Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
SidEffect

SidEffect. Same story, different person

Recommended Posts

SidEffect

I don’t know how much detail I need to go into here. I’m really even sure why I’m here, if I’m reaching out our journaling or what. Where do I start?

 

A short summary; I’ve been on Lexapro for at least a decade. Lately the side effects that I used to get when I would skip doses or try to quit started coming on when I wasn’t missing any. This was the last straw for me and I decided that this would be the time to kick for good. This is my first attempt with a Doctors’ knowledge and advice. I am seeing one of his P.A.s instead, because I don’t have good faith in my Doctor. It felt horrible walking into that office, but I’m trying not to hold it against the P.A. I don’t want to get side tracked but there is some anger there.

 

His orders are to take half my dose for two weeks, and then to take the half dose every other day for another two weeks. I am a week and a day in. The first week was great, really. The fog was lifting, the jitters were gone, no zaps, nothing! A little raw and tender sure, but I think that was just the numbness wearing off. I had a handle on it. The last couple of days though have been tough. Not depressed but just really sad. I’m managing, but I know things are going to get bumpier.


I have been on 10 mg Lexapro for at least 10 years. My Dr, has recommended that I take half a dose for 2 weeks and then skip every other dose for another two weeks.

 

Share this post


Link to post
dalsaan

Hi sidEffect

 

Welcome to the forum. When you get a chance can you fill out your signature. Instruction on how to do that are here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Your dr has provided standard advice on withdrawing. This kind of protocol has seen many members end up in deep withdrawal. We support a 10 percent taper regime. The following links provide derails of that and access to a thread specifically related to lexapro withdrawal

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

If you have any questions about this info or your experiences please don't hesitate to ask here. That's one purpose of your threads. Others do use them as a form of memory or avenue for journaling. That's up to you and what you think you need

 

All the best

 

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

Share this post


Link to post
bubble

Welcome from me too, another Lexapro victim.

 

I just want to underline the importance of what Dalsaan wrote. As somebody who went through hell from "tapering" Lexapro it makes my hair rise to see that doctors are again suggesting skipping doses! Very, very bad idea and you are already suffering from its consequences.

 

Since you have been on this kind of mistaken path for only a week and a half I would advise you to go back to the regular dose of 10 mg EVERY DAY and wait for your symptoms to go away before starting with a proper 10 % taper. This path is asking for a lot of trouble and pain which can last for months and even years unless you end up on more drugs and higher doses. 

 

I'm glad you have found this forum before things got even worse. You can come off safely while maintaining your quality of life but it will be much slower than doctors can imagine. 

 

Best,

Bubble


Current: 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. 

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Welcome, SidEffect.

 

As I understand it, you are taking a half-dose consistently, you haven't started skipping doses yet?

 

How much Lexapro are you taking?

 

If you are starting to get withdrawal symptoms, you might want to go back to a higher dose, as bubble suggested. 3/4 of your original dose may be sufficient. Liquid Lexapro makes measuring this more accurate.

 

Please be sure to take your dose at the same time every day.


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.

Share this post


Link to post
SidEffect

Hi everyone.

 

It didn’t take long looking around this site to see that my doctor’s advice isn’t in sync with this community’s findings. Can’t say I’m too surprised. I’m in a bit of a catch 22 though, because in order to have my Wife’s full support and blessing I need to be doing this through my doctor. I am supposed to see him again in a couple weeks though and at least I will be armed with this info.

 

To be honest I am feeling pretty good on the half dose (and yes, it is a half dose and not an every other day dose, though that is supposed to start next week.) Aside from a couple days of sadness things are going good so far. I didn’t have the sadness today, and that’s a good sign. I thought I felt the zaps coming on, but they didn’t. I think if worse came to worse I could manage with the 5mg dose. Much better than my ‘cold turkey’ attempts which I’m sure will surprise no one here.

 

I love the idea of a liquid and being able to get an accurate dose with small incremental decreases. Like I say, if this goes wrong I will have a new strategy to discuss with the doctor thanks to this community.


I have been on 10 mg Lexapro for at least 10 years. My Dr, has recommended that I take half a dose for 2 weeks and then skip every other dose for another two weeks.

