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Moonpie: Need help and supporting tapering off of Ativan

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

Moderator Note:  link to Moonpie's benzo thread - Moonpie: Need help Ativan weight tapering

 

 

My name is Moonpie. I feel so blessed to have found this site.  I was put on Ativan and BuSpar and Lexapro, one at a time for a medication thyroid mess up. For eight months my thyroid was going crazy in my anxiety was off the charts. It normalized in March and I am trying to take her off the Ativan. I'm extremely sensitive to it. I just realized I have been doing a 5 per cent reduction instead of 10 and I have still had withdrawl symptoms!   I am using a file and a jeweler scale. My taper started at .069 in weight and I am down to .035 in all three doses. But I think I took a little too much off last time and for the past week I've had panic anxiety nausea and depression. I am holding this reduction on the third dose for 3 weeks now as strong symptoms started the end of last week and continue.  I had labs done to see if it was thyroid and am waiting on results.  My 1st question is, should I be tapering on only one dose until it goes to zero instead of doing 1 every two weeks. Because if I continue this way I will go off of all of them at the same time. I appreciate any help. Have really been discouraged and frightened With this past symptoms

 

Edited by Shep
added link to benzo forum thread

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Shep   
Shep

Hi, Moonpie.

 

Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants.

 

Please let us know more about your tapering goals. Are you interested in tapering off Lexapro and Buspar or only just Ativan? 

 

The reason I'm asking is because it's important to know which drug to taper first. Sometimes the benzodiazepine (or "benzo") isn't the first drug that should be tapered. For a complete explanation, please see:

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

It's possible that removing a benzo first from an antidepressant may not only create benzo withdrawal symptoms, it may unleash previously masked side effects of the antidepressant, so please take a few minutes to read over that thread. 

 

And then let us know what your thoughts are on this.

 

The other question I have is:

 

In your signature, you state you "reduced from pill weight  from .069 to .035 on each dose".  Was the .069 pill weight the weight of your original starting dose of 1.5 mg Ativan? I'm just trying to gage how far along you are in your Ativan taper. 

 

As you give us more information, we'll be able to better assist you in your taper. 

 

Again, welcome to SA. I hope you find this information helpful. Please continue to use this thread to document your taper and to list your symptoms and ask plenty of questions. 

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

i am just doing the Ativan now.  I want to be off all of them eventually and want to do them one at a time. Yes my weight was .o69 or .067 of my original dose was 1.5 mg divided into three .5 mg doses throughout the day.    My Dr. suggested that Ativan first because of it's addictive nature. She didn't want me to be on it any longer than needed. Now that I have started it is too late to turn back and do the Lexapro isn't it? Thank you!

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Shep   
Shep
1 hour ago, Moonpie said:

My Dr. suggested that Ativan first because of it's addictive nature. She didn't want me to be on it any longer than needed. Now that I have started it is too late to turn back and do the Lexapro isn't it? Thank you!

 

Thanks for this explanation. Unfortunately, your doctor is like many doctors - they aren't aware of the discontinuation syndrome (or withdrawal) from other drugs such as antidepressants. This is due to dependency. A great explanation for this is found here:

 

Brain Remodelling

 

2 hours ago, Moonpie said:

Yes my weight was .o69 or .067 of my original dose was 1.5 mg divided into three .5 mg doses throughout the day. 

 

So you are down to .035, which is approximately half of your starting dose of .069 weight (or 1.5 in milligrams). So you're approximately at .75 mg of Ativan. This is still quite a bit of Ativan, as Ativan is a potent benzo (10 times more potent than Valium). 

 

Because you still have quite a ways to go with the Ativan, it may not be too late to turn back around and deal with the Lexapro. 

 

First, I'm going to give you some general information.

 

What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

Before you begin tapering what you need to know

 

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

It will be very helpful if you could write out your symptoms and your drugs in a journal format over a few days. If it looks like the Lexapro is "stimulating" and causing ramped up anxiety and insomnia, you may want to hold your Ativan taper and work on getting the Lexapro reduced. This link shows are very good way to track your symptoms:

 

 

Keep notes on paper about your drug dosages and daily symptom pattern

 

Are you taking any supplements? Please also list them in your symptoms and drug journal. This will give you a full picture of how your drugs and supplements are affecting you throughout the day and can give you an idea of which drug to taper first.

 

Ideally, as posted in this thread on which drug to taper first, because insomnia is such a pervasive and sometimes debilitating symptom of psychiatric drug withdrawal, you want to come off the stimulating drugs first, leaving the more sedating drugs to help with sleep.

 

Over the coming days, as you post your symptoms journal, we can better answer your questions and guide you on your taper. 

