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Cipralex/Lexapro withdrawal? is something wrong?
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Cipralex/Lexapro withdrawal? is something wrong?

Hi, I recently just stopped taking Cipralex (5mg) after 1 year. However, the first couple weeks I had brain zaps, which I expected and had coming off Paxil previously.

Once the Brain Zaps stopped, I have suddenly become very anxious for no reason, I can see great improvements in social situation and none of my past fears seems to be there, but for some reason just sitting in my house, I get that anxious feeling in my chest, tips of fingers, sometimes feet, my hands even sweat a little. I have no palpitations or shakiness, but can not figure out this anxiety attack feeling, I do not recall ever feeling like this constantly before taking the medication.

I stopped taking the cipralex by taking 2.5 mg for three days then quit cold turkey, approximately 3 weeks ago, maybe 4.

Being so long after quitting the med, can these be withdrawal problems, or am I suffering an anxiety feeling I will continue to feel, this feeling is last nearly all day for the past 4-5 days.

Sorry for such a long write up, and thank you in advance for any insight you may have.
8 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm not going to sugar coat my response considering your age, your obvious intelligence and past experience with antidepressants.

You have broken THE number one rule for anyone taking psychotropic meds! You NEVER take it upon yourself to cold turkey these drugs.
I believe you are now finding out why.

Quoted from the latest PDR, (Physcians Desk Reference) it states:

"Avoid suddenly stopping this medicine. Sudden withdrawal may result in headache, nausea, pins and needles, dizziness and anxiety. When it is time to stop taking this medicine it should be discontinued gradually, following the instructions given by your doctor."

I urge you to see your prescriber as soon as possible and get some help.
I wish you the best.
Peace
Greenlydia






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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for the response, for some reason my Dr. told me because my dosage was a very low dose I could just stop, obviously this is not the case at all.

Apparently, the Cipralex guide at the Dr.'s office claimed to have minimal withdrawal effects. After doing some research this is clearly not the case and maybe some form of incorrect marketing.

Do you happen to know how long these side-effects tend to last, it just seems weird that it kicked in after the brain zaps, that the anxiety and weird stomach ill like sensations began. I assumed after 3 weeks this stuff should be completely gone.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to respond to my question.
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Avatar_f_tn
As you've discovered, your doctor is wrong. I have ALWAYS had a problem with GPs prescribing psychotropic medications. They do their rotation in the psych unit and that's pretty much the end of their training in psychological issues. What little knowledge they have of the new and very powerful psych drugs comes from their 15 minute meeting with the drug rep. Who is, naturally, working for some big pharmaceutical company and is spewing out the script he memorized on the plane ride along with the list of alternative kick-backs the doctor will receive if he/she prescribes THEIR meds instead of Brand X. We walk in and tell the doctor were anxious and a bit depressed. If we're lucky, our doctor will actually ask us a few questions about our symptoms. They will then hop off their little doctor stool and go rummage through the drug locker for all those free samples the rep gave them last week for anxious and depressed people. They stuff a party favor bag full of this crap and we're out the door. (The doctor is probably out the door for his free trip to Hawaii)

Sorry. I DO tend to go on rants when it comes to doctors giving us medicine they really have no business handing out.  

I really got a good giggle when you wrote............" Apparently, the Cipralex guide at the Dr.'s office claimed to have minimal withdrawal effects. After doing some research this is clearly not the case and maybe some form of incorrect marketing."

"incorrect marketing?" You really ARE too kind. "Incompetant medical practice" would be far more accurate.

OK, I'm off my soap box now.  (Or not)

Your doctor was also a tad ignorant telling you to cold turkey "because your dose was very low." Yes, you may have been on the lowest dose available, but you were on it for an entire year. The LENGTH of treatment time, irregardless of the dose, is a HUGE factor that must be taken into consideration when contemplating a discontinuance of any medication.

I can't give you any sort of timeline for your symptoms to abate. We are all different in how we react to meds whether it's getting on them or coming off them.
What I can tell you is the half-life of escitalopram is upwards of 35 hours. I don't want to insult your intelligence and assume you don't understand what "half-life" means, it's just that most people don't even know it exists. So, quickly then, the half-life of a drug is basically the equation you'd use to figure out when the drug will be completely out of your system. If the half-life is 35 hours, that means every 35 hours, your body will rid itself of 1/2 the dose you've been taking. In your case, 35 hours after your last 5mg dose, you will still have 2.5mg in your body. 35 hours later, you will have rid yourself of 1/2 of the 2.5mg and so on until there is none left in your body. The half-life equation is not a mathematical absolute, so perhaps your body just didn't (or isn't) excreting the drug at this given rate.

Even if all the drug is out of your system, it is not uncommon for some symptoms to resurface..........the same symptoms we began taking the drug for in the first place and quite often they can be worse the second time around. These drugs work on receptors in our brains, actually change them, When we stop the drug, those recptors must begin doing the job on their own again and it can take some time for them to figure that out. Meanwhile, it can play havoc with the healing process. This is one reason you need to taper very slowly off these meds. And the slower the better. It gives our brains time to begin adjusting, to wake up naturally as opposed to being jarred awake by a sudden withdrawal.

