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Danalee13: Lexapro / escitalopram taper

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Danalee13
Posted (edited)

Topic title:  In the middle of lexapro taper - let’s discuss please

 

Hi all - 6 years on lexapro 20 mg. Taper started December 13, 2018. Got down to 10 mg in April. Waited for a bit and recently got to 5 mg 3 weeks ago. 

 

Here Is my story and any help would be appreciated - thank you so much!

 

about 6 years ago I was put on 20 mg lexapro. I do not have clinical depression or anxiety. I had been going through a situational hard time in college. Wish I came off sooner but I was too scared. Finally in December of this past year I was ready and so over being on it!

 

. * note I was also a heavy Cannabis user and quit at the same time starting to come down from 20 mg. From Dec to April I went from 20-10 mg. It was very hard but in s different way in which I am struggling now.  I was anxious and crying a lot during the first ten mg. 

 

Also I made a conscious decision to use benzos. During this entire process. And I would never be able to do it without it. I work a full time high powered job. So please respect the fact that I will be getting off benzos AFTER my taper is over.

 

i was then prescribed the 10 mgs. I was very much stabilized at this point. As I waited to come down more. The pill was much smaller making it harder to make smaller cuts. To be honest I also am sick of being on this damn lexapro. So I went a bit too fast from 10 mg to 5 mg. 

 

All was okay and almost easier than the 20 to 10. Until I got to 5 mg. Two weeks after hitting 5 mg I am in full panic mode a lot of the last 10 days. So - if I have been on 5 mg for 3 weeks now - does anybody have any idea when the panics will go away and when I will likely stabilize?  How long does it take on lower dosages to feel ok? I know everyone is different but if I can have some experiences on thr lower doses ? Thank you!!

 

dana 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added topic title then merged with newer intro topic

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Danalee13

Hi all!! If you scroll down a bit I posted my whole story of my lex taper.  Starting in December of this last year (2018). Starting on 20 mg. Was on it for 6 years.

 

* note - I do not have clinical depression. Or ever had depression or anxiety growing up. I had been going through some anxious times during college. Only for about 1 month and I am so mad I was put on lex. 6 years later I finally had the guts to come off. (I feel fantastic coming off of it - much more clear headed and happier. ) 

 

I got to 10 mg in April. And stabilized fully for about 1 month before starting to drop again. 

 

I then started to drop again from 10 mg and it was all going great. I was okay!  It was almost easier than coming from 20 mg. Or so I thought. Then I hit 5 mg and it has been VERY hard.  I know I went a bit too fast. I have been on 5 mg for about 3 weeks now.  For the last 10 days (on and off) I cannot kick this pure panic, anxious feeling. 

 

I do not want to go back up in the dosage. Does anybody have any insight on how long it may take me to stabilize on 5 mg and not feel pure panic any longer?  I will then stay on 5 mg for a bit and decrease MUCH slower. 

 

Just looking for any and all advice on how long it took anybody that came down from 20 mg lexapro and when they got to 5 mg.. 

 

thank you so much. In this current moment I feel okay!

 

signature: 20 mg for 6 years. Started tapering in December. Now on 5 mg for 3 weeks time waiting to feel okay...... any help is much appreciated. 

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Dejavu

Hi Danalee13 and welcome to SA. This is your intro thread where you will post all questions and updates. 

 

If you have not already done so, please add a drug signature, including drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. I know you have already listed some of these things in your post, but your signature will appear beneath each post you make and save the moderators from having to scroll through your entire thread when replying to you. Please include all dosages and the dates of your reductions.  Also include any supplements you have taken. This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 

Many of us here have your shared experience of having been prescribed these powerful antidepressants for normal life stressors and anxiety. You are not alone. I encourage you to browse the entire site, especially other members' threads, as you will gain incredible insight into this journey by doing so. 

 

It appears to me that you have indeed, tapered too quickly. Here at SA, we recommend a harm reduction approach of tapering 10% of your current dose every 4-6 weeks. Withdrawal symptoms are often delayed as much as several months, and begin to stack up if you have continued to taper during that time. 

 

At this point, tapering too quickly has temporarily sensitized and destabilized your central nervous system, and we are most likely speaking in terms of months, not weeks, before you will become stable enough to resume a slower, more careful taper. During this time, the withdrawal symptoms will continue to cycle in and out in a pattern we refer to as "windows and waves, " lessening in intensity over time.


I understand your reluctance to updose. However, it is a viable option at this point and might save you a good deal of unnecessary suffering. Sometimes, just a tiny updose can alleviate many symptoms. You might think of updosing as an athlete climbing a wall on an obstacle course. You cannot simply walk up to the wall and climb over. Instead, you have to back up, get a running start and allow that momentum to help you over. In this scenario,  the updose is the athlete, the wall is withdrawal, and healing lies on the other side. However, if you decide to simply hold your dose and wait out stabilization, that's of course your decision, and you will get support here either way you decide to go.

