Dear Doctor, I have been under an Escilatopram treatment for about 9 months, first at 15mg and then 10mg for the last 4 months. My doctor would like me to continue the treatment for about 3 months at 10mg and then go for 5mg and stop. However, I was in a situation where I had no medication left and had to stop the medication for several days. Could you let me know what can be the side effects of stopping this medication suddenly and to start again after several days? Thank you for your help.
Discontinuing a serotonin antidepressant can be associated with three potential adverse consequences -
1. A discontinuation syndrome which occurs usually within a day to three days of stopping the medicine. It includes unusual sensations that have been described as electric shocks in the body, irritability, jitteriness, racy heart, sweating.... If the syndrome is due to stopping the medicine then it resolves very quickly when you take one dose of a serotonin antidepressant.
2. Resumption of the original symptoms. Whatever it was that you took the medicine to treat may resume within a few days to a couple of weeks of stopping the medicine.
3. Recurrence. After you stop the medicine you may be more prone to another episode of anxiety or depression in the future. It does not appear, though, that the odds of this are any greater than if you had not taken the medicine, it is just that you are not protected from future episodes.
Since it has been a few days since you ran out you are not likely to have a discontinuation syndrome. You should watch for a resumption of the original symptoms over the next week or two. Contact your doctor if you notice this.
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