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Greenfrog: Depression Drug Shuffle


greenfrog

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Hello,

 

Just joined after reading for several months. I really admire the info, support and encouragement that fellow members share with each other.

 

I was diagnosed with depression about 3 years ago, and  was surprised with this because I didn't think of myself as depressed. I was more all over the place, but could cry easily, and I yelled at the kids a lot. I always thought that I might have some anxiety (related to noise intolerance) and a touch of ADD, but not sure on that!

 

Since then, I have been bumped from drug to drug (as described in my signature), all along feeling like a zombie, or a "Stepford Wife"…The happy zombie mom who doesn't complain about anything.

I think all my family and friends enjoyed my mellowness, but I totally lost my "piss and vinegar" and I passively missed my spark. I run my own business, and I have always been very successful. But over the last year, work has fallen by the wayside, and all I wanted to do is read, sleep and stay home.

 

"Enough!" I decided. It's time to get the old me back. So I have recently gone "cold turkey" because I need to figure things from my unmedicated baseline. After reading some forums, I decided to stop the meds. 

 

Question: Should I detail my cold-turkey experiences in the Tapering Forum, or that might be the absolutely wrong place for my details? Any direction is appreciated!

 

Thanks!

Edited by Karma
Added member name to introduction

Bounced between Cipralex, Wellbrutrin, Cymbalta, and Pristiq. Went Cold Turkey from Pristiq Jan 10 2014. Happily living to tell the tale!!!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Greenfrog, welcome to SA.  To start it is not a good idea to cold turkey an anti depressant! It is

quite common to feel euphoria in the early phase but that quickly changes.  You have had a lot of changes 

of drugs in the last 3 years and those will have had an effect on your brain and nervous system. 

 

Could you give us a bit more info about what you were on?  How long you were on each of them and when you quit 

pristiq?  

 

Thank you for the info so far, you can update this thread whenever you like, this will be your journal. 

 

I'm glad you joined us.  :)

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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  • Administrator

Hi Greenfrog,

 

Please feel free to detail your journey, here, in your introduction thread, not in the Tapering forum.  The Tapering forum is specifically to discuss various tapering techniques and going cold turkey is not a tapering technique.  We do not recommend going cold turkey off of these drugs. 

 

Monitor your symptoms and be honest with yourself about how you are feeling.  If you start having symptoms there is a small window of time in which to re-instate a portion of medication and find some level of stability.  From there you can slowly taper off and minimize the impact to your system.

 

There are those people who can stop the drugs without significant withdrawals, but there is no way to tell whether you are one of those people in advance of doing it.  Unfortunately, if you make it 3 months off of the drugs and then get hit with withdrawals, there is nothing we can recommend except to figure out how to get somewhat comfortable and ride it out. 

 

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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Hello Karma and  :)

 

I thank you both for your comments and welcome your guidance through my journey.  (In terms of more drug details, I will get exact details from the pharmacist, and post soon.)

 

I feel like I'm being given the drug shuffle…Basically, if I tell the doc that something doesn't feel right, he puts me on something else within a few minutes of the meeting, and then he's on to the next patient.

 

I read here that tapering from Pristiq involves going onto Prozac. I'm not sure whether my unwillingness to try yet another drug is part of my state of mind, but I just can't face more drugs for depression. I think I may have been misdiagnosed or maybe things have changed for me, but I need to stop so that I don't continue to be a zombie.

 

Let's me detail my C/T experience so far:

 

Sudden dizziness, followed by immediate diarrhoea (not fun in the middle of a shop!)

Insomnia 

Crazy Dreams (a bit more scary than the crazy dreams I had on the drugs)

Nausea (not as bad as morning sickness, but more just a sick feeling)

head ache

Hot flashes

Irritability

 

I'm 4 weeks into the C/T. I booked an appt with my doc to discuss this, and they gave me an appt at the end of Feb…So much for good health care. I guess I could have told them that it was an emergency, but maybe that's part of my zombie faze.  

 

I have visited a naturopath, who is doing some hormone testing, so I look forward to seeing what comes of that.

 

This past weekend, I totally lost it on the kids who were fighting. I am also finding it really hard to deal with noise and busy/crowded situations. These types of situations shut down all my coping skills, and it's like I short circuit and loose my mind. I don't know if that's withdrawal, because I was a bit like that before I started taking AD's. 

 

I'd like to find out if I have anxiety--I've never used that term for myself, as I don't feel anxious, but the inability to cope with noise is really my trigger for my yelling and feeling totally overwhelmed. 

 

I guess the real challenge for me is figuring out what to do. I don't know what to do next. Go to the doctor, go to the naturopath, cope by myself? I can't stand being a zombie any more, and so it's like being a raving lunatic is the alternative without drugs :lol:

 

I'll continue to write my thoughts, and any ideas on what I should do next are most welcome!

 

Green Frog.

 

 

 

 

Bounced between Cipralex, Wellbrutrin, Cymbalta, and Pristiq. Went Cold Turkey from Pristiq Jan 10 2014. Happily living to tell the tale!!!

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Hi Greenfrog

 

Your symptoms are 100% similar to mine in the early part of being drug free. Then after 5-6 weeks I was hit with the worst kind of anxiety and depression I could ever imagine. I reinstated and things got a little bit better.

 

Like others, I would recommend reinstating. How much, is impossible to say since we don`t have your drug history. There are members on this forum who are much better to give you advice on that once we know more about your drug history.

 

Welcome

08 Cipralex 10mg for about 6 months. 11-12 Cipralex 20mg. Unsuccesful WD. 12-13 Zoloft 100mg with Diazepam 10-20mg as needed for anxiety.
Fall 13 Tapering Zoloft 100->50->25->12,5->0 in 2,5 months and CT Diazepam. 12/24/13 RI Zoloft 12,5mg
.

1/21/14 11mg

3/18/14 9,9mg

2/18/14 8mg

4/22/14 7,6mg

5/5/14 7,2mg

5/12/14 -> cutting 0,5mg per week, holding when necessary.

8/18/14 -> cutting 0,25mg per week holding when necessary.

10/20/2014 -> cutting 0,1mg per week, holding when necessary.
12/28/2014 Jump!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

wanted to add exactly the same thing as moodyblues: after discontinuing my AD, at first everything seemed OK. Then it gradually went from bad to worse until some 40 days later I was hit with the most brutal symptoms I ever experienced (never before).

 

4 months after reinstating, I'm still not as I used to be before I threw my brain off the cliff as Alto here so accurately describes.

 

If only I had found this forum before...

 

I'm adding my experience so that you can make an informed decision. We all think we can beat it if we just endure long enough but what you have to endure here is patient tapering. Anything else can result in not only weeks or months but years of agony...

 

best,

 

bubble

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, greenfrog.

 

Cold turkey is a high-risk way of going off drugs. Since you've been off for a little while, reinstatement of a partial dose might save you months of recovery from withdrawal syndrome. I would try a half-dose.

 

Here is our topic on tapering Pristiq (was that your last drug?). It contains suggestions that pertain to a partial dose as reinstatement. Effexor is a possible substitute. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/

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 and welcome...

 

For me, I felt that the drugs I have taken over the years has actually made the depression issue worse.  Shuffling the brain chemistry is the reason....takes a good while for things to sort themselves out.

 

Nice to meet you.....getting the old you back sounds like a good plan.  These meds can cause that want to read, eat, sleep and not do anything syndrome.

 

Somewhere there has to be a balance of sorts:)

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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  • Administrator

Hi GF

 

You are suffering withdrawal symptoms based on your description.  All of the symptoms you have described are classic withdrawal symptoms.  Irritability is one of my definite signs that I've pushed my system too far.  The crazy dreams are another hallmark symptom for me.  I recommend that you monitor and rate your symptoms on a daily basis to see if you are improving or declining.  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1779-rate-symptoms-daily-to-catch-withdrawal-early/

 

I hope that by now you have taken Alto's advice and re-instated half of your original dose. You should notice that the symptoms start to minimize within about 4 days and should improve from there.  Once you feel stable then you can begin a careful taper.  That will allow you to maintain a quality of life while getting off of these drugs.

 

We completely understand that you do not want to keep shuffling from one drug to another.  We generally recommend that you stick with the devil you know rather than the one you don't know.  But in the case of Pristiq, the drug companies have made it very difficult to taper off of.  The link that Alto provided explains why a possible solution to safely coming off of Pristiq is to switch to Effexor.

 

Unfortunately doctors and naturopaths don't understand withdrawals.  Proceed with caution and stand your ground.  If the naturopath recommends a lot of supplements, I recommend that you try only one thing at a time and start at a low dose.  You might actually post here to get some guidance as to whether any of the recommendations could be problematic.  See how your system responds and be prepared to stop.  We find that once we have experienced withdrawals that our systems become hypersensitive to many things.

 

When you see your doctor, stand your ground.  Research the idea of switching to Effexor to do a gradual taper and if that seems acceptable to you, advocate for that.  Just because the doctor wants to switch you to another medication doesn't mean you have to do it.  As the patient you DO have a say in your own healthcare.

 

Karma

 

 

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Wow, you've gotten excellent advice here!

 

The pattern described by members here is typical and practically universal. I think it's the reason so many people who are started on ADs end up being told they "need" the drugs for life. People get through the initial stages of withdrawal and then get slammed three to six months out. That might not be in the cards for you, but given your history, I wouldn't expect a simple and smooth withdrawal. (That usually seems to happen primarily when people have a fairly short history on the meds and no changes or only one.) The fact that you're having the symptoms you're having now indicates that your CNS is sensitized, in my opinion. (I'm not a neurologist, however.)

 

Whatever you do, we wish you the best of luck and we will continue to support you as you go through whatever the future brings. However, please do think through the suggestions offered--a partial reinstatement now could save you a lot of suffering and in the end, a lot of time as well--because often when people hit that second stage they are told it's a "relapse" and put on more meds, or they have to restart something because their condition is just intolerable, and then it takes time to stabilize, and then farther down the road they want to get off the meds again and they are starting all over, when they could have been tapering for that whole time.

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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