 

I've provided links to some topics below that will answer many of the questions you have and help you with a decision. Please post again after you have read them. If you are interested in updosing at that time, one of the more experienced mods can guide you with suggestions for that.

 

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

 

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-antidepressant-withdrawal-syndrome/?p=88441

 

Again, welcome! We are glad you're here and will help in any way we can.

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Gridley

Danalee,

 

 

Welcome from me too.  I'm a fellow Lexapro taperer.

 

Here are some techniques for coping with panic and anxiety:

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)
 
VIDEO:  Peace from Nervous Suffering - Claire Weekes (1 hour) (http://sendvid.com/vgquc1dg)
 
 
 
 

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Danalee13

Hi deja vu!  This is beyond helpful. Thank you so much. I will make a signature now. This is such a great website to help people have a support system. It’s crazy - April 13 was the exact date I started to begin another come down from 10 mg. I remember thinking. Wow! This isn’t bad at all. Thinking - wow the 20 mg to 10 mg was so much worse!

 

and then I get to 5 mg and BOOM panic. 

 

Does anybody else find it very annoying that the 10 mg lexapro pills are so small and hard to break a small cut off? 

 

*** editing my signature now.  Thank you! DV

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Danalee13

Hi Gridley! Thank you so much. I am on Diazepam daily to help. 5 mg. I wouldn’t be able to do this without it. When it gets VERY bad - aka last night - I had pure panic for hours - I will take an emergency alprazolam (Xanax). But I do not like to take that often. Thank you guys for the help. 

 

I really commend the people on here who do this without using other medication to help for anxiety. I tried and I was unable to cope. I was debilitated and could not work. I have a high powered job. I felt guilty that when I would take the diazepam I would feel okay. I ended up succumbing to the fact that I care more about coming off lexapro than being on a Benzo for right now. 

 

I have gotten off benzos before and it was absolutely nothing compared to this. I am just so sick of it. It blows my mind when I read online doctors telling people to come off SSRIs for example 5 mg at a time. Or cold turkey. That is absolutely ruthless. I am going slow (not slow enough) and it is even too fast. 

 

Does anybody else have the weirdest feeling of AMAZINGNESS+ clear headed happiness because you are coming off of it but also pure panic? It is the weirdest combination. 

 

I find what helps me (beside the benzo) is zoning out on a tv show or movie with my headphones and trying to completely focus. Or - I like trading - so researching trades or crypto currencies really helps me. Something to completely focus on really helps. Being in silence, sitting there, is my worst nightmare. 

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Gridley
Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, Danalee13 said:

 

Does anybody else find it very annoying that the 10 mg lexapro pills are so small and hard to break a small cut off? 

 

 

 

I use the AWS Gemini-20 scale, available on Amazon (not expensive).  I make a powder, weigh it on the scale and then pour it into a 00 size gelcap.  Or you can just weigh chunks and add or subtract.  That way you're getting a consistent dose every time, which you may not be just cutting or breaking.

 

Using a digital scale to measure doses

 

I'm on a benzo too, and you're right to be tapering the more activating drug (Lexapro) and leaving the more sedating benzo to act as a buffer to be tapered later.


Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

Edited by Gridley

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Dejavu
2 hours ago, Danalee13 said:

(I feel fantastic coming off of it - much more clear headed and happier. ) 

This is not uncommon. Those were massive cuts at 50% each. I had a one month "honeymoon" when I tapered off zoloft too quickly. I'd never felt better in my life. Then suddenly all hell broke loose.  I was very fortunate my crash happened so quickly that I was able to quickly reinstate. And you are fortunate that you didn't come all the way off before your symptoms started to get out of control, although I'm sure you're not feeling too fortunate at the moment. 

 

There is a lot to learn about this syndrome, and a great deal of good info on this site. Becoming familiar with as much of it as possible will help you to make the best decisions for your health and future. The mods can make suggestions based on our collective experience, but the final decision is always yours, so please educate yourself. This is a marathon, not a sprint. But here's the good news: remember how great you felt at first? That's how you will feel after you're healed. 

 

With regard to pill cutting, yes, this is a problem for many. If you decide to embrace the 10% taper - and I hope you do - you will be reducing by small amounts, which will become impossible to do by dry-cutting or shaving the pill. Precision becomes very important when your system has been slammed into instability, and converting to liquid is the most precise way of dosing. The other alternative would be to stay with pill form and purchase a scale to cut and weigh your dosage. I do liquid, but I believe the scale that most members recommend is the Gemini 23, available for around $30 on Amazon. @Gridley, please correct me if I'm wrong). Mods are available to assist you with the math, whichever method you choose. 

