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blackrabbit: Help with tapering off Lexapro

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blackrabbit

OK so I need some input on tapering off from 20mgs of Lexapro. I asked my doctor for the liquid version so it would be easier to measure the mg's but she told me there is not a liquid.


 


There is though! So that made me mad. So I decided I'm going to have to break each tablet and weigh it to be accurate.


 


Then my doctor told me to reduce the mgs by quarters. I feel like that is too big of a taper so instead I'm going to do it by mg every week or 2 weeks. I am on ~18mg now.


 


Has anyone tapered off Lexapro before? How did you do it? Did you have awful withdrawl symptoms? I want this process to be as painless as possible. I feel like I can deal with the mental symptoms better than the physical (nausea, vomiting, etc.)


 


Also, my last q--  is one is more likely to experience the worst withdrawl symptoms during a certain mg decrease?


 


Please help :( I can't take this anxiety and fear of getting ill any more. I'm going to turn into a hermit if things don't get better.


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Petunia

Welcome Blackrabbit,

I moved your introductory post to a Journal thread of its own. This way more people will notice it, and you can maintain your own journal. Please add information and updates about your changing circumstances, and ask questions here.

 

I'm sorry to hear that your doctor isn't being very helpful, but its good that you have found this site and are wanting to learn about safe tapering.  Perhaps you could talk to your pharmacist about getting the liquid form of Lexapro, and then pass that information to your doctor.  Its also possible to make your own liquid.

 

Please read through:

 

Tips for tapering off lexapro

 

How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

 

 

I tapered off lexapro, much to fast and am in protracted withdrawal, but perhaps others who have/are tapering carefully will be able to offer their support and suggestions.  If you taper slowly, and listen to your body, there is no reason withdrawal symptoms should get worse.

 

How are you feeling at the moment?  Are you having withdrawal symptoms?  Are you taking any other medications?

 

Petunia.

 

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bubble

Hello blackrabbit and greetings from yet another Lexapro victim.

 

I'm very happy for you that you came here in preparation for your taper unlike many of us who came here suffering from withdrawal. After you have studied the links Petunia provided for you, you will be well equipped for a safe and low(no) suffering taper.

 

As you will see, we recommend reducing by 10 % every 30 days but the best strategy is to carefully observe your body and how it reacts to symptoms. These drugs have quite a bit of a delayed response so holding between cuts is extremely important. Most symptoms develop further down the road so if you reduce too fast such as every week or every two weeks the symptoms will actually build up and then explode at one point. The idea behind tapering is regrowing a new brain and this takes time especially for those of us who have years of drug history.

 

As you will notice we all have our drug history in our signatures. This helps us keep track of our progress and also provides other members who offer their advice and suggestions with the overview of our situation at a glance. This si how you can create yours: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

If I can ask you a few more questions in addition to those that Petunia made, how long have you been on 20 mg Lexapro? Did you take any drugs before that? Are you taking any other drugs/supplements at the moment? You can put all of that info in your signature when you feel like it.

 

Once again welcome.

 

Bubble

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blackrabbit

I just started tapering off Lexapro. I went from 20mg to 18mg and now I am at 15mg.

 

I get very anxious at night and morning. Sometimes have panic attacks. Weird pains in the head (not sure if they are brain zaps or what). Hardly have an appetite (I love to snack and now I don't). And I just don't feel 100%. 

 

I need to talk to someone. I feel so alone and I just want to cry for no reason. But I am determined to taper off these meds successfully so I can feel back to normal and not sick every day.

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blackrabbit

So sorry I haven't been on in a few days--turns out I forgot my password but it's recovered. Anyway I have been on Lex 20mg for 4 years but I was on it for 30mg for a few months at a time in between. I'm using "The Road Back" program so I am taking a handful of supplements in hopes of decreasing the potency of the withdrawal symptoms. 

 

Here they are:

Nuero Endure Mini 
JNK Capsules
Blue Ice Royal Fish Oil
Body Calm Daytime
Body Calm Supreme w/ Melatonin
Vitamin B 12 Complex
Probiotics

 

I'm also on Rx for allergies (generic for Singulair), Xyzol (ashtma/allergy). 

