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Slow taper agony


gardenlady
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Is there anyone else here who is doing a slow taper and having an agonizing time as I am?  Going this slowly is like slow torture and I have the same symptoms as those who fast taper as in rage, terror, anger, irritability, akathisia, insomnia, depersonalization, derealization, doom, dread and others.  I haven't had a window since I started tapering Cymbalta and I've been at it actively (I held for a year) for 1 year 8 months.  The symptoms get worse the lower I go in dosage so I've had to isolate as I can't be around anyone due to my extreme negativity and rage.  As bad as this slow taper is, I know it would be worse if I went faster or just went cold-turkey from where I am.....I doubt I would survive it.  

 

I just get so frustrated by people thinking that slow tapers are the be-all end-all solution and the thinking that all their problems are due to fast tapers or CT.  I still have 2+ years to go and wonder how in the world I can do it not to mention the years of post-taper healing that will be required.

 

Please....no suggestions that I slow down as I'm going at a glacial pace now.  Plus, I've found that even when I hold, as soon as I start up the taper again, it's back to the same old horrific symptoms so slowing down and holding only delays the inevitable and drags the whole nightmare out longer than ever.  

 

I just wonder if there are others having such a brutal time with a slow taper as I am.  

 

2016-Aug-Prescribed 2 mg Ativan & 10 mg Ambien; Oct-c/o from 20 mg Lexapro to 60 mg Cymbalta; Nov-Dec-Tapered off 10 mg Ambien    

2017-Jan-Feb c/o from 1.75 mg Ativan to 13 mg Valium & begin daily liquid micro taper; May-taper Cymbalta 60 mg to 48 mg with severe withdrawals.  Begin 11 month Cymbalta hold.

2018-Jan 11 completed Valium taper; Apr-Resume Cymbalta taper.  Interval dose progress: Apr 43 mg; May 40 mg; Jul 35 mg; Sep 29 mg; Dec 21 mg; 

2019- Apr 14 mg; Jun 11 mg; Aug 9 mg; Oct 7 mg; Nov 6 mg

2020-Jan 5.2 mg; Feb 4.8 mg; Mar 4.3 mg; Apr 3.9 mg; May 3.5 mg; Jun 3.3 mg; Jul 2.9 mg; Aug 2.7 mg; 28 Sep 2.4 mg/12 beads; 25 Oct 2.2 mg/11 beads; 22 Nov 2.0 mg/10 beads; 20 Dec 1.8 mg/9 beads

2021- 17 Jan 1.6 mg/8 beads; 14 Feb 1.4 mg/7 beads; 18 Mar 1.2 mg/6 beads; 18 Apr 1.0 mg/5 beads; 16 May

0.8 mg/4 beads; 13 Jun 0.6 mg/3 beads; 11 Jul 0.5 mg/2 beads; 8 Aug .03 mg/1 bead; 5 Sep 0 mg.

Brutal, agonizing, slow 4.5 year Cymbalta taper completed as of 5 Sep 2021.  100% psych drug free.  

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, gardenlady said:

Is there anyone else here who is doing a slow taper and having an agonizing time as I am?  Going this slowly is like slow torture and I have the same symptoms as those who fast taper as in rage, terror, anger, irritability, akathisia, insomnia, depersonalization, derealization, doom, dread and others.  I haven't had a window since I started tapering Cymbalta and I've been at it actively (I held for a year) for 1 year 8 months.  The symptoms get worse the lower I go in dosage so I've had to isolate as I can't be around anyone due to my extreme negativity and rage.  As bad as this slow taper is, I know it would be worse if I went faster or just went cold-turkey from where I am.....I doubt I would survive it.  

 

I just get so frustrated by people thinking that slow tapers are the be-all end-all solution and the thinking that all their problems are due to fast tapers or CT.  I still have 2+ years to go and wonder how in the world I can do it not to mention the years of post-taper healing that will be required.

 

Please....no suggestions that I slow down as I'm going at a glacial pace now.  Plus, I've found that even when I hold, as soon as I start up the taper again, it's back to the same old horrific symptoms so slowing down and holding only delays the inevitable and drags the whole nightmare out longer than ever.  

 

I just wonder if there are others having such a brutal time with a slow taper as I am.  

Hi Gardenlady.I’m not a moderator, but tappering does not guarantee you will not have symptoms, sime people CT and have lessened symptoms and somes slow tapper and yet they have severe withdrawal.But the thing is, once the tapper is started, the healing starts too, lower dosage—>more healing.As certain mg’s of a pill cover certain percentage of neurotransmitters, once the dosage is lowered the coverage is lowered too, the rest means healing.It wont always be like this, the best is yet to come!