 

 

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Dejavu

Ahhh, it seems you and I are cross-posting, Gridley. Listen to Gridley on this Danalee. He is the more experienced between the two of us. 

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manymoretodays
Posted (edited)

Hi Danalee,

 

Have you had a chance to look at the Why taper by 10% of my dosage

And each 10% decrease is based on the previous dosage.

You did a 50% decrease in dose, in about 3 months.  And then another 50% decrease in 2 months, it appears.

 

So you are currently cutting your 10 mg Lexapro tablets in half now?( and okay, looks like you might have been weighing, just editing after seeing your posts)

How have you been tapering thus far?  I mean have you just been cutting pills or shaving some off?  Have you been basing it on any kind of percentage or just eyeballing the size of your tablets.

Tips on tapering Lexapro

another important link, which should give you some ideas as far as further tapering goes. 

 

Boy, if I was you, for now I would just HOLD, for at least several months, before considering anymore tapers, on the Lexapro.

Sometimes, we do get a "pink cloud" type of experience with a lowered dose, it's nice, but it may not be long lasting unfortunately.

 

When did you start using Valium?  And what is your current dosage?

Could you add that to your signature?

Okay, I see you've posted while I've been typing.  B)

You might want to add the Ativan to your signature too.  Just the name, dose, and that you use it as needed.

 

When exactly did you get to the 5 mg dosage of Lexapro, what day?  Or just give us your best approximation.

 

Sometimes a teeny tiny updose, if done promptly, will remedy acute WD(withdrawal) or mitigate some of the worst of the symptoms.

So that's something to consider too. 

 

I mean if it was me, I think I'd rather try a bit of an updose to settle things, or non drug coping, rather than more benzo's.   It only takes 2-4 weeks to develop a dependency, and then that's just something you would probably want to taper down later too.

 

Okay.  Welcome from me too.

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

manymoretodays(mmt)

 

Edited by manymoretodays
spacing

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Gridley
4 minutes ago, Dejavu said:

converting to liquid

 

Converting to liquid is certainly an option for the future, but I wouldn't make the change at this point.  Better to stabilize at 5mg (if you don't updose) before making any changes.

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ChessieCat

Hi Danalee and welcome to SA.

 

Note to Mods:  I've just merged an older Introduction topic (it had not been responded to) which Danalee created, which is now the first post here.

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Dejavu

@Gridley - 👍

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ChessieCat
14 hours ago, Danalee13 said:

* note I was also a heavy Cannabis user and quit at the same time starting to come down from 20 mg. From Dec to April I went from 20-10 mg. It was very hard but in s different way in which I am struggling now.  I was anxious and crying a lot during the first ten mg. 

 

Just bringing this to attention from the "new" first post.

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manymoretodays

Hi again Danalee,

Yes, best to keep your Lexapro dose as consistent as possible right now. 

No judgement.  Just go ahead and add your start date to the Valium and dosage to your signature.  Go ahead and add the Ativan as well, dosage, and about how many doses you are taking a day.

Let's get your information sorted, at this point and then we can best see how we might help with your Lexapro WD, and tapering further.  Does that sound okay?

 

Are you cannabis free at this point Danalee?  I used some too, when coming off Seroquel, and it may have complicated things a bit, as I reused it again, when in Lexapro WD.

It did, I believe, take me awhile to stabilize after I abstained.  So probably some WD from that.

 

Okay, thank you.

Welcome aboard again.

L, P, H, and G,

mmt

 

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Danalee13

Hi everybody. Thank you SO much for the support. Yes I am Cannabis free for 7 months now. The exact amount of time I have been tapering. This is actually a HUGE deal for me as I was a big Cannabis user. When coming off lexapro I now HATE the idea of Cannabis. I would not go back. Something. About coming off of the lexapro made my brain clear about Cannabis. And no I am not against Cannabis. It’s just something that wasn’t helping my taper, and that I did not need. It was making my life worse. I understand Cannabis can help people. 

 

And yes I will add my Benzo usage to my signature. Since I last posted my pure panics (2 days) - Monday Tuesday - have been a bit better. Instead of feeling panicky all day over the weekend. I felt panic around 6 PM yesterday. I took the 5 mg Valium and felt better. 

 

Then last night i was so tired from work I couldn’t even open my eyes - but around midnight - I had the panic feeling - even though I was so tired. 

 

It was a very weird feeling. 

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Danalee13

hi all - gridley, deja, chessie:

 

so another question I had and have been wondering: as i cut the pill small and do not swallow fast enough, it does turn into liquid in my mouth. I had been wondering if i was the absorbing it the same way. So - the answer is yes? That i can do it in a liquid form and even if it dissolves in water (like it has been in my mouth while trying to swallow) i am still absorbing the dosage the same way?

