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Elgee: Not a happy camper


elgee

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Hi everyone,

 

I don’t have any AD problems but was hoping for some input. I was prescribed 1 mg ativan 3 years ago for situational insomnia. It didn’t take long before I went from 1 mg to 2.5 mgs. I really wanted off this drug I began tapering after 2 months. I was making huge cuts and really suffering and ended on a prescription of 1500 mgs of gabapentin. The gabapentin did help a little with sleep but nothing else. After 5 months of tapering the ativan I made it down to .75 mgs and then I c/o to 7.50 valium. Valium made all the difference for me. It certainly wasn’t easy but after a 15 month taper I finally made it to 0.

 

The first couple of months off were a little rough but I‘ve been feeling pretty good since then. So at 9 months benzo free I decided to begin titrating gabapentin. I wanted to take an extra cautious approach so I made about a 3% cut yesterday. WOW did that hurt. I haven’t been hit that hard since ativan. Lots of burning and insomnia. Obviously it’s too soon to start this taper so I’m going to hold off for a few more months. I guess I thought I was further along in my healing.

 

I was wondering if anyone else has had such a strong reaction when prematurely starting another taper? I know that I don’t have any choice but do you think that holding off for a few more months will make that much of a difference?

 

Thanks for listening.

elgee

2.5 tapered to .75 mgs ativan (7 months) c/o to 7.50 valium tapered to 0 (15 months) benzo free 12/2011!<p>1500 mgs gabapentin microtapering, down to 1350 as of 1/5/2015, 1225 as of 11/1/2015

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Elgee, you may want to start with even a smaller cut. How are you cutting--did you do a liquid cut or dry?

 

I think many people find that after taking and coming off any psych drug they're more sensitive to all kinds of changes in the future. This actually seems to be typical, and especially with benzo histories.

 

My experience with gabapentin withdrawal was that it feels much like benzo withdrawal at first, but it's more predictable (more of a straight line), passes more quickly, and once it's over it doesn't keep coming back with windows and waves the way benzo withdrawal can. That's just my own experience, and of course we're all different, but I'm hoping things settle down for you quickly and I think there's a good chance they will.

 

Then you may want to consider a very small cut, no more than 5 mg, see how that does. (Sounds like you cut 45 mg, is that right? I'm not saying that's an aggressive cut by any means at 3%! but it sounds like you may need to start much smaller.)

 

I always recommend starting very small until you learn how your body is going to respond, and then if you want to go faster, slowly building up to your tolerance level.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                   1

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Thanks for your reply Rhi. I'm really not sure what percantage I was cutting. I decided to go conservatively and titrate 50 mgs the first month. That is about 1.66 a day. I figured that was a pretty safe place to start at. I made the cut on my morning dose (I'm dosing 3 times a day) and by evening my brain was so wired I knew that it wasn't going to be a good night. I didn't sleep much at all and I began to experience the skin burning that plagued me while I was on ativan.

 

I guess I'm a little freaked out that such a tiny cut would have such a powerful effect on me.

2.5 tapered to .75 mgs ativan (7 months) c/o to 7.50 valium tapered to 0 (15 months) benzo free 12/2011!<p>1500 mgs gabapentin microtapering, down to 1350 as of 1/5/2015, 1225 as of 11/1/2015

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I guess I'm a little freaked out that such a tiny cut would have such a powerful effect on me.

 

I know...it's hard to take, how much effect these drugs have, how much power over our wellbeing. I hate it.

 

But you can do this.

 

You may be able to cut more frequently if you do smaller cuts (microtaper).

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                   1

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Rhi,

 

I know you're busy and I don't want to take too much more of your time. Do you think that what I experienced is primarily gabapentin withdrawal or benzo or both? Do you think that holding off on the taper for a bit till I'm further out from the benzo taper could help to ease coming off the gabapentin?

 

Thanks for any information you might be able to help me with.

 

Elgee

2.5 tapered to .75 mgs ativan (7 months) c/o to 7.50 valium tapered to 0 (15 months) benzo free 12/2011!<p>1500 mgs gabapentin microtapering, down to 1350 as of 1/5/2015, 1225 as of 11/1/2015

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  • Administrator

Welcome to our community. Elgee. Here's a discussion about gabapentin tapering: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2309-neurontin-gabapentin-tapering/

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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  • 6 months later...

I held off tapering gabapentin for a few more months and decided to start again last Monday. I microtapered valium and decided to use this method with gabapentin. I am cutting a little less than 3% and so far the sx’s have been manageable. However when I look at the big picture I am very discouraged. At this rate I won’t be med free for another 4-5 years. I’m not a believer in gutting it out but I have to admit dealing with another drug taper for what could be several years is daunting.

 

I know there are a few of you on this forum that have been tapering for 5+ years so it’s comforting to know that I am in good company.

 

Thanks for listening.

2.5 tapered to .75 mgs ativan (7 months) c/o to 7.50 valium tapered to 0 (15 months) benzo free 12/2011!<p>1500 mgs gabapentin microtapering, down to 1350 as of 1/5/2015, 1225 as of 11/1/2015

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  • 5 months later...

Hi Folks,

 

I wanted to update you on my gabapentin taper. I started my taper last September and soon realized I had some irrational fears I needed to get under control before I started a psych drug taper. Around the end of March of this year I began a daily microtaper for about two weeks and hit a brick wall. The same method that worked great tapering valium wasn't going to work for me with gabapentin.

 

It took me 4 months to stabilize. So after a month of feeling 100% stable I once again began tapering gabapentin. I cut 1.25 mgs and held for a week. I was feeling just about ready to cut again and was thrown into a very intense wave after having some kale and edamame. 