 

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

I have been keeping a journal of symptoms since I started tapering.  I have not seen any sort of pattern all over the place at times.  I do know from the past and at times now the Ativan causes me the most trouble. At one point the Dr added an extra dose during a bad time before she up the lexipro to 10 mg. She added a .5 4th dose of Ativan. I could not handle it, it made things even worse. The Lexapro seems to help me sleep at night I know that may be strange but when I take it I get drowsy. Please Share more detail what you want me to post about my journal. 

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Shep   
Shep

Thanks for this additional information, Moonpie.  Since your Lexapro makes you drowsy, do you take it at night? Also, when do you take the Buspar? Is it at the same time as the Lexapro? 

 

Please post your journal in this manner and include all your drugs and supplements:

 

 

Keep notes on paper about your drug dosages and daily symptom pattern

 

 

It will help to have a few days posted in that manner in order to see how your drugs are affecting you throughout the day. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Shep
fixed typo

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

I take 2.5 buspar morning and bedtime and I take the lexapro at bedtime too.  I take my morning dose of .5 Ativan at least an hour after taking my Buspar. If I take them together it causes anxiety

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DMV64   
DMV64

Hi Moonpie!

I just stopped by to read and say hello! I have found wonderful support here. I hope you do too!

-D

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Shep   
Shep
1 hour ago, Moonpie said:

I take 2.5 buspar morning and bedtime and I take the lexapro at bedtime too.  I take my morning dose of .5 Ativan at least an hour after taking my Buspar. If I take them together it causes anxiety

 

Thanks for the additional info, Moonpie.  It sounds like taking Ativan and Buspar together caused a paradoxical reaction, which is an opposite reaction to what you would expect, such as anxiety. Benzos are notorious for causing paradoxical reactions and when you add in another drug that is also sedating, it's more likely to happen - the more you dampen down the nervous system, the more likely it is to hyper-react and cause a paradoxical reaction.  It's good you're timing your drugs in order to avoid this. Also, as you reduce the Ativan, you are less likely to experience paradoxical reactions. 

 

Two more questions:

 

1.  How many hours a night do you sleep?

 

2.  Is the Buspar sedating in the morning? I'm asking to find out if the Buspar is causing the sedation when you take it with the Lexapro at night. 

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your help and the time you're taking. I sleep anywhere from 7 to 9 and 1/2 hours. My problem is I go to bed sometimes at 2 a.m. and get up at 7:30 or 8. I am working on that. The last few nights have gone to bed between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. The Buspar is not sedating in the morning, only when taken with the Lexapro. The reason I have not posted a journal yet is because I'm waiting on my thyroid Labs. If this is thyroid then it will affect more what is happening. I can post some of my past ones. Which like I said are all over the place. I haven't had any really exact reactions other than moderate to mild anxiety and intervals and extreme extreme fatigue, but I've also lost my appetite and I am eating very little. I know the lack of nutrition is messing up a lot of things and I am trying. Just kind of muddled and lost and all of this.

Edited by Moonpie
added more info

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

Thank you for the welcome DMV 64. I really feel I have finally found the place to get help.

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

I may have made a mistake, I have agreed to clean an office tonight. I I'm not sure about how it will go after being in bed most of the time since Sunday. I just don't know how to ease back in. I have a question. Sunday it will be time to taper again. I have held this . 035 for 3 weeks. If this turns out to be my thyroid, is it okay to go ahead and taper again? Also should I do a 10% again or a 5%. Thank you so much

Edited by Moonpie
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Moonpie   
Moonpie

Lab reports are in, thyroid is slightly high. He is increasing my dose slightly. I have to admit I am scared after how things went last time. Should I put off the taper on Sunday until my thyroid is adjusted

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Shep   
Shep

Hi, Moonpie.

 

Please list your thyroid levels here in your thread. I'm going to ask the mods who have dealt with both thyroid issues and psych drugs to look it over with you. I know very little about thyroid issues, so it will be good to have another mod read over it. 

 

As far as continuing your taper, regardless of what is causing your symptoms - withdrawal related or thyroid related or any other stressor or illness - it's best to hold until you are feeling strong enough to continue with your taper. This is what some call a "symptoms-based taper".  Some people are able to do a straight 5 or 10% taper every month, but since you are dealing with another illness, you may wish listen to your mind/body and taper as you feel able, especially until you get your thyroid sorted out. 

 

Another way to taper is the micro-taper. While you are holding is a great time to read over this thread and see if it's something you'd like to do. The micro-taper is the gentlest on your nervous system. 

 

Micro-taper instead of 10% or 5% decreases

 

If you haven't already seen this thread, you may wish to also read and post here:

 

Thyroid symptoms - hypothyroid, Hashimoto's

 

Please list any thyroid meds and / or supplements that you are taking. 