:

 

As far as cannabis use - yes, i was a heavy user, decreasing use throughout a 5 year period. Going from smoking all day, to going from smoking and eating edibles to sleep at night after work. Due to my job (started about 2 years ago) I could not have smoked during the day. So my use switched to only night time. So while it did decrease - I would eat an edible almost every night, or smoke, or both. Like i mentioned, it was the weirdest change in my brain. I have a weird disgust towards cannabis now and would never go back. I do believe it would be making my taper a lot worse as well. I feel much better OFF the cannabis.  Did/do any of you use cannabis to taper? I would not do this - but am just wondering. 

 

I would wake up cloudy headed every single day. And though I use Benzos now, I don't have the cloudy headed feeling like i did from cannabis use.

 

----This was my day today and an update on my feelings thus far. 1. I must ask my doctor for 5 mg lexapro tablets. I am hoping that they exist. 2. I don't want to go back up. Though I will admit, when I break it in half (yes, i am breaking the ten in half as best I can) and i take the bigger half, i do feel a bit better. But not enough for me to want to go back up. 3. I am hoping that one day soon, one week soon, I feel like I did when i had been stabilized on the ten MG's. 

4. I went through that exact "honeymoon phase" coming off of the 10 mg. which was why i jumped down so quickly as well. I am also sick of all of this. I just want to be off. It feels like a tug of war of emotions in my brain. Major happiness, but then sometimes that panic. 

 

As for today - starting the day I had anxiety badly. I took my valium and then I was fine for the rest of the day. That was around 10 AM.  I am not writing this at almost 10 PM and I have not had to take another benzo yet. I definitely feel the "waves" that you are speaking of. 

 

I think things will get much better once i get the 5 mg pills from my doctor (please tell me those exist!). Other than that I have a scale I can use once i start to come down from 5 mg. since i know that is when the real hard part will start. 

 

Thank you all once again

 

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Danalee13
On 7/7/2019 at 5:28 PM, Gridley said:

 

Converting to liquid is certainly an option for the future, but I wouldn't make the change at this point.  Better to stabilize at 5mg (if you don't updose) before making any changes.

hi gridley - i am confused, do they offer lexapro in liquid form - or am i just making the liquid myself with weighed cuts? and @manymoretodays i am already very much dependent on benzos.  I take at least 5 - 10 mg of valium a day. and then occasional xanax (maybe once a month for a few days). I have been on Benzos now since December. I am okay with being on benzos and will tackle that after.

 

I have come off benzos before and it was easy peasy compared to what I am going through now. The reason I was put on lexapro in the first place was for adderall/various drug issue come downs in college. I went to the doctor and was freaking out. They put me on lexapro and threw me out the door. 

 

They didn't even ask if I grew up with depression. It frustrates me. Also - what do you mean by "pink cloud". I am 100 percent going to stick on 5 mg for a long while once i stabilize. I don't love the idea of updosing.... eeeeek.... it makes me depressed to think of an updose, to be honest.

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Danalee13

@ChessieCatmay i ask what seratonin toxicity is that you expereinced?

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Dejavu
3 hours ago, Danalee13 said:

think things will get much better once i get the 5 mg pills from my doctor (please tell me those exist!). 

Yes, they do.

3 hours ago, Danalee13 said:

do they offer lexapro in liquid form - or am i just making the liquid myself with weighed cuts?

You can actually do either. I am currently holding on zoloft and I make my own liquid. Switching from tablet to liquid (whether homemade or not) is considered a dose change, and we recommend that it be done gradually over a period of a week or longer, as it can rock the boat for a bit. As Gridley states, that will be an option for you when you begin your taper, but for now, your plan is to sit at 5mg and await stabilization, making conversion to liquid a non-issue right now. When you are stable and ready to begin your taper, we can talk more about cutting and weighing vs. liquid conversion. 

 

3 hours ago, Danalee13 said:

Though I will admit, when I break it in half (yes, i am breaking the ten in half as best I can) and i take the bigger half, i do feel a bit better.

The difference in how you feel when you take the bigger half demonstrates just how powerful these meds are. Lexapro is the most powerful AD in the SSRI class, and despite what doctors and pharmacists claim, 5 mg is not a small dose (for instance, it is equal to 25mg of zoloft). I don't say this to alarm you, but I want to make sure you respect this drug's potency so that you can avoid unnecessary suffering down the road.

 

Before we go any further, please re-read the above paragraph - twice.

 

So, that being said, until you have your 5mg pills, I would highly recommend you pick up a pill cutter from your pharmacy. It is very important to keep your doses as stable as you can - same amount, same time. Your system is highly sensitized at the moment, and it will feel - and react to! - every inconsistency, however tiny we think it to be.

 

4 hours ago, Danalee13 said:

once i start to come down from 5 mg. since i know that is when the real hard part will start. 

Actually, holding this 5mg until you're stable might be the most challenging issue. Many people report minimal and/or manageable problems while tapering as long as they proceed slowly enough. But it may take a while for you to stabilize. There will likely be windows and waves during the process. Both in the wait for stabilization and in the tapering process, patience is key.  

 

In the meantime, you know where to come for support. Sending you healing energy tonight!

 

DJV

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manymoretodays
Posted (edited)

Hey, just to mention,  I did not run into problems, using a pill cutter, to take a 5 mg dose of escitalopram.

Or perhaps, I was unaware, if I did, as that was pre- my survivingantidepressants immersion.

Good idea though, I concur with the above, to go ahead and try to get 5 mg pills.  If you do run into difficulty, I think you could make it work with what you have too.  You'd be essentially getting 2 doses out of each pill, after carefully crossing over, to homemade liquid for some or all of your dose.

 

23 hours ago, Danalee13 said:

I have been on Benzos now since December. I am okay with being on benzos and will tackle that after.

 

Have we had you do a basic drug interaction check yet, Danalee?

Here's what came up when I plugged your current meds in at drugs.com

Interactions between your drugs

Moderate

diazePAM escitalopram

Using diazePAM together with escitalopram may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some people, especially the elderly, may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, and motor coordination. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications. Also avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medications affect you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

 

Moderate

ALPRAZolam escitalopram

Using ALPRAZolam together with escitalopram may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some people, especially the elderly, may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, and motor coordination. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications. Also avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medications affect you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

Other drug and disease interactions

Drug and food interactions

Moderate

diazePAM food

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with diazePAM and lead to potentially dangerous side effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor. Do not drink alcohol while taking diazePAM. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol. You may feel more drowsy, dizzy, or tired if you take diazePAM with alcohol. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.

Moderate

ALPRAZolam food

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with ALPRAZolam and lead to potentially dangerous side effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor. Do not drink alcohol while taking ALPRAZolam. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol. You may feel more drowsy, dizzy, or tired if you take ALPRAZolam with alcohol. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Moderate

escitalopram food

Alcohol can increase the nervous system side effects of escitalopram such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking and judgment. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with escitalopram. Do not use more than the recommended dose of escitalopram, and avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medication affects you. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.

Duplication

Tranquilizers

Therapeutic duplication

The recommended maximum number of medicines in the 'tranquilizers' category to be taken concurrently is usually one. Your list includes two medicines belonging to the 'tranquilizers' category:

  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)

Note: The benefits of taking this combination of medicines may outweigh any risks associated with therapeutic duplication. This information does not take the place of talking to your doctor. Always check with your healthcare provider to determine if any adjustments to your medications are needed.

Duplication

Benzodiazepines

Therapeutic duplication

The recommended maximum number of medicines in the 'benzodiazepines' category to be taken concurrently is usually one. Your list includes two medicines belonging to the 'benzodiazepines' category:

  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)

Note: The benefits of taking this combination of medicines may outweigh any risks associated with therapeutic duplication. This information does not take the place of talking to your doctor. Always check with your healthcare provider to determine if any adjustments to your medications are needed.

 

Not to judge, Danalee13 nor instill fear, just so I know you are aware.

Concerned sometimes, well most times.  It's your health, it matters!

What do you think?

 

L, P, H, and growth,

mmt

 

Edited by manymoretodays
switched to consumer data, minor grammar

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Danalee13

Hi all! @manymoretodaysand @Dejavu  Just a quick update and question.  

 

After first posting (I think that was one week ago or so?) I am feeling a lot better when it comes to anxiety/panic. Still no depression on this end. Knock on wood. 

 

Some nights I will updose a bit to around 6 mg while some nights I will just take the half of the 10 mg. 5 mg of course. I know we all discussed updosing and staying on that updose was probably the best strategy for me - but I can’t get it out of my head that I have been on 5 mg for about 1 month now and would really hate to lose that month. 

 

So my question is - did any of you - or have you heard of anybody doing what i am doing? Some nights taking around 6 mg and next night 5 mg. Then next night 6 mg. Basically switching back and forth?  Is that an absolutely horrible idea and worse than just staying on the 5 mg? Do people do this ever? 

 

As of right now I am feeling okay in comparison to when I first got onto this thread. 

 

Another question - @manymoretodays You are currently coming off of lexapro right?  My question to you is - if so - what mg are you at right now and how are you feeling?   I am a bit surprised I do not feel depression; though also very happy I don’t! 

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Dejavu
59 minutes ago, Danalee13 said:

Some nights taking around 6 mg and next night 5 mg. Then next night 6 mg. Basically switching back and forth?  Is that an absolutely horrible idea and worse than just staying on the 5 mg?

