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Risperdrawlin

Risperdrawlin: Trying to come off all psychiatric medication eventually

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Risperdrawlin

Hi Everyone,

 

I'm glad this site exists. As it says in my title I'm trying to eventually come off all psychiatric medications that I'm on. I currently take:

 

0.375 mg Risperdal (after about 1.5 years at 2 mg)

50 mg Lamictal

100 mg Zoloft

 

Right now I am trying to taper off of Risperdal. I just spoke to the compounding pharmacy today and should have the liquid form in three or four days for more precise tapering.

 

My history: I entered therapy when I was 18 as a senior in high school in February 2010. I started taking Welbutrin, then added Zoloft, then stopped taking Welbutrin. In the summer of 2012, after my sophomore year of college, my psychiatrist let me decrease my dose of Zoloft from I think 100 mg to 50 mg. In March 2013, I was admitted to a mental hospital and put on Lithium, Risperdal, and Cogentin, and my dose of Zoloft was increased to 100 mg. In December 2013 I came off the Lithium cold turkey. I think I stopped taking the Cogentin (meant for shakiness/muscle spasms) then as well. So from December 2013 to June 2014 I only took 2 mg Risperdal and 100 mg Zoloft. In June 2014 I was suicidal and put on 50 mg Lamictal. In August 2014 I graduated college (George Mason University in Fairfax, VA-- Northern Virginia) and returned to the Philadelphia, PA area where I'm from. I'm currently enrolled in a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy program here. I meditate daily and that has helped me a lot.

 

If you have any questions about me feel free to ask! Thanks for reading!

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Risperdrawlin

Hi,

 

I hope we are able to relate and help each other out. I'm currently coming off Risperdal and am down to 0.375 mg from 2 mg. The compounding pharmacy said they should have the liquid form ready in three or four days, so I will probably cut my dose to 0.32 mg. I have been on 0.375 mg for about three weeks and have mostly stabilized, I think. Before 0.375 mg, I had been cutting by .125 mg per week from .75 mg. So .75 mg for one week, then .625 for a week, then .5 for a week, then .375 for a week, then I tried .25 but was not able to cope and so went back up to .375, which I am on now.

 

I have also experienced trouble with my memory coming off Risperdal. I also enjoy talking with my therapist and getting feedback. Also also, I think I'm learning how to deal with feelings. When I came off the Risperdal too fast (I went from 1 mg to 0) I experienced just a lot of emotion with not much meaning. 

 

I also might have had an obsessive and somewhat unstable personality before taking Risperdal, though I don't appear all that impulsive. On Risperdal I appear calm, I think, and on the higher dose I appeared flat. I think right now I appear somewhat flat. Going from 2 mg to 0.375 brought my affect back.

 

Meditation is also immensely helpful for me. 

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Frustrated

Welcome!  I hope you find this site very helpful.  I love it here.  I don't know about your specific meds but the moderators will be here soon and they are in a better position to help you.  Listen to them.  They are very nice and offer good advice.  I just wanted to welcome you.

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Risperdrawlin

Thank you!

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Rhiannon

OMG you have really been through the med wringer. I'm so sorry (and angry at the people who did that to you.  And your brain is still developing. That just drives me up the wall.)

 

We can absolutely help you get off your meds, but it's not going to be fast.

 

With a history like yours (started on psych drugs while your brain was still not fully adult, switched around on multiple drugs, and from your reactions to the drugs it sounds like you're pretty sensitive to drugs and drug changes with a tendency to have postponed withdrawal reactions) it's going to take a lot longer to do it safely than you expect it to or want it to. But please consider investing the time and doing it right. At your age and with your history you do have the chance to do it right and get it over with and never have to go back there again.

 

Unfortunately, in my experience, most people think they can do it faster than they can, and then they end up in more trouble and on more drugs, and the whole process drags out for years before they really take it as slowly as it needs to go and finally do it right (or more likely, they end up on drugs their whole lives).

 

Before you start to taper please read through the pinned topics at the top of the Tapering section and follow those links. There's a lot of great information there.

 

Welcome to the forum!

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mammaP

It sounds like you are experiencing some withdrawal symptoms, so it might be best for you to hold 

your taper for a while to allow your brain and nervous system to catch up and stabilise.  I know you 

want to be off it and I don't blame you one bit but holding for a while will help you to get off successfully. 

 

When you are stable you can then start to taper again, and maybe a bit slower. with longer between drops.

 

Here is the topic for tapering risperdal  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1716-tips-for-tapering-off-risperdal-risperidone/

 

The 3 KIS, the most important things to remember about tapering. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6632-the-rule-of-3kis-keep-it-simple-keep-it-slow-keep-it-stable/

 

I'm glad that you found us, we can help you to get free of those drugs safely.  :)

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Risperdrawlin

Hi,


 


I hope we are able to relate and help each other out. I'm currently coming off Risperdal and am down to 0.375 mg from 2 mg. The compounding pharmacy said they should have the liquid form ready in three or four days, so I will probably cut my dose to 0.32 mg. I have been on 0.375 mg for about three weeks and have mostly stabilized, I think. Before 0.375 mg, I had been cutting by .125 mg per week from .75 mg. So .75 mg for one week, then .625 for a week, then .5 for a week, then .375 for a week, then I tried .25 but was not able to cope and so went back up to .375, which I am on now.


