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Lexapro88: stopping Lexapro / escitalopram after prolonged use


Lexapro88

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Looking to see if anyone has successfully been able to come off of lexapro after prolonged use and would be grateful for any advice. Am frightened and feel desolate/desperate. 

 

To provide some insight into my history: I have been on Lexapro (20 mg) for about 8 years. Tried to taper -unsucessfully -over a four month period ( realize now it was too fast). Ended up hospitalized, due to insomnia and suicidal thoughts. Was told this was due to my 'disease' (depression) coming back. I have never had these problems nor feelings before and know it was due to WD. Am now back on 20 mg lexapro, 15 mg Remeron and 2.5 olanzapine ( I cannot sleep without Remeron and olanzapine). 

 

Thank you. 

Edited by Gridley

Lexapro/escitalopram ( 20 mg) since 2012 

Tried to taper over four month period-starting May 2020-and crashed in November 2020

Hospitalized November 2020 

11/28/2020 reinstated Lexapro (20 mg) and started 15 mg Remeron and 2.5 olanzapine

1/1/2021 Lexapro 20 mg, Remeron 15 mg, olanzapine 0

 

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  • Lexapro88 changed the title to Stopping Lexapro/Escitalopram after Prolonged Use Success Stories?
  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Lexapro88.  

 

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.

 

A month and a half ago I completed tapering off 20mg Lexapro and wanted to encourage you that it can be done.  I had been on 20mg for 16 years.  You can check my signature for other details.  It took me almost 4 years, using the taper method known as the Brassmonkey slide, which consists of four weekly 2.5%  decreases from most recent dose followed by a 2-week hold.  It's a bit gentler than the straight 10% taper and it served me well.

 

The Brassmonkey Slide Method of Micro-tapering

 

Over the four year taper I had a few rough spots, which I dealt with by holding longer until things stabilized.  Four years seems like a long time, but the time does pass and now I'm off the drug.  

 

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 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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  • Gridley changed the title to Lexapro88: Stopping Lexapro/Escitalopram after Prolonged Use Success Stories?
  • ChessieCat changed the title to Lexapro88: stopping Lexapro / escitalopram after prolonged use
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Lexapro88 and welcome to SA from me too,

 

I've been on an antidepressant for 25+ years and an successfully tapering off Pristiq 100mg using SA's tapering protocol.  I am now down to 0.45mg.

 

I suggest that you listen to this recent interview with SA's founder, Altostrata:

 

INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder

 

This is the link to the Success Stories forum:

 

Success stories: Recovery from withdrawal

 

This link is for the search results in the success stories forum for Lexapro.

 

Because you are taking other drugs as well, please put ALL current drugs/supplements you are taking (including any non-psychiatric drugs) into the Drug.com Interactions Checker and copy and paste the results OR a copy and paste the URL to the report.  Thank you.

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 27 Mar 2021:  Pristiq 0.295 mg

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 @Gridley and @ChessieCat.  How are you doing Gridley? My WD hit about a month after quitting Lexapro and I hope you are doing well and hanging in there.

 

Your comments truly helped as I read some articles and studies that linked prolonged use of AD to permanent damage of neurons and it was truly frightening. Glad to hear that the brain can heal itself,  albeit, with time. 

 

Do you have any advice on how to deal with insomnia? This WD symptom is truly the hardest for me. In turn any advice that helped you through this process would be welcome.

 

Again, Thank you. 

 

Lexapro/escitalopram ( 20 mg) since 2012 

Tried to taper over four month period-starting May 2020-and crashed in November 2020

Hospitalized November 2020 

11/28/2020 reinstated Lexapro (20 mg) and started 15 mg Remeron and 2.5 olanzapine

1/1/2021 Lexapro 20 mg, Remeron 15 mg, olanzapine 0

 

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  • Administrator

Hello, @Lexapro88

 

What times of day do you take Lexapro, Remeron, and olanzapine? Were they all added at the same time? How have your symptoms changed since adding these 3 drugs?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I take Lexapro in the morning (9am) and remeron and olanzapine at night to sleep (9 pm) for insomnia. The other symptoms have subsided( panic attacks, heart palpitations, suicidal ideation, etc) . Any advice? I feel I will never be medication free. 