I would suggest making an appointment with a Psychiatric Medication Manager and, well, sort of dumping this mess in their lap. It's what they're really, really good at.........fixing the messes GPs get us into.

I'd sure as hell avoid your original doctor unless your dog needs stitches.
Most of us have been where you are. We understand what you're going through and trust us, you have our sympathy but also our reassurance that once you get this starightened out and taper correctly, you'll be just fine.

Post any time you need to talk. Somebody always has the coffee on around the clubhouse.
Peace
Greenlydia      
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Avatar_f_tn
Ok, so I read here we all trying to stop, taking cipralex or lexamil...
I was on 5 for a week than went to, 10 month after that I went to 20 orders by the docter, so after that I had all the simptoms of being on the drug, till one day suddenly I found my left shoulfer to be num, now me working with people and being a ex pharmacist assistant I relized thats not normal, I left it a day passed that I could not set foot out of bed for I was having blue hands, and lips, so I got warryed I went to the ER thy emedetly saw I had a light aginapectoris, me being 24 having that just freeked me out, I got treated as I had a heat attack, after a week I felt ok went on doing my thing at work, I got the same issue again so I went to the doc she did a ecg found my hert poundin at 120 bpm which normally should be 75 bpm after that I got prescribed pur bloka 10 mg tds I felt ok for a month, than the headachs started so bad I started skipping work just to keep it at bay, I even started doing ubnormal things such as eat exsesivly even fighted with my staff, I became a animal, one even commented so I went to the doc she told me I should take pur bloca qid so I did and I started losing it, more till my boss warend me this is my last ofence if it happens again I fired, so I tride to keep my pose,a week passed and I read something about some funny withdrawed symptoms of paxil so I googled cipralex, I was shocked of what I found, not only did it do that it increased some aspects I I even
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Avatar_f_tn
So I figured this is not the pur blocka, but the cipralex, I felt what the hell do I than need this tablets for if I only get added a disatvantage.. So I just disided to   stop at once and I knowing what the evects are know the withdrawal symptoms, some even would shout me for just stopping the 20 mg like that, I  sould add that " had a huge nervis brake down 3 year back and it destroyed my life as a young adult trying to make his way throu without seport of anny family, just me myself and I" so I went throw hevey headackes, nausia diearea, the shocking of the brain, even the feeling of my ears being blocked, I havent had mush anxitey even other symptoms but now being at week 3 tommorrow I could say I was figting the headack with napacot, nausia with clopamon and diearea with limotil, but today I had some thing happend that I did not expect, I became verry afrad of sudden noises not afraid but lets say jumpy when ever I here a clan or a boom, I even jumed out of my skin when I heard someone drop a glas and that was about 5 feet away, so I would say thats something thy havent added on tge paket insert, even the fact that my frenzy wiht my hands whasing every time started again and me cheking that I  have a cleen pees of cutlery, or croccery, but I should say I even stoped eating as much as I was when I was on the cipralex, amaizing as it is my heart rait droped to the point of 79 to 90 bpm, which is litrally amazing for with the pur blocka I use to mesure 80 to 95 bpm, so to me thats a achive ment
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Avatar_f_tn
I also srarted paying attention to smalll detail afain, reacting faster tgan I have even not being tierd so much and sleeping so much I now started joging in the mornings, and evenings and that has even increeced my moods from being fown in the gutters to the point that I feel proud of being who I am not having a care in the world not.minding if someone squse in the line of if I get shouted at if the medical aid is not paying for some stugh, I sohould say you that stop taking this should feel just as grait as I do, for I never can remember when last I felt this way, even when I was small people use to tease me for.i cant spell dew to my dyslexia, I even laghf at ignorant an stuped people lol.. Do guys I recomend you to come off it for you would not feel like.tge zomby.you use to feel like while taking the medication, but for safty sake of yourself and others around you talk to your GP before qutiting, you can try to replace it with natrual products, only know of 5 Htp of solal that is in africa but I belive you guys shoyld get it there as well, just one thing never tride it so I can not comment on it... But let me TELL U IN ADVANCE DONT DO WHAT I DID consult your Gp try telling him or her you cant drink it anny more its killing tbe person your sapose to be, also I did tbis all on my own rick for all that happent was my doing and only myne so have faith and do it you might coe back tommorrow and say dam this guy was right, so contact me on karelesterhuizen@hotmail. Com.if you wannd bless me or curce me....

Peace you all...
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a question I stopped ciplarex suddenly as well. Stupid me. And now I am dizzy 24/7 and having pins and needle feeling in my right leg. I know I should be back on them I was wondering if anyone knows if I can just restart the pills or go to my so called dr
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Avatar_m_tn
If you are attempting to go off any drug and need help doing so, call "Point of Return" in California (just google it...free consultation). They help people get off prescription drugs slowly and safely. My husband tapered off Lorazepam, which took five months and Cipralex took just over 2 months. Every week you reduce by .5. It's a slow process but better than facing the horrendous side effects of quitting cold turkey. Lorazepam is one of the hardest drugs to get off of, and although it was a long process it was quite painless. They help people all over the world...consultations done over the phone or by email. All the best!
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