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LexAnger

LexAnger: tapering or no-tapering, generic vs. name brand lexapro

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Hi Everyone,

 

So where to start? Guess this forces another time to think back when a fatal turn of my life started. Unlike most of us here, I started the 2 week sample supply of Lexapro pill in 2009 for a severe headache based on recommendation of a friend who has been taking SSRI for years. So I didn't go through any information of side effect or how to take the drugs etc., information you would otherwise get from a pharmacist or dedication insert. Somehow it stopped my headache 2 weeks on 10 mg of lex. I don't remember why I restarted it after the initial doses, but do know it’s not for another headache. It was something only now I can relate that it must be withdrawal of that 2 weeks sample. Anyway, I started feeling anxious and other flu-like symptoms (which I mistakenly thought I do have anxiety) so I have been on and off lex on a dose 1/4--1/3 of the 10 mg pill over 3 yrs. period (so been withdrawal numerous times unconsciously). I was ok then except for some pins/needling sensation on head, neck and back in morning which is tolerable.

 

When the generic Lex was first available in the market mid-2012, insurance switched me to it without my awareness. After half year of the switch (increased from 2.5mg to 10mg in fighting with the side effects), pin and needling getting less to none while jaw pain progresses to a level of daily bothersome.

 

The thought of withdrawal was triggered by the worsening of the jaw pain. I prepared the WD fully (as I thought) by lots of online research and used the program from Point of Return taking their supplement pre, during, post WD along with lower than suggested reduction rate (5%) tapering down from 10mg-5mg quickly and then 5mg-2.5mg (liquid) in 2 months when hell started with the most weird and severe jaw and head pain which took me to the first ever panic attack (Aug.2013), plus constent knifing on my head.

 

I backed up to 2.5-3.0mg since then in fearing of the recurrence of the severe WD. Ever since then, I never had one day or minute free of this pain, along with hot flush companied by occasional anxiety and depression..    

I switched back to name brand Nov. 2013 (also liquid) after learning from others that the generic can cause severe jaw pain (it is recognized by many generic takers that the two works differently and the generic is bad or worse). It seems the pain is lessoned after 4 month switch just a tiny bit in severity not even the frequency while stabilizing for the change has been the battle of my everyday life. It’s so crazy how much one drop more or less can do to my poor mind and I have to say I gave up hope to understand weather it’s too much or too less of the med is causing which/what symptoms. Everytime I change (ip or down) just a few drops of the liquid lex, I got handful of strange and new symptoms and lately I have been thinking of suicide, the only way to stop it all. I dont know if when others talking about suicidal thoughts, is it somethign poped up out of blue or more like the terrible feeling/suffering put you into such thought?   

 

Putting all the sorrow and agony aside, While in constant search for understanding of the situation for a strategy, from what I learned from publications (one of those linked below) and fellow victims (with same severe WD after many years), I have been asking myself this big question: will it be better off just staying with the med than continuing tapering (which could post greater danger and suffering for long time)?

 

http://www.madinamer...n-acknowledged/

I understand this means giving up the hope for freedom and live with poor quality life. But this is what I have been struggling lately everyday and really appreciate your thoughts.

 

Hope we all have a good day for the good Friday and getting better.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Welcome, LexAnger.

 

I know Dr. Stuart Shipko, the author of that piece on MadinAmerica, well. He failed to make it clear that it is a small proportion of people who will find it impossible to go off drugs. See discussion here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4787-mia-blog-entry-by-dr-shipko-on-wd/

 

How stable is your dosing of liquid Lexapro? Do you take it at the same time each day? How long have you been at a stable dosage?

 

See our tapering Lexapro topic here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

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Nikki   
Nikki

Hi....I did a Lexapro taper a few years back.  All of the symptoms you have ~ I had too.  You are not alone and they are common symptoms.

 

I did taper for a two year period.  I was on a very high dose.  I used the liquid and dropped by no more than 1 to 2 mgs. at a time.  It was all I could handle.

 

There were numerous times that I did go back up to my previous dose if I was really ill from the drop.  With Lexapro I found that I felt better if I gave myself a breather in between drops.

 

It was very hard.  The physical symptoms were present but manageable. The anxiety and crying spells were the most difficult.

 

Hang in there.....

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Thanks very much Alto for the information and great discussion! My co-worker found that link for me and she was excited the doctor is in Southern CA. I did not go to him only after reading quite a lot negative reviews.

Ever since the panic attack and kniffing on the head/neck/shoulder in Aug. 2013, I backed up gradually to 2.5 then 2.75 and now on 2.9/3.0 for about 3 months. all together I have been on 2.75-3mg for about 7 months. I picked 2.75 for its the dose I felt almost completely symptom-free before the cluster of WD started.

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Hi Nikki,

 

Thanks for replying!

 

I am glad I have you understanding what I went through and am still going through now. I am also very happy for you being off Lex!

Most of my suffering is physical although lately I started feeling very frustrated and mad with the whole situation (myself, my firend who talked me into it for off-lable use of the drug, and of course all the pharmas making SSRIs) and the suffering. Its hard to believe I am still hanging here as the pain I had is so severe (I told people 20 on a scale of 1-10 as others only know what it feels like up to 10 so what I have is only imaginary to those), and constent, I mean literally every moment. 

 

How are you lately?

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Yes, I take it 11:30am everyday.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Why have you varied your dosage? How long have you been on the latest dosage?

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Attemp to balance the side effects (pins and needling, face/ head numbness) and withdrawal symptoms (extreme fatigue, hot flash, anxiety). When increase it seems less wd and while decrease less side effect.

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Rhiannon   
Rhiannon

Well,it sounds like you've already noticed that bouncing up and down on dosages just aggravates withdrawal symptoms. The problem isn't that you're taking too little or too much, the problem is that you're keeping your poor brain and CNS in constant chemical chaos, rather than giving it a chance to stabilize at any dose.

 

I would say that certainly for NOW you need to just stay on the med until you stabilize and are feeling better. Once you're feeling stable you can look at whether or not to taper. We have all the tools and information here that you will need to taper safely and successfully, if you'll take your time and listen and learn. 

 

But now is not the time. What you need to do right now is take the exact same dose at the same time every day for a while, probably something like three months, although it's hard at this point to predict the exact time frame.

 

And read this:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5891-rickoshea-hi-and-help-please/?p=80624

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Second what Rhi said. If I were you, I'd pick the lower dose and stick to it for a good long while.

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Thanks very much Phi and Alto!

Will follow your kind and good advice and keep you updated.

 

Warm regards,

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Hope everyone is doing better!

Just wonder if anyone has a similar experience in increased cholesterol level (LDL in particular) with use of lexapro or tapering of it. My cholesterol was normal (197) one yr ago and now is 254. I has been tapering in the past year and experiencing severe withdrawal, still on 3 mg now down from the original 5mg. My diet is like milk and cereal for breakfast, salad most lunch, fish and vegetable for dinner, healthier than before, although I have been having boiled eggs, 5 per week, and light sweets daily. Varous Daily exercise everage 1 hour or more.

 

Appreciate your thoughts.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Psych drugs and withdrawal can affect sugar metabolism. It probably will eventually correct.

 

You may wish to minimize the sweets.

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Kind of you Alto for replying!

Just found a paper on this topic with statistics: 

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23798963

 

I hope my situation wont get even worse as I still have a long way to go before meds-free. I heard people say you need to take cholesterol meds when its this high (250+) to avoid blood vessel damage. which will be another drug depedency and potential drug interation and mess up even more of the withdrawal.  

 

I will for sure minimize sugur and already cut off egg yolk.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

LexAnger, that paper is a valuable piece to the puzzle. Could you start a topic about it in the Journals section?

 

Thank you.

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Lilu   
Lilu

Hi, does your nickname LexAnger refer to the side effect of anger while withdrawing from Lexapro?  To me, anger, and sudden explosive rage is the  most frightening side effect of these scary meds.

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Hi Alto,

Thanks for the advice!

 

I will try to figure out how, soon.

 

Lilu,

 

I only had anger issues with the withdrawl occasionally. The nickname is more for the angry I have for the whole situation, pharma company, the friend talked me into the med, and mostly myself for being so volnerable and careless.

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Hi everyone, an update from my other recent lab test results on Vitamins. 

D is normal

B6 is too high, 25.9 normal is 2.1-21.7

B12 is too high, 1025, normal is 220-960

 

This is surprising to me as my initial request of the test is to see if I am deficient in any of those for the decision of taking supplyment for them.

SO I did some research and found this link which is even more surprising

 

http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/reaction.htm

 

it seems, contraversery to my all-time impression, for all those who are on withdrawal/ssri, that B6 and B12 should be kept low instead of high. I dont remember how but have been thiking extra Vitamin B6 and 12 are helpful to WD. 

 

I feel this is something important to share with those who think as I do.

It will be great to hear other's experience and comments.

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

oh, one more note, I am not taking any supplement for vitamin B and only did a while back last year occationally. another search says high B6 and B12 symptoms are mainly pain and nmbness related which are my major experience everyday (head, should, back)

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

It's not that you should keep your B6 and B12 low, but that B vitamin supplements are often stimulating, and you don't want that.

 

If you didn't take B vitamin supplements, how did your B6 and B12 get so high? From food alone? Are you drinking any energy drinks?

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Thanks for responding!

No I am not drinking anything but water. My diet is like mixed grain breakfast, salad lunch, and simple vegetable and fish/tofu for dinner. 

 

Can't find anything else external that might cause the high measures.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

You might ask your doctor to check liver function.

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Thanks again Alto for your kind attention and thoughts!

 

That's one thing I was suspecting according to online search, while another blood test (just couple weeks earlier ordered by my family doc as a regular annual check) shows ALT and AST are normal. I had the second blood draw for V-B6, V_B12 and V-D plus thyroids when I visited my OB in preparation of taking vitamin supplement for the WD. 

 

Information is very limited online on high level of vitamin B. Do you think I should go further on this? What specilist should seek for further advise? 

 

Many thanks!

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

What did your doctor say?

