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Rrsfc

Rrsfc: A lot of drugs later some stabilization

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Rrsfc

I had the first manic and psychotic break at 2006, I was 28, mother of a small child. I was admitted to the ER and given a high dose of olanzapine and mood stabilizer, sleeping pills. I don't even remember those first few days, I was locked in a psych ward without any visit from a psychiatrist for 3 weeks.

 

Then I begged to go home (still psychotic but they didn't know) and they let me go home, where I continued the treatment, although I was feeling really unwell, desperate even. With time I got better, then went to a private psychiatrist that put me on quietapine and a mood stabilizer. I took the meds 2 years, struggling to lead a normal life. My brain wasn't functioning well, I felt incapacitated. I managed to find a job but I wasn't happy there to put it mildly and even though I was taking the meds I ended up manic and psychotic again, I divorced my husband, the police went to get me at work to take me to the hospital...

 

This time they didn't commit me and I ended up taking arpiprazol, sleeping pills, and maybe a mood stabilizer. I lost the job, went into depression, but I found the doctor that still is my doctor today. He took me off aripriprazol when he could and I started taking lamotrigine. I never sought a job again because I felt humilliated by the whole situation, I eventually got together with my husband because our separation was all due to my mental health problems at the time.

 

I stayed home with a lot of trauma and low self-esteem for 5 years but with no symptoms. My husband gor me a part time job in his company and that's what I do now. But in 2015 my doctor went to another hospital and I got a new one. I didn't dislike her, I had a crisis that year and after depression. I was put on olanzapine and sleeping pills, and when the olanzapine was over the sleeping pills remained so my brain got addicted to them.

 

She gave me an antidepressant that got me manic and I was miserable, I decided to take matters in my own hands. I quit the antidepressants and the sleeping pills, changed my diet, started exercising (I was fat from the drugs) and lost 15kg while trying to control my mania with olanzapine but I didn't take enough and had another crisis, this was 2017.

 

I was committed and took a huge dose of olanzapine and all the other meds again, the doctor told me that medication was for life and I nodded.

 

As soon as I got out of the hospital sought out my actual psychiatrist that followed me in 2009. I said I wanted the least ammount of meds possible. I started making a  very detailed diary of meds and symptoms and slowly got off of everything but olanzapine. He thought I should take preventively 5mg everyday but that dose makes me less human, so I went down to 2.5mg and he was very pleased with how I functioned although I was in a bad depression.

 

In last May the depression finally lifted and I started exercising more and lost 10kg that meanwhile I had got from olanzapine. This winter I'm reducing even more olanzapine, my plan is to wean it off and try another antipsychotic in the spring doesn't mess with my sleep. I'm sleeping badly and having anxiety but I don't want this med anymore, or at least not take it everyday.

 

It's a long story, I started trusting the doctors and doing everything they said but today I'm way more critical. Everyone is surprised when I say the little I take. My seasonality is also something peculiar, I don't get manic or psychotic in autumn of winter so I'm weaning off now. I'll get there eventually, wish me luck.

Edited by Altostrata
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Gridley

Welcome to SA, Rrsfc.  Congratulations on getting down to a low dose of the Olanzapine.

 

We are a site dedicated to helping people taper off psychiatric drugs.  If I understand you correctly, you are now taking 2.5mg Olanzapine and wish to wean off it.  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/

 

This link is specifically about tapering Olanzapine.

 

Tips for tapering off olanzapine (Zyprexa)

 

Here are some non-drug techniques for dealing with anxiety.

 

These links offer tips of getting better sleep.

 

Tips to help sleep - so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia
 
 
Trick and tips to fall asleep faster
 
This link contains helpful information, including insomnia and also non-drug coping skills.  
 

 

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 and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here. 

 

 

 

 

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Rrsfc

Gridley, thank for all that info. When I found this site I was already tapering, I didn't explain that in the first post because I thought I would edit later. I went from 2,5mg to 2,5mg alternated with 1,25mg and after 15 days only 1,25mg. I started sleeping no more than 7h a night and last week I started experiencing anxiety, tremors, sweats, headaches, throbbing head, some transient mild psychosis.

 

When I realised by reading your resources that I was weaning too fast and that it was dangerous I got up again, first to 1,75mg and then to 2,5mg. Luckily all symptoms gradually receeded and I got 10 hours sleep last night.

 

I will be recovering 1 month and then I will start going down again, this time as you recommend, really slow. I didn't tell my doctor about the symptoms because I was afraid he would think I needed more meds. I'm glad I worked it out by myself.

 

Exercise really helped me a lot through this difficult week as well as chamomile tea. I will read all the info before I try again, but I'm optimist, I'm confident I will be able to wean it and with some luck I won't be needing antipsychotics anytime soon, because since I started exercising 5 months ago I got better and better, I walk 60m 5x a week and jog 30m 3x, resistance training 3x too. I feel better now than I felt in years.

