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LucyLou

LucyLou: Switching to Prozac to taper from there

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LucyLou

Hi. I have been reading different posts on here for about a month. I want to taper off Lexapro, but I've been on it for over 10 years. In 2005, I was put on a very short, and ended up with brains apps and went back on it because I was super agitated.

 

When I told my doctor I wanted to Lexapro, her idea was to switch me to Prozac. Initially, she was going to help me switch to 20 mg, but I knew that the equivalent was 40 mg, so I asked if we can do that and she said yes. I am on day two of switching from 20 mg of Lexapro to 40 mg of Prozac. I feel dizzy and have a UTI. I don't know if that can be caused by this medication switch. It kind of creeps me out. The test only showed barely any evidence of the UTI, but the doctor said I was experiencing symptoms so gave me an antibiotic.

 

I am thinking about a post I read on here that suggested people try wean off their current drug rather than bridging to Prozac. So now I am kind of freaking out thinking that I should just go back on Lexapro and when I see my doctor in a week and a half ask if she will prescribe the liquid. I think I asked that in A message, but she suggested Prozac.

 

I have wanted to wean off the drugs for a long time, but actually had resigned myself to staying on it for life. I felt like I was stuck. But then it was getting migraines, and my family doctor wanted to add another antidepressant Pamelor, for the migraines. At that point, I did not want to add any more, and so now I decided it was time to try to taper down. I have seen that on some sites it says Lexapro can cause migraines.

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LucyLou

I was too worried about possible Prozac side effects and Lexapro withdrawal symptoms, so I pulled the plug on the switch, took my 20 mg Lexapro, and am going to insist on liquid Lexapro and do 10% taper recommended on this site.

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ChessieCat

Hi Lucy,

 

Welcome SA.  I'm really pleased that you have joined the forum now, before you got too far into your Prozac Bridge.  I'm not sure what you have already read on the site so you may have already read some of the links I am giving you.

 

Thank you for completing your signature.  However, I think there may be a typo the last bit says & still 450 Lexapro (which I think you mean Wellbutrin).

 

__________________

 

I've just put your drugs (using Lexapro & Prozac separately) into the drugs checker:

 

Interactions between your selected drugs
Major bupropion escitalopram

Applies to: Wellbutrin (bupropion), Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

Talk to your doctor before using buPROPion together with escitalopram. Combining these medications may increase the risk of seizures, which may occur rarely with either medication. In addition, buPROPion can increase the blood levels of escitalopram, which may increase other side effects. You may be more likely to experience seizures with these medications if you are elderly, undergoing alcohol or drug withdrawal, have a history of seizures, or have a condition affecting the central nervous system such as a brain tumor or head trauma. Your doctor may be able to prescribe alternatives that do not interact, or you may need a dose adjustment or more frequent monitoring by your doctor to safely use both medications. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol during treatment. 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.

 

Major bupropion fluoxetine

Applies to: Wellbutrin (bupropion), Prozac (fluoxetine)

Talk to your doctor before using buPROPion together with FLUoxetine. Combining these medications may increase the risk of seizures, which may occur rarely with either medication. In addition, buPROPion can increase the blood levels of FLUoxetine, which may increase other side effects. You may be more likely to experience seizures with these medications if you are elderly, undergoing alcohol or drug withdrawal, have a history of seizures, or have a condition affecting the central nervous system such as a brain tumor or head trauma. Your doctor may be able to prescribe alternatives that do not interact, or you may need a dose adjustment or more frequent monitoring by your doctor to safely use both medications. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol during treatment. 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.

________________________________________

 

Okay so you've just posted whilst I've been researching the above.

 

I'm glad you have decided to go back to Lexapro.  Prozac bridging is not a guaranteed why to get off the other drug and if you do a 10% taper of the previous dose and hold for 4-6 weeks after each drop your withdrawal symptoms should be kept to a minimum.

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ChessieCat

You can use your Intro Topic to ask questions and to journal your progress.

 

These things helped me to understand why a 10% taper is recommended:

 

 

Video: Healing from Antidepressants: Patterns of Recovery

 

Brain Remodelling

 

I won't bother including any more links.  If you want to search SA it is best to use your favourite search engine and type in survivingantidepressants.org + the topic you are looking for.  If you can't find it please ask.

 

It sounds like you have read enough to know what you are doing.