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

Tsh 2.16 free t4 .69 free T3 2.8.  I usually do better if my TSH is under one. Like I said until the medicationmess up last year I had never had extreme symptoms with my thyroid going up and down. My free T4 has been remaining on little bit on the low side for quite a while. My doctor wanted me to call the psychiatrist and see about upping my meds.  So I said I do not want to and she is more than ready to do it. Because she doesn't want me to go back the way I was.  I know I am ready and I hate the way these pills are making me feel emotionless other than my anxiety LOL. Thank you for the micro taper link.  Can I micro taper by just filing a little bit off or does it have to be a measured amount. I have kept the powder that I have filed off my Ativan and I have it in a jar, but when I try to measure it and gelatin capsules I just can't seem to get it right. Can you give any help on that. Thank you again.  I don't feel this alone now, I feel like I actually have some help and somebody that cares and supports me

Edited by Moonpie
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JanCarol   
JanCarol

Hey Moonpie - I'm with you!  I would not be eager to up my psych drugs because of thyroid ratings!

I do understand why your doctor is loathe to increase your doses, though.  Your ranges are "normal" even if you don't feel that they are.

I was just studying thyroid for a friend (and myself) today.  Some people convert and respond better to NDT, some people don't.

What I was learning today was about supplementation and diet.  Have you been tested for Hashimotos?   That is the primary cause of fluctuating thyroid - though the drugs can do it, too.

Is your water fluoridated?  See what you can do to eliminate fluoride, which is toxic to thyroid.

 

Do you eat soy?  Do you have goitre?  If you have a goitre (or Hashi's) you will want to ensure that any broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower (cruciferous vegetables) are not raw, and are at least lightly steamed or thoroughly cooked.

 

Please take your thyroid away from calcium and iron (that includes milk, and all food).  

There are supplements which help with thyroid uptake and conversion.  Selenium is essential, while iodine is more controversial (works for some, hurts others - if you have Hashi's do not take kelp or iodine!).  Ashwaganda for Anxiety, Stress and Toxic Overload has been shown in studies to improve hypothyroidism.

 

As you taper, your numbers will change.  Do not get alarmed at horrible numbers, your endocrine system is going to be dysregulated for a time.

 

Additionally, it will be difficult to separate withdrawal effects (fatigue, muscle pain, insomnia, anhedonia) from thyroid effects (fatigue, joint pain, anhedonia) for at least 3 years after you are done with your taper.  

I use this chart from Verywell.com to interpret results:

https://www.verywell.com/interpret-your-thyroid-test-results-3231840

 

in general the articles on verywell are incredibly thyroid friendly - while still being respectable enough for mainstream doctors to heed their advice.

I'll come back later and check your thread to see if you've answered.

 

I hope you see the sun today!
 

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Moonpie   
Moonpie
  •  
  •  

Hey JanCarol,

Thank you for your reply.  Normal for me has always been under 2 and closer to .5.  But like I said until I messed up my thyroid meds last year I have never had a strong reaction when it changes.  It has been in the normal range since February.  This increase is 15 grains, which is half a desiccated thyroid pill and they ever cut even so I am having to weigh them on my scale too. I have been on NDT for 12 years and have done really good until as I said that last year when I messed things up. 

I do not use fluoridated toothpaste or drink water with fluoride in it.  I do not eat soy or the vegetables you mentioned raw.  I do not have goiter or Hashi's (I have been tested).

I do not take thyroid with calcium or iron.  In fact I dissolve mine under my tongue.

"As you taper, your numbers will change.  Do not get alarmed at horrible numbers, your endocrine system is going to be dysregulated for a time"  Thank you for the encouragement here!. Having both can be hard and confusing: withdrawals and thyroid.

He has been concerned about my free t-4 being slightly low but I found out the other day on www.stopthethyroidmadness.com that when you take NDT your free t-4 will be a little lower and that is normal.  Good to hear!

Thank you for the link and your time and concern to answer my post.  I will check it out!  I guess I am nervous about weighing my one half thyroid tablets since I know that really can't be off!   

Moonpie

 

 

 

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Frogie   
Frogie

Hi Moonpie:

 

JanCarol mentioned that she was doing some research for someone. That someone is me. She told me to go to your thread and get your input.

 

My TSH came back 5.1 last month. In July it was 4.1 and in May it was 4.1. The dr started me on Levothyroxine, but I had a reaction to it and had to stop it. My dr isn't concerned about my TSH being elevated, because everything else is in normal range. He wants me to have it rechecked the end of the year.

 

I read that anxiety, mood, SSRI's can mess with your TSH. If that's the case, then I understand why mine is so high (if you get a chance, read my thread).

 

I don't want to go on anything permanent. Do you have any suggestions? I'm googling and googling to come up with something.

 

If you have any ideas, could you let me know. I would greatly appreciate it.

 

Are you on Lexapro? I'm tapering it, then 1mg Xanax 4 times a day, then I'm done, but it's going to be a long time.

