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Undo: To reinstate or wait?


Undo

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Hi there. I'll try to keep this relatively short.

My medication history comes from a chronic headache that I've had for the past dozen years (diagnosed as NDPH). I've got through a ton of tests, treatments and of course, drugs, to try to alleviate, all to no avail.

 

Medication History

Aside from a very short and inconsequential trial of Wellbutrin in 2003, my adventures with antidepressants started in 2008. I'd had a bad run-in with Topamax (the first drug I'd ever experienced bad side effects from), then was prescribed Cipralex and Elavil simultaneously in April. Didn't notice any effects one way or another with either of these, and ignorantly cold turkey'ed both in July 2008. Elavil went first, with no noticeable problems. Was fine for a few weeks after quitting Cipralex, then started to experience what I now realize were withdrawal symptoms. Realizing that I shouldn't have come off so abruptly, I reinstated it, but thoughtlessly went right back to the 10mg I'd been on. A rough few weeks. Came off of it in Dec 2008 with a short taper, and had no withdrawal issues, though I did also go right back on Elavil (was trying to see if either one made a difference, having decided I might not have given them a proper trial earlier). Elavil had no effect again, and I came off of it very quickly and successfully in March 2009.

 

I went back on to Cipralex in September 2009, this time thinking that it could help with some mild mood issues I was having due to the constant headache. It didn't do anything for the headache, but may have helped with mood-related things, so I stayed on it for several years. Tapered off of it over the course of a month or thereabouts in June 2014. Was thrilled to finally be off the powerful drugs. Felt fine for several weeks, but then started to experience some physical anxiety symptoms: agitation, stabs of panic, stronger headache than usual, generally low mood. In the middle of this (April-August), my new headache doc also had me try out gabapentin - which wasn't helpful. Tapered off of it over a few weeks in August. Following that failed experiment, the doc suggested that I try sertraline, as it had been shown to be helpful for some with chronic headache. Started it in Sept 2014 - 25mg for a few weeks, then up to 50. I experienced bad side effects with it throughout (worse in first couple of weeks with each increase). Kept with it until December, as I wanted to be sure enough that I wouldn't be tempted to try it again later. Following doc's advice, tapered off by going to 25mg for 5 days, then completely off. (In doc's defense, I think she thought I would be going back to cipralex immediately following, which I didn't. So my fault too.)
 
Withdrawal
Within three days, I started to get the symptoms that are all-too-familiar for most of you: brain zaps (only over the first few days), insomnia, flu-like symptoms, paresthesia/tingling/flushing, weakness, dizziness, agitation. I knew it was withdrawal right away, but initial reading suggested that it'd be over in a couple of weeks, so I toughed it out through Christmas and New Year's. It was definitely worst in the first few days, then improved enough that I thought I was coming out the other side. Quickly back down, though, and fairly stable at that level since, going on 9 weeks. Most prevalent symptoms right now are an overall weakness/paresthesia and mild dizziness, with the occasional stab of panic or hot flush washing over me. Oh, and insomnia, but that doesn't bother me quite as much as the rest. I've been reading things on this forum for a couple of weeks, and I expect I have it better than many. I'm still working full-time and trying to do all the social things and other committments I normally do, but it all takes a lot of effort and life's generally unpleasant. Surviving, but not really living.
 
 
Anyhow - my question is: should I try reinstating or is is too late to attempt it? I'd be inclined to reinstate cipralex rather than sertraline as I didn't have problems with it during the recent long spell I took it for, but it's been nearly 8 months. I've added magnesium citrate as a supplement in the last few days, and have taken a B100 complex once a day for a year or so, but otherwise am not taking anything at the moment. I'd also be open to suggestions of anything else folks would recommend to mitigate symptoms (I've read about taurine, fish oil, and potassium on the site...may try one of those in the next little while if I don't attempt reinstating).

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Undo,

Thank you for sharing your story and for filling out your signature.  I'm sorry to hear you are still having some difficult symptoms after stopping the various drugs you were taking. But it sounds like you are still quite functional, so that's good. You were taking Cipralex for quite a long time, so its not surprising you are having some ongoing withdrawal symptoms.  If you have been reading material on this site, you will probably now understand that you tapered much too fast.  We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising.

 

When you took Sertraline between Sept-Dec 2014, did you find it relieved your withdrawal symptoms?  What dose were you taking and what side effects were you getting?

 

Normally, we would not recommend reinstating a drug you have been off for 8 months, but since you more recently took sertraline, if it did reduce the withdrawal symptoms, but caused side effects, it may be possible to reinstate a very small dose of that, which might stop the withdrawal symptoms, but not cause the side effects.  Side effects tend to be dose dependent.  Then you could slowly taper off the lower dose of that.  Your answer to my questions above will help us know if this may be a good thing to try.

 

In the mean time, here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some useful ideas to help manage symptoms as you recover.  Especially read the topics pinned at the top.

 

Once you get back to us with a few more details, we will be in a better position to offer support and suggestions.

 

Petunia.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to SA  undo.     Thanks for posting.   

 

I tried reinstating Cymbalta 6 months after stopping , but it didn't help me.     Five months of continued withdrawal later, I was started on mirtazapine , and responded to it very well.

 

I'm not sure there's a definitive , correct answer to your dilemma.    Explore the options.  

 

Best wishes,    Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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Hi Undo! From reading your posts, none of the meds you have taken have ever done anything to give you relief or improve your condition. Seems counterproductive to reinstate to me.

January 2012 - Prescribed 900mg gabapentin and 30mg Norco for lower lumber spinal stenosis pain.