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LucyLou

Ok. So I have been back on lexapro for three days now, and I feel weird. I have urinary pain (?) and today felt tired and dry mouth and just now had some hot flashes...

 

I am on a sulfa antibiotic because I went to minute clinic Friday thinking I had a UTI. Th

The clinician said it was essentially negative (only slight evidence of possible infection) but prescribed meds anyways. So maybe dry mouth is from the sulfa.

 

Who knows!

 

I just have weird feeling in my skin and legs feel heavy. I am so mad that I tried the Prozac for two days. This is the second month I tried something different to get off Lexapro with icky symptoms even though I pulled the plug fast.

 

I am mad that my dr. didn't even address the fact that I asked to do liquid Lexapro and instead wanted to do Prozac switch. Why? I have told her I am sensitive to these medicines! And then she originally didn't even prescribe the equivalent dose of Prozac.

 

Anyways, wonder if the two days on Prozac and off Lexapro could cause these weird symptoms. :(

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ChessieCat

Hi Lucy,

 

Just wondering if in the past you have ever forgotten to take your Lexapro, and if you have, did you get any symptoms?  If yes to both of these questions, were the symptoms similar to what you are getting now?

 

You mention that this is the second month you have tried something different to get off Lexapro.  What did you do/take?  How long were you off Lexapro that time before you went back on it?  Were the symptoms you had then similar to the symptoms you are getting now?

 

If the symptoms are similar it could be withdrawal from the Lexapro.  On the other hand, if they seem different, it could be the Lexapro combined with the longer half life of Prozac.

 

People with a sensitised CNS do seem to be more sensitive to things like antibiotics.

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LucyLou

The first thing dr. Had me try was lose dose of Pamelor (20mg?) instead of Lexapro (20 mg) and keep taking Wellbutrin. I brought up to her that I have had headache problems and my family dr thought I should try Pamelor for that (there is some research out there saying it helps with headaches). I was not interested in adding a third drug, and she proposed switching to Pamelor which I fell for because it meant I would be taking less antidepressants with lower Panelor dose. I guess I really wanted to believe it could be that easy but when that didn't work--my symptoms then we're fuzzy head and dizzy and then I started to get anxiety and cry--I went back to Lexapro and realized what I really wanted was to taper Lexapro.

 

These symptoms seem different--the urinary thing for sure. So I guess my guess is reaction to Prozac... I guess what matters most is not freaking out about it and letting it pass and use the experience to help me taper slowly and patiently.

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Fresh

Hi LucyLou ,  welcome to the site.

 

We know that many members have had waves of intense , new symptoms brought on by antibiotics.

See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9285-cipro-levaquin-azithromycin-z-pack-and-other-antibiotics/

 

Urinary frequency or problems passing water are part and parcel of w/d.  I'd consider ditching the antibiotics and exploring other methods of treating uti's , like cranberry juice , bicarb of soda , colloidal silver.

 

See the thread on bladder issues here  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5973-urination-and-bladder-issues-male-and-female/

 

and the thread on ITI's / bladder infections here  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3915-urinary-tract-infections-utis-or-bladder-infections/

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

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LucyLou

It has been 8 or 9 days since I took Prozac for two days instead of Lexapro and I still have urinary symptoms. A week ago I was prescribed sulfa antibiotics from Minute clinic for possible UTI, and on Monday they called and said the bacteria culture was different then typical ;strep something) so they changed me to amoxicillin. But my symptoms didn't go away. Maybe slightly better but I have funny pain in lower back and urinary tract and inner thighs.

 

Is it pissible that taking 40 mg of Prozac instead of 20 mg of Lexapro for only two days before ditching this plan could have caused this? Also I am thinking it must be Prozac side effect b/c u didn't experience this when I tried to switch from Lexapro to very lose dose of Pamelor...

 

At urgent care right now because afraid I has bad kidney or bladder issue so want to get checked again in case...

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LucyLou

So no evidence of infection. PA suggested a pelvic exam but know it's urinary and have appt w/ a regular dr mon and can do then but symptoms really bug me today--maybe b/c it's Sat. & I am not distracted by work...

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LucyLou

Oh my gosh. Relief. I went to family dr. yesterday and had a pelvic and was diagnosed with vaginal infection (probably from all of the antibiotics!). Got medicine for that and ditched antibiotics. Feeling better and also less freaked out. Learned that when I am attributing symptoms to w/d or side effects of meds it really freaks me out. (Or maybe it's just that the infection really hurt. That might be it. :)). 

