InNeedOfHope

Counting beads in a capsule versus weighing

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If you are using capsules which contain evenly sized beads you could try this method:

 

slys-method-for-measuring-beads-of-the-same-size-instead-of-counting-them

__________________________________

 

I am counting beads, but notice that sometimes the grains differ. I try to make sure I don't take out big or tiny ones. Are scales necessary. I have seen some but with postage they are $50 as they are not available in the UK, so I would have to wait on delivery too. Can some people be this sensitive? Should weighing make any difference? Thank you

Edited by ChessieCat
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InNeed, I believe you're extremely sensitive. An electronic digital jeweler's scale probably would be a good investment for you. You can find them on Amazon for about $30 US.

 

There's information about the scale here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__13379

 

Fef: Information about tapering Effexor and cutting up tablets: Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine)

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Compounding pharmacies can do the weighing for you and repackage capsules into smaller doses.

 

For example, if you are taking 75mg Effexor XR and wish to reduce to 70mg, rather than counting out beads or weighing them yourself, you can ask your doctor to write a prescription for the compounding pharmacy to follow to make enough 70mg capsules for a month.

 

The compounding pharmacy will open up Effexor XR capsules, weigh out 70mg doses, and put them in new gelatin (or vegetarian, by request) capsules.

 

Contact your compounding pharmacy to see how they would want such instructions written in a prescription.

 

Note: It may be less expensive for you for the compounding pharmacy to open the larger 150mg Effexor XR capsules and repackage them into 70mg doses. Fewer capsules of the larger dosage will be used. The size of the beads doesn't matter -- they'll be weighed.

 

Check with the compounding pharmacy to see how you will be charged for this.

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See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1461-counting-beads-in-a-capsule-versus-weighing/

 

In Effexor XR, I believe the filler is combined with the drug inside each bead. The capsules are filled by weight; this wouldn't make sense unless there was a consistent ratio of filler to drug in each capsule.

 

The beads vary slightly in size, that's what causes the dosage variation while counting beads. If you are sensitive to this variation, weighing with a digital scale will be more exact.

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Hi Caro

 

I too plan on getting a digital scale - not sure where from, will probably look on ebay. I must be a bit strange - i kind of enjoy the counting....the easiest way i found was to get a piece of black velvet, open the capsule and pour a line out - sometimes i felt like if someone was watching they would think i was about to sniff it up LOL. Then i get a butter knife and group them into five bead groups and scoop them into the capsule. That's how i worked out the numbers are different in each capsule - once i started counting IN rather than counting OUT.

 

I have a blank table printed out that i fill in the date and number of beads, I do a 3 week supply at a time and put them into an empty pill container. At the end of the 3 weeks i can decide whether i want to do another week on that dosage or proceed to the next decrease. I have started to think in terms of beads rather than dosage - i am now on 60 beads (which is somewhere between 15 and 17mg).

 

I think it is important to have at least 2 consistent weeks of feeling good after any withdrawal symptoms before going down to the next dosage.

 

If you are feeling at all fragile, please hold on 37.5mg for a while and make sure you are taking some 'me time' in your life - do some yoga and some exercise to get that heart rate up - all good stress busters. And be kind to yourself, you are doing great!

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If you are truly taking 37.5mg Effexor XR, you might be able to switch to regular Effexor, taken twice a day -- half a tablet (18.75mg) in the morning, half later. If this works, you could make a liquid from regular Effexor.

 

Unfortunately regular effexor tabs are no longer available in Australia :(

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I noticed my Effexor XL capsules don't all weigh the same. The weight of the beads ranges from approx. 185 - 195 mg. why so much variation?

 

Does this mean a) the capsules contain slightly different doses, or B) every capsule contains 75mg Effexor, therefore, the capsules with more beads must contain less Effexor per bead? If this is the case, should I be weighing the total amount of beads in each capsule, then halving this to get approx 37.5mg, which is the dose I'm on currently? Right now I'm just weighing out 89mg beads.

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Wow, really? They vary that much when you weigh the beads outside of each capsule?

 

That is a question for the manufacturer. Could be they have a quality control error worthy of complaint to a central agency. Or, could be that variation is permitted -- but it does seem like a huge difference!

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jr, that is pretty scary. When i told my Dr the difference in the number of beads in a capsule her immediate response was quality control..