September 2013 - Spinal fusion surgery, 6 levels. Hospital ramped up meds 1500mg gabapentin, 100mg Norco, 80mg Oxycontin, 25mg Fentanyl patch.

January 2014 - Sever nausea daily and with back pain every 4 hours. 2 trips to ER. First endoscopy found ulcer. Treated with Sucralfate and PPI. Second endo in May found no ulcers. Doctors said it was the opiates causing the nausea. CT'd Oxycontin, Fentanyl patch.

July 2014 - Lost 48 lbs. due to not eating because of severe nausea. GP prescribed Prozac 20mg and Ativan 2mg prn. Tried for 4 days, quit. Two week followup GP said keep taking Prozac. 4 days, quit again. Ativan taken rarely prn for anxiety and appetite.

August 2014 - Went to detox. Off opiates. Still nauseous, helmet head, drugged feeling. Doctor CT'd gabapentin. Ended up in ER. Found 2 gallstones. Gabapentin reinstated at 900mg. Tried botched up and down taper to get off Gabapentin. No tapering advice from doctor. Said to just CT again.

September 2014 - Coded on table during gallbladder surgery. Developed liver biloma due to CPR by doctor. Had bile bulb inserted for 2 wks to drain.

October 2014 - Gallbladder removed. Still nauseous, 3am cortisol surging, drugged helmet head, vertigo, breathlessness, whooshing head, heart palps.

November 8th, 2014 - CT'd gabapentin suggested by family and 4 different doctors. Was told no withdrawal is associated with gabapentin. Have been in hell ever since. No windows, just one big tsunami every day with same symptoms for 4 months.

December 26, 2014 - Found SA. At least I know I'm not insane. My family thinks I'm doing this to myself. Akathesia has become unbearable.

March 10, 2015 - In absolute daily hell with no relief. Currently taking magnesium 200mg before bedtime.

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Thanks for the replies, all.

Petunia: The withdrawal symptoms I'm having now are somewhat different from what I experienced in August before starting sertraline. From what I've gathered through reading, that might mean that these symptoms are at least partially due to withdrawal from sertraline, or that the cipralex withdrawal symptoms have changed in nature since August. Hard to tell with the few bad months of sertraline in there. Either way, I'm reluctant to reinstate sertraline, as it was fairly terrible being on it. Cipralex, though it didn't help my headache, was never really a problem for me. Came off of it because I didn't feel like there was any real benefit from it, and did feel a little of that antidepressant dulling effect, cutting out the highs as well as the lows. I'd happily go back on it at a low dose for a while and then slowly taper down if I thought it would ease the symptoms I'm having now.

Since coming off Cipralex, I've gone through three different sets of symptoms:

August - off cipralex, not started on sertraline: stronger than usual headache, stabs of anxiety/panic, low mood

Sept-Dec - on sertraline: unfortunately didn't write these down and may be getting them mixed up with others. increased feelings of anxiety and low mood, fatigue, stronger headache, sexual dysfunction..I would say more heavily emotional than physical on the whole.

End of Dec - now: lots of new symptoms: brain zaps, insomnia, weakness/tingling, etc. as above. Clearly, to me, very different from what I experienced on sertraline, but it was pretty bad too.

 

Fresh: thanks for your take on it. I know there are no guarantees as to what will work and what won't. Hopefully I'll find something, or it will just go away quickly on its own (please!)

 

Pugknows: yeah, the cipralex didn't help on the headache front, but nothing has there. I'd go back on it to relieve withdrawal symptoms and then taper off slowly...no desire to get back on it long-term.

 

Thanks again,

Undo

 

 

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • Moderator Emeritus

As Petunia mentioned, people usually find that on a low dose reinstatement the side effects of the drug are not as bad as on the higher doses, and we generally do recommend that people reinstate with the drug they were taking most recently. However, I do hear you, that sertraline was unpleasant for you and you felt more comfortable on the escitalopram (Cipralex), so you're reluctant to try taking sertraline again. If you do, I'd say start with something like 5 mg, or if you go with the escitalopram, just 1 mg or so. You'll need to get or make a liquid for that, probably.

 

That said, it's up to you. If you try a very small dose and you find you get some improvement, you can stay with it; if you try a very small dose and it makes you worse, you won't have thrown yourself off too badly and you can quit and be back where you are now; and if you try a very small dose and it does nothing at all, you have the option of going up a bit more or not, as you choose.

 

I'm sorry about your headache and that nothing has helped. :-(

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Undo,

Thank you for getting back to us and answering the questions.  I hope we have been able to help you with your decision, please let us know what you decide and how it goes.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Thanks for the replies again. I was away for the weekend and not on the computer at all.

I see my doctor on Tuesday and will discuss trying to reinstate a small dose of cipralex then. I'm not sure if the liquid is available here, but if not, I know there's a thread on making your own liquid somewhere around here. I appreciate the advice and the reassurance that it won't likely be a major setback if I try reinstating and it doesn't work.

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • Administrator

Do you have any Cipralex left? See Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

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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I do, yeah. It's from the last prescription I filled (June 2014), but I assume it's still good? It's 10mg pills - I've read through the stuff on making a liquid solution and should be able to do that alright. I'm in Canada, and my understanding is that the liquid is not available here, though I will double-check with my doc tomorrow. This is my GP, not headache doc - regularly scheduled physical, and I figure I might as well wait until after I've seen her to start on cipralex so as to not throw off any of the tests etc. she plans to do tomorrow. I'm somewhat curious to know if withdrawal has had any noticeable effects on things like blood pressure, etc.

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • 6 months later...

Hi all,

     I've been reading on this site a lot over the past few months but haven't posted. Well past time for an update.

