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Jojomama: Beginning my pristiq taper


Jojomama

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I’m a 30 year old female who has been on ssris since I was 7 (originally for OCD). To make a long story short, I’ve been on almost all ssris since then with a failed attempt to come off in 2017. In 2019, I successfully stopped my Xanax use and haven’t touched one since. Now, with the pristiq, the emotional flatness, fatigue, and sexual dysfunction are too much for me to bear now. After reading “Anatomy of an Epidemic”, I’ve decided to try to get off these drugs once and for all. At first, my doctor tried taking me from my original dose of 50 mg down to 25 mg, and right away I had horrible withdrawals as crying spells and anxiety. So then she tried adding 10 mg of Prozac, after taking Prozac for 5 days and then cutting down to 25 mg pristiq,  i has horrible symptoms and horrible fatigue. So now we have utilized a compounding pharmacy who compounded capsules down to 45 mg (10% decrease),I’m on day 6, it’s not as bad as the last two attempts. I really start feeling spacey and tired at the e d of the day. The compounding  pharmacist said they added a extended release compound to it but I don’t feel like it’s covering me for a full day. Any suggestions? I’ve read the pristiq taper thread so far. 

Edited by Gridley

1998- pediatric ocd dx 40 mg Prozac

2006- trial of anafranil, failed back to Prozac

2007- trial of paxil, few months, weight gain, cold turkey no issues, back to Prozac

2008- panic disorder dx- .25-.5 mg Xanax prn, but developed dependence until 2017, cold turkeyd for pregnancy

2009- Prozac

2010-2012- Zoloft, fatigue, weight gain switch to Effexor

2012-2013- Effexor with bad constipation issues

2013- Prozac, cold turkey, no issues until 4 months later, destabilized, then back to Effexor

2013-2016- Effexor and Dexedrine. 

2017- switch to lexapro, tried to cold turkey, ended up with bad panic attacks. Put on 50 mg pristiq. Quit benzos, quit Dexedrine ct

Now 2021- pristiq 50 mg with 50 mg ketamine troches x3 weekly, attempted taper in June cut by 50% in 3 days, nausea, panic

Late June, second attempt with compound ex to 45.5 mg, did for two weeks, depression/crying/fatigue, reinstated last week of June to 50 mg. Early July- now suffering nausea, headache, food sensitivity, depression, dizzy feelings, panic. 

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, Jojomama.

 

To start:

 

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.

 

It's very good that you're now on the right track with a 10% decrease.  You've likely read our recommendation that you taper now faster than 10% of your current dose every four weeks.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Here's the Pristiq taper thread that you've read.

 

Tips for tapering off desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)

 

You wrote that you don't think that the extended release compound is covering you for a full day.  One possibility to consider for the future is to have the compounding pharmacy eliminate the the extended release compound and split your dose so that you take it twice a day.  The following is from the Pristiq tapering link above.

 

"Without the extended-release matrix, a Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. To avoid "dose dumping" of the entire dose,  you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose."

 

You could finish out this four-week tapering period at 45mg with the pharmacy's extended release compound and see how it's doing before making any changes.  That will also let your nervous system stabilize after the previous changes with the drop from 50mg to 25mg and then the addition of Prozac.  We recommend making as few changes as possible as you taper.  At the end of the 4-week period, you could determine whether you want try the split-dose method.  

 

 

ChessieCat, a former moderator, tapered Pristiq using a compounding pharmacy, and she's now at a very low dose.  Here's a link to her story.

 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Jan. 11, 2022: 5.4mg 

Taper is 71% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg and holding.  

Taper is 80% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, 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 Jojomama: Beginning my pristiq taper

Hi Gridley, 

 

thank you so much for replying back so quickly. It makes me feel a lot less alone in all this. It’s been hard as I also have a 1 year old to take care of too, so functioning at an adequate level with the least side effects is so important. When you mean split the doses into smaller divided doses, do you imply for example instead of a 45 mg capsule, taking 22.5 twice a day of just pure desvenlafaxine? That’s a really good idea, I’ll call my pharmacy and get their thoughts. Just seems like by the 22 hour mark after my dose I feel worse, spacey, tired, weepy. Also, is it normal to have vivid dreams during withdrawal? Thanks!!

