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megb: 3rd time attempt to get off Paxil

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megb   
megb

My third and hopefully final attempt to get off Paxil is here :) I start March 1st of this year, which is just around the corner. I have a lot of hope :) It will be over 3 years, but I feel good about my taper plan. Thankful for this site of encouragement and testimonies - I will be praying for freedom for you all! I've included a photo of my handwritten taper plan. The length of time is in months.  Will keep this updated for whoever cares to read. Let's do this. 

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ChessieCat   
ChessieCat

Hi megb,

 

Welcome to SA.  You've come to the right place for support and information.  Fall of 2015, that would be October?  If so that's hold of about 3 months on 20 mg?  You've done a good job of your signature but if you can be a little more accurate with the recent dates (at least the months and if possible the date or even beginning, middle or end would help).  The will enable the staff here to be able to offer more accurate suggestions.

 

I can see from your plan that you intend to do Prozac Bridging.  This is the link Tips for Tapering Paxil which includes ways to get the dose you need for your taper.  I suggest you read these if you haven't already.

 

This topic is your personal topic to ask questions pertaining to your own taper and you can also use it to journal your progress.

 

It's a good idea to learn CBT and/or other ways to cope.  Patience and listening to your body (and not being stuck rigidly to the calendar if things don't go the way you expect) is also necessary for this journey.  May it go well.  CC

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nz11   
nz11

Wow megb

Im sure it is going to be 3rd time lucky for you definitely.

That is a wonderful taper plan. I think its the best and ,most informed i have seen for a first time poster.

Will you be using liquid or scales?

 

Welcome to the site

 

Don't forget  your central nervous system is the final judge you may need to go slower at the lower doses.

Many people are now tapering at 10% below the 1 mg level. So that's something to keep in mind

 

On looking at your plans it appears, correct me if I am wrong, you plan to do a Prozac bridge at 15 mg.

May I ask, if that is correct, what is informing you to do that?

This will involve a cold turkey off the Paxil at 15 mg, and switch to Prozac at 15 mg is that your intention?

Another option you could consider is to stay with the devil you know than the one you don't. And you can always slow the taper even more.

 

Check out the links CC gave you.

 

 

You are one wise Texan!

 

nz11

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Brandy   
Brandy

Welcome, Meg.

 

Maybe it's that I'm tired, but I'm a bit confused. Are you planning to taper off SSRIs altogether by switching to prozac after getting down to 15 mg (Prozac bridge), then tapering the prozac slowly down til off all medication? Or are you planning on doing a cross-taper where you gradually decrease paxil dose down to zero after adding prozac 10 mg, then increasing the prozac to 20 mg. in October 2017, and staying on prozac?

 

It looked like the latter to me because the dates/mgs on your notation on the right side of your schedule don't match the taper doses after you get to the 15 on paxil, plus it looks like you will be going up on the prozac from 10 to 20 as you lower what I think is still the paxil dose.

 

But I have neck problems and may not be reading it correctly lol. If I'm mistaken, please forgive me and clarify.

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nz11   
nz11

Well spotted Brandy.

Your sideways vision is far better than mine.

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megb   
megb

Hi all, thanks so much for replying so promptly! Really makes a gal feel welcome :) I have adjusted my signature to include more specific dates and info. I'd like to reply to some of your questions....

  • I will be using a compounding pharmacy for the specific doses to alleviate the stress of self measuring liquid/cutting pills. Found a great one near my house that takes my insurance! wooohoo!
  • I will definitely keep in mind the tapering much much slower after 1mg, how sad we have to do that :( Ugh it's like coming off of heroin - which I've never been on but can only imagine. 
  • I am interested in Prozac bridging, as it really scares me the thought of not having a backup if/when the withdrawal hits like a ton of bricks as it has in the past. Still researching this option. If I did the Prozac bridging I would not hop off Paxil at any point - I will just add Prozac in while at 15mg Paxil to provide a sort of "mattress under the window" if you will. I will still continue the taper of Paxil while on a low dose of Prozac. I've heard it is much easier to wean off Prozac, do any of you have any experience in this area? Any feedback would be great. 
  • Sorry about the photo! It is sideways and I cannot figure out how to flip it. I will NOT be cold turkeying the Paxil at any point. If Prozac transition is going well I may choose to stay on it longer term. Right now still weighing options. I'd LOVE to be off all SSRI's and medications, but readying myself if that is not the answer in these next few years. Still playing with the dates of starting the Prozac. ---hope this answers your questions Brandy!