 

I'm not sure what kind of specialist might look into this. A neurologist?

 

Withdrawal makes things weird. These test results might be one-off.

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Hi Alto,

 

Giving that all my lab tests come back normal except for cholesterol, and these couple for V-B and V-D, I feel the same that nothing is really wrong with my other organs/functions only that WD is messing up all the numbers. 

 

The doctor who  ordered the vitamin test is my OB doctor. She hasn't called me on this yet and I doubt too much from her either.

 

I am thinking to do a follow up test in 3-4 months see if any changes then move from there for necessary action.

 

kind regards,

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Please keep notes on paper of your daily symptom pattern. This helps distinguish adverse effects from drugs you are taking.

 

Are you taking anything else?

 

Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/
 

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Thank alto! Your kind care and help means so much and I really appreciate it! I will pick up fish oil first, and consider Mg as well.

 

Yes, I maintain a google doc as my journal which I will update and share with the community.

 

Currently I'm not taking anything else except for antacid, and something called support from 'point of return' which they say a product from milk to improve immune system.

 

I'm now on 2.75mg lex, been on this dose down from 2.8mg for 3 weeks and feeling stabilizing with less jaw and headl pain (which I suspect from the generic), and not much other symptoms.

 

One thing I have no clue is the flashing light I had last night in the middle of sleep. It woke me up and lasted for a few minutes. This was the third time I had it. The first time was when I was tapering the generic last August down to 2mg with severe sharp jaw and head pain. It also started in the middle of sleep companiied by a cold feeling in heart then followed by my first panic attack shilvering. The second time was couple of month ago only the light and cold heart without panic silvering.

 

Even though, I had a full day today functioning normally at work and being energetic and happy (not being so for a long while mainly due to the pain).

 

Being here with the sole opportunity expressing and sharing and getting support is a god sent. I am very much looking forward to the time our members may meet each other with the effort your are making.

 

Warm regards,

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

We don't recommend that program because it hypes and marks up ordinary supplements. That product is the same as undenatured whey protein isolate, which can be found a lot cheaper elsewhere. (See our topics about this.)

 

What kind of antacid are you taking and how often?

 

It sounds like you are stabilizing, which is a good thing. The flashes while sleeping sound like they're only occasional. Most likely, they will go away. See our topics on "exploding head syndrome."

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

ranitidine (Zantac) is the anti acid I started taking 6 weeks ago, switched from the original PPI (Prevacid 15 mg daily for 16 yrs). twice each day total of 150mg/day.

 

good info again on the POT products. I will check out our topics (do you have a quick link to it?).

 

happy to know the flashes will go away (and seems getting milder each time). It is an scary and uncomfortable feeling especially when think it as a prelude of a panic attack.

 

kind regards,

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Once again, great information Alto!

I am aware of the complications in a general sense of the antiacid drugs with the ssir WD but not specifically their impact on vitamin B. my family doctor switched me from prevacid (ppi) to ranitidine (h2 blocker?) for the reason he thinks the later blockes 90% of acid secretion as compared to 99% by ppi. I hope I can gradually stop them all some time later. It seems the current dose is the minimal to settle the issue.

 

One thing does not fit the picture is, my V-B 12 and 6 are higher than the normal upper bound. Should it be lower instead from what stated in the linked topic about ppi? Or does it mean my system does not absorb/utilize sufficient VBs so leave too much in the blood as the test shdws?

 

Do you advise me to taper the ranitide first before further address the Ssri tapering?

 

Many thanks again!

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

For what ailment are you taking PPIs?

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

The diagnose 15 yrs ago did not show anything wrong with my stomach and others, except for the bacteria test positive. I have to take it for heartburn which has been with me constantly even impossible to do for a few hours without the meds.

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LexAnger   
LexAnger

Sorry for the late reply. I was out of town for a 4 day business trip.

Yes he treated me with antibiotics but that did not solve the problem so I have to continue the PPI for the past 15 yrs.

 

I do have an update today though for something new and would like to share.

 

Been on the ranitidine for 2 months since switching from Prevacid, I was able to stop the PPI 4 days ago. I started experiencing real WD from lex for the first time, a classical one with severe foggy head today after 9 hr sleep and felt unreal entire morning and feeling the brain was completely shutting down until the time for the scheduled med which has been same 2.75mg for a while. Looking back I realize what I had before is really more from the side effects of the lex not the WD with jaw/ head pain and hot flash. This, in a way shows how PPI is playing a role in effects of ssri as there is nothing else changed including lex dosage, dosing time, diet, exercise, sleeping, and other factors that might contribute to mood change.

 

 

Another thing I want to mention is, in the conference (one for drug developers and regulators) I learned FDA is now sponsor projects analyzing patient reported Side effect of drugs online and the trend is to enforce such report as part of the marketed drug monitoring. I know this won't help us who are already in the trap but will be beneficial to future potential victims.

 

One day the data we gather here can be a source for such analyses.

 

The heavy, foggy, drawzy head is coming back now feeling going back to sleep again.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

I'm very sorry you're going through this.

 

I would see another doctor about the h. pylori infection.

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