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Tbug: off everything - finally

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Tbug

I've followed the Facebook page for this group for a bit now and thought I would add my own experience with antidepressants.  So, I've been on antidepressants of and on (but mostly on) for about 21 years.  The couple times over the years I got off of drugs like Paxil, Celexa, and Lexapro was by doing it the (wrong) way my doctor said to.  The Ole' skip a day then every two days then voila! your done.  I did that a couple times and I seemed to be good.  But within 6 months, I was right back on something else.  I mainly suffer from anxiety/panic and luckily don't suffer from depression; however, a year and a half ago I had my first case of depression which hit like a ton of bricks.  Luckily for me, it was gone within a couple days. Phew!

 

About 10 years ago, while on Paxil, I felt like a lot of anxiety was creeping in once again.  I told my doctor at the time who was an internal medicine doctor this, and she said, "oh, you need to try this newer drug called Pristiq!  It's an SNRI, not an SSRI."  Without thinking anything of it, I was put on 50mgs of Pristiq-which was the lowest dose, at the time and off I went.  I don't remember having any trouble what so ever making the switch.  

 

Fast forward to the summer of 2017-new doctor and I was feeling great - all things considered.  I decided I wanted off.  And I wanted off because I was starting to hear more and more people were being forced off their Pristiq and other antidepressants because the insurance company's didn't want to pay for them anymore AND I had watched people the prior Fall get hit by a hurricane in which many were forced into withdrawal because they couldn't get their refills because of damage to businesses/pharmacy's, etc.  I didn't ever want to be "forced" off my medication for any reason and then have to endure possible side effects.

 

So, in May of 2017, I began my journey that would (little did I know it) begin a two year struggle to get off antidepressants!  I did the common thing at the beginning by telling my doctor that I was feeling good and was ready to jump off of my Pristiq.  She agreed and said the usual...since I was on the lowest dose already, and the pills were extremely difficult to cut in half, skip a day for the next 2 weeks, then skip two days for the following 2 weeks, then stop.  So the first two weeks were a bit unnerving and difficult but I powered through!  Then came the second two weeks of skipping two days.  After just the first try I was a mess!  A complete mess!  I had major anxiety, headaches, brain zaps, dizziness, the usual.  I started pouring over the internet to find help because I knew there had to be another way!  I started educating myself after finding a Facebook group that spoke of withdrawing off of Pristiq and learned a lot!  I called my doctor's office and told them I needed to see her ASAP! because I was really struggling.  Luckily, she got me in that same day.  I told her how awful my experience was to get off this drug and she agreed that Pristiq is tricky to get off of.  She said she doesn't really ever prescribe it but knows of docs that do, but mainly for menopausal symptoms!  Since I came to her as a new patient back in 2011 and was already on the drug, she kept me in refills.  

 

So, at this point I told HER what I wanted to happen.  Because I learned that there was now a 25mg pill which she had no idea of, I wanted her to prescribe this to me to help get me off.  Then I told her that if that worked ok for me, I would then like to start compounding the drug down using a compounding pharmacy.   I really had to educate her on the fact that this drug needed to be tapered off very slowly to have the best chance of getting off.  She said she had never heard of that being done but was willing to work with me to get me off safely.  And I had to commend her for that because I have since read and heard of many whose doctors refuse to help them in this manner get off their antidepressants.

 

So I picked up my 25mg prescription from the pharmacy, headed home, and continued researching.  I stayed on the 25's for 1 month which is when she wanted me to return to let her know how I was doing.  I'll be honest here, it wasn't super easy.  But, it was manageable.  At my next appointment with my doctor, I came with compounding pharmacy info in hand and told her to call in a script for 15mg's to last a month with one refill in case I felt I needed to continue longer.  My plan was to stay on that dose til ALL side effects were gone and to not jump down in dose until then.  So, I completed the next month with the 15's and at that following appointment told her I was still doing ok, and that I'd like a new script for 12 mgs compounded.  She obliged.  Another month with that dose and still hung in there.  The next month I asked for a 9 mg dose to be compounded.  Did that for about 1 week and BAM!  The side effects were so bad, I just couldn't handle it.  I went back into her office right away and told her that the jump from 12 to 9 was too difficult and that I was going to refill the 12's but now I needed to taper off 1 mg per month!  The lower I got in dosage, the higher my anxiety was, however, I was determined to get off this stuff. At 3mgs, I jumped completely off.  Unfortunately, at that point in my life, I had some major family stuff going on which only contributed to my anxiety!  I was off completely for 16 days.  During that time, and because of what was going on in my life, the anxiety and panic left me in a state of not wanting to leave my house.  It was really hard.  I made an appointment to see my doctor again as I was starting to feel desperate.  I didn't want to feel this way anymore.

