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NicoleL: Tapering too quickly


NicoleL

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Hello! I’m new to this forum so any advice or encouragement would be great! I was on 20mg of lexapro for three years and four months ago began a taper. I’m now down to 1.25mg with three days in between. It has truly been awful. My anxiety was through the roof, and now I’ve been depressed and fatigued over the last week. I want to quit everyday. It’s hard for me to pay attention and be present with my kids. My appetite is all over the place. Ugh. This is miserable. Does anyone have any advice. Acupuncture hasn’t really been helping. Thank you in advance!

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, NicoleL.

 

You are tapering far too fast and as a result you are in withdrawal.   We recommend tapering no faster than 10% of your current dose every four weeks.

 

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

 

Your symptoms are known and acknowledged as common in withdrawal from SSRI medications and other neuro-psycho-active substances. Please read:
 
 
 
When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  
 
These explain it really well:

 

 

   On 8/30/2011 at 2:28 PM,  Rhiannon said: 
When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay. When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse. SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long.
At this time, reinstatement of a very small dose of the original drug is the only known way to help alleviate withdrawal syndrome.  The only other alternative is to try and wait out the symptoms and manage as best you can until your central nervous system returns to homeostasis.  Unfortunately no one can give you an exact timeline as to when you will start feeling better and while some do recover relatively easily, for others it can take many months or longer.  
 
Reinstatement isn't a guarantee of diminished symptoms for everyone but it's the best tactic available.  You're still in the time period where reinstatement predictably works, up to 3 months after last dose.  We usually suggest a much smaller reinstatement dose than your last dose.  These drugs are strong, and when reinstating it is better to start with a small amount and increase if symptoms remain unbearable. Your system has become sensitized and If you take too much it may be too much for your brain and can cause you become unstable.    Then, once you've stabilized on that dosage, which can take several months,  you can begin a 10% per month taper down to zero.  Please read:
 
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
 

I suggest you updose by 0.5mg Lexapro, making your dose 1.75 mg.  

 
We need to see how 0.5 mg affects you. It will take about a week for it to get to steady-state in your bloodstream, the effect should get stronger during that time.If 1mg is enough, it still may take some weeks or months for your nervous system to settle down.
 
It's a good idea to keep daily notes on paper of your symptoms to keep track of how the reinstatement is doing.
 
Please let us know how you're doing and whether you decide to updose.
 
We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 

 

 

 

Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.
 
This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions, post updates and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.
 
 

 

 

 

 

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 Begin 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover and change from 3 daily doses to one 18.75mgai dose (0.311mgpw). Jan. 11, 2021 begin hold at current bedtime 18.75mgai dose.

 

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 E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, 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 for the information! So if I’ve been off a dose of 1.25 mg of my lexapro for three days and feeling awful, should I just go back on the 1.25mg again? I’ve asked my doctor and she’s NO help at all. When I got down to 5mg she told me to just stop taking it. 🥺 

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Are there things I can be doing holistically, with supplements that help with some of the symptoms of withdrawal syndrome? The brain zaps are terrible.

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  • Moderator
37 minutes ago, NicoleL said:

So if I’ve been off a dose of 1.25 mg of my lexapro for three days and feeling awful, should I just go back on the 1.25mg again?

 

Now I understand your situation.  Yes, go back to 1.25 and hold there.  Please keep us updated on how you're doing.  

 

This is where you should post rather than starting new topics.  Each member has only one topic so that all information is in one place.

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 Begin 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover and change from 3 daily doses to one 18.75mgai dose (0.311mgpw). Jan. 11, 2021 begin hold at current bedtime 18.75mgai dose.

 

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 E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, 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
23 minutes ago, NicoleL said:

So THIS is where I should post? I’ve never really done this before so it’s a bit confusing for me.

 

I know it can be confusing.  No, not here.  Post in your original post where you gave all the information about your situation.  Here:

Tapering hell

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 Begin 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover and change from 3 daily doses to one 18.75mgai dose (0.311mgpw). Jan. 11, 2021 begin hold at current bedtime 18.75mgai dose.

 

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 E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, 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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  • manymoretodays changed the title to NicoleL: Tapering too quickly
  • Moderator
manymoretodays

Welcome aboard NicoleL.

This is your main page.  Can you bookmark it or note it somehow?  I did change the title to "Tapering too quickly".

 

17 hours ago, NicoleL said:

Hello! I’m new to this forum so any advice or encouragement would be great! I was on 20mg of lexapro for three years and four months ago began a taper. I’m now down to 1.25mg with three days in between. It has truly been awful. My anxiety was through the roof, and now I’ve been depressed and fatigued over the last week.

 

Yes, get back on your Lexapro at 1.25 mg and take it daily.  Same dose.  Same time every day.

Stay with that dose for the next 4-7 days, and keep us updated.

 

I'm not surprised that your symptoms have been truly awful.   If the severity of WD(withdrawal) symptoms have just peaked, there is a very good chance you might get some relief soon.  Really important now to stay with a consistent dose.  Your poor nervous system has suffered a huge jolt.  

Do take a look please at:  Why taper by 10% of my dosage

 

Best,

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

manymoretodays(mmt)

 

Edited by manymoretodays

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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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello! Quick update and question: I have weaned down to what I THINK is about 1mg of Lexapro per day, or at least it’s the smallest I could actually cut a 10mg pill with a pill cutter I bought on Amazon. I’ve been on this dose for about 10 days and doing okay. My question is, how do I taper from here? I can’t physically cut the pill any smaller ... Not sure what to do next. Every other day? 

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Hello! Quick update and question! I am down to about 1mg lexaprpo for the last (almost) 2 week and feeling pretty good, considering. I am cutting my pills with a pill cutter and can't get them an smaller than they are. What should my next step be? Every other day? And for how long?

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  • Moderator
52 minutes ago, NicoleL said:

I am cutting my pills with a pill cutter and can't get them an smaller than they are. What should my next step be? Every other day?

We strongly advise against every other day tapering.  It causes the amount of the medication in your bloodstream to go up and down, battering your nervous system, and makes withdrawal worse.

 

We recommend going lower than 1mg before jumping to zero, to 0.1 or lower if possible.  You could do this by switching to a liquid, either making your own or getting prescription liquid Lexapro.  These links contain information about this:

 

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

 

We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of current dose every four weeks.

 

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

 

 

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 Begin 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover and change from 3 daily doses to one 18.75mgai dose (0.311mgpw). Jan. 11, 2021 begin hold at current bedtime 18.75mgai dose.

 

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 E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, 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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