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HeatherH: Need support and advice for tapering Lexapro


HeatherH

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Hi my name is Heather. I have been on some form of antidepressants/anxiety medication for the last 15 years. Zoloft, Celexa, Effexor, Pristique, Xanax, Buspar, Lexapro and probably others I can’t remember; all ranging from 10mg-150mg. I am successfully down to just 20mg of Lexapro once a day, now that I am in a better place in my life. I tried to quit cold turkey once and was so dizzy I could not drive and the brain zaps were horrible. My psychiatrist is on board with me splitting my 20mg of Lexapro in half to start tapering, but I am super nervous. Any advice, support, or personal stories similar to mine would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

2003-2020  throughout these years I was on:

Celexa, Zoloft, Lexapro, Effexor, Pristique, Xanax, Ativan, Buspirone, and Trintellix.

There may be additional anti-depressants that I took, I just don't remember.

Milligram ranges from 5-150. 

About the last 5 years I was on Lexapro 20mg. I successfully weaned off of AD's with the help of a

psychiatrist, and took my last piece of an AD pill on October 12, 2020. 

My psychiatrist put me on 10mg of Lexapro with 10mg of Trintellix. I slowly reduced the Lexapro every 2 weeks in increments of 10mg, 7.5, 5, 2.5, .5, 0

until I was just taking Trintellix 10mg.  I stayed at Trintellix 10mg for 2 weeks and then started tapering it the same way I tapered the Lexapro. 

I felt good until withdrawal symptoms started about 3 weeks after my last dose, and here I am.

*I AM NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR. THIS IS JUST MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.  PLEASE CONSULT WITH A MEDICAL DOCTOR FOR MEDICAL ADVICE*

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to HeatherH: Need support and advice for tapering Lexapro
  • Moderator

Hello, Heather, and welcome to SA.

 

Going from 20mg to 10mg is a very bad idea.  You need to go much, much more slowly or you run the risk of some extremely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as you experienced previously.  Look at my signature and you'll see the rate of my taper of 20mg Lexapro.  By the way, never skip doses (every other day dosing).  This amounts to a 50% drop in dose, far too fast.  Psychiatrists almost invariably recommend a too fast taper.

 

We recommend tapering no more than 10% of current dose every four weeks.  So your first drop would be from 20mg to 18mg.  After 4 weeks you would drop to 16.2, etc.  

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Here is a link specifically about tapering Lexapro that explains how to obtain nonstandard smaller doses, either by weighing with a scale, making your own liquid, or getting a prescription for liquid Lexapro.   

 

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

Some people need to go more slowly that 10%.  A micro-taper is the gentlest way to come off these drugs. 

 

 

The Brassmonkey Slide is a way of making micro-taper reductions weekly, as opposed to a larger reduction once a month.  This is the method I use.
 
 
I know it takes a long time, but this is the safe way to come off these drugs.
 
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.
 
 
Please let us know how you're doing.
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gridley

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 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of March 22: 14.4mgai.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (0.44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, 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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Welcome to the Group @HeatherH, I wanted to stop by & say hello & that it does get better! this is a great place for support as well as information that can help you thru your journey- Stay Strong!  Laydefish

2 years Drug History Prior to Tapering:

Between 2011 & 2018 I had approximately 58 dose changes between the 4 main medications I took as well as 14 new medications add & taken away.

Prozac (Fluoxetine):(Aug 2016-Dec 2016: 60MG),(June 2017-Nov 2017: 60MG),(Dec 2017: 80MG),(June 2017-Sept 2 2018: 60MG),(Sept 3 2018-Sept 5 2018: 40MG),(Sept 6 2018-Sept 8 2018: 20MG),(Sept 9 2018: 0MG).

Cymbalta:(Jan 2017-May 2017: 60MG).

Cyclobenzaprine: (Aug 2016: 30MG,(Feb 2017: 30MG).

Diazepam (Valium):(Aug 2016-Sept 15 2016: 30MG),(Sept 16 2016-Oct 2017: 15MG),(Nov 2017-Aug 19 2018: 6MG),(Aug 20 2018: 0MG).

