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WilliamR: Tapered too quickly off Lamotrigine/Lamictal, now Struggling


WilliamR

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I had been on some form of anti-depressant and mood stabilizer/anti-psychotic since high school, 2002 or 2003. Initially I was put on Zoloft for depression which caused me to become "manic" which lead me to be put on Lithium, Abilify and Risperdal (not sure doses or when). Starting around 2008 I was put on Cymbalta and Lamotrigine/Lamictal. 

 

I got off the Cymbalta & Lamictal cold turkey on my own in 2011 and it resulted in brain-zaps and then a deep deep depression. I reluctantly got back on my meds. Beginning in 2020 (exact date I'm trying to find), my psychiatrist agreed to help me taper off my meds. 

 

I was able to get off the Cymbalta it seems fairly easily, which I have been off since the end of the Summer 2020. After getting off that I began tapering off the Lamictal ... I'm trying to find information on how much I lowered initially, etc., and don't have it right now. I do know I got down to 100mg by November 2020 and had to go back up to 150mg over the winter due to debilitating depression.

 

Starting in ~March 2021 I began tapering again (again don't have exact dates/dosages as of now). I have detailed records of my tapering beginning in May 2021 when I began using the 25mg tabs to taper:

5/18/21 (May 18) - 6/13/21 (June 13): I alternated daily between 87.5 mg one day and 100 mg the next day (87.5mg/100mg/87.5/100)

6/14/21 - 6/21/21: 87.5mg each day

6/22/21 - 7/11/21: 75mg/87.5mg/75/87.5

7/12/21 - 7/26/21: 75mg each day

7/27/21 - 8/8/21: 62.5mg/75mg/62.5/75

8/9/21 - 8/30/21: 62.5mg each day

8/31/21 - 9/12/21: 50mg/62.5mg/50/62.5

9/13/21 - 9/26/21: 50 mg/day

9/27/21 - 10/10/21: 37.5mg/50mg/37.5/50

10/11/21 - 10/24/21: 37.5mg/day

10/25/21 - 11/7/21: 25mg/37.5mg/25/37.5

     *On November 1, 2021, my dog and best friend of 10+ years, the Big Guy (110lb. half boxer/half mastiff), died after a brief fight with cancer... in retrospect I should have ceased            tapering at this point; instead I continued my tapering in earnest and began to self medicate excessively with alcohol and cannabis

11/8/21 - 11/21/21: 25mg/day

11/22/21 - 12/5/21: 12.5mg/25mg/12.5/25

12/6/21 - 12/20/21: 12.5mg/day

12/21/21 - 12/31/21: 0mg/12.5mg/0/12.5

January 1, 2022 - Present: Off Lamicital Completely 

 

I had no idea about this site or a couple days ago. I have been realllllly struggling this whole year but especially the past couple weeks. Some days I am so depressed I can hardly get out of bed. Some days I am "functional." I have major brain fog where I can hardly think most of the time (which is not good for my job!). I can't hardly make even the most basic decision. It is bad. I am desperate. I do not know what to do. I really don't want to get back on the Rx. I'm looking for suggestions on how to cope with the withdrawal symptoms. 

 

I have been sober (no alcohol or cannabis) since January 1st as well. I workout, do Wim Hoff breathing, garden, meditate/pray and eat mostly organic.

 

Supplements: EMPowerPlus Lighting Sticks, 5-HTP, Vitamins C, D, B-complex (6&12) & K2, Magnesium Glyinate, Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract; Just started taking St. John's Wort a couple weeks ago

 

I don't really recall withdraw symptoms (depression) prior to my Dog being diagnosed with cancer in September 2021 (which coincides with me getting down to 50mg/day)--since he was diagnosed and then passed Nov. 1st, I have been mostly depressed. The brain fog didn't really start that I recall until ~January of this year when I was totally off -- but I could be wrong. Since November of last year, it has kind of been a blur. 

 

On another note, while not directly related to withdrawal, I am very unhappy with my current career and have been for some time. I think doing something that goes against my values and not really knowing what my purpose is has a big impact on me feeling depressed. However, right now with my brain fog and depression, I am having a really hard time doing any work whatsoever. So my purpose now is to get past these withdrawal symptoms so I can find my purpose in this world and what gift I can offer to other people. 