 

So here I am again at square one. After lurking around the forum I think my next step is to spread out my doses. Right now I am dosing 600 throughout the day and 900 at night. I plan on spreading the 1500 to 5 doses a day.

 

Wow I knew that this would be difficult but I really had no idea just how hard this would be. I was very sensitized on benzos but I am even more so on gabapentin. Foods and supplements that I didn't have a problem with on benzos I have had to eliminate from my diet. 

 

I appreciate the wealth of information I have found on this forum on the dangers of psych drugs. I wish I would have found you while I was tapering ativan and valium.

 

Thanks for listening. 

2.5 tapered to .75 mgs ativan (7 months) c/o to 7.50 valium tapered to 0 (15 months) benzo free 12/2011!<p>1500 mgs gabapentin microtapering, down to 1350 as of 1/5/2015, 1225 as of 11/1/2015

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Did it really take that long to stabilize after you tried to taper.There's a few of us here in dire straights over this drug. I wish there was more experiences to read...I began to WD when I picked up a new script..I can't imagine how I'm going to do this but Doc mentioned the liquid.

 

I will follow your lead with some help from Rhi..You sound very sensible..I get frantic over the anxiety.

C/T Celexa and Trazadone on Jan.29th 2014
Prescribed 1mg of Klonopin every 6 hours on Jan.29th
Began tapering Klonopin April 18th..stretching time between doses...at first one hour for 2 weeks then a half hour for app.10 days then another half hour 10days later.
Presently at .25 three times a day..6 2 and 10pm. Trying to stabilize.
Also still taking gabapentin 300mgs 2xs a day..

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I had abad experience with gabapentin also. I'm stuck at my prescribed dose of 300 mgs. Tapering set off severe withdrawal, which I still have 2 months out even though I raised the dose back.

 

Please keep us posted on your taper. I wish you luck! Happy healing!

I am on 2.0 mg abilify for 2 yrs now.  I tired to taper every month 2.0....1.5....1.0....0.5....off.  I was fine until I jumped off at the end.  I will need to slow the taper down after 0.5.  Maybe try 0.5, 0.4, 0.3, 0.2, 0.1, 0.05, 0.025...off.

 

8/2/17. Abilify  2.0 mg

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Flower, 

 

Yes it really did take that long. I felt about 80% normal most of the time but it took at least 4 months to get to 100%. Fortunately I haven't had to deal with anxiety and sleep has been okay. 

 

Are you thinking about tapering with liquid? 

 

Ugal,

 

Thanks for your encouraging words. I know you have suffered horribly on this drug. I hope you find relief soon.

2.5 tapered to .75 mgs ativan (7 months) c/o to 7.50 valium tapered to 0 (15 months) benzo free 12/2011!<p>1500 mgs gabapentin microtapering, down to 1350 as of 1/5/2015, 1225 as of 11/1/2015

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I know switching to the liquid will be tough in itself.I plan to start the liquid and wait 2 weeks before I taper. I have to get stable right now after all these changes...I am not 80% like you..I'm jealous..I can't figure out what the problem is actually..Did the changes set off WD ? Each generic I tried took about 2 weeks to make me ill..Then I would switch to another one.I'm assuming WD really kicks in at 2 weeks after each taper so maybe best to wait 3 or 4 weeks between each drop?

 

 

Just thinking? Utahgirl had the pharmacy switch her generic too on sept 1st. I'll bet it didn't help her situation any..

C/T Celexa and Trazadone on Jan.29th 2014
Prescribed 1mg of Klonopin every 6 hours on Jan.29th
Began tapering Klonopin April 18th..stretching time between doses...at first one hour for 2 weeks then a half hour for app.10 days then another half hour 10days later.
Presently at .25 three times a day..6 2 and 10pm. Trying to stabilize.
Also still taking gabapentin 300mgs 2xs a day..

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elgee, I think it's likely that your benzo taper is contributing to your difficulty tapering gabapentin. It seems like something we see a lot--previous experiences coming off other meds seem to make it more difficult to taper something else later.  And it's not unusual for people to take a couple of years to really stabilize after a benzo taper, sometimes longer.

 

If it helps, try not to focus on the calendar, and instead really just listen to your body and taper at the rate that it allows. Don't make another cut until you're feeling pretty good.

 

It's possible that as you continue to recover from your benzo taper, if you keep the gabapentin taper slow and moderate and tolerable and you never get really destabilized with it, you might find you can go a bit faster eventually.

 

But if not--well, I know 5 years is a long time, but better to take 5 years to get off a med than stay on it forever, right?

 

I dosed my gabapentin every three hours because it was convenient to do it that way because I had to dose my xanax that often anyway. Maybe that's part of why it was a relatively smooth taper for me. Also I went very slowly, 300 mg in 28 months (in combination with other meds).

 

Don't worry about the long run now. Just do what you can tolerate now, and remember you're still recovering from the benzos, so don't push it.

 

Good luck. I'm rooting for you!

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                   1

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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But if not--well, I know 5 years is a long time, but better to take 5 years to get off a med than stay on it forever, right?

 

 

 

When I was tapering valium I thought 2 years was a long time. But I've come to believe that being med free no matter how long it takes is much better than being on a med forever. 

2.5 tapered to .75 mgs ativan (7 months) c/o to 7.50 valium tapered to 0 (15 months) benzo free 12/2011!<p>1500 mgs gabapentin microtapering, down to 1350 as of 1/5/2015, 1225 as of 11/1/2015

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