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rapunzel2

How long do you estimate your taper will take?

42 posts in this topic

It's a question for those people who have started slow tapering from the beginning (and not for those who discovered the forum after too fast taper). 

 

It has taken me 3,5 years to reduce from:

- 40mg fluoxetine to 6mg

- 50mg quetiapine to 7,25mg

 

It seems to get harder on the low doses, so even if I dream that it will take me 1 more year, more realistically, it will rather be 2 more years ( I really hope not more). 

 

So my taper will probably take 5,5 years. All this time filled with unpleasant, disturbing withdrawal symptoms, which prohibit my functioning. 

 

Why I'm asking such question - I read from the forum all the time that people do slow tapers (10% decreases) and they finish their tapers in 2-3 years. It seems that even in this context here, I'm having much harder time than average, and it takes me longer to withdraw. I want to compare myself to others and see what is the estimated time for other members.

 

I understand that estimate is estimate and it's not possible to know how the reality will play out. but still, it will be interesting to me. 

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Look at the speed of my taper since late August...painstaking wouldn't be the word....

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Valid question! I thought about it too myself.

 

Although each individual can be quite different, and the experts estimates are 2-4 years for CTers. From what I learned for both slow taper and CT, the everage # year is similar, 4-6 years for full coverage, assuming the starting dose is the normal recommended dose, single drug, and no big extra accidents along the way.

 

I'm at my 4th year going to the 5th yr, never been at high dose but did increas dose couple times during taper, so not a steady taper, I'm at 1 mg Lexapro and thinking 2 more years until full recovery, with 1 more year to reach zero and the other one for post zero fine tune.

 

I feel your estimate of two more years very rational, leaxopro is 2+ more potency than Prozac.

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It has taken me 5.5 years from 25 mg zoloft to 0.24 mg. I am super sensitive, I know that. I have dropped by 5 % every month, except when I came under 2 mg. Then I have dropped when I felt ready, sometimes only after seven - ten days.

 

One just have to throw the calendar out. Now on this tiny dose I almost dont feel the drop. And I can see the end of all this.

 

Best of luck.

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It has taken me 2 years to taper from 37.50 of Remeron to 1.75mgs.   It has taken me 19 months to taper from 200mgs of Lamictal to 22.50 mgs.

 

I was on the full dose of each medication for 11 months a piece. 

 

I estimate I will be off the Remeron by end of January 2017 and the Lamictal in the late Spring/early Summer of 2017.  

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Hello,

 

I started tapering roughly 2.5 years ago. It has taken me that time to go from 300 mg Effexor to 65 mg which is where I am now. When I started out I never thought that it would take this long though. I have had to re-instate on some occasions.

 

I was talking risperidone at one point and my doctor switched me over to olanzapine about 14 months ago. I have been tapering that (the olanzapine) also although I have been primarily focussed on the Effexor.

 

I haven't made any changes to the mirtazapine at all. My plan is is to taper off the effexor and olanzapine completely and then start tapering the mirtazapine. I suppose that realistically I am looking at other two years potentially.

 

It does take a long time I suppose but slowly wins the race in this game.

 

Merry Christmas  :)

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Started Lyrica in Feb. 2015. I've been tapering off of Lyrica since April 2015. Was at 450mg when I started and am now at 35mg/day.

It has been the greatest challenge of my life. Starting to think about when to jump off. I'm guessing I'll jump from 5mg. The thing that concerns me is that it seems to be getting more difficult as the dosages get smaller. My logic assumed it would get easier as the dosage got below the lowest effective prescription doses thinking my CNS just wouldn't notice. Apparently I'm wrong. Once this is all over and I am well again I plan on making an appointment with the original doctor who prescribed this drug to me (to ease the transition off of Zoloft) and tell him my story, with many pages of others' stories of withdrawal in tow. He told me that Lyrica was non habit forming and easy to discontinue. I wonder what he would say to the family of yet another Lyrica user who committed suicide right before xmas that I just read about on the Lyrica Survivors FB page. Perhaps he'll think twice before casually putting yet another person in this prison cell...

