joy2730

joy2730: withdrawing from citalopram

775 posts in this topic

Thanks for the words of encouragement, yes things are going well, I was  very hot in bed last night, and my constipation is back with vengeance, which I think the best remedy is magnesium but I am taking and doing anything to help with this, ie change of foods, more water, senna, figs, fruit, anything that well help.

 

I have been reading on the internet that bowels are very sensitive to the serotonin levels in your body, and to be fair to the GP I saw he did ask me about constipation.  I have made an appointment to see my regular GP, who I have a great deal of time for, in about 2 weeks time, but unfortunately I am raising the issue of whether to seek financial compensation for the years I have spent on these pills without proper reviews or help in withdrawing.

 

It is not a nice subject to raise but I need to explore it fully for my own psychological benefit, my husband and daughter, when I first told them of this, were horrified, but having had more time to think about it, I think they can see where I am coming from.

 

The main sadness I have is that I have suffered a lot of cognitive disability from taking these pills.

 

I am sticking at 15mg for a long time now, certainly I would have to get my constipation resolved before reducing any further, because I am aware I could end up with serious constipation at this rate, I am also going to ask my GP if there is anything she can prescribe to help with it.

 

Take care everyone, GOING SLOW IS THE KEY, KNOWLEDGE GIVES CONFIDENCE.  IF I CAN DO IT ANYONE CAN!

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Just tingling today, of my hands and lower arms, feet and lower legs, and face, mood fine though and enjoying being out and about at Xmas time, so because of the tingling today it is clear withdrawal symptoms are coming through still.

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Hello Joy

Just read through your thread. All very interesting. It was Citalopram and Lithium that caught my eye as I take those too.

 

When I decided to try to get off these drugs, citalopram was the first I attempted ( I take 3) I hadn't found this forum then and it was at a crazy speed suggested my GP.

I had no withdrawal symptoms during the 4-5 week taper, then had about 6 weeks of feeling fine, better cognitively, getting back emotions, feeling confident about the future and then of course, bang!

That was back in the summer and ive spent probably 3 months before getting stable again, having reinstated the 20mg of Citalopram.

Strange in a way that its possible to feel fine even though I had Lithium and Mirtazapine still in my system.

 

Anyway the positive thing was that I discovered this forum and got my head around the whole idea of tapering slowly. Its quite radical really all this stuff and has made me totally rethink my past years on these drugs. Getting hold of my medical records of the last 20 years has enabled me to see how WD and 'relapse' probably got totally confused.

I now feel that ive probably been in a state of WD and reinstatement, increased dosages, new meds, for years. Its like re-writing the past. The drugs merry-go-round causing me to be diagnosed with chronic depression!

Anyway im very hopeful for the future now even though it might take me at least 2 years.

 

Even though I have begun, im still not sure if it should be lithium or Cit first. The Australians on the site recommend leaving Lithium til later as it can help getting off the others. And Cit is more activating so would normally be the one to taper first. I instinctively wanted to get rid of Lithium because of the possible physical health risks

.

Will follow your slow taper of Cit with interest over the months!

Wishing you all the very best; looks like youre making great progress now after your up and down start.

 

Simon

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Just a quick update, I thought I was doing fine on 15mg citalopram and then wham, this weekend lots of withdrawal symptoms so I am now back on 20mg, which resolved my symptoms of withdrawal within 24 hrs.  I am not giving up hope though.

 

Message for Simon, thanks for your reply, I do feel you are now on the right track, I got rid of lithium before trying to withdraw from citalopram and having come off it felt so much better, it spurred me on to try citalopram withdrawal.

 

For me withdrawing from lithium was a walk in the park compared with withdrawing from citalopram!

 

I have just come back from a very frank exchange with my GP as to why I have ended up in this mess, she was very good and is going to get back to me after the New Year.  I told her I felt I had not had the chance to withdraw using the GP service and that I would have been left on these pills indefinitely if the GP had had their way, that I had been written off by them.  It must have been uncomfortable for her, but I had to be honest about the way I feel.

 

The more people share their experiences the more society will benefit from that sharing as well as the individual.

 

I will keep you all posted, disappointed to be back on 20mg instead of 15mg but the withdrawal symptoms were awful, and I don't want to have to take any time off work.

 

Take care everyone.

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When I saw my GP last night she told me that many people have to stop withdrawing and hold it at 10mg or thereabouts indefinitely, but at least she was acknowledging there was a problem with getting off these drugs.

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Hi Joy,

I'm sorry you have updosed back to 20mg.  You may have been able to reduce your withdrawal symptoms by trying 16mg or 18mg. 

