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Ikam: tapering escitalopram

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ikam   
ikam

Hi, I am new to this side, but unfortunately not new to antidepressants. In 2010 I managed to tapper Effexor, which took me more than two years. I made a terrible mistake and around 2 months ago I have started taking escitalopram. I was fulled by a psychiatrist that this is a safest antidepressant, which does not cause any side effects. 

I have also been on low dose of Doxepin at night to prevent migraines (this has been for over 2 years, but never caused any major problems...)

I started on 5mg of escitalopram and I was ok on this, my anxiety stopped, I slept better, etc. Two weeks ago I increased to 10mg and this is when symptoms started. Firstly it was a weird sensation, each morning I was getting "pins and needles" in my arms, this was going away after getting up. Then I started sleeping badly...I wanted to cut back to 5mg, but a psychiatric said that it was only temporary, so I have stay on 10mg. In the meantime, I had a migraine and took my usual triptan; I almost got serotonin syndrom (at least I think)...This was the time I started to read about escitalopram and discovered horror stories...

I want to stop this drug! I wonder if I have taken it for so short I could go with a faster than 10% tapper? Can I cut to 5mg straight away? 

Thank you

Ikam

 

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Welcome, ikam.

 

I haved moved your post to start your Introductions topic. This is your topic to track your progress, like a journal, and to ask questions about your individual situation.

 

It's possible 10mg escilatopram is too strong for you now, especially after exposure to the triptan, etc.

 

You may wish to decrease it. How long have you been taking 10mg?

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Ever   
Ever

Hi Ikam. I don't know anything about the particular drugs you are on - one of the moderators will be along shortly with more information for you. Just wanted to welcome you here. I'm very glad you found this site - the people here are supportive and knowledgeable. They'll help you through your withdrawal. xx

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ikam   
ikam

Thank you. I have been on 10mg for 14 days...since then I have been feeling so unwell. Can I just take say 7.5mg tomorrow at my normal time?

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ikam   
ikam

Hi Ikam. I don't know anything about the particular drugs you are on - one of the moderators will be along shortly with more information for you. Just wanted to welcome you here. I'm very glad you found this site - the people here are supportive and knowledgeable. They'll help you through your withdrawal. xx

Thank you. Your reply has brought tears to my eyes. I have been feeling so lonely with this problem. I went to A&E today, as I was so worried. The doctor prescribed me yet another medication. I read on drug interaction, it is not adviced to take it with ssri...i will not take it...

I just dont know what to do anymore...teribbly worried...

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moodyblues78   
moodyblues78

There reason why you`re not getting a precise answer is that no one can know. The only sure thing seems to be that 10mg is too much for you. 

 

Maybe 7.5mg is enough and not too much. We can not know. You just have to choose the dose (that seems to be ok) and stick with it and wait until you start feeling better. It may take some time. Then we can talk about how fast or slow your taper can be. 

 

We have a lot of knowledge on tapering here but finding stability is something that cannot be predicted.

 

Patience and courage will take you far.

 

Welcome.

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ikam   
ikam

I have possibly maybe not too good idea, maybe it is better to stop it completely? I have been on it only for two months, and only two weeks on 10mg. Two weeks ago have started feeling progressivelly worse, adding new meds, e.g. scoploamine for my stomach, painkillers, etc.

 

I have almost did not sleep last night.

Called NHS help line. Was told to monitor myself. My pulse was getting low, blood pressure was up and down, I was agitated. And this strange pins and needles sensation in my arms...I read that this is something to be expected until the body gets used to... and as long as I stay calm with it it goes away.

 

Unfortunately, I have started to be anxious again. What will happen if I take my meds and feel so unwell like last night? I have all these big questions. All of them quite catastrophic in nature.

I am with no job now, have to attend interviews, I am completely on my own...

 

Sorry, I sound a bit in a panic, because I am panicking again. Decided to get up from bed and distract myself.

 

I understand now what you mean that I need to get stable before starting my tappering process. This is how I did with effexor in the past. Prepared myself and then started a long process...

But I have never felt like now...

 

But I have also never been on such a coctail of medication...

 

I will not be able to get any diasepam, unfortunately. Is there anything that I could use to help myself?

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Songbird   
Songbird

I was fulled by a psychiatrist that this is a safest antidepressant, which does not cause any side effects.

There is really no such thing. What a lot of tosh doctors tell people.

 

I wonder if I have taken it for so short I could go with a faster than 10% tapper? Can I cut to 5mg straight away?

If you've only been on for two months then I would taper off it quite quickly before it gets too much of a hold on you, especially if you are having adverse effects. I would go back to 5mg asap since you were okay there.

 

I have possibly maybe not too good idea, maybe it is better to stop it completely? I have been on it only for two months, and only two weeks on 10mg. Is there anything that I could use to help myself?

Sounds like a good idea. After two months I would not go to zero immediately but do a fairly fast taper off. Maybe go back to 5mg for a week or two, then 2.5mg for a week or two then off. You might have some w/d symptoms for a little while but hopefully with just short term use they will fade fairly quickly. If you were prescribed it for anxiety, look into books and recordings by Dr. Claire Weekes. There are effective non-med approaches to anxiety and panic attacks.

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ikam   
ikam

Thank you so much! I am bit in a panic, as I have started feeling like yesterday. I took half of a dose of escitalopram. I think, you right, I have adverse effects, I was trying to tell this to my psychiatrist, but she said it would pass. It has been worse. I started to have pins and needles the next day I increased the dose.

 

I messed up as well, as I wanted to get rid of symptoms by...adding more meds. So I took sleeping pills for two nights (zolpidem)...

As I said I also took naratriptan for migraine...

Only later, I started reading and discovered that there is something like serotonin syndrome. I started to be anxious that maybe I have it...

 

Panic is my worst enemy at present...so sorry I may sound not clear...and make some mistakes when writing...

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ikam   
ikam

I wonder if my adverse response has something to do with sensitivity to meds? I remember I was always on lower doses...

I did not realise that this drug is so potent!

 

But I am now reaslising something more thast definitely contributed to my responsvity.

 

I have had lots of emotional problems since 2010. lost my job, relationship, have been going from job to job, weorrying about money, etc.

After tapperring effxor (really slowly and well prepared), I developed ibs type symptoms. I still had migraines, so decided to go on low dose of doxepin on top of betablocker...

In 2012 had a serious surgery under general anasthetic, took lots of painkillers. Last year had a severe infection, was on antibiotics for two months, and painkillers.

I was taking paracetamol with codeine for more than half a year to numb myself. Stopped abruptly around half a year ago...i was getting increased tolerance to codeine...

Also was taking on and off diasepam...

Also, had times quite often of drugging myself with doxepin, taking it in the morning, afternoon and evening in higher than normal doses..

This was the reason why I decided for ssri, asdi hoped it would stop me doing uncontrollable things, such as taking more meds to sleep...

 

There are also other meds I taked regularly for my stomach, and also low dose of hrt...

 

At present, I WANT to deal with escitaploram...

 

I have been reading other members stories and getting used to the idea that my responses are normal, that I need to get patient and respond in a more calm manner...

I am still shocked...i want to recover, to heal my body...get out of my present stressful patch in life...

Writing helps me and I hope I will get more structured with time...

Reading also helps, but also triggers some anxiety...

 

Thank you...

Ikam

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Ever   
Ever

Wish I could help ikam. I've been following. How are you right now? When I am feeling bad, writing it down here often helped to to bring a little relief.

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Ever   
Ever

aaah - we must have posted at almost the same time lol. Very glad that you are finding a little help writing ikam. Hugs.

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Ever   
Ever

From what I know, your responses are normal. Until a couple of months ago, I had never had anxiety - I re-instated a small amount of Paxil because I crashed and had anxiety for a short time. It was awful so I feel for you. My major problem was severe depression, but I am good right now. Hang in there ikam. xx

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ikam   
ikam

Thanks. You are helping, just by being there, as other people. For the first time it all is beginning to make sense. Shocking sense! Time to wake up for me! I abused my body so much. I hope what I am experiencing now will pass...my worst nightmare...

I am completely on my own in a new place (since august). Dont like the place. Also the job I came here for did not work out, so I resigned in the end of November. I am still recovering from this shock.

Wanted antidepressants to give me a break from emotions. I am now on a big rollercoaster...

Shocked, traumatised and surprised that doctors know so little...

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ikam   
ikam

aaah - we must have posted at almost the same time lol. Very glad that you are finding a little help writing ikam. Hugs.

Thank you :)

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ikam   
ikam

From what I know, your responses are normal. Until a couple of months ago, I had never had anxiety - I re-instated a small amount of Paxil because I crashed and had anxiety for a short time. It was awful so I feel for you. My major problem was severe depression, but I am good right now. Hang in there ikam. xx

Good to hear that you are doing better with depression. I tend to get quite depressed as well...

At present, I am back with type of paresthesia in my arms and a kind of dead feeling...i just dont know how to stop being preoccupied with it. I think, I still worry tht this is sign that I may have some non-reversible problem...

I also did not sleep last night, still need to go shopping...i hope my prescription will be ready as I dont have doxepin left...

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Ever   
Ever

Really glad you are reading this site and finding out that what's happened to you is making sense. All the drugs! Our poor poor brains. Keep reading ikam. It's 10.30pm here, but I'm watching TV in bed and will be keeping an eye out for you for a while. xx

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Ever   
Ever

I've seen lots of discussions about 'permanent' damage ikam. The consensus seems to be that our brains will heal themselves, given time. Sometimes it takes a long time, but most don't suffer the acute stuff for a long time - things get better if you can stay at a certain dose and give the brain time to adapt to it. Keep reading and you will discover all this information.

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ikam   
ikam

Just to add, I have just read your journey. I used to be on and off on antidepressants, as I also did not know about withdrawal.

When I followed through the protocol weith effexor it took me over three years, but it was such a rewarding process, despite of diffculties.

I know, and you know that it is possible to feel better with no drugs...

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Ever   
Ever

We're gonna get there ikam. :)

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ikam   
ikam

I cut almost half of my dose, it is interesting that I actually feel much calmer. I hope they will have doxepin in pharmacy, as this is a medication I have been fot over two years at present. Somehow I dont have such problems with tryciclic antidep. I started to take them when I wax 23 years old. Hmmm...

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ikam   
ikam

I keep making these typos, sorry...it is the sign of my agiation, emotional mind taking over the reasonable/logical one. Also, English is not my mother tongue...

 

I have noticed that if I only keep any impulses, noises, etc. and stay in my dark warm bedroom listening to some meditative music or cds, I keep calm. Anything extra, even tiny extra, makes me agitated...

So, I need to spend time at home...i wish, I have to go out...and I will...

 

I have also noticed that I seem to have problems with regulating body temperature, getting my flat extra warm, but still feeling cold inside, but sweating...

 

I am thinking about cancelling my job interview on tuesday, as this will be real extra...i tend to respond with extreme sweating to any task...

 

Oh, if I had onky I predicted the real drama I am going throgh now! But I minimised this problem, always stating that I need this medication, it is only a small dose, etc. Since childhood I was brought up that there are meds for everything, so I am not good with mindful observing myself, like I have done today. I tend to panic, like yesterday, run to the emergency and let doctors to experiment on me. My father was a doctor, I had antibiotics twice a year! Including injections...

No wonder that my first impulse is to take meds. Like today, I had to stop my urges to take some meds for ibs, I take them just in case. I had really bad problems when I stopped effexor. Is ibs somehow dependant on serotonin level?

 

Sorry, I dont know what has gotten to me, I keep writing and writing. I need to be listened. I even called samaritans yesterday, but I need somebody who knows, understands what I talk about.

