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katrinasurvivor

Withdrawal. Anyone Want To Discuss Their Experiences, What Worked, What Didn't?

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What is your experience in tapering off of psych drugs?



I have been working on withdrawal from several drugs for a number of years.



I was first able to get off of Risperdal but it took me several tries over several months. I finally learned the 10% rule. My tapering of Risperdal went very well and I was off of it in only a few months - probably because I was on a low dose and hadn't been on it very long.



Librium is a different story. I've been taking it for a long time. I knew nothing about withdrawal from benzos and didn't realize that I had become dependent on this drug. I tried to just stop taking it. Very bad idea. Luckily, about 4 days after I stopped, I realized that it was a bad idea so I reinstated. It has taken me many tries over the years to get from 40mg a day to the low dose I'm on now - 5mg over 4 days (I open the capsule and put the contents in applesauce and divide that equally over 4 days). The first time I tried to taper Librium (not the cold turkey time), I tapered too much, too quickly (4 months) and had all sorts of strange and very unpleasant things happening to me that I didn't realize were withdrawal symptoms. My blood pressure became dangerously high - and I'm already taking high doses of blood pressure medications - so I reinstated up to 15mg. That's what it took to manage my blood pressure - along with the anxiety and all the other nasty withdrawal symptoms. When I finally began a successful taper, I learned that if withdrawal was too uncomfortable or I was going though a stressful time, I could just stop tapering for awhile.



I've also managed to get off of Aciphex. I tapered by very small amounts and wouldn't taper again for a month. It took me over a year to come off of it completely. But I was able to do it with little discomfort.



Now I'm embarking on a new taper: Remeron. Like with all of these types of medications, if you read the posts of people who have cold-turkeyed or tapered too quickly, it can be pretty scary. I have been one of those people who cold turkeyed, so I'm not being critical of those who've done this. I had to inform myself about withdrawal symptoms for each drug (each person is different so we don't all experience the same ones.) Then I had to learn to be patient. We all want to get off of these drugs NOW.



I may not be able to taper Remeron right now because I'm still tapering the Librium. It's usually not a good idea to taper two at once - it compounds the withdrawal symptoms and you don't know which is from which drug. If it turns out to be a bad idea, I'll just go back to my regular dose of Remeron until I've completed my Librium withdrawal.



But here's what I've learned from successfully tapering several drugs: the more slowly you taper, the less you will suffer. Taper no more than the recommended 10% a month. I have experienced some discomfort, but nothing intolerable. By doing this, each time I taper, I know when to expect the withdrawal symptoms to begin, what they will be and how long they will last.



Withdrawal doesn't have to be a nightmare.



I know it's always a bit daunting when you start tapering a new one because you don't know what to expect. I don't know quite what to expect with Remeron. I'm being extremely cautious. I'm tapering from 45 mg to 39 (7/8 of a tablet - achieved by splitting and crushing part of a tablet in applesauce) every other day. This is only about a 3% decrease. I'm only putting a pinky toe in to see what will happen.



I want to note that while I have my physician's okay to do the applesauce suspension with Librium and Remeron (not together), you should check with your doctor before doing this. Tapers can get tricky as you go lower and the pills no longer come in reduced doses and splitting becomes problematic. Pharmacists tend to tell you that you can't split or crush pills regardless of whether or not it's really contraindicated. You need to understand the medication you are tapering. Is it time release? Does it have a coating that, once broken, may speed up absorption? Some physicians advise that even some of these can be split. But you need to know. Education is your friend when tapering. And it's not just about reading all the scary withdrawal stories.



Familiarize yourself with possible withdrawal symptoms. You probably won't experience them all. Everyone is different in what they experience in withdrawal. Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't experiencing what you know you are! Whatever withdrawal symptoms you experience, if you go slowly enough, they won't be too bad. Anytime you feel withdrawal is too uncomfortable, stop tapering. If you realize you've made too big a drop, you may need to go back to your last dose, stabilize, and rethink how you might make the next taper a smaller one. Don't despair. You'll get there. Slow and steady wins the race.



And importantly, you are not alone! I know it feels like it sometimes, but there are a lot of us out here going through the same sorts of things.



That's part of the reason I wanted to start this thread. To see how others are managing withdrawal from their medications. To share our experiences and help each other.


