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JayceFr : Sertraline Withdrawal


JayceFR

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Hey guys,


I'm glad i found this community today. After a call to my pharmacist that let me quite hopeless, i'm really glad i found you. 
I'm french, so please forgive my mistakes.

I've started Trintellix in Nov 2019 for three weeks, after experiencing strong stress and anxiety.

After a few weeks i started to feel very bad (anxiety, chest pain, strange thoughts...) and my doctor switched to Zoloft. 25mg first, up to 75mg over a few months. I felt better. I was was not happy, but more in an average mood. Didn't feel sad, didn't feel happy. I was numb. It was better that anxious and miserable. In August 2020, she wanted to increase the dosage to 100mg, and i got strong anxiety. Back to 75mg.

In November, i wake up at 2am with a huge panic attack. Heart racing, sweating, unable to walk, my whole body was shaking strongly. Went to hospital and blood tests and ECG were normal. I felt that something was off, as i was not stressed nor anxious. My life was good. I decided I wanted to get rid of my meds. I only had 3 panic attacks in my like, and the two previous ones were justified. That last one came out of nowhere, and i couldn't stop thinking my meds were responsible. Over the past few months, most of the psychologic distress i felt was not linked to anything in my life. 

In November, I told my doc i was feeling good enough to stop the treatment. My anxiety in 2019 started after a period of uncertainly in my life that triggered the whole storm. Those issues are now resolved and i feel that I'm strong enough. 

From November to February, she made me go down to 50 and then 25. I never had one bad day. It didn't made any difference. I never had any withdrawal symptoms. The only difference was my libido coming back alive.

On Feb 1st, I stopped completely and a few days later, withdrawal symptoms started. It's getting worse everyday. I am surprised, because I thought 3 months to reduce a small 75mg dosage was good enough, and because it was very easy. But going from 25 to 0 is a nightmare.

3 days after stopping, i started to feel tired and dizzy when turning my head, then strange tremors in my chest happened. Like palpitations or fasciculations in the chest area. I was very tired, out of balance. Unable to focus. It takes me longer to type on my computer. My fingers seem very clumsy. And then the zaps started. Most of the time, when i move my eyes, i feel a short surge of painless energy in my brain. I've been having tinnitus for 10 years, and the volume has been greatly increased since i stopped sertraline. I had troubles sleeping just after stopping zoloft (woke up every hour) but it's better know. I woke up at 5 AM though, instead of 8. Headaches too, hands shaking, gastro intestinal discomfort, hard time to focus, forget what i was thinking a few moments before. I tried to browse the forum to find answers, but i just can't. It's exhausting and my mind seems unable to read more than a few lines...

I called my pharmacist this morning to get his opinion. He told me to wait one or two extra days to see how it goes. If it doesn't get better, i should take 25mg zoloft back, and then take one capsule every other day, and then 1 every 3 days after a few weeks. That doesn't seem to me like a good advice at all. 

Liquid zoloft is not available here. I realize after reading some posts, that going from 25mg to 0 was too fast. The only available delivery system is white powder in a small 25mg or 50mg capsule.
What are my options then ?

 

- Is it possible to dilute the content of a capsule into water and drink 90% of it for a few weeks and decreasing little by little ? I guess the powder is not supposed to be diluted in water and it might change the potency.
- Should i replace zoloft with prozac, which has a liquid version ?
- Should i buy a microgram scale to be able to make 24,23,22mg, etc... capsules ?