 

Share this post


Link to post
bubble

Hello Sid,

 

I misunderstood your first post and thought you were already skipping doses. That's why I suggested going back on the regular schedule. 

 

It's your life, your health and your agony and pain. Therefore you should be the one to make decisions despite the fact that they affect your wife as well. You could tell her to read the information here.

 

This has already gone wrong and luckily you were able to stop it. But if you continue with the second part of the plan I'm afraid it's going to get a lot worse and then it will be very, very painful to discuss the new strategy. It will also take a lot of time and pain again for the new strategy to work. 

 

These charts will explain to you why we can get away with the kind of cut you did but why a similar strategy becomes very dangerous at lower doses: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6036-why-taper-paper-demonstrates-importance-of-gradual-change-in-plasma-concentration/

 

Just look at the graphs further down on the thread.

 

Again, it's your call. If I were you I'd take a long hold to help my CNS recover from this severe battering it took and then start a 10 % taper. You have the right to make your own decisions about your health and wellbeing since you are the one that will have to deal with their consequences. I would just like to spare you of the kind of suffering I endured for many months after stopping 2.5 mg of Lexapro.

 

This description of our member Rhi helped me immensely to understand what is going on in my brain. You might also want to show it to your wife so that she understands it's not about expunging the "substance" from your system but about regrowing a new brain after 10 years. 

 

Rhi on how drugs change our brains/regowing a new brain through tapering

 

A lot of people, including healthcare practitioners; in fact, I guess, most people-- are operating from entirely the wrong paradigm, or way of thinking, about these meds. They're thinking of them like aspirin--as something that has an effect when it's in your system, and then when it gets out of your system the effect goes away.

That's not what happens with medications that alter neurotransmitter function, we are learning.

What happens when you change the chemistry of the brain is, the brain adjusts its chemistry and structure to try to return to homeostasis, or biochemical and functional balance. It tries to restabilize the chemistry. 

For example: SSRI antidepressants work as "serotonin reuptake inhibitors." That is, they cause serotonin to remain in the space between neurons, rather than being taken back up into the cells to be re-used, like it would be in a normal healthy nondrugged brain.

So the brain, which wants to re-establish normal signaling and function, adapts to the higher level of serotonin between neurons (in the "synapse", the space between neurons where signals get passed along). It does this by removing serotonin receptors, so that the signal is reduced and changed to something closer to normal. It also decreases the amount of serotonin it produces overall. 

To do that, genes have to be turned on and off; new proteins have to be made; whole cascades of chemical reactions have to be changed, which means turning on and off OTHER genes; cells are destroyed, new cells are made; in other words, a complex physiologic remodeling takes place. This takes place over time. The brain does not grow and change rapidly. 

This is a vast oversimplification of the amount of adaptation that takes place in the brain when we change its normal chemistry, but that's the principle.

When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay.

When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse.

SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. 

It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. 

I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long. 

With multiple drugs and a history of drug changes and cold turkeys, all of this becomes even more complicated. And if a person is started on these kinds of drugs at an early age before the brain has ever completely established normal mature functioning--well, it can't be good. (All of which is why I recommend an extremely slow taper particularly to anyone with a multiple drug history, a history of many years on meds, a history of past cold turkeys or frequent med changes, and a history of being put on drugs at a young age.)

This isn't intended to scare people, but hopefully to give you some idea of what's happening, and to help you respect and understand the process so you can work with it; ALSO, because you are likely to encounter many, many people who still believe these drugs work kind of like aspirin, or a glass of wine, and all you need to do is stop and get it out of your system. 

Now you can explain to them that no, getting it out of your system is not the issue; the issue is, you need to regrow or at least remodel your brain. This is a long, slow, very poorly understood process, and it needs to be respected. 

 

Current: 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. 

Share this post


Link to post
SidEffect

Hi Bubble. When you say you would 'take a long hold' do you mean that you would stay at the new lower dose?


I have been on 10 mg Lexapro for at least 10 years. My Dr, has recommended that I take half a dose for 2 weeks and then skip every other dose for another two weeks.