 

I don't have any 75mg or 150mg capsules left, but it would be interesting if someone who did have some could weigh those and see if there is much variation. If there wasn't much variation in those capsules then maybe it would be worth using them - cheaper too - a 150mg capsule would last me about 8 days! When i look at it that way, i have come down a lot!

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Wow, really? They vary that much when you weigh the beads outside of each capsule?

 

That is a question for the manufacturer. Could be they have a quality control error worthy of complaint to a central agency. Or, could be that variation is permitted -- but it does seem like a huge difference!

 

Yes, I just weighed the beads from a few capsules and found - 180mg, 195mg, 185mg, 190mg. It's a generic called "Rodomel XL".

 

If you take 180mg as 75mg active ingedient, which is what I've been doing, the dose varies from 75 - 82mg.

 

Do the manufacturers base the dose on the weight of the beads? If so, then each capsule must have slightly different doses, so I'm safe weighing out 89mg, as it will be the same dose each time. I think this must be true because I've read about a boy having problems tapering off Effexor. He was removing beads from each capsule every so often, but some days he had really bad withdrawal. He discovered it was because each capsule contained different amounts of beads, so he started counting them out, which seemed to solve his problem and he eventually got off.

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Yes, I just weighed the beads from a few capsules and found - 180mg, 195mg, 185mg, 190mg. It's a generic called "Rodomel XL".

Alto, could this be the 20% variance that is allowed by law.. between the amounts in individual capsules??

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Yes, I just weighed the beads from a few capsules and found - 180mg, 195mg, 185mg, 190mg. It's a generic called "Rodomel XL".

Alto, could this be the 20% variance that is allowed by law.. between the amounts in individual capsules??

 

I have a hard time believing this amount of variance is permitted by law. Most likely the generic manufacturer is out of compliance.

 

The capsules are filled by weight.

 

Good thing you're weighing the beads, jr, well done!

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I've been preparing my capsules a little differently this week, as I believe it's a more accurate way to do it. It's a 3 step process -

 

1) Weigh out ~90mg beads (roughly 37.5mg Effexor)

 

2) Count those beads, ensuring I have 149 (add/remove beads as necessary)

 

3) Weigh them again, adding/removing beads to get 89mg

 

I do It this way because 149 beads weighs around 88-91mg (varies due to slight variation in bead size), which means I just have to add/remove 1-3 beads to get the correct dose. If the scales want me to add/remove much more than that, then I'll know something is off. I also found calibrating the scale before weighing each set of beads really helps.

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I've been preparing my capsules a little differently this week, as I believe it's a more accurate way to do it. It's a 3 step process -

 

1) Weigh out ~90mg beads (roughly 37.5mg Effexor)

 

2) Count those beads, ensuring I have 149 (add/remove beads as necessary)

 

3) Weigh them again, adding/removing beads to get 89mg

 

I do It this way because 149 beads weighs around 88-91mg (varies due to slight variation in bead size), which means I just have to add/remove 1-3 beads to get the correct dose. If the scales want me to add/remove much more than that, then I'll know something is off. I also found calibrating the scale before weighing each set of beads really helps.

 

That sounds right on to me jr.. given my sensitivity to slight changes in Lyrica, I think you are right on. The amount of variance you had with your previous system would have kept me in WD too. I hope you find this helps, but it may take a few weeks for you to find out.. at least that is how long it takes for slight changes to make a difference on this end.

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I had issues switching to generic from brand name and my dr agreed that there is a wide margin allowed for "error"...meaning a good percentage of your pill might just be inactive fillers. I noticed, when I switched from one type of venlafaxine to another that the white beads were coming out in the toilet, undigested at all!!!!! The pharmacists will deny this, but my dr didn't deny it, he is as disgusted by the drug companies as his patients are.

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Given the recall of Teva generic Wellbutrin XL, it's clear the generic makers might have quality control issues. There have been similar recalls for psychiatric drugs from the major pharma companies, too.

 

It is a disgusting situation.

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Given the recall of Teva generic Wellbutrin XL, it's clear the generic makers might have quality control issues. There have been similar recalls for psychiatric drugs from the major pharma companies, too.

 

It is a disgusting situation.

 

 

Wow...it was when I switched from Novo Venlafaxine to Teva Venlafaxine that my horrors with Effexor truly began. I had switched from brand name and back without as much difficulty but it was this particular switch that started the ball rolling.It was never the same since. I never again reached stability and eventaully came off and the rest is history. However if none of that had happened, I may have stayed on these meds for years and never had the courage to attempt getting off them. I Really have had no choice, but maybe that's a blessing.