 

I am VERY wary of getting back on any RX and do not want to go that route if at all possible. 

 

Thank you if you read this far and I appreciate any advice on how I should proceed!!

 

-Will

Edited by getofflex

I was put on Cymbalta & Lamictal around 2007 or 2008 -- I began tapering off Cymbalta in 2020 and have been completely off since the end of the Summer 2020.

11/11/19: I began alternating every three days as follows - 60mg/60mg/30mg | 12/11/19: I began alternating 60mg/30mg each day | 1/23/20: 30mg/day | 3/21/20: Alternating every three days as follows - 30mg/30mg/20mg |

4/15/20: Alternating 30mg/20mg each day | 4/23/20: 20mg/day | 5/21/20: Alternating every three days as follows 20mg/20mg/0mg | 6/24/20: 20mg every other day | 7/02/20: Off Cymbalta

 

I began tapering off 200mg of Lamictal after getting off the Cymbalta. I got down to 100mg by November 2020 but had to go back up to 150mg because of a dark depression. Starting in ~March 2021 I began tapering again (again don't have exact dates/dosages as of now). I have detailed records of my tapering beginning in May 2021 when I began using the 25mg tabs to taper:

5/18/21 (May 18th): I alternated daily between 87.5 mg one day and 100 mg the next day (87.5mg/100mg); 6/14/21: 87.5mg;

6/22/21: 75mg/87.5mg; 7/12/21: 75mg; 7/27/21: 62.5mg/75mg; 8/9/21: 62.5mg; 8/31/21: 50mg/62.5mg; 9/13/21: 50 mg;

9/27/21: 37.5mg/50mg; 10/11/21: 37.5mg; 10/25/21: 25mg/37.5mg; 11/8/21: 25mg; 11/22/21: 12.5mg/25mg

12/6/21: 12.5mg; 12/21/21: 0mg/12.5mg

January 1, 2022 - Present: Off Lamicital Completely -- withdrawal symptoms of low mood, fatigue & brain fog

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Was trying to edit, but for some reason it won't let me... another withdrawal symptom I am experiencing is extreme fatigue (how could I forget!?!)... often, all I want to do is sleep!

 

-Will

I was put on Cymbalta & Lamictal around 2007 or 2008 -- I began tapering off Cymbalta in 2020 and have been completely off since the end of the Summer 2020.

11/11/19: I began alternating every three days as follows - 60mg/60mg/30mg | 12/11/19: I began alternating 60mg/30mg each day | 1/23/20: 30mg/day | 3/21/20: Alternating every three days as follows - 30mg/30mg/20mg |

4/15/20: Alternating 30mg/20mg each day | 4/23/20: 20mg/day | 5/21/20: Alternating every three days as follows 20mg/20mg/0mg | 6/24/20: 20mg every other day | 7/02/20: Off Cymbalta

 

I began tapering off 200mg of Lamictal after getting off the Cymbalta. I got down to 100mg by November 2020 but had to go back up to 150mg because of a dark depression. Starting in ~March 2021 I began tapering again (again don't have exact dates/dosages as of now). I have detailed records of my tapering beginning in May 2021 when I began using the 25mg tabs to taper:

5/18/21 (May 18th): I alternated daily between 87.5 mg one day and 100 mg the next day (87.5mg/100mg); 6/14/21: 87.5mg;

6/22/21: 75mg/87.5mg; 7/12/21: 75mg; 7/27/21: 62.5mg/75mg; 8/9/21: 62.5mg; 8/31/21: 50mg/62.5mg; 9/13/21: 50 mg;

9/27/21: 37.5mg/50mg; 10/11/21: 37.5mg; 10/25/21: 25mg/37.5mg; 11/8/21: 25mg; 11/22/21: 12.5mg/25mg

12/6/21: 12.5mg; 12/21/21: 0mg/12.5mg

January 1, 2022 - Present: Off Lamicital Completely -- withdrawal symptoms of low mood, fatigue & brain fog

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  • Moderator
Posted (edited)

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a volunteer-run community of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  I'm glad you found us.  These drugs are very powerful, and have profound effects on our nervous systems.  You have recently tapered off of two drugs, and your nervous system probably needs a break for a long time, so that it can have a chance to catch up, and adjust to being without Cymbalta and Lamictal.  