 

I wish you luck in your WD.  

 

Take care,

Frogie xx

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

Hi Frogie xx:

The majority of labs and doctors have changed their to range for Tsh.  In my area it is 2.5 - .05.  Did he do a free t-4 and a free t-3 with your other tests. There are other you will need to have done but at least those 2.  You cannot determine thyroid by simply testing your TSH.  It stands for thyroid stimulating hormone and is actually a test on what the pituitary gland is doing  It isn't testing any of your thyroid hormones but is needed in a diagnosis with other tests.

When I was first diagnosed mine was 6.25 and the GP I was going to wasn't going to do anything because it wasn't that much over the limit in spite of my extreme symptoms! Yours is elevated. And you need to have it checked further.   I don't know to what degree these drugs can cause your thyroid to fluctuate,  that is a question we need to ask JanCarol. 

So much of what I am experiencing with the taper is just like what I have when my thyroid is off.  

As far as any other ideas all I know is the things that JanCarol questioned me on.  To be on the safe side I would find a doctor that understood thyroid and just get it checked out to be safe. Here is a link of find a good thyroid Dr. in your area.

Yes I am on Lexapro, 10 mg, Buspar 5mg  and tapering off Ativan . If you have read my thread you will know I have was put on them because I messed up my thyroid medication big time in June 2016.  I know what you mean about it being a long long time and sometimes that really bothers me.  Then I have to stop and think that all that matters is I get off of these.  Looks like you have had a rough time with your Lexapro taper.  We have to hang in there!!! Please keep me posted on how things go with your thyroid and your tapers.   There is a great site called www.stopthethyroidmadness.com where you can get tons of info.   

Please send me the link to your thread. I couldn't find it. :)  Moonpie

 

 

 

 

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Karma   
Karma

Hi Moonpie

 

Can you post your thyroid labs with the measures and normal ranges?  As an example ng/dL or pg/mL.  If the normal range in your region is the same as mine, you may feel better with your Free T3 a bit higher.  I feel best with my Free T3 near the very top of the range.   I also feel best with a suppressed TSH, but that is my personal sweet spot. 

 

You indicate you got messed up with your thyroid meds, can you say more about that?  Have you tested your iron (ferritin), B12, and vitamin D?  In order for the body to utilize thyroid hormones it needs to have a balance of these.  Low iron alone can result in anxiety if natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) is raised without sufficient iron.  Unsupported adrenals can also result in anxiety when raising NDT.  But adrenal support can be tricky.

 

If you feel best with your TSH below 1 or near .5 then you need to advocate for that.  I highly suggest you stand firm around not increasing benzos or antidepressants.  It is better to look at the other nutrients and see if there is an imbalance there.

 

I like Shep's recommendation to hold everything until you feel stable enough to continue.  Sometimes I hold for 28 days before an antidepressant reduction, sometimes my life is a bit challenging and I hold for longer.  There is no harm in that.  You want to do "no harm."  I also suggest you look into micro tapers or liquid tapers.  They can give you more control.  I think you want to reduce at a rate that does not result in withdrawal symptoms or only minor or short lasting symptoms.

 

The normal range for TSH is calculated by sampling a population of people believed to be euthyroid and defining the range.  But here is the problem with that.  If your range is wrong in the first place, then your sample will not render an accurate normal range because you will include hypothyroid people in your sample.  I have monitored the TSH normal range over time and I agree with Stop The Thyroid Madness, I think it is useless except for initial diagnosis.  I will not let my medical professionals hold me hostage to a so-called normal TSH range.

 

I am happy to hear you have hooked with Stop the Thyroid Madness.  They are a great source of information. 

 

If you can share more about your thyroid journey I may be able to lend some thoughts.

 

Love and light,

Karma

 

 

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

Hi Karma,

Lab ranges are: Free T-4 - .08 -1.90, mine was .069. It usually runs there to .07.   Free T-3 - 2.3-4.2 mine was 2.8.  I think I posted that wrong before.  And TSH range is .04-4.10 and mine was 2.16.  In April the last time I was checked my labs were  TSH -1.3    Free T-3 2.8    Free T-4 .07  I felt good with those levels.   Before the mess up my labs were perfect across the board other than a slightly low Free T-4 which I mentioned earlier I found out was normal on NDT.

Back in June of 2016 my wanted me to try to up my medication to see if would increase my Free T-4.  I didnt' feel I should as my labs were good.  Sorry I don't have the numbers.  I decided to give it a try and went hyper in 2 days.  He told me to go off and try again in 2 days.  I did and the same thing happened.  He was out of time so I got this scathingly brilliant idea (NOT) to go off my thyroid and increase it 1/2 dose every 2 days until I reached my normal dosage.  Within a few days I was in the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. My TSH was 11!  From then on until February 2017 my labs bounced from high to low every month. The ER Dr. said it would take 6 months for them to settle down and it did. 

I had forgot to mention when the year after my husband died the anxiety and grief was making me non functioning and I went on .5 Xanax until I was taking it 5 times a day and 50 mg of Zoloft one time daily.  I did that for about 8 months or a year.  I knew I didn't need it so I tapered off and had been med Free in June 2016 for about 6 or 8 months. I had minimum trouble with the taper.  I was doing fantastic until I did my Thyroid mistake. I have hung it in my Hall of Shame and Stupdity!

So when all this started the Psychiatrist that had previously given me my meds told me to try to Xanax again.  I tried it and it took the edge off my I was losing weight rapidly and saw I kept needing to up it.  I took the .5 three times a day.  Another ER visit and they switched me to Ativan.  I ended up taking the .5, 5 times a day.  The symptoms were escalating so she tried Zoloft. I had a reaction after one dose and passed out in the bedroom floor the next morning.  Then she added Buspar 5 mg.  She tried to double it and I had a bad reaction so she put it down to the 5mg.   I was losing weight, I got down to 112 in 3 weeks.  She then added Lexapro 5mg.  These drugs didn't take it all away but I was much much better the majority of the time.  At one point I kept forgetting to take my 4 th dose of Ativan, so I just quit it no problem.  that wasn't long after starting the Lexapro.  I was forgetting another dose and seems okay so she told me to just quit it, that didn't work!  Then she told me to take away half of my Buspar dose.  I did ok for 2 weeks and then getting ready to leave for a trip had a total melt down.

On our anniversary date I had extreme extreme anxiety and similar to what I had before.  She upped my Lexapro to 10 mg.  And added back the 4th dose of Ativan. I didn't need it after a week and went off no problems  She was going to reduce the lexapro back to 5 mg.  but I didn't want to as things seemed to have evened out.  I know she doesn't completely understand withdrawal because when I had the symptoms halving my dose she said, "Well I guess it was doing more for you than what we thought".  She is in agreement with me tapering slow which is a lot slower than what she would have done but any symptoms she sees as a return to the anxiety.   I feel it is different this time because it was a thyroid issue and not anxiety as before. 
On top of all this the Dr. tested my hormones and I had gone back into menopause!  He slightly increased my bioidentical hormones slightly

When my thyroid went wacko thanks to me, he did all the test you mentioned and a thyroid panel, cortisol and more.   Everything was in the normal range. 

My dr. is very good about working with me on my thyroid and he doesn't just go by labs but how I feel.  He doesn't go by Tsh alone.He really listens.  He is an OD but does amazing work with bio-identical female hormones and NDT.  People come from all over the U.S. to use him. My thyroid has naturally fluctuated some from time to time.  But like I said never with as extreme of symptoms in this time.   He said to be tested in 4 - 6 weeks to see where I am at.  I am going to try to old out for 6 weeks unless things change then I will do it at 4. 

My tapers have been pretty much as you described, short and minimal symptoms usually 3 days to 1 week after the last taper.  That's why this time the extreme alerted me it was my thyroid. I have had weeks with no anxiety.  I do notice I am much more sensitive and emotional to things than I was before. 

I was taking Standard Process vitamins and minerals, because I am not eating much due to the queasiness and lack of appetite.  I eat very clean just not much.  I know I am not getting all the nutrients I need with how little I am eating.  I am staying pretty much away from grains right now other than oatmeal in the morning. Fast and easy to fix and eat. 

I agree, I do not want under any conditions to use these meds every again. I do get impatient and discouraged at how long it is going to take me to get off of them. I am praying the Buspar and Lexapro tapers will be like my Zoloft and Xanax.  I also want what you said, I want to suffer as little as possible. I hate I got on them, but as I see it the emotional symptoms were ravaging my body and I didn't feel I had a choice.   I never realized it would be this hard to taper.  I use natural and homeopathic remedies 99% of the time as I am very sensitive to all meds.  I tried many for the anxiety before I went to these I am on now.  Until my husband died I had never taken any medication like this.  I had anxiety and I guess panic attacks but I handled them.  I did not mention that my mother lived with us for 4 years and it was a very very difficult time. I know that took a toll on me. She died and 1 year later my husband did.  Thanks for caring.  Sorry for the length and rambling.  Moonpie

 

 

 

 

 

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

Hi Pink Fairy,

Thanks for the great video! I watched it when I got my scales and was so thankful for it! Karma sent it to me again and I did need a refresher course!  (Thank you Karma!) I was not calibrating my scales with every use!   What do I do when calibrating and it is off?  I weighed 10 and took an average.  Just keep turning it on and off and doing it again till it works?  Also I have noticed if the bowl isn't EXACTLY centered or the pill, it seems to give different readings.  Could this be from me not calibrating it every time?  The last couple of times I see that I was rushing my taper.  I went from .041 to .o35 instead of .037, but that shouldn't have made a difference should it? I have also been tapering all threes doses one every 2 weeks, and I hold if I am not stable.  I was also not weighing each pill! Thank you again for your help!  Moonpie

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Frogie   
Frogie
16 hours ago, Moonpie said:

Hi Frogie xx:

The majority of labs and doctors have changed their to range for Tsh.  In my area it is 2.5 - .05.  Did he do a free t-4 and a free t-3 with your other tests. There are other you will need to have done but at least those 2.  You cannot determine thyroid by simply testing your TSH.  It stands for thyroid stimulating hormone and is actually a test on what the pituitary gland is doing  It isn't testing any of your thyroid hormones but is needed in a diagnosis with other tests.

When I was first diagnosed mine was 6.25 and the GP I was going to wasn't going to do anything because it wasn't that much over the limit in spite of my extreme symptoms! Yours is elevated. And you need to have it checked further.   I don't know to what degree these drugs can cause your thyroid to fluctuate,  that is a question we need to ask JanCarol. 

So much of what I am experiencing with the taper is just like what I have when my thyroid is off.  

As far as any other ideas all I know is the things that JanCarol questioned me on.  To be on the safe side I would find a doctor that understood thyroid and just get it checked out to be safe. Here is a link of find a good thyroid Dr. in your area.

Yes I am on Lexapro, 10 mg, Buspar 5mg  and tapering off Ativan . If you have read my thread you will know I have was put on them because I messed up my thyroid medication big time in June 2016.  I know what you mean about it being a long long time and sometimes that really bothers me.  Then I have to stop and think that all that matters is I get off of these.  Looks like you have had a rough time with your Lexapro taper.  We have to hang in there!!! Please keep me posted on how things go with your thyroid and your tapers.   There is a great site called www.stopthethyroidmadness.com where you can get tons of info.   

Please send me the link to your thread. I couldn't find it. :)  Moonpie

 

 

 

 

Hi Moonpie:

 

My dr did every test that needed to be done on my thyroid and everything was normal except my TSH. It was high. It could be from tapering Lexapro. But yesterday I found a supplement that I was taking for my liver that contains kelp. I think that's the culprit. I stopped it immediately and am only taking milk thistle. I don't know how long it will take my TSH level to go lower since I stopped that supplement. When I started taking that supplement my TSH started to rise. But I don't have anything else wrong like I said, everything was in normal limits. Last month my TSH was 5.1 and T3 Uptake was 24.

 

This was done in May, 2017. The dr said if he keeps running all the tests, insurance will stop paying, and I can't afford to pay for it. That's why he is just doing TSH and T3 Uptake right now.

 

TSH 5.120 range .0450-.4.500

Thyroxine (T4) 8.1 range 4.5-12.0

T3 Uptake 23 range 24-39

Free Thyroxine Index 1.9 range 1.2-4.9

Reverse T3, Serum 18.5 range 9.2-24.1

TgAb+Thyroglobulin, IMA or LCMS

Thyroglobulin Antibody 0.00 range 0.00-0.9

Thyroglobulin by IMA 27.2 range 1.5-38.5

Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) 12 range 0-34

Triiodothyronine, Free,Serum 3.2 range 2.0-4.4

 

I'm sure you can read this, but it was all normal, except the TSH and T3Uptake, but my dr wasn't concerned. My sister in law has been a nurse for 35 years. She looked at it and said to just keep an eye on my TSH too. The thing is I feel fine except the WD symptoms.

 

If you can tell me how to send you a link to my page, I will be happy too. I'm not too computer smart with things like that.

 

Can you give me your take on the kelp in the supplement?

 

I hope to be able to keep in contact, we are both going off Lexapro. I'm going off 1mg Xanax 4 times a day after the Lexapro, where you are on Ativan. Relative the same.

 

Thanks for your help!

 

Take care,

Frogie xx

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

Hi Frogie xx,

Everything does look good.  Your Doctor did a great job!  I am glad your sister-in-law is a nurse, that is a big help!  As far as the kelp I don't know.  I took a Standard Process Iodine until every thing went bad last year.   I would be interested to know more about it too. I know there are some on here that have a lot more thyroid knowledge and experience than I do. I think we are in the same boat about the link.  All I know is to pull it up as a page then copy the link address and paste it in a note to me.  I don't feel I have been much help but you are welcome.  Yes let's keep in contact!!!   After I get off Ativan I plan to do the Lexapro next.   Thank you for reaching out to me!   You take care too!   Moonpie

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Frogie   
Frogie

Hi Moonpie:

 

Everything is great on my thyroid except my TSH. I cant figure it out. I really think it has something to do with tapering Lexapro, and that kelp in the supplement I was taking. I stopped the supplement. I'm going to wait until the end of the year like the dr said and have it retested. Hopefully, stopping that supplement will lower my TSH.

