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Erikka

Erikka: Lexapro withdrawal and brain issues

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Erikka

Hey Everyone I am knew to this group and trying to find some understanding in what is going on with me. I recently went off Lexapro 3 months ago (was on for 6 years) I started getting very random heart flutters when I started it and that’s the main reason I went off of it. Now im

 experiencing weird brain crap and not just zaps. It seems to happen at night when im

trying to fall asleep. It wakes me up and scares me it scares me. Some are brain zaps, some are like fireworks, some are weird sensations or noises- I feel like im

loosing my mind. Any help or experience would be greatly appreciated. 

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ChessieCat

Hi Erikka and welcome to SA,

 

I'm assuming that you stopped your drug abruptly (cold turkey) without tapering.  SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the current dose followed by a hold of about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

When the drug is taken away too quickly we can get withdrawal symptoms:  Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms

 

The only known way to reduce withdrawal symptoms is to take the same drug that the brain has adapted to.  Please DO NOT go back on the last dose you were taking (eg we may suggest a tiny dose of 0.5mg or 1mg).  Your brain will made some adaptions during the 3 months you have been off and taking too much can make things a lot worse.  Please read Post #1 of this topic:   About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

If you decide that you would like to try to reinstate a small amount of Lexapro, we can be able to suggest a dose for you to try.  These drugs are strong and it is better to start with a small dose and increase if needed than to risk taking too much.  The idea of reinstating isn't to get rid of withdrawal symptoms completely but to bring them to a bearable level.  You will need to stay as calm and patient as possible and try not to panic.  When we panic we can make bad decisions.  Some members have panicked and increased too much and/or increased too soon and made things much worse.

 

Please keep daily symptom notes on paper so you can see the effect that reinstatement is having on your symptoms.  It is also helpful to provide us with those notes so we can assess whether you might need to take a tiny bit more.

 

This topic explains how to get the dose you need:  Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

Tapering Calculator - Online

 

 

Once you have created your drug signature, please post letting us know.  This means that we won't have to keep checking in to see if you have done it.

 

 

Please create your drug signature using the following format.   Keep it simple.  NO diagnoses or symptoms please - thank you.

  • details for last 2 years - dates, ALL drugs, doses
  • summary for older than 2 years - just years and drug/s

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

 

I will provide some more information in the next couple of posts.  This is your own introductions topic where your can ask questions about your own situation and journal your progress.

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ChessieCat

Here's some additional information which you might find helpful:

 

Recovery isn't linear it happens in a Windows and Waves Pattern

 

Withdrawal Normal Description


When we take a psychiatric drug, we are adding chemical/s to the brain.  The brain then has to change to adapt to getting the chemical/s.  It might have to change something to do with A and then once that change has been made it affects B so another change has to be made and so on down the line.  It is a chain reaction, a domino effect.

 

The same thing happens when we take the drug away.  That's why it's possible to experience such a vast array of withdrawal symptoms, and they can change, and be of different intensity.

 

are-we-there-yet-how-long-is-withdrawal-going-to-take

 

These explain it really well:

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

On 8/31/2011 at 5:28 AM, Rhiannon said:

When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay. When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse. SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long.

 

AND

 

On 12/4/2015 at 2:41 AM, apace41 said:

Basically- you have a building where the MAJOR steel structures are trying to be rebuilt at different times - ALL while people are coming and going in the building and attempting to work.

It would be like if the World Trade Center Towers hadn't completely fallen - but had crumbled inside in different places.. Imagine if you were trying to rebuild the tower - WHILE people were coming and going and trying to work in the building!  You'd have to set up a temporary elevator - but when you needed to fix part of that area, you'd have to tear down that elevator and set up a temporary elevator somewhere else. And so on. You'd have to build, work around, then tear down, then build again, then work around, then build... ALL while people are coming and going, ALL while the furniture is being replaced, ALL while the walls are getting repainted... ALL while life is going on INSIDE the building. No doubt it would be chaotic. That is EXACTLY what is happening with windows and waves.  The windows are where the body has "got it right" for a day or so - but then the building shifts and the brain works on something else - and it's chaos again while another temporary pathway is set up to reroute function until repairs are made.  

