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Hopepersists: searching for best way to get off Celexa


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Hopepersists

Hi!  I am a new member and found this group as I was searching the best way to taper from celexa.  
 

I have been on Celexa since 2017 for anxiety related to insomnia.   I successfully tapered from 20 mg to 10 mg after I was on the drug for one year. As my anxiety reduced with getting better sleep, I found that 20 mg made me too groggy in the mornings.  I successfully transitioned from 20 to 10 over four weeks with minimal side effects.

 

I stayed on 10 mg for two years before increasing to 15 mg in June 2020 when my daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy.   After three months, I felt calmer so I titrated back to 10 I alternating 1510 doses for two weeks with no side effects. I do want to mention that I was on ashwaghanda at that point which I had been on for years.  
 

in January 2021 I was feeling really stressed again so I went back up to 15 mg with no side effects.   After three weeks my stress was noticeably less and I was trying to lose weight so I decided to go back to 10 mg.  I did this cold turkey (as I had done a 5mg change in 2018) and suffered severe dizziness and heart palpitations for a month.  I had forgotten how short of time I had been on the new dose and in hindsight I recognize that was much too quickly to change.  
 

I saw my doctor after four weeks of being on 10 mg and still experiencing moderate dizziness.  He told me to reinstate to 15 mg which I did and again experienced severe dizziness even having my legs go out from underneath me once when I went to get up.  The dizziness subsided after two weeks but I was still left feeling groggy in the mornings from the 15 mg dose as well as in the evenings.  
 

in late March my doctor told me that after being on 15 mg for four weeks I could again try tapering down using a 15 mg/ 10 mg alternating days schedule.  I did this for five days before I felt very strong with drawl symptoms including jitteriness, difficulty finding words, twitching nerve under my eye, increased insomnia(waking up in the middle of the night, etc). 
I was not on ashwaghanda going into  any of the 2021 titrations.  I did use the pills a few times during my most recent titration as it seemed to help the symptoms at first but then I became concerned about mixing in this supplement but I was already having strong withdrawal effects.

 

As of 4/1/21, I am now back on 50 mg and intend to stay here for a few months to allow my body to stabilize before trying to taper again.  I’m planning to wait 2 months until 6/1 to try to taper again.  
 

My doctor suggested removing one 5 mg pill per week every three weeks when I try again.  (Eg 10 mg on Monday, 15 mg every other day. Keep this pattern for three weeks.  Then have Mondays and Thursdays at 10 mg for the next 3 weeks).  

 

i’ve read about the benefit of limiting tapering to 10% and support that idea. This program from my doctor would take me down no more than 10% per month when you average out the doses, but I wonder if it’s better to do a graduated taper like Brass Monkey outlined.  Anyone have any thoughts?

 

if I do the brass monkey method, do I literally crush up my Celexa pills into a powder and then weigh them or do I just cut off bits to try to get to the weight?  Not sure how to physically execute this. I have 10 mg pills that I can easily cut in half, possibly into quarters.  Would I need to get medicine from a compound pharmacy?

 

I think I could go from 15 mg to 12.5 mg doses by cutting my pills. Appreciate any advice.  

 

 

 

 

2014 - .25 mg Xanax for flying 

2015 - 2017 1/2 -1 Xanax for insomnia

2017 20 mg Celexa, Xanax rare

2018 10 mg Celexa (4 week taper) 

2018-2020 10 mg Celexa with occasional Xanax 

June 2020 - 15 mg Celexa 

Sept 2020 10 mg Celexa (2 week taper of alternating 15/10 doses)

1/6/21 15 mg celexa

1/28/21 10 mg celexa - no taper

Late Feb 15 mg Celexa reinstatement per Dr.

Late March - did 1 week titration of 15/10 mg taper per dr. 

4/14/21 15 mg Celexa, probiotic, added 2,000 mg fish oil/daily, 100 mg Mg Glycinate (new). Daily yoga and meditation.  

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  • getofflex changed the title to Hopepersists: Searching for best way to get off Celexa
  • Moderator
getofflex

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a peer owned and run forum of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  I believe you are wise to stay on your current dose for a few months to stabilize.  By the way, the strong withdrawal you mentioned above could partially be from alternating doses between 15 to 10 mg every other day, because the levels in your blood go up and down, and this could throw off your nervous system. Another factor could be that when you dropped from 15 mg to 10 mg, that is a 33% reduction, and we suggest a 10% reduction at most.  

 

First of all, can you please give us specific information about your drug history?  Please read the link below for instructions.  This will allow us to give you the best guidance.  Please give specific drugs, dates, and dosages: 

 

How to List Drug History in Signature

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.  

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

I'm glad your doctors tapering plan is no more than 10% per month.  Tapering is best done extremely slowly, and we taper by 10% of the current dose, so that the taper becomes exponentially smaller.

 

 Why Taper by 10% of my Dosage  

 

The brass monkey slide method is another good alternative:  

 

Brass Monkey Slide Method of Micro Tapering

 

Also, as we are tapering, we suggest keeping things slow, simple, and stable. 

 

Keep it Simple, Slow, and Stable

 

We do not suggest skipping or varying doses.  

 

Never Skip Doses to Taper

 

Celexa comes in a liquid solution, and I would suggest getting that for precise and gradual tapering.  You would measure it and take it using a syringe.  Here is information about tapering Celexa: 

 

Tips for Tapering off Celexa

 

When we recover, there are times of feeling OK mixed in with times of feeling bad.  This is called windows and waves.

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 

 

Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

 

 

We don't suggest many supplements, but 2 that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil. Here are the links for info about those. It is suggested to add one at a time, and start with a low dose to

see how it affects you. 

 

Magnesium

Omega 3 Fish Oil

 

I've given you quite a bit of information here.  Please read through it, and mull it over, and we will take it from there. In the meantime, take care of yourself, and take heart.  We in this forum have been through this, and we understand first hand the pain and discomfort you are going through.  Please know that the brain is amazing in it's healing abilities.  It takes time, but healing can and will happen. 

***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 

Trazodone.  used 50 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Xanax. used 0.5 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Benadryl 50 mg, Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

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

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 3 mg, calcium

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Hopepersists

Thank you for the warm welcome and advice!  I cannot thank the moderators and contributors enough for the gracious outpouring of advice to help other people going through a difficult time. 

 

I updated my signature to include the supplements I am currently taking.  I added in Fish Oil, which I have previously taken, per this site's advice.  After a few weeks, I will look to add a small amount of magnesium.  

 

Just wanted to congratulate you on your progress on both Lexapro and Xanax.  I have the same pattern with taking Xanax for sleep and have decided not to use it anymore and instead battle my fear of insomnia.  Chronic insomnia was my reason for going on Celexa - I didn't want to take Xanax daily.  If I can address this fear, it should help with the mental part of tapering off of Celexa.  I'm also doing daily meditation and yoga multiple times/week.  I used to do more "intense" exercise, but I am mindful that yoga, walking and perhaps casual cycling will be better for my nervous system.  

 

I'm going to get the liquid Celexa to help me taper down more slowly in conjunction with my 10 mg pill.  I'm going to meet with my therapist next week to share my approach with her and perhaps try to taper this Summer. 

 

 

2014 - .25 mg Xanax for flying 

2015 - 2017 1/2 -1 Xanax for insomnia

2017 20 mg Celexa, Xanax rare

2018 10 mg Celexa (4 week taper) 

2018-2020 10 mg Celexa with occasional Xanax 

June 2020 - 15 mg Celexa 

Sept 2020 10 mg Celexa (2 week taper of alternating 15/10 doses)

1/6/21 15 mg celexa

1/28/21 10 mg celexa - no taper

Late Feb 15 mg Celexa reinstatement per Dr.

Late March - did 1 week titration of 15/10 mg taper per dr. 

4/14/21 15 mg Celexa, probiotic, added 2,000 mg fish oil/daily, 100 mg Mg Glycinate (new). Daily yoga and meditation.  

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  • Moderator
getofflex

Ah, fear of insomnia.  I had that too, big time.  I have had insomnia off and on most of my life.  It is the reason I used to use Xanax and Trazodone 2 or 3 times per week, which I quit as of late December 2019.  

 

My husband is a medical professional.  He says insomnia won't kill you, even if it makes you miserable.  Now I must say, I am retired and am home and have lots of free time, so I have the luxury of being able to rest or nap in the day, although most of the time I'm too wired to do that.  If I could come up with a slogan to describe my own WD, it would be "tired but wired".  Anyway, he is right, insomnia has not killed me.  As time goes on, my sleep has gradually improved.  I'm now able to sleep 7 or even 8 hours on many nights.  On my bad nights, I may only get 4 or 5, but those bad nights are gradually becoming less frequent.  When I can't sleep, I listen to relaxing music on Spotify, or pray.  Both things calm me down and sometimes will help me go back to sleep.  Sometimes I take a small amount of melatonin and some magnesium.  Sometimes it helps too.  

 

I walk every day.  I believe walking helps my nervous system.  It helps me to work off that nervous energy, you know - the wired feeling.  

 

Here is a helpful link: 

 

Tips to Help Sleep

 

***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 

Trazodone.  used 50 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Xanax. used 0.5 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Benadryl 50 mg, Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

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

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 3 mg, calcium

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Hopepersists: searching for best way to get off Celexa
  • Moderator
Gridley

@Hopepersists

 

We generally don't recommend multivitamins in withdrawal.  One reason is that B vitamins present in multivitamins are very often too stimulatin (especially when insomnia is an issue).  If you take calcium or your multivitamin contains calcium, you should be sure any calcium intake is two hours separate from your magnesium when you start it.  Calcium impedes the absorption of magnesium.  Many on the site have reported good results with taking small doses of magnesium throughout the day for its calming properties.

