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Annelle: tapering off escitalopram after long term treatment


annelle

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  • Administrator

Thank you and good healing, Annelle.

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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Hi dear Annelle,

I wanted to thank you for contributing your valuable thoughts on my thread. :)

You are so kind and sweet .. :)

Annelle, I was just reading your story, and am saddened with so much distress that you went through .. :(

But you have come a long way, feeling better ..!! How wonderful and uplifting

is that?

I wish many many permanent open windows for you ..

Also, wishing you wellness, and total healing ..

Love, Lexi

Hello,
I am tapering Lorazepam, and my daily dose is 1.125 mgs.

I followed a long hold for 5 months, ( Nov-March 2019) hoping to find some stability, 

but it did not work. So I resumed my taper and hold pattern.
For the last 3 years, I have been using a daily microtaper, cutting .001mgs per day, with holds as needed.
Symptoms are head pressure, labored breathing, palpitations, abrupt surges of dizziness, this being my worst symptom for now, internal tremors, my latest nemesis, unsteadiness, anxiety, plus many other symptoms that cycle in, and cycle out consistently. Not a day passes, without grief :(

I take no other meds.

January 2013 - 15 day quick taper off 10 mgs of Lexapro, and 25 mgs of Sertraline,

at a detox clinic.

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Hi Lexi,

 

thank you so much for responding to my post on your thread. It was very encouraging and kind.

 

I hope you are feeling better.

 

I think I am in a window right now - my sleep is better, and the terrible skin sensitivity is not quite as bad. I actually have days where it is almost absent - fantastic!

 

I wish you continuous healing!

Alopam (benzodiazepine) first prescribed 1994
Akarin (citalopram) from 2002

Mirtazepine for about 2 months for insomnia in 2003 or 2004
Changed from Akarin to Effexor 2005
Started Nexium 2005
Changed from Effexor to Akarin 2006
Stopped Alopam after slow tapering 2006
Changed from Akarin to Cipralex 2006
Started Seroquel (quetiapine) 2006
Changed from Nexium to Omeprazol 2006
Started tramadol 2008
Started pramipexole for restless legs syndrome 2008
Stopped Seroquel after quick tapering 2009
Stopped tramadol 2011
Stopped Omeprazol August 2012
Stopped Cipralex (escitalopram) (after an appr 6 weeks taper) on Oct 13, 2012
Reinstated Cipralex 5 mg on May 18 - on May 22 went down to 2.5 mg Cipralex - June 1 down to 2 mg Cipralex, oral drops - June 26 down to 1.20 mg - July 27 updosed to 1,30 mg - Sept 14 down to 1,00 mg of own tablet liquid - Oct 20 down to 0,90 mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Annelle, good to hear you're doing better! It's an excellent sign that your brain and body are able to recover. 

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

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

 

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

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all!

 

I have been wanting to post here for a long time, but I have just not had the emotional energy. I have been feeling a little guilty that I haven't been posting for such a long time.

 

I have had a couple of bad months, with a lot of dysesthesia in my breasts, hands and feet. It was almost gone, but apparently keeps coming back - the typical pattern of withdrawal and recovery, I guess.

 

Now the last few days it seems to be getting just a little better, thankfully. I really hope it stays that way. I think it must be because I have hold on the same dosage for a month. So that it obviously the way to go.

 

And I think maybe I took too big a drop a month ago. I was impatient, and the hassle of measuring etc the escitalopram every day got to me, so I dropped to an easy dosage, 1,00 mg.

 

But I think I paid for it. I should have learnt my lesson by now! ;)

 

Also I have 6-7 weeks of taking to many pain killers, that probably did not help. I have chronic pain, esp at night, but at one point I started to take more of these pain killers than necessary, just because they made me feel good emotionally. But they hurt my stomach, I think.

