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JackieFrost: Zoloft, Buspar and fear of akathisia


JackieFrost

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Hello. I have been on zoloft (200mg) and buspar (15mg) daily for 8 years to manage anxiety.

A couple of months ago I took a round of metronidazole and ciprofloxacin for 10 days for a gut infection. Soon afterwards I developed very severe akathisia (mental and physical), and it has been the worst thing I have ever felt in my life. Luckily I have been getting short windows since then and the akathisia isn't always present anymore, so I feel like I will most likely recover.

Before this I had planned on microtapering my meds down at like 2-5% of current dose per month. But now I am afraid. I am afraid of staying on the meds and perhaps developing akathisia from them down the line. I am afraid of tapering and developing withdrawal akathisia. And I am afraid of getting off and maybe developing tardive akathisia... I know everyone heals eventually. But I honestly don't think I could take feeling like that for years.

I really don't know what I should do...

 

Edited by ChessieCat
bolded addition drugs

Zoloft 200mg 2013 - current (went down to 100mg for one week in September 2020, but reinstated)
Buspar 15mg 2015 - current

Bad reaction to a 10 day course of Cipro and Flagyl in August 2020.

Current symptoms: Akathisia, anxiety and depression.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to JackieFrost: Zoloft, Buspar and fear of akathisia
  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, JackieFrost.  I'm glad you're improving from the cipro.  

 

To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly.  The information in your post will be fine.  You'll need to use a computer rather than a phone.

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

There's no predicting the future, of course, and the decision of whether to taper will have to be yours.  With your concerns, tapering very slowly is wise.

This link is about the 10% taper but the information is also applicable to your slower taper.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

We recommend tapering only one drug at a time and tapering the more activating drug first, in your case Zoloft.

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

The following link is specifically about tapering Zoloft.  Zoloft is available in a prescription liquid in the U.S., and  we would recommend that method for ease of use and accuracy.  Use of the liquid, as well as other methods of tapering, are discussed in the link.


Tips for tapering off sertraline (Zoloft)

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. Get supplements that ae single ingredient (not mixed with other types of supplements).

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can complete your drug signature, questions 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, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of March 22: 14.4mgai.

 

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 C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, 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 Emeritus

Your post has been moved to this topic:  cipro-levaquin-azithromycin-z-pack-and-other-antibiotics

 

If you haven't already seen this topic, please check it out from the beginning of the topic.

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Jackie and welcome from me too,

 

As Gridley requested please create your drug signature.  This will show under all your posts and means that you don't have to repeat your drug history when posting.

 

Follow these instructions.

 

Instructions:  Withdrawal History Signature
Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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Hi @JackieFrost 


I too had the horrific akathisia for a period after tapering my AD and stopping at too high a level based on my doctor’s orders. I also was afraid to taper when I stabilized after 4.5 months. I researched heavily and corresponded with a doctor who writes about tapering and akathisia. I received very good input from the administrator and mods here. I also grilled my doctor. With all the info gathered, I decided to taper slowly and get as low as I could. That was two years ago. I’m still tapering and doing exceptionally well. There are symptoms, but very manageable. If you follow this site’s guidelines, your body will give you clues if you taper too fast. You can then hold until you feel ready again. You’ll find many of us here who are either tapering or have successfully tapered and stopped, even after long term use. I’m chiming in to say this site is definitely one of the best resources for making your choice. The mods know how to best lead people off these drugs. Prayers for you as you consider. 

 

Md

🍁

1989-2002 Prozac/Zoloft

2002 Escitalopram 20 mg.

2018 2.5 mg - stopped by Dr./Reinstated, up-dosed to 7.5 mg

04/19 Began BM slide

CURRENT 1.17 mg 🌼

 

"If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

Mark 9:23

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Please put all of your current drugs/supplements in the Drug.com Interactions Checker and copy and paste the results OR  link to the results here.

 

Have you had your blood pressure checked recently?  You are taking 2 drugs which increase serotonin.  AND 200mg Zoloft if a high dose in itself.  I experienced mild serotonin syndrome when I was taking only 1 serotonin drug, 100mg Pristiq.  I experienced a sudden rise in blood pressure when my dose was increased from 50mg to 100mg, sweating (even in cold weather), agitation/confusion,/anxiety.  As my dose was reduced the serotonin symptoms eased and then went completely.

 

How were you feeling before the antibiotics?

 

 

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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Thank you @mdwstrx, that is very encouraging to hear.