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Frustrated   
Frustrated

You just keep writing if that is what helps you.  And I think most people here can understand what you are talking about.  And serotonin exists in the gut as well so it can affect the bowel.  ibs does not surprise me at all.

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ikam   
ikam

Thank you! Yes, writing helps. I suddenly feel that there are people who "know"...Just came from the town, I felt myself! I bit excited, but good excited, at last! I know this is my first step in this journey.

I want to try to stay on 5mg escitalopram, in the morning, and as usually 75mg doxepin in evening, and twice a day 25mg atenolol.

I dont know what will happen with my migraines, as I destroyed triptans...

I need to learn again...

 

But now, I am cooking for a first time since well before Christmas. I feel hungry, nice hungry and I have motivation to do something...

 

Survived my first day- even bought myself present today...

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Frustrated   
Frustrated

wonderful!  Trust me you deserve a gift.  This is a very torturous journey for alot of us.  Glad you are able to eat.  I am vegetarian and off gluten.  I also limit dairy.  I believe this helps me.  You do whatever little things help you get by every day.  Even a little gift can sometimes help. :P

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ikam   
ikam

Had a nice dinner...just chicken and rice and some carrots...some time ago, my body seemed ununable to digest a lot of products. My diet is very limited. I think I reject chemicals and other suff that we can find now in food...

Because of ibs, my diet mostly consist of rice...bit boring...

But today, it was at last something more essential...

 

Is it normal to feel as if having a flu? I am exhausted now. How to look after myself? Getting a bit anxious again. My life is far from being stable, no job, rented flat, ex-husband who tries to manipulate me about money...

 

My hands are getting a bit tingly again, not as much as yesterday, but I worry about my evening medication. How will I respond? Will my heart beat decrease again? Will my blood pressure go up and down? And will I survive? What are the tips to survive this? Will I sleep tonight? How will I wake up tomorrow? With paresthesia again? Is this dangerous? But doctors cannot help, I tried to talk to them. I am not really used to manage any illness with no meds. How am I supposed to do this now? I managed in the morning, listened to meditations..i was getting up and was pacing from room to the kitchen, and back to bed and up, so I convinced myself that any movement will make some direction for emotions...but now I am anxious about tomorrow. I am beginning to think about my uncertain future.

 

I left my job not even one month ago...on 10th December brought all my things back home...

I live in a town at present which is completely strange for me. People seem to be less inclusive to other nationalities here. Their accent is a bit different and I need to repeat myself often, as they are not used to accents.

I want to move out, but cannot. Feel a bit trapped and in a kind of limbo-land...

Not a good point to start changes in medication, but the only point...

 

I incresed escitaploram on 11th December, as I hoped it would contain my emotions. I woke up on 12th December with paresthesia in both hands, unable to attend the interview I was supposed to attend. Went to my gp, she said everything was all right...it was not...but it was not her who prescribed antidepressants. I did not want to tell her as I knew she would stop doxepin and I sensed it would be a mistake. So, I am actually not telling my gp nor psychiatrist...

Maybe it is better as I would beg them now for diasepam. Will I manage without it? I cannot go from one medication to another...

My father was addicted to alcohol and psychiatric meds, I dont want to follow his destiny, he died when he was 42,

I am 55, it is time to wake up and start my recovery journey...i was so happy when I was effexor free. Then I stopped other meds.

Then slowly, restarted this game. Did not see that I actually relapsed...

 

I need to rebuild my life, will I be able to deal with both, securing my job and change my way of managing with problems???

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Frustrated   
Frustrated

Yes flu like feelings are normal. Tingling as well. I get tingling and burning and PAIN in my legs and feet. My muscles actually pop. Anxiety is normal too. I don't think I could work if I tried so don't be too down about that.

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ikam   
ikam

I need to learn to observe my symptoms, instead of engaging with them, meaning adding extra load when seeing things trough the anxiety magnifing glass...

I need to learn...