 


I have also experienced trouble with my memory coming off Risperdal. I also enjoy talking with my therapist and getting feedback. Also also, I think I'm learning how to deal with feelings. When I came off the Risperdal too fast (I went from 1 mg to 0) I experienced just a lot of emotion with not much meaning. 


 


I also might have had an obsessive and somewhat unstable personality before taking Risperdal, though I don't appear all that impulsive. On Risperdal I appear calm, I think, and on the higher dose I appeared flat. I think right now I appear somewhat flat. Going from 2 mg to 0.375 brought my affect back.


 


Meditation is also immensely helpful for me. 


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Risperdrawlin

Thanks for your responses Rhi and MammaP. I actually meant to post my second comment in this thread (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1716-tips-for-tapering-off-risperdal-risperidone/) (the one that mammaP linked to) but I guess it is good to have the information here. Thanks for your support. I admit I might have gone a bit fast with my drops up to this point. I have now been on .375 mg for 22 days. If you guys have any input on how long you think I should stay at .375 mg I'd be happy to hear it, but I'm not guaranteeing I'll listen. When I decide to drop I'll probably go down to 0.32-0.34 mg (I'll choose a definite number, I just haven't decided yet). FYI I think you guys should know I have mostly stabilized on 0.375 mg of Risperdal. I'm functioning better than I was, not dealing with as much or possibly any memory difficulty, and am somewhat flat again.

 

Thanks again for your input, empathy, and compassion.

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mammaP

Thanks for your responses Rhi and MammaP. I actually meant to post my second comment in this thread (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1716-tips-for-tapering-off-risperdal-risperidone/) (the one that mammaP linked to) but I guess it is good to have the information here. Thanks for your support. I admit I might have gone a bit fast with my drops up to this point. I have now been on .375 mg for 22 days. If you guys have any input on how long you think I should stay at .375 mg I'd be happy to hear it, but I'm not guaranteeing I'll listen. When I decide to drop I'll probably go down to 0.32-0.34 mg (I'll choose a definite number, I just haven't decided yet). FYI I think you guys should know I have mostly stabilized on 0.375 mg of Risperdal. I'm functioning better than I was, not dealing with as much or possibly any memory difficulty, and am somewhat flat again.

 

Thanks again for your input, empathy, and compassion.

I would say a month at the very least, but it is entirely up to you. Listen to your body. When you are feeling  as well as you were before starting to taper, 

hold for a little while just to allow your bran to rest a wee bit, then restart your taper.  This allows your nervous system to catch up and reach homeostasis.

If you go faster than your body can cope with you will always have some withdrawal symptoms and they will hang around once you have stopped.

Everyone is different and there is no real time frame, some can taper very quickly and be ok, but you have had many meds and need to be especially

careful. Going very slowly allows you to 'sneak' away the drug without your brain suffering. You can get on with life and not feel the effects of withdrawal.

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Risperdrawlin

mammaP right that's what I was thinking. I have now been on .375 mg for 25 days since increasing from .25 mg and I'm feeling better. I think I might stay at .375 mg a little longer. It is nice to be able to function (that sounds funny) and hopefully when I'm off the drug I'll be able to function somewhat similarly to how I am now and won't be a completely emotional mess. Thanks for your input.

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Altostrata

Hello, Risperdrawlin. Please put your questions about your taper in this topic.

 

You've done a great job getting down to your present level of Risperdal.

 

Why was the Lamictal added?

 

Please put ALL the drugs you take in the Drug Interactions Checker http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.htmland post the results in this topic.
 

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Risperdrawlin

Thanks Altostrata and thanks for checking in. The Lamictal was added because I was suicidal in Fairfax, VA at the beginning of this summer (June 2014). 

 

 

I have a question which I will pose in the tapering forum if you guys think that is appropriate: I just obtained a liquid compounded prescription of Risperdal to taper off of it. The liquid is 0.25 mg/mL. I also have 0.25 mg pills. I take 0.375 mg per night. Is it okay to take 1 pill and 0.5 mL of liquid per night? If I take 1.5 mL of the liquid every night I will go through it in 20 days instead of 30 (it's a 30 day supply) and so taking only the liquid will cost me a little bit more.

 

 

Here are my drug interaction checker results: http://www.drugs.com/interactions-check.php?drug_list=1787-14033,1430-848,2019-1305,3205-14523,2057-1348&types[]=major&types[]=minor&types[]=moderate&types[]=food

 

Interactions between your selected drugs
interaction-2-big.png sertraline ↔ risperidone

Applies to: Zoloft (sertraline), Risperdal (risperidone)

Consumer information for this interaction is not currently available.

MONITOR: Theoretically, concurrent use of two or more drugs that can cause QT interval prolongation may result in additive effects and increased risk of ventricular arrhythmias including torsade de pointes and sudden death. The risk of an individual agent or a combination of these agents causing ventricular arrhythmia in association with QT prolongation is largely unpredictable but may be increased by certain underlying risk factors such as congenital long QT syndrome, cardiac disease, and electrolyte disturbances (e.g., hypokalemia, hypomagnesemia). In addition, the extent of drug-induced QT prolongation is dependent on the particular drug(s) involved and dosage(s) of the drug(s).