Edited by katrinasurvivor

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What an excellent post!!! Very informative and true. I am tapering off Paxil. I too am going very slowly. I am now on 35 mg. from 45 since August. No problems at all. I do have headaches quite a bit but not sure if it is from that or not. I feel very good actually better than before. But I too went too fast before and it was not good at all. I take aciphex for many years and have not been able to get off it. Now they put me on Opmeprazole but it is just covered for a year. Maybe once I finish with the Paxil reduction I can try getting off the acid reflux med. Sheesh - it aint easy, is it? Thanks for sharing such an important post!!! :thumbs-up:

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I'm glad you thought it was worth posting. And congrats on your Paxil taper!

It is possible to get off of Aciphex - if you do it slowly enough. The first month I dropped half a pill a week. I kept on with small reductions each month but soon had to cut the pills into quarters. In the end, I was taking 1/4 every three days. I think that's the point at which I stopped. The discomfort I experienced was mild. I hope you will find it encouraging that others have managed to get off of Aciphex. And I was on it for almost 10 years!

I hope others will share their experiences and insights about this topic. So many of us are struggling with this issue. We can learn so much from each other and benefit so much from the support of others.

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I'm glad you thought it was worth posting. And congrats on your Paxil taper!

It is possible to get off of Aciphex - if you do it slowly enough. The first month I dropped half a pill a week. I kept on with small reductions each month but soon had to cut the pills into quarters. In the end, I was taking 1/4 every three days. I think that's the point at which I stopped. The discomfort I experienced was mild. I hope you will find it encouraging that others have managed to get off of Aciphex. And I was on it for almost 10 years!

I hope others will share their experiences and insights about this topic. So many of us are struggling with this issue. We can learn so much from each other and benefit so much from the support of others.

Yes, indeed!! This is a fine site and the people are genuinely trying to help each other.

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When I wanted to switch from Paxil to new meds, my doc told me I could just switch from one to the other and said nothing about tapering or potential withdrawl. After weeks of debilitating symptoms, google finally taught me that i was indeed going through withdrawl. Called my doc, had to start taking full dose paxil to stop the symptoms and ween off over a few weeks. Lower doses prescribed, eventually half and then quarter pills then every other day until I was finally free.

I had incredibly intense nausea and headaches and what my internet searches referred to as "brain zaps". I could hardly function it was so horrible. I'm having trouble finding working meds again and I'm terrified every time I swtich that I might go through this again...

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Thats a bummer. I know Ive been having headaches every day, but no zaps. Now they are gone, so far anyway. And I am going pretty slowly. Are you thinking of

When I wanted to switch from Paxil to new meds, my doc told me I could just switch from one to the other and said nothing about tapering or potential withdrawl. After weeks of debilitating symptoms, google finally taught me that i was indeed going through withdrawl. Called my doc, had to start taking full dose paxil to stop the symptoms and ween off over a few weeks. Lower doses prescribed, eventually half and then quarter pills then every other day until I was finally free.

I had incredibly intense nausea and headaches and what my internet searches referred to as "brain zaps". I could hardly function it was so horrible. I'm having trouble finding working meds again and I'm terrified every time I swtich that I might go through this again...

Thats a bummer. I had headaches every day even with my reasonably slow taper. They are gone now. So, you are thinking of going to a new a/d?

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Brain zaps aren't unusual during withdrawal. The only way I know to lessen the symptoms of withdrawal are to go slowly and drop down in small increments. Anyone going through the misery of withdrawal has my complete sympathy! Good luck!!!!!!!

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Zaps are the pits. I had them thanks to the Pdoc who assumed I'd be superman and would skip the side effects. Best bet is to taper down when you want to come off a med. Remedies included a lot of gatoraide, epsom salt baths and denying the critters that were racing across the floor.

Edited by T on C

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Zaps...never had them but they sound bad. Tappering off Effexor now...so may get to know what you mean by zaps.

I've tapered off of several AD's before and never had (to my knowledge) withdrawal symptoms. That is, until I went off of Vybriid and Adderall at the same time. That was hell. I took a week off of work and hauled myself to my family cabin in upstate NY when I was down to no meds (after gradually reducing). It was bad. All I did was sweat, eat, throw-up and watch TV. Great vacation. But I managed to stay med-free for a year.

I think it was good to clean out my system and be un-medicated for a year and try to get through depression with just therapy. It made me realize that sometimes meds really do help. And that untreated depression sucks.

Best of luck.

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