 

NOTE

 

During this time of tapering, I learned a lot about helpful supplements to aid me as I tapered - ones for brain health and helping the inflammation that occurs in our brains as a result of taking these meds.  I also cut out most sugar/gluten in my diet as both cause inflammation and can contribute to anxiety/depression.  I also sought out a Naturapathic doctor in my area who ran extensive blood work to look for any deficientcy's that could contribute to how I was feeling.  That's another thread that I can speak about in the future!!!  (Magnesium L-Threonate/Glycinate/Citrate is your friend!!!  Along with a high EPA fish oil, and Turmeric/curcumin supplementation!)

 

So while sitting in my doctor's office feeling major anxiety, I caved.  I told her I didn't want to feel like this anymore and that I was willing to try a low dose SSRI to see if it would help.  I tried Zoloft first but had an allergic reaction to it 13 days in (it didn't make me feel good anyway) so I stopped that and switched right over to 10mgs of Paxil.  I have to be honest...it did help.  Within 24 hours I could feel my anxiety lessening.  However, now I felt like a failure.  I failed at getting off of antidepressants.  I ended up staying on Paxil for a year.  Then, because of some side effects that I can only attribute to the Paxil, decided I needed to get off this and NOW.  I broke the 10's in half and for two and a half weeks, I took 5mgs.  

 

I have now been antidepressant free for almost 2 weeks and I feel GREAT!  The only thing I have experienced is a slight tingling around my mouth and ever so slight anxiety but it feels more like an adrenaline rush; like when someone scares you and you jump.

 

Granted, I know it hasn't been that long, but what a difference I feel now from what I felt a year ago.  I still have a little stress in my life - but who doesn't ??  I've continued with my supplements and eating the best that I can and I believe that it has completely helped me get through the hardest parts.  Looking back, I don't know how anyone could ever get off these drugs without doing some kind of taper!  And, over the last year and a half, I have tried to help hundreds get off Pristiq.  I am a contributor/moderator/admin in a facebook group that does just that!  We help others see that the safest way off this drug is a slow taper.  Many people learn the hard way, like most of us.  But then we see that success is "slow and steady wins the race!"  There is hope on the other side!  We need to educate people and the medical community that the drug manufacturer's way is not a good way!  I mean, why would they want us off their drugs anyway?  They would stand to lose billions of dollars.  They are setting us up for failure so we need to stand up and prove them wrong.

 

Thank you for allowing me to share my story...

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Tbug

Bruxism treatments?

 

I have been off of all antidepressants for over a month now and I feel really good...except...for the bruxism I continue to experience.  It started about 4 months ago while I was on 10mgs of Paxil.  I weaned down and last month I hit zero.  I've seen a lot of mention of others struggling with bruxism/teeth clenching but I haven't seen anyone say it actually went away and how they treated it.  I've seen a dentist already and he said everything looks fine but made me a night guard.  The night guard is painful and just doesn't feel right even though I've had it adjusted once already.  How long did it take you to resolve the bruxism?  What did you do to make it go away.  I already am well aware this can be a side effect of antid's but when and how does it resolve itself, especially once off antid's?

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Altostrata

Welcome, Tbug. 

 

Thanks so much for starting your Intro topic. 

 

Do you have any post-acute withdrawal symptoms other than bruxism? We have quite a few people here who have experienced that.

 

You might be interested in our collection of Tips for Tapering here 

 

 

Thanks for your work on Facebook. What group do you belong to?

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Tbug
5 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Welcome, Tbug. 

 

Thanks so much for starting your Intro topic. 

 

Do you have any post-acute withdrawal symptoms other than bruxism? We have quite a few people here who have experienced that.

 

You might be interested in our collection of Tips for Tapering here 

 

 

Thanks for your work on Facebook. What group do you belong to?

Hi,

I have really only experienced the Bruxism which actually started while I was weaning down from Paxil.  Every once in awhile I get a little tingling sensation around my mouth too but happily that is all.  I am admin/moderator of the Facebook group "Pristiq, Ellefore and Desfax (desvenlafaxine) SNRI  withdrawal Support Group."  It was started by another gal from Australia (I am an the U.S.) who is tapering off of Pristiq right now and is going about it the correct way - 5-10% reductions every 3-6 weeks (or longer) so as to be off this junk forever.  It took me 13 months to get off Pristiq myself so early on I found the group and because I had learned the hard way and ended up researching the right way - she asked me to help with the group.  We try to suggest a very slow taper in our group and most, by trying it the wrong way or their doctor's way (which is also the wrong way) end up going the slow taper route too.  I was extremely lucky to find a compounding pharmacy very close to me that accepted my insurance but the other gal ended up having to learn to crush and weigh her own doses down so it's nice to have both of our experiences to bring to members of our group. Thank you for allowing me into your group as it is much needed for so many struggling.  