Gabapentin:(Aug 2016-Aug 3 2018: 2400MG),(Aug 4 2018-March 26 2019: 2000MG),(March 27 2019-March 30 2019: 1600MG),(May 1 2019: 2000MG)

Hydrocodone:(Aug 2016-Oct 2016: 10-325/4daily),(Nov 2016-Feb 2017: 10-325/3daily),(March 2017-April 2017: 5-325/4daily),(May 2017-April 2018: 10-325/3daily),(June 2018-Aug 25 2018: 10-325/5daily),(Aug 26 2018-Sept 2 2018: 4.5daily),(Sept 3 2018-Sept 10 2018: 10-325/4daily),(Sept 11 2018-Sept 18 2018: 10-325/3daily),(Sept 19 2018-May 1 2019: 10-325/3.5 daily).

Oxycodone: May 2018: 10-325MG/4daily). 

Please see my Intro for full drug history.

         **Forgive Yourself For Not Knowing What You Didn't Know Before You Knew It!  -Maya Angelou/

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Hey Heather. You’ve found the best site on the internet for this type of thing. We are all very fortunate to have found SA. 

 

Anthony 

2008: start Lexapro 10 mg which is quickly upped to 20 mg. 2008:2013 try at least four individual times to get off Lexapro, never get lower than 5mg, settle at 15 mg. 2015: again, attempt to get off Lexapro and get to 5 mg. After 6 months, feel i'm stabilizing but go back on a higher dose because of one stressful event. 2016: go to 20 mg from 15 mg due to work stresses, hit severe tolerance for the first time and become very suicidal. 2016-2017: try viibryd and cymbata in an attempt to feel better. Also add Lamictal 150 at some point. 2017: eventually land on paxil 37.5 and Lamictal 150. January 2018: cut paxil to 25. April-July 2018: reduce Lamictal in 50 mg increments till im off August. 2018: reduce paxil to 20 mg. december 2018: dropped Paxil to 18 mg, SEVERE CRASH. March updosed to 20 mg April 11: dropped to 19.4 mg due to akathsia (still experiencing akathsia symptoms from updose) April 20: 19 mg Paxil May 4: 18.7 Paxil July 5: 18.2 July 12: 17.8 Aug 19: 17.5 Aug 26: 17.3 Oct 20: 17.1 Nov 3: 16.9, 8/17/20: 16.6 after nine month hold, 8/24/20: 16.4, 8/31/20:16.2, 9/14/2020: 16.0, 9/21/20: 15.8, 9/28/20: 15.6, 10/19/20:15.4, 10/26/20: 15.2, 11/2/20: 15.1, 11/7/20: 14.8, 3/6/2-: 14.5, 3/20/20: 14.3, 4/3/20: 13.9, 4/10/2021: 13.7 

 

Medication signature.docx

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  • 1 year later...

I am back!! Thanks to everyone one who commented on my first post. With the help of my psychiatrist, I was able to successfully end my anti-depressant use. My doctor had to add Trintellix to combo with my Lexapro, because once I got to 10mg, from 20mg, of the Lexapro I crashed. He put me on 10mg of Trintellix to take in addition to the 10mg of Lexapro. I barely noticed the Lexapro withdrawal after this addtion. Every two weeks I tapered the Lexapro starting with 10mg, 7.5, 5, 2, .5, 0. Until I was just on Trintellix. I was feeling good at this point. I stayed on Trintellix 10mg by itself for 2 weeks, then we tapering it. Same taper as the Lexapro, 10mg, 7.5, 5, 2, .5, 0. I was shocked that I still felt good. I took my last bit of anti-depressant medication on October 12, 2020. For about 3 weeks after that I felt free and great. Then BOOM. The withdrawals kicked in with major vengeance. Dizziness, sweating, headaches, nausea, brain fog.....SEVERE joint and muscle pain. I felt like I got hit by a bus. That lasted for about 2 weeks of every day torture. Now I am going through a windows and waves period. I want to talk more about my condition now, but I am unsure if I need to make a new post. I want to talk about how I am feeling currently and get advice for coping with a new set of pains and some health anxiety. Peace to all ❤️

2003-2020  throughout these years I was on:

Celexa, Zoloft, Lexapro, Effexor, Pristique, Xanax, Ativan, Buspirone, and Trintellix.