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nz11   
nz11

Wow meg you have thought of everything. Great going.

Talking about heroin what do you think of this idea ...taper off heroin by taking cocaine to provide a mattress under the window.

 

In the last 2 months i have been astonished at the number of people join this site in the middle of a prozac bridge (or variation) that has got messy.

 

it really scares me the thought of not having a backup if/when the withdrawal hits like a ton of bricks as it has in the past.

You already have the best backup plan there is a brilliantly planned slow taper. And you can always build in longer holds if you want.

What do you think?

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Welcome, megb.

 

Congratulations on taking charge of your taper.

 

You may be able to directly taper off Paxil without risking a switch to Prozac. I'd give this a try, see how the slow tapering goes for a while, before adding in the Prozac, which you might want to do when you're at 5mg Paxil or less.

 

Paxil also comes in liquid form for tapering -- see Tips for Tapering Paxil (thank you, ChessieCat) -- which may be less expensive than compounding.

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megb   
megb

Thanks Alto! Trying ti stay hopeful. It has been difficult, as my husband and i wish to start a family, but i just cannot in good faith do so while on this nasty drug :(

 

This site is fantastic im so glad to be here.

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nz11   
nz11

meg

Feel free to update your intro journal anytime. And let us know how you are doing.

 

Joining this  site guarantees you, your own international cheer-leading group. 

 

Well when I say international I must admit there are a lot of  Aussies here. 

But we always knew they were a bit of a mad bunch after all !

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SkyBlue   
SkyBlue

 

Well when I say international I must admit there are a lot of  Aussies here. 

But we always knew they were a bit of a mad bunch after all !

 

Ha, ha, nz11! :) 

 

Hi Meg! 

Wow, your plan sounds really well thought out. Good for you! 

 

I'd like to chime in on the idea of "bridging." My doctors put me on Zoloft to "cross-taper." The cross-taper hasn't turned out 

so hot, AND I went way up on Zoloft when I started having suicidal thoughts (they said it seemed that I needed to be "on something," when in fact it was only about 6 weeks away from having cut Paxil 50%). Because I'm now on two medicines, the symptoms I'm having now, I don't know if they're a side effect of Zoloft, or of Paxil withdrawal.

 

I won't beat myself up for trusting medical professionals, and I try not to second-guess myself for going so far up on the Zoloft….But I will share this experience in the hopes that others don't go through the same thing. 

 

<3 Again, welcome!

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Colonial   
Colonial

Hi Meg b!

 

 Do you plan on using any supplements?  If you do, It may be best to start them NOW, To make sure you don't have any reaction to them ahead of time.  If you wait until you're not feeling well to add something and then you think it made you worse, you'll never really know for sure if it's the Paxil withdrawal or the supplement.

 

You have plenty of time before you decide to add the prozac or not, but a lot of people who tried that wish they hadn't.  Luckily, you have some time to get acquainted with the site before you make that decision.

 

WELCOME ABOARD OUR SHIP!  :blink:  :o  :P  :D  :lol:

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megb   
megb

Colonial, 

Thank you for the info - I will absolutely do more searching before deciding on a Prozac bridge. I have been taking many supplements for a year or a bit longer: fish oil, vit D3, Tumeric, multivitamin. Great advice! I think I will go up on my fish oil, I've heard it can be helpful to take those twice a day in morning and afternoon. 

 

How are things for you thus far? I see it has been a struggle eliminating the xanex? I take it occasionally when I can't sleep every few months. Also, since you were on the Paxil CR, did you notice it was harder or easier to try to come off the CR version? Does it have a longer half life? 

 

Meg

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megb   
megb

Hi all, a question for you. I have seen a few folks posting about changing from the pill of a med to the liquid form, and some seem to be having quite a hard time with it. I was wondering:

 

Do you think I will have the same issue switching to capsule form?

 

I am two days into my new taper plan and feel just fine, but wondered nonetheless. Let me know if any of you have used a compounded medication and if switching from the pill form was difficult. 

 

thank you ^_^

meg

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Fresh   
Fresh

Hi Meg , welcome to the site.

 

You shouldn't have any problems switching from tablets to capsules. Remember to ask for them

to be made up with slow-release additive.

 

Changing to liquid is a different story , because there are no buffers and fillers , and the liquid

is absorbed much more quickly.