MANAGEMENT: Caution and clinical monitoring are recommended if multiple agents associated with QT interval prolongation are prescribed together. Patients should be advised to seek prompt medical attention if they experience symptoms that could indicate the occurrence of torsade de pointes such as dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, palpitation, irregular heart rhythm, shortness of breath, or syncope.

interaction-2-big.png sertraline ↔ lamotrigine

Applies to: Zoloft (sertraline), Lamictal (lamotrigine)

Using sertraline together with lamoTRIgine may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people may also experience some impairment in thinking and judgment. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications. Avoid driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medications affect you. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

Switch to professional interaction data

interaction-2-big.png risperidone ↔ lamotrigine

Applies to: Risperdal (risperidone), Lamictal (lamotrigine)

Using risperiDONE together with lamoTRIgine can increase your blood levels of risperiDONE. This can cause side effects such as excessive drowsiness, dizziness, increase in heart rateicon1.png, seizures, and tremors. Talk with your doctor before using these medications together, and report any side effects promptly. You may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take both medications. Avoid driving until you know how these medications will affect you. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

Switch to professional interaction data

No other interactions were found between your selected drugs.
Note: this does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other drugs that your selected drugs interact with Interactions between your selected drugs and food
interaction-2-big.png risperidone ↔ food

Applies to: Risperdal (risperidone)

RisperiDONE oral solutionicon1.png should not be mixed with tea or cola. It may be taken with water, coffee, orange juice, or low-faticon1.png milk. Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of risperiDONE. You may feel more restless, drowsy, dizzy, and experience blurred vision if you take if with alcohol.

Switch to professional interaction data

interaction-1-big.png sertraline ↔ food

Applies to: Zoloft (sertraline)

Consumer information for this minor interaction is not currently available. Some minor drug interactions may not be clinically relevant in all patients. Minor drug interactions do not usually cause harm or require a change in therapy. However, your healthcare provider can determine if adjustments to your medications are needed. 

For clinical details see professional interaction data.

 

Thanks for reading!

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Altostrata

Thanks Altostrata and thanks for checking in. The Lamictal was added because I was suicidal in Fairfax, VA at the beginning of this summer (June 2014). 

 

 

I have a question which I will pose in the tapering forum if you guys think that is appropriate: I just obtained a liquid compounded prescription of Risperdal to taper off of it. The liquid is 0.25 mg/mL. I also have 0.25 mg pills. I take 0.375 mg per night. Is it okay to take 1 pill and 0.5 mL of liquid per night? If I take 1.5 mL of the liquid every night I will go through it in 20 days instead of 30 (it's a 30 day supply) and so taking only the liquid will cost me a little bit more.

 

....

 

Yes, you can take part of your dose as a tablet and part as liquid.

 

How are you feeling now?

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Risperdrawlin

Hi,

 

I am currently on 0.375 mg of Risperdal per night. A few months ago I was on 2 mg per night. For the past approximately 7 weeks I have held at 0.375 mg per night in order to stabilize after cutting 13-25% a week for about a month. I plan to stay at 0.375 mg for 2 more weeks and then make a 13% reduction before holding for possibly a month. As time has passed and my time holding at 0.375 mg has increased from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 5 and especially to 6 and 7 weeks, I have noticed myself become more like how I was on 2 mg. I have less anxiety. My affect is flatter. I appear calm. I've been acting a bit more like how I was acting on 2 mg. 

 

I sometimes spend time wondering who is the "Real Me". I feel a bit like this drug, which supposedly reduces agitation, is a bit like a steroid--a performance enhancer. I feel like it's considered cool for a normal person to be somewhat unemotional, and I think that is how I appear. I'm wondering if I appear secure, and if I really am. 

 

I'm wondering a bit what it is going to be like when I cut my dosage of Risperdal slightly, though I imagine it is going to be pretty similar to how I feel now because I'm planning to not cut much and to possibly taper slowly. My main question is, what is it going to be like and how am I going to look psychologically when I'm completely off Risperdal? If anyone has successfully tapered off Risperdal at a slow, healthy rate I would love to hear any insight you have. I imagine I will be more able to speak emotionally (to have affect in my voice). 

 

I'm also on Lamictal, which I imagine might complicate this discussion, and Zoloft.

 

Thanks for reading!

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

RD,

 

I moved this topic you started in Symptoms to here in your personal topic as it concerns you only, and not a discussion of a symptom that many may have in common in the course of their withdrawal from any drug.

 

That drug combo is particular to your experience and other members may be able to chime in on how those drugs have affected them as they withdrew from them.

No one (including you) will ever be able to predict how you will be when you come off the drug. You will tell US, your experience is unique.

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Risperdrawlin

Ok cymbaltawithdrawal5600, fair enough. I was following Altostrata's advice to start a topic in the Symptoms forum. He said that here- http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1716-tips-for-tapering-off-risperdal-risperidone/?p=120498. I see now what I wrote was more about me and less about people's experiences being on or off Risperdal. I'm going to make a topic posing the question for anyone- I assume that's ok and that the issue was that I made the thread about me and people predicting what might happen to me. If it's not okay, feel free to delete it, but please let me know why.