 

I was taking (and still am, but less) a pain killer with acethyl salycic acid,(the main content of aspirin) 500 mg, Codeine 9,6 mg and magnesium oxide 150 mg. I think I have become somewhat addicted to the codeine :( 

 

I wonder if this has anything to do with my being in withdrawal? I know my need for alcohol was affected by the withdrawal and tapering at some point (luckily I do not drink now).

 

Does anybody have any thoughts about the connection between drug addiction and withdrawal syndrome? 

 

I don't know if there is one in my case, but I am just wondering. This escitalopram and the tapering is affecting so much!

Alopam (benzodiazepine) first prescribed 1994
Akarin (citalopram) from 2002

Mirtazepine for about 2 months for insomnia in 2003 or 2004
Changed from Akarin to Effexor 2005
Started Nexium 2005
Changed from Effexor to Akarin 2006
Stopped Alopam after slow tapering 2006
Changed from Akarin to Cipralex 2006
Started Seroquel (quetiapine) 2006
Changed from Nexium to Omeprazol 2006
Started tramadol 2008
Started pramipexole for restless legs syndrome 2008
Stopped Seroquel after quick tapering 2009
Stopped tramadol 2011
Stopped Omeprazol August 2012
Stopped Cipralex (escitalopram) (after an appr 6 weeks taper) on Oct 13, 2012
Reinstated Cipralex 5 mg on May 18 - on May 22 went down to 2.5 mg Cipralex - June 1 down to 2 mg Cipralex, oral drops - June 26 down to 1.20 mg - July 27 updosed to 1,30 mg - Sept 14 down to 1,00 mg of own tablet liquid - Oct 20 down to 0,90 mg

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  • Administrator

Codeine incurs physical dependency independent of prior withdrawal syndrome. It is a truly addictive drug and requires 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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  • 2 months later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

Annelle… I wonder how you are doing….. ? Good I hope!

 

It would be interesting to hear how things have unfolded for you.

 

RU

Fall 1995 xanax, zoloft. switched to Serzone

1996- spring 2003serzone/ xanax/ lightbox.

b]Fall 2003- Fall 2004? Lexapro 10 mg. Light box /4 mg. xanax.[/b]

2004 - Fall of 2009 10 mg Lex, 150 mg Wellbutrin XL % 4 mg xanax

November 2009- Sept. 2011 10 mg lex., 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax [/b

Sept.2012- July 2012 20 mg Lex 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax

My mantra " go slow & with the flow "

3/2/13.. Began equal dosing 5 Xs /day xanax, while simultaneously incorporating a 2.5 % drop ( from 3.5 mg/day to 3.4 mg/day)

4/6/13 dropped from 300 mg. Wellbutrin XL to 150 mg. Difficult but DONE! Down to 3.3 mg xanax/ day / 6/10/13 3 mg xanax/day; 7/15/2013 2.88mg xanax/day.

10/ 1/2013...... 2.5 mg xanax… ( switched to tablets again) WOO HOO!!!!!! Holding here… cont. with Lexapro.

1/ 2/2014.. tapered to 18mg ( by weight) of a 26 mg ( by weight) pill of 20 mg tab. lexapro. goal is 13mg (by weight OR 10 mg by ingredient content) and STOPPED. Feeling very down with unbalanced, unpredictable WD symptoms.

1/2/2014- ??? Taking a brain-healing break from tapering anything after actively tapering something for 1.5 years. So… daily doses as of 2/2/2014: 18 mg by weight Lex, 150 mg Well. XL, 2.5 mg xanax, down from 26 mg by weight Lex., 300 mg well. XL, 4 mg xanax in August, 2012. I'll take it. :) 5/8/14 started equivalent dose liquid./ tabs. 5/13/14 1.5 % cut.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Areyouthere and everybody else!

 

I am currently doing quite well, I feel that I am stabilizing now. I am now taking 0,75 mg Cipralex.

 

I had some rough weeks before Christmas, where I was taking too many pain killers containing codeine, and I think I became addicted to them.