 

After doing more reading on here and from other sources, currently reading The Antidepressant Solution, I feel so glad that I stopped my Prozac bridge and am resolved to take it slow with liquid escitalopram.

 

Haven't heard back from my psychiatrist yet about putting escitalopram back on my chart and getting Prozac off the chart. I am wondering if she doesn't know how to respond to my request. I mentioned this site and also The Antidepressant Solution. I do have an appointment next week and am nervous that she will try to talk me out of my resolve. And I can be a people-pleaser so I don't want to cave. 

 

But I am also really hopeful about my decision to do taper and discontinue. Thanks for all of the help so far. This is a great site.

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ChessieCat

Hi Lucy,

 

It's good that you found the answer to your problem.

 

"I do have an appointment next week and am nervous that she will try to talk me out of my resolve. And I can be a people-pleaser so I don't want to cave."

 

Before your appointment, I suggest you read these links.  If she does offer you other drugs, I suggest that before you do anything you post that information here and get a second or third opinion.  Having the information and discussing your options will help you to decide what you want to do.

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?

What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

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AliG

Lucy.   As you read around , here, you will realize that Doctor's are not held in very high esteem .  At the end of the day , they are no more than drug - pushers , and you need to have a clear head , when dealing with them . Please , read the links , as they will help you to stand your ground . You only need them to get your script .

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LucyLou

Thanks! I will let you know how it goes and feel grateful for people for second and third opinions. Super glad I found this site!

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LucyLou

Met w/ dr. She prescribed liquid Escitolapram for me to taper.

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Fresh

Well done Lucy. Please read the topics at the top of the Tapering forum , in particular "Why Taper 10% of My Dosage".

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LucyLou

Tapered escitalopram to 18 mg. Going to download withdrawal symptoms checklist and start filling out tomorrow. 

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LucyLou

So far I feel dizzy/shaky, some stiffness in inner thighs and tiny bit in low back, had some discomfort w/ urethra. Also feel hints of elevated mood--which is disconcerting because I am a recovering alcoholic sober for 19 years.

 

I am wondering if my 10%/2mg taper is too much for me. It's the 2nd day on lower dose. Should I bump up to 19 mg? In some ways I would rather not, but maybe slower taper is better than these symptoms, especially if they worsen at this dosage.

 

Let me know your thoughts.

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Fresh

Lucy , if you can wait a couple of days , you may find things improve , and then you'll know how the 10%

was overall.

If it's really too much at this point , you're probably making a good decision to bump up to 19mg.

There's no correct answer here , it depends on your lifestyle and tolerance.

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ChessieCat

Hi Lucy,

 

Since I've been tapering I have had a couple of times where the withdrawal symptoms were unbearable on day 2 or 3 and I updosed a small amount.  A couple of other times I could feel withdrawal symptoms but I knew I could put up with them and decided to stay on the same dose.

 

You need to decide whether you need to updose.  However, it would be better to do it sooner rather than later.

 

I have decided in my case it is better to go slower than 10% drops.  I would rather get off the drug with minimal withdrawal symptoms than try and hurry off and suffer the consequences.

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LucyLou

Thanks so much for your reply. It feels so good to do this with the experience and wisdom of people from this site. Without this support, I'm pretty sure I would get anxious and second guess and maybe give up.

 

My symptoms are pretty mild and I can function normally so far. I think they are a lot milder than the symptoms that led you to up dose.  

 

I will see how it goes tomorrow. I am going to re-read the part of The Antidepressant Solution, too, to see where my symptoms fit with the case studies provided. I am probably only experiencing mild symptoms.

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LucyLou

I re-read the symptoms part in The Anti-Depressant Solution to help determine where my symptoms fell in terms of severity. I guess I am pretty hyper-alert to any symptoms because of fear. But I now see that my symptoms so far are really mild. Today at work I didn't notice any. I guess any symptoms I had were slight enough to be missed while I was distracted working. I think I might even feel better than when I was on the 20 mg. Not sure if that could be yet... Wishful thinking?

 

Glad I read some posts about tapering slowly and giving new dose a month because, with mild symptoms that I can ignore, I start to think, "Hey, I should drop a bit more."  Which I don't really think is wise. 

