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Ralft Is it too late?


Ralft

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I would truly love to feel 'natural' again! I have been on 20mg Paroxetine daily for 29 years! There have been undoubted benefits; I am a nicer, kinder, less aggressive person than I was. I have less mood swings, am more empathic, show love more readily. But I have all of the negatives as well. Weight gain is a constant battle. Headaches. Dizziness. High cholesterol. Low libido. Worst of all is not knowing who I really am! What is my 'real' personality? Am I a chemical robot?

Well, I have tried, disastrously, to withdraw. I want to be free. But I am scared! I am 76 years old now and just don't know if it's worth the risk of messing about with whatever time I have!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi  Ralft , welcome to the site.     You'll get loads of support , information and advice here , on everything antidepressant-related.

 

You might try reading some threads in the Tapering section to start with , including "Why Taper by 10%".  

Also  "What is Withdrawal"  in the Symptoms and Self care section.

 

It IS possible to withdraw safely even after this many years.   Arm yourself with information so that you can make good decisions.

 

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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People have difficulty tapering from antidepressants after only a few days of beginning to take them. That means that whatever changes occur to the nervous system happens right away and stays that way for however long they're on the drug. So I don't think it really matters how long someone's been on an antidepressant as to how difficult it will be to get off of it. Still, it's a long process when done the right way, and requires going through some suffering pretty much all along the way, both during the tapering and after. When done the right way, however, the suffering is for the most part quite manageable. So you have to consider this.

That you've gone 29 years with no real problems (side effects) might mean you're not going to have any problems like poop out if you decide to just stay on your antidepressant.

If, however, you decide to taper from your antidepressant, and there have been changes to your personality-something very common with anti-depressants, by the way) you will begin to notice as your pre antidepressant personality reemerging during tapering. I started to see this when I'd reached about a half dose during my tapering. So to see  if your antidepressant has changed your personality you'll have to go through the tapering and post taper. The whole process so far has taken me through a 4 year taper and 5 months post taper My original personality is back for a while now and I look back on the horrible person I was during the almost 20 years I was on antidepressants, and so am very glad I got off of them. My old personality is very far from perfect, but it's really me, not someone the drugs created and controlled. It doesn't sound as though your personality was changed for the worse as much as mine was.

 

Now you're going to have to decide for yourself if you want to do this. It's a long haul and some suffering (noone, no matter how careful gets through this without some suffering) but it definitely can be done. I'd just want you to know some of the realities or at least real possibilities entailed in getting off of an antidepressant, so you can go into the whole process, if that's what you decide, with your eyes open as much as possible. Also, being older shouldn't matter if you're in good health, I'm 57 and seem to have had the same problems other much younger people have had on this site, in other words I faired no better or worse. Regardless of what you decide, best of luck!    

Sept 12th 1992-began taking Imipramine (50mgs) for panic attacks.

Stopped Imipramine after 4 months (cold turkey).

7 months later experienced "mysterious" bad flu-like symptoms, although, without upper respiratory problems or fever. Because of this and a day of panic attacks, was put on Prozac (20mgs?) for 2 months and then, when that didn't work-was put back on  Imipramine,  plus Xanax 1 mg (4Xdaily)-October 1993.

March 1999-switched from Imipramine (50mgs) to Celexa.

2008-switched to Pristiq for 3 months, then back to Effexor XR (after bad reaction to the Pristiq).

Sept 1st 2010-Switched from Effexor XR (75mgs) to Effexor Generic (solid form) in preparation for taper.

Nov 15th 2010-Began tapering from 75mgs Effexor Generic.

January 13th 2014-.06mgs

April 17th 2014-      .03mgs

May 11th 2014-       .02mgs

Ended taper October 31st 2014

Oct 4th 2015-11 months post taper and completely back to normal!

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Ralft.

 

It does sound like you are suffering from adverse drug effects.

 

It is true, at your age you may not want to risk rocking the neurological boat by changing your Paxil dosage. However, it could be a drug interaction is causing them.

 

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

 

If it is the Paxil, you may wish to consider a very, very small reduction to at least reduce the adverse effects. See Tips for tapering off Paxil (paroxetine)

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Alto gives very good advice above - check any drug interactions!

 

Also, check that there is no other health issue causing your symptoms.

 

If you decide to go the 10% taper route, you will find very good support here - i would also recommend seeing if you can find a compounding chemist to make you medication up in the 10% decrements - i know many much younger members find it hard to deal with cutting and weighing pills...

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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Thank you so much for your advice. The only other med I take regularly is Omeprazole, and the interaction checker did not highlight any reaction problems. I am thinking of trying the 10% taper route. I like the idea of a consistent percentage rather than a fixed amount, since this automatically slows up the withdrawal in the latter stages.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey Ralft  ,     to be on the safe side you may want to decrease by just 5% and see how you go.  

 

There are instructions for how to get 18 or 19mg from a 20mg tablet in "Tips for Tapering off Paxil"  in the Tapering section (see Using Electronic Digital Scales ,

and   How to Make a Liquid for Tapering).

 

It's alot cheaper than having capsules compounded for you , if you have the patience.

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

Hi Ralft, welcome from me too. 29 years is a very long time on a drug and you will feel amazing when it is gone! It will take time but take it slowly and you could feel better as the doses get lower, you don't have to wait until it is gone to feel the benefit of tapering. 

 

I was  on omeprazole, because of the side effects of effexor. When I got to lower doses of effexor I tapered the omeprazole and found that it had side effects too. One of those side effects is that vit B12 is not absorbed because it needs stomach acid for absorption. And lack of B12 can cause depression!

 

Here is a topic on the 3 KIS, Keep it Simple, Keep it Slow, Keep it Stable. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6632-the-rule-of-3kis-keep-it-simple-keep-it-slow-keep-it-stable/

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Just wanted to say Welcome, Ralft! Lots of support and love on this forum. We're all here for you. Hugs from Pug.

 

PS - It's NEVER TOO LATE.

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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