site.  

🌼Mdwstrx

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Frogie
Just now, mdwstrx said:

 

Hi Frogie! 💜

 

I'm doing very well.  Thank you for checking!  I don't check my own profile often so I apologize for not replying more timely.

 

I continue to taper and am down to 4.30 mg.  My routine seems to be following a pattern similar to what Brass Monkey posted (see below).

 

 

 

I will check your thread.  In the meantime, I hope you're feeling a bit better today and that things are calming down. 

Continuing my prayers for you and all on this site.  

🌼Mdwstrx

I'm so happy to hear you are doing so well. You are getting lower and lower. Pretty soon you will be done!

 

I wish you nothing but the best.

 

Take care,

Frogie xx

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mdwstrx

Hi all,

 

Looking for some reinforcement tonight I guess. 🤔 

I tapered by almost 10% this last 4 week cut and am in the first week of my hold.

On the BM slide, a 10% cut is followed by a three week hold so the monthly taper rate works out to 6.67% (not 10%).  

At this rate, it will be 4.4 more years!.  How can that be? I guess 4.3 mg is not a low amount.

If I could somehow do the 10% cut monthly, then it would only be 3 years tapering. 

It sounds so much more doable.  

 

Is there any experience with doing two monthly cuts followed by a two week hold?

 

I've read a couple posts on here that claim lexapro/escitalopram is a hard one to come off. 
But others have said not so.  I'm not finding it terribly difficult at this rate and pray it continues

into the lower dose reductions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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mdwstrx

.

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Gridley
23 hours ago, mdwstrx said:

 

Is there any experience with doing two monthly cuts followed by a two week hold?

 

Everyone's different, as you know.  I did the BM taper from 20mg Lexapro down to around 4mg with few problems.  After that I had to slow down with longer holds. I wouldn't recommend two monthly cuts with a two-week hold.  You could crash, which would mean further delay.  No, 4.3 is not a low dosage.

 

A handy calculation is that with the standard BM taper (4 weekly 2 1/2% cuts with a 2-week hold) translates out that you will cut by 1/2 every 9 months.  I.e., you're now at (according to your signature) at 4.3.  In 9 months you'll be at 2.15.

 

Take your time.  There really is no rushing this, especially at the lower doses and especially with our lovely Lexapro,

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mdwstrx

Thanks for the reply Gridley.  First, I'm glad to read you're having a window.  I hope it's continuing.

 

I'm a little confused so please stay with me:

In an earlier post, you said... "You're down very low (congratulations to you!)"  I was at 4.6 mg then.

Above you're saying, "No, 4.3 is not a low dosage."

 

I read the following on your page - "On my new 5% drop for one week,  hold a week, 5% drop for one week, hold a week tapering schedule". 

I see later on your page that you are doing a 5% cut followed by a two week hold.  

 

I'm getting the impression that as long as one stays relatively close to the 10% a month threshold, it basically depends on how your body handles the cuts.  At the very low levels, the SERT occupancy requires the ultra slow down.

 

This taper cycle, I cut 9.22 % with little symptoms.  However, with the added 2 week hold, that calcs out to less than 6.5% monthly.  I'd like to get as close to 10% a month as I can safely.  Trying how to figure out how to do that best with adequate hold time. 

 

 

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mdwstrx

Hi @brassmonkey

 

Hope you are doing well.  Are you travelling for the holiday? 🦃

 

I have a question about tapering for you.  I am holding now on day 18 since my last rounds of cuts totaling 9.22% on the bm slide. I am on 4:3 mg. I‘m having mild withdrawal symptoms still; the most problematic of which is emotional. I am crying at the slightest provocation, down and irritable a lot. Did you go through this?  I have to hold, I think until this passes.  Hope it does quickly. 

 

Thanks for any insight you might have.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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brassmonkey

Hi md--  I'm doing quite well thank you. Yea, off visiting family for a few weeks. Hope you had a good holiday.

 

Having mild symptoms is a great thing (mild that is, not symptoms, they suck).  Almost every reduction is going to have some symptoms associated with it. For some reason the lower doses, like you're getting into seem to have more of them.  Having mild ones after 18 days is pretty normal and they should clear up pretty soon. I don't think a long hold is required, maybe wait a full three weeks and then start your next round of reductions.

 

I remember being all over the place when I wad between 5 and 2mgai.  Sometimes the symptoms never completely resolved before I did my next taper, but I would push on anyway.  Don't know if that was a wise thing to do, but I got through it.  Around 5mgai is when my emotions really started to come back.  It was kind of scary because I never showed emotions well and had to relearn how to handle them after being drugged for so many years. Luckily they came back a little at a time so relearning them was a constant thing but not overwhelming. 

 

It sounds like things are going well, keep up the good work.

 

 

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mdwstrx

Thanks Tom!  Yes, I had a really good holiday with family too. 

 

Today is a bit better.  Since I calculate several more years taper, I hope my relationships

withstand the storm of these silly emotions!  When they act up, I usually pop on here

to see if I'm on track.  We all fear the turbulence is permanent. 

 

Really, really appreciate your insight. This forum is such a blessing, 

especially  with such selfless folks like you, the other mods and Alto

spending your holiday time online.  

