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Weaning off of Paxil
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Weaning off of Paxil

Three years ago I took Paxil for about six months and then weaned myself off of it over a period of two months, I didn't have any problems then.  However, now I have been taking 15 mg of Paxil per day for a year.  I decided to start weaning off of it and took half of my dose (7.5 mg) for about a week.  I then had surgery and as I was recovering from that I neglected to take the Paxil for about a week.  I decided then to just stop and now it has been two weeks and I am very dizzy and tired and have crazy dreams.

Would it be best for me to start taking a low dose again and continue weaning off of it or should I just wait out the withdrawal?  The withdrawal isn't that bad but I wouldn't want it to last much longer.
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I think I would give it another 5-7 days, and if not getting significantly better, go back on lowest possible dose every other day, and wean from there.
11 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I have read many messages regarding withdrawls related to Paxil and I am amazed that the medical community continues to deny any correlation of symptoms to Paxil.

I began a year ago with Zoloft, but had severe side effects that force its discontinuation. My doctor substituted Paxil CR due to the relatively "small" chance of similar side effects.

I ran through a 6 month treatment of Paxil CR (25mg/day) and at first felt some success. Approx. 4 months in I began to experience symptoms of fatigue, mood swings and a general feeling of malaise. I completed the 6 month treatment, returned to my doctor and explained the symptoms experienced. It was determined that "this type of antidepressent was not for me".

I was advised of two options. Wean off of the Paxil CR and begin a regiment of Wellbutrin (300mg/day) immediately or discontinue the use of antidepressents all together and see what happens.

I elected the first alternative.

I have weaned off the Paxil CR, dropping to 12.5mg for one week, to 6.25mg for another (this was achieved by splitting the 12.5mg pill on doctors instructions even though the manufacturers instructions advise not to do this). I have now been off the Paxil CR since June 8th and the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms persist despite the transition to Wellbutrin.

I am experiencing "zaps" at an alarming rate, nausea, sweats and tremors. When I discussed these symptoms with the doctor on Tuesday 6/17 three doctors and a phamacist were completely "stumped"!! They said I am within the less than 1% that experience any withdrawls and they had never heard of these "zaps".

It's now almost two weeks since the weaning off of the Paxil CR, which by the way was perscribed due to the fact it is "much easier" to get off that regular Paxil, and I still have all the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms that began shortly after the termination of the regular dosage. I'm determined to beat it but let me say this is not easy.

The point to be made is, I was relatively uneducated with regards to antidepressants, their side effect and the definite withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms try to get off them. The medical community has got to get more pro-active in their knowledge and research related to these medications. They must pressure the drug manufacturers to acknowledge that there are issues with these drugs and work to educate their patients.

There are adverse effects, I'm experiencing them still today. The pro's and con's must be clearly identified before making the decision to begin treatment. Most doctor's do not take the time to address them or perhaps they do not understand them. Perhaps the drug companies have done a remarkable job at fooling us all.

Whether it's Zoloft, Paxil, Paxil CR or any of the others, we need to be educated. Learning about the side effects and the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms from the internet is to me a little disturbing. The receival of this information is something we expect and therefore put our faith in when dealing with our medical professionals.

I can only guess what to expect should I choose to discontinue using Wellbutrin.

Take care all and the best of luck to each and every one of you experiencing any of the symptoms associated with these drugs.
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Avatar_n_tn
I also have had problems getting on to, and off of, paxil CR.  I am 16 years old.  While getting onto 12mg doses of Paxil CR, I experienced trouble concentrating on work and I couldn't sit still.  After I had taken the Paxil for a while, these still continued.  Also, what exactly is the definition of "tremors"?  I had no slight or sudden movements.  I just couldn't stop moving.  I always had to be tapping my foot or my hand.

I tried to stop taking it about 3 months after I started, and I couldn't do it.  My head felt disconnected.  Almost like I was tired and in a day-dreaming mode.  I would just feel like staring into nothingness.  

Into the 5th month, I tried to stop again.  This time, I decided that I would get off the drug, no matter how it made me feel.  I took the normal 12mg dose that I had been taking for a week.  Then I started cutting the pills in half to take it down to about 6mg and took those for about two weeks.  
I experienced the same 'disconnected' feeling.  I felt very dizzy at times and would even fall down.  When I would walk, It felt like I would just pass out.  Even worse would be if I would walk, and just turn my head to one side for a second.  The 'disconnected' feeling lasted for a good 2 weeks, and it made things very hard to concentrate on.  Driving was also a task in itself.  The dizziness and feeling of passing out while walking or standing took a while longer; fading gradually over about a month's time.

I know this was the Paxil CR.  This was all happening while doing things involved in my normal routine.  For me, the worst (and most mentally painful) part of the Paxil was weaning off it.

Being on the Paxil wasn't too bad though.  I did always feel like it wasn't "the real me" showing.  I'm normally very quiet and reserved.  But on the Paxil, I was really outgoing, and everyone would laugh at things I said.  People noticed the difference.  They said I seemed much more approachable while I was on it.  I, and my parents, really believe I NEED to go back onto the drug again.  I would, but the feelings I had while getting off the Paxil were horrible for me.  
If anyone has any suggestions, please E-maile me at ***@****   thanks.

-seth
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Avatar_n_tn
My doctor put me on the Paxil four years ago for anxiety and depression, I ended up at 40mg a day, it did help with the anxiety BUT, I had the "who cares" mood all the time I couldn't hold a job, even if i had really like what i was doing I let would let it go without a second glance.

My doctor had tried me on Zoloft and slowly take me off the Paxil, it just made me cray I couldn't hold still it was like I was triping on drugs or something, I thought I was really going to lose my sanity. My doctor stopped the zoloft and started me on wellbutrin, it seemed to help a little but it wasn't working fast enough, because of the "who cares" thing my doctor decided to stop seeing me which, I had been seeing her for the last 8years, WHAT KIND OF DOCTOR WOULD DO THAT!!! I just think that she was getting to big for her britches!

Well, my Paxil was going to run out in June, and I haven't found a new doctor, I tried to see if my old doc. would give me a couple of months worth until I found someone else. They took two weeks to finely call me back just to tell me no! JERKS! well you know.

Now it's June I did find a new doctor, but I wouldn't be able to see him until July, so here I am in June with out Paxil. It has taken three weeks to go threw hell! and i'm still in it

Everyday for three weeks I went threw the "jolts" in my head. couln't think straight, i'm still haveing problems with that one. Sudden weakness to the point I thought I was going fall on my face. The nightmares or just the oddest dreams, I catch my self grinding my teeth, to the point of a pounding headach. Just as sudden as a temper would come so would the tears. I cried over everthing! I really thought I was going to lose my sanity!!!!

It has gotten a little better, I have less jolts in side my head, but I know that this is just the begining for me.
When I do see this new doctor. I will make it clear that I will not take Paxil again!!!!!!!! I WOULD RATHER DIE FIRST!!!!

TO ANYONE WHO WILL LISTEN PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THE PAXIL OR ZOLOFT IT WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE A LIVING HELL...
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Avatar_n_tn
The comments posted since I joined in 6/20 only reinforce the issues at hand.

First, Seth a 16 year old fighting to decide which way to go. On antidepressents or off. I have to say it's a pretty sad world when our kids have to struggle with these decisions. I have a 16 year old son who like you Seth is quiet and reserved. At times I think it is the pressures of todays society on kids that causes what ultimately gets diagnosed at depression/anxiety. Medication helped Seth come out of a shell. Seth, did you feel you were in s shell to begin with or we you directed to seek help for someone else's perception of what is "normal". I just read a short blurb in the local newspaper that a study in the UK suggested anyone under the age of 18 should not be perscribed Paxil or Paxil CR due to increased incidents of suicide. The di suggest that those on it currently should not stop abrubtly and should been weaned of it to avoid withdrawls symptoms such as dizziness and electrical shock sensations. I found this amazing, a study that actually recognized withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms!!

I wish I could offer you a solution that would be clear and concise but it appears that the medical community knows no more than we do when it comes to these medications.

I am hoping that the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms diminish relatively quickly. No one it seem can put a time frame on it. Is it 3 weeks or 3 months? I'm into week three and am averaging 50+ "zaps" an hour. These are particularily worse when walking and moving my head in any direction.

Amanda1974, you sound extremely frustrated and so you should. For a doctor to blow you off as you described only further makes us realize the ignorance out there. Granted we only have one side of the story but I understand from personal experience. My doctor, while not cutting me off completely, decided to blow me off when I went for a followup last week. When I decribed the withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms I was experiencing, she left the room to check her books, came back and told me to see a shrink. Not that she was telling me "it was all in my head", but she and the other doctors in the office had never heard of withdrawl (withdrawal) symptoms.
Keep fighting and take it one day at a time until you can get into see that new doctor. Perhaps, he/she will have a little more knowledge and a little more understanding than the very unprofessional one you have gotten away from. Look at it as a blessing in disguise!! A fresh start, etc.

I hope every one out there that is experiencing the withdrawls of any antidepressent takes the time to educate their doctors. This is a reality and should not be dismissed as a "it's all in your head" diagnosis. If we can all find the information we're looking for so readily on the internet why can't they?
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Avatar_n_tn
I was taking 30mg of Paxil for 4 years for panic/anxiety attacks.  I started getting panic attacks in college and tried everything (therapy, yoga, herbs, diet changes, etc) and still suffered such severe attacks that I couldn't drive a car, sometimes I couldn't be alone, or I would have to leave a store because of unrational "fear of dying."   Anyway, the Paxil did the trick, and I must say that I had a very positive experience on it.  Within 3-months on Paxil, I gained back "my old self" and was able to do the "normal" things I once was.  I decided that 4-years was enough and that I was ready to get off Paxil.  I was very "anxious" about going off of Paxil after reading many "horror" stories about withdrawal.  I slowly weaned myself off of Paxil over a period of 2 months and experienced minimal side-effects other than some minor mood-swings and nervousness--but NO PANIC ATTACKS!!  

I am happy to report that as of the past 4 months I have been completely "Paxil free."   My advice to anyone going off of Paxil is:  1. Consult with your Dr. 2. You have to be ready to do it.  3. Rally support around you (I told my boss and my friends "just-in-case" I started to act "different."   3. Take it SLOW! 4. Reward your accomplishment (I use the money I would spent each month on my precription to buy something to pamper myself (bath gel, pedicure, lipstick, etc).
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lauraboo

thanks for your comments. your experience is similar to mine for taking paxil, and i am now trying to figure out how/when to wean myself off paxil. i hear a lot of horror stories. i think paxil saved my life, so i am not in a hurry to get off it, but i would like to get back my energy levels, orgasms, memory, etc. what made you decide to get off it? did you put aside some time to do it, i.e. pick a certain moment or time of year?