I reinstated Cipralex back in March, starting at 1mg, then 1mg increase each week up to 5mg. Didn't notice any real change in WD symptoms. Went back to my family doc after a couple weeks at 5mg and she suggested that I might as well taper back down off of it since it didn't seem to be helping. After starting to go down for a week or two, things seemed a bit worse...I always fluctuate up and down a bit though, so hard to tell if it was related. Nonetheless, I decided to go back to 5mg and stay there in the hopes that it would at least take the edge off the mood-related symptoms.

 

At the end of June, I had a few terrible days with depression and anxiety. Early morning waking with panic and anxiety (have since read a lot on the "cortisol mornings" topic here)...had had a couple of days of it a few months prior, but this was worse. I'm a teacher, and by this point we were done classes for the summer, and the extra time to ruminate may have been a factor. Also had just moved houses, which I'm sure didn't help. Anyhow, I decided with my family doc to try going back up to 10mg of Cipralex to see if it would at least help the depression/anxiety. I've been at 10mg for about 10 weeks now (with a week in there back down at 5mg when I accidentally went on vacation without enough pills). It's hard to say if I'm any better now than I was back in the spring because I'm still on summer vacation, which may actually make the emotional side worse for me. It's mostly struggling to make it through days...I find that if I go for an hour bike ride first thing when I get up, then do my mindfulness meditation for 20 minutes and have a cup or two of coffee, I can be functional for a few hours and survive the day alright. That said, it feels like I'm constantly fighting to keep the overwhelming symptoms at bay. I've had a few more chunks of time where it's been worse like it was at the end of June and those periods have been really hard.

 

I saw a psychopharmacologist a couple of weeks ago and he decided I have generalized anxiety disorder and suggested that I might try upping the Cipralex to 20mg (not all at once, but in stages). I don't buy the diagnosis, as I've never had anything more than normal human anxiety before this, and I'm not keen on increasing Cipralex to a level I've never been to before. Kind of a frustrating visit. Will see my family doc again in a couple of weeks to follow up.

 

I know from the hours and hours I've spent reading this site that time is really the only reliable healer, but I'm really looking for something to help me get through it in the meantime. Reading posts from those of you who have dealt with this for years is scary, as I really don't want to have to do that. 8.5 months has been terrible enough. Currently, I'm taking magnesium citrate (900mg/day), omega 3 (3600 EPA+DHA), D3 (300mg) and B12...originally thought the magnesium was really helping with calming, but less sure about that now. Besides that, it's exercise and mindfulness meditation. I'm wondering about asking my family doc about propranolol...I'm thinking that what I was calling paresthesia earlier may actually be better described as akathisia...really feels more like an inner restlessness and agitation than just surface-level pins and needles. I don't feel the need to get up and move around all the time, but otherwise it seems like a good fit. Any thoughts?

 

Finally, I'm wondering whether it's worth even considering reinstating sertraline (the offending drug...read my first post for the full history)...it's been 8.5 months, and reinstating Cipralex hasn't done anything for the akathisia/paresthesia and anxiety, and I didn't do well on sertraline the first time, but maybe because it's the one that seems to have caused this withdrawal? Failing that, any other thoughts on what I can do to help me through this? I've read a ton on the symptoms/treatments forum but just thought I'd throw it out there in case anyone has any specific suggestions for me. I know Alto has said that acupuncture helped her paresthesia...would it be worth a shot based on how I've described my symptoms? I tried massage a couple of times but if anything felt worse the next day.

 

Thanks,

Undo

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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HI Undo.

 

I'm no expert on these matters, but I would say that adding more drugs / meds to your system will only make the process longer. WD either through going CT or gradual taper is very debilitating, but you will get through it if you "live in the moment", which is what Mindfulness Mediation teaches us.

 

I am sending you prayers and know that you can get through this and soon you will see that your recovery / healing is gaining pace.

 

Namaste.

1997 - 2001 Seroxat 10mg

2001 - 2013 Escitalopram 10mg

Gradual taper from 10mg to 5mg over 2.5 years (between 2011 - 2013)

Last taper from 5mg to 0 under advice from doctor done in 1 month (too damn fast!) - included missing out days.

Have been drug free since Oct 2013.  - Yep 5 years drugs free

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Thanks for the reply DaddyCee. I appreciate the prayers. I have no desire to put more drugs into my system...even starting back onto the Cipralex in the spring was a difficult decision and I'm still not sure if it was the right one. That said, I don't know that I can handle doing this the way it's going, so longer but less terrible might be a reasonable option, if only I could be sure that it'd work like that.

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • Administrator

Hello again, Undo.

 

I'm very sorry you're going through this. We can't predict what will help at this point. Sometimes people do better switching to another SSRI, say, Prozac (fluoxetine) (via cross-taper), but there's no way to tell if that will be better or worse.

 

Most antidepressants often will cause sexual dysfunction.

 

See One theory of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome

 

Do your current symptoms follow any pattern throughout the day?

 

Perhaps you've looked into this -- sometimes chronic headache is a food reaction. Have you tried an elimination diet?

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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Thanks for the reply again Alto.

 

Typically my anxiety symptoms are worse in the morning (as expected based on reading the cortisol stuff), but on bad days can last throughout. Evenings are usually better, but I wonder if that's because of the knowledge that I'm almost through the day (less stress etc.). I tend to fall asleep about as easily as usual, but will often wake up during the night or early in the morning. In reading other peoples' stories, I think my insomnia issues are minor comparatively speaking, though I expect I'm not getting nearly the deep sleep I ought to. The akathisia/paresthesia doesn't seem to have a strong pattern...it's always there and varies in intensity.