 

FYI , if you do the bridge to Prozac , the idea is that you cease prozac after around 2 weeks.

You do not continue on 2 drugs.

 

"Still researching this option. If I did the Prozac bridging I would not hop off Paxil at any point - I will just add Prozac in while at 15mg Paxil to provide a sort of "mattress under the window" if you will. I will still continue the taper of Paxil while on a low dose of Prozac."

 

This is extremely illogical . . . why bother tapering at all if you're going start another med?

 

The idea is to taper OFF meds , not add new ones. If you take both , you'll likely get toxic , which has it own host of symptoms.

 

bw , Fresh

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megb   
megb

Hi Fresh, thanks for your prompt response! The thing is this: Paxil, from my research and understanding, is the greater evil compared to Prozac - especially for women wanting to conceive. 

 

I don't know if I need an antidepressant to function. I want a family and it seems as though people are miserable for years and years even after getting off a medication. I wanted to switch from Paxil to Prozac (prozac doesnt cause serious weight gain and could be easier to taper than Paxil has been for me.) 

 

This is where I am. 

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Tamtam1   
Tamtam1

Hi Megb, I just wanted to comment on the Prozac weight gain, there is no guarantee that you won't gain weight on it. I was on Prozac and gained 70lbs in 2 years, my mother and sister both had the same problem.

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Fresh   
Fresh

Please see our topic on The Prozac Switch here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1463-the-prozac-switch-or-bridging-with-prozac/

 

"By Altostrata: Prey 2012 method for Prozac switch

Another knowledgeable doctor (whom I trust) explained his technique to me (this is the technique I personally would prefer if I had to do it, it seems much gentler):

For a "normal" dose of Effexor (150mg per day or more) or Paxil or Cymbalta, he would switch to 10mg Prozac with a week of overlap. In other words, take both medications for a week and then drop the Effexor. Lower doses of Effexor or other antidepressant require lower doses of Prozac as a "bridge."

The lower dose of Prozac reduces the risk of excessive serotoninergic stimulation from the combination of the two antidepressants during the overlap period.

 

Do not stay on the combination of the first antidepressant and Prozac for more than 2 weeks, or you run the risk of your nervous system accommodating to the combination and having difficulty tapering off both antidepressants."

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ladybug   
ladybug

Hi Fresh, thanks for your prompt response! The thing is this: Paxil, from my research and understanding, is the greater evil compared to Prozac - especially for women wanting to conceive. 

 

 

I'm interested in what studies you looked at because from what I have read the the link between Paxil use during pregnancy and congenital heart defects has been exaggerated while the risk of  abnormalities with other SSRIs has been understated. There is no "safer" SSRI when it comes to pregnancy, they all carry a risk (or carry no risk depending on which study you look at). Take a look at this article and you will see how the results regarding Paxil use and pregnancy have been mixed:

 

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acps.12042/full

 

Some studies found a link and others did not. In one study Prozac had twice the prevalence of heart defects than Paroxetine and even so the numbers are very small and not all that different from women who did not take any ADs during pregnancy (For Paroxetine: 1.5% vs 1%). If you try a Prozac bridge, you may be one of the lucky ones who has no issues or you may be one of the unlucky ones. Constant anxiety can cause harm to a developing fetus as well. If it were me I think it would be safer to taper the Paxil to a low dose before conceiving, but that's just my opinion of course.

 

"In summary, paroxetine and other SSRIs have not consistently been demonstrated to be associated with particular birth defects. Paroxetine use during early pregnancy has been the most controversial, as it has been associated with an increased risk of overall major malformations, particularly atrial and ventricular septal defects in several studies [51, 60, 66, 69, 72], but assessments of large databases have not supported this finding [65, 74]."

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megb   
megb

Ladybug...

 

I REALLY appreciate your two cents. Thank you for linking articles, those are so helpful. I will def. do more research. Also, you are incredibly close to being off Paxil --go you!!! Looks like it's been a long long journey for you, I wish you nothing but blessings and no negative symptoms as you continue. 

 

Meg

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

All psychiatric drugs are bad for the developing baby. You can feel what they do to your brain, they do the same to the baby. All psychiatric drugs incur the risk of neonatal withdrawal syndrome. Prozac might be a little better there, but it is still a powerful psychotropic.

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megb   
megb

Y'all last night was not so good :( I couldn't fall asleep, yet there was NO anxiety that I felt. So strange. I was up until 4am and finally broke down and took a small amount of xanex and ambien. Trying not to get discouraged after 1 night! Could it be hormones? I should be starting my period in a few days so not sure. 

