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Tchi's Mother: 93 yrs old getting to taper Citalopram after 15 yrs

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My brother insist our mother stops Citalopram 10mg.

The first tapering today is 50%.  Is this reasonable ?

What may we be aware of ?

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SA's recommended tapering method is a reduction of 10% of the previous dose followed by a hold of about 4 weeks.  Therefore, a 50% reduction is much too large.


My own story may help you to understand how these drugs impact our brain.  I attempted to reduce my Pristiq by 1/2 from 100mg down to 50mg and experienced really bad cog fog for 3 weeks, which is when I discovered SA.  I got to the stage where I was unable to type.  I am a professional typist so not being able to type was a really massive warning that something was not right.  I updosed and within 4 hours my brain fog started clearing and I was able to type again.  I have since been tapering by no more than 10% and am now down to 20mg.


Please read:


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist


Brain Remodelling

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery


Tips for tapering off Celexa (citalopram)



Edited by ChessieCat
added link to tips

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Way too fast!!!   How long was she on citalapram?  Unless it was just a few weeks, that is way, way too fast, and she could suffer all sorts of withdrawal symptoms.  There are so many possible symptoms that it's hard to predict exactly what, but likely mood swings, feeling like she has the flu, and much more...  And, at her age, it will be hard for her to stabilize if she is tapered too quickly. 
Please try to get your brother to look through the info. here and convince him that a slower taper is needed to eliminate suffering and is much safer. 

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The title of this topic:  93 yrs old getting to taper Citalopram after 15 yrs


Dosage not provided.

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Thank you all , I only saw your answers now.

My mother has taken Citalopram 10mg for 14 years , following the sudden death of my older brother ( she was unable to end her grief after two years ).


She attempted to quit about 8 years ago on a seven month period , the last taper did not go well so she went back on.


Youngest brother is adamantly against AD , has convinced her to taper but way too fast ! 50% , when 10% as you all recommend it ( that's what I did ).


It's day 11 , she's crying a lot , irritable and physically bushed.  Symptoms started on day 3.

Brother brought her on day 5 some bio St John's Wort , and St John's Wort capsules yesterday. I believe she should have started that PRIOR to the taper.

She's very old and frail , has always been somewhat anxious. I'm concerned . Is the taper worth it at this age , could it accelerate a death laced with discomfort ?

What  do you think about CBD ( cannabidiol )to ease her stress ? We're seing the doctor today and will ask for a prescription.


Wating for your thoughts


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Tchi is your drug sig yours ? or your mothers? I cant see citalopram in there.

Im a bit confused as to what the current dose is. I know initially you did a 50% cut to 5mg? then i assume you went back up to 9mg?

Lets just say you went back up and did the 10% so its now 9mg.


My heart goes out to you and your mum.

After so many years on this drug or drugs? it may well be a long road to get off.

Your mother is manifesting classic wdl symptoms and if it were me i would go back to the 10mg and stabilize and rethink this. 10% may be far too fast for your mum. Many on this site are tapering at a rate well below this. Even if she were to taper at 5% you could be looking at 3.5 years of tapering to just get to 1mg and thats if all goes well. I never thought i would say this to anyone as there is no one more delighted to see people get off these poisons than me but the fact is the road to freedom after many years exposure to these drugs may be 'full of roadblocks and hardships' it can be a very long taking many years. The wdl symptoms can be very crippling debilitating longlasting unimaginable and inescapable. I'm not saying dont taper but im saying you might like to rethink the options especially at this time in life. 

If i were you id stay clear of adding the SJW at any stage.

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Just my opinion but unless that drug is causing life threatening problems , then at her age I wouldn't try to taper.  It can be a gruelling process, even on  the youngest and strongest people . Good luck though I hope she's okay 

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50 minutes ago, Pil54 said:

What the **** are you wanting to taper her at that age.


Withdrawaing those drugs is pure hell. Let her end her life peacefully with that **** drug, its not worth it stopping it at that age its ridiculous 

 I have to agree, Im only 33 and the withdrawals are causing me a lot of health problems, at 93 the withdrawals might be too much for her body to cope with

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Tchi does not want to taper the drug this way, it is her BROTHER who is insisting on it. Taking the drug away like this is cruel, but she is not the one who is doing this so please lets all cut her some slack here, she wants what's best for mom. 