 

I did try an elimination diet for the headache a long time ago, a couple of years after it started...nothing resulted from it. I may experiment more with it later, but it seems like too much to contemplate while also going through withdrawal. To be honest, I'd be thrilled to get back to "just" the headache again.

 

I reread through bits of the "one theory of withdrawal syndrome" topic (had read more of it a while back). Not sure whether there was something specific in it you were referring to, or the topic in general. It is interesting stuff, though I'd prefer to study it less experientially :)

 

A couple of questions:

- is there any likelihood of reinstating sertraline being effective at this point, or have I missed the boat on that after 8.5 months? You seemed to suggest that switching to another SSRI might be worth trying...would that be a better idea than sertraline if I were to consider it?

- I know you found acupuncture helped your paresthesia. From what I've described, do you think it's similar enough that it's worth a shot?

- any thoughts on propranolol for the akathisia/paresthesia?

 

Thanks again for the reply...you must spend an enormous amount of time reading and replying to all of us.

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • Moderator Emeritus
A couple of questions:

- is there any likelihood of reinstating sertraline being effective at this point, or have I missed the boat on that after 8.5 months? You seemed to suggest that switching to another SSRI might be worth trying...would that be a better idea than sertraline if I were to consider it?

- I know you found acupuncture helped your paresthesia. From what I've described, do you think it's similar enough that it's worth a shot?

- any thoughts on propranolol for the akathisia/paresthesia?

 

 

Hi Undo,

I know these questions were directed to Alto, but I may be able to help.

 

We generally don't recommend reinstatement after 1 - 2 months have passed, but it has worked for people much later than this. Reinstatement is best done immediately upon appearance of symptoms. The more time that passes, the less likely it is to work. See:  About reinstating and stabilizing to stop withdrawal symptoms

 

The only time we suggest switching to a different antidepressant is when someone is having problems tapering from their current antidepressant, occasionally, switching to Prozac can be a solution, but this is usually a last resort. If you were going to try reinstatement, a small dose of the drug you are in withdrawal from is what we would recommend.

 

I've never had acupuncture, but many members have found it helpful for withdrawal symptoms. If you decide to try it, tell your therapist that you need a calming treatment.

 

There is some discussion in this topic about the use of Propranolol

 

Akathisia vs restlessness, anxiety, agitation - Symptoms and ...

 

There have been mixed reactions to its use in withdrawal with many members documenting adverse effects. I tried it in early withdrawal and it caused increased depression. If you decide to try it, it will need to be tapered.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Thanks for the reply, Petunia. I have read the "about reinstatement" topic and I know that immediately is the best time for reinstatement...unfortunately that ship has sailed. :(  I'm torn between being willing to try anything that might alleviate these symptoms and not wanting to treat my body like an experimental lab...

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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Had my first day back at work today (I'm a teacher and was off for the summer). Went reasonably well actually, though I'm feeling all sorts of tingly/burny now that I'm back at home. Heading up to my cottage with family for the long weekend, then back into the daily grind. I'm curious to compare symptoms when back at work with my symptoms from the late spring, as it's hard to know how what I experienced in the summer is affected by the free time/lack of distraction.

 

Still not sure what my next step is if I don't notice an improvement soon. Anyone out there who reinstated late (8 months +) and found it helpful? My family doc is on vacation but will be back next week, but she doesn't really have any experience in the area, so I'd like to go to her with suggestions.

 

Enjoy the weekend, everyone.

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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Hey Undo, sorry you're going through all of this. I don't know how you manage being a teacher on top of the WD...you sound like a very strong person!

 

I reinstated lexapro about 6 months or so after noticing my WD symptoms. It took a few months for them to show up after I stopped cold turkey. I didn't respond well at all to my original dosage...actually made me feel worse. But I cut the dosage down by half and felt a little better. Some time had passed and I started seeing a psychiatrist and I was put on celexa 10mg and responded better to that. I'm just "maintaining" now, but have alot more better days than I use to. I still get really bad headaches that I'm not sure what is the cause, but the typical WD symptoms have eased up quite a bit. My "waves" have gotten shorter which I'm thankful for. I also got put on topamax thus year for the headaches and migraines...those really make working 40 hours a week and being a new daddy pretty challenging. But I've found taking magnesium has helped me the past couple of weeks. I know every person. Is different and responds differently, so if you do re-instate...I believe they say to go with a low dosage first and see how you feel. You can always go up. Going high dosage and working your way down is a more frustrating experience from my own personal experience.

Started Lexapro (escitalopram) 10mg in 2009 for general depression/mild anxiety.

Stopped taking Lexapro in August of 2013 cold turkey.

Started having vertigo/dizziness in late January of 2014. Symptoms became worse over a few months. 

Re-instated Lexapro 10mg in June of 2014. Could only handle for a week before dropping down to 5mg.

Stopped taking Lexapro in March of 2015 and began taking Celexa 10mg.

 

Also taking topamax 25mg for headaches/migraines and losartan 25mg for high blood pressure.

 

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Hey Sean, thanks for the response, I really appreciate it.

 

I'm not sure that it's that I'm strong so much as that maybe my symptoms aren't as bad as others...I mean, they're terrible enough for me and are really getting me down, but I'm amazed at what so many on this site are surviving through.

I also found that withdrawal didn't start immediately with lexapro/cipralex...I came off it a couple of times before I really understood that withdrawal existed for these drugs and always felt fine, even better, after stopping, for the first month or so. Never lasted more than a couple months off before restarting or trying a new drug though. What I now, in retrospect, see as withdrawal from lexapro/cipralex was primarily depression with frequent stabs of panic and anxiety...I attributed it to needing the drug, rather than withdrawal. My current withdrawal, from sertraline/zoloft is a different beast altogether.