 

Luckily I managed to wean myself slowly Down to a very low dosage of this painkiller, and I am planning on tapering off it completely. But the difficulty for me is then also to actually cover the pain, which is fairly consistent - I guess it is something I have to realize that I have to live with for the rest of my life. I am replacing the codein painkiller with acitomenaphen and ibuprofen, which cannot kill the pain completely, but than Again not even tramadol could when I took that for a period of 3 years 2008-2011.

 

But mentally and psychologically I am doing well. I am very excited because I got an appartment in a town about 10 miles away, where all my children and grandchildren live, so there is something to look forward to, once the move itself is over and done with, anyway! It is probably going to be very exhausting.

 

So all in all I am doing quite well. I feel I am able handle stress better than right after I almost c/t Cipralex appr 15 months ago, and the severe dysesthesia - or skin hypersensitivity - is much less severe now, some days I don't feel it at all. Wonderful!

 

I am a Little apprehensive to see how the move to a big town affects me in terms of withdrawal symptoms, but I feel ready to try - I feel it is the right time for me to make this change, and it is something I and my three daughters have wanted for a very long time.

 

Thank you, Areyouthere, for your kind Words! I hope you, too, are doing well.

Alopam (benzodiazepine) first prescribed 1994
Akarin (citalopram) from 2002

Mirtazepine for about 2 months for insomnia in 2003 or 2004
Changed from Akarin to Effexor 2005
Started Nexium 2005
Changed from Effexor to Akarin 2006
Stopped Alopam after slow tapering 2006
Changed from Akarin to Cipralex 2006
Started Seroquel (quetiapine) 2006
Changed from Nexium to Omeprazol 2006
Started tramadol 2008
Started pramipexole for restless legs syndrome 2008
Stopped Seroquel after quick tapering 2009
Stopped tramadol 2011
Stopped Omeprazol August 2012
Stopped Cipralex (escitalopram) (after an appr 6 weeks taper) on Oct 13, 2012
Reinstated Cipralex 5 mg on May 18 - on May 22 went down to 2.5 mg Cipralex - June 1 down to 2 mg Cipralex, oral drops - June 26 down to 1.20 mg - July 27 updosed to 1,30 mg - Sept 14 down to 1,00 mg of own tablet liquid - Oct 20 down to 0,90 mg

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  • Administrator

Very good to hear you're doing so well, Annelle.

 

Please be careful tapering Cipralex and a painkiller at the same time. You may wish to hold on the Cipralex until you're off the painkiller.

 

Have you tried acupuncture, chiropractic, or osteopathy for the pain? I've found all of them to be helpful.

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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Hello Altostrata,

 

Thank you for the advice on the painkillers. I will hold where I am now, which is on 0,75 mg Cipralex, at least until a month after I move, and maybe longer, i.e. 2-3 months, in order not to rock the boat :) especially since I am tapering off the painkiller as well.

 

I have tried acupuncture for the pain, but did not find it all that helpful. Maybe because my acupuncturist keeps saying that we have to get my energy level up before we can do any real pain treatment, and we haven't gotten there yet ;(

 

But I am thinking of seeing an osteopath once I am settled in the bigger town, I know of one good one there. Chronic pain is a challenge.

 

Thanks for responding, Alto.

Alopam (benzodiazepine) first prescribed 1994
Akarin (citalopram) from 2002

Mirtazepine for about 2 months for insomnia in 2003 or 2004
Changed from Akarin to Effexor 2005
Started Nexium 2005
Changed from Effexor to Akarin 2006
Stopped Alopam after slow tapering 2006
Changed from Akarin to Cipralex 2006
Started Seroquel (quetiapine) 2006
Changed from Nexium to Omeprazol 2006
Started tramadol 2008
Started pramipexole for restless legs syndrome 2008
Stopped Seroquel after quick tapering 2009
Stopped tramadol 2011
Stopped Omeprazol August 2012
Stopped Cipralex (escitalopram) (after an appr 6 weeks taper) on Oct 13, 2012
Reinstated Cipralex 5 mg on May 18 - on May 22 went down to 2.5 mg Cipralex - June 1 down to 2 mg Cipralex, oral drops - June 26 down to 1.20 mg - July 27 updosed to 1,30 mg - Sept 14 down to 1,00 mg of own tablet liquid - Oct 20 down to 0,90 mg

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  • 5 years later...