 

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ChessieCat

During any taper, there will be times of discomfort.  We strongly encourage members to learn and use non drug coping techniques to help get through tough times.

 

Understanding what is happening helps us to not get caught up with the second fear, or fear of the fear.  This happens when we experience sensations in our body and because we don't understand them we are scared of them and then start to panic.

 

This document has a diagram of the body explaining what happens in the body when we become anxious:

 

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

 

 

Audio FEMALE VOICE:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)

 

Audio MALE VOICE:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

dealing-with-emotional-spirals

 

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

 

Audio:  How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes

 

 
Resources:  Centre for Clinical Interventions (PDF modules that you can work through, eg:  Depression, Distress Intolerance, Health Anxiety, Low Self-Esteem, Panic Attacks, Perfectionism, Procrastination, Social Anxiety, Worrying)
 
On 4/28/2017 at 4:03 AM, brassmonkey said:

 

AAF: Acknowledge, Accept, Float.  It's what you have to do when nothing else works, and can be a very powerful tool in coping with anxiety.  The neuroemotional anxiety many of us feel during WD is directly caused by the drugs and their chemical reactions in the brain.  Making it so there is nothing we can do about them.  They won't respond to other drugs, relaxation techniques and the like.  They do, however, react very well to being ignored.  That's the concept behind AAF.  Acknowledge, get to know the feeling involved, explore them.  Accept, These feelings are a part of you and they aren't going anywhere fast. Float, let the feeling float off as you get on with your life as best as you can.  It's a well documented fact that the more you feed in to anxiety the worse it gets.  What starts as generalized neuroemotinal anxiety can be easily blown into a full fledged panic attack just by thinking about it.

 

I often liken it to an unwanted house guest.  At first you talk to them, have conversations, communicate with them.  After a while you figure out that they aren't leaving and there is nothing you can do to get rid of them.  So you go on about your day, working around them until they get bored and leave.

 

It can take some practice, but AAF really does work.  I hope you give it a try.

 

 

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Carmie

Hi Erikka, 

Welcome to SA from me too. Did you get a chance to read any of the links that ChessieCat gave you? Could you please put in your drug signature, just press on the link above. That way we can see your drug history. 

 

Did you stop your medication cold turkey or did you taper? How are you doing now? 

 

Sending hugs🤗

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Erikka
Posted (edited)

Protracted Lexapro Withdrawal

 

Hello Everyone I’m knew to this group and have been off The generic form of Lexapro for almost 7 months. I was on it for 6 years starting with 20mg and down to 5mg. I went off in November after talking with my doctor as the last month I had been taking 5mg every other day and he said I was basically taking nothing. I went off due to weight gain and random heart palpitations. First 2 months weren’t that bad  I had horrible palpitations but then horrible sleep cycles began I had one night I kid you not it felt like my right side of my body got zapped by lightning and I shot out of bed in panic. Another night I awoke to my throat swallowing on its own like involuntary swallowing and that still comes and goes- mainly when I’m almost to sleep. I have had constant mood ups and downs and developed dry eyes and now floaters. Kept going back to my doctor with no help cause he said it should be out of my system. I also did a gene test that said my body metabolizes Lexapro fast so only a high dose would work for me. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some ok days and I LIVE for those that’s why I keep pushing. Almost a month ago my anxiety was getting the best of me I felt like a hypochondriac cause I had all these sensations of muscle spasms and right calves and snap crackle pop noises in my head and I said f it and wanted to just go back on so with the ok from my doctor as we have a family trip

coming  up at end of June and I don’t want to be miserable. So I took a 10mg pill. Well let me tell you that was a **** show that has been these last 4 weeks I developed muscle spasms/ twerks/ tremors and now my hands shake and I’ve had this ungodly forehead pressure. The spasms are getting a bit better at night. And the involuntary swallowing has come back full force.  My pink and ring finger and my left hand are numb and shake a move terribly. My right thumb moves when I’m using it. I’m just hoping and praying I don’t have this permanently or develop Parkinsons. My tongue has on and off numbness and burning.  I take 4 fish oil a day and take a good multivitamin for My MTHFR gene that I have. Any help or insight would be nice thank you. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
reduced font/added topic title

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ChessieCat
On 3/4/2019 at 6:00 PM, Carmie said:

Could you please put in your drug signature, just press on the link above. That way we can see your drug history. 