 

Safe travels and enjoy your family.

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Frogie

Hi:

 

I just wanted to drop by and say and see how you are doing?

 

 I hope well.

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

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mdwstrx

Hi Frogie!

Good to hear from you!  I am very well, thanks.  Getting ready for a trip west so I've minimized tapering this go 'round. Wd has been present but very mild, thankfully. 🙏

How about you?  I'm popping over to your thread to read now. :) 

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mdwstrx

Well, updating from lovely Sedona, AZ on short family Christmas vacay. The town is as gorgeous as I remember from 20 Years ago but definitely larger. I love how the buildings are painted in the muted colors of the mountains so as to blend in with nature so effectively. One more day and then it’s back to the midwest cold. ☃️

 

My last round of taper using the BM slide was shortened in order to begin a hold two weeks before this trip to minimize withdrawal. I dropped around 4.5% to current 4.1 mg. It didn’t quite work as planned as I’ve been moody and have definitely felt wd symptoms. I feel mixed moments of existential gloominess and emotional insecurity. Physical symptoms are mainly neuralgia, hot flushing and some lower gi upset.  But as Brassmonkey and others have pointed out, a positive attitude is critical in this journey. I am thankful symptoms wax and wane and I can function at about 85% presently. 

 

For the next drop, I’m debating on whether to adopt Gridley’s drop a week/hold a week strategy.  That would allow me a cleaner monthly percentage if my system allows for it. I’m also unsure of when I will drop again. For a full three week hold, it would be a week from today. I’m tempted to drop tomorrow since my last drop was small but the holidays are still here so I may just hold another week.

 

Wishing all a happy and peaceful holiday season. 

Md

 

 

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Frogie
On 12/8/2019 at 4:22 PM, mdwstrx said:

Hi Frogie!

Good to hear from you!  I am very well, thanks.  Getting ready for a trip west so I've minimized tapering this go 'round. Wd has been present but very mild, thankfully. 🙏

How about you?  I'm popping over to your thread to read now. :) 

I’m sorry I never got notified that you responded. I hope you had a wonderful time. I read your post and the town sounds beautiful. Hope you had a good time with family. And a wonderful holiday.

 

 I’m doing ok. I think I’m going through a little  wave. But it’s normal at 10 months, so I just have to ride it out. January is my 10 month mark. I’m sure I’ll be fine very soon.

 

So good to hear from you. Keep me posted how you’re doing 🙏🏻
 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

 

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mdwstrx

Brassmonkey taper update = current dosage 3.7 mg.  Last round of cuts was as follows:

  

             Date               Mg               %
12/25/2019 3.95 3.70
1/1/2020 3.85 2.56
1/8/2020 3.75 2.63
1/15/2020 3.70 1.34
             Total   10.23

  

I've been on hold for 11 days and feeling relatively good.  Mostly, symptoms have been emotional - a bit of depression/irritableness.  Uncharacteristically, I find I have to watch the line between assertiveness and aggressiveness sometimes.  I would like to approximate 10% a month taper.  I've averaged around 5% cuts over the 11 months I've been tapering given that I was very cautious when I first began to taper.  The last couple of months, I've been relatively comfortable in tapering a bit more.  

 

My goal now is to fold the 4th taper of the month into the first 3  cuts and shave off a week of hold. If successful,  it would look like this:  

               

Mg

3.55

%

4.13

3.45 2.85
3.35 2.90
     Mo total 9.88

 

@brassmonkey- any thoughts on why I shouldn't scale back from 4 to to 3 cuts each round?  Especially considering some can do one ten % cut at the beginning of the month?  I think I will know by the first or second cut if it's too much.  Would greatly appreciate any input you may have.

 

Continued prayers for all on this site for comfort, stabilization and successful tapering. 💜

Md

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jozeff

Hi!

 

I would say, better a slower taper that is proving to be right for you than a faster one and regret it later.

 

You could try it a couple of weeks and it is not for you then you can easily go back off course.

 

I mean, you can pick up your slower taper again.

I understand your urge to taper s bit faster. I've been struggling with that the last 2 years. It is so tempting to just jump down in dose and see what happens.

 

You did a 5 % taper a month for a while and that is not extremely fast. You are talking about a 25% faster taper. Why not try a 15% faster taper first. I mean, like tapering every 6 days instead of 7 or somehing.

 

Cheers

Jozeff

 

 

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mdwstrx

 

7 hours ago, jozeff said:

You did a 5 % taper a month for a while and that is not extremely fast. You are talking about a 25% faster taper. Why not try a 15% faster taper first. I mean, like tapering every 6 days instead of 7 or somehing.

Hi Joseph.

Thanks for your input. It's very much appreciated. 

Counting the '2 week holds', I've recently been tapering roughly 6.67% monthly. 

What I'm proposing works out to an 8% monthly taper with the holds considered. 

I didn't express it very well above I'm afraid.

 

Essentially, it reduces the 6 week taper process to 5 weeks. 

Reduces the cuts from 4 to 3, and

increases total cut from 6.67% to 8% monthly - about a 20% increase.

 

I think that is what I'm proposing.  :) 

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