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Dylanmatthew: Lexapro withdrawal. I'm going through a very tough time and I'm very afraid

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Dylanmatthew

Hello, my name is Dylan. In 2013 I was prescribed 10mg Lexapro for anxiety and depression. I never felt better on it but not worse either so I stuck with it. Year 3 on the drug I decided I need to get over my fear of WD and dropped down to 5mg on my own. Just cut my pills in half. Felt the same still. Went on like this for almost 2 years. I asked 2 doctors about getting off Lexapro and they both said you don't get withdrawal and I can stop whenever. This seemed hard to believe. I decided to cut my 5mg pills in half. So for about 2 months I was on 2.5mg. Sometimes skipping a day. Felt no difference still. So one day I just stopped. I mean, that's what 2 doctors told me to do. It's been almost 3 months since my last dose and I'm suffering. 3 weeks ago the symptoms started. I randomly would feel off and weak. Then I would get rushes of anxiety at work and on the road. Causing huge panic attacks. The fatigue shortly set in. My head feels heavy and off. I sense of hopelessness and sadness has fallen over me. One day I would randomly cry. I have been out of work for almost 2 weeks using all my vacation. Monday I must return, as a mess. 

I have had less anxiety lately but I feel that's because I've been basically housebound. 

Also, my Dr prescribed me 20mg capsules of Prozac yesterday and I'm terrified to take it. I don't know what to do. I have to go to work Monday. Guys. This is the most miserable I've been in my life. I need support. My family is giving up on me because I won't take Prozac. I'm starting to think about taking it... 

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, Dylanmatthew.  I'm sorry you're having these terrible symptoms.

 

To start, in order to give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly.
 
 
Unfortunately, the vast majority of doctors know nothing about tapering psychiatric drugs or about withdrawal symptoms resulting from going off them too fast.  At SA, we recommend tapering by no more than 10% of current dose.  Some have to taper much more slowly.
 

 

The symptoms you are experiencing are withdrawal from a too-fast taper of Lexapro.   
 
 
 

 

When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  
 
 
Please be aware that sometime withdrawal symptoms don't appear immediately after a too-fast taper.  This appears to be the case with you.
 
Do you have any Lexapro left?  At this time, reinstatement of a very small dose of the original drug, in your case Lexapro,  is the only known way to help alleviate withdrawal syndrome.  This would be my suggestion, rather than starting off on a totally new antidepressants.
 
Reinstatement isn't a guarantee ofdiminished symptoms for everyone but it's the best tactic available.  You're still in the time period where reinstatement predictably works, up to 3 months after last dose.  We usually suggest a much smaller reinstatement dose than your last dose.  These drugs are strong, and when reinstating it is better to start with a small amount and increase if symptoms remain unbearable. Your system has become sensitized and If you take too much it may be too much for your brain and can cause you become unstable.  Sometimes it can be hard to regain stability after this happens.  I would not reinstate at the 2.5mg level you were on.  Your brain has made adjusts to not having the drug and this amount would likely be too much.  Please read:
 
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
 
I would suggest a reinstatement of .5mg Lexapro to start to see how if affects you.   It takes about 4 days for a dose change to get to get to full state in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain, so give it a chance to work.  Please let us know how you're doing.
 
This link explains how to make nonstandard doses (such as .5mg) of Lexapro, which is basically to make a liquid from the tablet or to weigh pieces of the tablet using a scale such as the Gemini-20 scale available on Amazon.
 
 
I'm sorry about your family situation.  It is a very common attitude among family members to want to make you "do what the doctor says."
 
These links about talking with your doctor may be helpful in talking with your family.
 
 
It would be helpful to us if you would post a daily symptom chart.  The format can be something like this:
 
5:30 am   Woke up.  Very high anxiety.
7:00 am  Anxiety less but still very present.
9:00 am  Fatigue starts
etc.
 
 

 

 

 


 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

 

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jozeff

Hi Dylan,

 

I'm sorry you're in this trouble.

 

Very smart of you to visit this site. It's a shame the doctor prescribed you Prozac to be honest. The first thing the doctor tells me when I complain about any symptoms is the advice to updose or to take other ad's.....

 

I have the feeling that this small reinstatement might be the best thing for you now. 

 

I take citalopram and I now how powerful this stuff is. Listen to people on this website. Your doctor may be a smart person but this website provides a lot of understanding and has a lot of info the doctors never heard about, trust me.

 

I hope you will be better soon and don't try to panic. You will be better. I now it seems impossible now (I felt the same). Your brain tells you this will last forever..... Don't be fooled by this, you will feel better! It may take a while but from now on your going in the right direction!

 

 

Cheers!