Thanks a lot for your help :)




 

Nov 2019 - Dec 2019 : Trintellix -> Increased anxiety
Dec 2019 : Zoloft 25 mg -> Felt better fast, not happy but just normal
Jan 2020 : Zoloft 50mg -> no improvement
April 2020 : Zoloft 75mg -> no improvement
August 2020 : Still OK but not happy. Doc increased to 100mg. Didn't work. Huge random spikes of anxiety with no reasons. Couldn't even do the dishes, seemed like an impossible task. Back to 75 mg.
Nov 2020 : I feel that I need to quit AD. I want to feel normal again, and feel real emotions not artificially induced by a pill. Ask my doc to stop. We reduced every 3 weeks -> 50mg in december, 25mg in January 2021.
Dec 2020 - Jan 2021 -> no symptoms.
29 January 2021 -> last pill
31 January 2021 : insomnia started, then fatigue. 1 Feb : brain zaps when i move eyes or head. Dizziness, headaches, irritability...

First week of February : Getting worse every day.

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  • Administrator

Welcome, @JayceFR

 

Yes, it sounds like you have withdrawal symptoms. Do you have any Zoloft left? You might make a liquid with water and take perhaps 5mg to start. That may be enough to stop withdrawal symptoms. See Tips for tapering off sertraline (Zoloft

 

I would take 5mg every day. Never skip doses of these drugs, bad things happen!

 

Please let us know how you're doing.

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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  • Altostrata changed the title to JayceFr : Sertraline Withdrawal
  • Mentor

Hi @JayceFR My Zoloft story is similar and the symptoms I experienced are exactly the same as you describe. I also noticed no problem going from 50 to 25 and also no problem from 25 to 12.5 (I just broke a tablet into 4). The zaps and insomnia started when I went 12.5 to 0. My WD was also very delayed so I ended up not reinstating. I had the sweating, insomnia, tinnitus and gastrointestinal issues at first with emotional and physical (shaking) symptoms later. 

 

You are not alone and your symptoms sound just like mine. Doctors do not generally understand or accept these symptoms relate to Zoloft. 

 

Good luck with your reinstatement and taper. 

50 mg Sertraline Nov 2016 to Dec 2016

100 mg Sertraline Jan - March 2017

50 mg Sertraline April - June 2017

25 mg Sertraline July 2017 - Sept 2018

12.5 mg Sertraline Oct 2018

0 mg Nov 1 2018

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Thanks to both of you :)

 

I don't want to go back to Zoloft for the moment, even with a small dose. Withdrawal is hard, but at least I feel good about stopping taking it! That's still a victory.
I read many posts here and tried some tips. 
Benadryl is quite good. I only take it at the end of the day, because of the drowsiness. And usually my symptoms are worse at that time because light and sound along the day tend to exacerbate them. All symptoms subdues 30 minutes after taking it. I take a very low dose (liquid benadryl, one teaspoon in a glass of water, and i dring little by little until I have the desired effect; usually 1/3 a glass is enough). 


Going out is good too. It's snowy and cold here, so many winter activities are available. Ice skating does me good, when my balance is not too bad :) Running is great too.

I also do meditation of course, works well to calm palpitations and body "pressure".

 

For the moment, all symptoms are physical and they tend to diminish day after day. Still have brain zaps, headaches, palpitations. I can now move my eyes and not get a brain zap every time. I have no psychological side effects. Hope it stays that way, they are the worst (I got some when the dosage was increased during my treatment). If things go worse, I will take small doses of sertraline and taper slower.
 

@DaBro, how long did it take to feel that the WD was over ?
 

Thanks again for your words, feeling that I'm not alone helps! 
 

Nov 2019 - Dec 2019 : Trintellix -> Increased anxiety
Dec 2019 : Zoloft 25 mg -> Felt better fast, not happy but just normal
Jan 2020 : Zoloft 50mg -> no improvement
April 2020 : Zoloft 75mg -> no improvement
August 2020 : Still OK but not happy. Doc increased to 100mg. Didn't work. Huge random spikes of anxiety with no reasons. Couldn't even do the dishes, seemed like an impossible task. Back to 75 mg.
Nov 2020 : I feel that I need to quit AD. I want to feel normal again, and feel real emotions not artificially induced by a pill. Ask my doc to stop. We reduced every 3 weeks -> 50mg in december, 25mg in January 2021.
Dec 2020 - Jan 2021 -> no symptoms.
29 January 2021 -> last pill
31 January 2021 : insomnia started, then fatigue. 1 Feb : brain zaps when i move eyes or head. Dizziness, headaches, irritability...