 

I've read about SSRI's, and it says it can mess with your thyroid.

 

You are going off your benzo first. I started tapering Lexapro first. Then I'm going to wait a couple months and I'll start tapering Xanax. I'm nervous about that. I get a lot of anxiety and panic attacks, but, I'm going to get off of it. But you going off your benzo first and me the Lexapro first, maybe we can help each other.

 

I'll have to get on my computer and try to copy and paste my link. I can't do it from my iPad for some reason.

 

I'm glad JanCarol got us together. I think we can help each other a lot.

 

You have a great night.

 

Take care,

Frogie xx ( you don't have to put the x's at the end. I always do that when I sign off, just to say I'm thinking of you)

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

I didn't know about the Lexapro going off of it first until I was on here, I am almost halfway through my Ativan taper. Going off of Xanax was a lot easier for me than this was. But they told me hear that since helps me sleep to go ahead and do the Ativan first. I was nervous with the Xanax the first time and I am with the Ativan. But going slow really really helps. I guess my greatest anxiety comes when I go to nothing. With the Xanax and Zoloft it wasn't that bad, we will see what these. I have a friend that her doctor just took her off of Lexapro after being on it a year-and-a-half! She said she had a few hard days!  I was stunned, yes I am glad JanCarol put us together.  How do you start a new thread or do you just keep adding to your first one? How long have you been on this site. I am so glad I found it. Take care. Moonpie

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JanCarol   
JanCarol

Hey Moonpie!

 

On 04/10/2017 at 11:55 AM, Moonpie said:

 I don't know to what degree these drugs can cause your thyroid to fluctuate,  that is a question we need to ask JanCarol. 

 

We don't really know either.  (BTW, Karma is my tutor when it comes to thyroid - she's been doing this longer and better than I have)

 

In my case, I was on lithium, so I lost my thyroid.  Doc had no business prescribing lithium to someone who had a visible goitre!

 

But I suspect that at least some of my "diagnonsense" can be blamed on hypothyroidism (due to water fluoridation, the science miracle of the 60's).  All the little symptoms that they used to check before they had the labs (Achilles reflex, ridged fingernails, fatigue, goitre) have been with me most of my life.

 

Some people bounce right back after withdrawal (by right back, I mean within a year or two after the drug is gone).  Some people have to adjust their diet in order to balance out these problems.  Nearly all of these drugs disrupt the endocrine system.  Mostly, we can heal.  It's one of the big crimes that we are not told how 90% of our body's serotonin is in the gut, and that endocrine and hormonal disruption is a part of what these drugs do. It's part of what makes us "crazy," going to the doctor for symptoms like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia/ME, IBS - and our symptoms fit into those categories, except that they are caused by withdrawal.  Doctors don't really know what causes these "clusters of diagnosis" and they don't really understand what the psych drugs do.  A match made in corporate boardrooms.

 

So do I understand you are afraid to increase your dose of thyroid, based on what happened before?  Does your doctor want to increase your thyroid based on those labs?

 

Do you have Hashimotos?  It's a slightly different diet / supplement protocol if you do.

 

On 05/10/2017 at 3:27 AM, Moonpie said:

  I was doing fantastic until I did my Thyroid mistake. I have hung it in my Hall of Shame and Stupdity!

 

How could you have known any better?  I lost my whole thyroid due to listening to doctors - but I can't beat myself up over it because the future is all I have!  Save your energy for what's to come instead of looking at the sour fruits of the past.

 

I wish I could get some of my dear friends suffering from Hashi's and thyroid problems to your doctor!  It's hard to find a good one!

 

On 05/10/2017 at 3:27 AM, Moonpie said:

My tapers have been pretty much as you described, short and minimal symptoms usually 3 days to 1 week after the last taper.  That's why this time the extreme alerted me it was my thyroid. I have had weeks with no anxiety.

 

Here's the thing:  Lexapro is a very strong drug, possibly the strongest one on the market.  After going on, coming off and going on again, you may be kindling your system.

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/8095-adverse-reactions-kindling/

 

I liken this to - each time you change a drug (on or off) you are putting your hand in a badger hole.  You might not get bitten the first or second or even the third time, but the more you have done it, the more likely it is that you will get bitten and be thrown into withdrawals.  Just because you've been lucky before, does not mean that this time is also lucky.

 

It is difficult to distinguish thyroid symptoms from withdrawal symptoms.  You could do like Frogie is doing, and just keep monitoring.  You've got a good doc who doesn't have a problem running full lab profiles.