 

Thanks for keeping the site tidy.

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Yep, you got it! Symptoms: discussion on things common to everybody. You and your particular symptoms: your topic. So what Alto suggested was a broad topic about how people felt AFTER they got off antipsychotics:

 

 

how people felt when they were off antipsychotics such as Risperdal.

 

There are other a/p's and we don't have too much info as to how people feel after being on them so that is why starting a topic like that could be helpful. I for one would be interested on how you think it affected your 'thinking processes' before, after and while on it.

 

This would help start the discussion, I think:

 

 

I have noticed myself become more like how I was on 2 mg. I have less anxiety. My affect is flatter. I appear calm. I've been acting a bit more like how I was acting on 2 mg. 

 

I sometimes spend time wondering who is the "Real Me". I feel a bit like this drug, which supposedly reduces agitation, is a bit like a steroid--a performance enhancer. I feel like it's considered cool for a normal person to be somewhat unemotional, and I think that is how I appear. I'm wondering if I appear secure, and if I really am.

 

Is about you, yes, but with a point: changing experiences that others might have with drugs in this class.

 

I hope I haven't confused you more with this.... it is more on how you word it to elicit responses from people with experience with the same kind of drug.

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Jim24

Right now ive been off Risperidone for almost 5 months now and still dont have my emotions,personality and Im still haveing cognition problums like memory and communication skills im sure we can support eachother 

 

and do you know what this means http://www.ncbi.nlm....ubmed/16870886  what do they mean by risperidone 

irreversibly binds to and inactivates the h5-HT7 serotonin receptor 

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Your link didn't work, I was going to try to help. It had some garbage trailing it, did you use the 'link command' in the post editor?

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16870886

 

They tested risp on a 'cell line' they manufactured (to me it implied 'in vitro' (in glass, like a perti dish or a test tube, not a human body) and they thought the result they obtained when they hit the cells with a dose of risp caused an irreversable binding reaction. They want to extrapolate that to an 'in vivo' (in a live body) scenario but I don't think that was ever done. It is an area for further study.

 

Please, anyone else jump in if I mis-translated the journal-eze.

 

Jim 24, please feel free to post also in RD's thread in Symptoms regarding how you are feeling off risperdone.

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Jim24

Ok good I thought it permanently blocked it thanks for looking into it. 

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Risperdrawlin

Thanks for the clarification of in vitro/ in vivo and of the article cymbaltawithdrawal5600. 

 

It is definitely worrisome to me that Risperdal might block a receptor permanently, but in the abstract it only mentioned the receptor being blocked for 24 hours.

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

 

but in the abstract it only mentioned

 

You read that WHOLE article on molpharm? Wow, I couldn't even skim it much less read it with great intelligence.

 

It is just not helpful to read stuff like that, trust me. You'll have a better time of it and heal faster watching kitten vids on youtube.

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Risperdrawlin

Noo haha. I didn't read the whole article! Hahaha

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Risperdrawlin

Hi everyone, 

 

I just wanted to update since I just cut a bit off my Risperdal dose. Also I hope you notice the Flat Stanley picture (get it??). I cut from 0.375 mg Risperdal nightly to 0.25 mg yesterday. Here is my taper history:

 

Risperdal Taper History

 

April 2013-October 2014: 2 mg nightly

10/7/2014-10/25/2014: 1 mg

10/25/2014-10/27/2014: 0 mg (tried to come off--possible misunderstanding with psychiatrist that I believe was his fault), experienced significant withdrawal effects

10/28 or 29 /2014- 11/5/2014: 0.75 mg (weekly cuts)

11/6/2014-11/12/2014: 0.625 mg

11/13/2014-11/19/2014: 0.5 mg

11/20/2014- 11/26/2014: 0.375 mg

11/27/2014- 12/1/2014: 0.25 mg, experienced significant withdrawal effects, returned to 0.375 mg nightly and began hold to stabilize. Decided to hold for one month, then another (63 days- 9 weeks- 2 months 1 day)

12/2/2014- 2/3/2014: 0.375 mg

2/4/2014: 0.25 mg (33% drop) (planning to hold for 1 or 2 months)

 

I decided to reduce to 0.25 mg because I had flat affect and was feeling similar to how I felt on 2 mg. I figured it would be a good idea to make a relatively large cut so that I could come off fast and so that I would feel the effects of coming off the drug. I was having trouble being on 0.375 mg and I was feeling similar to how I felt on 2 mg ("I cannot bear being on this dose and I need to cut it now"). Today I woke up and felt a significant amount of fear. I had not really felt fear recently (due to holding the same dose of Risperdal for 2 months and becoming flat, etc). If I continue to feel how I felt today or begin to feel more flat, I will know that my body has handled this reduction of Risperdal. I think there is a good chance that I will feel even more fear than I felt today as time passes with this lower dose. If I find that I am feeling severe withdrawal effects like I felt on 0 mg and 0.25 mg the first time, I will reinstate at 0.375 mg, hold until I am stable, and then probably reduce 13% to 0.325 mg nightly. I think there is a good chance that in 5 days I'm a mess and will need to do that. We will have to see.

 

Thanks for reading, would love to hear from you.

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Jim24

Hey have you totally stopped the evil risperidone yet? and how are you doing?

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Risperdrawlin

Hey, just wanted to provide an update. I'm planning to cut from 0.125 mg to 0.0625 mg tonight. Thanks for asking how I'm doing Jim! I'm doing ok. As you can tell, I'm not off Risperdal yet.


 


I'm planning to jump off after a month or two on 0.03 or 0.01 mg. If anyone has any experience or info on jumping off safely and an appropriate dose at which to do so, I'd love to hear it.


 


Risperdal Taper History


 


April 2013-October 2014: 2 mg nightly


10/7/2014-10/25/2014: 1 mg


10/25/2014-10/27/2014: 0 mg (tried to come off--possible misunderstanding with psychiatrist that I believe was his fault), experienced significant withdrawal effects


10/28 or 29 /2014- 11/5/2014: 0.75 mg (weekly cuts)


11/6/2014-11/12/2014: 0.625 mg


11/13/2014-11/19/2014: 0.5 mg


11/20/2014- 11/26/2014: 0.375 mg


11/27/2014- 12/1/2014: 0.25 mg, experienced significant withdrawal effects, returned to 0.375 mg nightly and began hold to stabilize. Decided to hold for one month, then another (63 days- 9 weeks- 2 months 1 day)


12/2/2014- 2/3/2014: 0.375 mg


2/4/2015: 0.25 mg (33% drop) (spent 63 days on 0.375 mg as stated above)


3/24/2015: 0.125 mg (50% drop) (spent 47 days (6 weeks 5 days) on 0.25 mg)


5/18/2015: 0.0625 mg (50% drop) (spent 54 days (7 weeks 5 days) on 0.125 mg)


 


Thanks for reading!


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Risperdrawlin

Updates: Tonight I did not take any Risperdal. On 6/7/2015 I cut from 0.0625 mg to 0.025 mg (60% cut). I had been on 0.0625 mg for 19 days. I had been at 0.025 mg for 12 days before deciding to try to jump off tonight. We will see how it goes!

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Risperdrawlin

Risperdal Taper History


 


April 2013-October 2014: 2 mg nightly


10/7/2014-10/25/2014: 1 mg


10/25/2014-10/27/2014: 0 mg (tried to come off--possible misunderstanding with psychiatrist that I believe was his fault), experienced significant withdrawal effects


10/28 or 29 /2014- 11/5/2014: 0.75 mg (weekly cuts)


11/6/2014-11/12/2014: 0.625 mg


11/13/2014-11/19/2014: 0.5 mg


11/20/2014- 11/26/2014: 0.375 mg


11/27/2014- 12/1/2014: 0.25 mg, experienced significant withdrawal effects, returned to 0.375 mg nightly and began hold to stabilize. Decided to hold for one month, then another (63 days- 9 weeks- 2 months 1 day)


12/2/2014- 2/3/2014: 0.375 mg


2/4/2015: 0.25 mg (33% drop) (spent 63 days on 0.375 mg as stated above)


3/24/2015: 0.125 mg (50% drop) (spent 47 days (6 weeks 5 days) on 0.25 mg)


5/18/2015: 0.0625 mg (50% drop) (spent 54 days (7 weeks 5 days) on 0.125 mg)


6/7/2015: 0.025 mg (60% drop) (spent 19 days (2 weeks 5 days) on 0.0625 mg)


6/20/2015: NO Risperdal, trying to jump off (100% drop) (spent 12 days on 0.025 mg) (We will see how it goes!)


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Petunia

Congratulations on your jump Risperdrawlin :) That's great news. Please let us know how you are.

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Risperdrawlin

Thanks Petunia! I am doing pretty well! I definitely noticed the jump, but no severe problems so far, and I feel less symptoms than I did the first couple days after the jump, though I feel very different than when I was on the drug just 7 or 8 days ago.

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Altostrata

How are you doing, Risp?

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Risperdrawlin

Hi Altostrata! I'm not bad. I'm on 3.125 mg of Lamictal and am still off the Risperdal. I'm planning to update my profile soon. I guess I was hoping to get off the Lamictal before updating. Thanks for asking! It is really kind and impressive of you to remember people who have not posted in a while. Thanks for asking!

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Altostrata

And thank you for keeping in touch!

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Risperdrawlin

Hi everyone,

 

This post is half suggestion, half success story. *It is not medical advice from a doctor. I am not a doctor.* In it I will explain the method of thinking I used to come off 2 mg Risperdal and then 50 mg Lamictal in less than a year. My first cut of Risperdal was on October 7, 2014. The last bit of Lamictal I took was October 5, 2015. The last dose of Risperdal I took was on June 19, 2015. ***------->I only intend to suggest this for people who have been on their psychiatric drug for ****less than 1.5 years****<---------***. I was on Risperdal for approximately 18 months (1.5 years) before I started tapering. I was on Lamictal (at a dose lower than it is supposedly supposed to be taken) for a little over a year (13 or 14 months) before I started tapering off it.

 

I will get right into it. My plan is basically "Cut big, hold long". Before I explain why in the nitty-gritty terms of how you feel, I want to talk about goals.

