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DontFeedTheMonkeys: considering 10% taper off 20mg fluoxetine


DontFeedTheMonkeys

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I've been on a daily dose of 20mg of Prozac [fluexotine] for 25 years for depression. I'd like to discontinue its use because I don't want to be dependent on Prozac any longer. I have tried to taper off slowly but have experienced weird side effects like dizziness and electrical brain zaps and a return to sadness and depression when tapering. I'm not taking any other meds for anything. I have one doctor [GP] that tells me to keep taking it if its working, the other tells me to get off the drugs entirely I shouldn't be on them for 25 years - the drugs have side effects and other dangers, so right there you have two medical doctors saying opposite things.  

 

I've tried finding a specialist [psychiatrist] to help with this but my insurance will only cover a small co-pay, and the psychiatrists listed in my insurance plan are booked up for months in advance and many of them have terrible reviews online and some don't even return calls. Reading their online user reviews and the horror stories makes me feel like maybe a psychiatrist might make things worse. 

 

I believe I am on my own to do this and have found this site to be very helpful.

 

My question is should I start my own taper using the suggestions here of 10% monthly reduction in my dosage while waiting out the 2 month waiting period to see a psychiatrist or should I start the 10% taper and see a regular psychologist for psychotherapy, or consult a GP for tapering advice? 

 

The reviews I am reading for psychiatrists have been terrible and they seem to create more problems than they solve, often prescribing more meds rather than supervising a taper. With prescription-happy GP's and psychs abounding how is one to trust anything they say, particuarly when much of the science of mental disorders appears to be subjective? 

 

Drug History

1997–Present - fluoxetine 20mg capsules 

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  • Frogie changed the title to DontFeedTheMonkeys:Considering A 10% Taper off Fluexotine [20mg]
  • Moderator

@DontFeedTheMonkeys

 

Welcome to SA. We are a volunteer ran site helping people taper off psychiatric medications, or have tapered off and are healing.

 

This is your introduction page where you will receive information, ask questions and meet other members. We ask that you only have one introduction page so we can keep all your information in one place.

 

You are correct about most doctors. They don't have any idea about these medications and they will say, "Why fix it if it isn't broken?" So I can understand your frustration. And psychiatrists love to prescribe "this" to fix "that", and then take "that" to fix "this". I had one of those types and ended up on many different medications for about as long as you have been on yours. 

 

Who prescribes your Prozac now? I would just stick with them. Here is a link that will help talk to them about tapering.

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?

 

 

 

Here are some links that you will find useful.


Preparing to taper


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Brass Monkey Slide

 

Tips for tapering off fluoxetine (Prozac)

 

 

Stabilising After a Reduction - What Does That Mean?

Withdrawal Normal Description

 

 Waves and Windows in SSRI Withdrawal

 

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist

 

 

 

 

Here is some important information about how these drugs actually work.  This explains why we get symptoms from going off of these medications:

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

Video on Recovery from Psych Drugs

 

 

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 supplements on here as they can cause stimulation to the central nervous system (CNS) except 2. If you would like to try one try a small amount and wait a few days before introducing the other.

 

 

Magnesium

Omega 3 Fish Oil

 

I hope I have answered some of your questions. Please read through the links provided and reach out with any questions you may have.

 

 

PREVIOUS medications and discontinuations: Have been on medications since 1996. 

 Valium, Gabapentin, Lamictal, Prilosec and Zantac from 2000 to 2015 with a fast taper by a psychiatrist.

 Liquid Lexapro Nov, 2016 to 31-March, 2019 Lexapro free!!! (total Lexapro taper was 4 years-started with pill form)

---CURRENT MEDICATIONS:Supplements:Milk Thistle, Metamucil, Magnesium Citrate, Vitamin D3, Levothyroxine 25mcg, Vitamin C, Krill oil.

Xanax 1mg 3x day June, 2000 to 19-September, 2020 Went from .150 grams (average weight of 1 Xanax) 3x day to .003 grams 3x day.

19-September, 2020 Xanax free!!! (total Xanax taper was 15-1/2 months-1-June, 2019-19-September, 2020)

I am not a medical professional.

The suggestions I make are based on personal experience.

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Thanks Frogie for this very helpful information, which I will read carefully and also pass on to my GP.

 

Unfortunately he has little knowledge of tapering, which is why I thought it might be advisable to get the referral to the Psychiatrist, which he gave me, but as mentioned before psychiatrists are in such demand that just getting an appointment with one is a long wait.

 

So I will read the available literature and also the information on this site to start the taper on my own but also with the help of my GP. 

 

If anyone on here has an experience using a psychiatrist vs a general practitioner for tapering off of Fluoxotine, I'd be most appreciative of hearing about their experiences.     

 

In the meantime I will carefully do my research before starting the taper, and will consult one other GP with psychiatric background before beginning the taper. 

 

This site is an excellent resource, BTW, thank you for providing it and for the forum. 

 

Drug History

1997–Present - fluoxetine 20mg capsules 

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  • Moderator

@DontFeedTheMonkeys

 

Most psychiatrists will have you do a very fast taper, cut it in 3/4, 1/2, 1/4 then stop. And it is just because most don't believe in withdrawal symptoms.

 

You can use the site search for Fluoxetine and find members that are or have tapered off of it and read their stories. Reach out to them to get feedback also. Everyone on here is here to help each other.

 

If you have any other questions please reach out.

PREVIOUS medications and discontinuations: Have been on medications since 1996. 

 Valium, Gabapentin, Lamictal, Prilosec and Zantac from 2000 to 2015 with a fast taper by a psychiatrist.