Hello there - I am not sure where to write a post because it has been a very long time since I last logged on here. 

I have been off cipralex for a little more than five years now. And I Think I am ok with being off it. 

It is a little difficult to tell, though, because I have also had a problem weaning off codeine which I took for hip pain and Got addicted to. I have overcome that addiction with the help of a Counsellor. 

Since I stopped taking codeine I felt good at first - clear in the head and a little more energy. But now after two years I am beginning to feel like something is missing from my life and lately I have been somewhat tempted to ask my doctor for antidepressants again - also because she is only too happy to prescribe them. 

I have for about a year taken gabapentin for restless legs syndrome - which I and my doctor at first took to be codeine withdrawal - but now two years after codeine cessation I Think it must be something Else. 

I am getting more and more depressed but at the same time very reluctant to start taking antidepressants again. Taking Them again would feel like going backwards. 

At the same time I feel like I need to do something to better my situation before it gets much worse. 

If anybody has any thoughts or suggestions please let me know. 

Annelle

Alopam (benzodiazepine) first prescribed 1994
Akarin (citalopram) from 2002

Mirtazepine for about 2 months for insomnia in 2003 or 2004
Changed from Akarin to Effexor 2005
Started Nexium 2005
Changed from Effexor to Akarin 2006
Stopped Alopam after slow tapering 2006
Changed from Akarin to Cipralex 2006
Started Seroquel (quetiapine) 2006
Changed from Nexium to Omeprazol 2006
Started tramadol 2008
Started pramipexole for restless legs syndrome 2008
Stopped Seroquel after quick tapering 2009
Stopped tramadol 2011
Stopped Omeprazol August 2012
Stopped Cipralex (escitalopram) (after an appr 6 weeks taper) on Oct 13, 2012
Reinstated Cipralex 5 mg on May 18 - on May 22 went down to 2.5 mg Cipralex - June 1 down to 2 mg Cipralex, oral drops - June 26 down to 1.20 mg - July 27 updosed to 1,30 mg - Sept 14 down to 1,00 mg of own tablet liquid - Oct 20 down to 0,90 mg

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Annelle: tapering off escitalopram after long term treatment
  • Moderator
3 hours ago, annelle said:

If anybody has any thoughts or suggestions please let me know. 

 

Hello, Annelle, and welcome back.

 

We are a site for going off drugs and so can't really advise whether or not to go back on antidepressants.  

 

If I read your post correctly, you're still taking Gabapentin.  Depression is one of the side effects of Gabapentin

 

We recommend using non-drug techniques for coping. Take a look at this link and see which techniques you think might be helpful to you to better your situation.

 

 Non-drug techniques to cope

 

Please feel free to write in with any questions and keep us updated.

Edited by Gridley

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 Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current Valium dose as of Feb 22, 2022: 4.8mg 

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8 and shift to Imipramine taper

Taper is 74% complete.

 

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

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

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of May 17: 10.5mg 

Taper is 86% 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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Hello Annelle,

 

You obviously worked very hard to come off antidepressants for a long time. I'm wondering what led you to want to do that? Is your reason for tapering off the drugs not enough to make you want to stay off them?

 

Best of luck to you.

PatriciaVP@AbleWriterSays My Intro

 

Zoloft 150-200 mg- on and off between 1998 and 2004.