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so, the other day i came down to 54 beads from 60. I found the capsules had from 128 - 138 beads in them - so about a 10% variation. i don't think the difference in size of the beads is as big as the variation in the number of them.

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In the Effexor XR capsules you've been prescribed, approximately how many milligrams does 6 beads represent?

 

To calculate the milligrams, you will either have to weigh all the beads in a few capsules (without the capsule itself) and weigh 6 beads with a digital scale OR count the number of beads in a few capsules to get an average number of beads per capsule.

 

Then calculate using percentages how many milligrams 6 beads represent.

 

Once you find this out, you can convert to regular Effexor and make a liquid from it (take twice a day). This will enable you to make smaller decreases in dosage than reducing bead by bead. Each bead can be roughly 1mg; with a liquid, you can reduce by a fraction of a milligram.

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I think I'm going to try the bead counting method from now on. My scales were showing 149 beads weighed ~89mg, but over the last few weeks they've been drifting upwards to 92-95mg. I bought the scales recommended here (AWS Gemini-20) and I'm still having problems, e.g 149 beads weighed 82mg, then the same beads weighed 89mg after re-weighing, and I didn't do anything different! I've tried using the 10g weight but it didn't make any difference.

 

Hopefully there's less variation in bead size compared to the amount of variation caused by the scales. They do look roughly the same size.

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I am down to the last 4 beads. There are 400 beads in my 75 mg capsules so that is a teeny dose. I feel ready for my next drop

but to reduce 1 bead will be 25% reduction. Last time I went down to 3 I had to go back up to 4 because of withdrawal. At the time

I was under stress which didn't help.   I tried the liquid and had to go back to beads because of allergic reaction to something in

the medicine.  I am reluctant to try making a liquid from tablets because that will mean a change of brand and I am so sensitive

I'm afraid that will affect me too. 

 

I read about some people on lower doses have alternated doses....ie, 3 beads one day and 4 beads the next.  Is that something

worth trying, or will that be as bad as skipping doses? I managed to crush a bead and wonder about doing that so I can drop 1/2 a bead

 they are extended release so would that be a good idea or a disaster?  I have been feeling stable but don't want to rock the boat too much! 

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When you're down to a few beads, you don't have a lot of options. I guess you could try the 3 beads one day, 4 beads the next method.

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Thank you Alto, I've started the 3/4 alternate days and will see how it goes.

Last time I went from 4 to 3 I had to go back to 4 so hopefully this will go ok. 

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I have finished my effexor taper and want to share my method for tapering the last few beads. When I was at 4 beads I couldn't get down to 3 without withdrawal, tried alternating 3 one day 4 the next but still had withdrawal. I cut to 3 and had to updose again, and thought I would never get off those 4 beads.

 

 Then started this......I took the LARGEST 4 beads from the capsule each day. I tipped the beads out into a little box so I could find the biggest ones with a magnifying glass and pair of tweezers.  When I got to 4 of the smallest  ones I went to 3, Did the same again taking 3 of the largest beads. It is still tapering as the dose is getting smaller as the beads get smaller. At 2 beads I took 2 big ones until down to the small ones, then dropped to 1 bead. Stayed at 1 bead for a few months then quit.  All together it took 2 years to go from 4 beads to zero, the last year was as described. It is 4 months since stopping and no effexor withdrawal to speak of, a little tingling and numbness, and insomnia which is a problem for me anyway so not blaming effexor withdrawal. 

 

I feel like my brain is even clearer and it is amazing how many side effects  just one bead can cause! I didn't rush the last leg because it is the hardest, rush and end up updosing again. It just isn't worth it! 

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weight of beads seems to vary by manufacturer.  With TEVA manufactured Effexor XR caps, the beads are approximately 1mg each, which makes for pretty easy counting.  

 

don't trust me, check it yourself: a 37.5 mg capsule contains anywhere from 36 to 38 beads.  

Most beads are identical, with an occasional tiny or huge bead.

don't trust that, either: count several capsules to convince yourself.

 

my whole story is in my sig; you may be able to see that effective 7/31 I'm removing 4 beads from 37.5 and calling it 33.