 

 

Jozeff

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Dylanmatthew

Thank you guys for your replies. I'm in a very dark and lonely place. I gotta admit reading all of this info is overwhelming me and sending me into a panic. I feel very off currently. My head feels heavy and weird. This has been going on for 3 weeks now. I feel off and I'm sick of it. I'm afraid! 

I have 25 generic Lexapro 5mg pills left. They aren't scored but I have a pill cutter... 

I don't remember when I quit but it's been a few months I believe. I didn't expect this... 

OK so start taking Lexapro now? I'm trying to. Calm myself 

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Dylanmatthew

OK guys I called my Drs nurse and she said she'd get back to me hopefully today with liquid Lexapro... 

Please ease my nerves. My body feels very out of whack. I can feel an anxiety attack creeping up again. 

 

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bubble

After being off for a few months it is very important you don't reinstate a too high dose. 5 mg is high. A good dose for reinstating would be 1 mg or even 0.5.

 

I know you are struggling badly. I was in the same state when I came here. Pill cutters are not accurate and they can't give you a small dose. I find dissolving a pill in water and using a syringe easy and accurate. I was scared at first but all you need is a small container and a jar.

 

If you have a 5 mg pill, you can dissolve it in 10 ml of water. If you take 1 ml of such suspension you will be taking 0.5 mg.

 

 

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bubble

Liquid Lexapro is a more elegant way. But check the concentration so that you know how many mg there are in a ml.

A lot of us felt relief after reinstating and were able to stabilise gradually. It will get better.

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Dylanmatthew

I've been struggling with what I now realize is withdrawal for 3 weeks. Today I feel off. I feel weird feeling in my head. Bro, do I gotta go to the ER. I'm scared and alone. I don't wanna die. 

 

Okay if my Dr doesn't call back I will do the water thing. I'm calling my parents because at this point I can do this alone... 

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Dylanmatthew

OK bubble. I hope I feel relief from this hell. I shouldn't have listened to my doctors about tapering I should've known better... 

I am just afraid my body is going to shut down and die man

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Dylanmatthew

Also it's 1pm. Should I reinstate it in the morning 

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Dylanmatthew

Also another question. Once I take my first 1mg after months without it. Then what? 1mg daily or do I raise it? 

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jozeff

Dylan, dont panick.

 

I know you're in a very dark place but you have to be very strong now!

 

Trust me, i felt very bad, but this feeling won't last. Your brain doesn't allow this. 

 

You will not die! I know you don't believe it but it is your brain trying to make you crazy.

 

I thought I was gonna die a few times but actually I was very healthy. I had my heart checked and everything. Just my brain trying to cope with stuff.

 

 

I stopped a major panic attack a few times by taking a cold shower......helped for me. I share my experiences, no guarantees. 

 

Keep us informed, you will get some sort of help here.

 

Jozeff

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Dylanmatthew

Thank you jozeff. I believe my next course of action has to be reinstating Lexapro 1mg. I am just feeling like crap and off and it's hard to do a chemistry project and get it right. 

 

Please share more. How long were you on the drug and how long were withdrawals 

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jozeff

Dylan, try to decide how you are going to reinstate now. Don't think about the near future now. You will find a way to deal with your pills, liquid or whatever but you don't have to figure that out right now..

 

You're not in the best position now to make decisions about future meds and concentrations

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Dylanmatthew

Then what should I do. Sit on my couch and suffer. I feel very off. Past 3 weeks of this. I see no end in sight. I didn't taper properly and basically went cold turkey without realizing. I'm going to be hospitalized 

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jozeff

Someone said not to take too much Lexapro now..... something like 0.5 mg so that is 1/10 of a pill. Do you have a syringe? These pills are soluble and it's easy to take 0.5 mg this way.

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Dylanmatthew

No syring

I will get one later from parents I hope. Sink water is OK? How do I know it's 1mg

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jozeff

I started a citalopram taper in April 2018 and decreased 0.1 mg every day after being on it for 2 years.
After 85 days of tapering I crashed so I stayed on 16.5 mg for a couple of weeks. I felt so bad that I updosed to 18 mg to feel better. That didn't really help because my body had to get used to that dose also. I'm on 18 mg citalopram now since August 14th 2018

 

 

I am not stable by any means.ive been jumping from 15 to 25 mg and back a few times last year.

 

At least you didn't jump around. It could very well be that a small reinstatement might work for you. I'm no expert on that but it's possible from what I've learned.

 

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jozeff

Sink water is perfect.

 

Do you have a scale? You could dissolve one 5 mg pill in a liter of water (=1000g). Shake it and drink 100 ml(=100 g). Kwep the rest in the fridge for now..

 

You'll get 0.5 mg this way. This is what Gridley advised and he knows his stuff I think.

 

Don't start too high a dose right now!

 

These large volumes/weights are easier to work with if you don't have precise scales and volumetric stuff.

