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lynx2121   
lynx2121

I started tapering from Prozac, 40 mg and Elavil 40 mg in Oct. 2015.  I did not know if I could do it.  One of my motivations was 3 years of chronic pelvic pain which started while I was on medication.  Then all through 2016 I got sick.  I spent 2016 in bed, mostly too tired to do very much and the withdrawal from the drugs was one of mostly forgetting to take the medications as I felt sick and had pains and distress, malaise, flu like symptoms In Nov. 2015 I got very dizzy.  In Jan. 2016 I noticed that I had electric zaps up and down my spine and inner trembling.  I became so weak in August of 2016, I could barely do anything.  It felt like I had infections but I never had fever. By Dec. 2016 I had severe pelvic and groin pain.  I could barely sit in Jan and Feb 2017.  During all this time I felt ill, but not depressed. Today, I started to feel clinical depression coming on.

 

I have seen a neurologist who discounted my symptoms of neuropathy.  I notice that anything can trip the inner trembling and inner electric zap feelings on.  

 

In the past and recently there were no explanations of gynecological pain (all tests normal) or abdominal pain ( had 2 colonoscopies).

 

I could put up with all the symptoms - but now 17 months after I started - I am really depressed.  My nervous system seems to be hyper and reacts to everything with very subtle neuropathic symptoms which the neurologist discounted.  I thought about reinstating prozac but I am scared.

 

I was on antidepressants for 20 years and could not discontinue any of them before.  This is the first time I made it - but I think I have peripheral neuropathy and I may not be able to reinstate to any antidepressants.  I am still seeing my psych doc thinking that I should go back.  But would it be safe?

 

Edited by scallywag
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LittleBelle1912   
LittleBelle1912

I don't have much to offer as far as advice, but you are not crazy. I feel the same way most of the time. I went through the zaps for a few weeks because of Effexor. It is horrible and is not something I could explain to anyone. If a person hasn't actually had zaps themselves, they have no idea how terrifying they are or how unpredictable. I used massive doses of Omega 3 oils (over 10 grams per day) and that really helped. The zaps only lasted a few weeks (2-3) instead of the months that I hear some people experiencing. Maybe you should read The Mood Cure. It is not a magic bullet, but some of the suggestions have been very helpful to me.

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LeslieBarns   
LeslieBarns

Good for you! Surviving this stuff is HARD, but be patient.  In my opinion it is NOT safe to consult a psychiatrist; you will be prescribed more junk and you'll never be free.  Neuropathy can be successfully treated, often just with TENS, but they wont tell you that. Also look into low level - near- infra- red light therapy for pain.  Look in the Physiotherapy/Kinesiology literature, or a journal like Annals of Physical Medicine  & Rehabilitation. Dont forget the Rxisk site, and check out a UK group, something like, Counsel for Evidence-Based Psychiatry, they have riveting videos - one man, Paul, said that after 4 years off his drug he felt 75% better - the brain is slow to heal.  i'm still in the midst of Hell and often see no way out except in a box. I'm a lot older and have Parkinsonism, but that doesn't even slow their prescriptions down!

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scallywag   
scallywag

Lynx2121 -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
 
Your account of your time on Prozac & Elavil and your experience during and after tapering are unfortunately shared by many others. 
 
Tell us more about how you tapered off Prozac & Elavil, starting in Oct. 2015:

  • Did you taper them at the same time?
  • First one to zero mg then the other?
  • Or, did you "interweave" the tapers: decrease one, hold for a while, decrease the other, hold for a while?
  • When did you get to zero with Prozac?
  • When did you get to zero mg with Elavil

Are you currently taking any medications -- prescription, over-the-counter, or street drugs -- for any reason? Not just antidepressants or meds a psychiatrist would prescribe, but anything?

Have you noticed any pattern with your symptoms? Please keep notes on paper of your symptoms and the times of your dose(s). This post has a useful format for a daily log:
Take notes of doses and symptoms.

We usually suggest starting with a low dose -- much lower than most doctors would prescribe -- and taking it for at least 2 weeks to see how your body reacts to the reintroduction. Please read about reinstating medications in an attempt to reduce withdrawal symptoms (emotional, cognitive or physical):
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

If you have questions about reinstating, please post them here in your introduction thread.

For your reference:
Our suggested taper approach is 10%/month: Why taper by 10% of my dosage?.
Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)
Tips for tapering off amitriptyline (Elavil)

Would you take a moment to post a medication and withdrawal history in a signature that will appear below all your posts?

Please summarize your history -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly:

  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs.
  • You can find instructions in this topic: Please put your withdrawal history in signature
  • If you are using a phone or mobile device, you need to switch to the "full" or desktop version of the site. Instructions are in Post 9 and Post 10

This is YOUR introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community.