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Altostrata

Welcome, blackrabbit.

 

I merged your Introductions topics -- only one to a customer in the Introductions forum.

 

You are tapering too fast and getting withdrawal symptoms. Please read the links Petunia gave you. You can make your own liquid from Lexapro and water for more precise tapering.

 

Any doctor can prescribe the Lexapro liquid, if you want it. Do you have another doctor you trust? The ordering number is NDC # 0456-2101-08.

 

Please use search in the Symptoms and Self-Care forum for our discussions about The Road Back.

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blackrabbit
At random points throughout the day, I get a feeling of mild dizziness. Not so much that I can't keep my balance but it is a feeling that is hard to explain and mild dizziness is the best way to describe it. Does anyone else have this? Any tips for dealing with it? 

 

Also, is one is more likely to experience the worst withdrawl symptoms during a certain mg decrease? The withdrawal symptoms I am experiencing lately are bearable (still unpleasant) but I am worried they will get worse as I keep tapering down the road. If anyone has any input on that as well whether from their knowledge or own experience, that'd be great.

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ten0275

blackrabbit, hey.

 

dizziness is one of the more "universal" symptoms, and it really runs the gamut of severity. yours sounds fairly mild which is great. i had both mild and severe dizziness in intervals. i experienced it as walking on the deck of a ship in waters that ranged from mildly-stirred to hurricane-choppy. i don't think there is a ton that you can do for the dizziness. it comes and goes at random, as you've noted. doctors will often recommend exercises best applied to inner-ear issues or vertigo when patients in withdrawal present their dizziness symptoms, but most find these ineffective. i think your best recourse is to try to bare with it, as annoying as it will be to do so - knowing that it is not dangerous, just unpleasant.

 

it is hard to say when you will experience your worst symptoms. that is why it is important for you to be patient and conservative in your taper. try to look no further down the road than your next cut. easier said than done, i know - because you want to know what to expect. but it is absolutely impossible to know the answer to your question, so it is truly a waste of time to even ponder it. try to stay focused on holding long enough to reach levels of stability that afford you the relative comfort and confidence to make the next cut. this is how people get from point Z to point A in the process.

 

hang in there.

 

dave

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blackrabbit

thank you for the reply :) i will try to hang in there. it's been hard.

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blackrabbit

I know this is my 3rd post in the past 24 hours but IDK who else to talk to and I am sorry if I am breaking any type of rule but I need help. I'm shaking with nerves.

 

I was on 20mg of Lexapro for a while. When I decided I wanted to start tapering off I went to 18mg for a week, and now I am at 15mg. 15mg was good until today. So far my symptoms of withdrawal have been dizziness, weird head aches (don't think they were zaps), having the urge to cry for no reason, and I lost most of my appetite. I still eat but I can't as much with out feeling "turned off" by food.
 
Today I was doing fine, just the dizziness. So I had a snack and then lunch about an hour later (chicken parm--kind of heavy). After I finished I felt so full which led me to feeling nauseas for about an hour. I took 1 dramamine, waited...still felt sick. I felt like I had to burp really bad but also nauseas. I wanted to puke just to make myself feel better at that point but all I felt was nausea. Then I burped and felt better. This all happened at work and it was horrible. I dread coming to work every day for fear this will happen constantly.
 
Would anyone think that I need to go back up 2mg for a bit? I am so confused I just don't know what to do! I feel very alone and need input. 

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dalsaan

Hi blackrabbit

 

It's not clear to me when you dropped down to 18 and how you felt. It's also not clear when you dropped from 18 to 15. Can you change your signature to provide this information. Can you also advise whether your symptoms have gotten worse, stayed constant or fluctuated after your drop to 15. We recommend you listen to your body and record what's happening for you so you can make good decisions

 

Having said that it's important not to invest too much emotional energy into withdrawal. Freaking yourself out and fixating on it stresses your nervous symptoms and it already has enough to deal with.