 

Thanks for your story on reinstating/switching drugs...I may have to resort to one of those options, though I still am not at all sure what my best plan of attack is. Magnesium has helped me as well, though I'm not sure to what degree. Today the mood was pretty decent...just the physical stuff.

 

I took topamax for a little while for my headache problem. It's a powerful drug! It was the first drug I took that actually seemed to make a difference...made me "floaty" and somewhat detached from the world but it helped my headache and made me not care which was nice at the time. I might have stayed on it except that I got some terrifying side effects...probably mild in comparison to what I've experienced since, but really scary at the time. I tapered probably far too quickly off it too. Are you finding it's helping your headaches?

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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Hey Sean, thanks for the response, I really appreciate it.

 

I'm not sure that it's that I'm strong so much as that maybe my symptoms aren't as bad as others...I mean, they're terrible enough for me and are really getting me down, but I'm amazed at what so many on this site are surviving through.

I also found that withdrawal didn't start immediately with lexapro/cipralex...I came off it a couple of times before I really understood that withdrawal existed for these drugs and always felt fine, even better, after stopping, for the first month or so. Never lasted more than a couple months off before restarting or trying a new drug though. What I now, in retrospect, see as withdrawal from lexapro/cipralex was primarily depression with frequent stabs of panic and anxiety...I attributed it to needing the drug, rather than withdrawal. My current withdrawal, from sertraline/zoloft is a different beast altogether.

 

Thanks for your story on reinstating/switching drugs...I may have to resort to one of those options, though I still am not at all sure what my best plan of attack is. Magnesium has helped me as well, though I'm not sure to what degree. Today the mood was pretty decent...just the physical stuff.

 

I took topamax for a little while for my headache problem. It's a powerful drug! It was the first drug I took that actually seemed to make a difference...made me "floaty" and somewhat detached from the world but it helped my headache and made me not care which was nice at the time. I might have stayed on it except that I got some terrifying side effects...probably mild in comparison to what I've experienced since, but really scary at the time. I tapered probably far too quickly off it too. Are you finding it's helping your headaches?

 

It's really hard to say. On average, I have about 2-3 headaches a week...the severity of them doesnt seem as bad as they use to though. I've only been on topamax for a little over a month or so I believe? It's hard to keep track with all this stuff now! But I have noticed an improvement when I started taking magnesium as well just a couple of weeks ago. I dont think I've experienced any side effects of topamax. I know one of them is tiredness, but I've been exhausted through all of this and stay pretty tired with an 8 month old...so it's hard to tell if topamax has increased the tiredness or not. 

 

Did you have daily headaches before starting any AD's? I've never had headaches before my withdrawals, but now I have this tension/kink feeling in the back of my neck almost daily that either gets worse or lets up...but it's pretty persistent. 

Started Lexapro (escitalopram) 10mg in 2009 for general depression/mild anxiety.

Stopped taking Lexapro in August of 2013 cold turkey.

Started having vertigo/dizziness in late January of 2014. Symptoms became worse over a few months. 

Re-instated Lexapro 10mg in June of 2014. Could only handle for a week before dropping down to 5mg.

Stopped taking Lexapro in March of 2015 and began taking Celexa 10mg.

 

Also taking topamax 25mg for headaches/migraines and losartan 25mg for high blood pressure.

 

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  • Administrator

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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Sean: Yep, I had headaches before ADs - the headache was actually why I started the ADs in the first place. I've had a constant headache of varying magnitude for about 13 years now, for which I've tried any number of things to no avail. I'll go back to trying to get rid of it when/if these pesky WD symptoms go away. I feel like I've been delaying a lot of my life - 13 years ago I was just starting my last year of university, so it's affected essentially my entire adult life. That may explain any small bits of strength I do have, as I've been learning to deal with sub-optimal health for a long time now, and actually have trouble remembering what it was like to feel alright. The side effects I got with Topamax were initially a metallic taste to things and a general floatyness which may well be similar to the depersonalization that a lot of people on here talk about...not sure though. What threw me off in the end was a racing/pounding heart and panic attacks. I'm more used to that kind of thing now, but it was terrifying at the time (about 7 years ago). Make sure you do taper off of it if you do come off at some point. Good luck with the 8-month old! I'm single and would love to get married and have kids but the thought of that in the midst of all this terrifies me...time's ticking though so I keep debating whether I can handle starting a relationship during WD.

 

Alto: thanks for the reply. I have been taking both magnesium and fish oil supplements for a while now and think both have been helpful, though it's hard to tell for sure. I've read both of the topics you suggested thoroughly (I've been a lurker for much longer than I've been a poster), but thanks for the suggestions regardless - any suggestions are welcome! Still curious to know what your thoughts on acupuncture for akathisia/inner restlessness might be, but I'm also very aware that so much of this is individual, so you have no sure answers either.

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • Administrator

I think acupuncture is worth trying. I had good results from it.

 

Have you tried putting some mag citrate in a glass of water and sipping it throughout the day? That can be calming, too.

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.

Link to comment

Interesting, I'd never thought about dissolving the mag. citrate in water. I'll have to give that a shot.

 

Thanks for the reply about acupuncture...I think I'll try that as well. I've had it before for my headache issue with no effect but don't have any issues with the needles, so I might as well see if it helps.

 

The past couple of days have been alright - the kind where I don't want to live like this for a prolonged period, but I get by fine and can enjoy myself and do what needs to be done. Hopefully it continues, and improves!