 

How have you been tapering?  You may have been tapering too fast.  We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising.  Please read through this which will explain why:

  

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?  (The general philosophy of gradual tapering)

 

If you taper too fast and updose when symptoms become unmanageable, then you are going in the wrong direction, its better to slow down, but continue going in the right direction...smaller cuts and longer holds. Some people need to really slow down as the dose gets lower.  Possibly making cuts between 1% - 5%

 

Please read through: 

The slowness of slow tapers 

Also see our topic on micro-tapers http://survivinganti...or-5-decreases/

 

I'm confident that you can get off this drug, if you are prepared to taper slow enough for your nervous system to adjust.  Please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing.

 

Petu.

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Hi there I know all to well about citalopram. I cut way to fast and have been in hell for nearly 2 years. Stay at one dose for at least 6 months than slow 10 percent after that. If I new than what I know now I would have went very slow. Also don't eyeball with pill cutter do a water dulution and take with oral syringe. I will talk more later. Wish you all the best but do me and you a favor and stay put for a good long while.

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Thank you for your constructive comments, I am a little disappointed to be back on 20mg, but am still pleased it is not 30mg.  I didn't feel like I had much choice because I felt the tingling in my arms, legs and face had become more like knife pains and I felt very nauseated again and kept wanting to throw up.

 

I have just been eye balling my pill reductions as I cant understand using the scale I bought and can't understand how to make a water dilution,  in a few weeks no doubt my brain will be befuddled again by the citalopram increase and I will be wanting to decrease again, by then I may have been able to work out these methods of reducing the dose slowly.

 

I am posting the disasters surrounding my story as honestly as the successes because it is only when hearing the full story we can learn.

 

I think the drug manufacturers should be made to make 1mg tablets which are then scored to give 0.5 mg, just aimed at those patients who are trying to reduce, but of course the drug manufacturers really want the patients to stay on their drugs and so this is not likely to happen.  Smaller doses should be readily available in every GPs surgery.  Any  thoughts, any one?

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Well I have soon got fed up of taking 20mg citalopram again, and so am now doing 17.5 mg, I figured I was fine on 17.5 mg and only had problems when at 15 mg, so HERE WE GO AGAIN.

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Doing OK on 17.5mg, odd thing is I feel so much more alert on 17.5mg than 20mg, I am sure it is not psychological, just physical, also my body recognises the difference as it immediately goes into SERIOUS CONSTIPATION MODE, but my mood is fine

 

Happy New Yr to everyone, and no one must beat themselves up if they are struggling with withdrawal, just look after yourself.

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Feeling fine on 17.5 mg citalopram, but my body has definitely recognised the drop in dosage of 2.5 mg, by a clearer mind and slight nausea on waking and a few spells of feeling hot.

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Happy new year, joy.

 

You may wish to consider 10% decreases, based on your last dosage. The next decrease would be 1.75mg citalopram.

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Thanks for that advice, I am fine on 17.5 mg, where I am staying for a long time and any future decreases, when I pluck up courage, will be based on 10% of my previous dose, it is good to spell out HOW SMALL THESE DECREASES ACTUALLY ARE, thanks so much.

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Update, doing just fine on 17.5 mg, just a bit of tingling in my face today and some weird dreams and shallow sleep last night, but I can easily live with that.

For anyone who noticed my wish to sue the NHS for keeping me on these pills so long, l have pursued this with a 'no win, no fee' company and basically they will only proceed when there is at least a 50% chance of success and preferably more, which they don't think there would be in my case.

 

Don't know what to think about that really.

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Hi, I am on A/L for a week and so am able to catch up on my antidepressant reading.  I am still doing really well on 17.5 mg citalopram, my previous thinking would have led me to reduce to 15mg today, but now I know a bit more about things NO WAY. 

 

These last few days I have had a further positive outcome from the reduction achieved so far, I have started to loose weight without altering my diet or exercise, proof that the drug is definitely starting to leave my body even though I am maintaining this dose.  It feels as though it takes ages for the body to adapt after each reduction.

 

I really feel as if I can feel my figure for the first time in years, how wonderful.  So to anyone concerned with their weight just give it time and eventually you will notice improvements.  I had no idea this improvement was about to happen, the thought of having an improved figure after all this time just by reducing a drug is so exciting.

 

Overwhelming though my message remains, do the reductions so slowly.

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Hi Joy, thank you for updating. I'm glad that you are doing well, and that your weight is going down. I found

the same thing, my weight slowly dropped with the doses, it was a surprise because I hadn't been expecting that,

an added bonus!  I think you are right to hold for a bit longer, and would consider a micro taper which is easier

on the nervous system. Tiny cuts but they can be more often and 'sneak' the drug away. 