I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

 

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lynx2121   
lynx2121

I don't have much to offer as far as advice, but you are not crazy. I feel the same way most of the time. I went through the zaps for a few weeks because of Effexor. It is horrible and is not something I could explain to anyone. If a person hasn't actually had zaps themselves, they have no idea how terrifying they are or how unpredictable. I used massive doses of Omega 3 oils (over 10 grams per day) and that really helped. The zaps only lasted a few weeks (2-3) instead of the months that I hear some people experiencing. Maybe you should read The Mood Cure. It is not a magic bullet, but some of the suggestions have been very helpful to me.

I thought I had the worst was over - but today I have the worst zaps ever. Thank you for your advice.

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lynx2121   
lynx2121

Good for you! Surviving this stuff is HARD, but be patient.  In my opinion it is NOT safe to consult a psychiatrist; you will be prescribed more junk and you'll never be free.  Neuropathy can be successfully treated, often just with TENS, but they wont tell you that. Also look into low level - near- infra- red light therapy for pain.  Look in the Physiotherapy/Kinesiology literature, or a journal like Annals of Physical Medicine  & Rehabilitation. Dont forget the Rxisk site, and check out a UK group, something like, Counsel for Evidence-Based Psychiatry, they have riveting videos - one man, Paul, said that after 4 years off his drug he felt 75% better - the brain is slow to heal.  i'm still in the midst of Hell and often see no way out except in a box. I'm a lot older and have Parkinsonism, but that doesn't even slow their prescriptions down!

Today - I have the worst electric zaps up and down my spine.  I am sorry I every stopped the drugs.  I thought I was having a hard time.  Today hell started abruptly. Thank you for answering and offering your advice.

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lynx2121   
lynx2121

Have you noticed any pattern with your symptoms? Please keep notes on paper of your symptoms and the times of your dose(s). This post has a useful format for a daily log:

Take notes of doses and symptoms.

 

We usually suggest starting with a low dose -- much lower than most doctors would prescribe -- and taking it for at least 2 weeks to see how your body reacts to the reintroduction. Please read about reinstating medications in an attempt to reduce withdrawal symptoms (emotional, cognitive or physical):

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms.

 

If you have questions about reinstating, please post them here in your introduction thread.

 

For your reference:

Our suggested taper approach is 10%/month: Why taper by 10% of my dosage?.

Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

Tips for tapering off amitriptyline (Elavil)

 

Thank you for this advice.  I will try to do this as soon as I can.  I tapered very badly but thought I was over the worst.  Ironically tonight I have the worst symptoms ever - severe electric  zaps up and down my spine, inner trembling and a feeling of panic - like I cannot endure this.  

 

I tapered very poorly over the past year plus a few months.  However, I managed to get to 0 prozac and 0 elavil and I thought I was merely home free.

 

Now I am in emergency mood - the symptoms are absolutely horrific. Can you direct me to some links on how

to survive the horrific? Thank you for replying, volunteering on this website and helping others.

Edited by scallywag
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lynx2121   
lynx2121

Tell us more about how you tapered off Prozac & Elavil, starting in Oct. 2015:

  • Did you taper them at the same time?
  • First one to zero mg then the other?
  • Or, did you "interweave" the tapers: decrease one, hold for a while, decrease the other, hold for a while?
  • When did you get to zero with Prozac?
  • When did you get to zero mg with Elavil
Are you currently taking any medications -- prescription, over-the-counter, or street drugs -- for any reason? Not just antidepressants or meds a psychiatrist would prescribe, but anything?

 

Proposed new signature:

 

Tapering from Prozac 40 mg and Elavil 40 mg in Oct. 2015 - beginning.

Jan 2016 - Dec 2016 - mostly in bed due to intense fatigue and sleeping - had electric zaps up and down spine but bearable.

During this time I did not do a good taper - I merely forgot to take the drugs regularly.

I think I stopped Prozac and Elavil in August 2016 when I became too weak to sit up.

Jan and Feb of 2017 intense groin pain - could not sit.

March 2017 - having problems.

Edited by scallywag
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scallywag   
scallywag

Many of your symptoms are noted withdrawal symptoms and/or drug adverse effects (also know as "side" effects which makes them seem nicer than they are). The discussion topic at this link has several formats to download of a list of common w/d symptoms.
Glenmullen’s withdrawal symptom list.

To find discussion topics for specific symptoms, you can either

  • browse the Symptoms Forum, or
  • search using a web search tool (Google, Bing, etc.) for the symptom but add site:survivingantidepressants.org   to your search so that results from this site are at the top of the results.

You may find it helpful to learn how others have dealt with symptoms successfully in our Success Stories Forum. Another resource is the site Beyond Meds, founded by a woman who recovered from having been polydrugged and from the lengthy withdrawal (Monica posts on this site as GiaK). Her dogged persistence for healing is inspiring.

Some people find high EPA and high DHA (omega 3 fatty acids) fish oil helpful for brain zaps. There are people who have a negative reaction to it so buy a small quantity of a high quality product rather than the warehouse-club multi-pack that's a year's supply for a family of 10. You can read more about that here:
Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil).

Another supplement that many people find helpful is magnesium, taken by mouth or through the skin in epsom salt baths:
Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker.

