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tezza

tezza: risperdal withdrawal

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Hi, I've been reading a lot on the site. I didn't know quite what to say. I was put on risperdal April 2011. I began taking half a 1 mg pill in July, I think. When pdoc wouldn't write for less I decided to stop taking in mid-Sept. Needless to say I learned the hard way. I had very hard, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, startled awake during the night, hot flashes, severe depression, anxiety, paranoia...all like never before. I ordered the scale and am taking less than half a 1 mg pill now. I only left off till October 1, '11. As soon as I'd slept decent for a couple of nights I trimmed a little off the half. It took another month till I was feeling decent again. Still sometimes don't sleep real well and have some bad days( mostly low mood). I have muscle twitches a lot. Sometimes I'm really hopeful and other times I feel truly hopeless. Intrusive suicidal thoughts plague me almost daily but I don't want to die really. I became more depressed when I learned I will likely have problems coming off Lamictal too. I already came off Trileptal. I tapered it when I started breaking Risperdal in July. It didn't seem to present any adverse effects so I didn't expect any from other meds. I was on 100 mg of Lamictal 2xdaily. I started tapering it in July also. Now taking 50mg one morning and 25mg next morning for a few weeks now. After reading up, I will leave that alone for now. I pray for some encouraging hope. I also pray for everyone on this site. I love you all and thank you all for being here. Special THANKS to Alto and all your work. I don't know how much I'll be able to post but I will try to make myself do it. I have to make myself do everything that I do. (Except I pray a lot) I take Xanax, SOMA, Lorcet, Neurontin, Lamictal, Risperdal and Timoptic(for glaucoma ).

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I hope I made sense in the above post

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Oh yea, I also take Remeron 30 mg. I have issues with memory too.

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Hi, tezza. Thank you for joining us and posting. I moved your introductory post here, to the Intro forum.

 

It seems you've been taking a lot of psychoactive drugs:

 

- Trileptal (discontinued in July)

- Risperdal (dosage??)

- Lamictal (down to 75mg)

- Xanax (dosage??)

- SOMA (dosage??)

- Lorcet (dosage??)

- Neurontin (dosage??)

- Remeron (30mg)

 

 

- Timoptic(for glaucoma)

 

 

Some of these drugs alone or in combination can cause depression, suicidality, inability to concentrate, and memory issues. They may cause interactions that affect your health in other ways, too. Sorry to say, they all need tapering.

 

You did the right thing to go slower with the Risperdal.

 

Can you say why you are taking all these drugs? Were they all prescribed by your pdoc? Why did you decide to go off Trileptal?

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Sorry to have been so inconclusive, I tapered the Trileptal July-Aug. It was 300mg twice daily. I decided to try to come off all meds pdoc had prescribed in July because I realized at that time just how dangerous they were. I simply chose the Trileptal first. At the same time I began tapering the Risperdal by breaking the 1 mg pill in half. Also, that is when I started the taper of Lamictal. I was on Lamictal 100 mg twice daily. Now I alternate 25 and 50 mg every other day in a.m. The only other med from pdoc is the Remeron 30 mg.

 

I'm taking 1 mg Xanax usually twice daily. SOMA 350 mg twice or three times daily. Lorcet 10 usually twice daily. Neurontin 300 mg once daily. These are from GP for degenerative disk disease. The Xanax, Soma and Lorcets have increased since WD started in Sept. when I tried to C/t the Risp. I was ignorant about the need for tapering. Now I realize how VERY IMPORTANT it is. Also, have gotten gun-shy as result of my error. I'm still paying for that mistake. I am hoping that I will be able to recover especially as far as the muscle twitches are concerned. Well, good sleep pattern would be great also. I believe the depression will improve with time. I was extremely ill from mid Sept. to end of Nov. when I c/ t the Risp. and still not 100%. I'm also concerned about my daughter who left off .5 Risp. week of Christmas. She is fine for now, just am hoping it doesn't bite later. I'm down to less than half the 1 mg Risp and will continue at a slow pace. I can't go through those horrid WDs again. Thank you again for your support and advice!

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Trileptal first was a good choice.

 

Suggest you take a consistent dosage of the Lamictal. Alternating dosages tends to trigger withdrawal symptoms -- no need to add that to any symptoms from decreasing Risperdal.