 

Can you please transfer your drug history above to your signature box?  Thanks for providing it. Also, please list the drugs you are currently on, and their dosages.  Are you still taking the lithium, risperdal, and Abilify? 

 

How to List Drug History in Signature

 

Here is some important information about how these drugs actually work.  This explains why we get symptoms from going off of these medications, and why it's so important to taper slowly and carefully, and be very cautious about changing our doses: 

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

Video on Recovery from Psych Drugs

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

 

Here is a link with checklists of common WD symptoms: 

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen Withdrawal Symptom Checklists

 

 

Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 

 

Steps for Managing WD Symptoms

 

Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Stability is really important when we are tapering off psych meds.  Please read the link about stability:

 

Keep It Simple, Slow, and Stable

 

 

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

 

Please let us know how you are doing.  Healing from this is very slow and gradual, because the nervous system is extremely complex, and intricately intertwined with every system in our bodies.  However, given plenty of time and proper self care, you will get better!  

Edited by getofflex

I'm taking a break, so will not be responding to tags, messages, posts, or questions

 

***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, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, breakfast, 3 PM, before bed

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

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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  • Mentor

@WilliamR  Welcome to SA.......I am sorry about the loss of your dog.  They really are mans best friend.  

I recommend learning about the drugs and how they affect us and learn good coping skills.

Try and connect here with other members---You are not alone.....Go to http://Symptoms and self-care here on the forum and you will find a lot of topic on various withdrawal symptoms....Many here go through low moods (depression).  I go through waves of fatigue, low mood and many others fun WD symptoms..

Stay strong

I hope you can stay the course and stay off of these drugs.........

 

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   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 300 to 400mg a day

Lexapro   Sept/01/2021  4.90mg  Sept/25  4.75mg   Oct/19 4.69mg  Nov/14 4.2mg    Jan/30/2022-- All liquid  4.2mg  (2.20mg at 8am & 2mg at 4pm) 2/17 4mg  2/24  3.8mg   3/21 3.4mg  5/2 3mg  6/1  decreasing by .02ml  daily for 15 days to get to 2.70mg  7/1 decreasing .02ml daily for 15 days

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6 hours ago, getofflex said:

Can you please transfer your drug history above to your signature box?  Thanks for providing it. Also, please list the drugs you are currently on, and their dosages.  Are you still taking the lithium, risperdal, and Abilify? 

I'm not really following what you're asking and maybe I wasn't very clear, but I am currently not taking any drugs. I was taken off of the lithium, risperdal & abilify prior to being put on the lamictal & cymbalta in 2008. I got off the cymbalta end of Summer 2020 and have been off the lamictal since the first of this year. Does that make sense?

 

Thank you for all of the information! Everything seems like such a rabbit hole and overwhelming!

 

Is there any way to know how much longer withdrawal symptoms can/could last? 

 

I got some Nordic Naturals Omega 3 fish oil and took my first one tonight... I'll see how that goes. 

 

Thanks again.

I was put on Cymbalta & Lamictal around 2007 or 2008 -- I began tapering off Cymbalta in 2020 and have been completely off since the end of the Summer 2020.

11/11/19: I began alternating every three days as follows - 60mg/60mg/30mg | 12/11/19: I began alternating 60mg/30mg each day | 1/23/20: 30mg/day | 3/21/20: Alternating every three days as follows - 30mg/30mg/20mg |

4/15/20: Alternating 30mg/20mg each day | 4/23/20: 20mg/day | 5/21/20: Alternating every three days as follows 20mg/20mg/0mg | 6/24/20: 20mg every other day | 7/02/20: Off Cymbalta

 

I began tapering off 200mg of Lamictal after getting off the Cymbalta. I got down to 100mg by November 2020 but had to go back up to 150mg because of a dark depression. Starting in ~March 2021 I began tapering again (again don't have exact dates/dosages as of now). I have detailed records of my tapering beginning in May 2021 when I began using the 25mg tabs to taper:

5/18/21 (May 18th): I alternated daily between 87.5 mg one day and 100 mg the next day (87.5mg/100mg); 6/14/21: 87.5mg;

6/22/21: 75mg/87.5mg; 7/12/21: 75mg; 7/27/21: 62.5mg/75mg; 8/9/21: 62.5mg; 8/31/21: 50mg/62.5mg; 9/13/21: 50 mg;

9/27/21: 37.5mg/50mg; 10/11/21: 37.5mg; 10/25/21: 25mg/37.5mg; 11/8/21: 25mg; 11/22/21: 12.5mg/25mg

12/6/21: 12.5mg; 12/21/21: 0mg/12.5mg

January 1, 2022 - Present: Off Lamicital Completely -- withdrawal symptoms of low mood, fatigue & brain fog

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3 hours ago, Greatful said:

@WilliamR  Welcome to SA.......I am sorry about the loss of your dog.  They really are mans best friend.  

I recommend learning about the drugs and how they affect us and learn good coping skills.

Try and connect here with other members---You are not alone.....Go to http://Symptoms and self-care here on the forum and you will find a lot of topic on various withdrawal symptoms....Many here go through low moods (depression).  I go through waves of fatigue, low mood and many others fun WD symptoms..

Stay strong

I hope you can stay the course and stay off of these drugs.........

 

Thanks @Greatful --my plan is to stay the course! It's damn tough though!

I was put on Cymbalta & Lamictal around 2007 or 2008 -- I began tapering off Cymbalta in 2020 and have been completely off since the end of the Summer 2020.

11/11/19: I began alternating every three days as follows - 60mg/60mg/30mg | 12/11/19: I began alternating 60mg/30mg each day | 1/23/20: 30mg/day | 3/21/20: Alternating every three days as follows - 30mg/30mg/20mg |

4/15/20: Alternating 30mg/20mg each day | 4/23/20: 20mg/day | 5/21/20: Alternating every three days as follows 20mg/20mg/0mg | 6/24/20: 20mg every other day | 7/02/20: Off Cymbalta

 

I began tapering off 200mg of Lamictal after getting off the Cymbalta. I got down to 100mg by November 2020 but had to go back up to 150mg because of a dark depression. Starting in ~March 2021 I began tapering again (again don't have exact dates/dosages as of now). I have detailed records of my tapering beginning in May 2021 when I began using the 25mg tabs to taper:

5/18/21 (May 18th): I alternated daily between 87.5 mg one day and 100 mg the next day (87.5mg/100mg); 6/14/21: 87.5mg;

6/22/21: 75mg/87.5mg; 7/12/21: 75mg; 7/27/21: 62.5mg/75mg; 8/9/21: 62.5mg; 8/31/21: 50mg/62.5mg; 9/13/21: 50 mg;

9/27/21: 37.5mg/50mg; 10/11/21: 37.5mg; 10/25/21: 25mg/37.5mg; 11/8/21: 25mg; 11/22/21: 12.5mg/25mg

12/6/21: 12.5mg; 12/21/21: 0mg/12.5mg

January 1, 2022 - Present: Off Lamicital Completely -- withdrawal symptoms of low mood, fatigue & brain fog

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  • Moderator
On 4/18/2022 at 4:04 PM, WilliamR said:

Starting in ~March 2021 I began tapering again (again don't have exact dates/dosages as of now). I have detailed records of my tapering beginning in May 2021 when I began using the 25mg tabs to taper:

5/18/21 (May 18) - 6/13/21 (June 13): I alternated daily between 87.5 mg one day and 100 mg the next day (87.5mg/100mg/87.5/100)

6/14/21 - 6/21/21: 87.5mg each day

6/22/21 - 7/11/21: 75mg/87.5mg/75/87.5

7/12/21 - 7/26/21: 75mg each day

7/27/21 - 8/8/21: 62.5mg/75mg/62.5/75

8/9/21 - 8/30/21: 62.5mg each day

8/31/21 - 9/12/21: 50mg/62.5mg/50/62.5

9/13/21 - 9/26/21: 50 mg/day

9/27/21 - 10/10/21: 37.5mg/50mg/37.5/50

10/11/21 - 10/24/21: 37.5mg/day

10/25/21 - 11/7/21: 25mg/37.5mg/25/37.5

     *On November 1, 2021, my dog and best friend of 10+ years, the Big Guy (110lb. half boxer/half mastiff), died after a brief fight with cancer... in retrospect I should have ceased            tapering at this point; instead I continued my tapering in earnest and began to self medicate excessively with alcohol and cannabis