 

Here is  a link for micro tapering. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2878-micro-taper-instead-of-10-or-5-decreases/

 

Hope you are enjoying your A/L  :)

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Update, I have made a solution of my citalopram and am now taking 17mg instead of 17.5mg, well as near as can be, just a little less.

 

I rang my GP surgery last night to ask them if they could prescribe liquid citalopram for me, but they said it was impossible to get hold of, which I take to mean is too expensive!  They also said most people don't have problems coming off antidepressants but I know quite a few people registered with that surgery who have had  problems.  They also told me to take 20mg one day, and 15mg the next, alternating as a means of reduction instead of using a liquid.

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That is not true Joy, I am quoting a post from another member who got the liquid in the UK, it isn't as expensive as the doctor thinks! 

I would ask the pharmacist to look for it on their system and write it down for you to give your doctor. 

 

 

This post is about my conversation with my new GP about being prescribed citalopram as a liquid preparation. I hope it helps anyone in England (Wales too?).

 

This was my first GP consultation in England about having liquid citalopram. I was first given a prescription for it in Scotland (see 13 June 2013 et seq in my topic http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4430-maryka-withdrawal-without-tapering-scary-and-unsuccessful/).

 

Before going any further, I think I should say, it could be relevant (gawd, talking about hedging), that this GP was not young. Which was good and bad, overall good, and so maybe quite interesting ...

 

Well, it went something like this. I said that I would be needing more meds by the end of this month, that I was tapering 5-10% once a month, that it was a slow taper because of my bad experience with a sudden withdrawal, that it was going well with no effects or disturbances to my life, especially important workwise, that I was taking 12.5 mg a day. And the GP asked how I was managing that and was actually quite ready for my answer 'I'm using liquid' because she couldn't imagine being that accurate by cutting tablets.

 

So far, so good.

 

Then I said I'd like more citalopram because I'd be running out by the end of the month, and she didn't refuse my wish but intimated that it was a Big Ask because it was expensive, which made me wonder whether she wanted me to feel guilty.

 

Ding dong, so far, bad.

 

(Next paragraph has multiple ding dongs...)

 

Then she looked up the liquid prep to prescribe and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't expensive [hurray], that it was the liquid prep of Prozac that is expensive, that liquid citalopram cost less (at £7 odd) than the cost of a prescription (£8.10). While I'm thinking 'I'm gonna be conned', she gave the volume of the prep (about 7 ml), at which point I could say that I had 15 ml of the prep, pulled my actual bottle out of my handbag (oh yes! I was prepared), whereupon she hunted more on her system and found that she could prescribe 15 ml.

 

Result!

 

Whatever shortcomings there were during the consultation, they were not longlasting so not terribly stressful, I did not have to 'fight for it', and she talked through her thought processes and responded to me. So good on her.

 

Such a shame that cost was mentioned...

 

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That is not true Joy, I am quoting a post from another member who got the liquid in the UK, it isn't as expensive as the doctor thinks! 

I would ask the pharmacist to look for it on their system and write it down for you to give your doctor. 

 

 

This post is about my conversation with my new GP about being prescribed citalopram as a liquid preparation. [...]

 

 

 

Joy, I would add now that I have paid for my prescription at current NHS price that, per mg, the liquid is cheaper than 10 mg tablets.

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Just to let you all know, today I decided to adjust the liquid citalopram I had made so that I now take 16mg citalopram, instead of 17mg.  I am using 1/2 a 20mg tablet, 1/2 a 10mg tablet to get 15mg and then adding on the liquid dose.

 

Making and using the liquid citalopram is much easier than I thought it was going to be, and I work away from home about 1/2 the week and have to take it with me, and then remake it while away.

 

The maths of it aren't as bad as I thought and it seems to be working more accurately than I thought it would.

 

ALSO I AM FEELING BETTER THAN I HAVE IN YEARS.  I ACTUALLY FEEL A LOT LESS ANXIOUS AND DEPRESSED FOR REDUCING THE CITALOPRAM.  HOW ODD IS THAT?

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Great to hear things are going so well for you and you are managing your liquid taper. Unfortunately I'm not surprised you are feeling less depressed and less anxious having lowered your dose. The so called therapeutic dies is very high and these drugs can have paradoxical effects.

 

It's great to hear your updates, please keep the coming

 

Dalsaan

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Doing well on 16mg.  Slight dizziness yesterday, but only very brief, just 2 little bits and quite good because it reminded me of the progress I was making.