Lorazepam -2 weeks-1 week 3 mg.4 days 2mg, 3 days 1mg. 13-27 November 2018

Lexapro -2 months-6 weeks of 10mg, 2 weeks of 5mg 27 November 2018-27 January 2019

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Kronos, Are you doing a slow taper?  It's hard to tell from your signature.

 

Yes, I am very aware that a slow taper doesn't mean that one won't have withdrawals.  The problem is that most people do think that and blame their symptoms on rapid tapers or CT when in reality they may have had the same symptoms with a slow taper.

 

It's very hard for me to believe that I'm healing as I've gotten worse over the nearly 18 months of tapering and continue to decline the lower I go.  I am also going more slowly the lower I go, but still the symptoms are enough to render me nearly non-functional and completely unable to be around anyone.  Knowing that I have years of this and, from my experience thus far, worse suffering ahead of me, it's hard to imagine how I'll make it.  I get more negative and hopeless the longer it goes on. 

 

2016-Aug-Prescribed 2 mg Ativan & 10 mg Ambien; Oct-c/o from 20 mg Lexapro to 60 mg Cymbalta; Nov-Dec-Tapered off 10 mg Ambien    

2017-Jan-Feb c/o from 1.75 mg Ativan to 13 mg Valium & begin daily liquid micro taper; May-taper Cymbalta 60 mg to 48 mg with severe withdrawals.  Begin 11 month Cymbalta hold.

2018-Jan 11 completed Valium taper; Apr-Resume Cymbalta taper.  Interval dose progress: Apr 43 mg; May 40 mg; Jul 35 mg; Sep 29 mg; Dec 21 mg; 

2019- Apr 14 mg; Jun 11 mg; Aug 9 mg; Oct 7 mg; Nov 6 mg

2020-Jan 5.2 mg; Feb 4.8 mg; Mar 4.3 mg; Apr 3.9 mg; May 3.5 mg; Jun 3.3 mg; Jul 2.9 mg; Aug 2.7 mg; 28 Sep 2.4 mg/12 beads; 25 Oct 2.2 mg/11 beads; 22 Nov 2.0 mg/10 beads; 20 Dec 1.8 mg/9 beads

2021- 17 Jan 1.6 mg/8 beads; 14 Feb 1.4 mg/7 beads; 18 Mar 1.2 mg/6 beads; 18 Apr 1.0 mg/5 beads; 16 May

0.8 mg/4 beads; 13 Jun 0.6 mg/3 beads; 11 Jul 0.5 mg/2 beads; 8 Aug .03 mg/1 bead; 5 Sep 0 mg.

Brutal, agonizing, slow 4.5 year Cymbalta taper completed as of 5 Sep 2021.  100% psych drug free.  

 

 

 

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i did a slow taper and had all the symptoms, but they eased when i approached 0. and after jumping, i was at about 80% most of the time.

now at 4 months off valium and 7 months off lexapro, i am almost symptoms free. my main issue is unpredictable sleep. it goes from 10 to 6 hours of sleep, averaging 6-7 hours most night. (it sounds like heaven though when i was in the middle of withdrawal)

i don't regret one minute my slow taper, i had no choice, i had a job and a family to take care of.

when you taper slow, you also have the mind space to develop coping skill. despite what you think, symptoms of slow taper is not as bad as big cut (i have done both ways).

if it gets too bad, hold until you have a couple of days of feeling good, then resume your taper  maybe even at a slower pace. in the end i had to even go slower, the lower i got, the meds seem to be much more potent.

it took me 2 years to taper 10mg of lexapro (i was on it only for 1 year) and 3 years to taper 4mg of valium (that was my second time off benzo and it was really hard)- i tapered those meds at the same time

 

june 2014 to feb  2015- on xanax 0.25 to 1mg/day- then CT - jan 2016 - panic attack, went on 3.75mg remeron to sleep march 2016- CT remeron (because it caused me tinnitus)- deep depression, couldn't sleep because of  intrusive Tinnitus

april to june 2016- valium 4mg, xanax as needed, lunesta 3mg

june 2016 - valium 4mg, lexapro 10mg

oct 2016- valium 2mg, lexapro 10mg- hold

march 2017- started daily micro liquid taper of valium and lex- -taper speed 0.0033mg valium daily and 0.033mg lex daily

may 2018- valium 1mg, lexapro 2.4mg - i had to slow down the rate of my daily micro taper considerably