 

On 2/22/2019 at 8:26 AM, ChessieCat said:

Please create your drug signature using the following format.   Keep it simple.  NO diagnoses or symptoms please - thank you.

  • details for last 2 years - dates, ALL drugs, doses
  • summary for older than 2 years - just years and drug/s

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

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ChessieCat

2 intro topics merged

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Erikka

I created the drug signature 

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Altostrata

Welcome, Erikka.

 

It sounds like you had acute withdrawal symptoms from Lexapro. Very often, these make people's nervous system hypersensitive to psychoactive drugs and sometimes supplements and foods. When you took 10mg Lexapro, that was too much for your sensitized nervous system. You had an extreme adverse reaction to it.

 

You've seen some improvement in the last couple of weeks, is that correct?

 

Have you seen any doctors for your current symptoms?

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Erikka

Hi! Alostrata- thank you 😊 

 

That makes sense that you say that- I just was so stricken by it cause it took 2 weeks after I took that pill for it to kick in. Some of the symptoms have decreased- I’ve talked to my doctor and he thinks it’s all anxiety related. I’m just hoping my body can get back on track and in time heal and that this is not permanent. And with my lower neck injury it’s hard for me to tell what’s causing my head issues if it’s that or the withdrawal or probably a combination of both. It’s just so scary 😢.

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Erikka
Posted (edited)

Feeling Scared

 

Hello All- I’m officially at month 7 off no Lexapro (Generic) all except for my one day I thought of reinstating 10mg (bad idea) 

well I survived my trip to Yellowstone and did have a great time. Did get some headaches, vertigo, my eyes have been so dry through this Withdrawal and floaters are no fun, forehead pressure also comes and goes. I feel like I have good days but I’m not sure how to handle them cause I’m just waiting for the next symptom to come. I’ve been trying to read positive posts of people making it through withdrawal but I also see some horror stories where it only gets worse. I’ve been able to keep working through all this and carry on with day to day activities but I really have to push myself some days. I have 3 children and a truly amazing husband through all this (although he doesn’t quite understand this whole process) he’s been a trooper and then I’ve read some people say it’s ruined their marriage completely and I don’t want that for me. It makes me so scared to push forward without knowing what is to come. I do feel sensations in my body coming back to life and that gives me hope but still a very scary roller coaster ride. Any help or input? 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Gridley
3 minutes ago, Erikka said:

 I’ve been able to keep working through all this and carry on with day to day activities but I really have to push myself some days. I have 3 children and a truly amazing husband through all this (although he doesn’t quite understand this whole process) he’s been a trooper and then I’ve read some people say it’s ruined their marriage completely and I don’t want that for me. It makes me so scared to push forward without knowing what is to come. I do feel sensations in my body coming back to life and that gives me hope but still a very scary roller coaster ride. Any help 

 

Your progress sounds very substantial and positive to me.  It's great your husband is supportive.  There's no need is being afraid of something (ruined marriage) that is very very unlikely to happen.  None of us know what's going to come in WD.  Very often it'll be one step forward, two steps back, and that's fine.  

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Erikka

Thanks Gridley for the kind response it’s just hard to keep seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and need a reminder this to shall pass.  

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Gridley
4 minutes ago, Erikka said:

Thanks Gridley for the kind response it’s just hard to keep seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and need a reminder this to shall pass.  

Yes, it will.