 

Dalsaan

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blackrabbit

Hi blackrabbit

 

It's not clear to me when you dropped down to 18 and how you felt. It's also not clear when you dropped from 18 to 15. Can you change your signature to provide this information. Can you also advise whether your symptoms have gotten worse, stayed constant or fluctuated after your drop to 15. We recommend you listen to your body and record what's happening for you so you can make good decisions

 

Having said that it's important not to invest too much emotional energy into withdrawal. Freaking yourself out and fixating on it stresses your nervous symptoms and it already has enough to deal with.

 

Dalsaan

Hi.

I was on 18mg last week. But I started getting very very anxious during the day and night and I figured it was because it was too high a dosage for me. So I since I have been on 15mg (since Sunday) I haven't had as many issues with anxiety. So it hasn't been long. I have been keeping a journal of what supplements I take and when as well as how I feel throughout the day. 

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Altostrata

Please read Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

It sounds like you are tapering too fast and you are getting withdrawal symptoms. Going from 18mg to 15mg is a decrease of 17%.

 

You may be more comfortable with a dosage of 16mg rather than 15mg.

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blackrabbit

Please read Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

It sounds like you are tapering too fast and you are getting withdrawal symptoms. Going from 18mg to 15mg is a decrease of 17%.

 

You may be more comfortable with a dosage of 16mg rather than 15mg.

Yes, I decided that I am going to go back up to 18mg and stay there for 2 weeks then begin gradually decreasing by 10%. Last night I got so nauseas on and off for 2 hours. It happened right after I got back from the gym. It was the first time I worked out in a while and I thought that exercise would help but now i'm thinking maybe it had an affect on why I felt so horrible.

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Altostrata

We recommend tapering intervals of about a month, at 10% reductions based on the last dosage. The amount of the reductions keeps getting smaller.

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scottly9999

I hear you black rabbit.

I was in a state of poop out for years and didnt know what was wrong with me.

finally worked kut its the lexapro.

I was only 10mg, but for about 7 to 8 years now.

was put on it only for a stressful event in my life, was told they arent addictive.. went with it. I was never overly depressed or anxious before hand. These tablets have MADE me depressed!

tried to stop with 5mg for 2 weeks, then stopped.

wow!

back on them, scared!

you most definitely CAN get the liquid form!

although here in australia it seems to be only 20mg/1ml strength now.

I take half a 10mg tablet and whatever I need with liquid.

I would strongly suggest maybe another doctor or chemist to see about getting the liquid.

I tried chopping tablets for a 2.5mg decrease, and I crashed and burned... just too fast.

even my current dose of 7mg from 8mg (more then 10%!) Has caused all sorts of emotional issues..

 

Yoy arent alone, its a scary road, but witht the great advice from the wonderful people here, we all can do it!

just slooooowly does it. Slower the better.

 

I also started with lots of supplements similar to the road back, but found thry didnt really help that much.

 

I hope this post helps you.

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Altostrata

Strenuous exercise can make a stressed nervous system very unhappy. Go easy on yourself.

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blackrabbit

Strenuous exercise can make a stressed nervous system very unhappy. Go easy on yourself.

I realized that. Now I'm afraid to go back to the gym. It was an awful feeling afterwards.

So are you saying that I should stay on the same dose for 1 month each time I decrease? At that rate, I feel like this process will take so long. I just want to be off these damn things! (I know I need to take it slow, and I will). It's just so frustrating. I have stayed at 15mg. This Saturday will be the start of my 3rd week at 15mg. 

Do you think I should stay at 15mg longer then?

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Altostrata

We recommend tapering at intervals of about a month.

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blackrabbit

We recommend tapering at intervals of about a month.

 

What are your thoughts on drinking small amounts of alcohol while tapering? I haven't had a beer in almost 4 weeks and I just want one or two every now and then to relax. Will that make me feel sick or get sick? If so, then forget about it. But the summer is coming and I certainly am going to miss having a few drinks at night.

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Altostrata

Alcohol tends to make people feel worse and screws up the taper.