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I managed to go from 75mg Lyrica to zero and I don't think that I had any major discontinuation issues if any.

 

I had been on 150mg prior to that. I dropped to 75mg and stayed there for a couple of months. Then zero.

 

Everyone is different I suppose. I wouldn't recommend that anyone else tries the same. Perhaps I was lucky. I am generally more cautious with my tapering.

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Thanks for sharing Blazes. What can I say? I guess you're lucky:)

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I've been tapering off Effexor roughly 3 years I think from 75 mg now at 3 beads with 1 minor reinstatement. All had been going well. Also tapering Risperdal 1 cut every 4-5 months or so. I expect it'll take me another year or so tone off both comfortably.

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I have had a set back. I have been tapering now for almost two years, withdrawing for a very much longer time than that... 

 

My current positive voice says: 

 

I have less of the drug in me now than I did three years ago. So I must be healing right? 

My biggest thing is that during my 'big crash' about two years ago... i went through a lot of what i call 'sleep trauma'. So now,... I can't tolerate not sleeping. At least, not when I am suffering extra withdrawal anxiety. 

 

So for me, I have to withdraw SUPER small bits. And every now and then, so far, I try a little bit more. Although I am not going to do that again. I so nearly crashed when a huge external event really threw me two weeks ago. I am still recovering. I lost... Months of withdrawal work. I had to 'updose'. Life happens. You have to deal with stuff. You are human, so you do what you can. 

 

When I am experiencing positive thoughts I think, WOW, I didn't lose that much time, and my withdrawal symptoms are receding. So I am doing great!

 

When the times get bad...

 

It's back to praying and hoping. I don't even believe in god. Not really. Not in the 'out there, guy in the sky' kind of way. I love to read Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle, and other spiritual teachers. They give me some hope back. I try to find ways to bring myself back into the 'now'. It is very hard to do.

 

But anyway, I am going on about it, feeling sorry for myself, as we all do at times.

 

The point I wanted to get at was...

 

I think I am tapering even slower than you, Repunlzel! SO you are doing AMAZINGLY WELL, from my viewpoint. Plus, you don't have tow other drugs to taper from afterwards... You are AMAZING! Seriously!

 

-TJ 

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thanks a lot, tjdeepthinker! :) It does feel very exciting to be already on quite low dosages!

Wishing you healing!

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thanks a lot, tjdeepthinker! :) It does feel very exciting to be already on quite low dosages!

Wishing you healing!

Thanks Repunzel. You too! 

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3-5 years? That seems so long. Do people trying to kick narcotics take that long? or alcohol?  Seems like the body should be able to get its $#!+ together faster than that.

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We are talking about two totally different forms of WD here. Narcotics and alcohol cause a chemical dependent physical addiction which the body has to clear out or "detox" and then learn to operate without the stimulus of the drug. With ADs/APs the situation is different.  The drug causes physical changes to the brain and nervous system, in fact every system in the body, in effect they "rewire" them to require the presence of the drug to function.  Without the AD/AP the brain is thrown into chaos because it can't function, so the drug must be removed a little at a time to allow the brain to "re-rewire" itself to function normally with out the drug.  It is a slow painful process because every system in the body has been compromised and has to be rebuilt while the body tries to maintain functionality. 

 

Through the painful experience of thousands of people we have been able to determine that, for most people, removing the drug at a rate of 10% of the previous dose every 4-6 weeks will allow them to eventually become drug free while suffering a minimum of  WD symptoms.  This is a general guideline from which each individual must find a variation, which is frequently slower, that works for them.  There will always be exceptions, but we have found that people who try to go faster than these recommendations will eventually have trouble, because the changes caused by each dose reduction have not been fully allowed to resolve themselves and accumulate in the background until one day they cause the entire system to destabilize and experience severe symptoms.  When this happens it is very difficult and very painful to regain stability and the system is sensitized and more likely to loose stability in the future.

 

It's a very daunting prospect to face spending years tapering off of a drug, but it is absolutely critical to take the time required.  When I started my taper five and a half years ago I didn't think it would take nearly this long.  My initial calculations showed it to be a bit over three years.  As I tapered I learned more about the process and discovered the the lower doses were the more sensitive ones and required even more diligence to navigate.  I will be ending my taper soon, and as I have mentioned it will have taken just over five and a half years.  I consider it time well spent.

 

The time has been painful, frustrating, frightening and a lot more. BUT, I have done so much better than friends who, for what ever reason, CTed the same dose of the same drug at the same time.  I am in the process of transitioning, almost symptom free back into life, while they are still suffering with symptoms of acute WD.  The body has a tremendous job to do in sorting itself out and correcting the changes that have been forced on it. It can do it, and do it right, but it must be allowed all the time necessary to do its job, and any effort to speed up the process increases the risk of derailing it.

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Excellent description. this helps with people's understanding that the process of withdrawal from AD is the process of brain re-wire back to its normal state, not that you are cleaning the drug from your body.

 

When I'm forced to fast taper to almost zero now, I got many congrats which makes me speechless as I though I explained it well stopping the drug in such a way is actually what I try to avoid. Obviously I didn't do a good job explaining.

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It would seem that narcotics and alcohol would change brain structure as well. If it were a matter of getting the alcohol or narcotic out, wouldn't healing be instant once that happened?

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I've actually read some forums for drug-addicts and discovered that their stories are not as bad as antidepressant survival stories. made me even envy them a bit :) seems that they are able to ditch the drug, then suffer withdrawal for a limited time and then get back on feet. with antidepressants, there is no such shortcut for people who have become extra sensitive. 

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Hi Brassmonkey,

 

Great to hear you are almost finished! Keep it up! -TJ

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Take your time. You are tapering such a high dose and I am unable to taper 7.5mg remeron :(

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It has taken me 5.5 years from 25 mg zoloft to 0.24 mg. I am super sensitive, I know that. I have dropped by 5 % every month, except when I came under 2 mg. Then I have dropped when I felt ready, sometimes only after seven - ten days.

 

One just have to throw the calendar out. Now on this tiny dose I almost dont feel the drop. And I can see the end of all this.

 

Best of luck.

Hi Amyk,

 

Can you share how are you doing your tapering? I am also in the first reinstatament of zoloft, after a horrorific protractive widhtdrawal, and preparing for stabilization to start taper, but i will only do it until the symptoms are completly clean. Are you using liquid form or or a digital weight measurement do get your microdoses?

 

 

Thank you.

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Sertralinsomina: Link to AmyK's introduction topic. She started posting on this site in January 2015.

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Hi Sertralininsomnia!

I use a digital scale that can weigh down to 0.001 g (1 mg) and then I titrate in water to be able to get tiny, tiny doses. It can be done!

Best of luck.

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Thank you Amyk and Scallywag,

 

I see. I think i could do the same with the liquid form. I can get 0.5 mg in liquid and titrate this dose in a small syrup of 10ml container. It would be 0.5mg divided by 10. This way i could manipulate the dose.

 

I saw in your introduction that you can feel when its time to drop. Does that mean that even if you hold on a specific microdose, your system doest like to hold to much time and starts wd? I tought it was only when we make a drop that wd symptoms would rise?

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It's like I cant tolerate the drug. I get too much side effects after a while and have to drop. Then I usually feel better. I have never hold the dose more than five weeks. But that's me, it's different for everybody.

 

Good luck with the titration!

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Very interesting. Its like your brain has an alarm to say: time to go down. Its the best alarm we can have because it is based on your nervous system schedule, and not some schedule rule in paper. I would be happy if had such alertness, it would be more precise. What kind of side effects you have Amyk?

