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Daisy33: Started tapering and do not know what to do next


daisy33

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I have been on 20mg prozac for 12 years. I want to have a baby and get off of this. I changed to 10mg March 29. Then on May 1 I moved to 10mg every other day. I have had diarehea, headaches, difficulties sleeping and mood swings. Last week I was so angry. This week I am starting to feel a little paranoid--that others hate me and I feel lonely.

 

Do I need to get back on this stuff? I dont want to. I cannot tell if this is because I am "coming back to normal" or if I really need the Prozac? If this passes I will be okay. Right now I just feel awful.

On 20mg Prozac for 13 years.
10mg daily March 2014.
10mg every other day 5/1/14

cold turkey for 7 days

5mg daily since 5/28/14

then tapered every month--I cant even remember what the taper was at this point, but went from 5g june 1 to 0 Oct 1.

 

 

Any comments that are made by me are not professional advice/clinical or medical.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Sounds like classic withdrawal symptoms to me. Unfortunately at this point they're likely to get worse before they get better.

 

Taking any psych med every other day is a bad idea. The fluctuations in blood levels are like putting your brain through a blender. We recommend taking the same amount every day at the same time and then tapering that amount down slowly, with cuts of no more than 10% of the current dose at a time.

 

If you can easily get the liquid formulation, I'd suggest at this point going to a dose of 5-7 mg a day taken at the same time every day, and hold that dose until you stabilize. You could also go back to the 10 mg a day with the tablets you have, and buy yourself some time to learn about withdrawal and tapering and how to get or make a liquid to do that.

 

Here's our thread on tapering Prozac: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/759-tips-for-tapering-off-prozac-fluoxetine/

 

Also, in the Tapering section there are threads "pinned" at the top. I would recommend reading through those and the links they contain. In particular please read the one on tapering by 10% of your current dose.

 

I think if you reinstate now you'll probably find your withdrawal symptoms improving quickly, and you have every chance of being able to taper slowly and get off the Prozac and stay off it.

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 

 

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Daisy, welcome to SA.  Sorry that you are struggling with prozac withdrawal..

Many people see reinstating as failure  but  it is the best way to go, many people 

feel better quite quickly then taper successfully with the 10% method that Rhi has

suggested. 

 

It is well worth the taking the time to taper and get on with life without too much discomfort,

rather than suffering the awful withdrawal symptoms that can last months or longer. 

Glad you found us, this is the very best group on the 'net and everyone here understands. 

**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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I just want to be done with this. I have now not taken any since wed of last week. the weekend was not fun. I feel a little better than I did. If I just stick to this, I can be done, right? If the depression is going to come back --it doesnt really matter how I stop. I just want to feel normal and not have to take these pills anymore.

 

I hope to get pregnant in the next few months. I want to breastfeed. I cannot do this on the prozac.

 

What makes this even harder is I work in mental health--so I have to be sure and wear an extra tight mask!

On 20mg Prozac for 13 years.
10mg daily March 2014.
10mg every other day 5/1/14

cold turkey for 7 days

5mg daily since 5/28/14

then tapered every month--I cant even remember what the taper was at this point, but went from 5g june 1 to 0 Oct 1.

 

 

Any comments that are made by me are not professional advice/clinical or medical.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Daisy,

 

If you stick to your current path it's likely you're going to be sick for several years. Getting the drug "out of your system" is going to make things worse because your brain has adapted to having it and your brain isn't going to be happy at all if you jerk its support system away. I know from personal experience. I came off of Lexapro too fast, tapering over three and a half months, and it's taken me two and a half years to get close to normal again.

 

Antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs change the physical structure of the brain, which is why they take several weeks to have an effect. They kill off some receptors and grow new ones in a configuration that is abnormal.  When you stop taking a drug cold turkey, that abnormal configuration is still there and the brain takes a very long time to heal and get back into its original structure. I believe that withdrawal symptoms are signs of this struggle of the brain to normalize.

 

I don't understand the urgency about getting pregnant and you certainly don't have to tell us, but I'd really hate to go through withdrawal and the hormonal changes that go with pregnancy and birth at the same time.  Do yourself a big favor and go back on 2.5-5.0 mg. of Prozac daily, stabilize, and then taper off slowly. You have approximately thirty days from your last dose to reinstate.

 

And please read these:

 

Tips For Tapering Off Prozac

 

About Reinstating

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Daisy-

 

If I understand correctly, you quit taking Prozac cold turkey? From my own experience and hearing the experience of others I have to caution you against this... It's just a bad idea. I get the frustration and just wanting to be done with it/to get it over with. But I found out that's not how it works.

 

I'm tappering from Prozac now after a few cold turkey and a too fast tappering attempts. My last attempt was a too fast taper, albeit I didn't think so at the time. I must tell you, while the withdrawal during taper was a bit rough, nothing prepared me for what was to come 4 months after I swallowed my last Prozac capsule. I'd never been suicidal, but between the Akathisia, horrific anxiety and fatigue, depersonalizations, and this weird pathological self consciousness, among other things, I began to consider suicide as a viable option for making it all go away.

 

Please reconsider your decision to discontinue CT, Daisy.