 

About the next attempt to taper I'm planning dissolving half 5mg dissolvable tablet in saliva, then adding water untill reaching 10ml. Then with a 10ml syringe measuring the dosage I want to take discarding the rest. Do you think this will work or there's a better approach for olanzapine?

 

My doctor doesn't have a clue, I'm really glad I found this site. If there's any resources on dealing with mania without drugs I'll be glad to read it too, because my symptoms are first mania, the psychosis only comes when I'm already manic and sleeping badly. I've been reading recently about new research on the brain and concepts like affective realism or body budget and that helped me a lot to understand why I have this crisis. It all started with very high anxiety levels, I wish I could have known what I know today. If there's someone reading this also with a mental inbalance the best advice I can give is start exercising  as soon as possible and research on the benefits of exercise in the brain, you'll be mind blown by it. In a month I'll post the new developments.

Edited by Altostrata
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Altostrata

Welcome, Rr.

 

Please let your nervous system settle down for more than a month, maybe several months, before you attempt to taper again. As you're aware, you do not want to tip into any symptom pattern that might send you to the hospital.

 

1 hour ago, Rrsfc said:

About the next attempt to taper I'm planning dissolving half 5mg dissolvable tablet in saliva, then adding water untill reaching 10ml.

 

I would not dissolve a tablet in saliva, that sounds very unsanitary. Read this Tips for tapering off olanzapine (Zyprexa) (thank you, @Gridley) You may be able to get prescription olanzapine liquid.

 

I think some of your symptoms historically might have been from drug reactions or withdrawal. However, some people are very sensitive to not getting enough sleep, this can make them display symptoms that might be interpreted as psychosis. It sounds like you are taking care of yourself, you must make sure you are getting enough sleep, especially when the seasons change.

 

You may also benefit from learning

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Easing your way into meditation for a stressed-out nervous system

 

Music for self-care: calms hyperalertness, anxiety, aids relaxation and sleep

 

Ways to cope with daily anxiety

 

Dealing With Emotional Spirals

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Rrsfc

Altostrata thank you for your reply. I'll see how I feel in a month and decide then, because I never had any problems going off meds before, and I took a lot of them. I went from 5mg to 2,5mg olanzapine directly with no other symptoms than vivid dreams. I want to start in the winter because spring is tougher for me. About the saliva, I thought that if the tablets are made to be dissolved in saliva in the tongue there's no harm in doing it in a glass. I've tested just water and water and saliva and it seems to dissolve a little bit better. I'm sorry you find this unsanitary, I didn't mean to gross anyone out, it's just something that came to mind to try, didn't see harm in posting this idea :). I've read almost the whole thread about olanzapine and this will be my first attempt, if it doesn't work I'll try the scale or talking to the pharmacist to get a better liquid than water. Consider I'm using the dissolvable tablets, not the hard ones. I will look into your resources, thanks again. I feel really alone doing this, I don't have much support, I tend to get manic and psychotic on the spring and summer so I don't know how if I will be able to be completely drug free. I'm trying to find a least addictive yet effective drug that I can taper more rapidly, so if I have mania I take that and taper after spring has passed. If you have any knowledge or resources on that I'd be very gratefull. I tried to swtich directly from olanzapine to ziprasidone and aripriprazol and I had terrible insomnia but now I think it was because of the absence of the olanzapine, not the new meds themselves. I read here that olanzapine targets 15 receptors, I would like to learn more, where on the net can I find that info? Thanks again for replying, you're really helping people with your resources. I will post the developments, maybe with my posts I can help someone else eventually like you've already helped me!

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Rrsfc

Update - I've been recuperating since reinstating olanzapine 2,5mg, it's been almost 3 months. I feel normal, I sleep well, I'm thinking to try to taper again. In these 3 months I read all the info in the links advised and got some more information. In another group there was someone who switched to seroquel/quetiapine and then tapered the seroquel. In your experience would you advise trying this or would you taper the olanzapine directly by 10% or even 5%? Getting the quetiapine is not a problem, I'm sure I'd get a perscription but would this lead to an easier taper or just confuse the central nervous system? The argument is that quetiapine targets less receptors in the brain still having a sedating effect that masks the central nervous system inbalance caused by the redution in targeted receptors. I would really like your input on this, I will also talk with my doctor and ask his opinion before deciding what to do next. I would really want to get off this drug quickly but that's not possible, I'll have to go slow and have lots of patience. Thank you again for the info and support!

