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Annala: my introduction


Annala

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Hi there,

 

I  just found this site when I was trying to find information about AD withdrawl syndrome. 

I will try to write down my history, but I don't really remember exact times and dosages that are some time ago. If that is important, I think I could look up at least times in old invoices.

 

So...

In 2001 I started to go to University. After some time I started to get panic attacks. I didn't know it was panic attacks back then, so I had me checked up physically for everything I could think of, I even ended up in hospital for one night checking my heart, but everything was brilliant. I then started to think the only explanation could be I am crazy and as by that time i wasn't even able to leave the house anymore, a depression set in as well, so I went to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me, at least, with panic disorder. It was summer 2002 by then.

I started Paroxetin (I don't know the dosage anymore) and a cognitive therapy and recovered really fast, went back to University and stopped Paroxetine without problems after about half a year.

In 2004 my gynecologist prescribed my an antiandrogenic pill because I complained about waves of bad skin. Soon as I started it, I had sudden outbursts of crying which resulted in a depression, panic attacks came back and extremely severe migraine attacks (I was told to not stop the pill, as the symptoms are super common and will fade away and my skin was so good...). I ended up in a clinic with severe depression and anxiety and was set on Trevilor (I don't know the dosage anymore). 

I continued with Trevilor until 2011, when I went to see a new therapist  as I was still avoiding some situations because I was afraid of panic attacks. She replaced Trevilor with Cipralex (Escitalopram), 10mg/day, which I am still on. She stopped to see me in 2011, because she had the practice to stop working with people that don't recover fully in 6 months . I went to a psychotherapist after that (I still see him on an irregular basis: as I am doing ok, we stopped regular appointments, but I can phone him or get an appointment whenever I think i need one) but as he is a psychologist, he couldn't/can't give advice on medication. So I was and still are without supervison concerning  medication. I get my receipts from my GP, but he says he's not very familiar with ADs and therefore doesn't like to give advice concerning dosages.

 

So, last summer, 2018,  I decided I could try to taper Cipralex. I cut the dosage by half, taking 5mg/day. When I started to worry a lot and even started to cry a lot about banal things and couldn't even make decisions about banal things and situations, I thought it could be some kind of withdrawl symptoms and started 10mg/day again. I googled and found about recent research about withdrawl syndrome. In Winter, I decided to try tapering again, this time with changing dosages: 10mg one day, next day 5mg, then 10mg, then 5mg again and  so on. I am coping quite well. Sometimes I have what feels like sudden electric zaps in the eyes and I in the brain. And I am often very cold and shivering and have icy fingers very easily. And I get falling limbs very easily, sometimes I wake up at night because one arm is completely dead. And I tend to have extremely tense muscles, but that was always the case. This dosages is still what I am currently taking as I was afraid to cut more .And I have to admit that I forget to take a pill now and then or forget if it is a 5mg or 10mg day...I am aware that this is far from ideal...I read the advice to have a dosages and symptoms diary and I will definitetly start today!!!

 

 

 

Paroxetin in 2002 for about 6-8 months / Trevilor (Venlaflaxin) 2004-2011

Cipralex (Escitalopram) 10mg 2011

Cipralex 5mg in summer 2018

back to Cipralex 10mg in autumn 2018

alternating doses (10mg/5mg) started in winter 2018

7.5mg/day since 14.05.2019

6.25mg/day since 15.11.2019

5.625mg/day since 20.12.2019

5mg/day since 03.03.2020

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Annala: My introduction
  • Moderator

Hello, Annala, and welcome to SA.

 

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.  Just list the drugs prior to Cipralex in 2011to the best of your memory, then "Cipralex 10mg 2011," then write when you started alternating the 5mg/10mg in summer, 2018.  No symptoms needed.
 
 
We strongly advise against alternating doses as you've been doing.  Your central nervous system needs stability, and dosing 5 mg one day and 10mg the next can be very destabilizing, which is causing the withdrawal symptoms you're experiencing, such as temperature dysregulation and brain zaps.  It's very important to take the same dose every day at approximately the same time.
 

 

To keep your dose stable, I suggest taking 7.5mg every day, which is an average of your two doses.   You'd get your 7.5mg  dose by cutting your pills.  Please be careful and take the same amount every day.  Keep your partial pills in marked containers indicating the dosage.

 

How to cut up tablets or pills

 

You should hold this dose for several months, perhaps 6, in order for your nervous system to stabilize from the alternate-day dosing.  Once you have stabilized, you can begin a slow taper.  We recommend tapering no more than 10% of current dose every four weeks.


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions, post updates and connect with other members.  Please let us know how you're doing.

 

 

 

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 to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current Valium dose as of Feb 22, 2022: 4.8mg 

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8 and shift to Imipramine taper

Taper is 74% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of May 17: 10.5mg 

Taper is 86% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, 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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Thank you a lot. 

