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JC1957: Lexapro - withdrawal or relapse?


JC1957

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Tapered from 15mg Lexapro starting in May 2019, completed withdrawal from that in September 2019, then began withdrawal from 300 mg Welbutrin and now down to less than 100mg.  No zaps or other acute symptoms at all, but some GI pain I'm managing with an integrative wellness doc with the object of regenerating the gut biome to normal/optimal.

Some days I'm OK, but more often quite lately am super irritable and depressed -- much moreso than when I first started this stuff 30 years ago.  

Does this sound like withdrawal or relapse?  I hate the idea of going back on this stuff and willing to stay the course but would love some advice on how long it might be before I feel OK.  THANKS!

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, JC1957.

 

It sounds to me like withdrawal.  You tapered much faster than we recommend (10% of current dose every four weeks),

 http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage.   Withdrawal, from what we 

see here,  typically results from a too-fast taper.  Irritability and depression are typical WD symptoms, and your statement that you are more irritable and depressed than when you first started the drug is telling and points toward withdrawal.

 

 
 
When we take psychiatric 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.  
 
As to your second question, unfortunately there is no way to predict how long it will take to recover.  While some recover fairly quickly, others take months or longer.
 
What I'd suggest right now is you hold on your Wellbutrin taper for perhaps three months and let your symptoms settle down.
Then you could proceed with a 10% taper.
 
Another and parallel option is reinstatement of a very small dose of Lexapro.  Reinstatement is the only known way to mitigate withdrawal symptoms.  You're just outside the time frame of three months when reinstatement typically works, so it might work or it might not.  The other option is to wait it out, but as I said earlier, there is no way to predict how soon your system will return to homeostasis.  Please read: About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
 
Please let us know if reinstatement is something you want to consider and we can suggest a dose.  Please don't reinstate without letting us suggest a dosage.
 
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 you 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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Thanks so much, Gridley!  I bet you know how difficult it is to find this information and I really appreciate the input.

Thought I was tapering at a pretty slow pace but perhaps not ... 

So, If I want to reinstate Lexapro just to temporarily keep from feeling so crummy, what would be the suggested dosage?

Also, if I do that, am I in for yet more crummy withdrawal effects from that down the road?

Thanks again!  

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  • Moderator
20 hours ago, JC1957 said:

So, If I want to reinstate Lexapro just to temporarily keep from feeling so crummy, what would be the suggested dosage?

Also, if I do that, am I in for yet more crummy withdrawal effects from that down the road?

I'd suggest 1mg Lexapro.  This link explains how to get low nonstandard doses, either getting a prescription for liquid Lexapro, making your own liquid or using an AWS Gemini-20 scale (available on Amazon) to weigh tablets.

 

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

Once you've stabilized on the reinstatement, you'd begin a slow 10% taper of the 1mg (the link is in my original response to you), which would minimize withdrawal symptoms.

 

It takes about 4 days for a dose change to get to get to full state in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.

 

It's a good idea to keep daily notes on paper to see how the reinstatement is going.  Please keep up updated on how you're doing.  We need to see how the 1mg works.  

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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Hi JC1957,

Welcome to SA I’m so sorry you’re in the thick of withdrawal. Everyone here knows how horrible withdrawal can sometimes be. You’re in the right place for support. The collective wealth of moderator knowledge here, is far,  far greater than any individual GP or Psychiatrist could possibly hold. 

 

I want to share my early mistakes, so others may learn from them. It helps me through my suffering somehow.

 

I too Fast track /Cold turkey Lexapro thinking I’d tapered slowly. I was in such neurological mess when I found SA, that I found it challenging to work through the moderators links, questions and advice. By the time I’d worked through it, for me it was too late to reinstate safely and I couldn’t take the risk. 

 

Please, read through their support carefully, get help to read through it if need be and then make your decisions, ultimately they will always be your decision, moderators will only advise. 

Hang on in there JC help is here.

Apparently everyone gets better it’s just a matter of time.

Take care Kx

 

Lexapro Fast Track/ Cold Turkey

Last dose end Dec 2018 

Tapered 1/2 a daily dose a week (20mg) for  14 weeks, last dose was a 20 mg pill!!  

 3.5 times slower than Psychiatrist recommended, I felt proud of myself!! Little did I know!!!!Got too scared to reinstate because I’d left it too long.

On ADs for 20 years (Prozac approx 10 years/ Pristiq approx 3 years/ Citalipram approx 2 years/. Lexapro a approx  5 years/. Last two years 40mgs Lexapro day.

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to JC1957: Lexapro - withdrawal or relapse?

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