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Yes, it's like an alarm clock. Actually my nervous system never liked zoloft, but when I tried to stop quickly I just couldnt. If I would hold down my job.

 

My side effects are mostly: head ache, stoned feeling, numbness in foot, blurry vision, burning skin.

 

Take care!

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When you have those side effects and make the drop, how long your side effects last. One day or more? Or do you notice improvement as soon as you drop? Sorry for making so many questions. I am antecipating my plan to taper since you are on a low dose like me of the same med. My example is a little more different. I had a delayed widhtdrawal after 7 months. So i am afraid that even if i jump off in a very low dose, i dont feel any side effects only to get them delayed after 7 months again, but this time i am afraid that another reinstatement would not work, since i jumped off at a very low micro dose.

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Hi Sert...

 

Although you're on a low dose, you jumped without tapering that 12.5 from what I can tell.  I'm on 2 beads Effexor and am holding for 6 months, then will drop to 1 and hold maybe for another 6 months and then jump.  I've been tapering well over 3 years now, from 75 mgs. with a taper from less than 17 mgs. from 2 years ago.  I've had no w/d and I sure hope I won't considering how slow and easy I'm taking this.  You should be reducing that 12.5 very gradually over a long period of time so that w/d doesn't hit and hold in between for long periods to stabilize so that your CNS gets used to the changes I think.

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They go away almost immidately, Sertralinisomnia.

But you cant compare my process to yours if your body reacts in a different way.

I can see that you reinstated at 2 mg a few days ago. Stabilize real well (throw out the calendar), then consider a tiny drop of maybe 5 %. Stabilization in between drops are crucial. I always feel stabilized before side effects hit again.

Take care.

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Thank you very much Amyk and ppppp9. I appreciated very much your support.

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you guys are amazing, I so wish I could tapper like the rest of you but am very sensitive to changes. I'm going to try again at a 2% decrease and see how I go,

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A bit over 2.5 years so far. I'm hoping that I can be off in another year. I've prioritised feeling well so it's been slow.

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hi everyone

it's so painful.

I tried a few times 2 years each to go down from 20 paxil till i reached 1.6mg once and 3.6mg 2 month ago.

unfortunately I'm back on 20mg with klonopin too that I will taper soon.

 

but then the question lingers ... if i relapse or have severe withdrawal at low dosages.. why not taper down to let's say 10mg and stay there till they find an antidote... quality of life sucks when u r obsessed about and feeling WD all the time even if mild.. and how do u know u won't be protracted later... other then sexual side effects personally I don't have but go away at a dose of 10 by 70% .

 

does anyone think there will be an antidote in the next year's to upregulate sert? as flumazinil is for benzos?

neuromodulation?? deep tms?

 

it's so sad they we all have to suffer like this and feel so disappointed at psychiatry and how they haven't found a solution... yes even though you might say pharma doesn't care but with 15 to 20% of Americans and probably much more countries addicted to ssri's and taken it for decades and suffering severe WD ... there has to be pressure somehow to find an antidote.

 

there just has to... I dont see anymore hope other then that... because tapering over and over slowly just to end up where u were and going through startups is just hell on earth.

 

personaly I sometimes hope for a natural cause of death because honeslty... this ain't a life ... whats the purpose without that hope?

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There is no antidote, no magic bullet.  The only thing that is proven to work is a very slow, careful, controlled reduction of the medication.  It's a frustrating slow, tedious process and is frequently very painful, but it works. For many people this process will create a whole new definition of the word slow.

 

It's entirely up to each individual if they want to reduce to a certain point and hold indefinitely , but it's not recommended here.  These drugs were originally designed for short term use, not a life time.  Eventually everyone taking them will reach tolerance, where the drug stops working but the body requires it to maintain "normal function".  When that happens getting off of them becomes a lot harder.

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2 yrs, but I have yet to start it.

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