I thought so, reading this pages... It wasn't one of my best ideas to try alternating dosages...

 

I just ordered a pill cutter. And I will take 7.5mg a day from now on. Until the pill cutter arrives, I will try to cut them with a knife, hoping the pills won't crumble too much. I have 10mg pills here at the moment.

 

It' s a little shocking to read about Escitalopram. I didn't know that.

 

At least I feel more or less stable emotionally despite the the alternating dosages. The physical symptoms are definitely uncomfortable, but I can deal with them, more or less.

 

 

 

Maybe it's important that I am not using any other drugs except Cipralex. I stopped the pill in 2012, because I was suffering from severe migraine while taking it. When I stopped using hormones, the migraine stopped as well.

I do exercise a lot (mostly running and  HIIIT body weight training), take Omega 3, B12 and Magnesium as supplements. I don't smoke and I don't drink alkohol. My only weak spot is coffee. I drink up to 10 cups a day which definitely isn't helping me to relax.

 

 

Paroxetin in 2002 for about 6-8 months / Trevilor (Venlaflaxin) 2004-2011

Cipralex (Escitalopram) 10mg 2011

Cipralex 5mg in summer 2018

back to Cipralex 10mg in autumn 2018

alternating doses (10mg/5mg) started in winter 2018

7.5mg/day since 14.05.2019

6.25mg/day since 15.11.2019

5.625mg/day since 20.12.2019

5mg/day since 03.03.2020

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So I started with 7.5mg today. The pill crumbled a little with the knife, but the pill cutter is already shipped.

 

Reading through this pages I am surprised that forgetting things seems to be common as a symptom. I experienced that a lot lately. Just forgetting names of people I know really well. Or forgetting words (not foreign words, but every day language). It feels like what I imagine dementia feels like when it starts. I would never have thought that it could have to do with SSRI withdrawl or alternating doses.

Paroxetin in 2002 for about 6-8 months / Trevilor (Venlaflaxin) 2004-2011

Cipralex (Escitalopram) 10mg 2011

Cipralex 5mg in summer 2018

back to Cipralex 10mg in autumn 2018

alternating doses (10mg/5mg) started in winter 2018

7.5mg/day since 14.05.2019

6.25mg/day since 15.11.2019

5.625mg/day since 20.12.2019

5mg/day since 03.03.2020

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  • Moderator
18 hours ago, Annala said:

I do exercise a lot

If the intense exercise is working for you, that's great.  Some members in withdrawal report strenuous exercise is too activating and do better with a 30-minute walk.  Whichever works for you is fine.  

 

Thanks for updating your signature.

 

It sounds like you have things well under control.  

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 to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current Valium dose as of Feb 22, 2022: 4.8mg 

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8 and shift to Imipramine taper

Taper is 74% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of May 17: 10.5mg 

Taper is 86% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, 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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  • Moderator Emeritus
On 5/13/2019 at 8:36 PM, Annala said:

My only weak spot is coffee. I drink up to 10 cups a day which definitely isn't helping me to relax.

 

 

 

Annala,

 

That is a lot of caffeine by anybody’s standards, with the tapering process you may find this becomes more stimulating than usual.

 

I would suggest slowly reducing your caffeine intake down to 1-2 a day, and perhaps decaf or none at all. 

 

Our bodies do become more tolerant of caffeine and relatively quickly, but excessive use can cause a lot of ‘peaks and crashes’ and ultimately may complicate your tapering process. 

Edited by eymen23

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I can only provide information and make suggestions.

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Hi @Annala & Welcome to the Group! Sorry to read how you've been through so much, unfortunately I totally understand. I'm 8 1/2 months Antidepressant free after 11 years & Benzo (Valium) free after 7 years. During that time I was severely poly drugged with about 18 different medications. During a 7 year period I had a least 58 different dose changes alone, so I get where your at!  At this time in my healing journey, I feel great- some lingering symptoms, but nothing I can't handle. so hang in there- it gets better!  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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On 5/14/2019 at 4:14 PM, Gridley said:

If the intense exercise is working for you, that's great.  Some members in withdrawal report strenuous exercise is too activating and do better with a 30-minute walk.  Whichever works for you is fine.  

 

 

It sounds like you have things well under control.  

 

It helps me really well to deal with tension. I have always tensed muscles and to tense them consciously during exercise really helps me to relax them afterwards somehow.

 

Thank you! I feel rather stable right now and I hope it will last 🙂

 

 

On 5/15/2019 at 2:00 AM, eymen23 said:

 

Annala,

 

That is a lot of caffeine by anybody’s standards, with the tapering process you may find this becomes more stimulating than usual.

 

I would suggest slowly reducing your caffeine intake down to 1-2 a day, and perhaps decaf or none at all. 