 

This way you can work pretty accurately with a kitchen scale.

 

 

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jozeff

This stuff doesn't taste too good but these amounts are negligible.

 

Just take the 0.5 mg and that's it.

 

Gridley said it could take 4 days for it to build up in the blood and a bit more to do something in the brain so you'll have to keep calm and be patient.

 

I know it's evil, I spent 6 weeks at home this year just because of panic attacks and misery. Things will get better for you.

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Gridley

As I said earlier, I'd start with .05mg Lexapro.  

 

Reinstate in the morning if that's when you normally took it.  An activating drug like Lexapro is best taken in the morning to minimize sleep disruption.

31 minutes ago, Dylanmatthew said:

Also another question. Once I take my first 1mg after months without it. Then what? 1mg daily or do I raise it

 

 It takes about 4 days for a dose change to get to get to full state in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.  So stay with the .5 for seven or eight days.  Then assess how you're doing.

 

Post a daily symptom chart as I described in my first post.

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jozeff

Gridley, you mean 0.5 mg Lexapro right?

 

Just to make sure Dylan does not get confused.

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Dylanmatthew
11 minutes ago, Gridley said:

 

Okay Gridley. If I can manage this science project and get some 0.5mg Lexapro I will take it for a week. I hope this relieves my suffering. My head feels full and weird.. And I'm fatigued. Those are my main symptoms currently.... And they suck. 

I'll write a symptom sheet as well. 

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Gridley

Yes, 0.5mg Lexapro.

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Dylanmatthew

Jozeff and others. Do you believe it's withdrawal I'm feeling? I've had no experience like this in my life before and I quit Lexapro 2 or 3 months ago so it only makes sense it's a delayed withdrawal. I can't see what else this is. I'm more physically unwell than mentally. But still very depressed and anxious. 

I gotta admit I feel defeated that I'm going back on Lexapro... Kinda sad but I wanna stop suffering 

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Dylanmatthew

Just got off the phone with my doctor. He believes I am not experiencing withdrawal since it's been months without it. He will not give me Lexapro liquid but he has 28 days worth of a drug called trintellix I can sample and see how that works. 

 

I DON'T THINK SO!!!!!! 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed *******

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bubble

Can you get Lexapro from some other doctor?

 

Don't try to persuade doctors about withdrawal. You just need a prescription. You can just say you are having a relapse and want to go back on the drug because it worked for you. You don't have to take the dose the doctor advises...

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Dylanmatthew

Well technically I have a bottle from my previous doctor with 5mg pills. The bottle says 6 more refills. Is that still in affect? I got them 4 or 5 months ago... 

I don't think I can get liquid sadly... 

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ChessieCat

From Post #1 of this topic:  tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram

 

Do-it-yourself liquid
People report that they can make their own liquid from Lexapro tablets and water.

It is soluble in water, see http://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB01175 -- stability (shelf-life of dilution) is unknown.

See How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

 

 

 

You might find these topics helpful:

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

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Dylanmatthew

Thank you chessie. I gotta admit trading all this is freaking me out and.giving me a lot. Of anxiety. I feel I am in danger since my nervous system is in distress it says. I am taking Lexapro again tomorrow morning. Sadly I will have to make a liquid solution as suggested got 0.5mg and that is going to be difficult... 

Am I going to be OK???? 

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WantoffVen

Look on the bottle, Dylan. It will say how long the prescription is good until.

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Dylanmatthew

Oh you're right. 6/19

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Gridley

Yes, you're going to be okay, Dylanmatthew.  This is a lot of information to absorb, I know.  It is not a defeat to be reinstating.  You won't be reinstating much and will be in a good position to taper off safely once you've stabilized.  Yes, it is withdrawal.  The symptoms you listed are classic WD symptoms resulting from a too-fast taper.  

 

As Bubble said, any M.D. can prescribe liquid Lexapro.

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ChessieCat

You could take it straight away and then take the next dose a few hours before the next dose is due (ie take the 2nd dose in 20, 21 or 22 hours times)  You can then take the 3rd dose a bit earlier each day until you are taking it in the morning at what would be the regular time.

 

It is important that you be patient and try to be as calm as possible.  I understand that it may be difficult but panicking adds symptoms which are not WD related.  And when you panic it is very easy to make wrong decisions.  Non-drug techniques to cope

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Dylanmatthew

I call another doctor but they must see me first. I need to go back to work Monday. I feel slight flu like symptoms with fatigue and unwell feeling. I feel like a husk of a human. I cannot enjoy anything whatsoever. I do admit I feel a little less terrible than I did the previous 2 weeks but that could be because I've been homebound and now working and driving on the highway to trigger panic attacks. 

I hope I can pull of this liquid Lexapro concoction... 

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