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MangoCanadian

MangoCanadian: hoping to taper off of Risperidone for ASD

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MangoCanadian

I apologize in advance for not knowing a ton about this subject, and it may seem foolish but my doctors have never really told me much about my medication and situation and I shamefully never asked. Basically I was diagnosed with ASD after a suicide attempt some years ago(again it may seem silly but I am not sure exactly what year this was but I believe it was when I was 16 and I am 23 currently) and after trying various medications my psychiatrist prescribed me with 3.75 mg of Risperidal injected via muscle every 2 weeks, and I have been taking that for at least 3 years. Now again I don't know a ton about this, but as far as I know the dosage I am at is very small since it is only every 2 weeks, and I have missed up to 3 weeks of doses with little effect, but still I feel like I am in a much better place than I was when I started in my life and my weight has been an issue for some time and I hope getting off of these meds will help. I have stopped seeing a psychiatrist 3 years ago, because I moved away and he thought I was stable enough to not need to see one regularly.

 

I know others have it much worse than me, in terms of dosage and diagnosis, I have not had serious depression and my mood and social interactivity has only gotten better and better as time goes on, but still I would like to disconinue my medication for weight purposes as well as not wanting to get an injection every 2 weeks. I fully believe the main reason for my starting this medication was my mindset and life situation caused depression and social disconnect, and I just feel I would like to give getting off of it a go. I am not sure how bad withdrawal will be or it's effect on my mind and mood will be, and anyone who knows more about this could hopefully educate me a little. I plan to see my GP this week to discuss with him and whether I need to see a psychiatrist before tapering(as I said I really don't know how severe the effect on me will be and whether it will be mild because of the low dose or what) but I have a good supporting family around me and really feel no need to see one at this point, although if he thinks it's a good idea I probably will. Other than weight gain I have had no noticeable side effects. 

 

I'd like to stress how little I really know about my medication, googling I can't find much info on what a low dose such as what I take (3.75mg* muscular injection every two weeks) has on me, all I really know is that people around me said I have begun opening up a lot more the past few years compared to before, but I don't know how much of that is due to the meds or lifestyle changes. It may seem silly for me to want to get off of it if my life has only improved greatly since taking the meds, but I really don't like the idea of being dependent on them for the rest of my life and my weight has become a big problem to fix and all the help I can get for that from stopping this medication would be appreciated. For all I know this dosage could be a piece of cake to kick or I could be in for hell, if anyone knows more please let me know, if it's the former I apologize for wasting peoples time as I realize it's not exactly as severe a dosage as a lot of people on anti psychotics have(as far as I understand).

 

Thank you for your understanding.

 

* I believe I mis-remembered my dosage as 3.75, when looking online it is more likely to be 37.5, not as low as I thought.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
Added info from follow up post regarding dose

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MangoCanadian

Actually my ignorance of my medication is further highlighted, I believe I mis-remembered my dosage as 3.75, when looking online it is more likely to be 37.5, not as low as I thought. I couldn't find a way to edit my original post so I'll just post this second one. So yeah I was hopeful that it would be lower and I wouldn't have to worry so much about symptoms, but I'm pretty sure my actual dosage is 37.5mg of Risperidal Consta every 2 weeks, I don't really know the difference between consta and regular Risperidal but I assume they are just as bad. I was told on first taking it that it was a low dose but it seems to be a regular dose as far as I know. Most things in the original post are still accurate taking this into account.

 

So yeah if I really am on 37.5(I'm pretty sure that's what it says on the box every 2 weeks) that is pretty worrying because it's a lot higher than I hoped, I'm wondering if there was some mixup and I'm getting more than what my original psychiatrist had prescribed(I get my prescriptions from my GP). Anyone know of how tapering would affect me if I have no side effects other than weight loss from taking the drug for so many years, if there is a severe risk of permanent damage being done to me getting off of it? Is the fact that I only have Autism Spectrum Disorder(my only real symptoms are social anxiety and a shutting myself in away from others at the time of my prescription) as opposed to some more severe form of mental illness going to lessen my chances of coming out of this with permanent damage? I realize that with the dose so high I will likely notice a big change to my current lifestyle which is good currently, but I'm still determined to get off of it. It just comes as a shock that the dose is so high and is likely affecting me a lot more than I thought this medication was. I should really just wait for the doctors thoughts but I'm quite worried now.

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Shep

Hi, Mango.

 

The use of antipsychotics for people labeled with ASD is very common unfortunately. I'm sorry you found yourself in this position. There are much better ways of handling social anxiety. And many of us naturally get better at navigating social situations as we get older and learn more about who we are and the people we do best being around. 

 

Please carefully read the following thread. The first post explains how to handle coming off an injection. 

 

Tips for tapering off Risperdal (risperidone)

 

Do you have a doctor who is open to helping you taper?

 

The two ways to do this are to (1) have your doctor slowly decrease the amount of the dose in the injection or (2) switch over to tablets and then taper. 

 

Please let us know what you choose to do and we can better guide you.

 

Also, please update your signature to include the dates you've been on the injection, as well as any other drugs you are taking and any supplements. 

 

Please continue to use this thread to document your taper and to ask questions. 

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Griqua

Hello MangoCanadian i am also withdrawing from risperdal consta and I greet you welcome to the club. In My experience pills and injections are not the same when it comes to time. It usually takes longer to withdraw from the injections. On this forum ive read a story where one recovered from impotence and anhedonia after 14 months and ive read a similar story on a corresponding french forum. I ve also read on french fora about someone Who had a relapse 2 years after stopping injections and several comments saying that it takes several years to withdraw from consta injections and that what's my research som far has come up with. My own experience is similar im 13 months off and I first see slight improvements now. Hope this info was helpful kind regards 

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Altostrata

Welcome, Mango.

 

Surely ASD does not require injections of Risperdal Consta for the rest of your life. Are you under court order? As an adult, you have much more control over your psychiatric treatment.

 

Please do read Tips for tapering off Risperdal (risperidone)

 

Quote

....Risperdal Consta. It comes in a range of dosages: 12.5 mg, 25 mg, 37.5 mg, or 50 mg.

....

One can taper the injections simply by reducing the amount of liquid injected. This is probably the safest way to go off Risperdal Consta -- but it requires the cooperation of a doctor.

....

The elimination phase is complete approximately 7 to 8 weeks after the last injection....

....

Quote

It takes about 6 weeks following an injection for the levels in the blood to fall below a sub-therapeutic level. Switching a patient to an oral preparation should be started about 5 weeks after the final injection. The manufacturer suggests starting at a dose of 2mg/day of risperidone and gradually increasing if necessary according to response over the following week.

 

 

 

When you get the injection, do you get side effects for a while, then they go away? How do you feel at the end of the second week, when the shot is wearing off? When you went 3 weeks without a shot, did you get any odd symptoms?

 

Can you ask your doctor to find the lowest effective dose, by giving you injections of 25mg and then 12.5mg? The weight gain is not good, a lower dosage may not cause metabolic dysregulation.

 

If not, can you get a prescription for liquid risperidone? You might let the 37.5mg wear off over at least 6-7 weeks -- it takes 7-8 weeks (and probably longer) to "washout" -- and see if you get withdrawal symptoms or any other odd symptoms. If you do, you might want to take a small amount of liquid risperidone, such as 0.25mg to start, to see if it reduces the symptoms. Depending on your symptom pattern over some weeks, you might want to carefully adjust the dosage higher.

 

You'd then stabilize on liquid risperidone and taper off by miniscule amounts later.

 

Monitoring your symptom pattern throughout the process is essential. If the risperidone is suppressing any psychoses-like symptoms or if you feel you need it to address your psychiatric condition, you must commit to taking the lowest effective amount. Getting hospitalized will cause you to lose control of your psychiatric treatment and bring even greater drug problems.

 

Please let us know how you're doing.

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MangoCanadian

Talking with my parents I was only really prescribed it because they were desperate as I wasn't getting any sleep and was hardly talking to anyone, immediately after prescription they noticed I was much more responsive, so it's hard to say how much it affects me aside from that. I have no side effects even immediately after injection, not even irritation of the site(I get it in my arms). The time I went for several weeks past my injection time I wasn't getting any side effects that I can remember. I have no side effects that I notice other than the weight gain, and I am starting to diet and work out now and am losing weight so I don't know how hard losing weight will be while on the medication(I think most of my weight gain was just eating very poorly and getting little to no exercise, once i start monitoring my food and exercising weight loss proves not that difficult).

 

So really I have no problems with the medication right now apart from my weight, other than the fear of future side effects and potentially being on it indefinitely, so I would like to try to get off of it at some point. I may even try getting off some time later, currently my plan is to see my doctor and hopefully get hooked up with another mental health professional to discuss getting off of the meds or at least lowering the dose. Really I think the drug has had an overall positive effect on me currently, my life is going very well apart from my weight, I have goals and a new job and so for that reason I don't intend to do anything hasty that could screw up my life right now. I will wait and see what my doctor thinks.

 

I'm not out of the woods in terms of potential future long term side effects popping up, but I have been taking it for upwards of 3 years now with no serious negatives. I don't really know how much the positive effects on my life have been directly caused by the drug and how much is due to my general lifestyle improvements, so I'm afraid that if I stop taking it or taper too quickly I could screw things up very badly.

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Shep

Mango, please let us know if you're interested in tapering or if you wish to continue taking the drug. 

 

I'm getting a lot of mixed messages in your posts.

 

If you have specific questions for us, please post them. 

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MangoCanadian

I'm not sure if it's the best option for me right now, it's a lot more complicated than what I first thought so I will have to discuss it with my doctor(appointment was moved a couple weeks from now) before making a decision.

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Carmie

Hi MC, 

 

How are you doing?💚

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