1998- pediatric ocd dx 40 mg Prozac

2006- trial of anafranil, failed back to Prozac

2007- trial of paxil, few months, weight gain, cold turkey no issues, back to Prozac

2008- panic disorder dx- .25-.5 mg Xanax prn, but developed dependence until 2017, cold turkeyd for pregnancy

2009- Prozac

2010-2012- Zoloft, fatigue, weight gain switch to Effexor

2012-2013- Effexor with bad constipation issues

2013- Prozac, cold turkey, no issues until 4 months later, destabilized, then back to Effexor

2013-2016- Effexor and Dexedrine. 

2017- switch to lexapro, tried to cold turkey, ended up with bad panic attacks. Put on 50 mg pristiq. Quit benzos, quit Dexedrine ct

Now 2021- pristiq 50 mg with 50 mg ketamine troches x3 weekly, attempted taper in June cut by 50% in 3 days, nausea, panic

Late June, second attempt with compound ex to 45.5 mg, did for two weeks, depression/crying/fatigue, reinstated last week of June to 50 mg. Early July- now suffering nausea, headache, food sensitivity, depression, dizzy feelings, panic. 

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  • Moderator

 

12 minutes ago, Jojomama said:

do you imply for example instead of a 45 mg capsule, taking 22.5 twice a day of just pure desvenlafaxine?

 

That's what I was thinking.  Be sure you take the doses at the same times each day.  

 

Vivid dreams are a common symptom during withdrawal.  I have them sometimes myself.

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 to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Jan. 11, 2022: 5.4mg 

Taper is 71% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg and holding.  

Taper is 80% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, 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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So after seven days, I had to give up. My emotions were through the roof, very rough depressive symptoms, crying, and dizziness. After weighing the pros and cons, I had decide what was best for my 1 year old, and I have to be fully functional for him. I will have to revisit this maybe in a few years until my child is a little more independent. I feel bit like a failure about it. In some ways, pristiq has been very beneficial I think for anxiety and ocd, so I’m trying not to demonize it too much in my head. I reinstated my regular 50 mg last night. How long does it take to feel somewhat “normal”? It caused my usual insomnia to come back when I took it last night. 

1998- pediatric ocd dx 40 mg Prozac

2006- trial of anafranil, failed back to Prozac

2007- trial of paxil, few months, weight gain, cold turkey no issues, back to Prozac

2008- panic disorder dx- .25-.5 mg Xanax prn, but developed dependence until 2017, cold turkeyd for pregnancy

2009- Prozac

2010-2012- Zoloft, fatigue, weight gain switch to Effexor

2012-2013- Effexor with bad constipation issues

2013- Prozac, cold turkey, no issues until 4 months later, destabilized, then back to Effexor

2013-2016- Effexor and Dexedrine. 

2017- switch to lexapro, tried to cold turkey, ended up with bad panic attacks. Put on 50 mg pristiq. Quit benzos, quit Dexedrine ct

Now 2021- pristiq 50 mg with 50 mg ketamine troches x3 weekly, attempted taper in June cut by 50% in 3 days, nausea, panic

Late June, second attempt with compound ex to 45.5 mg, did for two weeks, depression/crying/fatigue, reinstated last week of June to 50 mg. Early July- now suffering nausea, headache, food sensitivity, depression, dizzy feelings, panic. 

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You’re not a failure. I had issues with anxiety and OCD so I want you to know that when you’re ready you absolutely can do this. I wish you the best of luck!!

Been on medication since 1999. Previous medications include Remeron, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Xanax, Ativan, Valium.

 

Since 3/20 CT’ed MMJ, fast tapered 10mg Lexapro and 2mg Abilify (was on each for about a month) and tapered off 50 mg Amitriptyline. 