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LoveandLight

Yes..omg no alcohol! It's not worth it

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blackrabbit

Alcohol tends to make people feel worse and screws up the taper.

physically or emotionally?

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LexLuther

Hey BlackRabbit, I, too, am new to this site. After reading most of the comments about withdrawal and tapering, it sounds like you are going to fast. Please read as much as you can on this site, it is filled with great information and real stories. I have, and I am scared of making the move, but after 20 years and increased side effects, I'm going the 10% reduction and planning on taking 6 months unless the body says something else. What strikes me in all of these conversations it that the impact to your body can be greater later in the taper if you go to fast.

 

My goal now is to find an accurate method of cutting a 10mg Lexapro by a compounded 10 percent over 6 months.

 

I wish you luck.

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blackrabbit

Hey BlackRabbit, I, too, am new to this site. After reading most of the comments about withdrawal and tapering, it sounds like you are going to fast. Please read as much as you can on this site, it is filled with great information and real stories. I have, and I am scared of making the move, but after 20 years and increased side effects, I'm going the 10% reduction and planning on taking 6 months unless the body says something else. What strikes me in all of these conversations it that the impact to your body can be greater later in the taper if you go to fast.

 

My goal now is to find an accurate method of cutting a 10mg Lexapro by a compounded 10 percent over 6 months.

 

I wish you luck.

It will probably go better for you since you are only on 10mg. Good luck and hope you don't feel as bad as I have! :)

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blackrabbit
I am having the WORST time tapering. I have about only 2 "good days" a week (no withdrawal symptoms). And it usually comes at night a few hours before I take my next dose, so sometimes I take it early in hopes it makes the symptoms go away. My usual symptoms are anxiety, or anxiety-induced nausea, diarrhea, and choking feeling in throat.

 

I absolutely hate it. I have been taking 2 Dramamines (rec. dosage) to quell the nausea but I feel like I take it too much. I don't want to have to rely on it like I do. But I have NO IDEA what else to do. The nausea sometimes last 1-2 hours sometimes more, and it kills me. 

 

So many things turn me off, T hardly have no appetite and can't eat much with out feeling sick.

 

I am currently at 15.5mg Lexapro and I have been since April 19th. If I am going to go along with the 10% cut a month, I'll be doing this taper FOREVER! I cannot deal with these withdrawal symptoms that long. It's going to RUIN my summer. I am afraid to leave my house, go to my boyfriend's (huge trigger since I got so sick there once), or just go anywhere! I'm going to turn into a hermit.

 

I need support, someone to talk with, or just some advice. Please, I don't know what to do, I feel *so* alone, sad, and frustrated.

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Altostrata

blackrabbit, I moved your post here, to keep your history all in one place.

 

When you came here, you already had withdrawal syndrome. It may take some time for your nervous system to stabilize.

 

When do you have nausea? Please keep track of your daily symptom pattern on paper.

 

As for how long it takes to go off -- I'm sorry, it takes as long as it takes. No one is happy about this, but it's the way it is.

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blackrabbit

I am starting a new topic. My posts are always hidden and that defeats the purpose of getting help so please excuse me admins but I really do need some attention in this post.

 

I saw a psych today and told him that rough withdrawal symptoms I have been having. He said he thought this was pretty unusual because most people don't have these severe of symptoms going off of lexapro and that lexapro isn't the toughest SSRI to get off of. I have been having anxiety, anxiety-induced nausea, GI upset (diarrhea, usually at night around pill time when i'm having anxiety/nausea), slight dizziness, loss of appetite resulting in weight loss, and getting full easily.

 

I told him all of these started last month when I first started decreasing the dosage. He said that 5mg decrease is so little and that most people don't have trouble on it. He even said that 20mg isn't even *that* high a dose and that some people don't even become affected by 20mg-0. Which is weird because 2 doctors I spoke with told me to just quit cold turkey and tough of the withdrawal symptoms. How weird is that???