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • Mentor

Hi Rhianon       dont know if this helps,  but my daughter got severe asthma, and I eventually found out it was caused by artificial food colouring.......   the tricky bit, was she would have the food colouring, and ten days later got the astthma..........      no more artificial food colouring, no more asthma............... 

 

My third child, had severe migraines, and got a rash, and eczema..........  I didnt relate it,   at age 7 it was not uncommon to see me at ER, with a kid so sick, he was vomiting and couldnt walk, due to migrain... tramadol was the only thing, strong enough.........    anyway, I finally linked the two........... cut out the artifical colouring, no more migraines,  

 

My mother in law also got dreadful migraines (and of course didnt listen to me for years)....... eventually she listened, and started reading food labels, and refused all artificail food colouring, now she is fine, and medication free.

 

So just try that, once you are well,,,,,,,,,,,,   anything with a number  ie 102,110,123, are all artificial colours made from refining oil..............  and they are in nearly everything.........  even breakfast cereals,  best wishes, and do give it a try,  dont eat them at all,    and if you accidentally do, remember it might take ten days for the migraine...........

1992 Dothiepin 375mg 8 weeks, exhaustion/depression.  Serotonin syndrome, oh yes!  seizures . Fell pregnant, 3rd baby, Nitrous Oxide, 3 weeks mental hospital pp psychosis. zoloft tegretol.

Feb 1996 ct tegretol, tapered Zoloft 8 weeks. as (unexpectedly)  pregnant. Steven died after 3 days.(Zolft HLHS baby).  98 had run in with Paxil, 2 tablets, 3 weeks taper, survived.
2005..menopause? exhausted again. Zyprexa, mad in three days, fallout....  Seroquel, Effexor, tegretol,   and 8 years of self destruction. Failed taper.
Damn 1/4 valium... nuts again! .fallout, zoloft 100mg  seroquol 400mg mirtazapine 45 mg  tegretol 400mg.  Mid 14 3 month taper. Nov 14 CRASH.
Mid 15 ....   75mg  seroquel,  3 x 1800mg SJW  2 week window end of December followed by 6 week wave
5/2 68mg seroquel, 2.5 x 1800mg SJW::::20/2 61mg seroquel, 2.5 x  SJW::: 26/2 54mg seroquel, 2 x SJW::::21/3 43mg seroquel, 1 x 2700SJW :::: 23/4 36mg seroquel 1 x 1800 SJW
15/5 33mg seroquel, 1 x SJW::::   28/5 30mg seroquel, 1 x SJW::::;  18/6 25mg seroquel 1/2 SJW::::, 11/7 21mg seroquel 1/2 SJW::, 26/7 18mg seroquel 1/2 SJW:::, 9/8 12mg seroquel :::, 16/8 6mg seroquel ;;;;, 12/9 0 jump.

23/9  3mg.....,  27/9 0mg.  Reinstated, 6mg, then 12mg.............  LIGHTBULB MOMENT,  I have  MTHFR 2x mutations.  CFS and issues with MOULD in my home. So I left home, and working 150km away during week, loving it.

Oh was hard, panic attacks first week, gone now, along with the mould issues.

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Hi Ang - not sure if that post was directed at me since it was addressed to Rhiannon, but I'll take a look into artificial colouring anyhow. I think it's unlikely that it's related to my headache due to the abruptness with which my started and the fact that it's unrelenting regardless of diet. That said, I'm sure environmental and dietary factors can contribute to its being better or worse from day to day.

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just an update, with a couple thoughts/questions:

School started up after Labour Day, so I've been back at work for a couple of weeks now. I've been able to do my job and take on the extra-curricular things that I do and function well enough that nobody would know I've got anything going on unless I told them (I have for the people I work closely with, but not most staff and obviously not my students). The physical symptoms of heat, paresthesia and weakness are still there, but the anxiety, panic and other mood symptoms haven't been there, or at least not dominating, during the day. I've generally been able to function reasonably well in the evenings as well, though I don't ask too much of myself. Have been getting to the stage where I was beginning to think I could fake my way through being a normal human being until things truly got better. Yesterday was a tougher day (fatigue, stronger weakness/dizziness/foggy headedness, then nausea on a school bus home from a field trip), but kept my plans to go to friends' for dinner despite not wanting to and it actually went just fine (took ibuprofen before going which is very rare for me, and that may have helped the nausea at least). Today has rough, though. It's my first day off since work restarted (took kids away on a canoe trip last weekend) and I've been back to the anxiety and verge of depression that was my constant battle during the summer. I'm thinking that, rather than a real improvement, the last couple of weeks have been better simply because of the distraction of the busyness of work. It's okay in that I feel like I can manage during the week alright, which relieves some anxiety, but I really don't like dreading downtime. I'm living alone now, having moved in June after sharing a house with friends for a number of years previously...I wonder if that also adds to the depressive parts of it.

 

As far as treatment, etc., I'm still on 10mg of Cipralex, taking magnesium citrate twice a day (600mg total/day), D2 (2000/day), C (2000-3000/day), B12 once a day, and Omega 3 (1800 EPA+DHA/day). I don't know that the Cipralex is actually doing anything, so I'm contemplating tapering off of it, but nervous to risk making things worse. I'm still wondering if it's worth trying to reinstate a bit of the Sertraline but concerned that it's far too late (9 months now). I still haven't got around to trying acupuncture, but intend to. Alto, if you read this, can you give me an idea of what they did for your acupuncture in case the person I go to has no idea how to treat paretshesia? I also have a prescription for Verapamil that my headache doc gave me way back in the spring (for my headache, not WD)...I've delayed starting it because I was reinstating Cipralex at the time, but I see the doc again in November and would like to be able to say whether it's helpful or not by that point, so I may start it soon. I see my family doc in a couple of weeks and will see what she has to say about all this then, but I'm afraid she's at least as lost as I am. 

 

Anyhow, that's where things stand. I'd love to hear any advice people have on the options I'm toying with, or anything else for that matter. I'm managing to keep plodding on - I'm truly sympathetic for the many of you who have much more debilitating symptoms to deal with, as I find this hard enough as is.

 

Best wishes to all,

Undo

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • Administrator

It sounds like you've stabilized somewhat on 10mg Cipralex? Please update your signature.

 

See how Verapamil works with Cipralex before taking it -- use the the Drug Interactions Checker http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html

 

Very, very few doctors know anything about withdrawal syndrome.

 

It's possible you might find an acupuncturist who's dealt with it, as people tend to give up on their allopathic doctors and seek alternative care for it. Being able to communicate is essential. See Acupuncture

 

About switching to Zoloft -- the outcome still cannot be predicted.

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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Thanks for the reply, Alto. I'm grateful for the amount of time you, and your team of mods, spend reading and replying to posts on this board. It always amazes me when I scan the 'last replied' in the intros forum and see your name the whole way down.

 

Thanks for the link to the acupuncture topic...I hadn't found it yet and searches for acupuncture don't immediately turn up the most relevant topic, but the most recent mentions of it. I'll definitely give it a shot.

 

Didn't find any significant interactions between verapamil and cirpalex (I use the same site to check when I need to).

 

Thanks for the reminder to update my signature.

 

I understand on switching to Zoloft...I think I'm looking for someone to say "yes, I reinstated really late and it helped me" or "no, it's a terrible idea and will at best leave you as you are now", but I recognize that it's all very individual and no one has magic answers.

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • 4 weeks later...

Fun story for y'all...

I was out biking a week and a half ago, in a bit of a window of positivity that had been going for five days or so at that point. It was raining a bit and on my way home I went over some train tracks at a bad angle and took a spill. Ended up breaking my collarbone, scapula, a couple of ribs and getting a bit of a collapsed lung. I was in the hospital from last Saturday through Wednesday night, with a chest tube dealing with the lung issue and eventually surgery on the collarbone. I'm out now, though still off work. While in the hospital, the painkillers and general situation kept my mind off the withdrawal for the most part...the only thing I really noticed was the heat issue I have. Now that I'm out, though, it's back in full swing again. Funny that the broken bones are actually so much less of a concern for me than the withdrawal stuff. I'm in some pain, but it's manageable and I know it will go away in a few weeks - and it's only physical. The withdrawal stuff is too much emotional and psychological for me...I hate being constantly agitated and often anxious and depressed.

 

As for medication, I'm taking Tylenol 3 at night to help reduce pain so I can sleep...will probably do that a few more days, but it's getting easier every night I think. Nothing much during the day, though I may need to when I go back to work. I was off all vitamins/omega-3 while in the hospital, but kept up with the cipralex and verapamil. Had to postpone my doctor's appointment where I was going to talk to her about switching away from cipralex to something else...I just can't handle waiting through this and it's not getting better.

 

Anyhow, that's my update for now.

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • Administrator

Very sorry to hear that, Undo. Anesthetics and painkillers, even antibiotics, can stir up withdrawal symptoms.

 

I can't suggest any drug to switch to, other than The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac

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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I'm so sorry to read about your accident :( You will have to dig really deep to find all that extra love and self care to get you through this on top of your wd so I really encourage you to keep with your mindfulness and any small exercise amounts you can manage.

 

Maybe also be very aware in the upcoming months that if you feel worse docs may suggest you are anxious/depressed because of your accident and prescribe more meds. Cling to what you know about their effect on you and it's ok to feel bad after something grim has happened to us, we don't need to be further medicated - just time to heal xxxx

 

Drug history

  • 20mg paxil in 2001 - 4 months use  
  • 20mg paxil in 2003 - 2 months use 
  • 20mg paxil in 2008 - 8 years continuous

Withdrawal history:

  • March 2014 - disastrous alternate day taper
  • Jan 2015 - 15mg to 10mg. Disaster
  • Sept 2015 -  10mg to 5mg. Disaster. Reinstated to 6mg. Relief
  • Oct 2015 - started slow 10% taper 
  • Oct 2016 - at 4mg- stop taking paxil (not recommended)

 

I'm not a medical professional. Seek advice from a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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Thanks for the replies, Alto and Molly.

     I had some serious akathisia last night and waking up this morning...it's very strange to have the body wanting to jump out of its skin while the head is in a deep fog. Benadryl seems to have helped a little (or perhaps just getting out of bed and starting the day). I'm hoping to go back to work tomorrow, so we'll see how things go.

Alto - yeah, I've read about the Prozac bridging technique, but my impression is that it works generally for those who are tapering/stabilized but not really for those of us in withdrawal. That said, it's on my list of possibilities. I'm also considering Cymbalta (as a switch from Cipralex), the reasoning being that Cipralex doesn't seem to be doing anything for me and maybe it's pooped out on me. I'd be happy going on to another AD if it took away the withdrawal effects, and then I could taper really slowly after stabilizing for a while. I've read someone report that Cymbalta essentially cured them of their NDPH (the headache diagnosis I have), so that's why it's on the list. And it's somewhat different than Cipralex, so the change might be good. Finally, I still wonder about reinstating a small dose of sertraline, but am concerned that it's far too far out for that, and my doctor doesn't think it's a good idea.

I'm hoping to cut back on the painkillers more tonight as I think that maybe they're one of the reasons for the stronger akathisia.