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I have the Gemini 20 scale and have noticed problems with it.  I am tapering both venlafaxine and mirtazapine, though I am focusing on the latter right now.  I recently weighed out a batch of beads, put them in gel caps, and had taken them for a several days when I found myself having WD symptoms at night, sweating, burning sensations, fitful sleep.  My husband works in a lab and thought perhaps my last batch was off, so he took a 75 mg capsule to weigh at work.  Average bead weight was 2.7 mg (Teva brand, so different than the one mg ktp mentioned above.  I was aiming for 82% of my starting dose of 37.5 mg so figured about 31 beads.  When I went back to count how many beads were in the caps I had measured out, there about 35 beads!  So, I had updosed, it would seem, odd that that would cause the symptoms I was having, though they could be side effect symptoms of venlafaxine, yes?

 

Anyway, since I am also weighing out mirtazapine amounts, I calibrated the scale with the weights and weighed a full 30 mg tablet, which weighed 300 mg. Convenient, since I can recheck the calibration of the scale with one of these tablets.  I have found at times that the scale would under-weigh, even after calibration.  And the weighing isn't linear - 10 beads do not weigh one third of 30 beads, so the less you weigh, the less accurate the scale seems to get.  This will be a problem when I get down to the smallest amounts.  And yes, the beads vary in size.  What I did with my last batch was start by weighing a mirt cap first to make sure it was reading 300 mg, and then weigh 30 beads to get 80 mg gross (80% of my starting dose).  If I got 83 mg, I'd swap out a bigger bead for a smaller one to get 80 mg.  This is all tapping into my OCD quite nicely!

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Could be problems with your scale I guess.

Regarding Teva's Venlafaxine XR, it doesn't matter how much the beads actually weigh - what matters is that there are approximately 75 consistently sized beads in a 75mg dose, which leaves each bead responsible to deliver 1 mg. Have to figure there are inert ingredients in each bead!

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Oops, didn't check this after I wrote about the scale.  I am tapering the Mirt because I was gaining weight and it quit working which is why my doc added back the venlafaxine.  I had gone off of it last year, much too fast, and simply didn't make the connection that all the problems I was having were due to venlafaxine WD - I thought I had ADD and severe menopausal symptoms!  

 

So far, this is working out ok, to work on the mirtazapine primarily.  I will drop a bead of venlafaxine every few weeks, but at this point that is about a 3% cut.  Sleep has still been good.  I may get the mirtazapine down to a fairly low dose, say 7.5 mg, and hold that for awhile while I work on the venlafaxine more since hopefully the mirt will continue to help with sleep.  Insomnia was horrendous when I was unknowingly WDing from ven before, and I dread insomnia.  It seems that insomnia is something that probably most have problems with as they get off ADs.  I have also read WD stories of people coming off of mirt who had insomnia.

 

I've read that venlafaxine and mirtazapine are two of the hardest ones to get off of, so I know I have quite a journey ahead of me.

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i used to count beads, but now weigh.  As i get lower, the inconsistencies in the number of beads and sizes make it too difficult.  I have the scale mentioned above, but the capsules vary slightly - between 123 - 128mg per 37.5mg capsule.  I can live with that better than the variation in the number of beads - 118 - 140.

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Can you ask for a different manufacturer? I've found TEVA caps of venlafaxine xr all sizes have pretty consistently one bead per mg.

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They said I have to give them my rx and they make their own formula? I'm confused as to how they can make their own formula. So I guess I'm back to counting beads. I thought they would take my medicine and open them and re weigh them to make smaller dosages ????

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compounding their own formula is what it's all about - you give them the drugs and they formulate your dosage.  Instead,

 

Do it yourself!  To do so easily, find a pharmacy that dispenses TEVA (manufacturer) CAPSULES (which contain beads!).  Walgreen's is good in California, dunno about others, i got lucky I guess.  

 

The nice thing about TEVA's capsules of Venlafaxine XR is that a 150mg capsule contains you guessed it 150 beads.  ditto a 37.5 contains 37.5 beads okay that's a joke.  some beads are a little big some are a little small but mostly they're quite consistent - count out any size capsule and it works out quite consistently.  It doesn't matter how much they really weigh, each TEVA bead delivers approximately one milligram of medicine.  if you find a tiny one call it the half mg, it works.

 

I'm still at 25mg/day; I use a small funnel and dump 25 beads into old Pristiq bottles labelled SMTWTFS, then count them again as I take them.  6 doses from a 150mg cap, and it comes out on the money every time so far!  

 

I haven't figured out how I'll approach splitting up less than one milligram, but probably will switch to instant release (IR) venlafaxine.  If you can't find consistent size beads, using IR may be your only way.  Using IR will mean >1 dose / day but i can live with that I think.  

