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MusicMan23

MusicMan23: off Effexor, now on citalopram

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MusicMan23

Hi everyone and Alto!

 

A few months back (nov. 2013) I was prescribed 150mg Effexor because my depression wasn't "responding" to citalopram 40mg after a 'nervous breakdown'. Come to find out it was actually a horrible reaction that I was having to Ambien . . . horrible anxiety, fear and depression - suicidal thoughts. Anyway, I am beyond all that now, praise God.

 

However, I noted that I did not respond particularly well to the Effexor . . . dry eyes, dry mouth, ear pain and flu-like symptoms were just some of the fun I experienced while trying to acclimate to the medicine. I did some research and decided that I wanted off of this stuff, and knew the best way to do it quickly was to cross-taper back to citalopram, which I had been on many times in my past. I did it over a period of four weeks (150 down to 112.5 then to 75 then to 37.5 of effexor while dosing up from 10 to 20 to 30 to 40 of citalopram). I avoided the horrible effects of withdrawal for the most part, except for headaches, but now I'm three weeks out from completing the cross taper and I'm just now having extreme fatigue (even though I'm sleeping again 6 hrs or so / night) and droopy, painful, strained / fatigued eyes. I don't feel like I wake up until the afternoon some days! It comes and goes too, not consistently every day - varies in intensity.

 

My question is, is this normal to have a delay of symptoms even after a (seemingly) successful cross taper of medicines? My long term goal is to get completely off of citalopram (been on it off and on since 1998) . . . and I will be doing that VERY, VERY slowly, beginning six months from now.

 

Just want to make sure that it is withdrawal from Effexor and not some other health issue. I should also note that I never had any vision problems before Effexor, and have been checked by an eye doctor - no issues, 20/20 vision. I am 33 yrs old.

 

Thanks for all your help and responses!!

Edited by scallywag
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MusicMan23

I should also state that the eye pain / strain does develop into a headache, but only rarely. Also, my eyes are slow-moving sometimes.

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Altostrata

Welcome, MusicMan23
 

 

I did it over a period of four weeks (150 down to 112.5 then to 75 then to 37.5 of effexor while dosing up from 10 to 20 to 30 to 40 of citalopram). I avoided the horrible effects of withdrawal for the most part, except for headaches, but now I'm three weeks out from completing the cross taper and I'm just now having extreme fatigue (even though I'm sleeping again 6 hrs or so / night) and droopy, painful, strained / fatigued eyes.

 

 

It sounds to me like you might have gone up too high on the citalopram. 40mg is a hefty dose.

 

How long have you been taking 40mg?

Edited by Petu
name change

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MusicMan23

Thanks for respjnding, Alto. Well, I don't think it's the citalopram, as I've been on 40mg of citalopram for a total of 14 years ... and I don't recall ever having eye issues. However, with the effexor dry eyes we one of the first side effects I had. Unless my body has somehow become more sensitive to citalopram now than in the past?

 

Thanks again for your time.

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MusicMan23

Oh, and it's been3 weeks since I've been back on citalopram this time.

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MusicMan23

Oh, really? I've been on it at 40 mg for 3 weeks now. Should I just wait it out at this point, or should I really consider reducing it to 30 mg? Don't want to create more havoc. Thanks again -

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MusicMan23

It should subside either way though, right?

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Altostrata

With any drug, what's best for your body is taking the lowest effective dose. Side effects are dosage-related. Lower dosage, lower side effects. This also means you will have less to taper.

 

Although we are inculcated with the belief that more is better when it comes to psychiatric drugs, this is untrue. The myth about the drugs needing 6 weeks to "work" was promoted by pharmaceutical companies to keep people on the drugs past the side effects.

 

Higher doses of citalopram are associated with heart problems. There is no reason for you to continue to take a high dose of citalopram if a low dose would have fewer side effects and still forestall withdrawal symptoms.