 

Klonopin: doses varied since 2001; currently on .5 mg

 

Supplements: Magnesium citrate: 250 mg; Fish oil: 1200 mg

 

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”  - Albert Einstein 

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I attempted to taper last month, I’m on 50 mg pristiq and my doctor tried to have me cut it by half and initiate Prozac as a bridge. 3 days in to that, I started having panic attacks and nausea. A week later, we attempted to go down 10 % using a compounding pharmacy (45 mg). I did that for 2 weeks, and crashed with terrible depression and anxiety and decided for the sake of my 15 month old to just reinstate my full dose. I’ve been on my full dose (50 mg)for about 4 weeks and still don’t feel better. Anxiety coming in waves with the physical symptoms and nausea and dizziness. Will this get better? I have health anxiety so anything physical makes me feel worse. Should my doctor reinstate at a higher dose? I’m desperate. Please help!

1998- pediatric ocd dx 40 mg Prozac

2006- trial of anafranil, failed back to Prozac

2007- trial of paxil, few months, weight gain, cold turkey no issues, back to Prozac

2008- panic disorder dx- .25-.5 mg Xanax prn, but developed dependence until 2017, cold turkeyd for pregnancy

2009- Prozac

2010-2012- Zoloft, fatigue, weight gain switch to Effexor

2012-2013- Effexor with bad constipation issues

2013- Prozac, cold turkey, no issues until 4 months later, destabilized, then back to Effexor

2013-2016- Effexor and Dexedrine. 

2017- switch to lexapro, tried to cold turkey, ended up with bad panic attacks. Put on 50 mg pristiq. Quit benzos, quit Dexedrine ct

Now 2021- pristiq 50 mg with 50 mg ketamine troches x3 weekly, attempted taper in June cut by 50% in 3 days, nausea, panic

Late June, second attempt with compound ex to 45.5 mg, did for two weeks, depression/crying/fatigue, reinstated last week of June to 50 mg. Early July- now suffering nausea, headache, food sensitivity, depression, dizzy feelings, panic. 

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  • Moderator

Hi Jojomama,  @Jojomama

12 hours ago, Jojomama said:

I attempted to taper last month, I’m on 50 mg pristiq and my doctor tried to have me cut it by half and initiate Prozac as a bridge. 3 days in to that, I started having panic attacks and nausea. A week later, we attempted to go down 10 % using a compounding pharmacy (45 mg). I did that for 2 weeks, and crashed with terrible depression and anxiety and decided for the sake of my 15 month old to just reinstate my full dose. I’ve been on my full dose (50 mg)for about 4 weeks and still don’t feel better. Anxiety coming in waves with the physical symptoms and nausea and dizziness. Will this get better? I have health anxiety so anything physical makes me feel worse. Should my doctor reinstate at a higher dose? I’m desperate. Please help!

 

Hi.  I've got a couple of your posts moved on back here, to your topic.  This is the best place, for right now, to ask for input regarding your specifics, your Introduction page.

 

And it sounds like it's been a roller coaster, after the 50% reduction that your doctor initiated.  I'm so sorry for that.  And unfortunately, it may take some more time for your body to re-establish some stability. 

How were you doing on the 50 mg of Pristique, prior to that 50% drop that your doctor had you do?

 

Very helpful will be to have you do a signature:  How to List Drug History in Signature

Once you understand what we need to see there go to AccountSettings/signature to enter your information.  Don't forget to hit SAVE when completed.

 

If it was me, I wouldn't want to go higher in dosage.  It may take a bit more time, until your nervous system begins to settle from all the previous changes.

You mention Waves.  Any Windows?

 

 

When we take 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.  The CNS likes stability. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.
 
Unfortunately, there is not any real quick fix, after abrupt changes in medications,  but many do find non-drug coping to be of benefit.  You may find something that appeals to you in our Symptoms and Self Care forum.
 
