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nk123: Should I reinstate lexapro and taper slower?


nk123

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Hello all, I was prescribed 10mg of lexapro about 1 year ago. My symptoms at the time where anxiety which led me to have a nervous breakdown.My nerves became sensitized to adrenalin and while my mental anxiety problems diminished, the physical feelings of the adrenalin greatly bothered me.I read a book by Claire Weekes called "Hope and Help for your Nerves" and after following her methods, I found my symptoms diminishing but one day they became worse.

 

My insurance provider forces me to use their mail order system, which shipped out my order nearly a week late. During the first few days of this period I noticed my symptoms diminishing. My brain put two and two together. During the period I was healing I was using another brand of lexapro. I  wondered if this new brand of lexapro was instigating my symptoms? I would have stayed off of it but unfortunately after the 4th or so day the cold turkey symptoms set in.

 

My doctor wrote my a script but for 5mg  which alleviated most of my symptoms. When my mail order prescription arrived, I decided to stick to the 5mg dosage and taper off. I reduced 1mg every 2 weeks.  I didn't suffer any severe lexapro related side effects at first. My symptoms where an increase in anxiety and a slight burning feeling in the eyes, both of which would dissipate in a few days after a dose reduction. 

 

After stopping my final dose however I had greatly increased anxiety symptoms 3-4 days after. These eventually subsided but then the back of my mind started worrying. "What if I tapered too fast?" "What if I mess myself in the long run?" etc..

 

So today I started up again on the 1mg dose. The physical feelings of adrenalin want me to just quit it now, and  the other half of me says if you rush this, it could just make it worse down the road. I'm wondering if it's worth it to taper from this even slower or just stop completely. Is it really worth it to taper off from 1mg or am I just worrying too much?

 

 

If anyone could offer some advice that I would greatly appreciate it.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello nk123 and welcome to SA.

 

I have moved your post from the Tapering section here as your introductory post. You can use this thread for your future updates and asking for advice and suggestions.

 

I must admit I didn't quite understand how you tapered. So putting some dates would be very helpful. Something like we all have in our signature. Here are instructions on how to do that. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/ Thatwould help us a lot to give you our opinions.

 

Were you taking any other psychotropic medication before Lexapro? If I understand it correctly you stopped taking Lexapro cold turkey (when and for how long), then you resumed taking 5 mg but soon started reducing it again (at least approximate dates would be very helpful of when that happened would help). We recommend tapering 10 % of your current dose every 30 days so going down by 1 mg every 2 days is very fast.

 

When you give us more dates, we will have a clearer picture and will be able to say more about what might be the best dose to reinstate. I definitely wouldn't think about tapering at this moment. Your brain has been through a lot and now you need to treat it with stability for quite some time. You have come to a great place with loads of useful resources on how to taper safely.

 

You can study some of the threads we have here. You might start here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/300-important-topics-in-the-tapering-forum-and-faq/. Here is the thread on tapering Lexapro. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

Once again welcome. You will find a lot of friendly support here.

 

Best,

Bubble

Current: Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Hi bubble, sorry for the lack of clarity in my post. I have taken no other medication besides lexapro in the last year.

 

Unfortunately I don't remember any exact dates of when I stopped and the dates of my dose reductions.

 

I can say that approximately 3 months ago I stopped lexapro cold turkey.  I believe it was about 10-14 days later that I felt severe withdrawal symptoms. Upon feeling these I believe I took 2.5mgs for a day or two, then resumed on a 5mg dose. I maintained this dose for 2 weeks and then every 2 weeks I reduced by dose by 1mg.

 

So basically,

Initial - 5mg

2 weeks later - 4mg

2 weeks later -3 mg

2 weeks later -2 mg

2 weeks later -1 mg

2 weeks later  - 0mg

 

I felt fine for about 3-4 days after my final dose  then noticed some bad symptoms.I am unsure about this but I may have become deficient in magnesium, which coincided with the final weeks of my taper. I noticed that I had bad muscle tightness and also would get some pretty bad cramps. My teeth became pretty sensitive too.  I ordered some magnesium glycinate and in the meantime took epsom salt baths and those issues improved a lot. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi nk123 , welcome to the site.

 

In the Tapering section , there's information about why this site recommends tapering slowly i.e. 5-10% reduction at a time , and hold on each level for 4-6 weeks.

So you went very quickly , and may be starting to get protracted withdrawal symptoms.  See Symptoms and Self Care , What is withdrawal.

 

At the moment you need to think about reinstating to halt the w/d symptoms.   You need to get to a stable place again before considering tapering down and off.

The 1mg you've started needs at least 4 days to get to a steady level in your bloodstream , so give it a chance.

 

You're not worrying too much about what a huge difference just a mg or two can make . . . these are extremely potent drugs.

 

Good to have you on board ,   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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Thank you for more information.

 

I agree with Fresh, and if I were you I would stick with 1 mg for quite some time to see how things develop. In the meantime, I would read a bit more about tapering and withdrawal because most doctors are in denial about its existance. I'm here because I listened to my doctor and suffered badly so I had no choice but to take things in my own hands. That's sad but true.

 

The first step in taking charge of our drug situation is paying a very careful attention to when and how much of the drug we are taking so that we can understand how it affects us and be in control. Then, it's important to keep notes of our symptoms and their intensity because it also gives us very important information for making drug related decisions.

 

For a start even approximate dates help. For instance based on what you wrote I would say: February 2014 - 15 (?) December 2014 10 mg Lexapro

 

15 Dec. CT 10 mg Lexapro

 

25 December 2.5 mg, 27 Dec. 5 mg

 

15 January 4 mg, 31 Jan 3mg, 14 Feb 2 mg, 28 Feb 1 mg (something went wrong with the maths ;)

 

When did you go back to 1 mg?

 

Sorry to grill you about this timeframe but if you want to do it properly and be in control of what is happening to you, it's very important.

 

You say that Lexapro was the only drug you used last year but it is also important to know whether you were taking any other drugs before that. Our past experiences that is experiences of our brain also have a big influence on how the brain deals with the most recent drug. People like me who have a long history of other drugs and CTs, changing drugs and doses will in general have a more difficult time coming off. 

 

These drugs are very potent, especially at low doses and 1 mg is not something that should be neglected. If I were you I would stick with 1 mg and study the links I gave you to understand how this drugs work.

 

I'm glad that magnesium helped you. Keep us posted. 

Current: Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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