LAST dose of Lexapro: 0.05mg on 05/17/19

LAST dose of valium: 0.04mg on 08/18/19

April 26th 2020- intense panic attack that lasted 4 days, akatisia, 0 sleep- suicidal, almost hospitalized- took rescue doses over 2 days- total: 1.5mg xanax, 18mg valium, 2x5mg lexapro

 

 

 

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  • Moderator

I'm so sorry to hear you are having such a hard time GL! I don't think that the assumption is that you won't get any symptoms when you taper but I would have expected that they wouldn't be this brutal. Your experience sounds horrendous. I get pretty though symptoms when I taper as well, not sure if that helps.

 

I'm wondering how much of this is the leftovers also from the previous tapers of the Ativan, Ambien etc. It doesn't seem from your profile that you've had a break for a long time. Also things get harder the lower you go based on how these drugs work in the brain.

 

Wishing you peace and recovery. I wish I could help but I don't know any other things that would help other than holding or slowing down which you don't want to do and I get it. 

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months (don't remember dates), trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax/day, then 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, 

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

 

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garden lady I'm very sorry you are going through this hell.  I am praying for you, and will keep on praying.  

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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5 hours ago, Onmyway said:

I wish I could help but I don't know any other things that would help other than holding or slowing down which you don't want to do and I get it. 

It's simply not the case that I don't want to slow down or hold.  I have slowed down and continue to do so and hold longer between cuts the lower I go.  My point is that none of it helps, regardless of how much others insist that it does.  The symptoms just get more pronounced and brutal as time progresses.   My symptoms from the benzo and Ambien tapers were very, very different and are all gone.  The AD taper and symptoms have been completely different.  My CNS may be kindled from the other tapers, but I've been off the Ambien for 3 years and off of benzos for 2 years and fully recovered from those symptoms.

 

Thanks xyz for recounting your story.  You're fortunate that you were able to work and take care of your family by doing a slow taper.  The maddening thing for me is that despite a glacial taper, there is simply no way I could hold down a job or take care of anyone....I can barely take care of myself.   I've lost my family, friends and home all because of these drugs and despite doing a slow taper.  People say they slow taper so they can remain functional.  I'm slow tapering and am not nor have been in any way functional.  You are very fortunate that a slow taper allowed you to be so. 

 

Thanks, getofflex, for your concern and support. 

 

 

2016-Aug-Prescribed 2 mg Ativan & 10 mg Ambien; Oct-c/o from 20 mg Lexapro to 60 mg Cymbalta; Nov-Dec-Tapered off 10 mg Ambien    

2017-Jan-Feb c/o from 1.75 mg Ativan to 13 mg Valium & begin daily liquid micro taper; May-taper Cymbalta 60 mg to 48 mg with severe withdrawals.  Begin 11 month Cymbalta hold.

2018-Jan 11 completed Valium taper; Apr-Resume Cymbalta taper.  Interval dose progress: Apr 43 mg; May 40 mg; Jul 35 mg; Sep 29 mg; Dec 21 mg; 

2019- Apr 14 mg; Jun 11 mg; Aug 9 mg; Oct 7 mg; Nov 6 mg

2020-Jan 5.2 mg; Feb 4.8 mg; Mar 4.3 mg; Apr 3.9 mg; May 3.5 mg; Jun 3.3 mg; Jul 2.9 mg; Aug 2.7 mg; 28 Sep 2.4 mg/12 beads; 25 Oct 2.2 mg/11 beads; 22 Nov 2.0 mg/10 beads; 20 Dec 1.8 mg/9 beads

2021- 17 Jan 1.6 mg/8 beads; 14 Feb 1.4 mg/7 beads; 18 Mar 1.2 mg/6 beads; 18 Apr 1.0 mg/5 beads; 16 May

0.8 mg/4 beads; 13 Jun 0.6 mg/3 beads; 11 Jul 0.5 mg/2 beads; 8 Aug .03 mg/1 bead; 5 Sep 0 mg.

Brutal, agonizing, slow 4.5 year Cymbalta taper completed as of 5 Sep 2021.  100% psych drug free.  