There may be additional anti-depressants that I took, I just don't remember.

Milligram ranges from 5-150. 

About the last 5 years I was on Lexapro 20mg. I successfully weaned off of AD's with the help of a

psychiatrist, and took my last piece of an AD pill on October 12, 2020. 

My psychiatrist put me on 10mg of Lexapro with 10mg of Trintellix. I slowly reduced the Lexapro every 2 weeks in increments of 10mg, 7.5, 5, 2.5, .5, 0

until I was just taking Trintellix 10mg.  I stayed at Trintellix 10mg for 2 weeks and then started tapering it the same way I tapered the Lexapro. 

I felt good until withdrawal symptoms started about 3 weeks after my last dose, and here I am.

*I AM NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR. THIS IS JUST MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.  PLEASE CONSULT WITH A MEDICAL DOCTOR FOR MEDICAL ADVICE*

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  • Moderator
manymoretodays

Hi HeatherH, and welcome back,

 

And this is the perfect place for you to post your update.  Thank you.

Also, please put your medication and tapering history in your signature -- that's the information you see at the bottom of someone's post. This will help people understand your situation no matter where you post on the site. See instructions in this topic:

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/18343-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/(Please note that, while your identity is protected by a screen name, your topic can be read by anyone who visits the site, including Google, and do not post sensitive identifying information.)

6 hours ago, HeatherH said:

I want to talk more about my condition now, but I am unsure if I need to make a new post. I want to talk about how I am feeling currently and get advice for coping with a new set of pains and some health anxiety. Peace to all ❤️

 

And congrats, as I believe that you may be drug free at this point.

The signature will help us out. 

And then, yes, do.....fill us in on how you are doing now, so that we might direct you to non-drug coping, and share experiences as well.

 

And best, Love, peace, healing, and growth,

manymoretodays(mmt)

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. 

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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Kingfisher86

I just wanted to welcome you back too☀️ 

On 2/6/2021 at 3:39 PM, HeatherH said:

I want to talk about how I am feeling currently and get advice for coping with a new set of pains and some health anxiety. Peace to all ❤️

 
Hope things goes smooth as possible for you😊 

July 19th 2017—July 2018: 10 mg Escitalopram

August 2018— June 2020: 5 mg Escitalopram

 

Tapering started:

June 2020—1st of August.

Lowest dose was 5 mg (5 mg every second day for a couple of weeks, then 5 mg twice a week for a couple of weeks, and lastly 5 mg once a week until I stopped)

Drug free: August 1st, 2020

 

I was on 500mg Metformin for PCOS for the last two years. Stopped on 7th of August 2020.

 

Supplements:

Magnesium citrate 2x200 mg, Vitamin C 3x1000 mg, Omega3 – 3x1000 mg, Zinc 5mg.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Okay, so I added my AD history in my signature line, to the best of my memory.  I have had quite the windows and waves period to date.  I don't think any day since October 12, 2020 (when I took my last piece of an AD pill) has been terrific.  Some days are better than others.  I have developed all kinds of strange symptoms since then.  It started in November of 2020 with a bone spur on my right heel and plantar fasciitis.  Had to get custom inserts and sleep with a night brace on my foot to cure the plantar fasciitis.  I think losing weight also helped that problem, as I have lost 30lbs since August ( I think this is from my active job as a housekeeper and after ending AD use I am just not as hungry).  Since November I have been to urgent care 3 times.  Found out I have an umbilical hernia (which I think I have had for a while, just causing problems now because of my active job).  I am actually having surgery tomorrow to address the hernia.  On the second urgent care visit, I went in for upper left abdominal pain.  They did blood work and CT scan.  Found nothing, and referred me to a gastroenterologist.  At this time I was also having trouble going number 2, lots of pain.  Saw gastro doctor and was diagnosed with anal fissure and internal hemorrhoids, meds provided for that have been helping.  She also took a blood sample to test my pancreatic enzymes because of my upper left abdominal pain.  All pancreatic enzymes were normal. She was slightly concerned that my white blood cell count was a little high, and wanted me to get my blood retested in a week to see if there is a change.  For whatever reason, my white blood cell count has always been a little high, for as long as I can remember.  I always thought is was from the depression, anxiety, and inflammation. She concluded that the pain could be from my umbilical hernia, like radiating pain or pressure pain.  I then made an appointment with a surgeon to discuss my pain and possible umbilical hernia surgery.  He said because CT scan and blood work did not show anything, it is possible that the hernia is causing pain in other areas.  I set a date for surgery (which is now tomorrow).  Then last Sunday I went to urgent care again for the same upper left abdominal pain.  They again did blood work and ct scan. Everything was normal, except my white blood cell count was 10.9 and my liver was mildly enlarged.  The doctor was not concerned about my liver, since all liver enzymes were normal.  I attributed the enlargement to all the Tylenol I had recently been taking for my cystic ovaries.  The urgent doctor concluded that I may be dealing with a peptic ulcer.  I guess it could be that, as I have had a peptic ulcer before and I have developed bad health anxiety over all of these issues.  Its just when I had an ulcer before, the pain was different than what I am currently experiencing.  I called my gastro doc and she suggested I start on omeprazole to hold me over until I see her again in a couple weeks.  If I still have pain then, she will do an endoscopy to see what's actually going on in my stomach.  I do not want to take omeprazole, as its just another drug to wean off of in the future and it just treats symptoms not the cause.  Anyways I am in intermittent pain daily.  It something different every day or every week.  Like today my upper left abdominal pain isn't as bad, but I have a dull ache in my left armpit that has been off and on for a few weeks.  No bumps or lumps there, just dull pain.  It's like the pain travels in my body.  I have noticed the pain is more severe when I am super anxious or stressed.  The only thing that really helps is a turmeric and tart cherry supplement and CBD tincture and vape.  However, I cannot take any of these right now because I am having hernia surgery tomorrow.  My health anxiety has been through the roof over all of this.  Is this anti-depressant withdrawals?  Did I always have these health issues, but they were covered up because the AD's numbed my pain? Is my anxiety causing pain or vice-versa? Did long-term AD use cause some sort of systemic disease?  I don't know the answers and I can't even talk to any health professionals about AD withdrawal because in their minds it either does not exist or it only lasts a few weeks.  Has anyone else had high white blood cell count while using AD's or during withdrawal? I pray nothing serious is wrong with me, but how do you distinguish between AD withdrawal symptoms and an actual health problem.  At this point, I am having a hard time trusting western medicine and am ready to seek out an herbalist to feel better and curb this anxiety.  Can anyone relate, offer advice, offer words of comfort? I live near the Saint Louis, MO area and will take doctor recommendations if anyone has a good one that believes in protracted AD withdrawal and treats root causes, not symptoms.  Thanks for listening. Peace to all ❤️

2003-2020  throughout these years I was on:

Celexa, Zoloft, Lexapro, Effexor, Pristique, Xanax, Ativan, Buspirone, and Trintellix.

There may be additional anti-depressants that I took, I just don't remember.

Milligram ranges from 5-150. 

About the last 5 years I was on Lexapro 20mg. I successfully weaned off of AD's with the help of a

psychiatrist, and took my last piece of an AD pill on October 12, 2020. 

My psychiatrist put me on 10mg of Lexapro with 10mg of Trintellix. I slowly reduced the Lexapro every 2 weeks in increments of 10mg, 7.5, 5, 2.5, .5, 0

until I was just taking Trintellix 10mg.  I stayed at Trintellix 10mg for 2 weeks and then started tapering it the same way I tapered the Lexapro. 

I felt good until withdrawal symptoms started about 3 weeks after my last dose, and here I am.

*I AM NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR. THIS IS JUST MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.  PLEASE CONSULT WITH A MEDICAL DOCTOR FOR MEDICAL ADVICE*

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