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Putting powders into capsules

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csm2014

I know there are many very inventive and creative folks much more experienced than I regarding tapering since I am still fairly new to psych meds and tapering in general, but I'm just curious to know if anyone has tried or is encapsulating their customized dry powder (pulverized then mixed to preserve uniformity) taper as a method of added convenience of administration and future storage. It also prevents wasting excess powder from shaving tablets or shaving off too much since even 1mg of powdered active drug can be encapsulated and administered at a later time.

 

Since I already had the tools and supplies from doing this this with herbs and other OTC supplements, it seemed liked a perfect fit for me, as before I ever started psych meds, I already had on hand a Gemini-20 scale, a micro funnel, an encapsulation machine, and various gelatin capsule sizes down to the tiniest available (size #5). Basically, I already had a backdoor compounding pharmacy operation already in place.

 

As I am in the midst of tapering Lamictal, this idea came up since I did not do well on the lower dose chewable version (perhaps because it uses different excipients, binders, etc. that cause a difference in dispersion than I was used to, so I went back to using my current tablet and crushed it into a fine powder). Since I am more than anxious to commence my Klonopin taper ASAP, it will come next, however, as I have expressed in my last few posts here [http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7988-csm2014-lamictal-question/page-2], I am still uncertain as to whether I should wait until completely tapered off the Lamictal, or commence a simultaneous taper once I get my Lamictal dose to a negligible amount (i.e. 10mg or less). At least from my experience dry micro-tapering Lamictal, I will be more than qualified to do so now with the Klonopin which gives me way more confidence to see my way out of the rabbit hole. Most people with my fairly short-term use in psych meds probably wouldn't bother with micro-tapering and would just dry-cut the tablets, but I'd rather be safe than sorry and follow my own instincts, given how sensitive I am. Slow and steady wins the race in this case is my motto.

 

I realize that this added method of administration may not be possible (too much hassle to especially obtain the #5 capsules, micro funnel, etc.), and may seem a bit fussy and unnecessary for most to go the route of encapsulation, but I thought I'd mention it in case it could be of benefit to to those willing to experiment ;)

 

The nice thing about this is that it can be used for ANY drug, not just psych meds (e.g. blood pressure meds, painkillers, etc.) with the exception of timed/sustained release formulations.

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Rhiannon

I think I have seen a couple of people do this kind of thing, over the years.  Basically I would say it has the same advantages and drawbacks as dry cutting in general. Advantages, you don't have to deal with little bottles and syringes and such. Drawbacks, it's very expensive to get a lab quality scale and enclosure, which is what you need to have to get consistent measurements and very small increments for tapering, especially at those very tricky low doses, since you can't work with dilutions. (Gemini-20 is okay at higher weights but is neither accurate nor precise at small weights.)

 

Be aware that as you pulverize your powder and move it around, you are going to be losing small amounts of the drug (which will stick to surfaces microscopically), and take that into account. I generally prefer methods which minimize manipulating and moving powders and such for that reason.

 

Let us know how this works for you, I'm sure people will be interested.

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Altostrata

Most people don't have the equipment, patience, and accuracy to do this. If you feel confident in your ability to do this, it's a feasible way to taper. It's included in almost all our "tips for tapering" topics.

 

Please see those topics for lamotrigine and each of your other drugs.

 

Having the drug compounding into a liquid or making a liquid yourself is, in my opinion, the most accurate and convenient way to taper.

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csm2014

I think I have seen a couple of people do this kind of thing, over the years.  Basically I would say it has the same advantages and drawbacks as dry cutting in general. Advantages, you don't have to deal with little bottles and syringes and such. Drawbacks, it's very expensive to get a lab quality scale and enclosure, which is what you need to have to get consistent measurements and very small increments for tapering, especially at those very tricky low doses, since you can't work with dilutions. (Gemini-20 is okay at higher weights but is neither accurate nor precise at small weights.)

 

Be aware that as you pulverize your powder and move it around, you are going to be losing small amounts of the drug (which will stick to surfaces microscopically), and take that into account. I generally prefer methods which minimize manipulating and moving powders and such for that reason.

 

Let us know how this works for you, I'm sure people will be interested.