 

Thanks for the comments about paradoxical effects, I am going to do some reading on that.

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I just cant believe how much sharper my brain is with a lower dose of citalopram.  Everything is fine on the 16mg but the last lot of liquid I missed up did not look as dense as the previous batch, so now I am crushing the med between two spoons before dissolving it in the water, so there are pitfalls, but it is still helping me a lot.

 

Still think the manufacturers should be forced into producing 1mg tablets specifically for titrating upwards on starting the meds and downwards for tapering.  Perhaps this is something the Food and Drug Association body could look into, in GB, any way and other bodies abroad.

 

The older antidepressants are available in smaller amounts.  Perhaps there is an economic market that some of the drug manufacturers could tap into here, after all if there are profits in it I am sure someone will take it on, if there are no profits then it would have to be an ethical and moral duty.

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Joy2730- I had a question about your experience with cita and constipation. When did you see a shift in the constipation? I am hopeful for this to change for me too!

thnks

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To answer the question about constipation, I have actually seen an improvement this last month but I am still heavily dependent upon laxatives, which I keep swapping around, taking different types, and usually in higher dosages than recommended on the packet.  My GP suggested this side effect is almost inevitable, however it is not as bad as it was when I first started reducing when it made me feel realy ill and irritable.

 

I do not take laxatives every day now, whereas at first I needed to take them everyday.  I think it is a case of waiting for your body to readjust.  I am a great believer in exercise for constipation but unfortunately I find that hard due to work pressures at present, exercise and drinking water, and laxatives until it resolves.

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I had constipation for years. 200mg magnesium every night before bed and no more constipation.

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Quick update, last Thursday I started to feel hot and sweaty again and that night started to feel very sick again, the next day I was actually sick twice.  It was exactly the same as last time but not as bad and only lasted 1 day and not 2.  So obviously I am not completely out of the woods.

 

Even with a slow taper there is obviously the potential for rough patches, but interestingly my mind is even clearer now and I am more active physically.

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This is great to hear your doing well..

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Sorry to hear that you are feeling sick and not as well after a really good window. It will pass, just hold on tight and the window will open again. I'm glad that you are feeling better after reducing the citalopram, more is not always best! 

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Thanks for the words of encouragement.  I am now back to feeling great again, and stable on 16mg, it looks like it is going to be a long haul but that doesn't matter.  I plan to give it about another month and then go to 15mg citalopram, I felt quite grotty on 15mg the last time I was at that level, so I am not rushing there.

 

As a plus of reducing my appetite is now 'normal' and my body shape looks more 'normal', and I have lost 6 lbs in weight, which I have been trying to do.  When I was on the larger dosages I couldn't loose any weight no matter what I tried.  To have some control over my figure again feels like magic.

 

But best of all is my mind, which is now razor sharp and bright as a button.  I can carry dates/details in my head which previously I never could.  Unless one goes down the road of reduction one never knows what one is missing and the actual adverse effects.  I am not suffering any anxiety, depression, insomnia or anything psychological, I have never felt more stable, it is brill!

 

Even if I never get even to 15mg and stay on 16mg I have gained a lot!

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Had some tingling of face and neck tonight, felt nervous and a bit sweaty and sick, also have hiccups which seems to be one of my symptoms, which I suppose all means a bit more citalopram is leaving my body and mind, but the odd thing is my mind is even clearer now and I feel so much better.  Weird.

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I am having a bad day, lots of withdrawal symptoms, and have taken some extra citalopram today, I feel like a real loser and am not sure where I am going with this.  My husband is saying if I am addicted and having problems coming off I musn't make myself ill and bet myself up, but I am so not impressed.  Perhaps my GP is right that people choose to stay on them.

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I can relate to your feelings I'm trying to get off this stuff. I'm holding at 10mgs. I had to updose I was so distressed. I felt like a failure. I hope you feel better soon.

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Thank you LookingforHope55 your words have really helped in that I know now others are having similar problems and feelings.  I too am updosing but unsure of how much to go, but these symptoms are not conducive to someone with an active working lifestyle.

 

I feel like 10 ton truck has just run over me and I need emergency care, I ache all over and feel sore and sick in my stomach.

 

It should not be impossible to get off these drugs, but I am beginning to think that my GP who said I might get down to 10 mg was being realistic.

 

LookingforHope55 you are at that dose now, let me know how you get on.

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I seem to have got down to 15mg, with a combination of liquid and chopping tablets up, and seem to be doing well, but I have been here before and then had to go back up in dose so I am wary.

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