First week of February : Getting worse every day.

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  • Mentor

Hi @JayceFR 

 

my WD is still happening but I think I am close to the end. 

 

For me, I stopped Zoloft in Nov 18. About 1-2 months after I started getting brain zaps and I felt mentally tired a lot. My Insomnia got worse over 12 months but otherwise I was OK. 

 

In Nov 19 I stopped working and at that time my brain went into shutdown and WD really started. First was extreme fatigue and nausea for 2 months. Then came gastrointestinal and extreme sweating for 2-3 months. Then came an emotional rollercoaster for 2-3 months. Then came Akathisia and TArdive Dyskinesia for 2-3 months. Insomnia was an issue all year and I would take Antihistamines.

 

After 1 year of WD, so 2 years after stopping Zoloft my sleep stabilised and my emotional symptoms went. I still occasionally get TD and Akasthesia and have headaches and head twinges but I am improving and able to work (just). I see improvements every week with perhaps 1 or 2 bad days each week. 

 

It sounds like you may heal faster. I am 50 and so that may be a factor. Also everyone is different. I think half of people have no WD, and for those who do it can be a few weeks or many years. 

 

It is good you keep active and get outdoors and meditate. I wish you a fast recovery. 

50 mg Sertraline Nov 2016 to Dec 2016

100 mg Sertraline Jan - March 2017

50 mg Sertraline April - June 2017

25 mg Sertraline July 2017 - Sept 2018

12.5 mg Sertraline Oct 2018

0 mg Nov 1 2018

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Three days after stopping 50mg sertraline I'd get muscle pain all over.

All my muscles were jerking randomly. It was unbearable. I went back to sertraline.

I need to stabilize now and then maybe start a slow tapper later.

2013 - 2018 various ADs, last and for the longest period was Brintellix

1/2019 - 6/2019 Olanzapine 5mg CT no issues

2019 - 7/2020 Venlafaxine 150mg CT

 

9 - 10 /2021 - shortly back on Venlafaxine

10/2020 - 12/2020 Olanzapine 5mg CT

12/2020 - Sertraline 50mg

1/2021 - added Agomelatine 25mg

currently, dealing with insomnia, anxiety, depression probably related to the Olanzapine withdrawal.

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Hi @DaBro 

I'm 47 myself but was on Zoloft a little more that one year so maybe that's the real factor here. But as you say, everyone is different. I'm still slowly improving. If I stay at home in front of the computer, my evening will be bad with a lot of brain zaps and palpitations. 
But each time i go out and spent most of the day outside, I have a good evening and sleep well. I'm lucky i work from home. 
I hope it continues to go beeter for you!

Nov 2019 - Dec 2019 : Trintellix -> Increased anxiety
Dec 2019 : Zoloft 25 mg -> Felt better fast, not happy but just normal
Jan 2020 : Zoloft 50mg -> no improvement
April 2020 : Zoloft 75mg -> no improvement
August 2020 : Still OK but not happy. Doc increased to 100mg. Didn't work. Huge random spikes of anxiety with no reasons. Couldn't even do the dishes, seemed like an impossible task. Back to 75 mg.
Nov 2020 : I feel that I need to quit AD. I want to feel normal again, and feel real emotions not artificially induced by a pill. Ask my doc to stop. We reduced every 3 weeks -> 50mg in december, 25mg in January 2021.
Dec 2020 - Jan 2021 -> no symptoms.
29 January 2021 -> last pill
31 January 2021 : insomnia started, then fatigue. 1 Feb : brain zaps when i move eyes or head. Dizziness, headaches, irritability...

First week of February : Getting worse every day.

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