Yes, indeed, it is a horrible idea. Please do not continue to do this. The half life of lexapro is about 27-32 hours. This means that the drug is only half-strength in your system one day later. 5mg to 6mg equals out to almost 20%. So basically you are making a 20% adjustment up and down on a daily basis, in essence putting your body in flux every single day.

 

I'm glad you are feeling better at the moment, but it is still early in the game and you might well cycle through windows and waves for some time before reaching stability. You will make your journey a lot longer and harder by constantly tweaking your dose.

 

The body and brain crave stability. You are attempting to stabilize at this point, and this is  almost certainly not the way to do it. When I first reinstated, I was so desperate for improvement that I made four adjustments up and down by only 5% each time. I'm still paying for it 8 months later. I might have stabilized months ago had I not done this.

 

Remember what I told you initially about respecting this drug? It is the most potent SSRI. A little goes a very long way. I strongly urge you to pick a dose and stick with it. One of the hardest things we have to do in withdrawal is resist the urge to "fix things" when we feel symptoms. 

 

Do you feel noticeable improvement on 6mg vs. 5? If not, I would stick at 5 and wait a few weeks. Also, please recall what I told you about precision being very important, especially with lexapro. "About 6 mg" and "6mg" can be very different amounts. If you're going to updose to 6mg, please invest in a scale to get as precise a dose as you can. I know its mind-blowing that small amounts can make such a big difference, but please trust us on this. Many before you have paid the price for doing this, and we would like to see you avoid making the same mistake. 

 

Let us know what you decide on updosing to 6mg or staying steady at 5mg. We will be here to guide you and answer any questions you have.

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Dejavu

Why did you decide to go to 6mg? What symptoms are you having?

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Danalee13

well i was just having major anxiety on the straight 5 mg. but i have basically mostly been sticking to 5 mg, say out of the last 3 weeks - i only went to "about 6 mg" yes - not precise. twice. so i am in general feeling better. i am going to stick to 5 mg and get stabilized. and stay on 5 mg for months. i am glad you told me about the going up and down method being a horrible idea. i am going to stop that and stick to the 5 mg, as I know it is more precise than whatever amount the bigger half is when i split it. I ordered a scale online. so that should be coming soon.

 

But i am glad my doctor is going to prescribe me the 5 mg lexapro, this may make a big difference as ill know it is EXACTLY 5 mg. right now i am using a pill cutter to cut the tens in half.

 

the symptons i had been feeling when first posting on here were just pure anxiety and panic, no panic ATTACKS, but racing heart and anxiety, So it has been 1 whole month on 5 mg lexapro. then about 3 days i updosed here and there to around what i thought was 6 mg., in the last week. 

 

I really do not want to updose so i am going to stick to 5 mg as I do feel a bit better and am not getting anxious as much as far as the last 7 days go, I dont have any other symptoms beside anxiety and racing heart

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Dejavu

Sounds like a good plan. Please keep daily notes of the times/amounts of your dosage, supplements, and whatever symptoms you have throughout the day. At some point, we may need to see those in order to make suggestions going forward. Try to take your dose at the same time each day. Supplements too. If you make any changes in your supplements, please do so one at a time, so that if you have a reaction, we know where it's coming from. 

 

Sending you healing energy!

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Danalee13

Thank you so much.  I’ve always wondered - at what time of the day do people usually take their ADs. I always took my lexapro. And still do - at night. I am on omegas (not fish oil. A spray of omega 3s. Vegan) and that is it for supplements 

 

I would love to know what time people usually take lexapro.  For example - does it disturb sleep and wake you up, or make you tired. Thank you ! @manymoretodays

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manymoretodays
On 7/12/2019 at 1:23 PM, Danalee13 said:

Hi all! @manymoretodaysand @Dejavu  Just a quick update and question.  

 

After first posting (I think that was one week ago or so?) I am feeling a lot better when it comes to anxiety/panic. Still no depression on this end. Knock on wood. 

 

Some nights I will updose a bit to around 6 mg while some nights I will just take the half of the 10 mg. 5 mg of course. I know we all discussed updosing and staying on that updose was probably the best strategy for me - but I can’t get it out of my head that I have been on 5 mg for about 1 month now and would really hate to lose that month.  

 

So my question is - did any of you - or have you heard of anybody doing what i am doing? Some nights taking around 6 mg and next night 5 mg. Then next night 6 mg. Basically switching back and forth?  Is that an absolutely horrible idea and worse than just staying on the 5 mg? Do people do this ever? 

 

As of right now I am feeling okay in comparison to when I first got onto this thread. 

 

Another question - @manymoretodays You are currently coming off of lexapro right?  My question to you is - if so - what mg are you at right now and how are you feeling?   I am a bit surprised I do not feel depression; though also very happy I don’t! 

