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Tips for tapering off lithium

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Correct, ar. If all of this was clear and well-understood by doctors, this site would not exist.


Drug manufacturers do not want you to split your tablets because they want you to be consistent in your dosing.


If you wish to stay on lithium for the rest of your life, you are free to do so.

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

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All extended release formulations have this warning.  Different drugs have different protocols for dealing with the ER/XR/SR formulations.  


Effexor, we count beads and don't break up the XR formula.


Lithium, which is a more primitive drug, is as simple as cut and divide the does into 2 immediate release doses per day.

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna


Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.


My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.


A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.

The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/



I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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I currently take 900mg extended release lithium at night (I’ve stabilized from Paxil and zoloft withdrawal of 8 months ago). I already received liquid so that I can go down 10mg the first week - super slow.

My only question is with switching from extended release to immediate release.  Do I continue taking it at night (all 890 mg)?  Do I break it up morning and night?  

Can’t seem to find an answer and doctor doesn’t know as it’s never come up.  


- for 16 years took: morning: lexapro 10 mg, wellbutrin xl 150mg; evening: paxil 2.5 mg, zoloft 25mg

- feb 22:  tried to change and decreased paxil to 1.25 and zoloft to 50 and experienced eurphoria and possible mania, needed less sleep, etc.

- decreased zoloft back to 25 over 2 weeks and decreased paxil to 0

- withdrawal started a few days later and increased paxil back to 1.25 - stabilized but flat after a couple days (eventually got paxil back to 2.5)

- also took levaquin for possible prostatitis

- never really improved and we tried deplin, different formulations of generics and brand names

- Mid June 2019 lost the ability to sleep completely

- 7/1/19 cold turkeyed in hospital off 2.5 paxil and shortly thereafter 25 zoloft, titrated lithium up to 1200 but settled at 900mg

- 8/10/19 tried 12.5 lexapro for 2 weeks with disastrous sensitivities 

- 8/26/19 and currently: morning: 10 mg lexapro, 150 wellbutrin xl; evening: lithium 900 mg (Took klonopin for wknd)
9/20 tapered to 780mg lithium from 900mg - hypomania almost immediately, tinnitus, dizziness, pain, burning, freezing cold

- 9/29 reinstated to 900mg lithium

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Posted (edited)



Did you ever find the answer to the question about switching from extended release to immediate release?


Edited by ChessieCat
added @

2003-2018: Various amounts of Paxil from 20 mg to 5 mg. Occasional Xanax .25 mg for sleep (8-10 times annually)

April 2018: .5 mg Xanax 3 times daily, 10 mg Paxil due to insomnia after horrible experience building a new house with delays.
June 2018: Increase to 20 mg Paxil and continued Xanax.  Horrible side effects and interdose w/d from Xanax(didn't know at the time).
September 2018: .5 Klonopin daily, 30 mg Mirtz, 60 mg Prozac. 
October 2018:  Developed UTI. Floxed with Cipro. Sent me into acute w/d.
November 2018: Switched to 5 mg Valium to try and control interdose w/d. January 2019: Switched to liquid Valium to start taper following Ashton Manual.

Mid February 2019: Ashton schedule too fast, switched to daily liquid micro taper for duration

Mid April 2019: Finished taper Mid May 2019: Started taper Prozac and Mirtz. 10% every 2 weeks.  Too fast. Holding until I feel better. Currently at 40 mg Prozac and 27 mg Mirtz. May 2019: Continue taper. Complete Prozac taper November 2019  January 2020: Complete Remeron taper

March 31, 2020: SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG! Woke up in a panic and everything went downhill fast. Insomnia, audio hallucinations, extreme anxiety and akathesia. Attempted suicide and was put in hospital. Put on cocktail of drugs. 80 mg Prozac, 15 mg Remeron, trazedone 75mg, Lithium 300mg. Took meds because I was terrified. June 3, 2020: Still having terrible withdrawal symptoms.



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