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lxjuice
18 hours ago, Rrsfc said:

Update - I've been recuperating since reinstating olanzapine 2,5mg, it's been almost 3 months. I feel normal, I sleep well, I'm thinking to try to taper again. In these 3 months I read all the info in the links advised and got some more information. In another group there was someone who switched to seroquel/quetiapine and then tapered the seroquel. In your experience would you advise trying this or would you taper the olanzapine directly by 10% or even 5%? Getting the quetiapine is not a problem, I'm sure I'd get a perscription but would this lead to an easier taper or just confuse the central nervous system? The argument is that quetiapine targets less receptors in the brain still having a sedating effect that masks the central nervous system inbalance caused by the redution in targeted receptors. I would really like your input on this, I will also talk with my doctor and ask his opinion before deciding what to do next. I would really want to get off this drug quickly but that's not possible, I'll have to go slow and have lots of patience. Thank you again for the info and support!

Unless it's a very simple situation you're talking about, I would be careful linking pharmacology to withdrawal effects. Both olanzapine and quetiapine have very messy broad reaching mechanisms of action, with significant overlap but even then the strength of their actions where they overlap is different. You will not be able to account for all of their effects both on receptors and general brain homeostasis. A small amount of extra H1 antagonism isn't going to cover a possibly destabilizing switch. Quetiapine is probably harder to come off of as it has a significantly shorter half life. In my opinion there is absolutely no case to make - don't switch to quetiapine to get off olanzapine. Olanzapine is available in an orodispersible tablet which should mix (or at least suspend) readily in water so you can make your own solution more easily than with a tablet, if your doctor can't/won't script you a liquid.

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Rrsfc

It's now passed almost 7 months since reinstatement of 2,5mg olanzapine. The timing hasn't been right, but now I think it's time. I'm starting a new taper today, I decided to go on the caution side and make olanzapine 10% drops each month, and not to take any quetiapine. There is no liquid available, I'll make my own as advised. The last taper was way too fast, this time I hope to come off for good although slowly. I'm in a good place mentally and I think I'm ready for it. I was a bit scared and pessimist following my last attempt to taper, I had to forget what happened and go back to my usual optimistic self before trying again. I feel normal, everything is ok, let's do this! This time I dissolved the pill in 10ml water and measured with a syringe roughly 9ml (2,25mg). Let's see how it goes this time. I hope not to even notice I'm tapering, since the drop is so low. Hope all goes well. There are people who have a lot of difficulties getting off, hopefully it will turn out ok. I've in the past gone from 2,5mg to 0mg directly without any symptoms, this is the first time I'm having withdrawal. I've taken the pill for too long, the other times I took it for less than 6 months, this time it's been almost 4 years, 2 years just because I couldn't get off. It's a long time, never again. If I knew it would be so hard to stop I would never had taken it for such a long time... Living and learning always... I'll continue to record my journey here. Thanks for tge support I got.

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Rrsfc

I've been having increasing withdrawal symptoms, today is day 5 and I'm thinking I should go up 5% (went down 10%). I'm afraid the increasing insomnia clouds my judgement and worse unbearable symptoms appear again. Should I wait a week and see how it goes or should I go up today? If I wait I'll give the brain opportunity to stabilize but what if the symptoms get worse and worse? What do you advise? I've been reading the posts but I'm still in doubt. I'm looking for the safer option not the fastest one. Thanks for your support!

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Altostrata

How did you measure the olanzapine? What was the amount of the dosage decrease?

 

Yes, you might go up a bit, it could be 5% decreases will be more tolerable for you. Please let us know how you're doing.

 

To help us out, follow these instructions Please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature You may need to use a computer to do this.

 

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Rrsfc

Hello Altostrata, thank you for getting back at me. I was initially on 2,5mg (5 days ago for the last 3 years) and I measured 2,25mg (10% decrease) roughly using dissolvable tablets in water and measuring with a syringe, I don't have a precision scale. The day went by alright, I'm managing, but I'm afraid I'll get worse like last time. I'm recording my symptoms and taking care of myself, let's see how this turns out... If I feel I really must I'll get a scale, but for now I'm trying this out. The dosage will not be as accurate but maybe for this it works. I just want to do things right this time, no matter how long it takes the most important is to keep the symptoms to a minimum, with my mental health history I can't get too much imbalance, it may lead to a crisis. Last time (50% drop) I reinstated and in a few days all was gone, but I might not have that luck this time. Thank you again, I'll go up 5% today and report briefly.

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Altostrata

You should be able to taper by mixing a consistent dosage tablet with a consistent amount of water, no scale needed.

 

Please put the necessary information in your signature.

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Rrsfc

Thanks, how can I update my signature, I couldn't figure out how, sorry.

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Rrsfc

I've updated my signature successfully, hope it's readable. So many drugs so little space. Everything is fine at the moment but I will surely need more guidance in the future. Thanks again, I'll post the developments.😪 Can't erase the emoji, I was aiming for :)

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