 

Just to see, I looked into the milligram scales within a certain price range and thanks to a very helpful company rep, learned the difference in tehnology between something like the Gemini-20 (which is a strain gauge load cell balance better utilized for static weighing) and the lab quality scales (which are electromagnetic  forced restoration balance more suited to trickle weighing powders).  The increase in expense is considerable, but considering how important one's health and well being is, especially while tapering off, I can justify the investment. Perhaps other hardcore dry taperers can benefit from this. Here is the one I'm considering: http://www.katsci.com/Products/AL-311-Precision-Balance.aspx?gclid=COiC56TLj8QCFc9hfgodG6oAjg

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csm2014

I think I have seen a couple of people do this kind of thing, over the years.  Basically I would say it has the same advantages and drawbacks as dry cutting in general. Advantages, you don't have to deal with little bottles and syringes and such. Drawbacks, it's very expensive to get a lab quality scale and enclosure, which is what you need to have to get consistent measurements and very small increments for tapering, especially at those very tricky low doses, since you can't work with dilutions. (Gemini-20 is okay at higher weights but is neither accurate nor precise at small weights.)

 

Be aware that as you pulverize your powder and move it around, you are going to be losing small amounts of the drug (which will stick to surfaces microscopically), and take that into account. I generally prefer methods which minimize manipulating and moving powders and such for that reason.

 

Let us know how this works for you, I'm sure people will be interested.

Just to see, I looked into the milligram scales within a certain price range and thanks to a very helpful company rep, learned the difference in technology between something like the Gemini-20 (which is a strain gauge load cell balance better utilized for static weighing) and the lab quality scales (which are electromagnetic  forced restoration balance more suited to trickle weighing powders).  The increase in expense is considerable, but considering how important one's health and well being is, especially while tapering off, I can justify the investment. Perhaps other hardcore dry taperers can benefit from this. Here is the one I'm considering: http://www.katsci.co...CFc9hfgodG6oAjg

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csm2014

Update - so I'm down to 20mg Lamictal (from reinstating @ 25mg, then 22.5mg) for the last 4 days and am experiencing an increase in the same symptoms as before (agitation, anxiety, loss of appetite, slight sour stomach, achy). I start feeling better at night and worse in the early a.m before I want to get up nd can't get back to sleep.  As much as I want to, I have decided to withhold tapering the Klonopin at this point, as it would just make figuring out what causes symptoms impossible. It's hard enough as it is since I'm already taking meds for blood pressure, thyroid and a variety of supplements.  I'm assuming this is to be expected and to just tough it out and not go back on my previous dose, correct? All advice appreciated as usual. :)

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Rhiannon

That looks like a good scale.

 

It's hard to say if you should ride it out or uptick your dose; it's really up to you. How bad are you feeling? Is it interfering with your ability to work and do the things you need to in your life? Do you have some stressful stuff coming up soon, or do you have some slack now? Those are the things I think about when I get an increase in symptoms to a level that I don't feel okay about.

 

Personally I usually ride it out, but that's going to be a very individual decision. This is why I recommend going slowly at first in a taper, making small cuts and waiting a long time between them, so you can learn what your body's default settings are, how long it takes for symptoms to come on, how long they last, how they peak, how they subside. If a person makes cuts pretty close together they don't have time for the full process to happen and they can end up getting overlap of symptoms from previous cuts with those from the  most recent one.

 

You'll have to learn for yourself how your body is going to react to cuts and how they play out for you.

 

Often when we have had really bad withdrawal experiences in the past, we can panic when we get those first withdrawal symptoms, even when we've been going more slowly, because we don't know how much worse they're going to get. Again, that's why I suggest going slow at first, so you'll know where the "floor" is for you.

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csm2014

That looks like a good scale.

 

It's hard to say if you should ride it out or uptick your dose; it's really up to you. How bad are you feeling? Is it interfering with your ability to work and do the things you need to in your life? Do you have some stressful stuff coming up soon, or do you have some slack now? Those are the things I think about when I get an increase in symptoms to a level that I don't feel okay about.

 

Personally I usually ride it out, but that's going to be a very individual decision. This is why I recommend going slowly at first in a taper, making small cuts and waiting a long time between them, so you can learn what your body's default settings are, how long it takes for symptoms to come on, how long they last, how they peak, how they subside. If a person makes cuts pretty close together they don't have time for the full process to happen and they can end up getting overlap of symptoms from previous cuts with those from the  most recent one.

 

You'll have to learn for yourself how your body is going to react to cuts and how they play out for you.

 

Often when we have had really bad withdrawal experiences in the past, we can panic when we get those first withdrawal symptoms, even when we've been going more slowly, because we don't know how much worse they're going to get. Again, that's why I suggest going slow at first, so you'll know where the "floor" is for you.

Actually, weird, I'm feeling a bit better now and getting my appetite back as I write this. It seems the 1st half of the day is the toughest which I would equate with the diurnal cortisol rhythm (cortisol becoming elevated during withdrawal, highest during the day and producing the anxiety and associated discomfort - also Lamictal sensitizes the glutatmate receptors). I also have been pushing myself daily with fairly strenuous strength training and cardio for 4 days in a row, so I think I needed a day off. Too much exercise can work against you just as bad as too little.

 

I took the plunge and ordered the scale. If it doesn't suit my needs or work much better than my little cheapie Gemini, I have 30 days to return it. Thanks for offering your support! :D  

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csm2014

Most people don't have the equipment, patience, and accuracy to do this. If you feel confident in your ability to do this, it's a feasible way to taper. It's included in almost all our "tips for tapering" topics.

 

Please see those topics for lamotrigine and each of your other drugs.

 

Having the drug compounding into a liquid or making a liquid yourself is, in my opinion, the most accurate and convenient way to taper.

I don't know anyone as anal/OCD as I am when it comes to my health - which, in itself, I realize is psychic anxiety along with the physical anxiety, so I will do what it takes to feel as well as I can. There is a sense of desperation to get myself back on track, but that same desperation also led to me down the rabbit hole where I eventually wound up on psych meds also :o   

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Rhiannon

Yep, a lot of us have that same sensitivity to our cortisol rhythms. And the same thing with intense exercise (which, it turns out, causes cortisol to be released). During withdrawal it seems more gentle exercise works better for most of us, or at least adapting our exercise routine to our tapering schedule and symptoms.

 

I think glutamate irregularities are behind a lot of the symptoms of withdrawal. It's our body's primary excitatory neurotransmitter and pretty much all psych meds pertub its physiology in some way, either directly or downstream. I have found when tapering Lamictal more aggressively that I get the fatigue, muscle aches, nausea/reflux, etc but I also tend to be extra sensitive to sensory input like sound, light and temperature extremes for a while.

 

I think what you call "anal/OCD" is going to serve you quite well in tapering. You sound pretty sensible.  I look forward to hearing your success story!

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csm2014

Yep, a lot of us have that same sensitivity to our cortisol rhythms. And the same thing with intense exercise (which, it turns out, causes cortisol to be released). During withdrawal it seems more gentle exercise works better for most of us, or at least adapting our exercise routine to our tapering schedule and symptoms.

 

I think glutamate irregularities are behind a lot of the symptoms of withdrawal. It's our body's primary excitatory neurotransmitter and pretty much all psych meds pertub its physiology in some way, either directly or downstream. I have found when tapering Lamictal more aggressively that I get the fatigue, muscle aches, nausea/reflux, etc but I also tend to be extra sensitive to sensory input like sound, light and temperature extremes for a while.

 

I think what you call "anal/OCD" is going to serve you quite well in tapering. You sound pretty sensible.  I look forward to hearing your success story!

 

My take is that during especially intense exercise, the effects of cortisol are initially offset by the release of the feel-good opioid endorphins and enkephalins; also adrenalin acts as a anti-inflammatory. These all act to lessen the effects of withdrawal - so we feel a sense of transient relief and exhilaration. My theory is that since the glutatmate receptors (as in the case of ADs) and GABA receptors (as in the case of benzos) are still in "recovery mode", sensitized from even a controlled withdrawal taper, we really feel the effects of that cortisol surge more acutely than normal especially the next morning as our adrenals are over-taxed or over-reacting and interpreting the surge as an attack which brings about a sense of paranoia/panic/fear/terror/despair/intrusive & negative thoughts. My insecurities, fears, etc. all become acutely amplified during this time of day to the point of paranoia, and then seem to dissipate as the day wears on, finally subsiding by the late p.m. From everything I've read about ADs, Lamictal notwithstanding, in its capacity as a glutamate antagonist via the NMDA receptors, by withdrawing, you are effectively letting off the brakes and pushing down on the accelerator (which, if you're on a poly-med protocol of AD and sedative meds, it makes sense to always taper the AD first before the GABA agonist (benzo). The benzo will help to down-regulate the glutamate sensitivity, acting as a "brake". If you taper off the benzo first, you have nothing to act as the brakes on the increased excitation once you start tapering the Lamictal (or any AD). The most extreme symptom of acute excitation is convulsion.

 

At least that's my two cents.

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Altostrata

Intense exercise releases cortisol. Walking does not.

 

Good synopsis of the accelerator vs brake rationale.

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csm2014

Intense exercise releases cortisol. Walking does not.

 

Good synopsis of the accelerator vs brake rationale.

When my nervous system started to blow up on me six months ago, I did a lot of walking while talking on my mobile phone to friends and family, as that's all I could manage.

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