Jump to content
dumpinglexapro

dumpinglexapro: Going off Lexapro

Recommended Posts

dumpinglexapro

Hi, all; new to the forum.  After discussing with my doctor, I decided to try to discontinue lexapro.  I started taking it about 10 years ago in response to the passing of my parents. It has been very effective in treating the anxiety and depression that I was feeling at the time.  I made a few stabs at coming off of it a couple years after I started, but the anxiety/depression returned fairly quickly after reducing or discontinuing it.  I'm now back in a place where I would prefer not to be on it -- parents are long gone, I'm well into my 40s, wife and kids are fine, work is what it is, and I can't point to any real reason in my life to be anxious or depressed at this time.  So, I have started to taper down (hopefully signature worked and you can see).  I switched to 5mg 2 weeks ago but I've noticed that I'm starting to feel anxiety and a general depression / down on life mood coming on.  The Dr. said I'm fine to discontinue the 5mg dosage at any time.  But I'm not sure.  I've noticed that I'm feeling more tired than usual, less focused, and while I'm sleeping more (8hrs a night), I wake up a few times in the middle of the night and go right back to sleep, and I'm still tired all day.  I've also noticed that I'm feeling more anxious when I wake up in the morning about issues that aren't really issues from any objective standpoint (ie, they're either not issues or they are issues outside of my control for which there is no point worrying).  

 

I would assume that if I drop the dosage to 0 or 2.5mg, the feelings and anxiety will intensify, and I'm not really in a mood for that. Should I just stick on 5mg for a few more weeks or months and then try decreasing later?  Will the negative feelings I'm experiencing now, if I stay at 5mg, begin to decrease soon as I get used to that dosage?  And how long does that take?  The Dr. really seemed to think 5mg was almost a sub-clinical dose. 

 

I don't want to be overly cautious (I'm rather enjoying the increased feelings of engagement with the world and lack of decreased libido that come with dropping to 5mg) but I also don't want to experience any more anxiety than I'm feeling right now.  I also assume (and would hope) that my concerns and experiences are normal.  Thanks in advance for reading.


2009 - June 2019.  Escitalopram 10-15 mg qd.

June 2019-late November 2019.  Escitalopram 10mg qd.

Late November-present. Escitalopram 5mg.  

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley

Welcome to SA, dumpinglexapro.  I'm sorry you're suffering from these symptoms. Yes, your concerns and experiences are completely normal.

 

You are tapering too fast and are suffering from withdrawal. Anxiety, depression. fatigue, morning anxiety and overblowing inconsequential matters are typical withdrawal symptoms.  Doctors know nothing about withdrawal (they don't believe it exists) and will invariably attribute symptoms such as yours to "return of the underlying condition."  They also know nothing about safe tapering and, again invariably, taper their patients too fast.  

 

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

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

 
 

The following link is specifically about tapering Lexapro and contains instructions on obtaining the small, nonstandard doses you'll need for a safe 10% taper.  Basically, these methods are getting prescription liquid Lexapro, making your own liquid or using a scale such as the AWS Gemini-20 available on Amazon.

 

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

Yes, one option is to stick at 5mg for several weeks or more likely months   The negative feelings you're experiencing should decrease once your brain becomes accustomed to the 5mg dose.  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 longer. When your symptoms have abated you could begin a 10% taper.

 

The other choice is to reinstate 1mg of Lexapro.  Reinstatement is the only known method to reduce withdrawal symptoms. 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.  It is best to reinstate as soon as possible after withdrawal symptoms occur. 

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
 
 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.
Please let us know if you decide  to reinstate.  It's a good idea to keep daily notes on paper to track how the reinstatement is going.
 
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.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Began taper using Brassmonkey slide 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  

Current from Oct. 21, 2020 at 0.025mg

Taper is 99.875% complete.

 

Lorazepam 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, resumed a few months later. CT 2000.  1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept, 2016 increased to 0.5 X 3 in split dose. Sept. 2019 increased to 0.625 X 3 after crossover to new brand

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 15mg.  Aug 2016, discovered SA, updosed to 25mg and holding.  Taper is 66% 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.

Share this post


Link to post
dumpinglexapro

Thank you so much for the quick response and advice.  Given that what I'm feeling right now isn't uncontrollable, meaning I can tolerate it, I think I'm just going to try to maintain at 5mg and not go back up to 10mg (to then taper down 1mg at a time).  I'll give it a couple months at 5mg and then see how I feel.  If all good, then I'll do a 10% every month from there.  Time to buy a scale, I suppose :)

 

Anyway, I'm just glad what I'm experiencing is to be expected -- not knowing whether it's normal was far more troubling to me than the symptoms I was actually experiencing.  

 

Thanks again.  

 

 


2009 - June 2019.  Escitalopram 10-15 mg qd.

June 2019-late November 2019.  Escitalopram 10mg qd.

Late November-present. Escitalopram 5mg.  

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
21 minutes ago, dumpinglexapro said:

1mg at a time

Sounds good.  Definitely do not go back up to 10mg.  I was suggesting going up by 1mg or to 6mg, but holding where you are at 5mg is fine also.

 

1mg at a time is more than 10% once you get below 10mg..  When you start your taper from 5mg, your first 10% taper would be to diminish by 0.5mg, making your dose 4.5mg.


Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Began taper using Brassmonkey slide 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  

Current from Oct. 21, 2020 at 0.025mg

Taper is 99.875% complete.