 

I feel so glad about having this site to refer to again and again as needed. I feel hopeful now that I am not sentenced to life with Lexapro and Wellbutrin. :) 

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LucyLou

I have been super tired last two days. When I've gotten home from work, I have vegged on the couch and napped. Imthat vaginal infection didn't go entirely away so I ended up getting more medicine and am bugged by discomfort "down there" when trying to fall asleep. I also feel stiffness in inner thighs that seems related (?).

 

But really overall seem to be tolerating the lowered dose.

Mi have been reading about slow tapering and find the advice logical and wise, but it's frustrated to consider how long this process will take. I am hopeful though that as i drop down I will be less affected by the drug even though I am still taking it.

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ChessieCat

Hi Lucy,

 

I have found that I am feeling more like myself since getting lower on my Pristiq.  Not totally but an improvement and I'm enjoying things more and finding things funny and being able to listen to music and sing a bit.

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LucyLou

Today felt more emotionally down. Felt that, too, yesterday, but probably more today. Not sure if it is related to lowered medication or work stress because I definitely have work stress, but that has been true all school year so nothing new.

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LucyLou

This morning my muscles were very stiff when I woke up. But up now and feeling ok. Hoping at this point, a week out from 10% drop, symptoms will start fading... That was the trend in Glenmullen's book.

 

He claims to show the whole range of withdrawal experiences, though, and from what I've read here, he doesn't address patient with severe struggles.

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LucyLou

I am just sooo tired. I usually am during weekends--I teach at a middle school which is pretty exhausting and I probably don't get enough sleep during the week. 7 hrs. And I definitely need 8 at least. Weekends are catch up time. I think it is more intense tiredness though since dropping 10% and I feel guilty laying around. Feel like I should be entertaining my 8 year old son or cleaning the house. My husband is cool and supportive--making dinner right now. I just wNt to be at peace with lots of weekend resting and I'm not...

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LucyLou

Today I feel depressed. Want to withdraw from world. Feel like a bad Mom & critical if my husband. Seems like crying could help but can't. Right now I wish I weren't trying to taper.

 

Not sure if this is from lowered dose or what I call Sunday sickness. Skipped meditation meeting I go to on Sunday so that might be contributing to this.

 

Want to be tired and sleep all day but not that tired.

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LucyLou

So it's pretty nice here in St.Paul, MN today & I took dog for walk and listened to some old hard rock tunes and am cheered up. Glad I got some exercise. Really need to do more walks/exercise but often not willing.

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LucyLou

Got stomach flu last night, so I hope the liquid Escitolapram I took was absorbed before I threw up. ☹. I took it 2 hours or maybe three before I was sick. Sick all night. Today, still can't really eat. Nibbled on dry toast. But did take Wellbutrin and kept the pills down. The liquid Escitolapram certainly didn't help my stomach last night. .

 

My legs are really stiff--which has seemed to be a withdrawal symptom. Withdrawal symptoms were waning, so I hope this doesn't cause a setback. Anyways, can't do anything about whether the medicine was absorbed or not last night. Just going to take care of myself.

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LucyLou

Looked up info on Escitolapram. A couplemedical journal articles (Googled) said it's rapidly absorbed. Hope that means it was absorbed before I threw up 2-3 hrs. Later.

 

Anyone know how long it takes to be absorbed? I am taking the liquid.

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LexAnger

I always have immediate response to tiny drop of the lex liquid, no buffer at all, literally in a minute.

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LucyLou

Thanks! Good to know. I can now stop worrying that on top of being sick, I also missed my dose.

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LexAnger

Lucy,

Just got a chance reading your thread.

I feel the recent reaction you got could be from several factors including the short switches and also change from tablet to liquid.

Once your system is used to the liquid and calm down from the switches, you should feel a lot better. Most ppl have minimal or no problems decreasing at high doses like 20 mg.

 

Some ppl are sensitive to antibiotics while tapering so you may want to check that out and try not to take it if not absolutely needed.

 

Try to relax and don't worry too much. You should be fine at this early stage of tapering.

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LucyLou

Feeling a little teary sad today but not necessarily in a bad way. Don't know if this is second stage of symptoms after dropping dose or just life. :)

 

Feel like dropping down before a month at this dose, but want to do the wise thing. So I will continue to hold. Thinking about making own liquid instead of getting liquid escitolapram because of cost. 

 

Anyone have feedback about this? 

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ChessieCat

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