 

just needed to vent a bit. I reaaaalllly struggle with having a good day if I don't get adequate rest. 

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Fresh   
Fresh

Xanax AND Ambien? How much did you take?

 

What responsibilities do you have during the day Meg?

You need to be prepared to experience some discomfort during this process. If you're reaching for

benzos at the first sign of insomnia , you're going to create more problems.

 

Try to remember that lack of sleep isn't going to hurt you , it's part of the process of your brain adjusting to the decrease. The less you can try to medicate your way through this , the better. That way you can experience the true effect of the 0.5mg cut , and know exactly how it affects you. You may wish to try a smaller decrease next time round.

 

bw ,

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megb   
megb

Fresh, I took 7mg Ambien and .125mg xanex. I do work on the weekdays in an office. Insomnia is just my greatest fear and causer of anxiety. It is soooo hard to deal with for me. I've experienced months and months with 2 hrs of sleep every other day in 2009 and 2012 - torture. 

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Fresh   
Fresh

If you need to work then you need to stay on top of it meg , I understand.

 

You might consider bumping your dose up so that your decrease is 0.25 instead of 0.5mg.

Chessiecat did that with her first decrease - it was more symptoms than she was prepared for so she

updosed slightlyafter a few days. Nothing wrong with that. It's a better option than supplementing with benzos to deal with the symptoms.

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Jlynn   
Jlynn

Our stories are very similar. I opted not to bridge because I was scared of what might happen and no one could guarantee it would work. Alto said something to me early on that made sense. "Better the devil you know". I have been slowly tapering and keep slowing it down in an attempt to cope with the symptoms. You are very brave and I know you will make it! The sleep thing is dead on for me too. So hard to deal with daily life when there is no sleep!

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megb   
megb

Thank you Fresh & Jlynn! I have been doing great since I posted last. I think the initial shock of less medication caused the insomnia (or maybe i convinced myself I wouldn't sleep as well on a lesser dose? who knows!). 

 

It's been a month at 18.5 and no symptoms that I notice except for a little more tired than usual BUT I can deal with that for sure! I am sleeping A LOT at night - don't take naps - and able to exercise as much as I want.  :D I will stay at 18.5 for another 4 weeks then go to 18mg. 

 

I agree it can be best to do the devil I know. I did try prozac in Dec of last year for a month to try to ease the withdrawal symptoms when I was at 8mg Paxil. I wish I would've bumped up to 10 or 15 instead of full 20. But let's be honest, I was desperate to feel better and not in my right mind. Praying for you both!!

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megb   
megb

For the last 4 months I have been taking 5-25mg of Trazodone to help with insomnia during my last awful episode. I have been on it before and had NO trouble tapering and getting off last year, but this time it's a little harder and not sure why. 

 

The last few nights down to less than 3mg have been really hard to get to sleep and stay asleep. Any tips from those that have been on it? Melatonin just doesn't do it for me. Anyone tried Unisom to transition to natural sleep from drugs? I just learned SSRIs inhibit REM sleep...no wonder my sleep has been awful ever since I've been on Paxil. 

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ChessieCat   
ChessieCat

Hi Meg,

 

Sleep problems - that awful withdrawal insomnia

 

Also be aware of anticipitory-anxiety

 

Just did: 

Interactions between your selected drugs

Major trazodone paroxetine

Applies to: trazodone, Paxil (paroxetine)

Using traZODone together with PARoxetine can increase the risk of a rare but serious condition called the serotonin syndrome, which may include symptoms such as confusion, hallucination, seizure, extreme changes in blood pressure, increased heart rate, fever, excessive sweating, shivering or shaking, blurred vision, muscle spasm or stiffness, tremor, incoordination, stomach cramp, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe cases may result in coma and even death. You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms while taking the medications. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Your doctor may already be aware of the risks, but has determined that this is the best course of treatment for you and has taken appropriate precautions and is monitoring you closely for any potential complications. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

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megb   
megb

Just wanted to give a quick update. I am on my 8th day of 17.5 Paxil and I feel pretty good - very sleepy, but actually sleeping lots so no complaints here! Still taking 12.5mg Trazodone but will be weaning off that in a month or two. I tapered Ambien, which I started retaking in mid-March. I have been off Ambien so far since June 1st :) 

 

I am now redoing my taper plan to include much longer holds on 15mg, 10mg, 5mg, 1mg. It will take much much longer but after reading an update of Mapleleafgirl, I think this is the best route to see if I have any delayed withdrawals. 