Tchi, hopefully her doctor will be on your side and not recommend such a taper at her age

. I hope he has some knowledge and does not recommend the usual every other day taper, which is as bad as cutting 50%! 

Do you have a social worker who you can speak to? In the UK there are organisations that can intervene when elders are being treated badly by family. I am so glad that she has you in her corner and I hope you can manage to somehow stop your brother making this awful mistake. 

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WONDERFUL AND REASSURING ANSWERS , all of them !  A warm thanks for your insights and good common sense. 

To make things clear : First , the signature is mine , not my mother .    Second , I made a mistake about her initial dosage : it was 20mn , NOT 10mg citalopram .

Yesterday , I found out the following at the doctor's appointment :

- It was the geriatric dpt who initiated the tapering last May during an evaluation with Mom while my brother was present. They routinely try to eliminate all unnecessary drugs in elderly patients IF THEY CAN TOLERATE IT.

Unknown to me , Mom went through three tapering levels since May 29th , while simultaneously tapering from a sleeping pill ( Zopiclone ) :

 1) 29/05 : 20mg to 15mg ( 25% )   . Her medication is delivered directly in weekly pill boxes and I did not see this  , otherwise I would’ve stepped in .    

 2) 11/07 : 15mg to 10 mg ( 33% )       

 3)  12/08 : last taper 10mg to 5mg ( 50% )  , which is when I verified dosage with drugstore and got alarmed .

This explains her symptoms of the last three months and I agree with dj2010 and Pil54 ( remember it was NOT my decision , and I was alerted at the third taper ) : Mom went without being warned through a slow hell which coincided the end of my own lithium tapering , with brother putting pressure on her to change her will , the sudden death of her beloved pet and the arrival of a new caregiver she doesn’t like.

She experienced dizziness , some insomnia , fatigue , lots of tears + irritability , and anxiety as she did not know what was happening to her .

All the while , I was telling this to my brother who was fully aware and  didn’t say a word about the tapering . Allow me to be p***d off about this ! This is close to abuse and your opinions are welcome.

nz11, can you elaborate about not taking St John's Wort ‘’ If i were you id stay clear of adding the SJW at any stage ‘’ ? Brother is the one who added it to the taper last week.


Mom is therefore back to 10mg for three weeks , then to the original 20mg.

Doctor wants to have a chat with brother so we’re all on the same page. It won’t go well , and he will try to shoot the messenger .

This discussion is important because it adds to research and live facts quoted in this forum. It will also educate doctors about tapering , especially with the elderly .

Mother could’ve died an uncomfortable death . Her age , for Pete’s sake !!

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mammaP , I will contact the social worker . Brother is playing a dangerous role IMAO.

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Thank goodness your Mom has you to advocate for her.  I agree that tapering this drug at your mother's age would not be a very good idea.  Your poor Mom, I hope things settle down for her and that the social worker will be able to provide the necessary support.  Your brother has no idea and hope he will open his eyes and see what a well-intention but bad idea this would be, particularly because of her age.  Best of luck and bless your heart for looking out for your mom!

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SJW is not good because it is a weak version of the drug she is already taking, too much along with citalopram can be dangerous, it should NEVER be taken with other drugs. This is from the interactions checker at drugs.com  If she settles down on 10mg she could stay at that dose, she could become sensitive to it and not tolerate the full dose so it is good the doctor is allowing 3 weeks between increases.  


Interactions between your selected drugs


citalopram  st. john's wort

Applies to: citalopram, st. john's wort

Using citalopram together with St. John's wort 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.

Switch to professional interaction data

Other drugs and diseases that your selected drugs interact with

This the link



Just because it is a plant does not mean it is safe!  Is mum taking any other drugs or supplements? 

As this topic is about mum could you add her drugs and history to the signature? mPut a dividing line so it is not confused with yours. 

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 Yes not your fault,  you are doing what you can . Your brother probably knows how bad the drugs are so he wants her off.  But maybe he doesn't know how bad the taper/ WD can be even with the smallest of cuts . Your mom is lucky to have an informed person like you ok her side. 

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