Anyone ever taper off any SSRI and NOT have horrible side effects?

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smittythepig
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 4/1/2008 6:57 AM (GMT -7)   
Just curious because I am currently working on getting off the zoloft I have been on for almost 11 years (concerns about long-term effects, the fact that it doesn't seem to be doing quite the same thing it did in the past, weight gain, etc.) and even among those who carefully taper it still seems thee are tons of withdrawal symptoms. Of course, everything I have read has been on the internet and usually people will not post an anecdote if they did not have issues. But it still seems like an enormous number of people have had problems, even if they carefully taper.
 
I've been on 200mg for all these years so i wouldn't be surprised if i had some issues. But i'm still wondering if anyone has been able to get off the stuff at any point without horrible withdrawal symptoms. I read some of "The Anti-Depressant Solution" which I found interesting and suggests reducing he dose by 50mg every 3-5 weeks to give the body sufficient time to adjust and get through any withdrawal before going to the next dose. I've been on 150mg now for about 4-5 days and doing ok. Thanks!

Tootiebug58
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 378
   Posted 4/1/2008 7:14 AM (GMT -7)   
smitty......yes there are withdrawls symptoms to most antidepressants.
I would recommend you call you dr, if you havent already, and talk with him and he can tell you how you can get off of it with minimal side effects.
Good luck
Tootie
-------------------------------------------
anxiety/panic attacks...osteoporosis....Fibro
celexa, xanax


stkitt
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   Posted 4/1/2008 4:32 PM (GMT -7)   

Great answer Tootie.  I agree with you completely.  Every person is different and their reaction to meds and withdrawal sx will be individual.

I wish you a successful weaning with little to no issues. :)
KItt


 
Kitt, Moderator: Anxiety ~ Panic  ~ Crohn's
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It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
 


Anxious soul
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 4/1/2008 4:34 PM (GMT -7)   
I had no side effects tapering off of my SSRI (paxil).  I was on 20 mgs daily. I tapered 25% for two weeks. 25% more the next two weeks, both by cutting my pills.  During the last 10mgs I had my prescription changed to the liquid form and reduced by the rate of 2mgs (20%) per week.  I had no physical withdrawl symptoms, but did have ativan on hand if I felt precursor symptoms to an anxiety attack.  If you start feeling ill or anxiety increases during the withdrawl, I suggest going back to the reduced amount where you felt well at until you stabilize again and restart the taper from that point.
 
Good luck with your taper.  Don't beat yourself up if you don't make your anticipated timeline.
 
-Soul

Ginny
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Date Joined Feb 2003
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   Posted 4/1/2008 4:55 PM (GMT -7)   
I did well getting off of Paxil too.  I took the taper slow though.  A year to get off 30mg.  What freedom to be off that crap!!!  It actually made me more depressed when I was on it......  Take the taper slow, and hopefully you'll do fine too!  Good luck!
 
Ginny
I can do anything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I have learned in whatever state I am in,to be content. Phillipians 4:11-13

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nyliz
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Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 167
   Posted 4/1/2008 6:28 PM (GMT -7)   
I am currently tapering off Zoloft and OMG.... it's been bad!! Originally my Doc told me to cut from 100mg to 50mg the first night... then nothing the next night... then 50mg then nothing etc... well let me tell ya, I was so horribly sick that I decided I'm going to have to stick with the 50mg for a few weeks and then split again to 25 for a few weeks... I cannot begin to tell you how awful I've felt through the withdrawal process even to 50 from 100.

Not everyone is the same and I happen to be quite sensitive so perhaps that's why this is so tough for me. Sorry, I probably didn't give you the answer you were looking for. I have to be honest though and say (at least with Zoloft) go as slow as you can. Good Luck!!!

By the way, I took myself off Prozac about 5 years ago and had NOT ONE withdrawal symptom... must have something to do with the half life or whatever.

Peace
Liz

nervymeg
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Date Joined Jul 2006
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   Posted 4/1/2008 7:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Smitty, sounds like you are doing things the right way. I wish you all great success in this.  I've been on quite a few (ok understatement!!) SSRI's over the years and I've found that yes, they do have side effects, but not so much as anti-anxiety meds.  If you are sensible (which you are!!) then it should run fairly smoothly...if not you can vent to us anytime !!!

I alone can do this, but I cannot do it alone. 
 
NervyMeg


wen4003
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Date Joined Aug 2007
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   Posted 4/2/2008 4:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Smitty,
 
It sounds like you are doing great and doing things right - good for you!  Just be sure to call your doc should you start experiencing any problems.
 