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ChessieCat

merged 2 intro topics

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Erikka

Does it just keep getting worse? I’m off 7 months and having a horrible time. I’ve had some windows but waves keep coming as well. My body jerks are mostly at night and some when I’m relaxing ( this is the newest symptom) I still have my involuntary swallowing mostly when I’m falling asleep. Last night I had horrible thoughts and it didn’t help we thought someone was breaking in our house. My eyes are so dry, I have forehead pressure, muscle spasms, my left and right ring and pinky fingers go numb and my thumbs shake a lot, my left eye twitches, my whole right side is week especially my leg- some cortisol mornings, tinnitus, vertigo, brain fog, some good ol Insomnia as well- still some heart palpitations but not as much as before. I just feel so betrayed and overwhelmed- my doctor told me I could just come off the 5mg from taking them every other day and now 7 months later it’s hell. I have 3 kids (youngest almost 2 ) and a full time job and my husband runs a business- I have to keep working (it’s a desk job so that helps) but holy hell I don’t want to end up a vegetable. I get on here and try to find similar stories in hopes to some end but sometimes I end of leaving with more anxiety. Any help or any input? Do I reinstate? I got so much going on this next month I could just cry. 

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ChessieCat

You say you are 7 months off but the last date in your drug signature is 15 Nov 2017.  Please update your signature and include drug name, dates and doses, as well as when you took it alternate days.  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

 

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Erikka

Just updated it I apologize- brains not working like it should. 

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ChessieCat

I've asked the other mods for their assistance.

Thank you for updating your signature.

 

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Winterflower

At 7 months off don’t reinstate Erika you can do this! I also took Lexapro (escitalopram) for only 2 weeks and believe it or not it’s caused me hell for the past (almost) 10 months. But I really turned a corner at 9 months off where the quality of my life rose dramatically and I see so many people saying it’s less intense after 1 year, I believe in you and wish you the best 😌

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Erikka

I sure hope so cause this is no fun- thank you for the uplifting response. I just feel doomed as I did not know how to taper correctly. 

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eymen23

Hi Erikka,

 

Sorry to hear that you have experienced such difficult symptoms since fast tapering from Lexapro.

 

Although many members here have shared there difficult experiences after fast tapering, we have to remember that antidepressants are taken by a large numbers of individuals all over the world, and the majority of individuals will be advised to discontinue them in the same way that you did.

 

Here, we offer a harm reduction approach that can help to limit withdrawal symptoms, but we acknowledge that this is an approach that many will not be familiar with and will not have used to discontinue their medication. SA’s approach may be seen as ideal, but that does not mean that by using conventional methods of discontinuation, you are doomed or that you will not go on to recover. 

 

We are familiar with many members (and indeed moderators) who have cold turkeyed or fast tapered and have documented substantial improvements or recoveries since. Trying to keep an optimistic attitude and mindset about your potential for recovery, can really help to reduce the added stress of worrying. 

 

You may find it helpful to read the more positive stories and experiences in the success stories area of the site, or watch videos by individuals such as Baylissa Frederick, who have recovered after experiencing severe withdrawal syndrome.

 

http://cepuk.org/2014/03/19/video-baylissas-journey-clonazepam/

 

Please don’t forget that Alto founded this site, and she did so after her experience of fast tapering from Paxil. It is often more painful, but recovery is certainly possible. 

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Altostrata

Hello, Erikka.

 

Do you feel better or worse than 3 months ago?

 

Have you seen a doctor for the dry eyes? That might be a common medical condition.

 

Are you taking anything to help you sleep? Please read this about the jerks and improving your sleep:

 

A lot of people find fish oil and magnesium supplements helpful, see
https://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
https://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

 

Please let us know how you're doing.

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Erikka
Posted (edited)

Thank you both Evmen and Altostrata- 

I have been taking epson salt baths almost every night for 3 months they seem to help relax me a bit. I have also been taking 2 fish oil a day which is 1600 all together- for 2 weeks I did take 4 pills but didn’t really notice a difference- maybe if I tried adding vitamin E it may help. 

 

Went to eye doctor back in March she said my eyes where fine but very dry- she put me on an eye steroid but it didn’t help much and told me to where my glasses for a good 2 weeks well I did and then started getting forehead pressure and felt better to take glasses off. It’s a loose loose I swear. 

 

The body jerks and vertigo didn’t kick in till a few weeks after that 1 dose of 10mg of Lexapro back in May it took like 2 weeks and then bam they came outta no where. I don’t know if it was the lex or we also had a small flu bug go through our house at that time and possibly through my nervous system out of whack. 