 

Lorazepam 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, resumed a few months later. CT 2000.  1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept, 2016 increased to 0.5 X 3 in split dose. Sept. 2019 increased to 0.625 X 3 after crossover to new brand

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 15mg.  Aug 2016, discovered SA, updosed to 25mg and holding.  Taper is 66% 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.

Share this post


Link to post
dumpinglexapro

Will do, thank you.  I'm definitely going to need a more sensitive scale.


2009 - June 2019.  Escitalopram 10-15 mg qd.

June 2019-late November 2019.  Escitalopram 10mg qd.

Late November-present. Escitalopram 5mg.  

Share this post


Link to post
jozeff

Hi dumping!

 

Don't have a lot of time right now, I will write some more later but I wanted to tell you one thing now:

 

Do not jump of this stuff without tapering!

 

 

I've never been more certain on this website then about you not CT escitalopram.

 

 

Your story sounds a lot like mine so I'll catch up on you later.....my son is ready for bedtime;)

 

Jozeff


- 2016 - Okt 2017 citalopram some months 15 mg some months 20 mg

- Nov 2017- Apr 2018 citalopram 25 mg

- April 2018 -  June 2018 citalopram 3 month TAPER too fast  from 25mg to 16.5 mg (0.1 mg per day decrease, felt horrible and crashed)

- June 2018 - Aug13th 2018 citalopram trying to stabilize at 16.5 mg for 5 weeks, felt absolutely awful.

- August 14th 2018 - April 29th 2019  citalopram 18 mg (1.5 mg updose). Try to stabilize.-

START TAPER 29 apr 2019 @ 18 mg,    29th Jun 16.4 mg / 19th aug 15.4 mg / 25th Aug 15.2 mg / 30th sep 14.0 mg / 4th dec 13.1 mg2020 citalopram taper approx 1 % per week: 03rd Jan 12.75 mg / 28 Jan 12.29 mg / 18th Feb 11.83 mg, 25th Feb 11.68 mg hold../7th May 11.33 mg hold, 4th Aug 10.98 mg. Holding because of not feeling well.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
dumpinglexapro

Well, I'm down to about 3.5mg/day for the last week or so.  Random episodes of feeling down and/or inexplicably anxious.  Maybe a couple times a day, but nothing unmanageable.  I'm going to give it another 3 weeks at this dose and then cut it again.  It's a very odd feeling, I have to admit.  Like one minute I'm perfectly normal, and then for no reason I just get a down and pointlessly anxious feeling -- nothing circumstantial has changed but whatever chemicals are going on in my brain.   I get that these drugs are very useful, but at the same time they're scary as hell to have these effects just coming off of them.  


2009 - June 2019.  Escitalopram 10-15 mg qd.

June 2019-late November 2019.  Escitalopram 10mg qd.

Late November-present. Escitalopram 5mg.  

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
13 minutes ago, dumpinglexapro said:

they're scary as hell to have these effects just coming off of them.  

 

This is what is happening:

 

 

   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.

 

You are of course free to taper at whatever speed you choose, but you are tapering much faster than our recommendation of 10% of your current dose every four weeks.  It is especially important to taper slowly at the lower dosages where you are now.  


Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Began taper using Brassmonkey slide 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  

Current from Oct. 21, 2020 at 0.025mg

Taper is 99.875% complete.

 

Lorazepam 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, resumed a few months later. CT 2000.  1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept, 2016 increased to 0.5 X 3 in split dose. Sept. 2019 increased to 0.625 X 3 after crossover to new brand

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 15mg.  Aug 2016, discovered SA, updosed to 25mg and holding.  Taper is 66% 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.

Share this post


Link to post
dumpinglexapro

Yes, 3.5mg isn't where I wanted to be, but it was the easiest to measure.  I may reach out to the Dr. and ask him for a prescription for a liquid RX to make it easier. Or I'll just trim tablets and discard the leftovers.  I know the tablets are supposed to have a uniform distribution of the active drug, but chipping away at them and measuring, even with a pretty sensitive scale, makes me a bit nervous.  


2009 - June 2019.  Escitalopram 10-15 mg qd.

June 2019-late November 2019.  Escitalopram 10mg qd.

Late November-present. Escitalopram 5mg.  

Share this post


Link to post
Rhiannon

Doctors don't know about SSRI withdrawal. The best information I've found is here, and the writings of Dr. Stuart Shipko on the Mad in America website.

 

This is not something to trifle with after 10 years on meds. Take it very slowly.

 

https://www.madinamerica.com/2017/08/how-to-avoid-severe-ssri-withdrawal-symptoms/


Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
dumpinglexapro

Well, I had a bit of a setback.  I was doing just fine on 3.5mg, so I dropped down to as close to just over 3mg as I could measure.  It didn't go well.  After a week or so I was waking up at 5am or 530am every morning in a state of physical anxiety that would last a couple hours, daytime/evening feelings of depression and hopelessness. 

 

So I went back up to 5mg yesterday.  Felt fewer physical symptoms this morning, so I'm gonna stay at this level and then talk to the dr. about liquid for the next discontinuation step so I can do it precisely.  For for the next month or two I'm gonna stick at 5mg just to let things settle down.


2009 - June 2019.  Escitalopram 10-15 mg qd.

June 2019-late November 2019.  Escitalopram 10mg qd.

Late November-present. Escitalopram 5mg.  

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy