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New Anxiety Medicine

Hi all,

I have been on lexapro for 7 years and my anxiety has been super high and i feel like its lost its effect. After speaking with my doctor I was switched to zoloft. I have been on Zoloft(half of 100mg for the first week) Today makes day 5.I have been experiencing some pretty bad symptoms after the switch such as stomach upset,nauseous,heart flutters, and increased anxiety/panic. I'm thinking its from just abruptly stopping my lexapro after 7 years and switching straight to zoloft. Has anyone ever switched meds abruptly like this and ended up with positive results after pushing through the symptoms? I was also curious if anyone is on zoloft and is having a positive experience from it with anxiety/panic attacks? I'm crossing my fingers.
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480448_tn?1397235344
I agree with Paxiled completely.  I strongly disagree with these statements:

"and she says that since they are both ssri's its usually fine to do such a switch."

"She told me all the symptoms i listed were anxiety based and are worse due to starting a new medicine and having minor withdrawal from lexapro. She said sometimes its tampered but she actually said that 50mg of zoloft is a low dose compared to what i was on for lexapro and thats another reason i could be feeling so bad(since i went from a high dose of a ssri to a lower one)."

She's (again) going off the premise that all ssri medications are directly compatible and equivalent, and saying one can be "swapped" for another.  The FACT is, that's simply NOT true.  While both meds are in the same CLASS, their mechanism of action is very different.  They are not equal where you can swap one for another without expecting some kind of issue during the transition.

I know it's difficult when you have people you trust reassuring you about this.  Like Paxiled said, it's your decision in the end, but I would strongly consider maybe getting a second opinion.  I really fear that when you go up on the Zoloft, your symptoms will get even worse.

The GOOD news is, EVENTUALLY you will adjust and normalize, but you may be in for some rough days until that happens.  I'm sorry you're going through this and I sincerely hope it works out for you.  Ler us know how you're doing, okay?
15 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
These meds can stop working after awhile. Some of us can stay on the same med for many many years and others can't. What you're going through may be from the switch. Really, in my opinion, your Dr should have done a taper before putting you on a new med. You could be having some withdrawal from the Lexapro on top of starting Zoloft. You were started on 50 mgs? I'm a little surprised your Dr did'nt start you on 25 mgs and then work your way up gradually. You have a few options. Either you can restart the Lexapro and taper, you can ask to be put on 25 mgs of Zoloft, or you can stay on the dose you're at and hopefully the side effects will go away very soon. If it were me I would stay on the dose you're on, if that's the option you choose, for at least 6 weeks to see how you do. If you feel it's not working well enough then try going up to 75 mgs. Yes, many people do well on this med. I hope you do too.
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6424357_tn?1381333471
Thank you for your reply.yes i was very confused as to why my doctor didnt tamper me off considering i was up to 20mg of lexapro and just did a quick switch to zoloft.(I even called back to reassure thats what she wanted me to do) She wants me on 100mg of zoloft and i was told to take half for a week which is why im taking 50mg right now.Im on day 6 now so im guessing i should try and tough this thing out a little longer and hope for improvement rather than going back to lexapro. I appreciate your advise and its good to know this medicine has helped many people.Im hoping it will work for me. Have you  been tampered off medicine before to another or are you just well informed of what usually happens when switching? Thanks ;)
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Avatar_f_tn
I've been tapered off of a few meds so I kind of know what to expect.
I really think your Dr should wait at least 6 weeks to see how you do on 50 mgs. It might be the perfect dose for you and you may not need an increase. It seems like your Dr is taking huge steps pretty fast to me, just my opinion. I really hope this med works for you too.
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I agree with remar that the transition was not done optimally.  For one, you weren't tapered off the Lexapro, and two, you may have started out at a dose that was a tad high on the Zoloft.  You've been on the Zoloft for a week, I would ask your doctor about at least going down to 25mg for a week or two, then back up to 50mg, and so on, until you reach the goal dose.

Most likely, you're experiencing a little bit of both symptoms from the discontinuation of the Lexapro, as well as some start-up side effects from the Zoloft.  Is your doc a psychiatrist, or GP?  If the latter, I would recommend asking for a referral to a p-doc to handle these meds for you.

Also, are you in any kind of therapy?  That's important as well.

Let us know how you're feeling, hang in there!
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Avatar_m_tn
My opinion, similar to the above, is you should optimally go back on the Lexapro and taper off before you start the Zoloft.  Although they are in the same class of drugs, they all target different receptors, and so they don't substitute easily for one another.  
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6424357_tn?1381333471
yes my symptoms have been almost unbearable.my anxiety has def increased and i get panic at night and bad insomnia from this not tampering. My nurse practitioner actually suggested i do this switch so abruptly and informed me that i wouldn't have much side effects. Which seemed a little crazy to me since ive been on lexapro for 7 years...However i trusted her decision making on the matter. I just seen a therapist yesterday(although she does not prescribe medicine) she told me she works closely with psychiatrists and that the quick switch was not the way to do it.Today makes day 7 of being on zoloft 50mg. I am suppose to go up to 100mg tomorrow but i am very nervous Abbot doing so. I have an appointment to see a psychiatric nurse who i hope can give me more insight about these medication switches because i really think my primary care doctor made the wrong call. Im just wondering if its worth going back to lexapro after being off it for 7 days now cold turkey..this is my first time ever switching meds so im unsure of the whole process. Its good to have people who have been through this and can give opinions on their experiences and what shouldn't be done. I was worried that the zoloft ive been on for 7 days now is just giving me crazy side effects and not working and i was debating weather i should stop it because of these side effects. but maybe its because i wasnt started on the right dose or lifted off slowly..?
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Avatar_f_tn
You don't have to do the increase tomorrow. You're the one who can make the decision.
Nursegirl gave you great advice, she always gives great advice. She even said that maybe you were started on too high of a dose of Zoloft. I agree with that. So, to be jumped up to 100 mgs in a week seems excessive to me. Think about Nursegirls option. Maybe going done to 25 mgs on the Zoloft and see how you do on that.  
Will you please let us know what the nurse says?
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6424357_tn?1381333471
So i just left the psychiatric nurse(shes not a therapist/psychiatrist but she is a nurse who is well informed about mental medications) and she says that since they are both ssri's its usually fine to do such a switch.She told me all the symptoms i listed were anxiety based and are worse due to starting a new medicine and having minor withdrawal from lexapro. She said sometimes its tampered but she actually said that 50mg of zoloft is a low dose compared to what i was on for lexapro and thats another reason i could be feeling so bad(since i went from a high dose of a ssri to a lower one). She informed me that going to 100mg of zoloft after a week should be fine and make me feel better once in my system for a bit. She also added something called Buspar that i was directed to take twice daily with the zoloft. She said once that kicks in it will give me that extra boost.I was also instructed to take xanax at night with the zoloft since night time seems to be the worst for me until the zoloft/buspar kick in.She said since i wasnt on 20mg of lexapro for a long time (less than 6 months) i was only on 15mg) that she will not put me back on lexapro but rather keep me on the zoloft and go along with the increase with the added buspar....Im hearing mixed opinions but i guess i should go with what she is telling me to do....
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Avatar_f_tn
So, she did agree that you could be having withdrawal? I believe this to be true and I'm glad she agreed.
I really hope you start feeling better very soon. It can take up to 6 weeks for these meds to start working but most people feel better much sooner than that.
All of these decisions can be so hard to make. Especially when you're in panic mode all the time and just want relief.
We're here to support you every step of the way.
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Avatar_m_tn
Look, I hope this works out, but if it were me, I'd not see this person anymore and find someone who understands these medications.  This person clearly doesn't.  She now has you on three drugs because she messed up the proper protocol for doing this and isn't acknowledging this.  This is your decision to make, but that's what I'd do.
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480448_tn?1397235344
I agree with Paxiled completely.  I strongly disagree with these statements:

"and she says that since they are both ssri's its usually fine to do such a switch."

"She told me all the symptoms i listed were anxiety based and are worse due to starting a new medicine and having minor withdrawal from lexapro. She said sometimes its tampered but she actually said that 50mg of zoloft is a low dose compared to what i was on for lexapro and thats another reason i could be feeling so bad(since i went from a high dose of a ssri to a lower one)."