 

Began going to the Chiropractor last month so we shall see if my neck and shoulder pain improve! Really love my chiro, she is the sweetest. 

 

Okay, well just wanted to updated my SA diary a bit :) Blessings to all of you!! 

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KarenB   
KarenB

Thanks Meg,

 

It's good to see you embracing the benefits of occasional longer holds, and also sounding so positive about life in general - lovely :).

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megb   
megb

Thank you Karen! How are you doing? Just read your signature... I'm sorry for all you've been through. Sounds so rough with all the med changes and ups/downs. Seems like the longer holds are really helping you as well. Are you feeling well these days ?

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KarenB   
KarenB

I'm doing moderately well - some days plenty of energy, but others a bit blah.  Better than a year ago, but not as good as I am wanting to get to with this hold.  I still feel I'm on track though, giving myself stability and time for things to slowly sort themselves out.  And I do know that I am much better off than many, so I try to remember my blessings. 

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megb   
megb

Currently a week into 16.5mg and feeling good - tired, but good. A month ago I was diagnosed with a thyroid autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's, which I am sure plays a part in fatigue and general eh-ness. I'm sleeping well though - and SO blessed to be doing so with no medication. 

 

I am taking a non-synthetic thyroid med along with Paxil, but those are my only pills besides vitamins and supplements!! :) I recently auditioned for a local theatre play and got a small role. Thankful to be doing something fun for myself after 7 years of being scared to put myself out there. Hopefully, in 6 months or so my thyroid will level out. Going gluten free forever and limited dairy.

 

I also changed my taper plan even further to accommodate longer holds and smaller decreases. I do have a big question though: 

 

*Lengthening my taper plan also means more and more years on this awful poison. 9 more years is a LONG time... how do I know if the benefits of being on this longer and going at a snails pace means less damage on my brain and body than getting off sooner but not as slow?? A little conflicted about this. Would LOVE some advice.

       - thank you!!  

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megb   
megb

IN need of advice please...

Lengthening my taper plan also means more and more years on this awful poison. 9 more years is a LONG time... how do I know if the benefits of being on this longer and going at a snails pace means less damage on my brain and body than getting off sooner but not as slow?? A little conflicted about this. What should I do?

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nz11   
nz11

Lengthening my taper plan also means more and more years on this awful poison. 9 more years is a LONG time... how do I know if the benefits of being on this longer and going at a snails pace means less damage on my brain and body than getting off sooner but not as slow?? A little conflicted about this. What should I do?

Because if you try that you may be bounced back to the start for the fourth time.

You are not going to be tapering for "9 more years" Where are you getting that from.

But yes if you have been taking paxil for 6 yrs and plan to taper for 3 then yeah that will total 9 yrs. So from what i see your tapering plan will only take you 3.2 years to get to 1mg.

 

You should go as slow as you need to. If that takes 5 years then sobeit that is what slowly is.

 

Here is a piece ive been reading from Glenmullen recently

He says:

"We assume that withdrawal symptoms do not cause injury to brain cells or to other organ systems. But, since it has not been adequately researched, we do not really know the answer to this question. The question [can antidepressants withdrawal symptoms do any injury to the brain or to other organ systems? ] is often asked by patients with severe symptoms like electric zaps sensations in the brains of disabling withdrawal symptoms. Because we lack a definitive answer, patients should be discouraged from repeatedly "toughing out" severe withdrawal symptoms. Instead, the tapering schedule should be paced so that patients experience mild, tolerable withdrawal symptoms. This provides something of an 'insurance policy' since we do not really know the answer to this important question." Glenmullen 2005.

 

Boy do i feel bad after reading this cos i 'toughed out' my wdl big time.

 

 

I am now redoing my taper plan to include much longer holds on 15mg, 10mg, 5mg, 1mg.

Maybe thats how you intend to get 9 more years.

I dont think you need to hold for a year and a half at each of these doses if thats what you plan.

 

Just do your drop and wait the 4 weeks if stable then do the next drop if not then hold for a couple more weeks.The cns will tell you what to do.

 

I think your taper plan is very wise and excellent.

Dont worry the 3-4 years will go really fast.

You may like to consider the Brassmonkey taper.

 

nz11

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