 

I went and bought magnesium glycinate 400 mg  on Monday I took a full dose Monday night and slept very well with hardly any jerks but noticed Tuesday my heart rate was dropping a lot throughout the day and had some dizziness so last night I took 200mg and slept ok and hardly no jerks but do have some vertigo/dizziness this morning. Also started taking some flaxseed oil in the morning and at night. 

 

Just feel like like I can’t catch a break- I do have emotions and can laugh and push myself to go to work and yesterday I mowed and I try hard to play and interact with my kids but it’s like I’m there but not there. I do have good days. It’s just I can’t tell where all these symptoms are coming from and it’s driving me nuts. I get horrible forehead pressure/numbness at times and there’s a spot right in the center of my head that feels like someone is pushing a pen on it and that comes and goes. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Erikka
Posted (edited)

Bad day turned into positive Day

 

Hey Friends- I just had to get on here and post for my fellow friends in p rotracted HELL withdrawal (7 months for me Generic of Lexapro  🙋🏻‍♀️) today started out not so great and I just kept looking up my symptoms I’m having from this wave I’m in right now and just getting more and more depressed- and I finally told myself hey it’s not going to get any better if I just dwell. So I got off work grabbed some tacos for my kids and went to my in-laws pool and had a blast. I had symptoms today of right arm and leg weakness/numbness, my thumb and pinky moving on their own at times and now some of my feet are doing it as well- (really scares me)  catching my words when I talk (that I really only notice), head pressure and head burning at times and some brain fog, dry eyes but I pushed through and enjoyed just hearing my kids and husband laugh and smile and having fun and i know not everyday is a great day and not everyday we can pull it all together but we have to do our best when we can and sometimes it ends up turning it around! Keep pushing through! Hoping to see light at the end of this tunnel! Love and Hugs All - Happy 4th!!! 🇺🇸

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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ChessieCat
On 6/28/2019 at 8:40 AM, ChessieCat said:

merged 2 intro topics

 

and merged 2 intro topics.

 

Please do not create any more introduction topics.  Each member has only 1 where they can ask questions and journal their progress.

 

This keeps a member's history in one place and it also becomes a case study for any medical professionals visiting SA.

 

Thank you.

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Erikka

Needing some help and hope

 

Beginning of August I started getting horrible forehead burning and now body burning mainly in thighs/elbows/ knees/ nose and forehead still on and off. I has some recent extensive bloodwork done and found out a few things such as my TSH was high and was started on meds and also low magnesium and my  Burning has went down some but now to top that off I found out I’m 7 weeks pregnant(not planned) I should be happy and excited instead I’m terrified and extremely depressed. I have 3 kiddos at home and keeping up with them has been hectic enough. Has anyone been through anything similar or gotten pregnant in withdrawal? 

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Erikka

Has anyone heard of anyone being pregnant through withdrawal or have been pregnant through withdrawal- this was not planned but it happened and now i am dealing with these symptoms on top of the withdrawal symptoms- looking for some positive feedback and things that helped you/them get through.

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Erikka

Hey Everyone just thought I’d give an update- November has been my 1 year since quitting Lexapro. I can say I feel things are getting somewhat better. I still have waves and some windows- I’m never really left without symptoms but they are way more tolerable during the waves times. My biggest symptoms are burning mainly in head and thighs/legs, arms, back it comes and goes. Joint aches have gotten better. Vertigo has gotten way better seems to be less and less. Ringing in ears is way better. Involuntary swallowing comes and goes when sleeping. Body jerks have gotten better for the most part but still get them here and there. I’m trying to remain positive and keep my head above water as I’m 20 weeks pregnant and very nervous that I’ll still have all these symptoms but praying things will continue to get better. I don’t know how but I have managed to continue working through all this and attend my kids events and do the best I can. My husband had a Military Christmas Ball on Saturday and was able to attend that with little symptoms. I was so proud of myself. Peppermint oil has been helping somewhat take the edge off the burning. Does anyone know of anyone who has went through withdrawal while pregnant? I know everyone’s different but just some hope and positivity would be nice. 

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