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MusicMan23

So, do you think I've been at 40 mg too long at this point to step back down to 30 mg? Again, it's been 3 weeks at 40 mg.

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Altostrata

You might try decreasing by 5mg every 4 days.

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Rhiannon

Delayed withdrawal symptoms are common with ADs, so it makes sense that it might be possible to have delayed symptoms from a cross taper as well.

 

I would listen to Alto's advice regarding AD dosing. At least maybe try reducing by 5 mg and see what happens. 

 

I totally agree with your plan to stabilize on a workable dose of citalopram and then begin a safe and manageable taper. It might not actually take a full six months, but in my experience it's always better to err on the side of conservative, when it comes to drug withdrawal. (And that is very much NOT my inherent personality, I got here the hard way!)

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Altostrata

Switching drugs doesn't always work, and you get withdrawal symptoms from the first drug even if you're on another.

 

It seems you have had adverse effects from all the drugs you've tried. Please consider carefully going off all psychiatric drugs and utilizing non-drug treatments for your "depression."

 

This is a forum for going off drugs. We can't recommend what drugs to go onto if you are planning long-term drug treatment. Switching drugs carries risks, as you have discovered.

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MusicMan23

Alto, please don't misunderstand. I have no intention of remaining on medicene. I started this thread to try and understand some symptoms of switching from effexor to citalopram. I simply want the symptoms to abate so that I can stabilize before coming off of the ADs permanently.

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tezza

Hi jb, Welcome! Sorry you're struggling with this, hopefully you'll feel better soon.

 

I was looking at your signature and noticed you weaned off the Ambien - December2013 and started the Effexor - at same time...if that's what happened, how did you know for sure which were side effects and which were WDs?

 

It does sound like you react adversely to psych drugs. It will get better but it takes time.

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Altostrata

That's a very good point, Tezza.

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MusicMan23

Hi Tezza, thanks for your input. I guess I don't know for sure, except that side effects /WD symptoms from each appear to fit neatly with what I experienced; for example, the ear thing is all but undocumented with ambien, whereas effexor is known to be ototoxic. Regardless, it sounds like the fatigue and and eye issues are brought on by medicene, which is the reason I started this thread to begin with. And the eye pain has subsided a bit already, which leads me to believe that the fatigue and dry eyes will follow suit shortly. I'm praying that it does so that I can stabilize for a few months to let my life get back to normal ... and then I can begin the process to get off this junk for good.

 

I will say that I still have trouble believing that, while in the 14 years I was on citalopram at 40mg I never had any discernable issues, I might just now be having an adverse response. I guess 'stranger things have happened'. . .

 

Anyway, thank you all for your input and care for my well being.

 

God bless - :)

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MusicMan23

Hi everyone, shortly after my last post I tapered down to 20mg citalopram. I think it definitely helped, but I still have extreme fatigue somedays, and it doesn't appear to correlate to how well or poorly I've slept the night before. So I'm just wondering, is this fatigue 'par for the course' since I've come off of so many different drugs in the past few months and decreased the AD? It's been about 2 months now. I'm ready to have energy again!! Thx everyone!

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Altostrata

Fatigue can be a withdrawal syndrome. Be patient, it can take a long time for your nervous system to recover, as in many months.

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MusicMan23

Thanks for the info, Alto. What can I do, if anything, to combat the fatigue. Vitamins? Minerals?

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Lexy

i need help with the fatigue also.  I feel as if I am sleeping my life away, although i guess its better than the opposite.

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Altostrata

You might try a VERY small dose of vitamin B12 and methylfolate early in the day. They can be stimulating. Who knows, maybe you're low in those vitamins. See the topics in the Symptoms forum.

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MusicMan23

Alto, I've now been in a phase for a couple of weeks where I'm lightheaded and get headaches a lot, often times as soon as I wake up in the morning. I also have a real hard time waking up some days. But I am sleeping consistently for the first time in a long time. I'm still at 20 mg citalopram, as my wife is pregnant and life will have enough change for me soon enough without reducing my AD ... I'm afraid to reduce any more at this point. Thoughts? Are these headaches and lightheadedness just more symptoms? Thanks!!