Molly, thanks for the encouragement. As I said above, I'm not actually opposed to (temporarily) being on ADs, especially since I'm already on Cipralex so it wouldn't be an increase, just a switch. Good reminder to keep the mindfulness going...I've been falling off that of late.

 

Thanks,

Undo

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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  • Administrator

You might want to put ALL the drugs you take in the Drug Interactions Checker http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html and copy and paste the results in this topic.
 

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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Hey Alto - thanks for the reply. I went back to work on Thursday and have been busy, hence off the site until now. Funny that you should suggest that, though, as I'd just done the check that morning. Percocet, which I'd taken the first few nights after getting out of the hospital did have a major interaction with verapamil so I stopped it. Tylenol 3 had a few moderate ones, things that reduced the effectiveness of codeine. I've since stopped taking all the painkillers, though, so the results below are just based on what I'm currently taking. I do occasionally take zopiclone/imovane for sleep, but the site doesn't track it. Its close relative, eszopiclone doesn't show any significant interactions (basically just combinations that would increase drowsiness if taken together...not that I'd ever take benadryl with imovane at the same time anyway).

 

----

Unsaved Drug List
magnesium citrate
verapamil
Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
Lexapro (escitalopram)
Omega-3 (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids)

 

Interactions between your selected drugs

 

Moderate
diphenhydramine escitalopram


Applies to: Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Lexapro (escitalopram)

Using diphenhydrAMINE together with escitalopram 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.

 

 

Moderate
magnesium citrate escitalopram


Applies to: magnesium citrate, Lexapro (escitalopram)

Escitalopram can cause an irregular heart rhythm that may be serious and potentially life-threatening, although it is a relatively rare side effect. The risk is increased if you have low blood levels of magnesium or potassium, which can occur with bowel cleansing preparations or excessive use of medications that have a laxative effect. Do not exceed the dose and duration of use of magnesium citrate recommended on the product label or prescribed by your doctor. You should seek immediate medical attention if you develop sudden dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, shortness of breath, or heart palpitations during treatment with these medications. In addition, you should let your doctor know if you experience signs and symptoms of low magnesium or potassium blood level such as weakness, tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, tingling, numbness, muscle pain, cramps, nausea, or vomiting. 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.

 

 

Minor
verapamil escitalopram


Applies to: verapamil, Lexapro (escitalopram)

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.

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

    magnesium citrate interacts with more than 100 other drugs.
    verapamil interacts with more than 400 other drugs.
    Benadryl (diphenhydramine) interacts with more than 300 other drugs.
    Lexapro (escitalopram) interacts with more than 500 other drugs.
    Omega-3 (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids) interacts with more than 40 other drugs.

Interactions between your selected drugs and food

 

Moderate
verapamil food


Applies to: verapamil

You may take verapamil with or without food, but take it the same way every time. You should avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice as much as possible during treatment with verapamil. If you have been regularly consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice with verapamil, do not increase or decrease the amounts of these products in your diet without first talking to your doctor. Grapefruit juice can increase the blood levels and effects of verapamil. Contact your doctor if you experience sudden, unexplained weight gain; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; chest pain; or difficulty breathing. Avoid driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medication affects you, and use caution when getting up from a sitting or lying position. 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.

 

 

Moderate
escitalopram food


Applies to: Lexapro (escitalopram)

Consumer information for this interaction is not currently available.

GENERALLY AVOID: Alcohol may potentiate some of the pharmacologic effects of CNS-active agents. Use in combination may result in additive central nervous system depression and/or impairment of judgment, thinking, and psychomotor skills.

MANAGEMENT: Patients receiving CNS-active agents should be warned of this interaction and advised to avoid or limit consumption of alcohol. Ambulatory patients should be counseled to avoid hazardous activities requiring complete mental alertness and motor coordination until they know how these agents affect them, and to notify their physician if they experience excessive or prolonged CNS effects that interfere with their normal activities.

 

 

Therapeutic duplication warnings

No therapeutic duplications were found for your selected drugs.

 

 

Drug Interaction Classification

The classifications below are a guideline only. The relevance of a particular drug interaction to a specific patient is difficult to determine using this tool alone given the large number of variables that may apply.
Major     Highly clinically significant. Avoid combinations; the risk of the interaction outweighs the benefit.
Moderate     Moderately clinically significant. Usually avoid combinations; use it only under special circumstances.
Minor     Minimally clinically significant. Minimize risk; assess risk and consider an alternative drug, take steps to circumvent the interaction risk and/or institute a monitoring plan.

Do not stop taking any medications without consulting your healthcare provider.

---

 

Thanks,

Ryan

Underlying Condition Chronic Daily Headache (NDPH)

April-July 2008: Cipralex (10mg) and Elavil. CT both in July.

Sept-Dec 2008: Cipralex (10mg). Started too abruptly, ended with short taper. No WD.

Jan-Mar 2009: Elavil. No + or - effects.

Sept 2009-July 2014: Cipralex (10mg). Tapered over approx. 1 month (5 mg, then off).

Apr-Aug 2014: Gabapentin. Tapered over three weeks.

Sept-Dec 2014: Sertraline. Side effects. On doc's orders, tapered by going to 25mg for 5 days, then off.

Dec 2014-ongoing: Withdrawal: flu-like symptoms, insomnia, weakness/paresthesia, dizziness, agitation.

March 2015: reinstated, over a few weeks, 5mg Cipralex

June/July 2015: upped to 10mg Cipralex, no noticeable effects on above symptoms, but still taking it.

Summer 2015: less insomnia and dizziness, more anxiety and depression with strong paresthesia/akathisia, waves and windows (fluctuating a few days at a time typically).

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