 

Share this post


Link to post
simon

The aspect you mention about your wife's reaction to not following a doctors orders is a very relevant one to me!

The thinking on this site (and others for all I know) seems quite revolutionary compared to the status quo of the medical establishment and it kind of feels safe to put yourself in the hands or a medical professional. Especially if you really respect your doctor (as I do)

 

However its hard to ignore the thousands of users of these drugs who have realised that coming off quickly often does not work. I don't know what numbers are involved but I get the feeling that it must be a majority of users who don't make it in the traditional way. That's why so many stay on them, and in increased dosages for the long term. Maybe years after the original reason for being on them has passed. and resolved.

 

I know that my GP,who recently suggested a 6 week taper for an AD I am taking, was ill-informed. It meant that I had a 5 week period off it completely only to crash quite rapidly.

Had I found this site earlier and started taking responsibility for my own well-being, I would now be on a gradual taper of many months; a thing I fully intend to do when I stabilize.

So its important to explain to those around and affected by our behaviour, the wisdom of this course. After all its just a much slower, but safer version of what medics promote.

 

Simon


. Been on some kind of meds since 1982,mainly on and off things like imipramine.,2000 on75mg venlafaxine til it bottomed out, then 150, also no good. about 7 years. Almost ct from it and put on cocktail of  Cit, Mirt and Lithium. Remained there for 7 years.

Tapered Citalopram in June2014 and was off in 6 weeks. Mood slumped about 6 weeks later. Found this site sept 5th and got some idea why this happens.18th Sept stopped lorezepam and due to misunderstanding with GP was without it for 36 hours which caused a crisis.

from 19thsept 18mg diazepam to replace lorezepam(possible addiction) 24th sept 12 mg diaz per day. 29th sept 10mg diaz per day and tapering at 1-2mg per week. At 5mg will slow down taper. At same time increase of mirtazapine to 45mg per day.

Taking fish oil and magnesium as suggested on this site.

Also have menieres syndrome, a cause of vertigo, vomiting and partial loss of hearing, also very occasional drop attacks.

As of 8th October on; Mirtazapine 45mg, Citalopram 20mg Lithium 500mg Diazepam 6mg (tapering by 2mg per week) Fish oil and magnesium

As of 25th October Mirt 45mg, Citalopram20mg Lithium 700mg Diazepam12mg

As of 12th November Mirt 37.5 Cit.20mg Lithium 700mg Diazepam 8mg (to taper after 14 days by 10%)

As of 17th November Mirt 35mg Cit 18mg Lithium 600mg Diazepam 8mg (to taper after 14 days by 10%)

As of 25th November MIrt 35mg Cit 18mg Lithium 600mg Diazepam 7mg

As of 1st December MIrt 35 Cit 18mg Lithium 600mg         Diazepam 6mg  (been stable for the last 2 weeks)

GP intervention 19 December now on 150 Ven, 37.5 Mirt, 600 Lithium  Diazepam 7mg

Share this post


Link to post
bubble

Hi Bubble. When you say you would 'take a long hold' do you mean that you would stay at the new lower dose?

 

It would be very good if you could put the dates in your signature: when you dropped the dose and to how much. In that way it would be easier for you to monitor your symptoms as well. Since you seem to be stabilising at 5 mg (if I'm right in assuming), I think it would be a good idea to stay on that dose for maybe even a few months. I also first cut 10 mg of Lexapro to 5 mg and had almost no issues. I stayed there for 6 months. Then I cut to 2.5 mg (before I came here) but after 2 weeks the pharmacy ran out of stock and I thought i would be fine without such a small amount. Very big mistake!

 

So, yes: I would stay at 5 mg (if that's what you have been taking for 2 weeks now) for quite some time. If the symptoms get worse, you should consider updosing as Alto suggested but definitely no reducing.

 

Simon, thank you very much for sharing your experience. We all feel strange about trusting an internet forum instead of the established medical profession. But I stopped bothering about that after listening to medical profession caused me the most horrible suffering of my life and after some honest doctors admitted they didn't have a clue. It's hard for the general public and our families to accept this but that's how things are. When they see how well we are doing (as opposed to what we looked like before), they accept it.    


Current: 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. 

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy