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Tezzy - My Story


Tezzy

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Hi everyone

 

Thank you for allowing me to join. I will tell you a little about myself.

 

I am currently an inpatient at a private facility in West Australia (so please excuse the spelling lol).

 

20 years ago, I had my first bout of depression and agoraphobia. I was placed on Zoloft 125mg and lived happily ever after... well for 16 years at least. No benzos or anything else but Zoloft. The problem was that I had been on such a high dose for such a long time, I developed Seratonin Syndrome and became extremely ill. If only my GP had thought to do a slow taper off during this period of well-being, this story might have a much happier ending to it.

 

Instead, in 2009/10, I spent 4 months in and out of the clinic. Eventually, I had my first and only course of ECT which seemed to work wonderfully and after that I was placed on Nortriptyline (Allegron) 25mg and Pristiq 100mg.

 

I have never felt the same relief as I did on the Zoloft. I still had bouts of depression and always anxiety (albeit very low on some days, it was still there).

 

In Sept/Oct 2012, I tapered off of the Allegron (over a 2 month period) and that's when the trouble started. Again, I began getting symptoms of the Seratonin Syndrome, so my Pdoc immediately cut my dose of Pristiq from 100 down to 50. I handled this relatively well as far as withdrawals go, but fell into a hole with my depression and anxiety. So he started me back on the Allegron. I became so down and ill that I was admitted to hospital 31/12/12 - not a great way to spend New Years Eve :(

 

I have not improved in hospital and on Thursday night, my pdoc told me that I was coming off of Pristiq as of the next day. He has added some valium to go with the Klonopin I take to "help with the withdrawals".... yeah right! :o

 

This is the hardest thing I have ever done. Zoloft was a breeze compared to this. I am really suffering and to make it worse, I don't feel that I am getting a lot of support from the hospital staff. Just comments like "it will get better", "Just a few more days"..... I am going thru hell at the moment. I am not a vengeful person, but just for one day, I would like the Doctors who prescribe this and the caring nurses who just don't seem to get it, to feel what I am going through!

 

Well, I am in tears now, so I will come back and update more later.

 

T x

Initially dx with major agitated depression and agoraphobia 20 years ago. I took Zoloft 125mg for 16 years and led a 'normal' life (even benzo-free) until I developed Seratonin Syndrome in late 2009. I was hospitalised on/off for 4 months that year and ended up on a mix of Allegron and Pristiq. Recently this combination has led to a return of the SS symptoms and a very quick taper off of Pristiq.

 

Nortriptyline (Allegron)25mg

Zyprexa 2.5mg

Pristiq 100mg down to 50 mg Dec 12 - 50mg to zero 11/1/13

5mg Valium 3/day

.5mg Clonazepam (Klonopin?)3/day

 

 

I NEVER said it would be EASY.... I ONLY said it would be WORTH IT!

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Tezzy.

 

I can see you are in a difficult position.

 

In Sept/Oct 2012, I tapered off of the Allegron (over a 2 month period) and that's when the trouble started. Again, I began getting symptoms of the Seratonin Syndrome, so my Pdoc immediately cut my dose of Pristiq from 100 down to 50. I handled this relatively well as far as withdrawals go, but fell into a hole with my depression and anxiety. So he started me back on the Allegron. I became so down and ill that I was admitted to hospital 31/12/12 - not a great way to spend New Years Eve :(

What do you mean by serotonin syndrome, exactly? That would be unusual if you are reducing an antidepressant.

 

Rather, it sounds like you had withdrawal symptoms from going off nortriptyline or possibly Zoloft. Withdrawal-induced "depression" can be like a black hole.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Tezzy,

Welcome to the forum and I look forward to hearing more about your situation. I am not sure how to suggest you handle a taper when you are an inpatient - how long have you been on klonopin and how much do you take?

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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Welcome Tezzy,

I don't have any particular words of wisdom but can relate to your frustration with perhaps well meaning but closed minded, and in my opinion, arrogant medical professionals. I can also relate to crying while posting. As tricky as your situation is - being inpatient - how wonderful to have access to the internet and this site!

15+ years on various ADs and combos. Spent 3 yrs tapering (off & on ) off 225mg Effexor venlafaxine) XR & Remeron (mirtazapine). Finished tapering Oct 2014.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello, Tezzy, and welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through these awful experiences. Jerking someone off of Pristiq like that is horrifying. We're here to help however we can.

 

Here's some information on tapering off Pristiq, which means switching to Effexor. Perhaps your doctor would consider discharging you with a script for that?

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__p__7507__hl__pristiq__fromsearch__1#entry7507

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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Hello everyone and thank you so much for your replies and words of encouragement. :wub:

 

I am sorry if my post are a little scattered at the moment.

 

To clarify, I was on Zoloft for 16 years when I developed seratonin syndrome from being on it at a high dose for so long. I had fever and very sposmadic muscular movements. I couldn't even hold a pen.

 

Zoloft is an SSRI and so my Pdoc thought to try an SNRI (being Pristiq). I was going along quite well and we decided to eliminate the night time Allegron. But when I did that, I started to get SS symptoms again from the Pristiq which I was still on. Hence, I had to immediately cut the dose back from 100 to 50 (I did this at home).

 

I fell in a heap and was admitted to hospital. My Pdoc says that Seratonin Syndrome can be life threatening and that is why he just stopped the Pristiq cold turkey on Friday. He had already put me back on the Allegron and I am waiting to see some benefits from that.

 

Anyhow, I had a tiny bit better sleep last night. Not so many 'zaps' waking me, and I only had vivid dreams, not terrifying ones like the night before. I am still experiencing zapping today but it is not so frequent. I feel very low in my mood and quite irritable, even bordering on angry! :angry:

 

I am due to see my Pdoc in the next hour or so, so I will be finding out a little more about the 'plan' he has in mind for my care.

 

Normally at home I take Klonopin .5mg twice daily for anxiety, but in the last couple of months, it just hasn't seemed enough. Since he stopped the Pristiq, I am on it 3 times daily (and one PRN) and also 3 x 5mg valium (and two PRN). I am trying to take as little as needed to just get through.....

 

I am so grateful that you have taken the time to reply to me.... I am feeling very alone and afraid at the moment :(

 

T x

Initially dx with major agitated depression and agoraphobia 20 years ago. I took Zoloft 125mg for 16 years and led a 'normal' life (even benzo-free) until I developed Seratonin Syndrome in late 2009. I was hospitalised on/off for 4 months that year and ended up on a mix of Allegron and Pristiq. Recently this combination has led to a return of the SS symptoms and a very quick taper off of Pristiq.

 

Nortriptyline (Allegron)25mg

Zyprexa 2.5mg

Pristiq 100mg down to 50 mg Dec 12 - 50mg to zero 11/1/13

5mg Valium 3/day

.5mg Clonazepam (Klonopin?)3/day

 

 

I NEVER said it would be EASY.... I ONLY said it would be WORTH IT!

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  • Administrator

I am wondering if your pdoc has correctly identified serotonin syndrome.

 

Serotonin syndrome is due to excessive serotonin, usually from taking more than one serotonergic at the same time.

 

It might occur when you are increasing dosage, or adding another drug, but it doesn't make sense that it would occur when you are decreasing dosage.

 

Your first bad reaction, to Zoloft, might have been serotonin syndrome if another drug, even an antibiotic, was added that interacted with Zoloft.

 

But I believe your pdoc is identifying all adverse effects from antidepressants as serotonin syndrome. This is not a good sign for his or her overall competence.

 

It seems likely to me your adverse reaction to 100mg Pristiq is because the dosage was too d*mn high. Your adverse reactions to dropping the nighttime nortriptyline and halving the Pristiq dose were withdrawal reactions, not serotonin syndrome.

 

I hope reinstatement of the nortriptyline helps you. If I were you, I'd set about finding a different doctor. This one sounds dangerous.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Tezzy

 

I can't add anything to Alto's post but just wanted to wish you well and I hope you get some good support soon. To be honest anger is a perfectly reasonable reaction to your situation although probably not responded to well by staff.

 

Take care

 

Dalsaan

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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I am wondering if your pdoc has correctly identified serotonin syndrome.

 

Serotonin syndrome is due to excessive serotonin, usually from taking more than one serotonergic at the same time.

 

It might occur when you are increasing dosage, or adding another drug, but it doesn't make sense that it would occur when you are decreasing dosage.

 

Your first bad reaction, to Zoloft, might have been serotonin syndrome if another drug, even an antibiotic, was added that interacted with Zoloft.

 

But I believe your pdoc is identifying all adverse effects from antidepressants as serotonin syndrome. This is not a good sign for his or her overall competence.

 

It seems likely to me your adverse reaction to 100mg Pristiq is because the dosage was too d*mn high. Your adverse reactions to dropping the nighttime nortriptyline and halving the Pristiq dose were withdrawal reactions, not serotonin syndrome.

 

I hope reinstatement of the nortriptyline helps you. If I were you, I'd set about finding a different doctor. This one sounds dangerous.

 

Hi Alto.

 

Seratonin Syndrome can also be caused by taking too much of the med - similar to an overdose. Which is exactly what happened to me after the prolonged time on a high dose of Zoloft.

 

I am happy to report that I am now through the worst of the withdrawals from Pristiq. For the first time in over 20 years, I am SSRI and SNRI free! :D I will stay on Allegron and Clonazepam for now. The plan is to get stable on these two meds. We are hoping that once I can get my confidence back up (and with the help of regular visits to a new Psychologist), I can aim for and work towards minimal medication and dare I hope, even med free one day. I know I still have a long way to go, but I am feeling very positive.

 

I would not wish this withdrawal process on anyone. I am glad I am no longer thinking irrationally and I am no longer feeling angry. I am still having zapping and vivid dreams though. I hope today I will also be nausea-free!

 

I know Rome wasn't built in a day and I am going to pace myself in my recovery. I have to learn to be kind to myself - now that I know what that means.

 

I am looking forward to keeping this journal going as a reminder to myself of my progress along the way.

 

T :rolleyes:

Initially dx with major agitated depression and agoraphobia 20 years ago. I took Zoloft 125mg for 16 years and led a 'normal' life (even benzo-free) until I developed Seratonin Syndrome in late 2009. I was hospitalised on/off for 4 months that year and ended up on a mix of Allegron and Pristiq. Recently this combination has led to a return of the SS symptoms and a very quick taper off of Pristiq.

 

Nortriptyline (Allegron)25mg

Zyprexa 2.5mg

Pristiq 100mg down to 50 mg Dec 12 - 50mg to zero 11/1/13

5mg Valium 3/day

.5mg Clonazepam (Klonopin?)3/day

 

 

I NEVER said it would be EASY.... I ONLY said it would be WORTH IT!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Tezzy, I can completely relate to your experiences as I have been on a rollarcoaster since getting Serotonin Syndrome in Sept 2012. I'm currently not on anything due to my fear off getting SS again. While going through SS, did you experience a numb, derealization feeling?

Celexa 40mg from 2004-Oct. 2012. Had to stop cold turkey due to Serotonin Syndrome. Tried to reinstate 3 weeks after ct, but had an allergic reaction to it.

 

Amitriptyline 25 mg from 11/07/12-11/30/12. Stopped due to inability to stay awake and made anxiety worse.

 

Lexapro started at 5mg and slowly increased to 15mg Dec. 8 2012-Feb. 15th 2013. Had to stop cold turkey due to Serotonin Toxicity.

 

Lamictal 5mg 3/2/13 to try to stabilize my nerves. Seems to be helping with the brain zaps, emotional rollercoaster, and DP/DR.

 

Find a reason to smile everyday :-)

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