 

Good luck with your Celexa taper.  

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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Hopepersists

Gridley - Thank you for the tip re: multivitamins.  I will go ahead and remove them from my supplements for now as I don't need them for any specific reason.    I'm glad to see that you're on a probiotic as well.  I know that the majority of our serotonin is made in the gut, so I'm a big supporter of gut health.

 

getofflex - thank you for the comments regarding insomnia.  Love what your husband said!  I'm trying to take things one step at a time to manage my anxiety.  First - heal from the destabilization of my nervous system from the Jan-Mar dose changes.  2nd - do a slow, steady taper from 15 mg of Celexa down to 10 mg with a combination of pills and liquid.  Side note:  The 10% max. makes sense.  Has anyone had success with a taper where you just go down 1 mg/month rather than calculating 10% and having odd numbers?  If I do that from 15 to 10, each month by default would be less than a 10% change.  I thought that this might be easier to keep track of during my first slow taper attempt.  My idea is to do 0.5 mg drops every 2 weeks, pending w/d effects, and stabilizing every once in awhile.   


Appreciate any thoughts.  It's hard to balance logically thinking things through without getting caught up in it, per the anxiety.  :)

2014 - .25 mg Xanax for flying 

2015 - 2017 1/2 -1 Xanax for insomnia

2017 20 mg Celexa, Xanax rare

2018 10 mg Celexa (4 week taper) 

2018-2020 10 mg Celexa with occasional Xanax 

June 2020 - 15 mg Celexa 

Sept 2020 10 mg Celexa (2 week taper of alternating 15/10 doses)

1/6/21 15 mg celexa

1/28/21 10 mg celexa - no taper

Late Feb 15 mg Celexa reinstatement per Dr.

Late March - did 1 week titration of 15/10 mg taper per dr. 

4/14/21 15 mg Celexa, probiotic, added 2,000 mg fish oil/daily, 100 mg Mg Glycinate (new). Daily yoga and meditation.  

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  • Moderator
Gridley
On 4/8/2021 at 10:17 PM, Hopepersists said:

a taper where you just go down 1 mg/month rather than calculating 10% and having odd numbers? 

This isn't recommended, especially when you are down where you are at the low doses.  Decreasing by a straight 1mg accelerates the amount that you would be decreasing each time making it rougher and rougher with each drop. Decreasing by a percentage, however, decelerates the amount of each drop and makes things gentler on your system.

 

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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@getofflex I am currently taking one and a half pills of 10 mg celexa to get to my 15 mg dose. My plan is to titrate down using one 10 mg pill and then the corresponding amount of liquid.   (I will start with my current dose of 5 mg liquid, which I’ve read is 2.5 ml).  Would appreciate any advice re: how to smoothly transition to the liquid pill combo.  
 

I’m still planning to give my body a break for the next few weeks, but would be open to doing the transition to the new medication format mid-May.  In the meantime, I have successfully incorporated 2,000 mg fish oil/day and plan to try the Mg Glycinate next week (isolating the effects to make sure it agrees with me before changing the celexa).  I read that this is best practice and it makes sense.  I’ve also been doing daily yoga and meditation for several weeks.  Used to meditate all the time, but got out of practice.  It’s been nice strengthening my mind again.  😌

 

Will check out the video link you sent.  If you do yoga, I highly recommend Yoga with Adrienne’s 30 day “Breath” series on YouTube.  Thanks again for all of the help.  
 

Gridley - thanks for the thoughts re: doing 1 mg/month down to 10 mg vs. doing 10% increments.  You raise a good point that even though a 1mg decrease per month would be less than 10%, each month would get progressively larger in % change which is not the direction I would want to go.  
 

I’m feeling much more optimistic about my future taper due to both your and getofflex’s advice.  I realize that I did several things wrong with regard to amount of change, speed of taper and overall timing (got my first round of Covid vaccine five days into the first taper and then again about a week before the second taper).  I know that not everything will be smooth sailing but I feel like it should hopefully be more manageable.   
 

 

2014 - .25 mg Xanax for flying 

2015 - 2017 1/2 -1 Xanax for insomnia

2017 20 mg Celexa, Xanax rare

2018 10 mg Celexa (4 week taper) 

2018-2020 10 mg Celexa with occasional Xanax 

June 2020 - 15 mg Celexa 

Sept 2020 10 mg Celexa (2 week taper of alternating 15/10 doses)

1/6/21 15 mg celexa

1/28/21 10 mg celexa - no taper

Late Feb 15 mg Celexa reinstatement per Dr.

Late March - did 1 week titration of 15/10 mg taper per dr. 

4/14/21 15 mg Celexa, probiotic, added 2,000 mg fish oil/daily, 100 mg Mg Glycinate (new). Daily yoga and meditation.  

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