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owlduck: fluoxetine/Prozac withdrawal or relapse?


owlduck

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Hi everybody,

 

I'm new to this forum in hope to make sense of my current situation. I'm from Germany so please excuse my flawed English.

In September I stopped Fluoxetine/Prozac after taking it for six years (with a short break) due to major depression and panic attacks. I began tapering off Fluoxetine in May by reducing 5mg each month. While tapering I experienced none to very mild symptoms of withdrawal.

Around six weeks ago (1,5 months after stopping Fluoxetine) I began to feel very bad and thought I was sick at first. The symptoms worsened over the next weeks and included headache, exhaustion, increased body temperature, nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, shivering, twitching, dizziness, insomnia, tinnitus... It's a long list. I saw many doctors (GP, ENT, neurologist) but they couldn't find anything.

I am know asking myself if all those symptoms are coming from WD or if I'm having a relapse of my panic disorder. 3 years ago I already tried to get off Fluoxetine and experienced almost exactly the same symptoms but I considered them to be a sign of my panic disorder returning so I took Fluoxetine again. The symptoms disappeared quickly after that. 

Today I saw my psychiatrist and she told me that it's too late to experience symptoms of WD and the cause of the symptoms might be just too much stress. But I'm pretty sure that's not the case! Besides the few months I was off Fluoxetine before, I've never experienced symptoms like that. Even at times when I struggled a lot with depression and panic attacks it wasn't like it's now.

 

Is there anybody with similar experiences? Is it possible that symptoms of WD occur that late? Or am I just having a relapse?

 

Thank you in advance!

 

 

Edited by Gridley
2014: started fluoxetine 30mg
spring 2017: stopped fluoxetine after tapering for a few weeks (not sure how long exactly)
summer/autumn 2017: heavy withdrawal symptoms or relapse of panic disorder
october 2017: back on fluoxetine 20mg
september 2020: off fluoxetine after tapering off in steps of 5mg each month
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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, owlduck.  Your English is excellent.

 

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.

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

2 hours ago, owlduck said:

The symptoms worsened over the next weeks and included headache, exhaustion, increased body temperature, nausea, loss of appetite, anxiety, shivering, twitching, dizziness, insomnia, tinnitus...

 

I believe you have answered your own question regarding withdrawal vs. relapse.  These are very typical withdrawal symptoms caused by your fast taper.

 

 

 

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.  

 

These explain the healing process really well.

 

 

 
2 hours ago, owlduck said:

Today I saw my psychiatrist and she told me that it's too late to experience symptoms of WD

 

Withdrawal symptoms are often delayed, and a 6-week delay is not at all uncommon.  Psychiatrists don't believe in withdrawal because that is what they're taught in school and by the pharmaceutical companies.  If psychiatrists were to admit the truth about withdrawal caused by the drugs they prescribe, they would be in quite a moral bind professionally.  

 

Slowly, the truth about withdrawal is coming out.

UK's NICE health guidelines now caution about severe and ...

Cosci, 2020, Acute and Persistent Withdrawal Syndromes Following Discontinuation of Psychotropic Medications

2 hours ago, owlduck said:

 

Is there anybody with similar experiences?

If you read through the site, I think you'll find that just about everyone here coming off antidepressants has had or is having similar experiences.  I certainly am.

 

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 are single ingredient (not mixed with other types of supplements).

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can complete your drug signature, ask questions and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
Edited by Gridley

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 to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.   

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8mg and shift to Imipramine taper

Aug. 5, 2022: shift to Valium taper.  

Current dose as of Aug. 5, 2022: 4.3mg

Taper is 77% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Aug. 5: 9.5mg 

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, 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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  • Gridley changed the title to owlduck: Fluoxetine/Prozac withdrawal or relapse?

Hey owl, 

 

Just wanted to say welcome and let you know you are not alone.

 

I started Lexapro in 2014, came off in 2017, 3 months later had insane withdrawals, was told it was my GAD, and got back on.

 

I tapered this year and jumped in August, three months later, terrible withdrawals and here I am.

 

Keep your head up.

Med History

 

March 2014 - June 2014: Zoloft 100mg?

August 2014: Effexor for 3 days

August 2014 - October 2017: Lexapro 20mg, three month taper (jumped at 5mg)

January 2018 - August 2020: Reinstate Lexapro 20 mg, six month taper (jumped at 1mg)

August 2014 - December 2019: Klonopin from 1mg to 1.5mg, year long taper (jumped at .125mg)

 

Supplement: Magnesium 

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  • Moderator
3 hours ago, owlduck said:

Around six weeks ago (1,5 months after stopping Fluoxetine) I began to feel very bad

One thing I wanted to add is that you might want to consider a very small reinstatement of Fluoxetine.  Reinstatement of a small dose of the original dug is the only known method to alleviate withdrawal.  The other alternative is to wait it out until your brain returns to homeostasis.  However, there is no way to predict how long this will take.  Please read:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic

 

At six weeks out, you're still within the time frame (3 months) when reinstatement predictably works.

 

If you do want to reinstate, please let us know the last dosage you were on before you quit and we will suggest a dosage.  Please do not reinstate without letting us suggest a dosage.  Reinstating too much can destabilize you further.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gridley

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 to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.   

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8mg and shift to Imipramine taper

Aug. 5, 2022: shift to Valium taper.  

Current dose as of Aug. 5, 2022: 4.3mg

Taper is 77% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Aug. 5: 9.5mg 

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, 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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  • ChessieCat changed the title to owlduck: fluoxetine/Prozac withdrawal or relapse?

Thanks for your advice! I'm really glad I've found this page.

19 hours ago, Gridley said:

At six weeks out, you're still within the time frame (3 months) when reinstatement predictably works.

 

The symptoms started 6 weeks after I stopped Fluoxetine but now it's already 3 months ago.. so I'm not sure if it will work but I think I will try to wait and hold on until the symptoms are gone.

 

 

2014: started fluoxetine 30mg
spring 2017: stopped fluoxetine after tapering for a few weeks (not sure how long exactly)
summer/autumn 2017: heavy withdrawal symptoms or relapse of panic disorder
october 2017: back on fluoxetine 20mg
september 2020: off fluoxetine after tapering off in steps of 5mg each month
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  • Moderator Emeritus
On 12/2/2020 at 8:11 AM, Gridley said:

you might want to consider a very small reinstatement of Fluoxetine

 

When we talk about a small reinstatement, we mean small.  In your case even 0.5mg might be enough to reduce withdrawal symptoms.  SA uses the term "lowest effective dose"

 

I'm now taking 0.5mg Pristiq after originally taking 100mg.  I recently added this to my drug signature:

 

REMINDER TO SELF:  I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

My full 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.  Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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I will think about reinstatement but I'm not sure yet. The last days I felt a little better, maybe I'm on my way to recovery? I hope it will be over soon

2014: started fluoxetine 30mg
spring 2017: stopped fluoxetine after tapering for a few weeks (not sure how long exactly)
summer/autumn 2017: heavy withdrawal symptoms or relapse of panic disorder
october 2017: back on fluoxetine 20mg
september 2020: off fluoxetine after tapering off in steps of 5mg each month
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