Hope to see you posting again soon.
Best.  Love, peace, healing, and growth,
manymoretodays(mmt)
 
 
 

 

 

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016.  And.....I quit smoking 11/2021.  Can you say Hallelujah?(took me long enough)💜

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider. manymoretodays

 

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  • Mentor

@Jojomama  Hi, how are you doing?  I sympathize with your ocd it is a very challenging have thoughts go around and around your mind😰

I know how hard it would be to go through WD and ocd with a 1 yr old.  When you are feel you are ready to try again you will know and will be successful.  I am not a mod, but my guess is you have destabilized your cns and it will take a little bit to stabilize.  Do not make the mistake of more is better and it will make me feel better faster.  Wait it out you.  Try and distract yourself as much as you can.  I know with a 1 yr old that distraction will happen on it own☺️

Best of luck.  Enjoy your child♥️

Please keep posting and let us know how you are doing and if you need more encouragement as you stabilize. 

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/24894-greatful-is-this-withdrawal-or-to-many-med-changes-at-once/

1995? Prozac,  tried several Paxil, Serzone, St John's Wart back to Prozac and Trazodone ct:d Traz

 Lexapro. Tried to stop Crash in 2015  Kindled   Hospitalized, Vybrid, Seroquel, Effexor, Abilify  Pristiq, Wellbutrin 2016  ended back on 2016  Prozac and Lamictal 200mg

5/2020  through 12/2020 taper from 20mg  Prozac  down to 3mg.  Crashed  12/13/2020 Zoloft 50mg 1/29ct  1/29/2021 Seroquel 50mg ct  Trazadone 50mg 4/25  25mg 2/5/ 2021 Lamictal 150mg.  2/24  100mg   4/9  75mg   4/21 37.5  2/12/2021 Wellbutrin 75mg.  Became hypo manic 2/16 ct

2/16/2021 Seroquel 50xr  3/3 100mg  3/17  150mg  side effects ct   4/3 2021 Lexapro 5mg  4/14  7.5mg  4/30 10mg  5/10  7.5mg 

2021/ 5/16  5mg Lexapro   37.5 Lamictal   25mg trazadone,   xanax  .0625mg  3x a day   Magnesium glycinate 200mg. Omega 3 , Melatonin, Probiotic

Lexapro   09/01/2021  4.90mg  09/25  4.75mg  10/19 4.69mg  11/14 4.20mg

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  • Administrator

Welcome, @Jojomama

 

On 7/17/2021 at 5:10 PM, Jojomama said:

I’ve been on my full dose (50 mg)for about 4 weeks and still don’t feel better. Anxiety coming in waves with the physical symptoms and nausea and dizziness.

 

What time of day do you take Pristiq? How do you feel before and after taking it? When you went back up to 50mg, how did your symptom pattern change?

 

Were you taking 50mg when you were tapering in June? Did you ever take Effexor? Please list your drug history. 

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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On 7/17/2021 at 7:10 PM, Jojomama said:

I attempted to taper last month, I’m on 50 mg pristiq and my doctor tried to have me cut it by half and initiate Prozac as a bridge. 3 days in to that, I started having panic attacks and nausea. A week later, we attempted to go down 10 % using a compounding pharmacy (45 mg). I did that for 2 weeks, and crashed with terrible depression and anxiety and decided for the sake of my 15 month old to just reinstate my full dose. I’ve been on my full dose (50 mg)for about 4 weeks and still don’t feel better. Anxiety coming in waves with the physical symptoms and nausea and dizziness. Will this get better? I have health anxiety so anything physical makes me feel worse. Should my doctor reinstate at a higher dose? I’m desperate. Please help!

Thanks for the reply, just listed a history.  I was taking 50 mg a d pretty stable before everything started to crumble. I’ve taken Effexor in the past. I take pristiq at night. Seems like I did okay the first week of reinstatement, but the second week I went on vacation to Montana and was out of my element, all these symptoms came on I think maybe due to the med changes? A lot of heightened anxiety, sensitive to foods I wasn’t before, feel off balance, headaches and nausea spells. The anxiety comes in waves and j have windows where I feel ok. I did reach out to dr.Shipko in June, he seemed to think I should switch to Effexor and then titrate which maybe I should have done . My current doc thinks we should bump my pristiq up 5 mg twice daily using a compound rx. I’m really not sure what to do, just want to stabilize because I have so many responsibilities right now.  Sorry to have such a long reply. 