 

 

 

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I dont have advice but I am struggling w the slow taper....I came off lithium, wellbutrin, and depakote...and have been slowly tapering from 40mg of lexapro ...now I'm down to 25 and I am wondering myself if the slow taper is worth it if it's this painful for so long. I think I would rather feel worse for a little less time than wondering how long this is going to go on for. I was thinking of doing a ketamine treatment as it has been helpful in the past, however I have very little money right now since I had to take the last few months off work. But I'm here with ya in the fight!

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I am also having an incredibly difficult slow taper. I understand your frustration!

Clonazapam:  01/2015 - 03/2015 2mg; 03/2015 Cold Turkey

Lexapro:  07/2007 - 08/2018 10-20mg; 08/2018 - 10/2018 Tapered to 0mg; 10/11/2018 Reinstated 7 days taper up to 20mg (took 3mg xanax/day first 3 days of reinstatement); 17/11/2018 20mg; 2/12/2018: 15mg; 3/12/2018 10mg; 5/12/2018 Developed violent spasms, back to 15mg;

6/1/2019 13.5mg; 27/3/2019 13mg; 2/4/2019 12.5mg; 11/4/2019 10mg; 25/5/2019 9mg; 8/7/2019; 8.75mg; 15/7/2019 8.5mg; 22/7/2019 8.25mg; 5month taper of 10%/month to 5mg on 12/2019;

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Mentor
On 12/21/2019 at 10:33 AM, gardenlady said:

My point is that none of it helps,

 

 

I can relate, gardenlady. I feel this way about my muscle symptoms and my mobility problems right now. It's really tough and wears on the spirit. My leg problems haven't let up in the past week.

Now: 125 mg Zoloft am, 50 mg Trazodone bedtime.  Daily drug burden decreased from 2050 in 2018 mg to 175 mg 🐢🐢

Zoloft: 10/26/21 cut 6 mg 10/17/21 cut 5 mg, 9/17/21 Cut 3 mg,  9/13/21 cut 4 mg, 8/29/21 Cut 2 mg 8/8/21 Cut 3 mg  7/30/21 Zoloft: Converted 25 mg to liquid. Also take 100 mg pill & 25 mg pill=150 mg total
🌞 Feb 28, 2021 0 mg Gapapentin 2021 Gaba each dose 4x/day: Feb 27 7 mg (one dose only), Feb 10, 7 mg, Jan 14 10 mg 2020 Current taper schedule from Aug 30-present: drop 8 mg every 2-3 weeks. Aug 20 31 mg, Aug 18, 33 mg, July 29, 35 mg, July 23 38 mg, July 22 40 mg Jun 24 42 mg, Jun 15 44 mg, Jun 9 48 mg, May 22 50 mg, May 14 54 mg, May 7 56 mg, Apr 16 58 mg, Mar 28 60 mg, Mar 18 62 mg. Feb 26 64 mg. Feb 19, 66 mg. Jan 23, 70 mg. 2019 Dec 19, 72 mg. Nov 14 ,76 mg. Aug 8, 80 mg. Aug 6, 85 mg. Jul 26, 90 mg. Jul 11, 95 mg.

Jul 16 trazodone from 100 to 50 mg.

Jun 17-July 10 Slowly changed gab fr pill to liquid at same dose 100 mg 4x/d.

Apr 24 Stopped klon!!! 🌞 Apr 4  Decreased gaba to 400 mg (100 mg 4x/day)-Apr 4, 2019   0.25 klon March 11  Klonopin .5 mg twice daily, varied dose til Apr 15. Started Klon fast taper 25%, short use

Mar 16, 450 mg gaba 3x/day cut 600 mg--not exact!--updose after learning w/d

Feb 20, 2019 1800 mg gabapentin; MD taper; off 3 days=mvt disorder & autonomic instability. July 2018 temazepam 15 mg 1-2; prn several x/wk til Jan/Feb 2019 when cold turkey, flu illness for months

July 2018 started gabapentin 100 3x/day; titrated up to 1800 mg (600 3x/day)

Buspar, I forget how much, 2 pills a day Jan 2017-July 2018 cold turkey. On Zoloft since maybe 2004? After trying many.

*I speak from my experience. Nothing I say is medical advice. I'm not a doctor.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm so sorry you are suffering, GardenLady. Just makes me furious that these drugs are prescribed and tossed around the way they are without anyone ever investigating what would happen when we tried to quit taking them. Slow tapering has worked out pretty well for me, but it's been a long excruciating decade and I wouldn't say I've ever felt healthy or completely well during that time, at least not for long. At least I've been able to work, though. Anyway, I'm so sorry you have to struggle through this.

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 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                   1

 

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

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