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Preciouslife: On lexapro for 16 years


Preciouslife

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Hello,

I have been on Lexapro (Escitalopram) for 16 years. I became severely depressed during the pandemic so my doctor switched me to Viibryd. The Viibryd caused so many untoward side effects even though it helped my depression. I was switched to another med but decided at that time to stop all SSRIs to get back to my brain’s baseline. I’ve done the research and know that these next few weeks (or months) will be difficult. My husband is supportive and we developed a safety plan. My doctor is supportive and recommended Ashwaghandha to ease the symptoms. Are there any words of advice for me about how long this unpleasant journey might last?  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of research done regarding this topic. I am very wary oh Big Pharma anymore. I am 64 years old and I want to live a long life. 

Edited by Gridley

Started lexapro 10 mg over 16 years ago for anxiety over some life crises. Tapered quickly to 20 mg. Worked well until about 9 months ago during the pandemic and again life crises and went into a deep depression. Did a 3 day reduction to 10 mg then switched to Viibryd 10 mg Feb 2021, upped to 20 mg in two weeks. Worked well for depression but very sleep deprived. Was on it for 3 months. Tapered to 10 mg for 3 days and was to start on Trintellix 10 mg. Took one dose then decided to discontinue SSRIs altogether to get my brain healthy again. I am also on Klonopin 1 mg at bedtime for periodic limb movement sleep disorder. 

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Preciouslife.

 

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. Please include the dates and dosages for the Lexapro, when you switched to the Vibryd along with the dosage and when you stopped the Vibryd.  Once we have this information we can make suggestions if you wish.

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

We are a site for going off psychiatric drugs, but very gradually and gently.  Some people seem to be able to go off them without significant difficulty, while others suffer withdrawal symptoms of varying degrees of severity and length.  It is to help this latter group, and to help members taper, that this site exists.

 

How are you feeling now?  Do you have symptoms that you attribute to withdrawal?

 

There is a good bit of research into withdrawal from antidepressants.  For example, see the following from the U.K. Royal College of Psychiatry (RCP):

 

 

And here's an article with leaders in the RCP explaining why they wrote that. 

 

 

These links will give you more information on withdrawal and the healing process.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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).  
 
Regarding ashwaganda, it is not one of the supplements we recommend.  I was, like you, on Lexapro for 16 years and 6 months ago finished a 4-year taper off 20mg.  I tried ashwaganda and it had a paradoxical effect (made me more anxious rather than calming me).  Others may have had a better experience.  If you do try it, start at a low dose (much lower than recommended) to see how it affects you.  

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can complete your drug signature, 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 Preciouslife: On lexapro for 16 years

I just messaged my doctor after a miserable day of withdrawal symptoms. Asked to put me back on Escitalopram since I never had any side effects with it and requested to taper dosage by 10% per month until off. Awaiting her response. The feedback you provided may have saved me a lot of grief. Thank you for your timely feedback. I’m enjoying the website and it makes me feel like I have company on this journey. Trying to keep a positive attitude, walking 4 miles a day, doing yoga, eating healthy. I’m ready!

Started lexapro 10 mg over 16 years ago for anxiety over some life crises. Tapered quickly to 20 mg. Worked well until about 9 months ago during the pandemic and again life crises and went into a deep depression. Did a 3 day reduction to 10 mg then switched to Viibryd 10 mg Feb 2021, upped to 20 mg in two weeks. Worked well for depression but very sleep deprived. Was on it for 3 months. Tapered to 10 mg for 3 days and was to start on Trintellix 10 mg. Took one dose then decided to discontinue SSRIs altogether to get my brain healthy again. I am also on Klonopin 1 mg at bedtime for periodic limb movement sleep disorder. 

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  • Moderator
8 hours ago, Preciouslife said:

Asked to put me back on Escitalopram

This is very important: I need to know the dosage of Lexapro you were on when you stopped and the date you stopped.  Taking your previous dose may be too much.  When you reinstate a drug, it's essential not to reinstate too much because your system has become acclimated to being off the drug.  Your system is very sensitized and if you take too much  it may be too much for your brain and can overwhelm your system, causing you to become more unstable.  Please read:

 

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

 

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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Preciouslife

I tapered to 10 mg for 3 days, then added Viibryd 10 mg. I understand I will not need a full dosage of Lexapro. Thank you for the info. Still awaiting response from my doctor. I stopped lexapro in February. 

Edited by Preciouslife
Add info

Started lexapro 10 mg over 16 years ago for anxiety over some life crises. Tapered quickly to 20 mg. Worked well until about 9 months ago during the pandemic and again life crises and went into a deep depression. Did a 3 day reduction to 10 mg then switched to Viibryd 10 mg Feb 2021, upped to 20 mg in two weeks. Worked well for depression but very sleep deprived. Was on it for 3 months. Tapered to 10 mg for 3 days and was to start on Trintellix 10 mg. Took one dose then decided to discontinue SSRIs altogether to get my brain healthy again. I am also on Klonopin 1 mg at bedtime for periodic limb movement sleep disorder. 