 

I can easily afford one month or two with no work, but no more...

I will contact agency...

 

How do you deal with this strange muscle sensations?

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Ever   
Ever

Yo ikam!

 

You seem a lot less panicky - yayay! I've been loathe to advise you on anxiety - only having experienced it for a very short period myself. But I can tell that writing it down and acknowledging it lessens the reality of it yes? They are just thoughts, not reality.

 

And the temperature thing and ibs is just withdrawal - I've been there done that lol.

 

When you are more up to it ikam, you gotta start looking after your gut better - apparently 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut.

 

You've got a journey back to health ahead of you ikam, as have all of us. It's good to have company along the way yes?

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Songbird   
Songbird

Since childhood I was brought up that there are meds for everything, so I am not good with mindful observing myself, like I have done today.

I need to learn to observe my symptoms, instead of engaging with them, meaning adding extra load when seeing things trough the anxiety magnifing glass...

I need to learn...

 

Well done for recognising this, keep practising the mindful observing, it is a very powerful technique and will get stronger the more you practise it.

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ikam   
ikam

Yo ikam!

 

You seem a lot less panicky - yayay! I've been loathe to advise you on anxiety - only having experienced it for a very short period myself. But I can tell that writing it down and acknowledging it lessens the reality of it yes? They are just thoughts, not reality.

 

And the temperature thing and ibs is just withdrawal - I've been there done that lol.

 

When you are more up to it ikam, you gotta start looking after your gut better - apparently 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut.

 

You've got a journey back to health ahead of you ikam, as have all of us. It's good to have company along the way yes?

Thank you. Yes, I have been feeling much calmer. 

The decrease has been easier than I expected. Still I definitely have withdrawal symptoms. Such as feeling as if i have flu, sweating a lot, feeling tired, anxious in times...

But, I slept all night! I have started eating, just very light meals, but I feel in need of warm food. And I have been feeling somehow happier, but sad (if it makes any sense)...

I am feeling very embarrassed that I did not notice that I was damaging myself with medications...I did not see any signs, until now...

I also worry that I have to cancel job interviews. I think I should allow myself around one month before I start anything...

 

It is great to have company (THANK YOU!) and it helps so much that I can vent my feelings. I feel a bit guilty that I don't engage more in other people recovery, but sometimes even reading gets me overwhelmed.

I try to avoid anything that brings any strong emotions...

 

Hope you doing as well as you can:)

It must be the summer season where you leave. We are in a mid of winter, but I prefer when it is dark. Somehow even sunshine seems too energetic for me...

 

Apparently my present problem relates to escitaploram interacting with doxepin in the way that it increases doxepin and serotonin level in my body...

I need to get off escitaploram as quick as possible. So far so good, I cut half of a dose and I dont have anymore pins and needles sensation :)...This tells me that it has been a good move forward...

 

Thank you for your presence. I guess you are heading to night now...Have a good night then...

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ikam   
ikam

How you doin today ikam?

I am doing much better today, thank you. Although I am aware that it is just a beginning. Felt a bit anxious in the morning, worried about future, my financial situation...

Keep trying to concentrate on here and now...

 

And you, how are you today?

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Ever   
Ever

Glad you are better ikam. Yes, it's just a beginning for you - there is a long journey to health ahead, but you know the way now. Don't worry about helping others at this time - you need all your energy for yourself at the moment.

 

Yes, it is summer here, sunny and warm. I don't like summer much - most people think that's strange, but I don't like being hot and the sun depresses me lol. I love autumn and don't really mind winter.

 

I am doing really well right now, I am well and have no withdrawal symptoms at all. I have stabilised after a rough patch. Although for some reason I cannot sleep tonight - possibly because it's hot.

 

Being anxious in the mornings is very common for withdrawal, as is feeling better in the evenings.

 

ikam - you say you need to get off the escitalopram as fast as possible - please take the advice that people here have given you, you don't want to end up in more trouble.

 

Hope you continue to feel better ikam. :)

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