She's (again) going off the premise that all ssri medications are directly compatible and equivalent, and saying one can be "swapped" for another.  The FACT is, that's simply NOT true.  While both meds are in the same CLASS, their mechanism of action is very different.  They are not equal where you can swap one for another without expecting some kind of issue during the transition.

I know it's difficult when you have people you trust reassuring you about this.  Like Paxiled said, it's your decision in the end, but I would strongly consider maybe getting a second opinion.  I really fear that when you go up on the Zoloft, your symptoms will get even worse.

The GOOD news is, EVENTUALLY you will adjust and normalize, but you may be in for some rough days until that happens.  I'm sorry you're going through this and I sincerely hope it works out for you.  Ler us know how you're doing, okay?
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6424357_tn?1381333471
Hi Guys! Thanks sooo much for all your input and support. I thought about the Buspar after she added it ..i took one pill..and then decided i dont want to take it. I feel like thats too much medication to add ESPECIALLY since i havent given zoloft a chance by itself..Ive made the decision to only add buspar after i give zoloft atleast another two weeks.So as of now i will possibly go up on the 100mg of zoloft tonight(still debating if i should go 50mg a few more days) and take xanax as needed to calm me until the effects go down. Trust me ive gotten several opinions and they are ALL different so its really hard to know who is right. One psychiatrist told me in his opinion hed put me back on lexapro..which im thinking ive been on zoloft for 7 days now..why go back after so far in??? Ive even called pharmacists..etc..all different. So i will go with what "I" think sounds logical. Do you guys think my opinion is okay? To say no to adding the Buspar and just staying on the zoloft with an added xanax until the symptoms go away? I dont think going back to lexapro is the right move and i dont think the buspar is needed as of just yet. she said she only was adding the buspar now because it takes time to kick in..but ive waited this long so i think i should give the zoloft time to kick it on its own. i Mean its only been a week. What do you guys think? Does what i want to do sound better than what these so called doctors are telling me? Oh and she said alot of people dont tamper off and take both meds is because it can increase something called serotonin syndrome.But then i read added buspar to zoloft can also increase that risk ANYWAY. So basically i wanted to know what you guys thought of what i personally want to do and if my idea sounds reasonable? Thanks so muchhhh!
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I understand about your concern with going back on the Lexapro, I get it.

I think your plan is reasonable, but here's MY unofficial opinion on how I'd tweak it.  I'd STAY on the 50mg for at least another week, and when you go up, go up to 75mg for another couple of weeks before going up to the 100mg dose.

I actually just restarted on Zoloft myself, and that's how I did it.  I started out at 25 mg, then every week, increased by 25mg.  When it was time to go up to 100mg, I waited TWO weeks (on the 75mg).  I did pretty well side effect wise.  By the time I got to the 100mg jump, I only experienced a few days of tolerable side effects.  The longer I was on it, the better I did.  

I definitely think in the least, you should slow down your ramp up on the Zoloft.  There's no rush here.  I would talk to your doc about that.  They should be agreeable.

Keep us updated.
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6424357_tn?1381333471
Thank you for your insight.I think i am going to go ahead and take the 50mg for one more week before i do a jump. I guess i was so ready to jump because of what the psychiatric nurse said to do and the fact i figured id feel better faster since the dose is higher.Just curious when you said you restarted zoloft...were you on nothing before that? Im wondering if the doctor wanted me to do such an increase because i was on a previous medicine(lexapro). I know when you first start a medicine you should start low but im trying to think if she said this because i was switching meds.With the going to 75mg im wondering how i can cut my pills.lol.I currently have 100mg pills so its easy to break in half for the 50mg but when i want to go to the 75mg it may be hard to cut up.I know they wont give me more since it hasnt been long enough time period to get more.After you reached the 100mg jump did you start to feel better? Thank You
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Avatar_f_tn
I agree with Nursegirl. If it were me, I would go up only 25 mgs at a time. If you go up to 100 mgs you're doubling your dose and it might not be what you need. 75 mgs might be just what you need. Any pharmacy will have a pill cutter.
You are such a Sweetheart. I feel bad that you're going through all of this. We do understand because most of us have been there ourselves with changing meds, increasing, decreasing.
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