 

Goals

 

We all want to get off the drug. I don't know about you, but I wanted to get off the drugs right now. RIGHT NOW. I wanted to be done with them. So that's a goal. Get off the drugs right ******* now, or maybe in the next hour but I really want to be done with them this very moment (I'm kind of joking but that's how I felt).

 

So: we want to get off the drug as soon as possible.

 

Another goal: I do not want to have to go back on the drug. I'm coming OFF this drug. I don't want to go back on it. And I think most of us know that trying to quit cold-turkey can, for lack of a better word, **** you up. So: we want to come off the drug, we want to not have to go back ON the drug, and we want to be functional off the drug. I haven't seen any posts of people who got "protracted withdrawal," rode it out, and were fine. Admittedly, I haven't really looked. But I don't want to do that. Let's say you decide to come off your drug cold turkey and do a year-long protracted withdrawal. So you come off your drug. Awesome. You no longer take _____ (Poison). That's nice, but now you have all the protracted withdrawal symptoms. Not awesome. Brain fog. Anxiety. Flat affect. Numbness. Lethargy. Fatigue. From what I've read, the symptoms people get when they decide to come off a drug too fast and don't go back and fix it and try to ride it out are debilitating. Debilitating: adjective, "(Of a disease or condition) tending to make someone very weak and infirm." Infirm: adjective, "Not physically or mentally strong, especially through age or illness." These basically mean "sick." And not functional. It would be difficult to advance your career or improve your GPA while in protracted withdrawal. It would be difficult to find a romantic partner and enjoy your time with them in protracted withdrawal. I hope you don't decide to do something that will put you in protracted withdrawal.

 

So: we want to not come off the drug so fast that we end up in protracted withdrawal. 

 

We want to come off the drug as fast as possible, and when we are done with it we want our symptoms of being off it to be as mild as possible, and we want those symptoms to go away as fast as possible, and we want those symptoms to go away completely eventually.

 

Most important for me is that those symptoms of coming off the drug (not the stress and anxiety of everyday life, because those will still exist and might even come back once you get off these drugs) go away eventually.

 

So. Goals. Come off the drug as fast as possible, and avoid protracted withdrawal after coming off. That's it. So how do we do it?

 

Cut Big, Hold Long

 

My plan is to cut big, hold long. This means, make a big cut, big enough that you notice the difference in how you feel. I cut 50%. The intention in doing this is to bring on some withdrawal symptoms. Bring on some withdrawal symptoms on purpose. These will give you feedback about how you're doing. You should notice at least a slight difference in how you feel.

 

If the way you feel is bearable, hold. Do not cut the dose again yet. Set an intention to hold for at least a month.

 

If the way you feel is uncomfortable, it's a judgment call. See what you want to do. I'd give it 5-7 days after cutting the dose. If you feel like total **** after 24 or 48 hours and you think you're having brain damage or something and you feel really bad or messed up, go back to your last dose. Go back up and see how long you need to wait before cutting again. This is especially the case if you've been pushing the pace. You might have thought you could cut after only 10 days and found you couldn't. That's fine. Go back up and wait. Give it a month. If you still don't feel ready, give it another month. At the end of 2 months, maybe try again and maybe try cutting a smaller amount. Remember, we want to do this safely and avoid protracted withdrawal.

 

So. Let's say you cut the dose and the way you feel is bearable. Hold at your new dose. Maybe you even feel better than you did before cutting the dose, which I think is quite likely. Hold there. Observe the effects. Continue living your life. Notice the changes in how you feel day-to-day or week-to-week. Do you feel like you felt on the last dose? Are you starting to feel angry, agitated, bogged down, tired, fatigued, etc etc etc ? When you start to feel the way you feel when you're "on the drug," you're experiencing "stability". I call it stability because it is the feeling of being on the drug, which gets equated with "stable". Maybe it's too stable. At the same time it might have an element of being unstable, which is why you or anyone wants to come off. Anyway, notice and know how you feel "on the drug". Notice and know how you feel when you've been on the same dose for 6 months or a year. When you start to feel that way, you are feeling what I will call "stability", and those are the times I think one can cut the dose of the drug.

 

So... continue doing this. Cut the dose a large amount (I suggest 50%. I do not suggest higher than 50% before the second to last cut and/or the jumping off cut). Maybe you will induce some "withdrawal symptoms," which for me sometimes looked like: increased energy, the ability to laugh, anxiety, greater emotional lability, etc. Sometimes the "withdrawal symptoms" can be too much or unpleasant or too severe. These are times you need to think about how things are going. Will the symptoms let up? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Or have you taken the first step on a path to messing yourself up, and you need to retrace your steps? Remember we want to avoid protracted withdrawal. Have you cut too much of the drug by 0.00000000001 mg? Maybe you can "ride it out". Did you not get enough sleep the last 2 nights and you started a new job and you think you and your partner might be about to break up and you just cut the drug? And you think the sleep, the job, and the relationship issues will all be okay (even if y'all break up)? Maybe you can ride it out. Have you gotten enough sleep, kept a healthy routine, everyone's been supportive, and things are otherwise good, but you cut the drug and something feels really bad or wrong? Go back up, stabilize from this cut, stabilize from all your previous cuts, and try again, maybe with a smaller, less aggressive amount.