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Petunia

It sounds like you are doing much better and if I were you, I would continue to hold at 20mg.  The headaches and lightheadedness are most likely withdrawal symptoms, how long does it usually last for?  Its a good idea to makes notes of your symptoms so you can keep track of them.  Sometimes drinking more water can reduce headaches.

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MusicMan23

Hi Petu, thanks for your response. Somedays the headaches are with me all day, somedays they go away and then come back, and then somedays they go away and stay away. I'm just ready for this rollercoaster to be over with ... but I know I have to be patient. Thx again.

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Rhiannon

Ha! read your sig line.

 

Actually tapering is much, much slower than watching paint dry. More like watching hair grow. Or mountains erode.

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MusicMan23

Sorry, I dont follow, Rhi. What is your point?

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Rhiannon

Oh, no point, I was just amused by your sig line where you said you're going to taper very slowly, like watching paint dry. I was just sardonically extending the joke.

 

Big disadvantage to not being able to hear "tone of voice" when communicating via writing online only. Consider mine "wry."

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Altostrata

jb -- Do you still have the eye pain? This could be light sensitivity.

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MusicMan23

Yes, I still have the eye pain on occassion, worst when I spend too much time in front of the computer screen or tv. My eyes are, and have always been, pretty sensitive to light.Thx

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Altostrata
MusicMan23

Hey all, just wanted to update and get some feedback from you wise lot of folks!! :)

 

So its now been 7 months since returning to citalopram (initially prescrbed 40 mg again 3rd week Jan '14) and  5 months since  reducing to 20 mg (1st week of March). My wife is pregnant with our first child (due Nov 2), and so I'm going to continue to hold at 20 mg until life settles back down a bit after getting crazy for a little while after his birth. I am and have been sleeping much more regularly, even great on occasion, however, the fatigue is a constant reminder that something isn't quite right, and now depression, anxiety, restlessness are showing up now and again . . . . suicidal thought out of nowhere yesterday, and got me down for the whole day . . . a little better today, though!

 

The question I have is, am I in withdrawal still, is it protracted withdrawal, can I expect more and various symptoms to come and go in the coming months, how can I better manage my symptoms, etc.? Any advice?

 

I really appreciate all your wisdom - God Bless you all! :)

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Altostrata

Thanks for checking in with us, MM.

 

You may be suffering adverse effects from citalopram; fatigue is a common adverse effect.

 

Consider strengthening your nervous system overall. Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see

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

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

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MusicMan23

Thanks alto. You think it could be the citalopram, even though I've been off an on this stuff for years and never had this reaction to it before?

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Altostrata

Your nervous system is not the same as it was years ago.

 

Please keep notes on paper about your daily symptom pattern relative to when you take your drugs. This may help figure out if its the citalopram.

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MusicMan23

Wow, it's been a while. The last time I posted my wife was pregnant ... now my son is 2! It's been a bit of a Rollercoaster becoming a dad, and I didn't even try to reduce citalopram until 10/2016 ... and of course, I cut too much - I reduced it to 10mg. After roughly a month and a half I reinstated to 15 mg. I found a doctor that will work with me in reducing the drug more slowly - I'm happy about that.

 

Anyway, the last time I corresponded it looks like I was dealing with fatigue ... unfortunately I can confidently say it is worse than ever now, and not relieved by sleep.

 

I guess to get to the point, I am wondering if this sounds like withdrawal syndrome at this point (again)? And have I screwed myself up as of 2013, since I've never really felt my energy levels totally return for good. Don't get me wrong, I have definitely had some good days, but tiredness seems to be the norm. Just wanting to make sure I don't have adrenal fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome.

 

Thoughts are much appreciated! God bless!

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