11/8/21 - 11/21/21: 25mg/day

11/22/21 - 12/5/21: 12.5mg/25mg/12.5/25

12/6/21 - 12/20/21: 12.5mg/day

12/21/21 - 12/31/21: 0mg/12.5mg/0/12.5

January 1, 2022 - Present: Off Lamicital Completely 

This block of information above, please copy and paste this, and put it into your signature box.  Please shorten it by putting several entries on one line separated with commas, and you can eliminate the ending date of each dosage amount.  I know this is tedious, so no hurry on it. 

 

For example:  "6/14/21 875 mg daily, 6/22/21 75mg/87.5 mg/87.5," and so on.  It really helps us to see how you tapered in the past, in case you decide to do a temporary reinstatement in the future to lessen withdrawal symptoms.  

 

I admire you for your strength in toughing out this withdrawal.  I know all the information is overwhelming.  Here is another link that goes into how long it may take you to recover from this. It depends on many different factors, such as how many drugs you were on, for how long, how many drug changes and switches you made, your own personal body chemistry, your age, your health, etc.  

 

How Long Is Withdrawal Going to Take

 

I'm taking a break, so will not be responding to tags, messages, posts, or questions

 

***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, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, breakfast, 3 PM, before bed

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

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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  • 2 weeks later...

I found out my Cymbalta taper -- I'm not exactly sure when I started taking it, but I was on 60mg/day for many years. 

 

11/11/19: I began alternating every three days as follows - 60mg/60mg/30mg

12/11/19: I began alternating 60mg/30mg each day

1/23/20: 30mg/day

3/21/20: Alternating every three days as follows - 30mg/30mg/20mg

4/15/20: Alternating 30mg/20mg each day

4/23/20: 20mg/day

5/21/20: Alternating every three days as follows 20mg/20mg/0mg

6/24/20: 20mg every other day

7/02/20: Off Cymbalta

 

IIRC the withdrawals off Cymbalta were not too bad... nothing like getting off Lamictal for me

I was put on Cymbalta & Lamictal around 2007 or 2008 -- I began tapering off Cymbalta in 2020 and have been completely off since the end of the Summer 2020.

11/11/19: I began alternating every three days as follows - 60mg/60mg/30mg | 12/11/19: I began alternating 60mg/30mg each day | 1/23/20: 30mg/day | 3/21/20: Alternating every three days as follows - 30mg/30mg/20mg |

4/15/20: Alternating 30mg/20mg each day | 4/23/20: 20mg/day | 5/21/20: Alternating every three days as follows 20mg/20mg/0mg | 6/24/20: 20mg every other day | 7/02/20: Off Cymbalta

 

I began tapering off 200mg of Lamictal after getting off the Cymbalta. I got down to 100mg by November 2020 but had to go back up to 150mg because of a dark depression. Starting in ~March 2021 I began tapering again (again don't have exact dates/dosages as of now). I have detailed records of my tapering beginning in May 2021 when I began using the 25mg tabs to taper:

5/18/21 (May 18th): I alternated daily between 87.5 mg one day and 100 mg the next day (87.5mg/100mg); 6/14/21: 87.5mg;

6/22/21: 75mg/87.5mg; 7/12/21: 75mg; 7/27/21: 62.5mg/75mg; 8/9/21: 62.5mg; 8/31/21: 50mg/62.5mg; 9/13/21: 50 mg;

9/27/21: 37.5mg/50mg; 10/11/21: 37.5mg; 10/25/21: 25mg/37.5mg; 11/8/21: 25mg; 11/22/21: 12.5mg/25mg

12/6/21: 12.5mg; 12/21/21: 0mg/12.5mg

January 1, 2022 - Present: Off Lamicital Completely -- withdrawal symptoms of low mood, fatigue & brain fog

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