I can't imagine achieving very good accuracy in trying to weigh single submilligram doses, there's just too much room for error.  Much easier to take some fraction of a known amount.  Probably the easiest way to do that will be to dissolve the IR tabs in water, then drink the correct amount of liquid.  That eliminates eyeballing little piles of dust or trying to weigh them.  Suppose your desired dose is 1/4 mg, you could crush and dissolve a 25mg tablet in 100ml of water, at which point 1ml of water (aka 1 cubic centimeter) will contain 0.25mg of meds.    

 

I sure hope I don't make the mistake of lowering my dose too quickly again; I'm still paying with daily anxiety ever since I screwed up in october 2014.  be careful, it's your brain on drugs!

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While talking with a friend about how I was doing and what I was doing to reduce my anti-depressant, I mentioned that I was counting the beads in capsules and that I found it tedious and sometimes annoying. She suggested using a seed dispenser, such as those used for hand planting of very small seeds, e.g. carrots and radishes. I've found two different types on the market. Both are available on Amazon's USA site; retail garden centres and internet/mail-order consumer gardening supply sellers also carry them, e.g. Lee Valley (ships to Canada & US).

 

I've ordered the round one posted below. I'll post again after I've used it.

 

j3omgv339dle8iw6g.jpg   bq9ollu5druunna6g.jpg

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Initial report on the round, plastic seed dispenser:  I don't recommend it. 

  1. The clear plastic cover is difficult to remove. I had to use a knife with a thin metal to keep some leverage while I worked a sturdy butter knife around the edge to pry the cover off. 
     
  2. Shaking or tapping the dispenser creates friction between the beads and the dispenser, and a static charge builds. Eventually the beads get stuck to the plastic.

It's possible that the tight fit of the cover will decrease with use. I'll experiment to see if I find something that works. I'll also try a couple of things to reduce the static.  If I find simple and effective fixes, I'll post them here.

 

/signature in post immediately above

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Updated seed dispenser report: Two thumbs up! A+++++! Would buy again!  :D

 

The issue with the lid being difficult to remove was a one-time thing for my gadget. It now has appropriate friction to stay in place and I can remove it quite easily. For the static issue, I did some searching on the web and came across a very simple solution -- dishwashing detergent. I mixed 1 tsp of liquid dishwashing liquid (the sink kind not the dishwasher variety) in a small plastic container that was big enough hold the dispenser then put the dispenser in the container. Rinse.  I haven't had static build up since.  Here's what I do when it's time to set up some doses:

 

Gear/stuff

  • cake pan or roasting pan with at least 1" high sides;  sheet pan/jelly-roll panwould work just that the sides aren't as high. This keeps the beads from rolling all over the table and possibly the floor.
  • seed dispenser
  • capsules of the drug -- Effexor XR, Cymbalta, etc.
  • empty gel capsules, or vegan capsules if that's important to you
  • a dark coloured piece of paper folded accordion style: /VV (the beads go in the bottom of one of the Vs)
  • a pencil or knife or other pointy object to move the beads

Method:

  1. Put the dispenser, the folded paper and the dispenser in the roasting pan.
  2. Open a capsule and pour about half the beads into the circular holding area. Keep the capsule close to the bottom of the dispenser so the beads don't bounce out.
  3. Check for beads in the rim where the lid goes.  If there are any, dump the dispenser upside down into the clear lid, then carefully transfer the beads back to the green holding area.
  4. Put the lid on. Turn the opening to "0" which has no hole for the beads to come out.
  5. Set up the folded paper so that it's easy to tap/shake the dispenser's spout into one of the Vs.
  6. Turn the clear lid to opening marked "1"
  7. Shake out a bunch of beads into the paper. Close the lid by turning it back to 0.
  8. Count the beads in the paper, write this down on another scrap of paper
  9. Open an empty capsule, carefully lift the paper and transfer the beads into the empty cap.
  10. Put the gel cap top back on the bottom you've just filled
  11. Repeat steps 5-10 until you've
    - reached  your desired bead count, or
    - you've run out of beads (then go back to step 2).

My previous method was to shake the beads directly from the capsule onto a suede-like cloth, then count the beads on that to reach my taper # of beads. I find this better controls the beads than what I was doing before.  And, I like gadgets. :P

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Scallywag-- I just reposted this to the Best of SA thread.  Brilliant idea.

 

Brass

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