 

Note that this plan for coming off psych drugs is not like trying to come off, say, heroin. This is not detox in the same way, I don't think. My image of heroin withdrawal/ detox is someone stopping heroin cold turkey and writhing around on the floor in pain, emotional and maybe physical as well, for like two weeks, and coming out of it sort of fine. This isn't that. If you tried to come off your drug you've been on for a year through a two-week "detox" in which you stopped cold-turkey, my guess is you'd end up with protracted withdrawal. Anyway, back to the plan/ principle.

 

Continue with the large cuts and long holds. You might find a time when you cut too fast and 3 days in you're like, "This isn't working." That's fine. Go back up. Hold for a long time. Wait it out. When you're ready, make another cut of the drug.

 

Eventually you will get down to a "low dose". This is not a "sub-clinical" dose. By "low dose" I mean actually a low dose. Like 0.5 mg Lamictal when the recommended clinical dose is 100 to 200 mg. Be on a minuscule amount of the drug for a while before you jump off. The jump from 0.00000001 mg to 0 mg is huge. Be mindful of the fact that it might be bigger than the jump from 10 mg to 5 mg, or the jump from 200 mg to 100 mg. Obviously the dosage amounts of those second two are much bigger than the first one. My point is that there can be a big difference between being ON the drug and getting your daily hit of this drug your brain is addicted to, versus being OFF the drug and getting none of it at all. 

 

After you stop taking the drug, continue tracking your symptoms (which you should have been doing the whole time and which I will get to). I bet you will feel some of the "withdrawal symptoms" you felt after earlier cuts. Use the same policy regarding how comfortable you feel and everything. The jumping-off cut is different from all the other cuts. You don't want feedback about how you feel from withdrawal symptoms. I think the goal for the jumping off-cut is to feel as little of a difference as possible-- as few withdrawal symptoms as possible. There is no cut after this one. You want to land as softly as possible. Hold for long enough before this cut.

 

That's basically all I have to say about the tapering the drugs part of tapering the drugs.

 

Everything Else

 

While you are tapering, I am pretty sure that everything else is extremely important. Get enough sleep, eat enough and eat right, get exercise, and do social things. Do things that you feel advance you in some way, and do something high-energy and interactive as well. I think what I did might have been perfect: I worked Monday to Friday as a bike delivery driver for Jimmy John's in Philadelphia during the lunch shift. This was a high-energy, social, interactive job. I would take orders on the phone, get them ready with fellow drivers, hop on my  bike, bike to a nearby building, run inside, deliver the sandwich and collect payment, run back outside, hop back on my bike and sprint back to the store, sign back in, and help out. I worked the busy lunch shift. There were many opportunities for interaction. It was fun, social, and fast-paced, and I got good exercise. I also frequently biked to and from my house in the suburbs and the store. I might bike the approx. 5 miles to the store in the morning, work, which involved at times going as fast as I could on the bike, then bike 5 miles home. Some days if I had to get something at the eastern end of the city, say a compounded prescription, I might bike 5 miles to work, work, bike another 3 miles to the east part of the city, pick up the prescription, and bike all the way home (about 9 miles). So that would be like 17 or 18 miles from my house to the other edge of the city and back, and that's not including the biking, walking, running, and standing I did at work. 

 

In addition to working, I continued the therapy I was doing. I started a DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) program. For this I attended a weekly class/ group in which we learned and discussed mindfulness, emotional, and interpersonal skills, and I also attended individual therapy twice a week. I was able to talk about the things that were important to me and the things that were going on while I was coming off the drugs. I was in communication about how things were going. A large part of what helped me might have been taking copious, diligent notes. Everyone who participates in DBT is supposed to fill out a daily "diary card", like a mood chart. Every day on my diary card I wrote down what I did, what emotions I felt and how strongly I felt them, my desire to self-harm or commit suicide, my desire to quit therapy, and what skills I used that day. Agitation was a symptom that I felt from the drugs and I would mark down how much agitation I felt different days. There were a few times I looked back at my diary cards to try to see patterns in how I was feeling to try to figure out what I should do with my dose-- whether to hold or cut. I did not cut 50% every single time-- I sort of developed or decided to use this method based on the experiences I had tapering. I highly recommend filling out a diary card every single day and keeping close, meticulous track of what dose you are on and maybe how long you've been on it. I don't think you need to know every day that, for example, "Today is day 16 of 25 mg of Lamictal" but I think you must have a note somewhere of exactly which day you cut your dose and you must be able to find this note and all your documentation. To find a DBT diary card you can simply Google DBT diary card, there are many out there.

 

In addition to the diary cards and therapy I continued my daily meditation practice of 10 minutes per night before bed, and I think that helped. I think learning the DBT skills and my individual therapy also may have helped, and I don't think it could hurt to do those things.

 

While I was coming off the drugs I continued to follow my interests. I am interested in therapy. I began to participate in a DBT group on Facebook where people can post questions about DBT, get help using the skills, and discuss them. I also worked on some physical issues I've been dealing with for a while. I did a very stressful social work job in a school for a little bit but got removed from the position. I was not planning to cut the dose while I was doing the job; I was planning to wait until after the school year. So, that happened. http://media.giphy.com/media/jb2YzqYSELm5G/giphy.gifI also began reading more about the Philadelphia 76ers, who are probably my favorite basketball team, again.