 

Here's the kicker though: he said that it *might* not be withdrawl, it might be that my body needs to stay on the drug. So he suggested that I stay at 15mg for a week, then alternate next week to 15 one day, 10 one day, etc. Not sure how long i do the alternating for though. He said if on the days i only take 10 and i start to not feel well to take the remaining 5mg and then i would know that if what i'm feeling is actually withdrawl, then go from there.

 

Anyone have experience doing the alternating taper process? Did it help? Any input is appreciated.

 

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Meimeiquest

This is just classic...you have classic symptoms and your doctor has a classic response. Inconsistent, varying doses are very destabilizing. 10% of 20mg is 2mg. I would recommend looking at another "classic"...the 10% a month plan to start with and then gauge yourself from there. We have all been there, done that with this discussion with our doctors. I guess it's why "everyone" ends up needing to stay on the meds.

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blackrabbit

This is just classic...you have classic symptoms and your doctor has a classic response. Inconsistent, varying doses are very destabilizing. 10% of 20mg is 2mg. I would recommend looking at another "classic"...the 10% a month plan to start with and then gauge yourself from there. We have all been there, done that with this discussion with our doctors. I guess it's why "everyone" ends up needing to stay on the meds.

 

I know and I don't understand! I am so tired of going from Dr. to Dr. and having them tell me the same response that I don't agree with. The guy seemed really knowledgable but pretty pro-drug. I am just SO confused. And sad :(

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Meimeiquest

It's hard, but all you HAVE to have from a dr. Is access to prescriptions, any dr. or NP or PA with prescribing privileges. This site can walk you through the rest. It seems posts come in bunches...if no one responds you can just post "bump" to move your thread to the top of the pile. I think if you go slowly the quality of your psychiatric care won't matter as much.

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Altostrata

Very few doctors, even psychiatrists, understand tapering or recognize withdrawal symptoms.

 

It's extremely common that withdrawal symptoms are taken for a sign you need to stay on the drug, as meimei said.

 

I believe we've discussed skipping doses to taper before. This is a very bad way to taper, frequently triggering severe withdrawal symptoms. Doctors advise it because they don't know any better. See topics other than yours in the Introductions forum for what happens when people skip doses to taper.

 

Your posts have not been hidden. When they apply to your own personal situation, they are moved to your Introductions topic, to keep your history all in one place.

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blackrabbit

It's hard, but all you HAVE to have from a dr. Is access to prescriptions, any dr. or NP or PA with prescribing privileges. This site can walk you through the rest. It seems posts come in bunches...if no one responds you can just post "bump" to move your thread to the top of the pile. I think if you go slowly the quality of your psychiatric care won't matter as much.

 

That's true about the prescribing privleges. I just don't know which method to do. I've considered bridging (but when I brought that up to the psych today he said that it's possible but "Often, you will get the start up effects of the new drug, as well as the withdrawal symptoms of the last drug" which I don't want. So then the other two options were alternating 15mg and 10mg or just doing a very slow taper. 

 

I feel like at this point, I should just do the 10% taper. Just feel kind of helpless because my #1 phobia is vomiting and I'm afraid that I'm going to get sick during this whole process.

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Meimeiquest

Yes. Even if you "could" do the others, it can't hurt you to go slowly. If you get nauseated, go to 5%. Have you found the info to make your doses? The bridging is more appropriate for short-acting or hard to measure drugs.

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blackrabbit

Yes. Even if you "could" do the others, it can't hurt you to go slowly. If you get nauseated, go to 5%. Have you found the info to make your doses? The bridging is more appropriate for short-acting or hard to measure drugs.

Well luckily today the psych prescribed me 30 5mg pills and 30 10mg pills so I can take 15mg easily. Before this I was breaking them up and weighing them on a freakin' jewelry scale. 

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Petunia

Blackrabbit, I merged the topic called "Psych is stumped at my severe withdrawal symptoms", which you started in the symptoms forum because it was about your own situation and history, not a specific symptom. Please put these kinds of posts here in your intro/update thread, that is what these threads are for.

 

Here are some links you may find useful:

 

What to expect from my doctor

 

Important topics in the Tapering forum and FAQ

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