 

Lexapro 40 mg - 2004-2013 30 mg 2013 - August 2015 20 mg August 2015- September 2015 15 mg September 2015 - October 2015 10 mg October 2015 -Nov. 1 2015. Nov. 2015 increased dose to 12.5 mg to stabilize. Dec. 28 2015 11.25 mg March 29, 2016 10 mg. August 1, 2016 9 mg. October 23, 2016 8.1 mg. Nov. 29, 2016 7.5 mg. Feb. 25, 2017 7 mg. April 9, 2017 6.5 mg. June 2017 6 mg. Aug. 2018 5.75 mg March 2019 5.5 mg Apr. 2019 5.25 mg. June 2019 5 mg Sept. 2019 4.75 mg Nov. 2019 4.5 mg Dec. 2019  4.25 April 7 2020 4mg 

 

Depakote 1000 mg 2008-2013  750 2013-Dec 2015 500 mg Dec 2015 to Feb 2, 2016. Sopped completely Feb 2 2016.

 

Adderall 40mg 2004-Feb 29, 2016. Feb 29,2016 - reduced Adderall to 20 mg based on pdoc's recommendations. March 29, 2016 - Reduced Adderall to 15 mg. April 30 reduced Adderall to 10 mgs. May 28, 2016 reduced Adderall to 5 mgs.June 8, 2016 stopped taking Adderall due to extreme agitation.

 

Amphetamine 20mg 2008 - 1/16. 1/16 - Stopped Amphetamine completely because pdoc did not renew script.

WWW.PSYCHFREE.NET 

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  • Administrator

Hello, Annelle.

 

What times of day do you take  gabapentin, at what dosages? Are your symptoms better or worse at any particular times of day?

 

Quite often "restless legs" can be treated with magnesium tablets or magnesium oil, see

 

https://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

You should also do daily leg stretches, your muscles might be tight from too much sitting or not enough exercise.

 

Fish oil can also be helpful, see


https://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

Try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

 

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 year later...

Hi altostrata,

 

I take 2 x 300 mg gabapentin before going to bed, and sometimes 300 mg earlier in the evening if I am restless. 
 

I have recently, June 18, 2020, started taking escitalopram again after 6 years off them. I was apprehensive about taking it again because of the side effects and because I was worried that it would make my rls worse. 
But rls is much the same, maybe because of the gabapentin, which I did not take the last time I took escitalopram, which was 2014. 
 

Now after taking escitalopram for appr 3 months I am a little disappointed as to its effect. Maybe I had too high expectations - but I do not feel that much improvement.

 

Does you know if gabapentin counteracts the effect of antidepressants?

 

Apart from being depressed I also feel a lot anxiety, especially when going out of the house for certain events, like one of my grandchildren’s birthday celebrations and the like. The anxiety and my being very uncomfortable in these situations sometimes makes me drink too much alcohol when I get home afterwards - maybe to console myself or just as a reaction to a hard situation. I had hoped that escitalopram might help on that score because I do not feel good about drinking this much. I never drink otherwise. 
 

Annelle

Alopam (benzodiazepine) first prescribed 1994
Akarin (citalopram) from 2002

Mirtazepine for about 2 months for insomnia in 2003 or 2004
Changed from Akarin to Effexor 2005
Started Nexium 2005
Changed from Effexor to Akarin 2006
Stopped Alopam after slow tapering 2006
Changed from Akarin to Cipralex 2006
Started Seroquel (quetiapine) 2006
Changed from Nexium to Omeprazol 2006
Started tramadol 2008
Started pramipexole for restless legs syndrome 2008
Stopped Seroquel after quick tapering 2009
Stopped tramadol 2011
Stopped Omeprazol August 2012
Stopped Cipralex (escitalopram) (after an appr 6 weeks taper) on Oct 13, 2012
Reinstated Cipralex 5 mg on May 18 - on May 22 went down to 2.5 mg Cipralex - June 1 down to 2 mg Cipralex, oral drops - June 26 down to 1.20 mg - July 27 updosed to 1,30 mg - Sept 14 down to 1,00 mg of own tablet liquid - Oct 20 down to 0,90 mg

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