Take care and let us know how you are doing,
Wen

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smittythepig
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 4/2/2008 8:59 AM (GMT -7)   
thanks very much everyone. i just wanted to find out if there was even a single person (and i knew there would be) who got off zoloft and did not have nightmarish withdrawal symptoms. so far so good for me. it's been about 5 or 6 days now only since going from 200 to 150. i'll wait a good 2 or 3 more weeks until i drop from the 150 to 100. and then another 3 or 4 weeks to drop again. the book i referenced said that based on the half-life of zoloft the body should begin to notice the difference within 3-5 days and then withdrawal symptoms, if any, would occur at that time and possibly persist for a week or two. if you do it slow enough any withdrawal (Which in reality there is always some sort of withdrawal because your brain is re-adjusting to having less of something it's been getting regularly for a long time) will be so minor you won't notice it. but the extra sensitive people (and there is no way to predict who will fall into this group - and by the sounds of it it's even possible that one person might become sensitive when in the past they didn't have issues) will need to go much more slowly and will still have some problems. but hopefully if they go slow enough they will be able to tolerate the side-effects. i guess the idea is that when you start medication your brain "down-regulates" to some degree your production of serotonin to adjust to the sudden introduction of the meds and their effects. after several weeks of a certain dose your brain settles into a comfortable place where it factors in the meds with its regular production. so when you go off your brain needs time to "up-regulate" again to similarly adjust for the sudden decrease. as long as it is done slowly enough there shouldn't be too many dramatic side-effects. but your brain is making changes regardless. of course, this brings up the question of whether or not the meds are actually doing anything to make your brain chemistry different and brings up all the arguments that there has never been any definitive proof that a deficiency of any chemical in the brain is a cause for any mental disorder (with the exception of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders perhaps). but ultimately no one really knows for sure yet what is going on and i definitely seemed to have positive results for many years.

thankfully it seems that the brain does re-adjust when you decrease and eliminate the meds, though sometimes it can take a long time to get back to 'normal.' i guess my concern (and the concern of probably anyone who takes meds) is about permanent changes after long-term use. it's been a long time since i started (11 years) and i think it's time to try and do without them. i did have some changes in sexual desire and weight gain andi feel like in other subtle ways i am a bit different than i was when i was not on the meds. it definitely improved my OCD and social anxiety as far as I can tell (though both still exist to some degree). but with some huge changes in my life over the last couple years i have had some big issues and the medication just hasn't done enough to help. i am more stable now and have learned a lot about anxiety and depression and ADD and other things and have gotten the feeling that though the meds had their place, i may be able to do just as well with some extra willpower, exercise, proper diet and herbal supplements. and at the same time get rid of the side effects. there have been some studies that suggest the SSRIs and other meds may be helpful but only in a minor way, some even saying only as a placebo. and of course there are always alarmists who say they are pure evil and cause permanent brain damage and make people do harm to themselves and others. i definitely don't believe the latter (though i do recognize there are exceptions and some people can't handle them in the same way or perhaps combine them dangerously with other meds or try and get off them and don't do it properly) but they need to be taken with knowledge of all the complicated facts. even the person who wrote the book i referenced prescribes SSRIs. he just does it with great care and supervision.

anyway, thanks again for your responses. i'll keep you posted on my progress.

nyliz
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 167
   Posted 4/2/2008 3:49 PM (GMT -7)   
sounds like you know your stuff Smitty... I appreciate your thoughts and the information!!!

Liz

LifeChange
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 4/2/2008 11:28 PM (GMT -7)   
i went off lexapro cold turkey and suffered no side effects or withdrawl.

nervymeg
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 4/2/2008 11:43 PM (GMT -7)   

Smitty, you have all the great facts up your sleeve thanks for sharing and please keep us up to date

Great input Liz, Ginny and Tootie! I've had a few withdrawl drama's but if you do it right then it goes smoothly..

Life Change, that's a pretty amazing feat (did you get help from your Doc to do that or was it your own decision??)


Co-Moderator Anxiety/Panic Disorders

Weekend Warrior Princess


LifeChange
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 4/3/2008 6:46 PM (GMT -7)   
my own decision

nervymeg
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 4/3/2008 11:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Life change, that's great, you must be one strong individual..big cheers for you xxx hugs

Co-Moderator Anxiety/Panic Disorders

Weekend Warrior Princess


LifeChange
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 4/4/2008 7:36 PM (GMT -7)   
thanks so much :) i couldnt have done it without you guys

nervymeg
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Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 4/4/2008 10:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Glad we could help..glad that you shared!! xxxxx yeah

Co-Moderator Anxiety/Panic Disorders

Weekend Warrior Princess


smittythepig
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 4/28/2008 9:45 AM (GMT -7)   
just an update. down to 100mg per day and still feeling fine. next stop - 50mg, probably in a week or two. no ill effects so far, at least not that i've noticed. not weight loss yet, either. but i think that won't happen until i'm off the meds completely for a few months at least.

by the way, is it just me or does this site have the worst search funtion ever? just doesn't seem to work at all, which is a very bad thing for people looking for help on specific topics.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 4/28/2008 9:56 AM (GMT -7)   

I am so proud of you and you are living prove that a slow wean beats the side effects of going off the med to quickly. I know some people have to go off as they just don't have the funds to buy the drugs which makes me feel sad.

I have had pretty good luck with the search.  Sorry your not. sad
Keep us up to date on how your are.  So good to see your post. It helps the other members to read your success story.

Kitt


 
Kitt, Moderator: Anxiety ~ Panic 
Not a mental health professional of any kind
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
 


percycat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 4/28/2008 5:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Smitty,

That's good news. I'm glad it's working so well for you.

percycat
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