 

Hi Danalee,

 

If you are still noting the improvement in anxiety and panic, and no depression.  I think you might be doing okay.  And oh my, yes.........totally agree with Dejavu on just staying put now on one dose.   And for a good while.  We don't recommend alternating different doses on different days.

  

Danalee, I'm not seeing where we all discussed updosing, and staying on that updose for awhile.  So sorry for the confusion.  I do see I mentioned it, as a possible option.  And as a possible option to additional benzo usage.  What are you doing now with the xanax?   When's the last time you used it?  If using it now, please note it on the symptom patterns and drug dosing logs(link to doing these below and sample).

 

On 7/12/2019 at 3:19 PM, Danalee13 said:

I really do not want to updose so i am going to stick to 5 mg as I do feel a bit better and am not getting anxious as much as far as the last 7 days go, I dont have any other symptoms beside anxiety and racing heart

 

Okay.  Yes.  That sounds good. 

 

Can give a few days of symptom patterns and drug dosing

Just use the simple format, date at top, and then time on the left, and on the right note all drugs taken throughout the day, with the name and dosage as well as symptoms throughout the day(you can rate them using a 1-10 scale even), and also include sleep and any supplements taken. 

Here's a sample note:

6 a.m. Woke with anxiety
8 a.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
10 a.m. Stomach is upset
10:30 a.m. Ate breakfast
11:35 a.m. Got a headache, lasted one hour
12:35 p.m. Ate lunch
4 p.m. Feel a bit better
5 p.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
6 p.m. Ate dinner
9:20 p.m. Headache
10:00 p.m. Took 50mg Seroquel
10:20 p.m. Feeling dizzy
10:30 p.m. Fell asleep
2:30 a.m. Woke, took 3mg Ambien (NOT "took 1/2 tablet Ambien")
2:45 a.m. Fell asleep
4:30 a.m. Woke but got back to sleep

 

By doing this, we will have a little more to go on, before answering your questions.  Try and do a couple days of paper and then post here.  

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manymoretodays
On 7/12/2019 at 1:23 PM, Danalee13 said:

Another question - @manymoretodays You are currently coming off of lexapro right?  My question to you is - if so - what mg are you at right now and how are you feeling?   I am a bit surprised I do not feel depression; though also very happy I don’t! 

 

On 7/12/2019 at 7:13 PM, Danalee13 said:

I would love to know what time people usually take lexapro.  For example - does it disturb sleep and wake you up, or make you tired. Thank you ! @manymoretodays

 

Hey again Danalee13,

I'm off Lexapro/escitalopram since October of 2014.  Don't do what I did however.  It was before my time here.  Too quick of a taper basically, and when I got to 3 mg, all heck broke loose, with what I now know to have been WD.  I had been on just a 5 mg dose for quite awhile and had previously come off Seroquel.  So.......I went to the hospital, where they did not pick up on WD either, and wound up remedicated with 2 different drugs, and then more slowly proceeded to taper off after I came here.  I've been off them all now for over 2 years.

You can peek at my introduction, if you have time, or wait until I get my "success story" done for the more abbreviated version.

Oh, previously on many more medications too.  Can you see signatures, or are you on a phone?  I'm feeling good overall now.  And thanks for asking. 

This is your introduction/journal though.  Not about me.   I do so like to moderate here though, in hopes that I can help others avoid what I went through.

 

 

When I was on just Lexapro/escitalopram I always took it in the morning.  I've seen some here who do okay with it at night.

 

We are all a bit different though. For example, I had many more years of the medications/drugs and most every kind in most every class.  Oh my!  B)  We each are unique, with different variables to our experiences.  

 

Try and work on a couple of days notes, and then post here.   Right here on your introduction page.  I think that will help us a lot to further guide you.

 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

mmt

 

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Gridley
On 7/12/2019 at 8:13 PM, Danalee13 said:

 

I would love to know what time people usually take lexapro.  For example - does it disturb sleep and wake you up, or make you tired.

 

I used to take it at night but learned here at SA that it is an activating dug with the potential to disturb sleep.  I moved the time I took it back one hour a day until I got to the time in the morning I wanted to take it.

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Altostrata

Hello, Danalee.

 

On 7/7/2019 at 2:06 PM, Danalee13 said:

Does anybody else have the weirdest feeling of AMAZINGNESS+ clear headed happiness because you are coming off of it but also pure panic? It is the weirdest combination. 

 

You might have become a little hypomanic after you made those decreases. Hypomania is a withdrawal symptom. Although it does feel exhilarating, it's a red flag, it can progress to really uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

 

I suspect your random attacks of anxiety are not related to the 5mg Lexapro but to your prior benzo dosage wearing off -- it's called rebound anxiety. Benzos are diabolical that way. Let's see your daily notes, we'll be able to identify if this is what's going on. It doesn't mean you have to quit the benzo, but it may mean you manage your dosing differently.