I know I am still having anxiety from the antibiotics, and because it's in my nature. But I never knew akathisia could be that much torture. The physical part hurt, but especially the mental symptoms. Terror and agitation off the charts. I wish the condition was more researched so there would be more treatment options out there for people who develop it chronically. I know I couldn't live like that for years and years. So I have been worrying nonstop about it. I am still experiencing it, but usually only mildly.

Zoloft 200mg 2013 - current (went down to 100mg for one week in September 2020, but reinstated)
Buspar 15mg 2015 - current

Bad reaction to a 10 day course of Cipro and Flagyl in August 2020.

Current symptoms: Akathisia, anxiety and depression.

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@ChessieCat https://www.drugs.com/interactions-check.php?drug_list=441-206,2057-1348,1617-0,672-0

I too was worried about serotonin syndrome, so my psychiatrist lowered my zoloft down to 100mg (quite a drop), but after a couple of weeks I was just having worse anxiety and the akathisia remained the same, so I went back up to 200mg.

Before the flagyl and the cipro I felt fine.

Zoloft 200mg 2013 - current (went down to 100mg for one week in September 2020, but reinstated)
Buspar 15mg 2015 - current

Bad reaction to a 10 day course of Cipro and Flagyl in August 2020.

Current symptoms: Akathisia, anxiety and depression.

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus
1 hour ago, JackieFrost said:

so my psychiatrist lowered my zoloft down to 100mg

 

Please add the date and dose to your drug signature.  Please also add the dates for the antibiotics, including length of time, not just 2020.

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post

Hello dear @JackieFrost,

thank you for replying me. I am so sorry you also had to go through this. It is sad we need to learn the hard way how toxic these medications can be. 

 

I am still struggling every minute, but my symptoms seem to change their nature every few days. Like waves within a wave. They are all still there.

 

I am 2 months 5 days into setback. Maybe I’ll start also feeling a bit better in the next months? I am trying to stay hopeful as this is the worst I’ve felt this far out on the taper. 
 

How are you holding up? How would you describe your windows of normalcy? Like the way you felt before taking antibiotics? 

SSRI & BENZO'S

2016 September started Sertralin

2017 January switched to Paroxetin

2017  May switched to Brintellix 5mg

2018 April-July tapered Brintellix (rapidly)

2017  September - 2018 September Oxazepam 7,5-22,5 mg daily

Tried to taper Oxazepam November - December 2018, but failed 

Reinstated 5,6 mg Oxazepam January 2019soon trying microtapering

CURRENTLY

2020: have been slowly dry cutting oxazepam, holding 1-3 months per dose, August 2020: holding my dose at ~ 0,6 mg (unfortunately very uneven taper at the end since dry cutting and do not have a scale)

August 2020  -> Severe setback from antibiotics (Metronidazole) CT like acute wave

 

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@wildling My windows have been usually just a couple of hours long. But during them I don't feel so much terror or akathisia or anything. I can actually laugh and things like that.

However I wouldn't say I am 100% even during the windows. Still have the tinnitis, visual snow, head pressure and I just feel off. We are still less than 3 months out, so I hope we both improve soon.

Zoloft 200mg 2013 - current (went down to 100mg for one week in September 2020, but reinstated)
Buspar 15mg 2015 - current

Bad reaction to a 10 day course of Cipro and Flagyl in August 2020.

Current symptoms: Akathisia, anxiety and depression.

Link to post
  • 3 months later...

Hi @JackieFrost, how are you doing these days?

 

It’s been 6,5 months since the antibiotics setback for me.

 

It has been a long and brutal journey for sure.. I’m unfortunately still quite debilitated. Some improvements that I’m grateful for but the baseline is still quite low and brain/CNS feel very fragile to all stimuli or exertion. I get more waves than ever before and windows don’t come even close to what my baseline was before this setback. 

 

Hope everything is alright with you!

SSRI & BENZO'S

2016 September started Sertralin

2017 January switched to Paroxetin

2017  May switched to Brintellix 5mg

2018 April-July tapered Brintellix (rapidly)

2017  September - 2018 September Oxazepam 7,5-22,5 mg daily

Tried to taper Oxazepam November - December 2018, but failed 

Reinstated 5,6 mg Oxazepam January 2019soon trying microtapering

CURRENTLY

2020: have been slowly dry cutting oxazepam, holding 1-3 months per dose, August 2020: holding my dose at ~ 0,6 mg (unfortunately very uneven taper at the end since dry cutting and do not have a scale)

August 2020  -> Severe setback from antibiotics (Metronidazole) CT like acute wave

 

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