 

Our bodies do become more tolerant of caffeine and relatively quickly, but excessive use can cause a lot of ‘peaks and crashes’ and ultimately may complicate your tapering process. 

 

Thank you and yes, you're right. I've thought so many times I should drink less...it's so hard to fight habits and addictions...I will definetely try to reduce and start with counting cups. I made a new table column for coffee in my tapering diary.

 

 

6 hours ago, laydefish said:

Hi @Annala & Welcome to the Group! Sorry to read how you've been through so much, unfortunately I totally understand. I'm 8 1/2 months Antidepressant free after 11 years & Benzo (Valium) free after 7 years. During that time I was severely poly drugged with about 18 different medications. During a 7 year period I had a least 58 different dose changes alone, so I get where your at!  At this time in my healing journey, I feel great- some lingering symptoms, but nothing I can't handle. so hang in there- it gets better!  Laydefish 

 

Thank you, and that is so good to hear! Congratulations!

When experiencing symptoms after cutting, I first start it may be a relapse and therefore thought that means I will never be able to live without that drug. It really gives me hope that it is possible to deal with withdrawl symptoms and get rid of the drug one day!

 

Paroxetin in 2002 for about 6-8 months / Trevilor (Venlaflaxin) 2004-2011

Cipralex (Escitalopram) 10mg 2011

Cipralex 5mg in summer 2018

back to Cipralex 10mg in autumn 2018

alternating doses (10mg/5mg) started in winter 2018

7.5mg/day since 14.05.2019

6.25mg/day since 15.11.2019

5.625mg/day since 20.12.2019

5mg/day since 03.03.2020

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@Annala I'm so glad you found some hope in my situation, because it's the truth and it does get better, eventually everyday!  If you get a chance you may want to check out my introduction-  All I wanted was pain relief and the section in the Forum called Success Stories (Located on the intro page, just scroll down) there you'll find tons of great inspirational stories!  Feel free to contact me anytime, Take Care- 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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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi everybody.

 

I just wanted to give a small update: I've been on 7.5mg for one month now and I'm doing really great. I'm not experiencing any symptoms at the moment. My diary column for symptoms has been completely empty for >25 weeks now, so I thought I may continue with 7.5mg for 2 to 4 weeks to see if I keep that stable and then start with a 10% cut already.

Paroxetin in 2002 for about 6-8 months / Trevilor (Venlaflaxin) 2004-2011

Cipralex (Escitalopram) 10mg 2011

Cipralex 5mg in summer 2018

back to Cipralex 10mg in autumn 2018

alternating doses (10mg/5mg) started in winter 2018

7.5mg/day since 14.05.2019

6.25mg/day since 15.11.2019

5.625mg/day since 20.12.2019

5mg/day since 03.03.2020

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  • Mentor
13 hours ago, Annala said:

Hi everybody.

 

I just wanted to give a small update: I've been on 7.5mg for one month now and I'm doing really great. I'm not experiencing any symptoms at the moment. My diary column for symptoms has been completely empty for >25 weeks now, so I thought I may continue with 7.5mg for 2 to 4 weeks to see if I keep that stable and then start with a 10% cut already.

 

‘Great news Annala! I’m so pleased for you.

 

R

 = medication taken now

 

2007 quetiapine to March 2019 200mg

2019 quetiapine March to present 225mg 

2007 citalopram to present 40mg 
2018 March Abilify 5mg  
2019 Abilify February rapid taper over 3 weeks from 5mg to off

2019 March Clonazepam as required, taken very occasionally, then taken 0.5mg for 2 days 28th and 29th March, now phased out

2019 1st April reinstated Abilify 0.5mg / day 

2018 to present Liquid B12 2g twice daily (diagnosed B12 deficiency) 
 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Annala: my introduction
  • 4 months later...

Hi everybody,

 

I'm still on 7.5mg because I was feeling quite stable and was a little reluctant to leave that comfort zone...

However, today I started to cut a little and started with 6.25mg/day.

 

 

In August, I started to suffer from extreme hair loss, it's still ongoing.

I have checked literally everything...I had done blood checks for iron etc, all vitamins, thyroid, autoimmune diseases, I had a hormone status done, everything is perfect. The dermatologist did a so called trichoscan, which confirmed there is hair loss, but there is no obvious cause...could it be a side effect of cipralex? I am on a constant daily dose since May, so it makes not really sense I think.

But I'm so worried about losing all that hair and there's nothing to do to stop it  I could think of... 

 

Paroxetin in 2002 for about 6-8 months / Trevilor (Venlaflaxin) 2004-2011

Cipralex (Escitalopram) 10mg 2011

Cipralex 5mg in summer 2018

back to Cipralex 10mg in autumn 2018

alternating doses (10mg/5mg) started in winter 2018

7.5mg/day since 14.05.2019

6.25mg/day since 15.11.2019

5.625mg/day since 20.12.2019

5mg/day since 03.03.2020

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