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Guilietta

Hello Tbug,

 

Welcome to SA.

 

21 hours ago, Tbug said:

I've seen a dentist already and he said everything looks fine but made me a night guard.  The night guard is painful and just doesn't feel right even though I've had it adjusted once already. 

 

How many days/weeks have you been using the nightguard before you visited the dentist - and how long did you try it after the adjustment?

 

From my own experience with bruxism and night guards - it may take me up to 3 weeks (and ~3 dentist visits  for adjustments) to get used to a new one. It is a nuisance to have them adjusted - but better than cracking teeth, crowns, etc. As these things are expensive, custom gadgets - dont' be shy about visiting as you adjust. Particularly if this your first one.  I also wear a custom guard (lower jaw as its less conspicuous) during the day because I find my jaws may be clenched then as well.

 

Related to the bruxism (per the link above) are tinnitus and ear pain - which are amonst my WD effects and wax and wane - and thank goodness - are now more on the wane.

 

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Tbug
30 minutes ago, Guilietta said:

Hello Tbug,

 

Welcome to SA.

 

 

How many days/weeks have you been using the nightguard before you visited the dentist - and how long did you try it after the adjustment?

 

From my own experience with bruxism and night guards - it may take me up to 3 weeks (and ~3 dentist visits  for adjustments) to get used to a new one. It is a nuisance to have them adjusted - but better than cracking teeth, crowns, etc. As these things are expensive, custom gadgets - dont' be shy about visiting as you adjust. Particularly if this your first one.  I also wear a custom guard (lower jaw as its less conspicuous) during the day because I find my jaws may be clenched then as well.

 

Related to the bruxism (per the link above) are tinnitus and ear pain - which are amonst my WD effects and wax and wane - and thank goodness - are now more on the wane.

 

Hello!  I had my teeth checked by a biological/holistic dentist who did a 3D cone beam x-ray to make sure there wasn't anything else going on that could be contributing to my pain.  He said everything looked good and no issues with nerves or roots.  He fitted me for the nightguard and then I waited about 2 weeks to actually get it.  During that time, I felt like my teeth had shifted hence the re-check appt to have it adjusted.  It is made from the hard plastic/apoxy type material and very difficult to adjust.  They tried to file down around the front bottom teeth (it's a bottom guard) where it was pushing in on my teeth and causing pain during and after wear.  It helped ever so slightly but I find that once I take off the guard, all my teeth hurt from wearing it.  I usually wear it during the day to get used to it as it is very hard for me to fall asleep in one.  I recently started seeing a chiropractor who is also trying to help me.  Between adjustments and teaching me how to release trigger points within my jaw, I'm hoping it will help.  Years ago I dealt with TMJ pain and saw a specialist/dentist who dealt in TMJ issues.  He ordered massage (which helped) and a night guard also.  That one fit on my top teeth but I had the same issues of not being able to sleep with it on.  Sleep is so important to me that if I lay in bed for 3 hours waiting and hoping to fall asleep and it hasn't happened then I'm taking that sucker out of my mouth.  

I just want to know when this will end.  Been going on about 4 months with no relief so far.  If someone could tell me I have another couple months of this, that would help but I start thinking...is this going to go on forever????  That's when it gets daunting!  I'm pretty sure that it was caused by the paxil I weaned off.  I've read where some people got relief by taking Buspar (Buspirone) once daily but I really don't want to resort to medication if I don't have to.  Buspar isn't addictive like a benzo and it's not an antidepressant, it is an anxiolytic.  Either way, I'm not at the point where I'm ready to try this route.

Luckily, I don't suffer from tinnitis but did have a rt. ear issue awhile back that always felt stuffed up/clogged even though my ENT doc said everything was fine.  I'm suspicious of that being caused by the Paxil also.  Darn drugs!

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Guilietta

Hello Tbug,

 

Glad the teeth, gums and ears check out!

 

My upper night guard is also of a more chewy, less brittle texture than the lower jaw guard. It still took a few adjustments and time for acclimation.  When symptoms go away is variable and I can't give you any input on your situation. My bruxism and clenching is not as bad has it was earlier this year and seems to come and go - like all of my WD symptoms as of late.

 

Good for you for the FB page to help people struggling to free themselves from these drugs. 

 

Giulietta

 

 

 

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Tbug

Thanks Giulietta!  I'm going to have to look into getting a night guard that isn't so hard.  My first one years ago was the same.  Do you ever worry about "chewing right through the guard" since you say it is softer? I wish it was something I could just purchase "over the counter" as it's getting expensive trying all these different things/doctor's to try and help.

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