1998- pediatric ocd dx 40 mg Prozac

2006- trial of anafranil, failed back to Prozac

2007- trial of paxil, few months, weight gain, cold turkey no issues, back to Prozac

2008- panic disorder dx- .25-.5 mg Xanax prn, but developed dependence until 2017, cold turkeyd for pregnancy

2009- Prozac

2010-2012- Zoloft, fatigue, weight gain switch to Effexor

2012-2013- Effexor with bad constipation issues

2013- Prozac, cold turkey, no issues until 4 months later, destabilized, then back to Effexor

2013-2016- Effexor and Dexedrine. 

2017- switch to lexapro, tried to cold turkey, ended up with bad panic attacks. Put on 50 mg pristiq. Quit benzos, quit Dexedrine ct

Now 2021- pristiq 50 mg with 50 mg ketamine troches x3 weekly, attempted taper in June cut by 50% in 3 days, nausea, panic

Late June, second attempt with compound ex to 45.5 mg, did for two weeks, depression/crying/fatigue, reinstated last week of June to 50 mg. Early July- now suffering nausea, headache, food sensitivity, depression, dizzy feelings, panic. 

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I should also mention, anxiety is worse in the am. It’s strange 

1998- pediatric ocd dx 40 mg Prozac

2006- trial of anafranil, failed back to Prozac

2007- trial of paxil, few months, weight gain, cold turkey no issues, back to Prozac

2008- panic disorder dx- .25-.5 mg Xanax prn, but developed dependence until 2017, cold turkeyd for pregnancy

2009- Prozac

2010-2012- Zoloft, fatigue, weight gain switch to Effexor

2012-2013- Effexor with bad constipation issues

2013- Prozac, cold turkey, no issues until 4 months later, destabilized, then back to Effexor

2013-2016- Effexor and Dexedrine. 

2017- switch to lexapro, tried to cold turkey, ended up with bad panic attacks. Put on 50 mg pristiq. Quit benzos, quit Dexedrine ct

Now 2021- pristiq 50 mg with 50 mg ketamine troches x3 weekly, attempted taper in June cut by 50% in 3 days, nausea, panic

Late June, second attempt with compound ex to 45.5 mg, did for two weeks, depression/crying/fatigue, reinstated last week of June to 50 mg. Early July- now suffering nausea, headache, food sensitivity, depression, dizzy feelings, panic. 

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  • 1 month later...
  • Mentor

@Jojomama How are you doing?  I hope things are settling down for you.❤️

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/24894-greatful-is-this-withdrawal-or-to-many-med-changes-at-once/

1995? Prozac,  tried several Paxil, Serzone, St John's Wart back to Prozac and Trazodone ct:d Traz

 Lexapro. Tried to stop Crash in 2015  Kindled   Hospitalized, Vybrid, Seroquel, Effexor, Abilify  Pristiq, Wellbutrin 2016  ended back on 2016  Prozac and Lamictal 200mg

5/2020  through 12/2020 taper from 20mg  Prozac  down to 3mg.  Crashed  12/13/2020 Zoloft 50mg 1/29ct  1/29/2021 Seroquel 50mg ct  Trazadone 50mg 4/25  25mg 2/5/ 2021 Lamictal 150mg.  2/24  100mg   4/9  75mg   4/21 37.5  2/12/2021 Wellbutrin 75mg.  Became hypo manic 2/16 ct

2/16/2021 Seroquel 50xr  3/3 100mg  3/17  150mg  side effects ct   4/3 2021 Lexapro 5mg  4/14  7.5mg  4/30 10mg  5/10  7.5mg 

2021/ 5/16  5mg Lexapro   37.5 Lamictal   25mg trazadone,   xanax  .0625mg  3x a day   Magnesium glycinate 200mg. Omega 3 , Melatonin, Probiotic

Lexapro   09/01/2021  4.90mg  09/25  4.75mg  10/19 4.69mg  11/14 4.20mg

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