If you choose to test supplements, start with ONE supplement at a low dose, half or one-quarter of the amount recommended on the bottle and work your way up to the full amount slowly.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Welcome, lynx.

 

A combination of Prozac and Elavil, especially at the high dosages you were prescribed, is dangerous, see https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/elavil-with-prozac-168-74-1115-648.html

 

Your doctor has been remiss. When you have a chance, if I were you, I would get a new doctor and liver and kidney function tests.

 

Still, it sounds like you have withdrawal syndrome. I might try reinstating 1mg Prozac to start, see if it helps. It will take at least 4 days to get to steady state in your system, it might take some time after that for your nervous system to settle down. For information about how to take a small amount of Prozac, see Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

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lynx2121   
lynx2121

 

the AD might help with the anxiety and depression brought on by benzo withdrawal

I know the benzo sites are saying this, but it is untrue.

 

It probably comes from Ashton, who didn't understand antidepressant withdrawal at all. She might have thought AD withdrawal is like relapse. Anxiety and depression are only one facet of AD withdrawal syndrome, as so many of us have found out. The surges of hyperalerting and sleeplessness are probably the most destructive AD withdrawal symptoms.

 

Even if you don't feel the sedative effects of a benzo you've been taking, it is dampening some reactions in your body, which can come in handy during AD withdrawal.

 

If the benzo has gone paradoxical, its dosage must be reduced. A paradoxical response to benzos is as bad as hyperalerting from antidepressant withdrawal. The alerting system is something you do not want to go haywire.

 

In case anyone has misinterpreted the first post, I want to emphasize it is only about polypharmacy, where you've already been taking several drugs for a while and you may be physically dependent on all of them.

 

While some people find they need an occasional benzo to get through antidepressant withdrawal, I am not advocating ADDING any kind of sedating-type drug to your drug regimen in order to make antidepressant withdrawal easier. This won't work; you'll just end up dependent on all of them and multiplying your withdrawal problems.

 

IF YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF TAPERING do NOT count on adding a drug to make withdrawal symptoms more tolerable. If you are already having withdrawal symptoms, the addition of any other neuroactive drugs could make it worse.

 

If possible, deal with withdrawal symptoms during a taper by slowing the taper or updosing slightly.

 

You have much more control over a slow taper than you would have depending on a benzo to control your symptoms.

 

 

 

I withdrew from Prozac 40 mg and Elavil 40 mg with few problems until March 1.

The original taper was from Oct 2015 unti Nov 2016 and was not problematic - I mostly slept.

While I did have neuropathic symptoms - they were bearable.

About the past 2 weeks I have had horrific neuropathic symptoms like electrical zaps up and down my spine, inner trembling, pins and needles all over my body...

I discontinued the Prozac and Elavil probably too fast.

I did the antidepressants before the benzodiazepine - 20 mg valium.

Tonight I took 10 mg valium - which previously I have taken with good results and planned to taper very slowly in the future.

It calmed me mentally but I got pins and needles - quite painful all over my body which took 2 hours to subside.

This bizarre paradoxical reaction to valium was a surprise.

It never did this before.

Was it a cause and effect? Or did I take the valium when I was going to have a bad episode of neuropathy anyways - as I have had in the past 2 weeks?

I never had a paradoxical reaction to benzodiazepines which were the first meds I was given when I got anxiety attacks long time ago.

I am a senior and before antidepressants ever existed - valium was used and I found that in the past lowering valium was easier than antidepressants.

I had my first antidepressant withdrawal nightmare in 2001 and since then could never come off - only switch.

Could the antidepressants have injured my peripheral nerves more than the benzos or was it just polypharmacy - 3 drugs at one time?

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lynx2121   
lynx2121

Welcome, lynx.

 

A combination of Prozac and Elavil, especially at the high dosages you were prescribed, is dangerous, see https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/elavil-with-prozac-168-74-1115-648.html

 

Your doctor has been remiss. When you have a chance, if I were you, I would get a new doctor and liver and kidney function tests.

 

Still, it sounds like you have withdrawal syndrome. I might try reinstating 1mg Prozac to start, see if it helps. It will take at least 4 days to get to steady state in your system, it might take some time after that for your nervous system to settle down. For information about how to take a small amount of Prozac, see Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

I was just preparing 1 mg of Prozac.

Today I got a paradoxical reaction to 10 mg valium.

It made me mentally calm but caused (?) pins and needles all over my body - painful and surprising.

Valium never gave me a paradoxical or adverse reaction and  I have been exposed to it on and off for 50 years (I am a senior).

I was saving tapering from 20 mg valium only after successfully withdrawing from the antidepressants.

I replied to you..Admin Altostrata in a 2012 post you gave some information on in another thread.

Very worried now about what harm my nervous system has sustained. 

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O2bhappy   
O2bhappy

lynx -

 

I c/t Prozac 1 1/2 years ago and I have also experience internal shaking/tremors.  I have noticed that it is getting better but I still have it every day.  I had to give up caffeine because that made it 100 times worse. 

 

Hang in there!

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