Lexapro/escitalopram ( 20 mg) since 2012 

Tried to taper over four month period-starting May 2020-and crashed in November 2020

Hospitalized November 2020 

11/28/2020 reinstated Lexapro (20 mg) and started 15 mg Remeron and 2.5 olanzapine

1/1/2021 Lexapro 20 mg, Remeron 15 mg, olanzapine 0

 

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Welcome to SA @Lexapro88

you have found the best place to be for withdrawing lexapro!

09/2000 paxil 20mgs, 06/2006 stopped Paxil crashed, 10/2006 progressed back up to Paxil 20mgs, 2012 -2013 Paxil 12 month taper crashed, 09/2013 Zoloft 50 - 100, 2015-2016 Zoloft taper crash, 2016 cymbalta, 01/2017   lamictal , 05/2017 Prozac 20 mgs, 06/2017 Prozac 40mgs, 02/2018 Prozac 20 mgs, 05/2018 Prozac 30 mgs, 11/2018 lexapro 10 mgs, 01/2019 lexapro 15 mgs, 12/07/2019 lexapro 13.75 mgs ,01/04/2020 lexapro 12.5 mgs, 02/08/2020 lexapro 11.25 mgs, 03/07/2020 lexapro 10 mgs, 07/25/2020 7.5mg pill&2.5ml liquid, 08/04/2020 5mg pill&5ml liquid, 08/17/2020 2.5mg pill 7.5 ml liquid, 08/24/2020 10 ml liquid lexapro, 09/05/2020 9 ml liquid lexapro, 10/05/2020 8.5 ml liquid lexapro,10/12/2020 9 ml lexapro,

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Hi Lexapro88,

I really feel for you. I remember that fear and panic in the early days of withdrawal. I know that fear so well, It’s ok though you will get through this. You really will,  it is doable and you will heal.

I Cold Turkied Lexapro almost 24 months ago. I had no idea what I was doing to my CNS. I slowly missed a dose until after 3.5 months ( much slower than my Psychiatrist suggested) I jumped to zero my last dose was a 20mg tablet!! I didn’t find this site soon enough and it was a risk for me to reinstate I was too frightened to take the risk. 

Its been hard, really hard but I am healing and I can see that in the last 2 years I’m getting better much better. Once I knew my symptoms were  normal symptoms for someone experiencing AD withdrawal it got easier 

It’s normal to feel scared, lonely, suffer insomnia, it’s very common to wake with cortisol rushes and get spikes of anxiety for no apparent reason. When I accepted that this is normal and I will eventually heal from this, I entered into ‘Withdrawal Normal’ and focused on how to cope with these symptoms as best I could. Although I didn’t taper, the golden rule is to stabilise before you make another cut. Do it slowly. Lexapro is a tough one but if I can do it, so can you. Breathe and be kinder to yourself than you have ever been to anyone else in your life.

The moderators here will help you taper,  listen to them and believe them. Sadly most doctors have not been trained in this. Antidepressants Withdrawal is in the process of being discovered. Just like thalidomide/ Benzodiazepines and Opioids one day everyone will know about antidepressants withdrawal as well. Warm baths or showers are a comfort. Distractions are helpful. Having a complete and utter belief that you will heal is essential. Baylissa Frederick has supported hundreds of folk through this and she is adamant that we will all heal in time.

Take care Lexapro88 there is lots of help here. 

 

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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Lexapro88

Hi Katy, 

 

Thank you for your kind words. You are truly brave. I can only imagine what you have been through. I think it takes so much strength and grit to get through this. I hope your recovery is speedy and each wave is easier. 

Lexapro/escitalopram ( 20 mg) since 2012 

Tried to taper over four month period-starting May 2020-and crashed in November 2020

Hospitalized November 2020 

11/28/2020 reinstated Lexapro (20 mg) and started 15 mg Remeron and 2.5 olanzapine

1/1/2021 Lexapro 20 mg, Remeron 15 mg, olanzapine 0

 

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Lexapro88

Today has been a bad day. I think of what is to come and I don't know if I have the strength or courage to face it. Is it worth it? Is being off the meds worth the pain? Will healing truly happen or are my neurons perhaps permanently damaged?  What will the new normal look like? 

 

I am afraid. I am afraid to lose the life I have. I am afraid to stay on these medications. I am paralyzed by fear and do not know what to do. I am tired. The insomnia has taken its toll and I just want to sleep. I have SI and contemplate just being able to rest, to have a semblance of peace. I am angry. I wanted to get off these medications to become pregnant and am realizing now that that will not be possible. With a long taper and my age, I will be unable to do so and refuse to be pregnant on medications. 