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  • Moderator
38 minutes ago, Preciouslife said:

I tapered to 10 mg for 3 days, then added Viibryd 10 mg. I understand I will not need a full dosage of Lexapro. Thank you for the info. Still awaiting response from my doctor. I stopped lexapro in February. 

I recommend you reinstate 1mg of Lexapro--no more.  The best way to do this will be to have your doctor prescribe liquid Lexapro.

That sounds like a tiny dose but more can overwhelm your system.  It will take 4 days for the drug to reach full strength in your blood stream and a few more days for it to register in the brain.  If it's not enough it will be simple to increase very slightly using the liquid.  But give it time to work.  Reinstatement is one of those situations where more is not better.

 

Reinstatement works most predictably within 3 months after your last dose though it can work after that point.  It appears you're with the 3 month time frame.

 

For your doctor if necessary and for your information:

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Preciouslife

Thank you for this info. Full disclosure, I was an advanced practice psychiatric nurse until I retired 6 years ago. I am ashamed to say that most of this is new info for me. While I did not have prescriptive authority, I bought into the lies. Now I am feeling guilty for possibly misleading others into this nightmare. If there is any way I can make up for the harm that I was complicit to, I will certainly do this. 

Started lexapro 10 mg over 16 years ago for anxiety over some life crises. Tapered quickly to 20 mg. Worked well until about 9 months ago during the pandemic and again life crises and went into a deep depression. Did a 3 day reduction to 10 mg then switched to Viibryd 10 mg Feb 2021, upped to 20 mg in two weeks. Worked well for depression but very sleep deprived. Was on it for 3 months. Tapered to 10 mg for 3 days and was to start on Trintellix 10 mg. Took one dose then decided to discontinue SSRIs altogether to get my brain healthy again. I am also on Klonopin 1 mg at bedtime for periodic limb movement sleep disorder. 

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  • Moderator
4 minutes ago, Preciouslife said:

Thank you for this info. Full disclosure, I was an advanced practice psychiatric nurse until I retired 6 years ago. I am ashamed to say that most of this is new info for me. While I did not have prescriptive authority, I bought into the lies. Now I am feeling guilty for possibly misleading others into this nightmare. If there is any way I can make up for the harm that I was complicit to, I will certainly do this. 

 

We won't blame you here : we all trusted psychiatry at one point, we all discovered the hard way that another paradigm was possible and we all had to learn a lot to unravel our beliefs and psychiatry's myths.

And for all of us it was a shock.

 

Your priority now is to take care of yourself, be careful and read the links Gridley provided, give time to your CNS to repair and stabilise ☀️

 

I'm sure you'll find a lot of infos while navigating this website, and if you want to learn further you might be interested by these threads

 

1. recent-interview-with-robert-whitaker-updated-thoughts-since-the-publication-of-his-book-anatomy-of-an-epidemicpublished-2010/

 

2. recommended-books-on-antidepressant-withdrawal/

 

 

Welcome ☺

 

Take care.

 

2006 : 20mg Paroxetine + Bromazepam(no specific dose) 2008 : cold turkey of both

2010 : 20mg Deroxat + Bromazepam

2013: Switch from Bromazepam To Prazepam

2014-June2017 : Prazepam taper

2018 to August 2019 : Paroxetine 20mg taper (3% every 15 days).

- 22nd August updosed To 10mg (was at 8.4mg)

25th Sept 2019 To April 2020 : found SA, holding at 10mg Paroxetine. 

April 2020 : Paxil to Prozac bridge. Details topic/21457-

 

Current Supplements : magnesium citrate/ fish oil/ evening primrose oil 

 

Current medication :  7mg Fluoxetine (since 20 Aug 2020)

+ 1mg Diazepam (since 29 Aug 2020)

(Toothpick Paroxetine from September 2020 to 17th March 2021)

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@Preciouslife

 

Popping in to say hello. We have some things in common, having taken Lexapro (generic Escitalopram in my case). I'm sorry you're

going through this. Many of us bought into the drug companies' false narrative sadly and were shocked to find ourselves without

adequate support from the medical community. I have found that this site, the administrator and all the mods, are invaluable. 

 

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 1.10 mg 🌼

 

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

Mark 9:23

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Preciouslife

Thank you for your support. Blessings to you during your journey. 

Started lexapro 10 mg over 16 years ago for anxiety over some life crises. Tapered quickly to 20 mg. Worked well until about 9 months ago during the pandemic and again life crises and went into a deep depression. Did a 3 day reduction to 10 mg then switched to Viibryd 10 mg Feb 2021, upped to 20 mg in two weeks. Worked well for depression but very sleep deprived. Was on it for 3 months. Tapered to 10 mg for 3 days and was to start on Trintellix 10 mg. Took one dose then decided to discontinue SSRIs altogether to get my brain healthy again. I am also on Klonopin 1 mg at bedtime for periodic limb movement sleep disorder. 

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  • Moderator

@Preciouslife

 

Erell is right.  Don't blame yourself.  The priority now is to get yourself healed.  Here is some information on Robert Whitaker as mentioned by Erell:

 

 

Here's a video book trailer by the author, Robert Whitaker:

 

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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