treestand
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I decided to go off Paxil because I would soon like to get pregnant and the jury is still out on effects of Paxil on the development of the fetus.  I'd just rather be as "drug-free" and healthy as possible for my baby.   I picked the spring to start weaning off Paxil--I turned 33 in March and figured that was a good marker---also, nothing "major" going on in my life, i.e. no holidays, family visits, etc. Don't worry about rushing to get off Paxil. You will "know" when you are ready and when you are ready you will succeed. Take it slow...
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Thanks for posting all your comments. I thought I was having stroke symptoms today. I switched from prozac to paxil after libito problems. Then my physician added wellbutrin. I realized it was getting out of control and I had gained 15 lbs in one year. Good luck to all of you.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 47 and I have been taking paxil for about 8 months. I made the mistake of drinking alcohol last week. I do not remember much other than the broken bones and horrible stories my friends tell me that I did. This is a very dangerous combination. I literally have total blackout of much of the night. If you don't know what you're doing or remember it, you could get yourself in deep trouble. Thank god I only have a few broken bones. They should stress very heavily not to drink at all with this drug!!!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I began taking Paxil in 2000.  I started out with just 10mg and it wasn't doing much.  My therapist and family doctor agreed to bump it up to 20mg. I began feeling great with life in general.  I feel like a lot of my anxiety was brought on by a high-stress job.  In the beginning of 2001 I quit that job, which greatly reduced a lot of my stressors.  I continued taking the Paxil until 2002.  I read a lot of internet advice on weaning, since my doctor (like most) was unaware or unwilling to confirm any knowledge of "the zaps", etc.  I downgraded myself from 20 to 10 and remained there for a month or two.  Then I dropped down to 5mg for a few weeks, and eventually stopped altogether.  I was GREAT (for a few days).  THEN, the zaps.  Mine weren't horrible or incapacitating, just a little uncomfortable.  Now for my dilema - my wife and I just had our first baby, a little boy, just three weeks ago.  Guess what happened?  YEP, admission night at the hospital, I FREAKED OUT.  Panic for 2 days.  I have lost 17 pounds in just three weeks (great diet program, but no energy).  I went to my doctor today and she wants to put me on Paxil CR.  I am trying to gather all the info I can on it.  Is it really all that "better" than the old stuff.  I am leery of taking ANY medications because of the withdrawl (withdrawal) possibilities.  I fear not being able to "split" the 12.5mg CR pills in order to wean off.  I would love to do it on my own, medication free, but I need to be there for my wife and son NOW.  HELP?!?
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Avatar_n_tn
I began taking Paxil in 2000.  I started out with just 10mg and it wasn't doing much.  My therapist and family doctor agreed to bump it up to 20mg. I began feeling great with life in general.  I feel like a lot of my anxiety was brought on by a high-stress job.  In the beginning of 2001 I quit that job, which greatly reduced a lot of my stressors.  I continued taking the Paxil until 2002.  I read a lot of internet advice on weaning, since my doctor (like most) was unaware or unwilling to confirm any knowledge of "the zaps", etc.  I downgraded myself from 20 to 10 and remained there for a month or two.  Then I dropped down to 5mg for a few weeks, and eventually stopped altogether.  I was GREAT (for a few days).  THEN, the zaps.  Mine weren't horrible or incapacitating, just a little uncomfortable.  Now for my dilema - my wife and I just had our first baby, a little boy, just three weeks ago.  Guess what happened?  YEP, admission night at the hospital, I FREAKED OUT.  Panic for 2 days.  I have lost 17 pounds in just three weeks (great diet program, but no energy).  I went to my doctor today and she wants to put me on Paxil CR.  I am trying to gather all the info I can on it.  Is it really all that "better" than the old stuff.  I am leery of taking ANY medications because of the withdrawl (withdrawal) possibilities.  I fear not being able to "split" the 12.5mg CR pills in order to wean off.  I would love to do it on my own, medication free, but I need to be there for my wife and son NOW.  HELP?!?
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Avatar_n_tn
Yikes! Scary stuff. I have been on Paxil and Paxil CR for a total of 8 years. Although it really helped with my depression and moodswings I have noticed that progressivly my energy had been decreasing. I honestly don't know if the Paxil is linked but I have seen a veriety of doctors who have run every test in the book and they always come out "normal". Some days I could sleep 20 hours. I am exhausted most of the time and with 3 kids, a part time job and a house to take care of that just does not work. I thought I would try to wean myself off of Paxil to see if maybe that is the culprit. I once went 5 days without my perscription (because I waited until I ran out to call and order more) and experienced these "zaps" too. They are awful and made me nauseous. I was off balance and felt floaty too. That is why I searched for info on weaning off Paxil. Now that I've read all of your comments I am afraid to try again. Lauraboo, how exactly did you do it? Right now I am only taking a pill at the first sign of a withdrawl (withdrawal) symtom. So far I have been able to go 3 days. I've noticed it takes about 12 - 24 hours for the pill to kick in. I'm hoping I can increase the amount of time between pills until I do not need to take them at all.
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Do not keep doing what you are doing with the Paxil. You need to wean SLOWLY! Go to paxilprogress . org. They have many experts there and there is a template that shows you how to wean while getting minimal withdrawal effects. What you are doing is dangerous and can have long term effects. Please go to paxilprogress.
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