 

The Xanax alone can cause depression as a side effect. Tapering benzos is tricky. Since you increased the dosage in September, your nervous system may have accommodated to the increased dosage. If I were you, I'd leave reducing that for later.

 

But -- you may have to cope with drug-caused depression until you can tackle it. You are taking a large number of drugs that sedate or depress the nervous system. I would think the Xanax and Remeron are unnecessary -- it's remarkable you have the energy to type!

 

Also, suggest your GP review ALL your drugs for conflicts.

 

This site has FDA information for all your drugs. For example, here's the Soma information http://www.drugs.com/pro/carisoprodol.html

 

There is a drug interactions checker here.

 

Here are the results for Lorcet 10/650, Remeron (mirtazapine), Risperdal (risperidone), and Xanax (alprazolam) http://www.drugs.com/interactions-check.php?drug_list=71-8475,1640-1015,2019-1305,133-54 You may wish to add the rest.

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Thank you, Alto. It looks like just about all my meds have negative interactions. Is Risperdal a SNRI or SSRI? How do these differ? I have taken Citalopram before and C/T off it without any problems. I've wondered if it might be possible to switch from Risperdal to Citalopram and then off Citalopram. The piece of Risperdal that I take weighs about .087g on Gemini 20, the dose I have cut out beginning next week is about .077. I think that will be about 37.5 but am not real sure. I'm trying to go super slow because I'm terrified of the drastic WDs I experienced from Sept. - Nov. I suppose the most bothersome and frightening symptom lingering is the twitches. The depression is not nearly as severe as it was. I am afraid of those symptoms returning with the new taper. I've stayed at or near current cut of Risp. since 1st of Nov. Now, sleeping better and hoping to be able to reduce again without big problems. The 1mg of Risp. weighs .207g uncut. One of the .25 tabs weighs .052. I'm so sorry that all you guys are having the terrible problems, I sympathize and pray for you all.

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Risperdal is an atypical antipsychotic. It is known to cause movement disorders (twitches), so it's no surprise you're having this adverse reaction as your nervous system has been sensitized.

 

You're doing the right thing, going down gradually. Very happy to hear the depression is abating. It could well have been from the interaction of Risperdal with any number of your other drugs.

 

I hope you are no longer seeing that pdoc! In my opinion, he was irresponsible to put you on that drug cocktail with all your other CNS depressants.

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No I'm not seeing that pdoc. I'm getting my GP to prescribe the Risperdal .25@2xdaily (2 for tapering) Lamictal-2 x 25mg daily(also for future taper) and the Remeron 30mg. My GP is willing to help, he just isn't familiar with people having WDs from Risperdal. I'm upset with pdoc as well as myself for taking these meds to begin with. I wish I'd researched beforehand. But I believe everything happens for a reason. I am so thankful for you and this site and do apologize that I post under the wrong topic. I will try to get it right- you have your hands full enough. Again I'm sorry, but thank you for being patient with me and for ALL that you do. I think you are a VERY SPECIAL PERSON!

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I think pdoc just didn't care about anything other than money. I don't know of anyone seeing him for over five minutes per month.

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I can't help wondering if I will ever be the person I used to be. I only took Risperdal for less than a year. I try to be hopeful and have faith especially when I read someone here comment, "it will get better", or maybe, "you will get well". But, some say things may last forever in some instances. I am obviously stressing over this too much. I just read the Serenity Prayer. All of you seem to be handling this so well, I feel like such a weakling. I have a spouse and two teens in my household and they seem to have no worries. I shouldn't either, so what is wrong with me? I was like them until I left off that half a Risperdal cold-turkey. Will these feelings of dread and despair ever go away? This is why I increased my Xanax and soma in the daytime. Will the muscle twitches go away? They are not as bad now and then, like a day here and there? I'm sorry to keep going on...I just want to be me again and feel so desperate.

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If I do get out of the house (which I don't enjoy) I look at others seemingly happy and wonder if they are taking similar meds. But then I remember a time when I was happy.

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tezza, don't worry about the person you'll be, just concentrate on taking care of yourself now.

 

You'll grow through this experience -- like we all do. All of us were very confused and frightened about withdrawal at one time.

 

With your help,your nervous system will repair itself. Yes, the twitches will go away.

 

No apologies necessary for mis-posting! Thank you for the kind words.

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Does anyone know if it is ok to switch from Risperdal to Citalopram? I know I could come off the Citalopram a lot easier. I just don't know if they are the same type of meds. Today I've had a lighter mood but still no energy. Plus, I still have a hard time showing any interests. Not complaining on sleep but it could improve some. Otherwise, all is well... hope you are all well, too(as well as can be)

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They are not the same type of medication. One is an antipsychotic and the other is an SSRI.

 

Why do you want to add to your problems by going on an SSRI?

 

It sounds like any depression you have may be a side effect of the other medications.

 

If I were you, I would reduce medications as much as possible, and try to minimize the ones that may be causing depression.

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Thank you I will certainly try that...your advice is appreciated so much. I don't know what I'd do without this website.

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I really have no one to talk to...so I feel like this website us my link to life...my lifeline. Should I try to take 25 mg off the 50 mg of Lamictal that I'm doing every other day so that I'm taking 25 mg every day or go up to 50 mg every day. I would like to try to reduce the 50 to 25 if you think I could or should try that. It has been about three weeks since I started the reduction every other day. I just feel so lost and hopeless. I admire you all on here and wish I were as strong as you all are. Thank you all for being here.

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No, don't worry about the Lamictal.

 

Take a consistent amount of Lamictal every single day. Don't go up and down in dosage. This confuses your nervous system and adds to withdrawal symptoms.

 

Just concentrate on very gradually sliding off Risperdal for now. Tapering off Lamictal comes later.

 

Why are you taking the psychiatric drugs, Tessa?

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I cared for my brother the last three wks of his life. He died of liver cancer. I was taking Citalopram and went to pdoc after bro died in my home. I told pdoc I had a reason to be sad but wondered if something else would help me more. After about five minutes w him, he had prescribed Trileptal, Remeron and Geodon. Come back in two weeks-i didn't like info on Geodon and didn't want to take it. He said I was paranoid and gave me Risperdal. The next month when I went back I had lost another family member and was still sad. Then he prescribed Lamictal in addition. I wish I'd never seen him. I started meds in April '11.

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I was sad about my losses, I wasn't in a severe state of depression. I even told pdoc that I had a reason to be sad. He asked me if I thought everyone was out to get me. I said no, but I don't feel that people like me. I have "low self-esteem". I guess he didn't know what that was.

 

I didn't even read the warning info on other meds because I didn't want to seem too paranoid. I just took them, my daughter was taking from same pdoc and she seemed ok. She wasn't looney or anything when she was put on these meds so I figured these weren't that strong. Boy, was I wrong.

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After reading some scary stories about Lamictal I thought I needed to back that down too. But you would advise to go back up to 50mg ea day as opposed to going down to 25 right now? I don't want to be risky. Is it likely to help any with WDs?

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I also left off Wellbutrin about two wks ago after taking for about two months. I only took it to come off cigarettes. I'd left it off before without suffering. I haven't had a cigarette since Dec 24, '11.

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Just want to add that I don't perceive anyone here as looney either. We have all been misled, I believe.

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Welcome Tezza!

 

I am extremely glad you have joined the forum.

 

IMO you have made a good decision to stop taking these medications. In my experience these types of medications are most likely causing more problems than they are curing. Please know you that I am happy to support you in anyway I can during this process. In your case it will be a long process, but it does not have to be excessively physically or psychologically painful.

 

Firstly, I would like to let you know that you CAN recover and return to your previous self. I am a testimony to this. You can read my story, it is within a link in my signature. I have experience with many of the medications you are taking. Including Risperdal, that nasty medication landed me in the ER.

 

Secondly, please do not apologize for poor communication skills. I understood every word you wrote. You are remarkably lucid considering the amount of meds you are taking and the fact that these meds typically impair cognitive functioning. You must feel like a zombie.

 

Now on to your particular situation.

 

IMO you are on an excessive amount of medications which 1) may be are interacting negatively and causing psychiatric symptoms, such as depression and 2) may be are unnecessary. I have tried just about every drug on the market to treat you’re my own degenerative disk disorder and I think that there are medications that are more effective with less side effects. I know, since I have a similar disorder and I have been on Soma, Lorcet and Neurontin.

 

This is how I would approach a tapering plan. I have listed them in order of precedence.

 

1. Risperdal

2. Remeron

3. Neurontin

4. Lamictal

5. Xanax

 

Neurontin must be withdrawn slowly since it is a GABA analogue. Frankly I do not understand your physician's dosing protocol of Neurontin. In order to stop neurological pain a minimum of 1800 mg is needed http://www.drugs.com/dosage/neurontin.html

Xanax is a benzodiazepine which also acts on GABA. Stopping a medication which acts on GABA receptors must be done extremely slowly, if not the withdrawal is perhaps one of the worst to go through. This is especially true for benzodiazepines with a short half life, which Xanax has. When you are ready to stop Xanax there are several sites which can offer advice and support. IMO benzobuddies.org is the best. They will actually provide you with a tapering plan. You can read about benzodiazepine withdrawal here:

http://benzo.org.uk/manual/index.htm

 

Can you tell me the nature of your degenerative disk problems. Are they specific to one area of your body? Or is it widespread?

 

The reason I ask is that I can share with you the treatments and medications that did not cause me to have psychiatric side effects like depression. But I need to know more about your disorder before I do so.

Edited by Altostrata
edited at request of poster

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Thanks, Whatever. I agree with tapering the Risperdal first, then the Remeron.

 

tezza, do NOT play with your Lamictal dosage. Stay at one dosage, consistently, every single day. Take 50mg at the same time of day every day.

 

Lamictal may be reducing hyper-reactivity from the other drug withdrawals. Taking it inconsistently -- changing the dose every other day -- may be exacerbating your withdrawal symptoms.

 

You may wish to taper Lamictal after Remeron.

 

When you decrease more than one drug at a time, it confuses the situation and makes it harder to manage.

 

As for the drugs you are taking for pain, including Neurontin, they should be reviewed by a good pain specialist before you decide what to do.

 

If I got the advice and treatment you did from a psychiatrist, I would think he was incompetent. There is no particular reason why you should be on any psychiatric drug that I can see, he prescribed a weird combination, and he did not seem to take your other medications into account, either.

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Whatever, thank you for your kind words, encouragement and advice. The degenerative disk disease us in lower and upper spine. The lower has fused together by itself some years ago. At the neck, I have spurs that are splintering. I don't take the max of my lorcets or SOMA, I try to keep them at a low dose. That goes same with Xanax, but all that goes out the window when in heavy wd symptoms. I hate to think how long it will take me to complete all. Thank you for being here!

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I totally agree with what you are saying Alto, and will do as you say with Lamictal dosage. Thank you for advising on that. I was just scared and too anxious about so many meds. :-)

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That's okay, tezza. Focus on getting off Risperdal with the minimum of distress.

 

Keep everything else steady. The nervous system loves stability. That's why a big change in drugs makes it upset.

 

Look for a pain specialist to review your drugs for pain.

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I agree 100% with Alto regarding the Lamictal and the competence of your doctor. The combination of drugs makes no sense to me. Risperdal and Lamictal are indicated for Bipolar aka Manic-Depression, Neurontin is only FDA approved for eplilepsy and pain from shingles. The only pmed that is indicated for depression, is Remeron.

 

Information about Risperdal

http://www.crazymeds.us/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Meds/RisperdalBasicOverview?from=Risperdal.Risperdal#.Txsxw7yF8nM

Information about Remeron

http://www.crazymeds.us/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Meds/Remeron?from=Remeron.Remeron#.TxsyDryF8nM

Information about Lamictal

http://www.crazymeds.us/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Meds/LamictalBasicOverview?from=Lamictal.Lamictal#.TxsxhbyF8nM

Information about Neurontin

http://www.crazymeds.us/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Meds/Neurontin?from=Neurontin.Neurontin#.TxsylbyF8nM

 

I also agree that you should find a pain management specialist.

 

As an example of what I question about your doctor is what I mentioned before that the Neurontin dosage is insufficient (see Neurontin link above). Neurontin needs to be in a steady state in the blood stream for it to be effective. Because it has a VERY short half-life as well as low bioavailability, in order for it to reach a steady state in the blood stream, it needs to be taken three times a day. The only case in which I have read that Neurontin is prescribed once a day, is when it is used as a sleeping aid. But again, as a sleeping aid the dosage I read about was typically around 600 mg. Neurontin can have a paradoxical effect, actually causing back pain, headaches, muscle twitching. And then there are cognitive side effects, which earned it the name Morontin - in other words it turns some people into morons.

 

Thank you for explaining your degenerative disk disorders. I suffer from intense neck pain which stems from multiple disk problems and causes me to get intense headaches. Most of my neck pain has recently been controlled by alternating between Botox injections and Lidocaine/Steriod injections. However, Botox is not approved for back pain.

 

There are other injections and procedures such as rhizotomy which can free a person from pill taking.

 

I personally dislike Soma. I find that Soma makes me restless and hypomanic. Could that be happening to you? However, when Soma is compounded with Codeine it is extremely effective for me.

 

In my experience Baclofen is a far superior muscle relaxer to Soma. I was taking 30 mg a day and it totally eradicated my neck pain. However it is a GABA antagonist and I do not like messing with neurotransmitters, especially GABA. It also made me drowsy so I tapered off of it. Although I have read that many people have few side effects from it. Here is some information on Baclofen:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baclofen

Here are reviews of Baclofen from people who have taken it:

http://www.askapatient.com/viewrating.asp?drug=72234&name=BACLOFEN

Another medication that is extremely effective for me is Lodine, the generic name is Etodolac. It is a NSAID that must be taken daily. It can cause liver and kidney damage and heart disease so you need to get those tested. I have had no problems so far. Also, I have had zero side effects. Information on Etodolac:

http://www.drugs.com/etodolac.html

 

I advise you not to focus on the length of time it will take you to taper. Instead, focus on the fact that you will eventually have a clear mind and will be able to participate in life as opposed to being a zombie.

 

You are on the road to a better life.

Edited by Altostrata
edited at request of poster

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Thank you both for all of your advice. I have been ignorant as far as my meds go. It's nice to learn about these poisons.

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I need to correct a fact I stated. Baclofen is a GABA agonist not an antagonist. An agonist releases GABA producing a sedative effect, an antagonist suppresses it.

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Actually, I haven't noticed having any problems with the other meds like soma or lorcet. But, maybe I just didn't notice. I've been taking those and the xanax for several years, but have always tried to keep at lowest dosages possible. My resources are limited because I'm no longer able to work. I do admit that I've used more of thos e three meds since I first tried to go c/t from Risperdal. That really messed me up. I had no idea that was going to happen. I left it off for two weeks before I realized it wasn't going to get better. It took a month for it to get back into my system and start helping the WDs. As soon as it was seeming to help again (as soon as I'd slept through the night) I trimmed a piece off. I went right back into WD. That happened around Nov 1. It wasn't until week after Christmas that WDs started to lift again and I started to sleep some. Still, I don't sleep well, but it's not as awful as it was. I learned some things from this site about that. I am really scared about my upcoming cut even though it will be a small cut. That fight or flight awakening is dreadful. Maybe I should just get out of bed if that happens with the next cut. I've always tumbled, hoping to go back to sleep and occasionally I would, but many times not. I have the blackout shades and made notes of supplements to try. Thank you all again for support. I pray someday I can help others. God bless each of you!

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Hi Tezza ~

I just wanted to say 'welcome' although sorry you have reason to be here ~

I've been on many of the meds you are on (also have chronic neck pain) and I got off of the opiates by use of acupuncture and a good Interventional Pain Specialist (Anesthesia-trained) who uses procedures such as rhizotomies and other injections as Whatever mentioned ~

Antiinflammatories such as ibuprofen sometimes help~i also try to get massage as often as possible even if it's just a 15 minute neck and shoulders (teaser but helps)

I use the microwavable heat wraps for muscle tension

A good pillow is critical also --doesnt have to be expensive but should provide good support based on how you sleep (side/back)~also a pillow under your knees should help ease low back stress ~

Sorry if this is all basic info

Barb

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Thank you, Barb, the basic info is much appreciated. I can't afford accupuncture and some other choices. So basics are definitely helpful. I really appreciate how thoughtful everyone is here. It means so much to know there are others who understand although I wish it wasn't because you've all suffered so much. Thank you for the welcome! Sometimes I just don't know what to say other than "thank you".

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tezza, you're very welcome here.

 

If you have the energy, pay it forward and help someone else -- people join the site every day who are just as worried as you were when you were a newbie!

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I've added information to two of Whatever's posts above, at her request.

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