 Liquid Lexapro Nov, 2016 to 31-March, 2019 Lexapro free!!! (total Lexapro taper was 4 years-started with pill form)

---CURRENT MEDICATIONS:Supplements:Milk Thistle, Metamucil, Magnesium Citrate, Vitamin D3, Levothyroxine 25mcg, Vitamin C, Krill oil.

Xanax 1mg 3x day June, 2000 to 19-September, 2020 Went from .150 grams (average weight of 1 Xanax) 3x day to .003 grams 3x day.

19-September, 2020 Xanax free!!! (total Xanax taper was 15-1/2 months-1-June, 2019-19-September, 2020)

I am not a medical professional.

The suggestions I make are based on personal experience.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to DontFeedTheMonkeys: considering 10% taper off 20mg fluoxetine
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi and welcome from me too,

 

Please note that because of the long half life of Prozac / fluoxetine, the BrassMonkey Slide method of taper might not be suitable.

 

This is because the full effect on the brain may not be felt for several weeks:

  

On 7/3/2011 at 4:11 AM, Altostrata said:

Prozac has the longest half-life of any SSRI. After you take it for a few days, half-life is about 16 days. Fluoxetine itself has a half-life of 2-4 days, but as it is processed, your body creates an active antidepressant metabolite, norfluoxetine, which has a half-life of 7-15 days. So Prozac keeps on extending its half-life as it is metabolized.

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluoxetine , fluoxetine and norfluoxetine inhibit each other's metabolism, extending the half-life of the drug. Because the half-lives are so long, the full effect of Prozac on the brain may not be felt for several weeks.

fluoxetine (1-6 days) ---> norfluoxetine (up to 16 days) ---> other metabolites

 

 

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • Administrator

Welcome, @DontFeedTheMonkeys What's been your previous experience with reducing fluoxetine?

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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I've tried reducing it by just not taking it cold turkey. After a few days, this resulted in what felt like buzzy electric-like shocks in my brain, and the feeling of a car engine not running on all cylinders, like a spark plug was missing. My thoughts seemed spaced out. After a few weeks, my symptoms of sadness returned, and I panicked and rather than deal with it I started taking the 20mg daily again, and I returned to normal. I also tried tapering by skipping every other day for a month and then to taking 20mg's three times a week. The same weird feeling and sadness/depression returned within 2 weeks, so I went back up to my regular dosage again. I did all this without the advice of a physician. 

 

Drug History

1997–Present - fluoxetine 20mg capsules 

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I just recently tapered off fluoxetine 20mg on my own and after getting a lot of information that’s available on this site I’m not sure there is an easy way to stop fluoxetine due to the long half life. I thought I was tapering down sooo slowly. I tapered by 5mg every 2-3 weeks. I had GI withdrawal symptoms and the electric shocks right off the bat but the worst of my symptoms didn’t come on until I was completely off for 2 weeks. 
 

I’m not sure waiting to taper until you see a psychiatrist would be advantageous to you especially if they have mixed reviews and you don’t have established rapport. I think seeing a therapist that you can trust while you go through this would be most helpful in the long run because their support would be coping-skills-based and not pharma-based. I wish there was an easy way to do this, but good for you for planning your first few steps. I wish you all the luck in the world!

citalopram 20mg 3/2019-8/2020

citalopram 40mg 8/2020-9/2020

fluoxetine 20mg 9/2020-4/2022

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24 minutes ago, Callieflower said:

I just recently tapered off fluoxetine 20mg on my own and after getting a lot of information that’s available on this site I’m not sure there is an easy way to stop fluoxetine due to the long half life. I thought I was tapering down sooo slowly. I tapered by 5mg every 2-3 weeks. I had GI withdrawal symptoms and the electric shocks right off the bat but the worst of my symptoms didn’t come on until I was completely off for 2 weeks. 
 

I’m not sure waiting to taper until you see a psychiatrist would be advantageous to you especially if they have mixed reviews and you don’t have established rapport. I think seeing a therapist that you can trust while you go through this would be most helpful in the long run because their support would be coping-skills-based and not pharma-based. I wish there was an easy way to do this, but good for you for planning your first few steps. I wish you all the luck in the world!

Hey thanks Callieflower I appreciate the heads up. I am going to seek therapy during the taper. I need to get a regular counselor anyway, this is just more incentive to do so, though I do believe my depression issues are largely physiological, as I can duplicate them exactly with alcohol use. Nonetheless, sometimes they seem to be triggered by life events and learning new coping skills can only help.  

Drug History

1997–Present - fluoxetine 20mg capsules 

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  • Administrator

Very few psychiatrists know anything about tapering or withdrawal symptoms.

 

From long experience, peer support sites such as this one advise a much slower taper than 5mg fluoxetine every 2-3 weeks. Often, that is not a gradual enough taper. See


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Why taper? SERT transporter occupancy studies show importance of gradual change in plasma concentration

 

NEVER SKIP DOSES TO TAPER


Tips for tapering off fluoxetine (Prozac)
 

Since you had withdrawal symptoms before, suggest you plan for a 10% taper, using a liquid. You might start with taking 1/2 your dose in capsule or tablet form and 1/2 in liquid, taper from the liquid portion.

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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  • 1 month later...
  • Administrator

Hello, @DontFeedTheMonkeys , how are you doing?

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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Doing okay thanks for asking. I got a referral to a psychiatrist and just started the taper. He recommended dropping from 20 to 10 mg a day for thirty days and see how it goes. 

 

I recommended 5% taper, he said the Fluoxetine doesn't come in those doses, etc.  

 

It's only been 6 days, I feel okay so far. 

 

I'm keeping a close watch on it. If I run into trouble I'll switch to tablets and cut them. 

Drug History

1997–Present - fluoxetine 20mg capsules 

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