 

Here is our basic education series on withdrawal, and Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Intro to Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome

Withdrawal Dialogues - cartoons to encourage you

short video (excellent):  Healing from Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery (by Toxic Antidepressants)

 

Tips for tapering off Lexapro 

 

also - here is a list of most common withdrawal symptoms.  You might like to print out several sheets and use them to weekly track your symptoms:

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's Most Common symptoms of Withdrawal

 

5 minutes ago, Moonpie said:

But they told me hear that since helps me sleep to go ahead and do the Ativan first

 

Actually, this is where SA differs from other forums.  We think the antidepressant is the big bad wolf, and like to get it down first before tackling the benzo:

Polydrugs? Taper off the Antidepressant First!

 

I don't mean to throw a monkey wrench into your works, but you can always switch from one taper to another.  Here's what I would do if it were me - I'd get the Ativan down to a dose which is easy (as in whole or half pills) to take, and then switch to tapering Lexapro.  I'd get the Lexapro down to 5 (10% at a time!) and then consider which one was worse.  It is more likely to be the Lexapro which is messing with your thyroid labs.

 

I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. Many of us have really relied on Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms to get us through withdrawal.

 

I hope you see the sun today!  (the non drug technique that made my recovery possible!)

 

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

 

Hi JanCarol, 

Thank you for your reply.  I am so sorry to hear about your thyroid!   Yes that was my concern about increasing.  After those 8 months I am a little nervous of changes.  It has been a week on it and I am better other than a tight chest through out the day but I think that my be chiropractic.  This happened once before.  Yes he increased them based on the labs and how I was feeling (he goes by both) I do better with a tsh of 1, definitely under two.  I don't have Hashimotos.  I had insurance during that 8 months and had every test that could be done.  Now I have none.  

I haven't gone off of Lexapro since I started it.  I must have made an error in my message. I did mention a friend who her dr. told her to go off cold turkey after 1 1/2 years and only had a few bad days!     Since the Lexapro makes me drowsy at night , Shep suggested I continue the Ativan taper and leave the Lexapro for now.  

Can I start a new thread or do I need to just continue in this one? Is this the forum I would start one in.  Thank you again for your help and encouragement!  Moonpie

 

 

 

 

 

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

Hi,

I know we are supposed to taper a dose at a time.  I am on Ativan 3 x daily so taper each dose separately.  I am going to try the 1% per week when my thyroid is settled.  At that rate it will be 2 more years tapering off of Ativan and and I have already been tapering 7 months. Then I still have the Lexapro and Buspar to go!  Feeling a little discouraged.  I was wondering what the difference is in tapering the total daily dose.  when I am ready to taper Lexapro it is one dose a day and I will take my percentage off that. Just asking.  I hate the thought of being on these other drugs that long and what they are doing to my body and mind. Moonpie

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brassmonkey   
brassmonkey

The protocol is to taper a percentage of the daily dose. So it would be a percent of all three doses combined for the Ativan.  You could remove little bits from all three doses or all of it from one dose.  Most people find it easier to take it all from one dose.  The time frames involved are frustratingly long. My taper off of paxil took five and a half years.  But it's not all suffering the whole way down.  As the doses get lower the symptoms usually start to improve.  The whole idea of a long slow taper is to minimize the severity of the the symptoms and try to allow for as normal a life as possible.

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Shep   
Shep
4 hours ago, Moonpie said:

I am on Ativan 3 x daily so taper each dose separately.

 

I would taper each dose separately. Ativan has a very short half-life, so if you make your reductions from only one dose, you'll eventually be down to two and then to only one dose, which will set you up for interdose withdrawal. 

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ChessieCat   
ChessieCat
55 minutes ago, brassmonkey said:

The time frames involved are frustratingly long. My taper off of paxil took five and a half years.  But it's not all suffering the whole way down.  As the doses get lower the symptoms usually start to improve.  The whole idea of a long slow taper is to minimize the severity of the the symptoms and try to allow for as normal a life as possible.

 

I can understand you feeling discouraged.  As my dose got lower I started feeling small improvements.  I didn't notice them as they were happening but as I looked back I could see that there had been changes for the better.  I've been tapering Pristiq for the last 2 years and it's going to take me another 2 years and 9 months but I would rather go slowly and be able to live my life as much as I can than be hit with unbearable withdrawal symptoms.

 

Something to consider:  You might be able to reduce Ativan to a lower dose and then after a hold reduce a different drug and do the same and then reduce the third drug.  Some of the other mods are more knowledgeable about this than I am.

 

I've merged the new topic you started with your Intro topic because it is about your own situation and will keep your history in one place.

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Moonpie   
Moonpie

Thank you all of your for your input.   Brassmonkey and ChessieCat, your  sharing encourages me and helps me see the big picture - the least amount of suffering possible.   Shep you put in back in perspective, you always give good advice.  Thank you also for merging my topic.  I don't know how or where to start a new one.   Moonpie

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