 

Psychiatrist

 

I think one's relationship with their psychiatrist is a pretty relevant topic here. When I started tapering, I basically followed his advice, except he told me to take half my dose of Risperdal til the bottle ran out (about 18-20 days) and then stop. I did that and had awful symptoms. Apparently it was a miscommunication; I still think he said that but it's not that big a deal. We get along. He works sort of in conjunction with the DBT program I attend. He knew from the start I wanted to come off the drugs, and was basically on board with it. I started tapering after our first meeting. He has made some suggestions of what I should do and sometimes I have taken them, but mostly he has simply filled the prescriptions I have requested and allowed me to taper at my own pace. To me, he seems proud of me. It has definitely been a partnership, and most of the time I have led the way as far as tapering. He wrote me a prescription for compounded Risperdal solution. I tapered off Lamictal making my own solution with water and 25 mg pills. He was open to trying to get 2 mg Lamictal pills from Glaxo-Smith Kline (like, if I sent him a form he would fill it out), but I briefly looked into it but never bothered to really try to do it. The solution I made using 25 mg pills was fine. He has given me the go-ahead to start tapering the next drug I want to come off of, Zoloft, when I want, and I actually just took my first reduced dose of Zoloft today. We will see how it goes.

 

I think that in cases of tapering off a medication with a psychiatrist's help, because of the fact that most psychiatrists are not well-versed in tapering, the patient must be in charge of the process and the partnership must be led by the patient. Only you know your body, how you feel, how the drugs and tapering affect you, and how withdrawal and stability feel. Other people, including your psychiatrist, can give you feedback on how you look and seem, and that feedback can be very helpful and relevant. Only you, though, are inside your head. Only you can hear your thoughts. Only you can feel your feelings. Only you can notice when you feel adrenalin, when you feel anxious, when you feel tired, when you don't want to move, when you have a headache, etc etc. I think the patient must have the final say in the tapering process.

 

Questions

 

That's basically it. If you have any questions or anything, I'd be glad to answer them. I'd be glad to hear comments and feedback as well. I'd once again like to reiterate I only intend to suggest this to people who have been on their drug for 18 months (1.5 years) or less, since I think that the longer one is on the drug, the more their brain chemistry might be altered, and therefore the more difficult it might be to come off the drug, especially to come off quickly. That being said, I encourage anyone who has been on a drug for longer to ask me any questions they have about tapering if they want. Also, this is not medical advice from a doctor.

 

Thanks for reading everyone!

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Risperdrawlin

Updated schedule of when I came off drugs

 

Risperdal Taper History

 

April 2013-October 2014: 2 mg nightly

10/7/2014-10/25/2014: 1 mg

10/25/2014-10/27/2014: 0 mg (tried to come off--possible misunderstanding with psychiatrist that I believe was his fault), experienced significant withdrawal effects

10/28 or 29 /2014- 11/5/2014: 0.75 mg (weekly cuts)

11/6/2014-11/12/2014: 0.625 mg

11/13/2014-11/19/2014: 0.5 mg

11/20/2014- 11/26/2014: 0.375 mg

11/27/2014- 12/1/2014: 0.25 mg, experienced significant withdrawal effects, returned to 0.375 mg nightly and began hold to stabilize. Decided to hold for one month, then another (63 days- 9 weeks- 2 months 1 day)

12/2/2014- 2/3/2014: 0.375 mg

2/4/2015: 0.25 mg (33% drop) (spent 63 days on 0.375 mg as stated above)

3/24/2015: 0.125 mg (50% drop) (spent 47 days (6 weeks 5 days) on 0.25 mg)

5/18/2015: 0.0625 mg (50% drop) (spent 54 days (7 weeks 5 days) on 0.125 mg)

6/7/2015: 0.025 mg (60% drop) (spent 19 days (2 weeks 5 days) on 0.0625 mg)

6/20/2015: NO Risperdal, trying to jump off (100% drop) (spent 12 days on 0.025 mg) (We will see how it goes!)

 

--Haven't taken anymore Risperdal--

 

 

Lamictal Taper History

 

June 2014- 7/12/2015: 50 mg nightly (Spent about 13 months (1 year 1 month) on 50 mg)

7/13/2015- 7/18/2015: 25 mg nightly 

7/19/2015- 7/24/2015: 12.5 mg

7/25/2015- 7/29/2015: 6.25 mg

7/30/2015- 9/14/2015: 3.125 mg (Spent 46 days on 3.125 mg)

9/15/2015- 9/29/2015: 1.5625 mg (15 days)

9/30/2015- 10/5/2015: 0.625 mg (6 days)

10/6/2015- Present: 0 mg Lamictal (11 days)

 

 

Zoloft Taper History

 

June (??) 2010- May 2012: 100 mg

May 2012- March 2013: 50 mg

March 2013- October 16, 2015: 100 mg (Increased from 50 mg to 100 mg during hospitalization in March/ April 2013) (2.5 years on this 100 mg stint, over 5 years total on Zoloft)

October 17, 2015 (today!)- Present: 50 mg

 

 

I'm open to answering any questions anyone has about this.

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