 

Lexapro/escitalopram ( 20 mg) since 2012 

Tried to taper over four month period-starting May 2020-and crashed in November 2020

Hospitalized November 2020 

11/28/2020 reinstated Lexapro (20 mg) and started 15 mg Remeron and 2.5 olanzapine

1/1/2021 Lexapro 20 mg, Remeron 15 mg, olanzapine 0

 

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Lexapro88

I continue to read various articles that tie permanent brain shrinkage and damage to psychiatric drugs. I want to crawl out of my skin. If I knew healing would happen, I could have hope. But if the damage is permanent, what is the point?

Lexapro/escitalopram ( 20 mg) since 2012 

Tried to taper over four month period-starting May 2020-and crashed in November 2020

Hospitalized November 2020 

11/28/2020 reinstated Lexapro (20 mg) and started 15 mg Remeron and 2.5 olanzapine

1/1/2021 Lexapro 20 mg, Remeron 15 mg, olanzapine 0

 

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Hi.

I'm sorry for what you're going through.

I'm not sure if we are apples to apples but

you might want to check out my posts. 

 

I have been on for some time (25+)

Dr. told me to stop at 2.5 mg in 2018.

I was off for 5 days and reinstated.

5-months of WD ensued with all the nasty symptoms.

 

I self-educated and listened to Alto and the team

on this site. After stabilizing, the taper since has

been mostly unremarkable. I'm almost 100%

functional, thankfully. Following a taper, I'm more

moody but otherwise, good to go.

 

I'm at 1.6 mg presently and hoping to go as low as I

can before I decide to jump off. 

 

Is it worth it? Absolutely considering the alternative 

for me was to be enslaved to a drug I might not always

have access to or might stop working at any future point.

 

Just my story. Hope it helps you.

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 1.25 mg 🌼

 

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

Mark 9:23

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Lexapro88

Looking for some advice on which drug I should try and taper first. I have only been on Remeron for about a month so logic would dictate this should be first. Unfortunately, without it I get 0 hours of sleep. Am afraid to end up with psychosis or carrying out on SI. On the other hand, the Lexapro taper would take about 4-5 years and then it would be much harder to taper the Remeron. Any ideas, advice, welcome please

 

Thank you

Lexapro/escitalopram ( 20 mg) since 2012 

Tried to taper over four month period-starting May 2020-and crashed in November 2020

Hospitalized November 2020 

11/28/2020 reinstated Lexapro (20 mg) and started 15 mg Remeron and 2.5 olanzapine

1/1/2021 Lexapro 20 mg, Remeron 15 mg, olanzapine 0

 

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Hi, 
 

Thank you for your note on my thread. Remeron is Not something I know anything about, but it would seem that  you would be kicking the can down the road if you take it to sleep.  After only a month? I would want run screaming, I think.  Whether that is wise, I do not know. The moderators are more knowledgeable than I am, of course.  
 

I did have insomnia, and I understand how awful that is, but my child was 5 at the time.  I had help with her, too.  I was given Trazodone for sleep which has a very nasty side effect of making people horribly anxious in the daytime.  When a person goes through WD, their body becomes very, very sensitive to all drugs.  It might be that Remeron is causing more harm and driving you deeper into dysautonomia — the condition that makes up withdrawal syndrome.  That is what happened to me when I took Xanax only occasionally.  I found that I needed it more often because my anxiety got worse!  I felt so much worse that I quit the AD and Xanax in response, which, of course, made things really bad.  I was given Traz in response to that, and I got worse again.  Doctors don’t seem to know about this phenomenon.  


You might have to suffer through the insomnia until it goes away.  I realize that with a baby this is not an “option,” but if the risk is that you become addicted to Remeron, maybe you can find a way.  Again, the mods may tell you differently.   I don’t know if after a month you are addicted or whether you need to taper.  Either way, I think, we’re there not a pandemic, I would make arrangements for someone to care for my child and get off the Remeron.  Can you do that anyway?
 

I do NOT think taking R only some nights is a good idea at all - Mods?  Please don’t do that.  Generally, with ADs taking it some days and not others is a recipe for disaster.  That may be true for R.  It’s not a sleeping pill; it’s an antidepressant, and taking that off and on is a terrible idea.  I used Benadryl to sleep very ocassionally.  There is some risk that could make you worse.  
 

The idea that the damage is done?  No.  The human brain is very, very resilient and malleable.  In fact, some people hypothesize that people who react “well,” meaning they feel an effect, to these drugs have more malleable brains.  The term is plasticity, I believe.

 

The whole idea behind SA is that the brain changes.  It grows new cells, and that is pretty unique.  We can’t grow a new hand, but we can grow a new brain.  That is how we heal from WD; we grow a new brain.  We do that without WD, too.  The brain is always changing.  Otherwise there would be no hope.

 

There have not been enough research to determine how shrinking affects cognition, etc.  Is shrinkage irreversible?  I don’t think the researchers know.  I wouldn’t decide to stay on these drugs for any reason, but certainly not that reason.  
 

Am I the same as before? No, not yet, but I may get close.  Will I ever be as “good” as I was before? Perhaps not, but I am 1000 times better than when I took Celexa or Zoloft.  I can recall issues with my brain that I had within the first year after I started taking Celexa that I now recognize as abnormal.  I only felt less and less competent as time went on, and my husband was trying to get me to stop way back then.  

 

As far as staying on indefinitely, the fact is that your body will adjust to having the drug and need more and more.  Eventually, you will reach the maximum dose as I did.  The doctor will prescribe higher amounts and the jumps will be much bigger than necessary.  This is because the pills aren’t made in many different gradations.  The jump has to be by 5 or 10 mg.  In reality many doctors jump the dose by 10 or 20 mg.  Many are so clueless about the fact these drugs are addictive even though they are seeing it right before their eyes.  Don’t let that happen, at least.  Don’t raise the dose of Remeron.

 

I hope you get some sleep soon.  I’m so sorry this has happened to you.  Hang in there.

 

Yours, Rosetta

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/16629-rosetta-ct-may-2011-too-fast-taper-feb-2017/?page=25

2001-2011 Celexa 10 mg raised to 40 mg then 60 mg over this time period

May 2011 OB Doctor's Cold switch Celexa 60 mg to 10 mg Zoloft sertraline (baby born)

2012-2016 - Doctors raised dose of Zoloft up to 150 mg

2016 - Xanax prescribed - as needed - 0.5 mg about every 3 days (bad reaction)

2016 - Stopped Xanax

Late 2016- Began (too fast) taper of Zoloft

Early 2017 - Trazodone prescribed for bedtime (doseage unknown)

Feb 2017 - Completed taper/stopped Trazodone

Drug free since Feb 2017

2017 - Unisom otc very rarely for sleep

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tryingtosurvive330

I feel exactly the same way as you right now, Lexapro88. I'm so uncomfortable in my body right now. I do have a lot of feelings of "what's the point."

 

I noticed that I feel slightly better in the afternoon when the cortisol spike wears off. But waiting for that is pure hell.

 

I'm trying lots of things, meditation, sleep hypnosis youtube videos, still just feel very lost. A friend asked if I have been talking to myself in my head. I said I try to repeat the things the meditations say, and I try to tell myself "I am not alone." But I feel like I am just reciting something, I am not truly feeling or believing it. My stomach is churning and always upset because it has been very difficult to eat.

Zoloft 100mg - June 2015-April 2018 - 2 month taper, had extreme antsiness (different from my normal anxiety) previously said 25mg, was wrong

Xanax 0.25-0.5mg - Aug 2018- Dec 2020 - Rarely took, probably less than every other month. Over 2020 holidays took 0.5mg 5-6times

Escitalopram 10mg - Aug 2018 - Nov 2020 - tapered over 5 months:

June 25 2020 - Aug 14 2020 - Can't remember what I did but assuming it was 5mg this whole time.

Aug 14 2020 - Oct 24th 2020?? - 2.5mg for awhile, then tried every 27 hrs. Did something where I kept trying to extend length of hours, up to 36. This is where symptoms got bad but I was able to tolerate as it was more fatigue and irritability.

Oct 25 2020 - mid Nov 2020 - 1.25mg every 24-36 hours, then stopped completely. These are estimates because I was cutting the pills and this is 1/8 of 10mg but by now, it was dust. Tried just having the dust toward the end.

Dec 27 2020 began having major crying spells and depressive, empty/hopeless feeling dead thoughts. Had a couple ok days, a couple really bad ones a week out.

Reinstated liquid Escitalopram 0.15mg - Jan 12 2021  -  Mar 5 2021 - 0.14mg

Mar 16 2021 - 2.5mg

Mar 17 2021 - 5mg

Reinstated BC (Nuvaring) - Feb 21 2021

 

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