1988-2012: Prozac @ 60mg to treat an eating disorder. Several unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.Fall 2012: Failed attempt to discontinue then -> 40mg Prozac and added 150mg Wellbutrin.Late summer 2013:Began slower Prozac taper.Spring 2014:Got to 10mg Prozac, 75mg of Wellbutrin -April 2014: 9mg Prozac & 37.5mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 9mg Prozac & 25 mg Wellbutrin 2x/day->9mg Prozac 1x/day & ~8mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 8.1mg Prozac, 0 WellbutrinSept '14: 8.1mg Prozac -> crashed hardOct '14: 10mg ProzacNov '14: 20mg -> 30mgDec '14: 30mg, Feb 10: 27mg. Mar 7: 25mg Mar 21, 2015: 20mg. May 21, 2016: 20mg and holding strong.

 

My experience: http://rxisk.org/antidepressant-withdrawal-a-prozac-story/

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Why dont the doctors tell you this stuff? I talked with several psychiatrists, and their recommendations were to:

1: just stop--it self tapers

2: taper by 5mg at a time

3: taper by 10mg at a time only over 2 weeks

 

all of the research data I can find shows that a short taper is all that is needed. Im so surprised by this tapering of 1mg at a time.

It makes this hard on who to trust--doctors cannot even agree on this. ARe the moderators on here psychiatrists?

I read about the liquid prozac and tapering..wouldnt this be absorbed by the body differently if taken this way?

 

I broke down yesterday and started back on 5mg. I guess I will try to see if this "stabilizes" after a while and then taper down from there. Im sorry I am just very angry right now. I work in mental health and I have NEVER heard of how intense coming off the meds can be, or how slow tapering is necessary. I hate to think I have recommneded these meds to clients for years....not realizing how hard it would be for them to get off i they wanted to. I am now questioning our tendency to put everyone on them so quickly.

 

Jemima: I agree with your point on effects of taking what my brain is used to away too quickly. I feel that after 12 years, I have surely changed my brain chemistry and it no longer works in a "natural" way but uses the prozac to function. I have just been told by multiple psychiatrists that it should not be such a profound change and that extreme tapering is not needed. I think they are wrong--obvious due to the sxs I have had the past few weeks.

 

about the pregnancy: I am about to turn 34 and just got married. I want children and do not want to wait much longer due to my age. But of course I will not start "trying" until I am feeling better--and normal--for a few months first.

 

Does anyone know of research on this slow tapering and what happens to your brain when you stop the prozac?

On 20mg Prozac for 13 years.
10mg daily March 2014.
10mg every other day 5/1/14

cold turkey for 7 days

5mg daily since 5/28/14

then tapered every month--I cant even remember what the taper was at this point, but went from 5g june 1 to 0 Oct 1.

 

 

Any comments that are made by me are not professional advice/clinical or medical.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. 

 

And check out the website cepuk.org.

 

Those will answer a lot of your questions about why you haven't been told this stuff before.

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 

 

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Also, please look at the charts in this paper, starting on about page 4. You will see why you absolutely must taper more slowly at lower doses.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6036-why-taper-paper-demonstrates-importance-of-gradual-change-in-plasma-concentration/

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 

 

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

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Do you know if the liquid is very different from hte capsule? I may ask the doctor for the liquid.....

 

thank you for the resources...I will check them out

On 20mg Prozac for 13 years.
10mg daily March 2014.
10mg every other day 5/1/14

cold turkey for 7 days

5mg daily since 5/28/14

then tapered every month--I cant even remember what the taper was at this point, but went from 5g june 1 to 0 Oct 1.

 

 

Any comments that are made by me are not professional advice/clinical or medical.

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  • Administrator
Altostrata

Welcome, Daisy33.

 

The liquid and capsule forms are technically interchangeable.

 

None of us are psychiatrists. We are peer counselors. This site and others like it exist because psychiatrists don't know how to get people off drugs safely. They are told withdrawal symptoms are trivial and last only a few weeks. This is a fiction promulgated by the drug companies that will take a very long time to die.

 

There are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of posts all over the Web from people whose experience going off psychiatric drugs, including Prozac, is quite different. Cold turkey is particularly high risk for developing severe withdrawal symptoms and prolonged post-discontinuation syndrome -- which medicine does not acknowledge at all.

 

So, you can believe those of us with this peer experience, or you can believe what doctors tell you about going off psychiatric drugs. What does your own body tell 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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  • Moderator Emeritus
areyouthere

Daisy33… I'm sorry that you are having to go through this and especially sorry that you have been a victim of the system TWICE..once as a consumer and once as a health professional.

 

That can't be easy. Wishing you all of the best and I would definitely pay attention to what folks are suggesting to you to read, do etc. And as Alto alludes to…. listen to your body. If you're feeling awful there is a reason & likely it is the drugs & your fast, misinformed taper.

 

Good luck!!!! It IS possible to taper off but not the way that you were hoping.

 

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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Thank you for your response. I have never really trusted psychiatrists...probably becuase I work too closely with them in my job. I am feeling major guilt now since I have sent patients to doctors who often overprescribe. I have seen antipsychotics and antidepressants change lives for the better....but now im questioning the cases that other options could have been pursued. I have always pushed therapy over meds but I see clients all the time who are started on meds prematurely. Since I have been to therapy and taken meds myself I feel I understand---i just have never experienced this frustration with trying to get off.

 

My comments here are personal and not professional or medical advice, btw.  

On 20mg Prozac for 13 years.
10mg daily March 2014.
10mg every other day 5/1/14

cold turkey for 7 days

5mg daily since 5/28/14

then tapered every month--I cant even remember what the taper was at this point, but went from 5g june 1 to 0 Oct 1.

 

 

Any comments that are made by me are not professional advice/clinical or medical.

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  • Administrator
Altostrata

I'm sure you will learn more about withdrawal syndrome here, and I hope you pass the knowledge along to your colleagues.

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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