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ChessieCat
4 hours ago, Altostrata said:

You might have become a little hypomanic after you made those decreases. Hypomania is a withdrawal symptom. Although it does feel exhilarating, it's a red flag, it can progress to really uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

 

This is what happened to me when I cold turkeyed citalopram.  I felt great for several months and then was bedridden for 2.5 weeks and lost 8kgs because I couldn't eat.  It felt like the flu but after finding SA and learning that it is a withdrawal symptom, I realised that it was due to stopping citalopram abruptly.

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pattypan
On 7/9/2019 at 10:03 PM, Danalee13 said:

I am 100 percent going to stick on 5 mg for a long while once i stabilize. I don't love the idea of updosing.... eeeeek.... it makes me depressed to think of an updose, to be honest.

hi @Danalee13
Let's be taper buddies! 
I am also tapering off of Lexapro- I was on 30mg for 4.5 years and dropped down to 20 mg in May without any problems then dropped down to 15mg July 1 and felt TERRIBLE for 2 weeks- this groups support ( and a little tough love) convinced me to bump back up to 20mg and i feel like a functioning human again. If you feel bad I hope you will feel empowered to updose a smidge and know that its not forever. 
I am super type A ( OCD)- and i had outlined and highlighted my day planner with all my changes and an end date in site( i originally thought February) but that will not be the case. 
To be honest I think it was previous tapers ( done with medical advice or on my own) that were WAY too fast that ended up increasing my anxiety level to the episode that put me back on drugs ( i have been on and off these meds for ~23 years...)
Anyway- I just wanted to say Hi and that you are surrounded by legit caring people who have truly been to hell and back... you will make it through this!

welcome. 

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PatriciaVP

Hi Danalee,

Fellow Lexapro taperer here.This stuff is a bear to come off of. I'm literally in awe of it's destructive power. 

 

Since getting down to 7 mg, I have found it impossible to reduce by more than1/4 mg, and even that can be painfully disruptive. 

 

The pattern is always the same. I reduce. I feel dizzy for a week. Then I become almost high- like I've never felt better. Then the crash - I'm irritable and jumpy exhausted yet unable to rest. Wanting to rip my own skin off. That settles and all I want to do is sleep- my brain in a constant fog. 

 

Please listen to your body. Small, even tiny changes with plenty of time between to let your system sort itself out really is the best way to go. You will get there.

 

Peace, love and healing. 

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Danalee13

Hi everybody. Just want to thank you so much for all the replies on my thread. It means so much and helps a lot to feel I am not in this  alone. I have been feeling much better as the days go on. I also have been beyond busy with work. So that helps. 

 

_ side note: you know what I also hate. Dating while I’m doing this. Because when something happens that I don’t like or doesn’t go my way etc it just makes it so much worse. * this is a complete side note and I’m not in the wrong on this certain guy i am dating. He is very manipulative and he uses my taper as easy to manipulate me. I ended things because he was making me so angry. Which is dk not me. Beside this taper I’m such a chill human being. 

 

So my daily routine is this. Wake up: always wake up BEYOND tired. I’m not sure if that is because I go to bed late, take the lex at night, or take benzos at night sometimes. Anyway 

 

then eat. I always wake up starving.  Even in the throws of withdrawal * I know I am at a bad point when I don’t get hungry for lunch or dinner *. And I am already 100 lbs to begin with. But I make sure to eat about 600 calories for breakfast every day. 

 

Then i take diazepam. 5 mg. One tablet. Today I felt more anxious than usual and had to take 2. 

 

Go on throughout the day... sometimes I’ll be tired. Sometimes I’ll feel panicky (though I haven’t felt like that in awhile). 

 

Before I feel stabilized I continue to turn to benzos. Sometimes needing to take more at night. When I feel stabilized I don’t feel like I need them. I know it’s  not the greatest thing but it’s plain fact that I don’t care and I can’t deal with this lexapro anymore. Sometimes I take some klonopin. For emergency sometimes I take some Xanax. 

 

But I am PRESCRIBED Valium and Xanax for the overall anxiety and for panic attacks.  I do have try and stay away from the Xanax unless necessary. But I’m telling you guys. I couldn’t do this without the benzos. I’ve gotten off a major dose a Benzo before and it was a walk in the park compared to this so my mind set is just like - I don’t care! And I hate that that is the truth! But it is and I hope you can respect it. I cannot do this without the benzos and I refuse to take years to do it. I just can’t stand the fog of my brain the lexapro gave me that I finally feel like I’m getting back 

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PatriciaVP

You had wanted to know what time of day people took the Lexapro. My med provider told me that it can make you drowsy so I've been taking it at night for years. I now think he was full of malarkey. 

 

I tried changing to the morning,  but it caused really bad symptoms so I went back. 

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