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PhilP: Advice for tapering sertraline


PhillP

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Hi everyone, 

 

ive taken sertraline for about a year and a half and was stable at 100mgs. I decided to come off it as I was feeling better mentally and had been prescribed cbd and thc which I’d much rather take. Despite the positive results of sertraline, the negative side effects had become too much to handle - continuous diarrhoea, muscle tension, migraines, restless leg syndrome and so I decided to begin the process of coming off them. My dr told me to just start cutting it down over a period of weeks lol 🤦‍♂️ I had read horror stories of that so I decided to play it slow, wait until a good time and then cut down to 75mgs. Which I did about six weeks ago, and two weeks ago I cut down to 50mgs. The last two weeks have been absolute hell - all side effects have been full on and I don’t know whether I’m coming or going, my stomach is in constant ‘free fall’ and I’ve become irritable and agitated at a drop of a hat. Things that used to be easy have now become an arduous task that sends me into sweats as though I’ve just had a shower. 
 

This is awful. 
 

I’ve spent the last few days researching what’s going on and have realised that the drops in my tapering have been too significant and my body’s gone into shock. 
 

My question is: what should I do next?
 

Do I go back up to 75mgs and wait for it all to settle down and then use the 10% method, or do I do as my dr has suggested which is 75mgs one day, 50mgs the next and do for four weeks before then going to 50 for for weeks before then going 50/25mgs for four weeks and then 25mgs for four weeks and then 25/0mgs for four weeks? 
 

Thanks in advance 

Edited by Gridley

Symptoms and diagnosis: GAD, Social anxiety, intrusive thoughts, POCD, major depression disorder

2015 - 2016 - citalopram 

2016 - 2019 Fluoxetine 

Jan 2020 - April 2020 50mgs Zoloft 

April 2020 - May 2020 75mgs Zoloft 

May 2020 to Feb 2021 100mgs Zoloft 

Feb 2021 - April 2021 75mgs Zoloft 

April 2021 2 weeks 50mgs Zoloft  

May 2021 - present 75mgs Zoloft 

Side effects experienced using sertraline: continuous diarrhoea, restless leg syndrome, jaw clenching/bruxism, muscle tightness and muscle aches, anxiety, headaches and migraines 
Extra treatment: soluble magnesium powder, probiotics x2 daily, Barocca performance tablets, fortified nutritional yeast (B12 supplement)

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, PhilP.

 

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.

 

The symptoms you describe are typical of antidepressant withdrawal.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 
Since you've been at 50mg for only two weeks, I would updose back to 75mg and hold there until you stabilize, which can take several months. Once you've stabilized, I would taper down from there using the 10% method.  
 
 
The following link is specifically about tapering sertraline, including how to get the non-standard doses you'll need for your 10% taper.
 
 
Under no circumstances would I use the method your doctor suggested.  Alternate day tapering (or varying your dose) is a terrible idea and, aside from cold turkey, is the riskiest way to taper.  It is inconceivable why doctors recommend this type of taper.  
 
 
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 April 10: 13mgai.  Taper is 31% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (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 PhilP: Advice for tapering sertraline

Hi Gridley,

 

Thank you very much for your response and the information. 
 

Thank you for verifying my thinking around the tapering process. Doctors are really good at offering medication but seem to be very poor at the discontinuation process - it’s such a dangerous practice to give such poor advices don’t seems so pointless when it will undo any good work. 
 

ive decided to go back up to 75mgs and see how I feel in a few weeks. I think I’d probably be best if I went back up to 100mgs but I’ll see how I go at 75 for a few weeks first - if I can stabilise at that point and feel okay then it would probably be better than going right back to the start. 
 

It’s been a real relief to find this site. 
 

I’ve been doing some research about the microbiology of the gut and the production of serotonin. It seems that my gut microbiology is pretty ruined at the moment- would you (or anybody else) have suggestions of supplements other than the usual probiotics to help restore the good bacteria and to remove the irritation that I’ve got continuously down there?

 

 Thanks 

 

Phil

Symptoms and diagnosis: GAD, Social anxiety, intrusive thoughts, POCD, major depression disorder

2015 - 2016 - citalopram 

2016 - 2019 Fluoxetine 

Jan 2020 - April 2020 50mgs Zoloft 

April 2020 - May 2020 75mgs Zoloft 

May 2020 to Feb 2021 100mgs Zoloft 

Feb 2021 - April 2021 75mgs Zoloft 

April 2021 2 weeks 50mgs Zoloft  

May 2021 - present 75mgs Zoloft 

Side effects experienced using sertraline: continuous diarrhoea, restless leg syndrome, jaw clenching/bruxism, muscle tightness and muscle aches, anxiety, headaches and migraines 
Extra treatment: soluble magnesium powder, probiotics x2 daily, Barocca performance tablets, fortified nutritional yeast (B12 supplement)

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  • Moderator
5 hours ago, PhillP said:

I think I’d probably be best if I went back up to 100mgs but I’ll see how I go at 75 for a few weeks first - if I can stabilise at that point and feel okay then it would probably be better than going right back to the start. 

You should always be careful with updosing.  During the 2 weeks you've been at 50mg, your system has become somewhat acclimated to that dose, and updosing too much can overwhelm the system, causing further destabilization.

 

I don't know of supplements other than probiotics to restore the good gut bacteria there.  As always with supplements, start at a low dose and work up from there.

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 April 10: 13mgai.  Taper is 31% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (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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Thanks Gridley,

 

Yes that makes sense about not jumping up too high again. I’ve kept it at 75 and I’ll stay at this until I’ve completely plateaued and then I’ll look to start using the 10% method. 
 

Thanks for all your advice- I’ll let you know how I’m doing once I’m ready to start the 10% reduction. 
 

Best wishes 

 

Phil

Symptoms and diagnosis: GAD, Social anxiety, intrusive thoughts, POCD, major depression disorder

2015 - 2016 - citalopram 

2016 - 2019 Fluoxetine 

Jan 2020 - April 2020 50mgs Zoloft 

April 2020 - May 2020 75mgs Zoloft 

May 2020 to Feb 2021 100mgs Zoloft 

Feb 2021 - April 2021 75mgs Zoloft 

April 2021 2 weeks 50mgs Zoloft  

May 2021 - present 75mgs Zoloft 

Side effects experienced using sertraline: continuous diarrhoea, restless leg syndrome, jaw clenching/bruxism, muscle tightness and muscle aches, anxiety, headaches and migraines 
Extra treatment: soluble magnesium powder, probiotics x2 daily, Barocca performance tablets, fortified nutritional yeast (B12 supplement)

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